Sitka Gear's Live Bowhunting Adventure

Day 9

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

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Discuss this hunt

Today started out slow. We tried to find the same herd from yesterday but couldn't sort them out. We never left the truck. So we called it quits around 11:30 AM and dropped Coleman off while we headed to Rocco's house for sandwiches. On the way there, we spotted a big buffalo bull, not 500 yards from their house. What were the odds?

After all we've been through we ran into this bull standing on the side of the road!

Jacques and Jimmy were torn about going for it though. It’s a complicated matter. There were a couple of big bulls on this property that were not to be hunted. They were breeders with great genetics and while they were wild, and free to roam the property like the other bulls, the PHs' are prohibited from allowing their clients to shoot them. Unfortunately, Coleman wasn't here to ID whether this was one of the two bulls so all we could do was pass on him until we could confirm whether it was OK to hunt him.

He was a big old bull, but the debate began about whether this bull was huntable or not?

So we didn’t go after it and watched him head into the trees. He wasn't nervous in the least so we were confident we could find him again. We contacted Rocco and confirmed that this bull was huntable. He acted surprised given how challenging this hunt was for us that we hadn't stalked him. But he knew this bull. This was an old duggaboy that hangs in this area. He is used to vehicles but he cautioned us, "the minute you step foot on land he’s as wild as all the other buffalo you’ve been after." His words turned out to be dead on.

We got Coleman and went right after after the bull. Coleman took the trail downwind and spotted the bull in minutes. He was bedded, not 30 yards from us. But as we studied him from our position downwind, we noticed that there was not one, but three bulls; the big one, another mature bull, and a slightly smaller one with him.

We had a discussion about tactics right there on the spot. Coleman and Jacques wanted to go straight in after him. I disagreed and wanted to camp on him and let him present me with a shot. I was nervous. He was bedded with the other buffalo and was in extremely thick cover. I would need to get very close and the wind was non-existent once again.

If you've followed any of my previous hunts, I have a habit of being incredibly patient. I have camped on mule deer all day long, waiting for them to make a move. I waited on my Central Barren Ground Caribou for 4 hours while black flies sucked a pint of blood out of my head. I killed that caribou the minute he got up and fed around. So my vote was to stay put and let the buffalo come to me. Jacques was not on board with that. The winds were too fickle and he did not think the bull would feed our way. He was right, while we were deciding what to do next, the two buffalo got up and moved deeper into the brush.

So the plan changed. I suggested that we send Coleman upwind as a decoy. I had used this tactic to get my buddy Bill his first PY Caribou in Quebec. I like the technique of “nudging” them in the direction of a waiting bowhunter – especially if it’s me who’s waiting. I felt this could work but Jacques felt it was risky. They were likely to stampede away. While correct - the other bulls had all done this - I was so apprehensive about heading into those thickets with 3 people and somehow getting into bow range of two bulls.

We took off our shoes and crept slowly toward the bulls.

With our shoes off, we attempted to move closer to the bedded bulls. It was an exercise in futility.

It was painful. And I say painful not as metaphor, I mean physically PAINFUL!! Not 10' into the stalk I stepped on not one, but five separate cactus plants which lay in wait beneath the crunchy leaves. It did not deter me, I made it up to Coleman. We were still 40 yards away from the bulls. Jacques pulled up next to me. We wanted to see what they would do. Before we had time to think I felt it. A breeze against the back of my neck and a complete 180 degree wind direction shift. The familiar sound of stampeding buffalo was heard for the umpteenth time on this trip. This sucked! There was simply nothing going for us on this hunt. In 9 days we’ve never caught a break. The action and some video footage of the buffalo was a small consolation.

We tried to find them throughout the afternoon but they buried themselves deep into a canyon filled with thick brush. Coleman was ready to go in there after them but I called it off. We knew where they were and there was no sense in pushing them deeper into a panic. They simply winded some people in an area known to have people around. So we’re going to be paying attention to these bulls for the rest of the trip.

For dinner we drove into Hoedspruit. While there we stopped by a grocery store. I waited in the vehicle as Jacques and Jimmy shopped. People were buzzing around looking at me while an armed guard stood patrol outside the grocery store with a sawed-off shotgun. Dressed in a brown camo militia uniform he waved it around like it was an umbrella. His presence had both a chilling and calming effect. I knew I was safe with him in front of me. But at the same time, I’m not used to such a scene. Being in Africa always makes me appreciate the freedoms and safety we have back home.


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Next - Day 10

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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