Sitka Gear's Live Bowhunting Adventure

Day 3

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

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day 13

Discuss this hunt

After yesterday’s excitement it’s understandable that I had another ½ nights’ sleep. I’m improving though; I was awake at 3:40AM this morning instead of 1:30 the previous night.

We met again at the main entrance at 6:00 AM and drove the far roads looking for tracks. Coleman spotted a very large track and we were off to an early start. We walked for two hours before the wind changed and it was too risky to follow that track from his upwind side. So we came back to the truck and drove some more. We found another large track as it exited a waterhole. We spent an hour on it and decided to come back when the afternoon winds would be more favorable. From 11:00 AM on they were swirling and it seemed that whatever direction we walked the wind was to our backs. So we headed back to eLandela lodge for brunch and to shoot a bit.

How we are hunting Buffalo

Before the sun comes up Jacques, Coleman, Jimmy and me are on the ranch roads starting with the waterholes. When we cut a fresh track we will drive the perimeter of a section to see if the bull has crossed, if it has, then we drive again to the next section and continue this until we have isolated a section where a buffalo came in, but didn't come up. Sort of like the Roach Motel.

We go back to the track and it's on foot from there. Coleman is usually first but Jacques' ability as a tracker is equally proficient and they will often work off of each other - especially when a track is questionable or they have lost the track in grass or rocky areas.

While following the track, we are constantly checking for reinforcing signs like beds, rubs and dung. The fresher the dung, the more alert we become.

As we approach likely bedding areas, we slow down and Coleman goes into a squatting position to visually penetrate thickets and look for the characteristic Black Hole that only a buffalo creates.

The hunter (me in this case) usually stays back 20 or 30 yards. We leave the tracking to the experts. Once a bull is spotted, then the hunter and PH take over with the tracker falling back to watch the action. The PH should get himself into position for the final stalk which is done by the hunter.

For a bowhunter, I recommend that the PH stay back 50 yards, rifle ready. The bowhunter moves quietly into position from that point forward.


My shooting was a little off. And unfortunately I had a crowd around me this time. But after I worked out the kinks I was punching them right in there with my 93lb Bowtech. We loaded up the truck and headed back for our afternoon hunt.

On the way there Jacques yelled “Puff Adder.” I looked in the direction he was pointing and there it was, a big fat one slithering slowly into a dried grass bed. You can slap me now. I seem to have forgotten my lesson about Africa’s dangerous snakes. Knowing Puff Adders are venomous was on my mind, but the retarded side of my brain told me it would be terrific to get some footage of the snake - up close – and besides, unlike a mamba, Puff Adders are slow. So I grabbed my video camera and ran into the dried grass to get a close up. The problem was, I had my camera on wide angle, which distorts the view and the Adder decided to come toward me. I realized it at the same time that Jimmy and Jacques started saying, “Pat, back up, Pat get back!” The Adder was about 18” from my foot. I realized it in time, backed off, and got the footage to boot. Mission accomplished and I’m still healthy enough to talk about it. (Note to wife and kids – forget everything you just read and do not watch the video). A note of reality however, I was never really in danger. What happened to me today was kindergarten compared to what happened in 2004 with the Black Mamba. Adders are slow and strike back or side-to-side. They cannot strike forward when they are extended like this one was. Their venom is more like a rattlesnake – cytotoxic with strong haematoxic and some cardiotoxic effect and large volumes are produced. It causes severe pain, swellings in the bitten limb, hemorrhages and nausea. Death is caused by secondary effects, s. a. kidney failure, due to severe swellings. The long fangs (12 - 18 mm) assure that the venom is injected rather deeply. Even if the patient does not die, serious necrosis usually follows the swellings. In most cases of puff adder bites the use of antivenom is essential. I do seem to have a way of bumping into Africa’s deadly snakes.

Another poisonous snake in Africa. Will I ever learn?

Watch the video (30 secs)

We arrived at the area where we left the buffalo track an hour later and Coleman and Jacques started to sort it out. But we lost the track and basically hiked the rest of the afternoon checking likely bedding areas. We never saw a buffalo or had any real spoor to follow so today’s only event was the Adder.




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Next - Day 4

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

[email protected]

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