ZAMBIA: BOWHUNT: Bow Hunt With Strang Middleton

JES Adventures

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Mar 7, 2015
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Day 1

The flight on SA Airlink from Nelspruit to Livingstone was more like a charter than a commercial flight. My family made up nearly half of the passengers and clearing Passport control in Livingstone was a breeze with so few passengers. There were no customs officials inside so we few passengers just exited into the airport lobby. I saw Strang he came up and greeted everyone and I said this is the first time I’ve ever entered a country and had no one check my guns.

He said that’s our problem, there’s no customers officials here so we’re going to have to wait for them to arrive to go through the paperwork.

It seems with so few passengers these days they decided to take an extended lunch break.

They finally arrived and after more than a half hour of talking in another 20 minutes of waiting we were finally on the road headed for camp.

We arrived a couple of hours before sunset, the cold north wind we had left in South Africa seems to have followed us here. It’s blustery but comfortable by the fire. After sunset Strang started the Brie and we had a lovely meal of grilled T-bones potatoes and vegetables.

Everyone was fading fast from the short night before and we were all off to bed by nine.

It’s cold in the tent but the beds were nicely fitted with warm blankets and duvee’s so I slept comfortably.
Day 2

We told Strang that we would not go out at first light but rather leave camp around 8 o’clock. Parker was ready to go so he had take him out a little earlier and set him up in a treestand overlooking a salt lick.

Once back at camp Strang collected Grant to take him out to a pit blind at a water hole while Debra stayed back and enjoyed cup of coffee and relaxing in camp.

After dropping Grant off Strang and I carried on for a drive around and we spotted a fair amount of game despite the heavy winds. In addition to large groups of Impala we encountered Sable, Zebra and Lichtenstein‘s Hartebeast

We made our way around back to camp and picked up Debra and Strang took us for a tour of his carrot plantation as harvest is going on. It was interesting to see how vegetables were harvested and sorted by hand.

Once we finished there we carried on through the property seeing game from time to time. I spotted some Eland off in the distance and as we got closer we could see it was mostly cows and calves. I asked Strang when the Eland rut and he said generally in August but you never know, when there may be a bull with the cows.

As we carry on slowly in the vehicle, Oviius the tracker spotted a big Eland Bull off to the side feeding along. We were about 250 yards Strang how to look at him and said that’s a big bull, we should hunt him with the crossbow. I looked through the binoculars and see that he was a big mature bull, his horns were as impressive as is head ruff and dew lap. A massive old bull Strang reckons will go 38+. We drove around a big block of Miombo forest and got the wind right and started to stalk through the woods until we could get of the bull.

It wasn’t long we were across the patch of woods and we started to see the edge of the grassy area the bull was feeding, and we were able to spot him. He was grazing slowly into the wind in our general direction

We eased up behind a large ant mound where we had a couple of shooting lanes. Strang ranged the bull and he was still over 100 yards away but headed in the right direction. The bull had no idea we were there and Strang and I discussed a possible shot should the bull get into the right position and stop. Fortunately he did as we had hoped and when he came to the stop Strang ranged him at 70 yards. I set up on the sticks put a 70 yard mark on the bulls shoulder and squeezed the trigger. You could hear the whack of the bolt hit the shoulder and actually broke the bone. The bull reacted immediately and started making his way towards the forest. We quickly got around and got into position for a second shot. Just as he entered the woods he stopped and stood for a while. It was obvious he was having trouble but we need to get a finishing shot into him. Strang said the range was 65 yards and just as the bull started to move I got into position to shoot down an opening. He didn’t stop as he came to the opening however I let the bolt fly and hit him a little low but seem like a good shot. It took us some time, we followed him and watched him lay down.

