Summit Treestands's Live Bowhunting Adventure

Day 15

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

day 14

day 15

day 16

Discuss this hunt

The 2nd to the last day of my hunt started out good. Big Simone was off today so we got the B-team. Hamilton was a nice kid, but he was not all that helpful during the morning track. We cut his track early and followed it up a dirt road for a ¼ mile. Jacques and Simone stayed on it all day. He crossed a valley then headed up to the mountains, then down through the valley. By 3:30PM we had him figured out, almost 7 hours later. He was on a mountain in a spot he had never gone before. It was a first for us as well. So we took off our shoes and began to track him there.

But there were still lingering doubts as to just where he was on that mountain. The tracks brought us straight up the mountain, then around the back side of it, and onto a plateau. There was one dark, clump of thick bushes and trees and we just knew that’s where he’d be bedded. The mountain had the perfect funnel in it and I opted to let Jacques and Simone go on ahead and work that thick patch from the backside. I would watch the escape trail 400 yards downwind. The bull never showed and Jacques and Simone worked their way back to me since the track appeared to be headed around the other side of the rocks, way up on top. We started to work our way there when Jacques cell phone rang. It was Linda, Hamilton had found a fresh track leading away from our mountain. Rather than continue down the track, we started high-tailing it back to the road where Linda could pick us up. We had not gone 30 yards when the buffalo stood up. But not for long. He ran down through the meadow.

Jacques was mad that the track was misidentified as a fresh track. This piece of bad intel may have cost me a shot. We were very close. For whatever comfort, the area he was bedded in was ridiculously thick. Even if we saw the bull, getting a shot into it would have been near impossible. The wind was all-wrong too.

The bull ran out into the meadow and then into the bluegums. Everyone had ideas what to do next and tensions were running sky-high. Jacques wanted to head into the bluegums, Linda suggested something else. Finally I told them to send Hamilton and Jimmy upwind, Linda and Simone downwind on the track, and I would take the flank on the main trail. The thought was that we would squeeze the bull from two directions and he would escape toward me. Like everything else on this hunt, it was a crap shoot. And it didn’t work. The bull took the opposite end near Linda and ran out by the truck. He was now in the flat brush lands and headed back to the mountains.

We all jumped into the truck and tried to get to a funnel that big simone had showed us earlier in the trip. But on the way there the Toyota Land Cruiser got a flat tire. And there was no spare on the vehicle.

That was the icing on the cake. It was just a bad scene all around. We had been tracking this bull since the morning and everyone was worn out and frustrated as hell. Me included. Jacques, Simone, Hamilton and me took up the track on foot and began moving quickly and deliberately after the bull. We were not stalking, we were literally running him down. But buffalo don’t tire easily, he went pretty far. Eventually it worked. We caught up to him as he bedded in a thicket. We approached to 50 yards and he broke. We kept after him and 35 minutes later he circled to avoid the trackers and stepped out in front of Jacques and me. But we were 60 seconds too late; it was a 70-yard shot, which is 50 yards too far for me. He ran back toward the bluegum trees and that’s where we lost him, as it turned dark.

Nobody said a word as we walked back to camp. Once there I popped open a beer and sat down to talk with Linda, Jimmy and Jacques. Things needed to be said. I felt I like I was too obsessed with getting this bull. I can’t speak for them but I think it’s safe to say they were too. It had stopped being fun for me the minute we goofed up that 5 yard shot. I guess that deep down inside I knew that was my chance. Tensions were running high and frustration was building. Mind you, nobody was mad or frustrated with each other, it was more just mad and frustrated in general. I didn’t like some of my thoughts (temptations) to take shortcuts. For the first time in my life, I considered picking up a rifle. Today, all of that emotion came to a head and I had to stop this before it got out of hand – for me. This is where hunters get themselves into trouble and start doing things they regret (assuming they have a conscience). Like I said when the situation happened on the truck, I'm human and far from perfect. Not putting yourself into situations of temptation is the key. Maybe it was time for this hunt to end?

We had a very frank discussion. Jimmy, Linda and Jacques felt the same way. This was no longer fun. It was bordering on obsession. We had gotten so close to this huge old bull so many times that we just knew we needed just one more stalk. But ten stalks later we still have no shot and the hunt is harder now that this bull is on alert. I’ve been so focused by only two other animals in my life. One is a big whitetail buck in Massachusetts, the other a huge elk in Idaho on a solo backpack trip in the late nineties. I have not been this worked up and focused on one animal in some time. I don’t like it.

We have a couple of options. We can stay after this bull. We can go to a small ranch where they have lots of buffalo and some may even be "stupid." Or we can go back to Madiakgama and hunt for a zebra the last day. We are going to sleep on it and figure it out tomorrow morning. We went into town and ate Italian (Not bad, but my little Italian grandmother would not approve), had a couple of drinks and relaxed. Whatever we do tomorrow it will be stress free. If I kill this bull – terrific. If not – then he wins and I can live with that. Some bulls deserve to be killed by predators more skillful than me – or else he simply dies of old age knowing he beat game capture crews, lots of other hunters, probably a few leopards and hyenas, and the owner of the largest bowhunting website on the net.

I have to tell you one thing. The entire crew is working their butts off. They are an incredibly skilled and hard-working group of people. They tracked that buffalo for two miles today entirely by foot. We did not use the roads this time, as that was getting too confusing. I want to end this hunt on a positive note for everyone including them. This is as much their hunt as it is mine. That is factoring in heavily on my decision. I'll know tomorrow.





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Next - Day 16

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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