A Kudu Story

  • Thread starter Deleted member 43267
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Deleted member 43267

I received many kind comments on my eland story, so I thought I would share another.

This one is to illustrate how different your experience can be, and the importance of living right such that the Great Manitou allows you three seconds of dumb luck. Several times in a row.

It is Thursday morning, and we are going for Kudu. We had hunted hard for four days and I had four animals in the salt. A Kudu was my last animal. Our approach had been a mix of spot-and-stalk, hiking in to waterholes, and picking up tracks. Everyone was elated because even the eland was in the salt, and we had three full days ahead of us to find a nice Kudu. What I loved about Kudu was the variation, and how you could consider length, spiral (tight or loose), tips (out or up), angle (tight or wide), thickness, or symmetry. We had glassed a lot of Kudu and I professed a simple desire for a nice representative example.

We are cruising due south on a sandy two track and Christo and Morito are looking left. I am looking right and think I see something but decide it is yet another Kudu bush and indicate that. They swivel, and there are three Kudu bulls after all. I am geeked because this is the first time all week that I have seen something before Morito even if I had not called it quite correctly. We pull the truck over and start a stalk. This goes south quickly and we get no more than 100 yards in before they bolt while we are still out of range. I am not fazed by this because this is how we do it; a stalk fails, and you just go and do it all over again until you get one that works. We hike back, and continue south.

A few minutes later Morito looks back and calls for a halt. The signal stick is waved in front of the windshield and we slow to a stop. I miss it entirely, but Morito and Christo are looking intently at what turned out to be a bull and cow feeding. But they are half spooked by the vehicle and on high alert. I can't pick them out, so I just sit back. Christo calls for the truck to move and we go up the road about a km or maybe two and stop again. Engine is shut down and we sit for about 15 or 20 minutes in silence hoping they will forget about us. We then dismount slowly and start a stalk that is a big circle designed to come up on them from the back.

This is my best stalk ever and it has to be because the terrain here is weird. Larger trees, still tons of thorn scrub, but instead of sand we are threading our way over loose gravel. We finally come to the backside and are within 100 yards. I am crouching and trying not to crunch, and make it through a really rough patch so quietly that I get a brief thumbs up from Morito. I am a bit behind, and as I close in on my guys they straighten up and are, shall we say, a bit flummoxed because it turned out to be a group of Kudu that we could not have seen and we are busted yet again.

We straighten up, and walk back to the truck in normal fashion. There are some comments to the effect that we missed a good one and a certain PH seems sort of pissed off over this one. Not really, but you could tell he was disappointed. We decided to try some other spots, turn the truck around and head north. We get about 3 or 4 kilometers and suddenly spot a bunch of kudu moving parallel to our track about 100-150 yards to our right. They are loping along. There is a quick conversation in Setswana, a quick signal, and we go faster. I realize that we are going to try and get way ahead of them and stalk into them. Maybe a half or 3/4 of a mile up this road we see a right fork and turn on to that. But before we can go very far, the cross directly in front of us and leap over a low wire fence. They are in high gear, and watching them leap is amazing. Of course, I now see the bull we were after and am trying very, very, hard not to be disappointed because my first thought was that "I would have liked to have had a chance at that one." Note that to me, every Kudu looks like a shooter, but this one was distinctly bigger than many and I now realize exactly what a trophy animal looks like. And then it gets crazy.

There is a rapid conversation, and suddenly the truck is pulling over and we are dismounting. I realize that we are going to chase them down no matter what it takes. There is a magic moment where we all decide to go for it. Christo and Morito slide through the fence, I hand Christo the gun over the highest wire and slide through myself. Somehow I have chambered a round, check for safety. But before we can get into our single file tracking formation Morito does something that I will wonder about until my last breath. He has the track, but he makes a big circle to the right with his left hand. There are big trees and some of the thickest bush I have seen so far this trip, so I know that he can't see the Kudu. But you do not question the tracker, ever and we head off at an angle right. No one is making any effort to be quiet, and we are somewhere between a fast walk and a jog. We keep the pace for perhaps a few hundred yards until we enter the south end of clearer, grassier spot that extends about 100 yards north. It stops at what appears to be a treeline with a slight rise and thorn scrub behind it. The sticks come up as I move forward, turn, and face north.

Morito has called it perfectly, and there they are, moving left to right. Christo is spotting for me: "Do you see the bull? No! Wait! Yes! There is a cow in front of him and he is facing away! Wait, wait. Young bull coming through. Don't shoot. Another young bull coming through. Don't shoot! Be ready if he steps out!"

This was followed by some rather colorful expletives. A bunch of kudu cows come flying in from left to right. I do not know how far they were from us, but remember those cute kaleidoscopes you had as a child? This looked like a view through on of those except the scope is filled with kudu cows instead of colorful patterns. And they are peering at us on high alert. They bolt, and I am left with the bull. He has turned, and taken a few steps to the right. Standing behind a tree, but peering at us at sort of a half-quarter angle with the front of his chest exposed. Christo whispers "you have to take a shot quickly. He is going to bolt."

Once again, I am faced with mayhem. My poor PH likely suffered a thousand agonies that week as I set world records for most time spent on the sticks before actually taking the shot, and now I can't do that. He looks very, very small through a 2 1/2 power scope at only 90 yards. I try to line up a half frontal chest hold, not hit the tree, squeeze, and fire. The bull jumps (I have hit something, somewhere) and I see him trot slowly up the rise to the top where he simply vanishes into the scrub before I can even get another round chambered. We move forward, and Morito is yelling in Setswana. He is seriously yelling. I am stammering something like "I think I fucked up! I am not sure it was a good shot!" Christo is super calm and tells me "I do not care. He has a big hole in him and we will track him down." We move up quickly, but Morito heads about 25 yards right toward the top of the rise rather than the putative hit site.

We get a couple yards in and I nearly faint because there are two spiral horns sticking up through the scrub, but they are at an angle that indicates he is down, and down for good. I had a moment of angst because I had yanked the trigger and sent the shot almost 9 inches right. An inch or two in any direction might have made a slight flesh wound, but I had taken out a carotid and he didn't get more than 30 yards. It turned out that Morito was yelling that he had seen him stumble and thought he was down, and his disappearance over the rise was an optical illusion. He just collapsed straight down. Whew! We were all toast because it was their last hunt of the season, we had just tagged out, and I had gotten very, very lucky with a classic bull that we all wanted.

My daughter took one look at the photo and claimed him for her house. But I will remember him as my second chance lucky Kudu.

kudu snip.JPG
 
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Graham Hunter

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Better lucky than good!!
 

cls

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Nice kudu, congrats
 

MAdcox

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Good story and very nice Kudu. Thanks for sharing.
 

PARA45

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What a great story, and great looking kudu! Congrats!!!! (y)(y)
 

WAB

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Great report on a great hunt!
 

PLM

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Nice bull, great mass. And a hunt to remember!
 

Nyati

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Great story and a very, very nice Kudu .

Congrats !
 

gillettehunter

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Lovely Kudu bull and one you will always remember. Congrats
Bruce
 

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