African spiral horn bow hunting grand slam
Don arrived in the late afternoon which meant we had to spend the night in Pretoria before starting the hunt. Don opted for the African spiral horn bow hunting grand slam as his first African bow hunting safari.
Don elected to hunt the: African spiral horn bow hunting grand slam package and we were looking to hunt eland, kudu, nyala and bushbuck.
Spending the first night in Pretoria is done to avoid the hazards associated with night driving.
Don is hunting with a:
Hoyt Carbon Defiant 34.
70 lb draw weight
31 inch draw
Gold Tip Kinetic Kaos
Total arrow weight
Speed off bow
We depart at 6 am to miss out on any early morning traffic and head North for almost 2 hours before touching down at our first bow hunting destination. Upon arrival, we make sure the bow shoots accurate and we get ready to sit in our hide for the day. We are targeting kudu and are confident about our chances of getting one at some point.
Not too long after taking up position and getting comfortable, a kudu cow makes her appearance, and then a second. The unmistakable neck and throat mane of a bull makes himself known behind a wait-a-bit-bush before a second bull has his head obscured behind a bush. A few more kudu cows appear and get their heads in the feed a moment before a sub-adult bull shows himself. Just as the two other bulls present themselves we could see that both were shooters. However, one was more of a shooter than te other and we decide we were going to go for gold and buy him a one-way ticket to Utah, USA.
The two bulls enter our arena and face us head-on. Bow hunters know that head shots never work too well so we decided to wait it out for a better shot when the wind turned and we saw dust for a few seconds.
Some minutes later five waterbuck cows cautiously approach and we watch them, willing the kudu to come back. A sub-adult waterbuck approached and showed why he was in control when he cleared the feed for his personal attention. After almost 15 minutes the wind shifted and we were alone at the water again.
Meanwhile we were looking at several birds while a chilly wind blew right through us. The waterbuck cow emerged from nowhere and stood motionless for several minutes, a few yards from the feed. Then a second appeared when an impala walked almost right past us for his morning drink. Seemed like he had a night-before while he almost drained the pitcher.
Just as the impala had left the water the wind shifted again and we were looking at each other as the only living forms at the water again. This time it took a very long time before there was any movement at the water again. The two kudu bulls appeared as if from nowhere and stood partially concealed by dense vegetation. Then the kudu cows showed themselves and moved forward cautiously. Finally, a kudu cow must have said: this is it, and moved in for the feed. This showed the others they were ok so they started feeding. The kudu bull we wanted was in there and showed why he was the boss when he almost hooked a kudu cow with his spiral horn. The competition grew fierce and our bull stepped to the other side of the wait-a-bit bush in not too much of a hurry.
Dipping his nose to the water, the trophy kudu bull did not present a perfect shot so Don did the correct thing – he did not fire a shot.
Seconds dragged to minutes and minutes dragged to hours, or so it felt. Finally, Don confirmed the kudu bull, and upon receiving a hoarse affirmation, drew the 31” draw length Hoyt to maximum and released the full fury towards the beautiful kudu bull.
At almost 24 yards I heard full impact and told Don I felt it was a good hit. Don confirmed he felt good about the shot so we called on the radio for the tracking dog that arrived about 10 minutes later.
We pointed out the location of impact and retrieved the arrow almost 10 yards beyond the point of impact before Milo the sniffer Jack Russel took off as if possessed. It felt like an hour later, but within minutes Milo detected the very still kudu. What a relief the first animal was in the salt and on its way to Utah. Great shot well taken Don.
After a well-deserved brunch, the afternoon session did not yield much more than picture taking opportunities, so we took pictures.
This is the third day of our African hunting safari, and the second hunting day. We relocated to a neighboring property and set up in a great hunting blind for the morning session. Not soon after entering our state-of-the-art blind, a mature nyala entered to temp us. However, he was not what we were looking for and passed on hunting him.
While admiring this gentleman, a tsessebe entered our arc-of-fire, but we did not have a tag so passed on hunting a magnificent tsessebe bull.
Then, without much ado, four eland bulls approached the water- and feeding station. We saw them and then they moved off. So, we continued watching for game and were treated to a great show with the following animals making an entry: zebra, waterbuck, ostrich, warthog, nyala, tsessebe, impala and eland.
The four bulls finally emerged as a group of five and crowded the feed. No shot.
This lasted for what seemed till lunch time before four bulls left for the opposite feeding side leaving the bull we wanted all by himself. He fed himself to what seemed like a feeding frenzy for so long we were hoping he did not suffer from gastro enteritis after the shot.
Almost 10 minutes after arriving our bull settled down sufficient enough to turn broadside. With limited cover in front of the shooting ports, Don came to full draw about two steps before reaching the window. Doing the line dance side trot Don reached the open window, took aim and let rip the Gold Tip Kinetic Kaos arrow at 265 fps. Both of us were extremely confident at the shot placement of the arrow and allowed the cursory minutes to drag by before calling in the support team. We tracked the eland to the other side of the pond (more like a lake) and marked the final spot.
Our trackers showed up and commenced tracking while Don and I stayed off the tracks, doing 360’s to the side.
This tactic paid off as we saw the magnificent animal almost at the same time. What a beauty it turned out to be. The second largest eland I ever had the privilege of hunting with any hunter, rifle or bow.
The Kaos turned the inside of the eland to chaos. It worked exceedingly well.
The afternoon session yielded nothing as we prepared to move on to our bushbuck hunting property.
We got a call to say we could be assisted for nyala the following morning early. Well, so we left the following morning early and arrived at the beautiful hunting property situated with mountains in the backdrop. The morning session showed lots of potential but even with that amount of smoke there was no fire.
We stayed vigilant until we had to leave for the afternoon hunt at the bushbuck property.
The blind we were hunting from was beautiful and well situated but slightly too small for the two of us so removed the one chair to a better position. There was not much activity apart from a good-looking kudu bull and the odd animal passing by.
A beautiful warthog managed to put his head down and forget about all his troubles in life before Kaos reminded him of the present. The trackers managed to do an excellent job but unfortunately, we called it off after almost three solid tracking hours before we returned to the blind.
In the very late afternoon a fantastic bushbuck showed himself and walked right by the blind. I called the bushbuck who decided it was better to leave than to turn and look at what was calling him. What a disappointment on my side.
A call was made to do whatever it took to make it a bushbuck day. Planning was set in motion and an early morning appointment with the coffee pot confirmed we were ready for action. At 7:30 am we were seated and in good anticipation for what the day was to offer.
Our first customers were blue wildebeest. Our second line of customers were blue wildebeest and then Vervet monkeys. The wildebeest seemed to like the spot as they were in-and-out most of the day, only stepping aside for the kudu bulls visiting. And were there a couple good bulls? Wow, there were a couple that made my mouth water.
Everybody ran away and returned at intervals with the monkeys taking full advantage of the open space and unprotected feed while the big boys were not present. They stuffed their faces as if there was going to be no tomorrow.
Sunset, or rather, last available light for a good shot was going to be at approximately 5:40 pm after which we were going home. By 5:15 pm we were looking at packing up and calling it a day when an old rascal of a bushbuck decided to try and approach us on the left flank without us noticing. Well he had another thing coming his way and it was called Kaos. If only he was going to present a shot.
By 5:25 pm he moved to such a position I thought Don was going to throw the sharp stick at him. On my call Don came to full draw and moved toward the shooting port with two kudus standing not 20 feet from us. Which was going to happen first: the bushbuck coming into view, or the kudus seeing us and blowing our cover?
By this time, we were in the blind for almost 10 hours without fresh air and believe me, my stomach was starting to complain. Actually, not. It started complaining almost two hours prior to that time and I was seriously looking at private, unconfined space. Leaning forward to get a clear view of the bushbuck was a major challenge in not having an accidental private mistake.
With all these thoughts rushing through my mind, Don finally had to do a let-down. Then I said to Don to take the shot soon as he had an opportunity.
Thinking of the moment we would be able to leave the blind without incident, I watched the bushbuck take another few steps forward while I willed him to come into view for Don.
I started holding my breath when I sensed, rather than heard, Don bring the bow to full draw. Only a few more moments I hoped for my sake and for that of Don.
When the release released the arrow, the shot rang true. The bushbuck bucked one tremendous buck, the arrow passed through and hit some rocks behind it, giving me a show of sparks while the bushbuck sped off. Cautiously I got out of the blind and what a pleasure it was being outside.
I called the back-up team and while waiting for them started tracking. About 30 yards from where impact occurred we found this magnificent specimen. What a day it turned out to be with all the action happening in the last few minutes of a very long day.
This is day 6 and we are still looking for a nyala on our African spiral horn bow hunting quest. We set out to the mountain property and arrive there at 7 am after an early rise. Before entering the farm house gate, we see four bulls and an ewe. One of the bulls is a sure shooter so Don steps out and cautiously approaches the beast.
With the number of good arrows released prior to this one a shot like this should have been standard practice. However, it was more than likely an unseen twig that deflected the shot and set the nyala off at speed. The speed stopped at 30 yards from there with a curious nyala peeking at what caused a minor sound.
I joined Don and started stalking to where we could see the nyala and hurled another sharp-ended stick at the nyala. We considered that one to be a warning shot.
By now we realized the bow case with the remaining bow ammunition was back at base camp, almost two hours driving time from where we were. A quick call to the local gun shop set us into high gear to get there for some replacement arrows. The staff at the Wildman Gun Shop were extremely helpful in supplying replacement gear as close as we could expect to receive on short notice.
By about then I received a call from the bushbuck property where they had retrieved a warthog. Man, what a warthog it was. By far the largest I have had the pleasure of hunting with a gentleman with a bow. We retrieved our warthog and continued looking for nyala
In the afternoon we headed out again doing it the hard way on a walk-and-stalk basis. We flushed a nyala but could not judge the trophy quality. Meanwhile one of the staff called out to us and showed us a nyala that was standing quite still. Was it perhaps the one we took a shot at? Heck no, it was a sub-adult being more curious than stupid.
Almost five minutes before we could take a shot in confidence we saw another nyala but due to poor trophy quality passed on it.
Battlestations. We had but a day left and certainly were not intent on leaving it there. Another hunting destination saw us head out after coffee for a short drive to another beautiful hunting property.
Within minutes after arriving we looked at several impala females and a few black impala. This gave us good hope for the rest of the day with whatever it took.
We spent quality time looking at a number of animals like blesbok, white blesbok, red hartebeest, kudu and finally nyala! After inspecting the nyala we found the three bulls to be of sub-standard so passed on them.
More impala herds, more wildebeest and springbok later we finally saw a solitary nyala bull. Was this the one?
Before heading out that morning we had our familiar arrows and were confident of the shot placement. Every time Don took a shot he was reminded of the correct shot placement, somewhere forward of what he was used to.
This time was no different. Apart from the range. So, I lowered the video camera, took the range finder and said: 34 yards.
I am sure those were the last words the nyala heard. The Kaos was flung at full speed entering the nyala right on the button before exciting on the opposite side where we retrieved it.
If we had coffee we would have had some. Allowing the standard waiting time, we set off tracking. It was amazingly clear how good the shot was at the amount of trail the nyala left behind. It was a trail even I could track and about 10 minutes later we retrieved the nyala bull.
We were impressed and happy indeed. Specially in the local hotel before having it skinned. And so a fantastic hunt came to an end, successfully completing out African spiral horn bow hunting grand slam.
In the afternoon we headed back to Pretoria.
Don was ready as could be at 5 am and also ready to get back home on the 8 pm flight. We were on our way to the Pilanesberg National Park for a day of sight-seeing, specifically for elephants.
Upon arrival at KwaMaritane Gate, we asked the cashier about any good sightings. She replied: if you look behind you, there is an elephant. We walked over and looked at it and a good thing we did because that was the first and the last elephant we saw that day.
20 minutes into the day we had seen two of the Big 5 and were looking forward to seeing more.
A variety of animals presented themselves at varying times when we finally came across a solitary leopard in a tree, with half an impala slightly behind it. 3 for 5 and the day was not done.
It unfortunately stayed that way until we left.
Thank you kindly, Don. It was a magnificent hunt with a great hunter and companion. Good luck on your moose bow hunt next year!