The link to the featured article no longer works, but kudu are indeed magical. At least to me. It was the number one animal on my African wish list and it played out like this:
It was cool for Namibia when we left the house at 6 AM and bundled into the back of the truck. I had brought a light jacket for just such a morning, but by the time we reached Mr. Anderson's property riding in the open back of the truck, I wondered why I hadn't brought a full parka!
Turning onto the private lane. Ziggy stopped the truck and told me to load the rifle - just in case. We had driven perhaps half the 8 km from the public highway to the ranch house (Mr. Anderson owns some 15,000 acres on THIS ranch) when Ziggy's 13 year old son Erwin true to form, called out "Kudu! with out stretched arm pointing to the left of the lane. I have no idea how he saw them with the naked eye from a speeding truck, but eventually I found them in the scope. A PAIR of old bulls at 150 yards and slipping away beyond a screen of thorn brush!
This time I had the Winchester model 70 topped with a Leupold 3-9x scope (on 3x power). The chamber was filled with my hand loaded 300 grain Swift A-frame projectiles over 67.9 grains of Alliant's Reloader 15 powder in a 375 H&H Federal classic case.
The bulls slipped away at a trot. Ziggy spun the truck to the next opening in the brush and in a moment I saw a bull!
200 yards away a bull passed in and out of sight in the 7 foot high thorn brush. Almost without realizing it I said out loud "I can't get a clear shot!" Erwin stepped close behind me, checked the angle my rifle was pointing and pointed with his open hand ten degrees to the right of my aim. In his Afrikaner accent the boy said "He is there!" And he was!
The second bull, unseen by me was moving away at 250 yards. His front shoulders higher than his haunches gave him the appearance of walking away up hill. From this angle I could put a bullet into the back of his ribs, through his lungs and into the off shoulder. I squeezed the trigger.
I left the empty cartridge case in the chamber until my feet hit the ground. I then cycled the action, putting a live cartridge in the chamber and without realizing it, pocketed the empty as I set off behind Ziggy into the bush. He had been unable to see the bull when I fired so was unsure of the exact location. But Erwin had seen and raced ahead. He passed me about 200 yards from the truck, turned and smiled pointing with outstretched arm "There he lies." Coming up to him I could see the bull 50 yards beyond us. He lay on his chest where he had dropped with a clipped spine and a 300 grain bullet lodged in his shoulder. Stepping close I shot him behind the near shoulder, unloaded the rifle and leaned it against a bush, then took hold of the bull's massive horns in my hands and raised his nose from the dust it had furrowed when he fell. I held his head as he breathed his last. There was no fear in him. He was king here, and he was king as his breathing slowed, his heart stopped, and his eyes saw his kingdom no more.
A Kudu was at the top of my wish list when I went on my first South African hunt in the Limpopo Province. Far from a 58" bull, but he was what I had dreamed of, and he dropped from a single shot from my 7mm Rem mag.
I didn't hunt Kudu again until a few years ago in the Eastern Cape. My outfitter (and SCI) said that the Cape Kudu are a separate sub species from the Greater Kudu found in the northern South African provinces. So Kudu again were at the top of my wish list and on this hunt I again shot a beautiful bull, this time with my .375 Ultra mag and a 270 gr TSX bullet.
To me Kudu are like our Elk. They are similar in size, and are both magnificent animals.
I must admit that I have missed a big game animal with a rifle. And not only was it a bull elk, it was the largest bull that I have had in my sights with a tag in my hand. But, as with most "missed shot" stories, I have an excuse. Moisture doesn't really ever bode well for hunting equipment. When moisture (either rain or snow) gets into a firearms barrel, nothing good takes place. A couple rain drops down there can change the point of impact drastically and a barrel jammed with snow after a...