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SPONTANEOUS HUNT - PART 1 | Red Lechwe & Roan

So often the most rewarding experiences are the ones that are committed to the night before!

While planning for the 2019 hosted hunt I was not intending to do a lot of hunting. My main goals for my tenth safari was to film Bob’s journey to South Africa and to spend some time in a place that is special to me with good people that I am grateful to call my friends. I probably should preface that sentence with the fact that my wife told me that if I brought more animals home the locks would be changed upon my return!


It is impossible to visit Africa without getting behind the rifle for yourself. Knowing myself and this fact, I was planning to hunt a red lechwe while we were in the Free State at the start of our safari. I had been on a safari a few years prior and witnessed Duck, who is a long-term client of ours, take a magnificent lechwe on very last light of our last safari day back in 2016. From that moment I have had Kobus leche on my mind.


We arrived in South Africa early on the 23rd of September and made our way toward Bloemfontein. The rifle was checked for zero and we headed out in search of a good bull. Bob managed to find a great black wildebeest and I almost caught up with a gorgeous lechwe but he gave us the slip. That night I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.


The next morning was overcast, almost hazy. We spotted a lone lechwe bull which we spent a lot of time assessing. When you spot a lone bull of any specie you start to think he is an old beast that is the perfect animal to harvest. After some deliberation we decided to try for a bull longer in the horns. We then bumped into a large herd of around 30 animals. There was one bull that needed a closer look. We had the wind right and stalked into range. With the rifle on the shooting sticks I waited for the all-clear. The two PH’s knew this was the one but wanted to make sure because there was quite a few bulls in the herd.


I could see a dark patch on the bulls shoulder which was a feature that I wanted on my bull and when Brother Pieter told me he was good enough I squeezed off the shot. The bull dropped immediately to the shoulder shot. The relief of knowing the animal did not endure any untoward suffering overwhelmed me. Nothing could have taken the grin off my face upon walking up to the bull, he was prefect. I thought this was the end of my hunting for this safari and this bull would be the only animal to represent my tenth trip to the Dark Continent. How wrong I was!

With Bob managing a solid common blesbok ram and two cull white blesbok our adventure in the Free State was complete. We headed north to Renosterpan in the Limpopo Province to finish off Bob’s list. We were having a blast and as the weekend approached, I received a phone call from a good friend of mine whom asked if I could squeeze in a trip to town. I had no expectations of hunting and said yes anyway just to catch up with them.


After the formalities upon my arrival in Ellisras, Maans told me he had secured a new property and we should check it out over the next few days. I shouldn't have been surprised when he added make sure you throw on your hunting gear! We loaded up the hilux and headed South East toward Vaalwater. On the way I asked what animals he had on the new place and when he said roan my ears pricked up. The terrain on the property was mountainous but flattened out towards the river on its boundary. It was perfect habitat for klipspringer and bushbuck. We dropped off our excess gear at the site where the huts are going to be built and then went to inspect the trail cameras that had been set up prior to my arrival. There were good numbers of klipspringer, baboon, wildebeest and zebra on them but when I noticed a mob of bushpig in one of the photos I told Maans that we must try for the boar. They were coming in regularly but only at night. The clock on the camera had not been set so we did not know what time exactly, but we thought we would at least try once the sun went down.


We were on our way to another trail camera when we saw a roan bull bedded on the track up ahead. Maans glassed the bull and told me it was one of the bigger bulls that he has seen on the property and that we should put in a stalk. We gathered our gear and took off into the African thorn bush. The wind was finnicky and the bull stood up before we could get within shooting range. Once on the hoof they are a big animal, they are the second largest antelope in southern Africa behind the eland. He melted into the bush and now the fun was going to begin.


We picked up his tracks and started following him. The wind was bad. He would only stop in thick cover. Every time he picked up our stench the spore changed to a run. Over the remaining hours of daylight, this occurred more often than we had hoped. Finally, the tracks went back to a walk and the wind was in our favour. I hoped it would stay so. Maans slowed his pace and told me the bull won’t be far, we need to spot him before he sees us. This was our chance.


The bull was standing fully alert at 80m, broadside to us, looking straight left into the wind, trying hard to detect what had been following him all afternoon. Maans put out the shooting sticks and I nestled the blaser 308 snugly into the vee. As soon as the animal was located in the scope he turned only his head and stared directly at us. He knew something had changed since the last time he looked in this direction. Maans told me to take the shot if I was comfortable.


I squeezed the trigger and the bull took off only to pile up within a few seconds of the shot. In the moments after the shot, on the short walk to my roan bull, Maans and I both agreed that this bull gave us one heck of a run around and was more than a worthy animal to take. The long reddish-brown hair that covered his powerful body and striking black & white facial mask glistened in the afternoon sun. His heavy, curved, ringed horns showed signs of maturity and his long, banana shaped ears were fascinating to me. He was a gorgeous antelope and one that I had no expectations on hunting.




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