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Kudu hunt near Kimberley

By Bob Solimena

My wife and I just returned from our first trip to Africa. We were on a bowhunt at the Imbasa Lodge just outside of Kimberley, South Africa. Mike, our host, and his staff treated us like royalty. The Imbasa Lodge is a luxury facility with many amenities such as a swimming pool, indoor sauna, main dining room, recreation room with a pool table, and living room with library, fireplace, and satellite TV. All at Imbasa Lodge did their best to make us feel welcomed. My PH, Evert and tracker, Paul went out of their way to make my bowhunting experience one which I will remember for a long time to come. My wife, Tatyana, and I used their sauna when we felt the desire to pamper ourselves. The daily food was always wonderful as we ate various game meat like kudu, wildebeest, etc. The kitchen was open 24/7 to whatever food and dessert we might want. I cannot say enough about our experience while staying at the lodge.

Each morning upon wakening we were met with the sight and sounds of grazing game like springbuck, sable antelope, red hartebeest, and more. We were in African heaven. My wife availed herself of the opportunity to take trips to nearby game parks and early morning walks with Leon, one of the trackers at Imbasa.

The first day of bowhunting found me sitting in a blind about one or two miles from the lodge with my PH, Evert. I was shooting a Fred Bear TD recurve at 65 pounds that I short draw to about 59 pounds. I make my own arrows with Easton 2212 aluminium shafts, 100-grain Magnus two-blade broadheads, and three Goose feather 5-inch fletching with Easton uni-nocks. The arrows weigh 480 to 500 grains.

My PH Evert and I sat in that blind from about 10 am to some time before dusk and saw many different game come to the water throughout the day. At one point a monkey (what species I do not know) came in to drink and just about made it to the waterhole when it suddenly stopped and started screaming its head off. Must have sensed something was wrong, but couldn't pinpoint our presence. It scrambled back to a tree branch and screamed its bloody head off for quite a while and scared off all the game that was attempting to come in. At one point I wanted to quiet it myself, but finally he scampered off leaving our blind in peace and tranquility.

I really thought that would end our hunt for the day, but since there was still quite a bit of daylight left, and Evert had not seemed a bit disturbed about what had transpired, we sat it out.

Just around 4 or 5 pm game started to trickle back in as it had been a very hot day. Soon Evert noticed a herd of kudu we had seen earlier coming to the water. I readied my bow, nocked an arrow and waited. One by one the kudu came in cautiously and deliberately as most game does at waterholes. First were the female and young bulls. Then I saw a bull that had a wide set of horns, but not quite the full three curls of a mature adult. To my untrained eyes I thought this was a good enough trophy for this little trad bowhunter, but to my chagrin Evert said, "don't shoot". He then sat down at the back of the blind. I turned at that moment and asked, "why can't I shoot him". "He's too young" is all Evert said. Then he told me there was another more mature bull yet to appear. As I turned back to peer through the slit cut in the camouflage netting the bull stepped into view and peered right into the blind.

Well, what a thrill it was to see his magnificent spiraling horns as he slowly started to approach the water broadside. Just behind him though, was a kudu cow. Evert said, "wait till she moves out of the way before you shoot in case of a pass through". As soon as he ended that statement the cow stepped out from behind the bull. That left me a clear shot with plenty of room behind.

I waited till the bull turned his head away from the blind then drew, anchored, and loosed a perfect arrow into the centre pocket of the kill zone. All hell broke loose as the herd scattered back from whence they came, my bull in hot pursuit. I could see the arrow embedded deep into his vitals as he ran out of sight. Evert watched through his binoculars as they ran out onto the savanna. He watched them for a while longer as I tried to compose myself and contain my emotions. "He's down" Evert said, bringing me back to some sort of normalcy.

We exited the blind and headed in the direction of the downed kudu. He was magnificent, a dream come true for me as he was one of the main reasons for my trip. We found the back half of my arrow some 100 yards from the blind, broken in half and covered with blood. The bull had a mark on his shoulder where the hair was recently missing. Evert said that was because the bull ran into a tree shortly before he fell, at about 200 yards. We just smiled and admired this magnificent trophy.
Evert called back to camp for the trackers and skinners. My wife was back in camp and she came too. After dressing out the bull and taking pictures we loaded my trophy onto Evert's pickup and drove back to the lodge.

What an experience, and on the very first day. Well, my nerves were still reeling as Peter, our server, poured me a nice ice-cold MGD with ice and a lemon. (I am kind of funny that way, ice and a lemon with my beer.)

We all sat around the campfire relishing in the experience and enjoying what had transpired. The fire was lit and the grill prepared for our first African BBQ of kudu steak as the sun set on our day. WOW, this is bowhunting heaven!

Updated: Friday, 16 August, 2013 11:31 AM



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