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Day 10

Join Pat Lefemine in the Northwest, and Limpopo Provinces of South Africa for a Buffalo and Lion Bowhunt

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Discuss this hunt

I can’t help but think today was our opportunity and I may have blown it. We got up very early and got on the track immediately. The bull had left the bluegum trees and fed into the meadow to the East. It took us two hours to sort out his trail but we are getting good at it and there are less false-positives with eland tracks. The two trackers, big Simone and little Simone really have this bull's tracks and patterns down now.

The landowner, Nico, had driven back from Joberg at 5:00 AM and our buffalo track was on top of the tire track. This was a great find, we knew immediately where he was bedded. There was a rock cliff with thickets extending from it in three directions. This was the most likely spot.

With ultra-quiet movement we tracked each step. He had gone a half a mile, through thickets and onto the rock-ledge. Jimmy moved onto the ledge to get a vantage point - and there was the bull, not 10 yards from him. He busted and ran out into the long grass. We tracked him to a meadow and was heading for the bluegum plantation -again. Jacques and I sprinted -full out- to try and head the bull off before he went into that tangle. It worked; we bumped him back away from the bluegum trees and into a thick ravine.

It took us two more hours but we spotted the bull standing between some brush. I nocked and arrow and we began the stalk. But he was on to us and took off before I could get in range. For another hour, we played cat and mouse with this bull until we lost him. We tracked him back onto the rock ledge where we had first jumped him, now about a mile away. So we left him for now – we knew where he was. We decided to head back to the lodge for lunch. I wasn’t hungry, nobody was, but it gave us some time to settle him down and that was important.

Forty minutes later we were back on his track. We never did see him bust out but Simone ran across a running track. We followed it back to the ravine and as we were entering the thick stuff again Linda yelled “Buffel” which is Afrikaans for Buffalo. He was right in front of us, nose in the air and looking aggravated. We cautiously moved closer and closed the distance to 51 yards. But we could go no further; he was on his feet and facing us (photo above). Jacques and I were wide open. The bull thrashed some brush with those enormous horns. He had been facing us, but as soon as he turned his head we ducked between the grass and moved to the side. Before I could so much as move five inches, he ran deeper into the brush. For the first time all week, we finally captured outstanding footage of this huge bull. That was worth the day alone.

The bull had not traveled far, only 80 yards and he stopped again to watch us. Then, the worst thing happened. I started thinking for myself. I wanted to work the cross-wind and do a wide flank while the rest of our group kept the bull in sight and occupied. Jacques felt it was risky since the winds were inconsistent. But I was willing to take the chance. If the winds held out, it could work. I had done this with a mulie buck and a QL caribou recently. We tried it.

I led Jacques and Linda to within 80 yards of the bull. Like I hoped, he was broadside and facing the others who were 70 yards in front of him. We had excellent cover for our approach. He had no idea we were there. I made a few careful steps forward. Then my entire body tightened up when I felt that stray wind hit the back of my tanned neck. The buffalo’s nose went in the air. He ran straight up the valley as far as we could glass.

We ran past the others and made a beeline for the bluegum trees. It was too late. An hour of tracking brought us right to the edge of the thicket. He was safely tucked inside his escape cover again.

For the first time we decided to go in. It was stupid, I know. And most of the group stayed behind. Only Jacques, little Simone, Linda and myself entered the eerie world of no visibility. Let me tell you, our sphincters were puckered-big time. We tip-toed between every branch. Jacques and I had binoculars and scanned every blackened stump from ground level as that was the only place you could gain visibility. A bird flushed and cold rush of fear ran through my body. It was intense.

We were now only fifty yards into the tangle when all hell broke loose. Something (buffalo-maybe) exploded just a few yards from us. It sounded like a train ran through the middle of those trees. I’ve never seen adults move so fast for cover. It was so thick I couldn’t tell if it was coming at us. Just an flush of snapping branches and the sounds of hooves. It took our breath away. This was too much, too dangerous, and simply not worth it. This buffalo has shown no sign of aggression at all, but we were really pushing him now, and all buffalo are unpredictable. They are also born aggressive. I could see it in the eyes of South Africans; there was no fooling around during a buffalo hunt. So we stopped this foolishness and walked back out.

It was an intense day and already 5PM. Our options all sucked. We went home. Time is running out on this hunt. I tried to push my SAA flight back 2 days but they have no available frequent flyer seats for the next 16 days. I’m hoping we have different luck tomorrow. Everyone in this area is getting engaged with this hunt including the workers on Nico's farm. The “unkillable” buffalo is making mistakes, but so are we. Tomorrow I hope he trips up again. We were so close today. Damn!

 

 

 

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Next - Day 11


Our Professional Hunters for this safari is: Madiakgama Safaris
P.O. Box 138
VRYBURG
8600
Republic of South Africa
International Phone: 011-27-82-684222

USA Agent - Jeff Frey
Bowhunters Select Outfitters

717-261-5951
Email:
[email protected]



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