Black Death in the Limpopo
I stood there in momentary shock with the only words coming out of my mouth being the 4-letter variety (which if you know me, never happens). I couldn’t believe that had just happened….I just shot the trophy of a lifetime in the guts!
I have dreamed of hunting cape buffalo with a bow in Africa since I was 12 years old, and now here I was 28 years later standing in the tall grass of the Limpopo in South Africa on my dream hunt for a trophy cape buffalo with my bow in hand in complete and utter shock. At this point we had tried four different times to get in on this bull and had spent a grand total of six hours inside of 40 yards with this particular old bull without a shot. And now, when he finally presented a shot, it had all gone horribly wrong.
It all happened in slow motion. We were laying in the tall grass letting the smaller of the two bulls feed past us at 30 yards, when the big Dugga Boy was suddenly right in front of me. I slowly came up to my knees, drew back and buried the pin tight on the front shoulder about to send 800 grains of silent death on its way. I slowly squeezed the trigger on my Scott release and felt the slightest jump from my Hoyt Carbon Spyder Turbo as it launched my arrow on its path with destiny. When suddenly I saw the arrow change course, that’s when I realized I just had my first shot deflect off a branch and hit the big dugga boy way back, as I found out later it did get liver, but in that moment all I could think was: Great!?! I just shot the trophy of a lifetime in the guts…I went from being on top of the world, to the pit of despair in about 1.5 seconds. Suddenly I could hear Botes’ (our PH) voice cutting through the fog of disbelief and utter horror, saying: “Nock another one, nock another one, you got this.”
When I snapped out of it I realized the big cape buffalo bull had only taken a few steps and was now staring right at me, and suddenly everything was back in focus and all the hours of practice and years of hunting kicked in. Next thing I knew I was at full draw and had my pin buried just inside the front shoulder and “Thwack!” the arrow punched clear through, right where I was aiming and within seconds the huge cape buffalo was staggering like a punch drunk prize fighter in the 12th round. I put two more insurance arrows in him, but it was already over.
My dream of hunting a trophy cape buffalo with a bow was now a reality. As I walked up to him I was in awe of his sheer size and all I could think of was the intensity of his stare as I let that second arrow fly, and how this was a true old warrior who had been the king of his domain. I was overcome with emotion and adrenaline, I hugged Botes, sat down and started to shake like I had hypothermia. This truly was an adventure of a lifetime.