Marv arrives after a very long flight and is delayed at the Johannesburg Airport due to large numbers of foreigners wanting to visit our fair land. Fortunately, this allows me to have an extra coffee before departing on our 3-hour drive to the bow hunting property intended for bow hunting kudu.
After the normal ritual greetings, we head out to the parking lot to board the Toyota hunting truck with kudu on our minds. When checking the bow, Marv thinks the one cam might be slightly out of sinc so we decide to visit a bow shop before heading to the bowhunting property in a remote and rural area. Archers Edge bowhunting shop in Pretoria is least out of our way and surprise them with our visit. Fast efficient and courteous service is what happens and Marv takes a shot at a target that he hits dead center. Now we know the bow is good and we can hunt with certainty.
Bow hunting kudu is not the easiest hunt we can think of and immediately we start talking hunts and hunting. Draw weight for hunting kudu, average expected hunting distance, broad heads and such dominate our small talk till we reach the hunting property where we start serious hunting talks about what to expect when bow hunting kudu and such.
Our lodge is comfortable and we have running hot water, a flushing toilet and a fantastic fire. What more do we need?
A few shots at the butt and we head out to a hide for the afternoon shift. A sure spot is chosen and we set up our pop-up over some alfalfa, molasses and pellets before settling in.
End of the first bow hunting day is unsuccessful but our spirits are high.
We see some birds, put a stalk on a two different kudu but by the close of business on day two we are still without a kudu.
Above: Guinea fowl can be your friend or enemy at a bow hunting blind.
Above: Marv enjoyed the antics of the local Go-Away bird.
Above: The Go-Away bird has been renamed to the: Gray lourie. This one was having a drink.
Things are looking promising at sunrise and we are ready to get our kudu. We change from one location to the next trying to out-think the Gray Ghost. Several cows were alerted by Marv’s presence when he merely moved a hand.
Time to re-think, re-plan and adjust to the situation. We still have high hopes but in the back of our minds we are looking forward to getting the job done.
The day ends without drawing blood.
Above: However, during the night of day 3 a beautiful kudu bull arrives at the bow hunting blind.
We have a lot to do today. While Marv is in the marsh blind willing the kudu to come in the staff and I head out to another known location for good kudu. We had a lot of trouble with a swirling wind and decided to build a second blind at the same spot. Below are a number of pictures showing our progress.
The other deal we had to take care of was to visit the local school in the immediate tribal area. Prior to his arrival Marv inquired about the possibility of bringing a few items for less fortunate individuals.
Pens, pencils, a few clothing, shoes, flip-flops and of course, soccer balls made their way to the school. At school we were met by the local Chief who introduced us to the staff at school. Distributing the items was left up to the staff as there were just way too many primary school kids to assist individually.
A few songs and kind words by the staff made us all feel real good. Marv had the opportunity to encourage the children to study hard which was duly translated due the little kids. We were told that many of the kids did not have parents and were dependent on family- and social support. (A video of the ceremony will be uploaded as soon as we have sufficient broadband).
Back to business – we dropped Marv off at the marsh blind for the afternoon session with the radio and our best wishes. Back at the lodge we started working on the updates and pictures taken during the previous few days. Dark usually sets in by about 5:45 pm and it was a welcome surprise at about 5:15 pm when the radio crackled: Pieter are you there? My first response was: Is good news the reason why you are calling so early? Marv responded by saying: Pieter, I just shot a huge kudu (or words to that effect!).
The cavalry charged with 3 trackers and myself on board to find the spot where the kudu stood when the arrow was delivered. Tall grass and a setting sun was not the ideal conditions but we stuck to it anyway. There was almost no blood initially and we went on a wild goose chase while looking for kudu.
While waiting for the tracking dogs the trackers went back to the scene where the arrow met the kudu and soon found blood in a different direction we initially searched. By now it was completely dark and the dogs made their way sniffing tall grass and more. I started walking in several different directions and with sheer perseverance, amazing tracking skills and complete confidence in my own abilities surprised myself when I accidentally with skill stumbled onto the magnificent bull. I called James and said I had found more blood, which technically was true. James, the trackers and I showed Marv a spot of blood and asked him to take the outside of the track where he found his bull. To say we were all delighted would be a rather serious understatement.
It turned out to be a perfect heart shot, the arrow did not exit the other side but got lost while the kudu ran its death charge.
Congratulations Marv and well done on a fine trophy kudu bow hunt. We hope it will bring you immense pleasure in future when you look at the mount.
Last night by the fire Marv had a double Sprite in celebration of his success. Tomorrow we start bow hunting impala.
Up bright and early as usual and a couple coffees later Marv is delivered to his accommodations for the morning. We are hoping to bow hunt an impala before we look at the other animals on our menu.
Above: The impala bow hunting blind.
Above: Marv prepares slices of the kudu heart for lunch on 05/27/2017
Above: Kudu heart in a crumb dip.
Above: Marv enjoyed the heart while I thought it better to eat liver.
The morning session yielded 3 juvenile impala, a group of 8 kudu cows and two small bulls and 3 warthogs. We will be leaving at 3:30 pm for the afternoon hunt.
The afternoon was slow due to high wind but three red hartebeest were seen, a kudu bull interested in a kudu cow was observed and a pre-occupied impala in rut was not interested in entering the kill zone.
