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My South African Greater Kudu

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Limpopo Province, on the Limpopo River, May 2019

I received a couple of questions regarding my avatar so I thought I would post a little bit of information about the hunt for anyone planning a hunt in South Africa. 

I think it is important to mention that the majority of hunting in South Africa is conducted behind what is termed high fences here. The size of the high fenced areas varies greatly from small 4 foot fences to stop cattle and sheep movement to large scale “big 5” fences. This fencing also serves to protect outfitters and land owners from poaching and therefore their viability. You will struggle to find a property in South Africa or Namibia with no fences somewhere along the line, be it a park border, a high fence on a neighboring property, or a barrier to public roads. The land areas are generally very large so you may not even see a fence at all during your visit apart from entering or leaving the area, and the low fences do not hamper animal movements much. 

There are also a number of different ways in which you can hunt in South Africa - but all of mine has been traditional “Track and walk”. You would typically wake up and have a coffee and small breakfast at the camp before being driven to another part of the property known for the type of animal you are looking for and walk from there.

For this hunt, I was at Maswiri safaris’s Beskow camp, a 5,000 hectare parcel of land in the far north of South Africa along the Limpopo river and I was after a nice bull kudu as my wife wanted some “decorative horns” to place on the coffee table. Similar to the Coues deer - a kudu is also referred to as the “Grey Ghost” and can sometimes be a nightmare to find despite their size. My friends knew about my target and as such bought me a couple of books (Peter Flack - Hunting the Spiral Horns) and magazines in attempts to assist. 

We walked for miles and miles, glassed for hours on the top of “koppies” (small rocky hills) without too much luck for about a week. We didn't even see cows. After another unsuccessful morning we made our way back to camp for a breakfast where I discussed going straight back out in the heat of the day and focussing along water points. We drove to a likely area and were dropped off with our backpacks, professional hunter and a tracker and slowly walked our way along. It wasn't too far from the drop off point (I’d say less than 2 miles) that the tracker started getting excited as he had seen a good bull. The path towards him was pretty open so we backtracked and went around another koppie, inching our way around to spot him again. And there he was with his head deep into a bush and perhaps a 100 shot with his shoulder exposed. We set up the shooting sticks, set up the rifle and turned off the safety. I slowly squeezed the trigger and down he went - my first kudu bull. It was only later when we looked at him that we realized just how great a bull he was - old as the hills, with ground down teeth and beautiful ivory tips. Of course - we now started to find kudu’s everywhere we looked for the remainder of the trip. 

For those of you interested, horn length for a Kudu measured in it's simplest form is taking the measurement of the longest horn from the base along the spiral ridge to the tip only and can be extremely difficult to judge in the field - factors such as how deep the curls are influence the final score greatly. According to a post on Africahunting.com titled judging Greater Kudu:  “In terms of trophy size when it comes to mature Greater Kudu bulls, the holy grail is taking the elusive monster 60 inch plus (152.4 cm) Greater Kudu which is something that does happen to a lucky few, however it is the result of the hunting gods smiling down upon you. I would say that horns above 55 inches (139.7 cm) make for an amazing trophy, horns above 50 inches (127 cm) make for a great trophy, horns above 45 inches (114.3 cm) make for a good trophy and horns below 45 inches (114.3 cm) make for a beautiful trophy and great memories!”

Mine doesn't have exceptionally deep curls, but measured 53 inches. Regardless of the measurement - my wife didn't get her decorative horns for the table - but he does sit proudly on my wall. 

 

curls.jpg

photo.jpg

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It's really cool you took that pic down the spiral. Little know fact is that if you look down the spiral you can see the eye. A kudu can see up the center and not have a blind spot caused by the horn from ambush above. Zoom in on your pic and you can see the eyeball!

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Yeah, I had seen it done before and wanted to try copy it. Absolutely- good point! They really are amazing and high on a lot of hunters lists for a reason 

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