Even though it was not the ideal time of year for bow hunting everything was wonderful. There were slow spots but the hunt had all the twists and turns all good hunts need. The direct flight from Atlanta to J town is so great. Geting into the hide the following morning found me ready and fresh. I had all new equiptment with me than I had had at the prior trip. The nice thing about the second time around is you think you learn from experience. That first morning I was going to get the oportunity to test all the new equiptment as a fine cull Impala came into bow range. Everything worked out perfect. He was a nice ram and a real warrior as his broken horn spoke more than words could. Later that afternoon we would change hide and see if things would be different as it was slow since the Impala. As a bow hunter there is always that excitement over the "magic"hour. It is really a bit more than an hour but the term wouldn't sound right anyway else. It is
that time as the sun gets low before it sets and game start to move That evening was magic indeed. A beautiful kudu with massive bases walked out. It was a hard decision. I have always wanted a 60"kudu and I knew this was no 60"er . Here I was ,this bull was large ,symetrical, massive bases and most of all very pleasing to the eye. We mull all this over very quickly. The hunting decision making process is an amazing thing and it changes depending at what stage of the hunt it is. It was early in my hunt but I decided to take the bull. I drew back and place my Injexion arrow neatly behind the should on a quartering away shot . The NAP inflicted massive wound channels and the kudu did not go far. His Horns were both over 53"and the bases both exceeded 12". I was very pleased.
That evening I was awakened to the sound of thunder cracking. Not the noise a bow hunter wants to hear. I stood up and walked to the door. My ears could hear the rain beating a rhythm against the door. I looked at the clock and it was 3 am. I though happy birthday to me. I knew the rain was going to be hard. I had purchased an 18 year old bottle of Glenlivet to celebrate my birthday and I saw no reason to wait. I took a shot and toasted the fates and the gods of hunt. I also reflected a bit over the past 50 years and thought how bad could it be I was in Limpopo with a bottle of 18 year old scotch bow hunting Africa.
As the day broke I walked to breakfast and I had mixed feelings. All the vegitation had water on it but the ground was dry enough to have no puddling. The day was as I feared very long with animals not coming in. I was lamenting that I was getting shut out on my birthday. Humans can be so short sighted. The folks at the lodge baked me a birthday cake with I am not sure how many candles. The evening was full of scotch and good hunting stories. The evening ended with the promise of a new day.
The new day did come with lots of game. This was the middle of the hunt and I really was wondering what I wanted. I had my Kudu and in walked another very beautiful kudu. The ph asked "But you already have a Kudu?"and I let it pass.It was a moment that changed me profoundly. It weighed on me. I regretted leting that Kudu go. If every animal I hunted had to be better than the last, my whitetail carreer would have been over years ago. I have several whitetail heads at home and they are all trophies and have deep meanings that are different and contrasting.Later that afternoon another trophy would present itself. For about three hours a herd of blue wildebeest would move in and back out. Since the rain everything was very skittish.In this herd was a big boy. I drew back and drew back. Finally the right shot presented and I let the arrow fly. It looked so good, blood was gushing,quartering away, it was all you hope for. One of the things that concerned me was the arrow did not pass through. After getting out of the blind we found the broken arrow. I had good penetation but I was still wondering. We started tracking and after 200 yards found a dead Rowland Ward Blue Wildebeest. I looked at the shot and it looked extremely good. After processing the game it turned out to be a heart shot. 200 yards on a heart shot ? That is one tough animal!
The next morning was clear clear and promised a hot hot hot day. We got to the blind early and lots going on. Bushbuck,Impala , warthog all the usual nothing great, Then a couple of little guys. Two grey duiker bucks at 28 yards. I had passed on one the last trip and regretted it. I drew back and smoked the littled guy with a perfect shot. We watched him go down within sight of the blind. Around that time a large flock of Franklin grouse started feeding around. The PH asked if I could get some for dinner. I had some judo points with me and I thought I could. Well how much fun. Did you ever have a day when your shooting was just flawless? I was having one of those days. I could do no wrong. What a great morning.
The afternoon on the otherhand was not. The blind got hot as hell. Then it got hotter. Three Blesbuck came near and one was over 17 inches. they kept hanging up. It kept getting hotter. Blesbuck and sweat neither relenting. Finally the blesbuck decided to leave.The magic hour came along with some immature Eland. I was looking at the PH and we were ready to call for the truck. Then a Waterbuck came in. The PH said it looked nice maybe 25 or 26 inches. I said I like the wide spread and I thought it was touch bigger. I decided to take it. Suffering through the heat there may have been a touch of desperation in the decision. I drew back. Perfect shot ! The Waterbuck went 50 yard. I am used to ground shrinkage but this boy grew. His horns were 28.5"and 29"so I was very please. Very massive bases even though that doesn't count.
Finally the last day came and it was decided to be an Impala day. I had gotten a nice Impala but not as nice as I had wanted. This day would find me shooting two nice Impala. Both very different from what I had gotten the previous trip. The first had a big sweep in the horns and the second was an old old ram with a black face and hard bosses. It goes back to taking more than one of a kind of a species of game. To be honest I still have not got all the Impala I wanted there is room on my wall for that 25'' monster.
I am a bow hunter. It is what I love to do. I am just barely home and I am already thinking about my next trip. I left a deposit for September. I guess that makes me a junkie. In the meantime I must commit to my other addiction, flyfishing.I guess as long as I have a string in my hand I am happy. The gods just cannot be offended by such a life. I hope all your adventures come sooner than later.