While extricating a nice Blue Wildebeest from the dense underbrush that I had collected on J. P. Kleinhans farm, his resident caretaker, who was helping us retrieve my bull, told my PH, Morne`, that he had seen a really nice Bushbuck in a lower field that had been recently sown with winter wheat.
Cape Bushbuck was on my to-do list for this trip, so as soon as we had the Wildebeest sorted out, we began to plan a hunt on this animal. Morne` recommended we pursue the bushbuck in the morning as it was getting too late today to establish any form of ambush without disturbing every animal in the valley. He said they normally come out of the bush in the morning where they can warm up in the sunshine, our plan was to arrive prior to sunup and wait and see if it revealed itself.
We arrived at the field at just prior to first light and established a stand, we set up in a small depression adjacent to the field’s west edge that gave us a full view of the valley. We began the tedious part of an ambush type hunt, the wait. The sun crept ever so slowly higher in the sky and after broaching the hill tops around 09:00 AM the field was fully illuminated with sunshine, however no bushbuck showed itself.
During our wait a Caracal came down the fence line we were sitting near. It obviously scented us and did a rapid retreat as it just disappeared. Morne` thought possibly the Caracal may have frightened off the bushbuck as they are known to predate on the small antelope. We decided to return to the Lodge for brunch, and then it was the wife’s turn to collect an Antelope. We would return to the field later this evening.
At approximately 4:00 PM we returned to our stand and took up surveillance of the field once more. We watched for over three hours and just as the light was beginning to fail we saw movement on the far side of the field in the bush. As it came into the field we could tell it was a bushbuck but the light was failing fast. Morne` and I both locked onto the animal with our binoculars and Morne advised it looked like a nice animal. We had ranged the corner of the field the buck was in earlier in the day and I knew it was 140 yards, an easy shot. I was unable to tell if it was a trophy or not, so I relied on my PH’s practiced eye and extended my sticks. I was really thankful I had spent a few extra dollars on a good piece of glass for my riflescope. The second the scope was leveled on the animal I could see the horns were really long, even in the failing light. At this time our tracker Bootie began to chant, shoot – shoot – shoot. Bootie’s eyes, even without binoculars, had proven better then mine several times before, so I leveled the crosshairs, and squeezed the trigger. I never felt the recoil or heard the shot, but Morne` said it was down and was an excellent shot.
We picked up our gear and proceeded to the Bushbuck, to my amazement the horns went at least fifteen inches, if not more. So as to not to jinks the rest of the hunt, we did not measure them at this time, but just estimated their length.
We collected some impressive animals on this safari, but if you want to see a grin from ear to ear on your PH, take a nice Bushbuck. This little animal ranks high on their list of Trophy’s, and it is one of their favorite game animals to hunt and one of mine also.