Sitka Gear's Live Bowhunting Adventure

Day 7

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

Our plan was to drive the roads and hope to find a track. We thought we’d concentrate on the swamps but just as we were ready to head out to the areas in the west, a hired hand on Nico’s farm came racing back to tell us he noticed a fresh buffalo track, way out on the other side of the property.

When we reached the area, Jacques and Simone confirmed it. The track was indeed fresh, but it was heading into the worst imaginable area on this property. It was a cutting of bluegum trees that was so thick you could barely see 5 yards in any given direction. The patch was not large, maybe 10 acres, but it was the perfect place for a big bull (or big buck back in the states) to hide in. It was so thick you’d have to kick him in the ass to get him out of there. Jimmy made no time in telling Jacques and me that we would not track the buffalo into that thicket. The bluegums had been burned, then cut, a year or two ago so every stump and fallen tree was jet-black, just like the buffalo. The buffalo is purportedly old and aggressive so he had all of the advantage. It was an invitation for suicide – as Jimmy put it. Everyone agreed except Jacques, who was optimistic we could successfully track him in there. As he put it to me, he’d take his chance with a buffalo in there, but would never consider it with a lion.

With the tracking option off the table, we tried to flush the buffalo from his bed. We walked the entire perimeter twice, throwing sticks and stones as deep into the area as we could. The hand brought up his tractor and dragged the roads clean so we could determine fresh tracks. After the two passes, it was obvious the bull was smarter than that and he stayed put. We spent all morning glassing as deep into it as we could but it was pointless. We called it quits at lunch and shortly after that, rain clouds moved in and it started pouring. We hung inside until the rains stopped at 2:30PM then we went back to the bluegum thicket with a new plan.

The buffalo had established trails going in and out of this area. We took the upwind side but far enough away from where we thought he would exit so he wouldn't wind us. Our thought was he would leave the thicket at dusk with his nose to the wind. For insurance, we placed someone on the exit trail to the flank - in case he had had winded us and tried to sneak out. There was a row about 1000 yards long where we could situate ourselves in the corner, and glass its entire length. If he stepped out into that row, one of the five of us watching would see him. We started that at 3PM and wrapped it up at 6:30. The Buffalo never came out during daylight hours.


On this hunt, I captured some of the most breathtaking photos of the wildlife in Africa. Here are a few I took on Day 7. More to follow in the coming days..



I love this hunt. It is like chasing that one big 170-class whitetail back home. Every day we learn a little more about him. Today we know where he goes for escape cover and it’s the same place a big mature buck would go. The difference being, that big buck won’t kill you if you head in there. The hunt is still early, but Jacques told me that if this hunt gets down to the wire, we’re going in there. He asked if I was up to it, I told him, yes. But it was with some hesitation. The lion hunt went too smoothly, and it’s been two years since I’ve had one of those WTF types of hunts. I’m overdue.


My Bow Selection

For this hunt I needed a bow that was tough and appropriate for Buffalo. And based on some recommendations I debated whether to go with a super-heavy bow at 90 - 100 lbs. or something I shot very well comfortably. I chose an 82lb. Bowtech Tribute for this hunt. While 82lbs can probably be considered on the edge (weight wise) for a cape buffalo, my arrow combination along with the bow gave me the kinetic energy I needed should I have a shot opportunity. Anything heavier than that and I knew my accuracy would suffer.

The Tribute is a fast bow using a normal setup. It was the fastest bow tested during our Blind Bow Test LINK TO FEATURE and I was using the speed cams on my Tribute. But with the tree trunk I chose for an arrow, speed reduced tremendously to around 185-190 fps from the high speeds the bow is famous for. The only issue this created for me was range estimation. There was a 1/4" of gap between my 3 pins (20-30-40). Even though I had a 30 and 40 pin, I have never shot an arrow past 20-25 for my first shot since switching from traditional. I guess all those years shooting a stickbow wore off on me.

82lb 2006 Bowtech Tribute in Realtree Max-4

In addition to the bow, I chose a very simple two-pronged rest from Golden Key, a simple 3-pin site from Tru-glow, and a shurz-peep which I prefer over the rubber band thing. For a release, I use a Tru-ball stinger which I started with 2 years ago and stuck with it. There may be better release styles out there but I shoot this one well and it's always reliable.

While lots of people - other than my stickbow friends :-) may consider my setup basic, and I would agree, it performed terrific under the tough conditions of a safari like this one. On Day 7, Jimmy asked if I was ever going to shoot my bow again? I had not shot since killing the lion and the bow had been through several all day hikes, sliding around in the ranch vehicle, left out in 100 degree sunlight, and even a spill a time or two. I agreed, it was probably a good idea. So we found a dirt mound on the side of the road and I pulled out one arrow and shot perfect bulls eyes at 20-30-and 35. I was 6" off at 40 but it was good enough for me - and he was happy. I've never been much of a tinkerer, when I leave for a trip I expect the bow and associated gear to be rock-solid throughout my entire hunt. My setup proved that to my South African PH(s) and trackers. I guess some other bowhunters were constantly shooting and tinkering with their setups in the past. For buffalo, there is too much at stake. Your gear has to be rugged.






This Bowhunting Adventure is sponsored by these fine companies..






Next - Day 8

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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