As we approached, I put one more insurance shot in and we had our trophy. A magnificent old bull with beautiful coloration. He has a black dorsal stripe on his back and white stripes on his sides like you see on the Lord Derby Eland. His neck had a thick winter mane like I have never seen an a Southern Eland before.
Congrats on a nice eland! Looking forward to this report with Strang! I have been on that ranch and this will bring back memories.
Making quick work on a beautiful bull-congratulations, I have enjoyed reading about your adventures thus far.
Very much enjoyed reading your trip report so far. I am very interested in hearing about bowhunting countries other than Namibia and South Africa. Beautiful Eland.
Good bull striking colours.
Man, I can't wait to read more. Strang and I text almost every day on WhatsAPP. I hope to hunt with him next year, or the year after.
I hope you have a Crawshay Zebra on your list? And a Chobe Bushbuck?
I'm anxious to hear about his bow setups.
That is a very nice Eland, congrats !
Since this post, they have added three more animals to the salt. I'll let them post the pictures and the stories, but they are great animals as well.
By the size of the trophies and the smiles on their faces, it looks like they are having a great time with Strang.
Thats a great eland. Brings back memories of the one I killed 2 yrs ago in Zambia. Congrats on getting it done with a crossbow. What kind of crossbow is it? Info on shaft and blade would be interesting.
Thats a great eland. Brings back memories of the one I killed 2 yrs ago in Zambia. Congrats on getting it done with a crossbow. What kind of crossbow is it? Info on shaft and blade would be interesting.
We are shooting Strang’s Parker Crossbow with Redhot bolts. Performing well
Day 3
Up at seven we made our way into the field. Temperatures were in the high 30s this morning and as the day progressed the winds picked up.

We dropped the boys in two different blinds for the morning hunt while Debra and I continue to tour the farm with Strang looking for game.

We headed back to camp for lunch and a siesta. At about two we went to pick up the boys. A slow day due to the high winds, Grant did see some Eland and Impala but no Sable came to his blind. Parker came up empty today, didn’t see anything.

We spent the balance of the day in search of opportunities to spot and stalk. Strang spotted a nice Kafue Lechwe and attempted a stalk. The wind switched on them and they were never able to close the gap. We did spot an old Sable bull never was able to get on him for a shot.
Back to the fire for some post hunt stories and after a great meal we were off to bed early.
Day 4

Temperatures dropped even more last night, there is a hard frost on the ground this morning. We got out of camp shortly after seven to look for Reedbuck.

We are in hopes that with the cold weather overnight and a clear sunshiny morning will catch a ram standing sunning himself. Quickly we came upon an Bushbuck female doing just that, standing still taking in the heat from the rising sun. A few moments later Ovious the tracker spotted a very nice ram standing on the edge of some thick bush in the tall grass.

Strang said “let’s go” and as they made their way around for a stalk, they were able to get into position for about a 45 yard shot.
Parker connected with the Reedbuck ram and after we gave him some time to expire, he was located on follow up.

After pictures we dropped the Reedbuck back at the skinning shed and carried on to put the boys out for the day. Parker went to a tree stand to shoot Impala for rations and Grant stayed was the vehicle in search of Lechwe and Sable.
The wind got very blustery and the cloud cover rolled in rather heavy. This kept the conditions unfavorable and we drove for a few hours to only spot an occasional Impala. All the other game was bedded deep in the forest to stay out of the cold wind.

By noon we opted to head back to camp for a cup of coffee by the fire and then lunch.

After lunch we headed out to check on Parker and spend the afternoon in search of Lechwe and Sable for Grant.

When we got round to Parker he had shot three impala so we loaded them up and got them sorted out.

The wind started to die a bit and clouds broken up some so the day was warming. As we drove around, animal movement was still to a minimum. Shortly after 5 o’clock we spotted a really nice Sable bull back in the forest. We made our way around to him and got to within a couple of hundred yards. He was switched on, staring at us the entire time finally moved away we got a good look at his horns and he is an impressive bull I’m estimating to be between 42 and 44 inches.

Strang watched him and the direction he was headed, move the vehicle to get into a better approach with the prevailing winds and he and Grant took off on a stalk.
They were able to get within about 65-70 yards of the bull but bumped an Eland along the way and Sable took flight.

We tried to locate him again but he somehow gave us the slip and as the sun was setting we called it a day. Back at camp we gathered around the fire and enjoyed the beautiful Zambian Sunset at camp.

Parker on his Impala cull. That’s Strang’s little “Piglet” in the pic! Cute as
a button
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Day 4

We were out by seven this morning and the sky is clear not much wind so that they look promising. We tried to locate the Sable that Grant stalked the evening before after we drop Parker at a blind.

