by: Bill Lukaskiewicz, Bowtech Pro Staff
I’ve dreamed about hunting another spiral-horned antelope since my kudu in 2009. Bushbuck and nyala are found in thick, dense cover near a water source. They’re very skittish, beautiful, spiral-horned antelope and prefer to move at low light, making them a very challenging animal to hunt with a bow. I was up for the challenge on my fifth visit to South Africa in July. I arrived at Africa Sport Hunting Safaris lodge in the Limpopo Province and linked up with my Professional Hunter, Christiaan duPlooy. I took a few practice shots with my Bowtech RPM 360 and was ready to get started.
Christiaan said that since the weather was not favorable, we needed to sit all day, so we packed the truck with all the gear we’d need. Day after day, the weather deteriorated to the point where I questioned whether we’d even be able to hunt. Dark, overcast, low pressure and very high winds – a bowhunter’s nightmare. Ten hours a day we sat; 40 hours in four days. There were two days where the wind blew so hard that even if a mature nyala came to the water, I couldn’t shoot.
Then, on the fourth day the weather improved a bit, and that afternoon we saw two young bushbuck rams and three young nyala bulls. But wind made them very nervous, keeping them away from the water source, and I became very discouraged. Weather was predicted to be better on Day 5, my last hunting day. So we hedged our bet on an afternoon hunt. We headed into the blind around 1 p.m. and it wasn’t long before a young nyala bull appeared at the edge of the thick cover that surrounded the water. He was nervous, but came in, drank quickly and departed as fast as he arrived.
About an hour later, Christiaan turned and whispered, “This is a big bull,” and pointed to our right. I nodded, stood, drew and moved slowly to the window while Christiaan watched through the viewfinder of the video camera. The nyala stopped at the water. This is it.
I settled the pin and let the Easton Axis fly. He disappeared into the bush, I caught my breath and we went right to the video footage. The arrow looked low. My heart sunk. We watched the video over and over. Frame-by-frame, super-slow motion. The arrow looked like it hit perfectly. Christiaan and I discussed it at length, went out to the water and found the arrow, which had bright red blood all the way to the label. My confidence rose. We started following the blood trail, and only 63 steps away, found him. What a magnificent, challenging hunt.
Watch the full hunt here: