American Hunter - June 2014 - 39

Photos: Author

he soaked in the surroundings of his realized adventure meant more to me than any
trophy we would collect on this trip.
"Is it everything you thought it would
be?" he asked.
"And then some," I replied, those being
the only words I could muster, lost in the
sudden realization that I would never be
in this exact place and time again, and not
wanting it to end.

O

ne of the reasons we began our
safari in the North West was to hunt
black wildebeest, an animal indigenous
only to the grasslands of South Africa. On
our second day we both killed excellent
black wildebeest bulls on a huge cattle
ranch near the town of Ventersdorp. I
also took a fine red hartebeest there at
the end of a demanding stalk.
With the blesbok, springbok and black
wildebeest we sought in the North West
under our belts, we prepared to move on
to Pieter's main camp in South Africa's
Limpopo province. However, thanks to a
stroke of good fortune, we remained in the
North West an extra day to hunt greater
kudu, the decided patriarch of Africa's
famed family of spiral-horned antelope.
Pieter had been offered the chance to
take five kudu bulls off a property that
had been closed to hunting for some

years. After seeing trail-camera photos
of some absolute monsters, he jumped at
the opportunity. Dad and I were the first
hunters to reap the fruit of that agreement.
There was just one catch: Two bulls,
a -inch bruiser the landowner wanted
to keep around and another with -inch
potential, were off-limits. Everything else
was fair game, and the landowner offered
us the service of one of his farmhands
who knew the two charmed bulls well.
That farmhand's knowledge of the
land, the kudu and their favorite haunts
proved invaluable. We saw a lot of kudu,
including one bull that would have been
a shooter in any other situation, but the
really big bulls seemed to be in hiding.
It was as if they knew they were being
hunted-and they were.
In late morning we came upon a
mature bull and his harem of cows. They
took off around the side of a hill, and the
stalk was on. Instead of following, we went
up and over the hill, hoping to intercept
the herd on the other side. Pieter's plan
worked to perfection, as we could see the
bull's corkscrew-shaped horns moving
through the thicket below.
Unable to weave a bullet through
the brush, we were plotting our next
move when the farmhand, having never
hunted before and unable to understand

. ❘

 ❘  

why we weren't trying to get closer, set
off in the direction of the bull. The bull
swapped ends and disappeared in the
brush. Undaunted, we retraced our footsteps. When we passed the truck, however, Pieter's tracking dog, an Australian
cattle dog/Jack Russell mix named Ghani,
jumped out and raced down the hill and
into the brush, eliciting a sharp alarm bark
from one of the kudu cows.
The hunt should have ended after this
comedy of errors, but with Ghani secured
and the farmhand reined in, we decided to
loop back around and try to get ahead of
the bull once more. Miraculously, Pieter
soon spotted one of the cows tucked into
the shade of a tree line across an open
field,  yards distant. Then Dad spotted another. Glassing that tree line, Pieter
located the bull under a tree, perfectly
camouflaged in the shade. Fortunately, the
bull was looking back to where we had
been, not realizing we had gotten ahead
of him again. Pieter set up the sticks, and I
continued on p. 78




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American Hunter - June 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Hunter - June 2014

Table of Contents
American Hunter - June 2014 - Cover1
American Hunter - June 2014 - Cover2
American Hunter - June 2014 - 1
American Hunter - June 2014 - Table of Contents
American Hunter - June 2014 - 3
American Hunter - June 2014 - 4
American Hunter - June 2014 - 5
American Hunter - June 2014 - 6
American Hunter - June 2014 - 7
American Hunter - June 2014 - 8
American Hunter - June 2014 - 9
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American Hunter - June 2014 - 80
American Hunter - June 2014 - Cover4
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