Mathews Inc.'s Live Bowhunting Adventure

Day 13

Join Pat Lefemine in the Limpopo Province of South Africa for a traditional spot and stalk Buffalo Bowhunt

day 1

day 2

day 3

day 4

day 5

day 6

day 7

day 8

day 9

day 10

day 11

day 12

day 13

Discuss this hunt

We got up very early this morning – 4:00 AM. We had told Coleman to meet us at the main entrance at 5:00 AM. We were there, but no sign of Coleman. So we drove the few miles to the place where he and some other people who worked here were staying. Nobody was home. It appears that Coleman did a little partying last evening and never came home, none of them did. This left us in a dilemma. It was my last day and we knew where to go. But the owner insisted Coleman would have to be with us. Since it was my last day we decided to go anyway and explain to Rocco that we had every intention of playing by the rules but his guy never showed up. In the end, it was no problem but it bothered us because we always respected the wishes of the property owner.

We sat at the big dam until 11:00 AM. Besides a couple bush buck and a wildebeest but no buffalo showed.

We had set our blinds a few days ago and judging by the reaction of the bush buck, my blind needed some maintenance. We cut down more brush to conceal my blind. Complete with my Realtree Max-1 Pattern I was nearly invisible. We looked forward to the evening hunt. The bulls had not watered in two days and Jacques had noticed the herd tracks very close to the dam on the way out. This put them in close proximity to our waterhole. This was the first time the herd was down this way and with 30-50 head in that herd, something was bound to show up before dark.

To add to our enthusiasm the wind was perfect – and for the first time in a few days, we were optimistic. Maybe, just maybe, I could pull off a last day miracle?

My blind built using nothing more than a few branches of cut brush and my new Realtree MAX-1 pattern which works terrific in Africa. Can you make me out in this photo?.

Lunch was rushed. We really didn't want to spend any time out of the field. Jacques and I rushed back and was there by 1PM. We checked the tracks and nothing had watered in the two hours. That was a relief, especially given our luck to this point.

The sun beat down on me for hours but I remained motionless -sitting on my little 8" cooler and wrapped in the make-shift blind. Jacques had a better setup. He was back another 10 yards in the shade. The wind remained perfect as the afternoon sun dropped low and the animals started to move. I could feel it, we were going to see buffalo tonight.

The first animals to show were a small kudu bull, a cow, and her youngsters. They stopped at the mud pit to drink. The youngest cow caught me turning on my my camera but never spooked. The others had no idea I was on the ground with them. Being twenty yards from Kudu, undetected, was a testament to using good cover along with good camouflage.

The bull never knew I was 22 yards away. It would have been a chip shot. Suddenly, the commotion started...

Then, in unison, the kudu all looked to their right and I could hear something big coming in. My heart jumped a beat but it turned out to be a big Kudu that came to water. He was a nice 50 inch bull, the best kudu we'd seen all trip. I had video’d him for a couple minutes when all of a sudden the sounds of shouting caused all of us to whip our heads toward the large section of the dam. The kudu bolted.

They shouting was loud - very loud in fact. I looked over at Jacques. He just shook his head. We could see them. A group of Rocco's workers were walking back home and decided to take the road by the Hippo dam. When they reached the dam one of them began to throw stones at the hippo (not a good way to ensure longevity - hippo are one of the meanest creatures on the planet). Part of me wanted to see that hippo come out of the water and chase that punk up a tree, but those thoughts aren't very Christian of me, so let's just say I wished them to leave.

..and everything blew out of there. Not the way we wanted to spend our very last hunt..

Watch this final scene on Video

These workers were poor, uneducated blacks from the village. They had no idea we were hunting that dam so I tried to keep things in perspective. But this was my final hour and Jacques and I couldn't help but be pissed off. We had high expectations for this setup given the herd was bedded nearby and the wind was in our favor. But now, there was no enthusiasm left. I still had 50 minutes of shooting light but I was 'checked out.'

Eventually the workers left and the damn was quiet again. But we were pretty sure that everything within a mile of this dam was gone. It was not the way I wished to spend my last evening of my hunt but it happened and there wasn't much I could do about it. Life goes on.

We stayed for another 40 minutes and not so much as a bird flew by. I drew my bow one last time. It was still light enough to shoot, but barely, and the last thing I needed was to cap this hunt off with some crazy, desperation shot. I yelled over to Jacques “It’s over.”

Final Words

I'm sure you picked up on what has been a very frustrating hunt for us. Between last year and this year I've spent 25 days hunting cape buffalo and still have yet to draw an arrow. Buffalo hunting for wild, wide awake buffalo is tough and I'd like to thank my Professional Hunter, Jacques Taljaard for his enthusiasm and persistence in what has been a very challenging hunt for both of us. I have nothing but praise and respect for Jacques and would recommend him to anyone looking to bowhunt Africa.

As for what's next for me in Africa? I can't say. I am not sure what's on deck for act 3. But you can be sure that my buffalo bowhunting days are far from over. I am heading home with my head high. We gave it another great effort and, once again, did not resort to shortcuts of shooting a buffalo from a truck, grabbing a rifle, or finding some tame buffalo to kill. We hunted these animals the hardest way there is and came home empty handed. That's bowhunting. My guess is this won't be my last unsuccessful hunt - but God-willing, it will be my last unsuccessful buffalo hunt. :-)

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Our Professional Hunters for this safari is: Madiakgama Safaris
P.O. Box 138
Republic of South Africa
International Phone: 011-27-82-684222

USA Agent - Jeff Frey
Bowhunters Select Outfitters

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