Sitka Gear's Leopard Bowhunt with Dries Visser Safaris

DAY 12

Join Pat Lefemine as he bowhunts leopard in South Africa with Dries Visser Safaris!

day 1

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day 4

day 5

day 6

day 7

day 8

day 9

day 10

day 11

day 12

day 13

Discuss this hunt

Time is getting short now. Still have a zebra and a gemsbok on my list. Of course, going home without either will not be a disappointment considering the leopard - and how can I forget - my trophy Ostrich ;-) !

Dries suggested that I sit the blind where I saw the zebra a few nights ago. In fact, he thought I should park myself here for the next two days. If you recall, it was here that I saw those two big gemsbok during my first waterhole hunt.

I watched numerous kudu, waterbuck - even a broken-horned impala. But it wasn't until noon that I glanced up to see this puppy heading towards me:

I immediately knew this was a shooter. It was a very good gemsbok with long horns. I lowered my bow and waited for the right shot.

It seemed like forever. The gemsbok would never give me a good shot and even though the distance was less than 20 yards, I had to have that perfect angle. Watching the video I can tell you with precision that it was 14 minutes before I got my first shot attempt. The gemsbok presented a quartering shot and I drew my bow. I let the pin settle behind the shoulder, paying attention to the off leg position. Shooting a compound was far different than my recurve. I find myself holding for a pretty long time - at least 45 seconds - before releasing. It's actually calming for me and allows me to get a good, smooth release. But in this case the wait was simply too long. The gemsbok moved and I lost my angle. I let the bow down slowly but he heard it and raced back a few yards then looked at me.

Watch the video of the shot and recovery (5mb)

I figured it was over. But I was wrong. He went back to feeding and I waited several more minutes for the perfect shot. Finally, the gemsbok turned and presented me with a hard quartering shot. I was tempted to rush it, not wanting to lose the opportunity, but discipline held me back. The pin settled in and I slowly released. The arrow buried right where I wanted it to and the gemsbok ran off in a cloud of dust.

I was pumped! There was no question about that shot - the gemsbok was in the bag. I called Dries and we found him (actually it turned out to be a her) eighty yards from the blind.

This trip just keeps getting better. I had one more evening to try for my final animal, a zebra. Now I've heard some people call them dumb and easy to shoot, but nothing could be further from the truth. In Zimbabwe 11 years ago, I had one zebra come to water and that was at the far end of their biggest waterhole. I do not take 40 yard shots so I simply watched him trot off. Zebra will often circle the waterhole to check the wind, and allow every other creature to water first. They are extremely difficult to get at a waterhole but I was determined.

I went back into the waterhole and had an amazing afternoon watching Kudu, wildebeest, impala, waterbuck and even a mongoose. No zebra tonight. As usual, my trip would be down to the wire for zebra - like it was 11 years ago.


Next - Day 13

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