The Bull and Beyond
It had been a long day hunting with little movement of animals unlike the first day at Cruiser Safaris South Africa, spending the morning in a ground blind on a water hole looking for whatever came in. In the mid day after only having one Impala ram came in to water we took a short break and dropped my wife off at camp for some much needed rest after days of travel and hunting. Johan my PH and myself took a Short drive from camp to set the afternoon in a tree blind on a water hole just behind camp, after being dropped off at the water hole we climbed in and settled down for the afternoon. The afternoon was passing slowly with only a sow warthog and piglets coming in, as dark was approaching a good warthog boar came in I slowly stepped back to draw and hit the chair with my big feet spooking him away. Disappointed and a little depressed my thoughts went to cursing myself for blowing the only opportunity for the day and little time remaining before dark. As I was pouting in the corner and moving the chair around in the blind Johan said there was a small group of Wildebeest coming this way, my spirits lifted agin with hopes for a shot Johan says they are all good bulls and to shoot any one if they come in. As the small heard walks past the water hole at 100 yard my spirit sank again thinking this was not going to happen when the bulls turned around walking past again and coming in to water were I had no shot. Darkness was approaching fast light was fading and the Bulls were drinking were I had no shooting lane again thinking this is not going to happen Johan whispers get ready they will move to the salt after they water. As if on command one bull walked through the water, I came to full draw as he approached my shooting lane I mentally went through the shot sequence and placement picked a spot, at 17 yards the bull stopped broadside and the arrow was gone. I watched as the it disappeared through the Bulls chest on the mark, he turned and rain away with the others. Johan having a slightly higher platform than myself was watching them run as I was trying to compose myself climb higher to see and not fall over from shaking so bad. Just as I got a view of the bull he turned to leave the heard and we watched him go down behind a tree. After calming down enough to climb out of the tree without falling we made our way down and went to find the blood covered arrow. As we approached the bull I realized the beauty of hunting and the rush that keeps us going, on the slowest day of our 8 day Safari that was full of hope and disappointment I killed the best trophy of my life.
This was my second African animal and our third in two days, I harvested a nice Kudu bull on day one and my wife Brenda took a great Warthog the same day. My Wildebeest bull will be special as it fulfilled a dream to harvest a true trophy animal, through over 30 years of bow hunting I have taken many animals but never one with a true wow factor this was it for me my first big trophy with a green score that will place him in the top 25 ever taken with a bow, a hunt I will never forget and to experience Africa in its fullest.
Our trip to Limpopo South Africa, Cruiser Safaris began 2 years before with my wife and I going to a outdoor show and talking with several safari outfitters and bringing the passion for a trip I thought I would never make to a driven passion to make it happen. This began the search online for the outfitter to meet my needs for our Safari. After months of research on were to hunt, what animals were available and how much it would cost the realization that we could make this happen and soon. In January 2016 after discussing our options with Brenda I sent the booking agent for Cruiser safaris (Bob Clark) an E mail and got the details for making the deposit and commitment to go on a real adventure hunt. The next week the deposit was paid and dates were set for our trip now we were all set and the excitement was starting. I began to watch every YouTube video available learning the animals and shot placement. My wife said I became obsessed with Africa, I say I was just doing research to make sure I new what to expect it just consumed my every waking hour. In April we booked our flight on South African Air and the excitement doubled knowing this was going to happen now as I booked our airfare non refundable. My video research increased and was expanded into African Bowhunting Magazine I was now obsessed I could not focus on anything else I had been consumed by anticipation of Africa. In June we paid the remainder of the balance for the hunt and was set to go, I had been shooting around 500 arrows a week for months getting ready I new the shot placement and felt as if I was shooting better than ever.
July 27 came slow the days dragged on as the day of departure grew closer and then finally we were off everything packed over and over checked and double checked we were driving to the Salt lake airport (a 5 hour drive from Wyoming). Our journey started mid day on Wednesday and after driving flying layovers and flying again we arrived in South Africa at 8 AM on Friday morning. 2 hours through customs and we were met at the airport by BP and Frank two of the PH’s with Cruiser Safaris. After picking up 5 others heading to camp with us we were off for the last leg of our trip a 4 hour drive to the lodge. We were met at the lodge by Tiny the camp chief with cold drinks and were shown our room. After unpacking our essentials ( the bows) we were out to shoot and make sure the bows were on target after a long trip. This is were I first was introduced to Johan our PH for the week, the PH’s watched as we shot reassuring themselves we could hit an animal and we discussed the plans for the morning. After some good food and conversation we were off to bed for the first time in 3 days.
The hunting at Cruiser safaris was unbelievable with more game than anywhere I have ever been, the trophy quality here is excellent with all the animals we took making SCI record books, and please note we did not come here for record book animals we came to have fun the trophy animals were just a bonus. On day one I harvested a Kudu bull and Brenda a Warthog boar, day two A Blue Wildebeest, day three we hunted all day with lots of game but no kills, day four I took a Blesbok and an Impala, day five Brenda took an Impala, day six we want to stalk a Warthog and ended up shooting an Ostrich ( the first harvested at Cruiser safaris with a bow). At his point we had taken more than we came for and decided to stop within budget.
Day seven we went out with the crew and watched them dart some Sable from a helicopter and load them up to be moved to another area, this was an opportunity of a life time to see game management in action. After the darting was over Pieter the owner of Cruiser Safaris asked if we would like to ride back to the lodge in the helicopter, after a quick hell yes we were in the helicopter with Peatier’s wife and pilot Lizelle and off over the bush for a great ride back to the lodge seeing the bush-veld as few will ever get to.
Day eight we went to the Pilanesburg National Park with BP as our guide to experience the other African wildlife. Here we seen lots of wildlife, including elephant rhino and hippopotamus. Had a flat tire, chased a monkey from the van and had a great lunch in the park.
A few notes to close with, Africa is a great adventure and hunting Africa is even better butt hunting with an outfitter that does not offer everything they advertise is a huge disappointment, with this in mind there was no disappointment with Cruiser safaris. We were treated like kings, the hunting was first class the crew was excellent, knowledgeable, and best of all they make you feel at home. I hear this over and over about Cruiser safaris and it is fact you arrive as a guest and leave as friends, after 10 days with them I would invite all the staff into my house and feel comfortable calling them friends and if they are ever in Wyoming I would hope they will look me up. It has not been a week home yet after our trip and I am planning our return to cruiser safaris what animals I would like to go after upon my return to the dark continent, and most of all the greatest of all trophies setting around the lodge in the evening having a great dinner and swapping tall adventures of the day’s events over a cold beer with good friends.
Until next time thank you to all the staff at Cruiser Safaris
Mike and Brenda Kentner