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Day 9

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

The buffalo is back in the bluegum trees. Damn it! We had gone back to the mountain and found his track leading out. We leaped frog two intersecting roads and found his tracks again – consistently. On a hunch, we drove all the way back to the bluegum trees and sure as hell, there they were. The buffalo is back in that tangle. Is he killable? At this point I can’t tell you. He knows he’s being hunted and he’s using this bluegum plantation like a defensive weapon. He knows he is safe in there, and if anything comes in there, he has the advantage. We know it too and that’s why we won’t go in there. Buffalo have killed six hunters this season in South Africa, no need to make it seven.


Jacques looked for any sign of the buffalo inside the bluegum plantation.

I have to tell you, this hunt is challenging, exciting, and frustrating as hell. The chess match is getting more intense. We are thinking two moves ahead and the buffalo always outsmarts us. The local hand on this farm, Big Simone, chuckles whenever the buffalo outsmarts us. He has lived and worked here for years and his knowledge of this farm, and many of the animals that live here, has been a huge asset. He thinks we are foolish hunting this old dugga boy with a bow, people have tried with all sorts of hunting implements and he still roams these mountains unscathed.

On several occasions we thought about getting up the courage (stupidity?) to head in there. That buffalo is not going to come out until well after dark. We know that. So it’s either push him out, or go in there. And door number two is an unhealthy option.

Jimmy came up with a plan that may work today – but it is radical and at the edge of my comfort zone. We decided to push the buffalo from this thicket – using fire.


We tried to smoke him out with a controlled burn on the upwind side. It did not work.

You heard correctly. We built a controlled fire on the upwind side of the thicket. This was after painfully close tracking to pinpoint the exact section the buffalo was bedded in. The farmer was first consulted and his reply was to “burn the whole friggin’ bluegum plantation down.” A little more drastic than we were asking. Now before you smart Internet people put two and two together (dry season and African forest fires) understand that this was an extremely controlled burn on sand, in the middle of a lane between ‘green’ bluegum trees. We had 20 gallons of water and little Simone tended it the entire time.

With the distinct smell of burning bluegum leaves drifting through the plantation, Jacques and I situated ourselves on the downwind side watching the most likely exit route. Jimmy and Big Simone were at the opposite corner and fired a .416 shot at exactly 2:00 PM. It worked! We heard the buffalo get up, run for a bit, then it went quiet again. Jacques and I never saw him. We sat there for a good hour and waited quietly. We called it quits and then checked the dirt roads for tracks again. That damn buffalo never came out, he was still in there. We doused the fire completely then headed back home. He wasn’t moving and we weren’t going in after him.


While all that went on, Jacques and I slipped downwind and watched the main escape trail. The bull never came out.

We are all quite obsessed with this buffalo and it’s all we talk about now. Even when we called Big Simone to tell him we would be leaving the compound at 7AM, he told us that the trackers and hands were, as well, discussing how this bull could be killed. Many of them believe he will never die. I’m not there yet, but I’m having my doubts. I’m starting to wonder whether I am putting it all down on a long shot. He’s a trophy bull, but I could easily burn up my last remaining days hunting this single animal when I could be having multiple stalks on lots of other buffalo elsewhere. We discussed this very thing over dinner this evening. Is it better to keep after this bull? I have no footage of him, no photos, and not even a single ‘real’ stalk yet. As Kenny says, sometimes you have to know when to hold ‘em, and when to fold ‘em. Jacques is there with me. We have been fixated on this bull. Jimmy has been more logical and pragmatic, thinking about how much effort we are putting into this one extremely smart animal. But now he is there with us. He told us over dinner this buffalo has got him hooked. We must get him, he said.

I have no problem with that. Tomorrow we all agreed. We are going to hunt him like he’s never been hunted before. We are going to push him like we did the lion. If he escapes us, we will track him to his next bed and push him again. This is risky, no doubt. He may get pissed off and decide he’s had enough. But that’s why buffalo are called dangerous game and I signed up for this.

It’s lights out now much earlier than normal. I need my sleep for a very big day.

 

 

This Bowhunting Adventure is sponsored by these fine companies..

 

 

 

 

 

Next - Day 10


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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