Although we usually prefer to hunt for longer periods we decided to come and check out Limpopo Big Game Hunting’s new Mountain concession over a weekend in April 2013 and we were unfortunately the weather had another trick up its sleeve and before long the wind was howling and we eventually decided to call it quits before we all froze to death! The hyena never came in so it was probably just as well.
Saturday saw the forecasted rain arrive and between the rain storms and drizzle we glassed likely looking areas to see if anything was moving. We did see some wildebeest and impala but the kudu were obviously smart enough to bed down and keep warm! Eventually in the afternoon some baboons were spotted and Carina shot a nice big male as he crested a koppie and sat More rain squalls followed, the only advantage being that they cleared the ground of all tracks, so basically when we saw tracks we knew they were fresh! We eventually saw some very large kudu bull tracks crossing the road right after the rain had stopped and decided to follow. We had not gone more than 100 meters when we heard the bull breaking away in the bush in front of us. The hunt was on and we slowly crept along. The bush was very thick so visibility was down to mere meters. At one stage we split up with Eric following the big bull’s tracks and Bossie and I trying to circle round in front of him. This must have confused him as he ran into a clearing and stopped to check what was happening. His head was in a bush and he was facing directly away from us so we had no shot and couldn’t see the horns either. Eventually Eric spooked him and he bolted, we managed to get a brief glimpse of his horns and from the little bit that we saw we knew he was a monster. It was exciting but after that the game was up! In between storms we then attempted one or two stalks on other animals which had to be aborted when the rain really started picking up in the late afternoon.
We skipped the hyena blind that night as I don’t think any of us could face sitting still in the rain having been soaked the whole day. Those hyena somehow seem to elude us and get lucky every time! The next day saw clearer weather (no rain at last!) and we were up before sunrise to give the kudu another try. We saw some herds but no big bulls and the search continued. Due to the long drive home we had decided that 11h00 was our cut-off time. After much glassing we then decided to try and call some klippies. After the first call we saw two of which one was a nice ram, however we were looking for something special having both shot nice klippies with Bossie last year, so we let them go.
At 10h30 I was mentally preparing myself to accept the fact that another trophy kudu hunt (there have been many over the years!) was going to end with us empty handed and I told the guys we needed to head back to camp. I was just reaching the point of accepting the outcome when we suddenly saw grey ghosts through the thick bush. We drove on and after a short distance Bossie and I bundled off the bakkie and it drove on without us. We made our way back to where we had seen the kudu and started searching the bush intently. Eventually I saw something through the thick bush, a kudu bull with a neck the likes of which I have never seen before. Bossie actually thought it had a growth on the side of its neck it was so wide! Now we just had to see the horns. After about 15 minutes of staring and changing position to get a better look we saw the horns and they were magnificent!
I got on the shooting sticks and we maneuvered into position for a shot. The cows blocked us while the kudu walked through an open patch and after that they disappeared behind some bush. We stared intently and eventually the cows started moving up the hill away from us. There was a small gap between two trees that they all passed and I concentrated on this gap as I knew the bull must follow, and when he did I had a split second to shoot when he passed through it. He took his time but eventually he made his way up and I touched off the shot just before he was through the gap. We had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat! In the dying minutes of the hunt we had shot a 56.5 inch dream trophy kudu bull. What a beautiful animal! I will never forget that regal set of horns and that massive neck as the bull stared at me through the thick stuff, what a memory!
Thanks very much to Bossie and his team for their positive attitude and optimism despite the odds being stacked heavily against us! It was an incredible hunt in very tough conditions and in the end we were rewarded for our efforts.”