Ian Harford Ian Harford

Date: April 17, 2013

My most incredible stalk ever!

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It’s my third visit to Nduna Hunting Safaris in South Africa‘s East Cape. Nduna Lodge is situated a few miles from Alexandria and is home to a healthy population of African game.

I’ve hunted a variety of game during my time at Nduna – with rifle and bow – but it’s the latter that keeps pulling me back for more! Some of my best ever stalks ever have taken place at Nduna with my bow – but I’ve often emerged empty handed! :-(

However yesterday was to end in triumph! I’d been stalking a herd of zebra for two days solid but couldn’t get closer than 70 yards. The herd stayed in the open and away from cover plus the wind couldn’t make up it’s mind as to what it wanted to do!

On the third day we spotted the herd high on a ridge, deep in thick acacia bushes. Any experienced African bowhunter would tell you that acacia bushes and bow hunting rarely go together.

Not only do your strings constantly get snagged on the 3-5 inch razor sharp thorns, but once you start crawling into position you invariably end up perforating knees, ankles wrist and whatever else comes into contact with the ground – it’s very uncomfortable!

However, we decided to make our way up to them using the thick bush as cover. We followed game trail across a shallow river and up into the bush. As we entered the bush we caught site of a beautiful Red Hartebeest bull also making his way up the hill towards the zebra.

I decided that he was too good an opportunity to miss and we tried to scout out a path to head him off. The bush was so thick it was almost impossible to pick out a route. There was nothing to do but crawl!

With my Realtree APG Bear Carnage bow in hand I followed Nduna’s owner an Professional Hunter Gavin Ingram into a narrow tunnel through the brush.

We mush have crawled for 200 yards before emerging in a clearing some 100 yards ahead of the red hartebeest. I took up position hidden in the bush downhill and downwind of the path of the bull.

As he approached I drew my bow and let him walk past our position. He passed less than 3 yards in front of me and at one point he stopped and looked directly at me! My RedHead 3D Evolution leaf camo suit in Realtree AP from Bass Pro Shop performed perfectly – he though I was a bush!

My heart was already beating hard after our epic stalk through the bush, but now the adrenaline was now pumping through my veins! After what seemed link and eternity he carried on his path completely unaware of our presence.

I let him more some 7 or so yards before slowly moving my bow and placing the 10 yard pin of my Trophy Ridge Micro Hitman 5 sight at the back of his ribcage.

I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled, releasing the Easton Axis Full Metal Jacket arrow and Rocket Steelhead XP 100 grain broadhead. The shot connected perfectly and passed straight through the hartebeest’s ribcage, severing the arteries above its heart and puncturing both lungs.

As is often the case when bowhunting, the bull had no idea it had been shot! The arrow passed through and he jumped when he heard it hit the hard earth on the other side, startling him. He looked around confused before slowly continuing his walk up the hill.

After a few short yards he walked into the bush and lay down before passing peacefully. This is the beauty of bowhunting. More often than not, the animal feels no pain and simply ‘passes out’ due to low blood pressure and dies in it’s sleep – peacefully and painlessly.

Less than 20 yards behind my bull was another younger bull following him up the hill. He too was surprised as the arrow hitting the floor after passing through the hartebeest, but was also completely unaware of our presence. He looked at his fellow bull – which appeared to be asleep – and also continued on his journey.

The feeling of euphoria was incredible. To be so close to your quarry – close enough to reach out and touch it – and it be oblivious to your presence is indeed a most humbling experience.

I’m privileged to have had the opportunity to harvest such a beautiful animal and the memories will stay with me for ever. Gavin Ingram is an outstanding professional hunter and Nduna Hunting Safaris is the ultimate destination for bowhunters in South Africa’s East Cape.

A full hunt report will follow soon!

Ian’s East Cape Bowhunting Equipment

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Posted in: Bow, Hunting

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One Response to “My most incredible stalk ever!”

  • David

    July 29, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Congratulations Ian. Another fine hunting story, beautifully told.

East Cape, South Africa