Hunting South Africa Part 2-of-3 (Kudu + bonus)

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Hunting South Africa

In Part One of Hunting South Africa, I detailed my wife and I’s travel to South Africa as well as my first harvests there: a springbok, impala, and Oryx (Gemsbok). Day two brought new excitement and challenges in my quest for a Kudu bull. 

Day Two

Our hunting party of four—Piet Malan of Impact Shooting, myself, and our guides, A.J. and André—drove for miles in the Land Cruiser, stopping periodically to glass for animals.

It was a while before we grabbed our gear and started the hike from a dry riverbed.

I entered day two with the same proven setup as I did on day one—Piet’s custom 6.5 Sherman Short with a BAT bumblebee action, International Barrels carbon-wrapped barrel, APW braked warbird suppressor and  MDT LSS XL chassis. The time spent in the field really afforded me the opportunity to connect with the environment and learn how to glass for animals.

I was definitely the weak link in this department – Piet, André, and A.J. all especially skilled at locating animals far in the distance. We saw a number of creatures, but it took some time before we spotted a Kudu bull. I set up on the tripod, but he was 800 or so yards away and walking in the opposite direction. As heartbreaking as it was to watch him walk away, it wasn’t a good shot.

We got back in the Land Cruiser and continued down the road a ways, hoping to catch sight of the creature, but he vanished. Over lunch, I heard stories of the multiple trips many hunters have had to make to South Africa to successfully harvest a Kudu bull. I was really hoping this wouldn’t be me, as wonderful as an experience the trip had already been. 

We saw plenty of wildlife, but the Kudu kept eluding us.

After many miles of driving, A.J. spotted a herd of Kudu approximately 900 yards away. I started excitedly at the Kudu bull I so desperately hoped would be mine. We wanted to close this distance to 600 yards or closer, advancing as quietly and quickly as possible.

Working our way in the herd’s general direction, we decided to ascend a nearby knoll to get higher ground, staying as low as we could to prevent attracting attention. A.J. ranged the bull at 625 meters (680 yards) – just at the edge of my comfort zone. I knew this had to be a clean shot, not only to kill the animal, but to do so ethically. I laid down on the ground and assumed a steady prone position off the bipod, dialing my dope and chambering a round as I checked to make sure Piet was filming. 

The Kudu fell instantly, expiring in less than thirty seconds. Not only had I managed a shot at the edge of my comfort zone, I executed it perfectly. I could hardly believe my eyes as we approached the magnificent creature. Upon closer inspection, my shot landed a little higher and further rearward than my point of aim. It’s likely our ranging was slightly off and the wind a little brisker than we estimated. The spine kill shot was still clean, but it compelled me to adjust my strategy moving forward for long shots, adding more time ranging and use of a Kestrel to my pre-shot checklist. 

Teamwork

While I made good shots, I owe a lot of my success to Pieter Malan, A.J. and André, who did an incredible job preparing things and getting me on animals. While my Kudu harvest concluded my South African hunt, it was now Piet’s turn behind the trigger. Faced with two springbok, Piet took a clean headshot on one and when the opportunity presented, another clean head shot on the second. 

Piet setting up on springbok.

Conclusion

Piet considers a Kudu bull the most magnificent animal you can harvest in South Africa.

To do so beside my friend and fellow creator truly propelled me into his world and daily life. This hunt was truly an opportunity of a lifetime.  I was especially impressed with Piet’s custom 6.5 Sherman Short, which we walk through in the next video. 

Stay tuned for the remainder of coverage from my African hunt and be sure to follow Piet Malan @impactshooting!

Get the Gear

Book your own South African hunt with Groot Sleutelfontein.

BAT bumblebee action

International Barrels carbon-wrapped barrel

APW Warbird Suppressor

MDT LSS chassis

Berger Bullets

Colorado School of Trades

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Thanks,
Gavin Gear

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