My Lechwe and Bushbuck hunt


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Sep 10, 2009
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Looks like I may actually have time to type another story of my trip to Africa May of 2011. We were hunting with Thorndale Safaris in the East Cape. On the 3rd day it was time to load up and head to another area for 2 days to hunt Bushbuck and Lechwe. Both my son, Chris, and I wanted a Bushbuck and a Lechwe. We were to drive 30 min to meet the landowners son and go to the family farm. All told around 3 1/2 hour drive. As normal Polla, part owner of Thorndale was late so it was 5:30 before we left the lodge. We arrived at the farm with no problems and split up for a late morning hunt. I originally thought that we would hunt the river bottom and crop edges near the farm. I was wrong and we headed up into the mountains. Their strategy is to drive to the top and then walk the ridgeline and look into the draws for Bushbuck. They apparently like the cool timbered draws. Africa 2011 087.jpg
The mountains a lot like the ones at home. Id, Mt, Wy or UT. On the drive to the top we saw a herd of Kudu making tracks. Appeared they had been spooked over from the neighbors. The bull was nice looking, but not on the menu. We stopped and glassed several times as we drove to the top. One hairpin corner required us to back up to the edge to get around it. Reminded me of jeeping at home. Once on top we got out and crossed the fence and started glassing.Africa 2011 089.jpg Notice how high we are above the valley floor. Nothing in the first draw. I was starting to wonder if it was too late in the day for them to be up feeding. In the second draw we hit paydirt. I first spotted a female Bushbuck and then the tracker found the male. He was in the shade and was difficult to see with their nearly black coat. They were just over 300 yards away with a fairly steep downhill slope. It looked like we might not be able to get closer without spooking them. I set up to shoot laying on a rock. It was still early in the trip so my PH, Matthew, called me off of the shot. He decided that we would try a stalk, part of which we would be exposed to the Bushbuck. As we VERY slowly worked our way down the hill the Bushbuck fed without a care in the world. When we got out of sight we sped up and closed to under 100 yards before we broke over the ridge to look into the head of the draw. There was the female. Where was the male? We would glass and then take a step and glass some more. Over an hour and no male. Then we spotted a male, only it was a young one and not the old one we had seen from up on top. We gradually worked out way down to change our viewing angles.
Then the wind changed and blew from us into the draw. Then things started happening. All 3 Bushbucks exited the heavy cover to go over the ridge to the next dwar. My PH said to soot so I did. I had a 7mm with TTSX bullets. The rifle was topped with a Minox 4X20 scope so I could turn up the power some. He was 300 yards away when he stopped. I was sitting and trying to use a short set of sticks that they had brought. I had trouble getting steady. First shot was a miss. The echo of the shot appeared to confused the Bushbuck and he stayed where he was was. 2nd shot and I could hear it hit. The Bushbuck was still on his feet and moving. So I tried a 3rd shot. Nothing. Another miss. He stopped again and I squeezed the trigger and heard the bullet hit home. The Bushbuck tumbled down the hill out of sight in the trees. As we headed across the top of the draw to find my Bushbuck Matthew warned me about the nature of a wounded Bushbuck. If there was any chance he was still alive to shoot at first sight as they get aggressive when wounded and cornered. We looked for 15 min and couldn't seem to locate him anywhere. I was starting to get concerned. I broke out the laser rangefinder and realized we were 100 yards beyond where he had been when I fired. I worked my way back to the correct distance and the started looking the shade . A couple of minutes later I found him dead under a tree. Here is a picture of the hillside he was on and then him close to where he lay.Africa 2011 094.jpgAfrica 2011 098.jpg Him in the brush. When Matthew looked in his mouth he said, You've got a teenager. I said what? The teeth were almost completely worn out and Matthew thought he was 13-14 years old. Better pic at the house. Africa 2011 102.jpg