It was a beautiful morning and by about 8 o’clock we had come across the bull. He was standing in a patch of Miombo forest and as we got closer to him he started moving away from us. He is definitely switched on, not letting us get any reasonable distance from him in the vehicle. We kept him in sight as he moved away but when he passed behind a large termite mound he was nowhere in sight. We continued to look for him for the next hour and it’s just like he disappeared into thin air. I have now nicknamed this bull Houdini.

Strang dropped Grant at a salt lick in the general vicinity and headed back to camp for a cup of tea.
About 3, Strang went ri get the boys and on the way back he and Parker spotted a nice Crawshay Waterbuck and were successful with a stalk, thus Parker got his bull.

They picked up Grant who came up empty today and made their way to camp.

The wind laid so Strang took the boys out to participate in a burn. He had a group of his farm staff back burning and he took the boys upwind to start the field alight. Something they have never experience before, burning off 1000+ acres of land all in the name of habitat management. It was a good experience for them and they discussed with me what a benefit would be for us on our game ranch back in Texas to start periodic burns.

Today is Lisa’s birthday and Strang has arranged a surprise party at sunset so we raced back to camp.

Folks started to arrive and when Lisa came to camp she was quite surprised to say the least. There were twenty or so couples and lots of kids singing happy birthday, all enjoying a beautiful evening brie.

We dined on Eland tenderloin, potatoes and salad, an amazing meal.

It was a real pleasure to see some old friends and meet some new ones. By 10 o’clock the party started to fade and I was off to bed.
Day 5

We got out a little late this morning as a result of last nights birthday party. Debra and I would go to Choma for Covid tests while Grant and Parker hunted. Strang out Parker in a blind looking for Zebra and to cull more Impala. He and Grant would continue on in search of Sable.

Debra and I got back to camp before noon and Grant showed up Shortly after with a nice Lichtenstein Hartebeast.

Strang said he wants to make another round be for picking up

Parker so we went along. It’s a warmest day yet and the waterholes busy. We spotted Eland, Waterbuck, Impala and Sable but just not the right bull.
We came upon a small group of Lechwe and Strang set Grant up on an ant hill in hopes he could get a shot but unfortunately they never came close enough.

While Grant was sitting we came across a bachelor group of three Sable with one exceptional bull with sweeping horns and flared tips.

The bulls never saw us so we backed out and quickly went to get Grant. It took us about 15 minutes to make the turnaround and we were back at the place the bulls were feeding. They had not moved much so Grant grabbed the 338 and he and Strang took off. We were about 300 yards away and the wind was good so we watched as Grant and Strang closed the distance behind a big ant mound.

Parker said “dad, range the distance to Grant”, I said “122 yards”. Then Parker said “they should be about 150 or so from the bull, he is feeding but quartering away”.

I watched Grant through my binos’s and he was up on the sticks. Parker said “the bull is quartering towards him now but it looks like a bad angle”.

Grant waited and watched him go back on the rifle and Strang plugged his ears. The shot rang out and you could hear the report of the hit and I saw

The bull run about 40 yards and fall over.
They walked back to the cruiser and we all congratulated Grant then drove around to collect his trophy.

As we approached, the bull was dead, his wide flaring and sweeping horns quite impressive. I must say that the Sable Antelope is one of the finest trophies in all of Africa and for sure in my top ten favorites.

We loaded the bull and headed back to camp for our last evening meal together. The cook Aaron prepared roast lamb with potatoes and mixed vegetables, a fine meal for our last night in camp.

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KEMP AFRICAN SAFARIS wrote on intj's profile.
welcome to the forum.if you have any questions please feel free at any time .
Here is short video of blesbok hunt from yesterday

made it to camp yesterday afternoon! had a braai with some awesome T-bones ready to start hunting for sable today!
made it to camp , had a big Braai last night with some awesome T-bones! ready to start the day!
steve white wrote on wesheltonj's profile.
Well, sir, I am mighty impressed with the quality of the shell cordovan belt. I have several pairs of shoes that are shell cordovan, but had balked at paying over half that price for just a belt. Wouldn't be surprised if this belt doesn't last the rest of my life--for its color application. It sure is a universe removed from the cheaply constructed yet expensive stuff being put out there. Worth the price I paid.