South African Blesbucks
I was several days into a 10-day hunt in the Groot Winterhook mountains of South Africa's eastern cape. I already had an nyala, duiker, eland, baboon, 3 black wildebeest, 2 blue wildebeest, a black springbok and a mountain reedbuck. Next on my list was a blesbuck pair, one male and one female.
Since the blesbuck normally avoids wooded areas we relocated to a second hunt camp near the grassy highveld, the rolling high grasslands of the eastern cape. While the open highland meadows are a great habitat for the blesbuck, they are not hunter friendly because they provide no cover.
My PH (professional hunter) led me to an area where he'd seen a big bull, one that he'd been after with the last eight or nine clients, but that remained elusive. The day was windy, but we kept it in our faces. As we moved low through the high meadow, the PH spotted a large dry cow visible just over the roll of the hill. He said to take her. He set the shooting sticks and I put her in the sights, dropping her in one shot. She was a fine animal and we spent some time setting up the trophy shots and taking photos.
One down and one to go. On this trip I was shooting a Browning A-Bolt II .300 Win mag with a BOSS, so it made quite a meadow-clearing boom. That shot on the cow had spooked the remaining animals and they'd bolted out of sight. The time we spent with the cow gave the herd ample time to get back to the business of grazing. When we began tracking the herd again, it only took an hour to locate them and maneuver our way down wind to glass the group. The PH announced that the big bull he'd been after was in with that group but we'd have to wait him out since the herd was so tightly packed. We stayed low and motionless out on the open meadow and waited, hoping the wind stayed with us.
The herd finally began to spread out and when the shot opportunity presented itself the PH gave the go ahead to take him. The bull was about 200 yards out when I put him in the dirt.
We sent our tracker back for the vehicle where the other trackers and skinners waited. They went and loaded the cow then brought her and set her up with the bull so we could take a photo of the pair.
More African photos are online at http://www.brewersafrica.com.