With strict instructions left on how to observe the kudu tender loins, a unanimous vote appointed Marv as Chief Chef. Below you can see the deft handling of a blunt knife as if it were sharp in creating the perfect butterfly tender loin cuts. Michael, our resident Chief Cook, ground whole pepper corns to add to the meat. The following pictures show Marv preparing to braai the meat, and then actually braaing the meat. All present agreed it was the best meal this season. Thanks Marv. Below that a number of birds in camp were seen. Thank you for following, please check in again tomorrow for any updates.
This morning early, we checked the trail cams to make a final decision where Marv was to hunt for the morning session. Based on the pictures on the trail cam it was decided to hunt the mountain blind. After a slow start animals started appearing from about 10 am onward, with Marv calling on the radio every hour to give an update.
By 11:30 Marv decided he had had enough due to a swirling wind giving him away most of the time. Michael the Chef was called up and instructed to make sandwiches with the left-over kudu tender loins (fillets). This was a pick-up and run lunch as we decided to have Marv in the plains blind for the afternoon session where we knew impala had to come by at some point.
Below are a number of trail cam pictures of the animals encountered at the mountain hide.
Above: This is what a water hole should look like during rush hour.
Above: Blue wildebeest can dominate a waterhole.
Above: Kudu at the waterhole. Fancy yourself being here?
Above: This kudu is available for bow hunting. It is estimated to be in the region of 57 – 58″.
Above: At the plains blind. What would an African bow hunting safari be without at least seeing a warthog?
Below are the sequential pictures taken by trail cam of the actual impala bow hunt by Marv:
Above: Early arrivals.
Above: First of the juvenile impala arriving.
Above: Marv’s impala is the one on the left on his 110 yard dash to the US.
Marv was in high spirits as he entered the hide with a smile and said he would call soon as he had something. Low and behold: not 30 minutes after Marv entered the blind my phone rang and Marv did it! He got the impala we had been working for so hard.
A group of five male impala entered the within-range-area with the biggest one feeding on the feed-block. The arrow was delivered and the search began soon as we arrived. Having told Marv that impala are prone to jumping the string, he held low and was most confident of his shot. With very little blood to follow we soon started walking in a semi-disorganized line until Peter accidentally stumbled across the impala currently preparing himself for the journey to the USA. The impala did jump the string resulting in a back-of-center shot but still with the desired end result.
A great aspect is the impala leaving for the US was caught on trail cam as he ran away after the shot.
Congratulations Marv on another great shot well taken.
Right at this moment Marv is back in the Marsh blind hoping for a real big warthog he saw the other day. Tomorrow we are heading out to a different property in search for blesbok and springbok. This may cause us in being late with possibly no updates for 5 / 29 / 2017.
Please join us again for the rest of the hunt.
We left at 5 am to take a 90-minute drive to an alternative property for blesbok and springbok. This meant rise-and-shine was at about 4:15 am allowing sufficient time for early morning coffee.
We arrived at about 6:30 am for our 7 am appointment. The extra 30 minutes gave us time to catch up on a few emails with our new mini wifi system.
Promptly at 7 am we met the owner and took the 15-minute drive to the hunting property. As we entered the gates we saw it was going to be a day not to forget soon. It was abundantly clear there were numerous animals like blue wildebeest, blesbok, springbok, eland, gemsbok, zebra and many chickens of the large kind, also known as ostriches.
A solitary male blesbok was soon encountered and Marv and I got off the truck to commence a stalk. However, the blesbok decided he needed to be elsewhere and kept walking faster than two old timers. We called him several names and decided to look elsewhere.
Not 10 minutes later another blesbok showed himself and we let Marv stalk by himself while we watched from a distance. The one we sent Marv to hunt decided he was more interested in another section of the property while Marv cautiously approached from behind a large bush. Fortunately, a second blesbok stood quite still and allowed Marv to approach to within a reasonable distance.
Yet again this blesbok walk on when Marv was about to return to the truck. Just then a third blesbok started feeding not too far from Marv’s position and the hunt was on!
Slowly Marv approached, freezing whenever the blesbok lifted his head. Either Marv did not look like a threat or he blended in too well with the surrounding area. Painstakingly we watched Marv come to full draw of his 72 lb. Obsessions bow. Seconds ticked by like minutes and finally we saw the blesbok run like he was stung by a swarm of yellow-jackets.
The pursuit was on.
Bow hunting blesbok in South Africa is a sure challenge. Even though we get to see the animals a half-mile off, they see us from a mile away, so we allowed the animal to stiffen up before continuing along. It took some time to recover the arrow, but once the tracker dog (a Beagle) found the blood, Marv said we were going to find the arrow. Within 5 minutes of us reaching the blood track Peter found the arrow within 5 yards from the blood track.
Meanwhile the blesbok laid down and we allowed an hour before we approached on foot to where it was. From 36 yards out Marv went to full draw and I called to the blesbok who stood up rather surprised to see us. The arrow flew true and after a short while we collected the fine specimen pictured below.
The first shot was from a round 60 yards but was deflected slightly by the tall grass.
The springbok were too weary for us and we elected to return to base camp for the afternoon session in a high stand.
Nothing of interest arrived and we returned to a dinner of blesbok and impala tender loins. What did you have for dinner?
This is our last morning together and Marv is in the Marsh blind. A few small hogs and female impala appear but nothing substantial arrives until lunch.
After lunch Marv’s ride to the airport is on site and he is dropped off at the airport in Johannesburg.
Thank you for being such a great hunter and hunting companion. Hope to see you again!