Day Five — Wildebeest

Bowhunting World’s Lee Hetherington recently returned from the trip of a lifetime — an African bowhunting safari.
Day Five — Wildebeest

wildebeest africa huntingOn Day Five I sat in the diesel blind. It was a slow day for game movement; mostly warthogs, baboons, guinea fowl and giraffe. But just like in whitetail hunting, some of the best African game movement happens as daylight is fading. This was the case with the blue wildebeest that I spotted at about 300 yards and approaching. Pete confirmed that it was a mature bull, but the animal took his time easing another 100 yards towards the blind before he hung up and would not come further. Eventually he moved into thick cover, where we lost sight of him.

A half hour later, seven ram impala appeared in the distance. They cautiously approached and within ten minutes seemed to relax around the water. They seemed to be watching something in the direction where we had last seen the wildebeest, and I grabbed my bow. Sure enough, within a minute or two the wildebeest stepped into view 65 yards from the blind. There’s no question in my mind — he had waited until the impala had no fear of danger at the water before he approached. Now, without hesitation he walked in and began to feed. He faced us head-on for several minutes and Pete ranged him at 20 yards. My release was on my string loop and I took several deep breaths trying to calm myself.

Up to this point, Pete and I had remained relatively calm during the shot sequence of the other animals we had taken —with the exception of a gemsbok that had approached us a couple days before while we were in the baobab blind. I had almost laughed out loud when I realized how loud Pete and I had been breathing in our excitement! The opportunity never panned out for that gemsbok, but it now looked very promising for the wildebeest.

When the bull turned broadside, I settled the pin on his shoulder and released the arrow — thwack! I heard and saw the arrow hit and immediately wondered if it was high. The bull ran bucking and kicking, but to my concern, didn’t stop anytime soon. Pete was watching closely and agreed that the shot might have been a little high. Around 300 yards away the wildebeest finally slowed down to a walk just as he went out of sight. We talked through the shot sequence as we looked at the “Perfect Shot” field guide. Pete was very reassuring and said, “keep in mind that you are shooting down to him — that’s a dead wildebeest.”

Pete and I, along with the trackers and Dick, went immediately to the spot that we had last seen the bull. Darkness had fallen by now, so we were relying on flashlights. As the trackers looked for blood and tracks in the dirt, I cast my light in the distance and there he was, dead. What a tough animal — he ran 320 yards after being doubled-lunged with an arrow.

Wild Game Dinners: It’s fun to see the look on people’s faces when I tell them I ate zebra! Jurie sent a personal profile to each of us prior to the trip and in it asked if we had special needs or requests. One of my requests was to eat some of the game we shot. Each night we enjoyed a magnificent meal, usually cooked over the open coals of the fire pit. We ate blue wildebeest, gemsbok, kudu and zebra. Though all were very good and I enjoyed them as much if not more than a whitetail, it took us by surprise that all agreed zebra was the best-tasting animal we ate.

africa photo gallery

MORE STORIES: You can find the rest of the story as the days become live on the Feature Listing Page >> HERE <<

As a convenience and to best help United States clients, Jurie Meyer has asked Dick Scorzafava to be his U.S. representative and to answer questions related to hunting with Jurie. Dick lives on the East Coast. He can be contacted at (413) 568-5604 or at Jurie will be attending the Safari Club International show in Reno, Jan. 26-29 and the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pa. on Feb. 5-13.


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