Sitka Gear's Live Bowhunting Adventure

Day 11

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

Desperate cats make Desperate Jumps. That was a saying Jimmy mentioned last evening and it stuck with me all day. What he was trying to say is that even though we are getting frustrated, we should not do stupid things just to get this old bull. Of course he was right, and the proverb was directed at all of us, not necessarily to me. I’m OK with the way this hunt is going. If I don’t kill this buffalo, there will be others. They may not be this big, but that's ok too. I’m hooked on cape buffalo hunting. Even if I tag this bull, I'll be doing this bowhunt again. I watched too many videos back home about buffalo. Unless I picked the most elusive bull on the planet, these animals are tough to hunt and I really like that.

I was torn about just what to write about today. It reflects poorly on us and maybe hunting in general. But I decided to share it with you anyway, after all it was part of my hunt today and during these live hunts we share with you the truth about what happened. Today we had an ugly incident.

This was taken 10 seconds before the bull busted in front of me. He was bedded in the thicket 10 yards away - I never saw him.

We cut the track of the big bull where he left the bluegums. That was good. But things went downhill from there. We lost the track several times, and then we got confused with a herd of big eland. The entire morning was chewed up over the track and small disagreements were erupting over what to do next. It all got sorted out and just before noon we found the bull’s track at the corner of the property near a green meadow and a waterhole to the south and a huge 500 acre grass meadow to the North. We tracked him back to a thicket and darn-it, if the bull was bedded right there! He saw us but stayed tucked into that thicket. We discussed what to do next and unlike yesterday, I took Jacques’s directions and followed him around the far side of the tree, crosswind from the bedded bull. It didn't’t work; the bull busted and ran off. I should point out that even though I was 10 yards from him I never saw him until he flushed. Their ability to melt into the shadows is unreal.

We spread out and started searching for the bull. Little Simone was on the track with Jacques and Linda and I were walking a ridge toward the large meadow. It took forty five minutes but I spotted him as he stood watching us from under a dark tree. Before we could get 100 yards, he trotted into the North meadow. This was the first time he had ever ventured into the open. Big Simone, who has been a huge asset to us the entire trip, spotted the bull. That was good. But he then started chasing him with the truck and that was not good. (In case you missed it earlier, I need to point out that big Simone is not part of Madiakgama, he is the local hand on this farm that has been assisting us by driving the vehicle and helping us track). I watched as he tried to herd the buffalo toward us. It didn't work. The bull then ran toward a thicket and Simone drove back to pick us up. We climbed onto the ranch truck but before I could so much as sit down, he tore off after the bull with all of us clutching anything we could for dear-life.

Jimmy is hanging on to my collar to keep me from flying out of the truck. I was hanging on to the roll bar. That is the buffalo to the right.

The bull attempted to cross the field again and get to the mountain. Simone drove like a black Jeff Gordon across that meadow. Jimmy clutched onto the back of my shirt to keep me from flying out of the pickup truck. Linda, who is one tough cookie - pulled up the video camera and caught part of the mayhem on tape. It was surreal. Here was our big bull being chased in the open by this ranch hand. He finally ran the bull out of steam and brought the truck to a standstill. The bull was maybe, 8 yards away and broadside. A perfect opportunity for me to end this hunt and come home with a trophy buffalo. Big Simone looked back at me through the broken rear cab window. He motioned – Shoot! I refused to shoot. He wondered why I was just sitting there and not pulling up my bow? The bull got his wind and made a break for the mountains. And once again Simone tried to head him off. This time he beat the truck and headed into the trees.

When the truck stopped, Simone and Jimmy engaged in a conversation in Afrikaans that was later translated to me. No need to relay it in English – I knew what was being said. Big Simone was upset that I had not shot the bull from the truck after he got him to stop. Especially after all the trouble this bull has put us through. He was trying to help in his own way and was proud that he got me such an opportunity. Jimmy was patiently stern with his remarks and even though I could not understand the language, the communication between them was clear enough. “That is not the way we hunt” Jimmy told Big Simone. Please do not do that again.” Big Simone was confused, and told Jimmy – but that’s the way they shot the other buffalo?” I was disappointed to hear that. I can’t say it surprises me, and that is probably the worst part. People, I'm not perfect. In all honesty, an evil temptation to pick up my bow and shoot that buffalo ran through my mind. I think anyone who claims differently would be disingenuous given what we've been through. I could, and would, never do it, but I can understand the desire to take shortcuts when you are desperate. Rest assured, even if I had an ethical meltdown, Jimmy and Jacques would never have allowed it.

With that ugly scene behind us we had the unenviable task of tracking the bull through the mountains. I say unenviable because he is on red alert and his radar is pegged in all directions. His track was easy to find, he was running the entire day. Little Simone, Jacques and myself bumped him no less than five times in 6 hours of tracking. The bull was tired, but wired, and our plan was to keep pushing him until he got either tired or belligerent. Neither happened; we got no closer than 50 yards and he was always onto us.

He deserved to live today. I am glad he lived today. And I'm proud of myself for not caving in and taking a shortcut. That would have haunted me every time I looked at his shoulder mount. It was quite the day, one I’d just assume forget.




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Next - Day 12

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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