Ian Harford travels to the stunningly beautiful Eastern Cape of South Africa and takes on the Dark Continent for a mature Blue wildebeest bull.
Day 1 – The start of my Blue Wildebeest hunting adventure in South Africa
I’ve hunted many times before with Nduna Hunting Safaris and I feel more like part of the family here than a client. They really do make me feel welcome and if you’re going to come to the Dark Continent for a hunting trip then this is the place I would recommend.
Blue wildebeest are one of Africa’s most recognisable species. We’ve all seen the imagery on TV of mass migrations across the plains and they’re able to survive just about every difficult encounter that any species could come across here on the Dark Continent. That’s made blue wildebeest very, very difficult hunt.
They communicate with each other very vocally when danger is present; trying to get up close and personal with all those pairs of eyes and all those ears is incredibly tricky.
Now I’ve done my fair share of wildebeest stalking over the years and I have to say it’s some of my favourite hunting. This time however, they’ve made us work exceptionally hard. We’ve had a number of very close calls; we’ve got into the perfect position with the herd in front of us and selected the right bull, only for it to be sky lined.
What we were looking for as hunters and conservationists was a mature bull, past breeding age and something that we could take out of the herd and let new blood come through and strengthen the gene pool.
Evening can be one of the most frustrating times to stalk because the falling sun in the sky and the cooler afternoon temperature brings all of the animals out to feed. However, time is not on your side and as the sun starts to creep towards the horizon, the sky starts to darken and eventually you just run out of time.
Day 2 – A new day brings with it fresh opportunities.
We set out early from camp just as the sun was starting to rise above the mountains. We soon spotted a small bachelor herd of three bulls just across the valley from us. The sun was at our backs and the wind was in our face, the conditions were absolutely ideal.
We moved a little further down the hillside trying to keep the bushes between us but more importantly trying to get into the shade so that we have a backdrop and weren’t silhouetted against the skyline.
Clint put my shooting sticks out and I got up ready for my chance.
Patience in this scenario is absolutely key. Selecting the right animal, waiting for it to move into position and then giving yourself enough time to take the perfect shot and as soon as I had a clear shot, I took it.
The bull skipped in the air and he disappeared into cover. After a few moments the bull stepped clear of the bushes and then just took a few steps down towards the bottom of the valley. Leaving a very clear blood trail and tracks for us to follow.
Soon enough we found him. A magnificent old blue wildebeest bull and another magnificent animal thanks to the holistic game management program here at Nduna Hunting Safaris.
If only all my African adventures could be like this.