We met back at the farmhouse for lunch and move our gear in. Chris hadn't had any luck. That afternoon we drove 30 miles to look for Lechwe. Chris was to have the first chance as this was his highest priority animal. As we drove to the farmers house to meet him we spotted a herd of Lechwe near the road. Probably 20 of them in that herd. We met the landowner and went back for a closer look. We spotted the herd bull bedded on a pond dam. The landowner thought he could get Chris to within 200 yards of him. We dropped them off on the road and drove out of sight so as to not spook them. They walked and then crawled to within 175 yards of the bull. I hadn't thought to loan Chris my &mm. He had brought his .243 to Africa. Because of his caliber the landowner wanted the Lechwe to stand up before Chris shot. So they laid there for 10 min until he stood up. The landowner said to shoot so Chris jerked the trigger. Click. Misfire . Still don't know why. No mark on the primer. Chris had flinched badly so the landowner tried to calm him so he would squeeze the trigger. The bulled walked into the cows. Then a few minuetes later he walked out clear. The landowner told Chris to gently squeeze the trigger. As he shot a young Bull bounded up and dropped at the shot. Apparently there was a little swearing.... They couldn't see the big bull and the cows looked for a couple moments and then took off. We drove back up and out into the pasture. Chris was shooting 85 gr TTSX bullets. It went through the young bulls neck killing him and into the lungs of the big bull killing him also. 2 with one shot. By the way the TTSX passed completely through the big bull.Africa 2011 112.jpg Made for a great day. We looked the last 20 min to see if we could find a lechwe for me. No luck.
The next day found Chris out for his Bushbuck and me looking for Lechwe. We hunted hard through several fields and pastures to no avail for a Lechwe for me. The other big bull in that area had disappeared. Chris had a great Bushbuck hunt. He had the chance to choose between a Mtn Reedbuck or a Bushbuck. He choose the Bushbuck. They stalked up to 30 yards to a bedded Bushbuck and made a clean kill.
Polla had started to get nervous that we weren't finding a Lechwe for me so he got on the phone. He found another farmer with some good bulls that would let us hunt. After lunch we packed up and headed for the new farm. The entrance road to the farm was perhaps 3/4 of a mile. We saw 2 different small groups of Lechwe driving in so he had a good number available. The farmer joined us and we left the house. We stopped to glass a couple of groups on the hillside, but no large bulls. One of the trackers said to stop. All I could see readily was a herd of Impala. Then there was the Lechwe bedded beyond the Impala. The Impala spooked as we got out of the truck and of course the Lechwe also got up. He walked off and didn't spooked so Matthew and I took off into the bush after him. It took perhaps 25 min to find him and get into position to make a shot. I was behind a bush leaning around it so as to break up my outline while I shot. Odd position. At the shot the Lechwe took off with the off side leg broken. I chambered another round and prepared to shoot again at him. Matthew had seen the impact and called me off. The Lechwe only made it 40 yards before expiring. What a bull. One of my best trophies from the trip.Africa 2011 124.jpgAfrica 2011 131.jpg We caped the Lechwe and headed back to Thorndale, a 3 hour drive. So ends this portion of my African Safari. Later I'll try to tell you about my Kudu. Bruce
Great safari and trophy's to go along.
Red Lechwe is a very desirable species. Nice bushbuck!
Great trophies! Nice bushbuck and lechwe. Sounds like it was a great hunt!
Thanks Bruce Great read and great pics not to mention Awesome trophies.
Thanks for the tale. Nice critters there.
Great animals, great pics, great smiles...nice!
Great additions to the story to have the location pictures....that picture clearing the fence, cover.


Nice trophies for sure. Tough luck for your son to get a spare Lechwe.
Thanks for a great read Bruce. Love the Lechwe.
Thanks for the kind words. It was a good trip and those were 2 of the 3 best trophies I took on the trip. In regards to Chris's extra Lechwe, the landowner simply said it was his fault and no extra payment. Had us a little concerned about that particular point as Lechwe aren't cheap. Bruce
That was nice of the landowner goes to show he's an honest kind of guy. Did Chris get the trophy/skull? It wouldmake a nice paper wieght.
Congrats, nice trophies, and thanks for sharing !
No Chris didn't keep part of the young Lechwe. Landowner was a great guy. I'm sure they either used or sold the meat. I'm sure it didn't go to waste. Bruce
Nice trophies Bruce. Great hunts in Africa, can't beat em.

"A Dream can be relived, again and again in Africa"

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