Disappointment comes with the territory and I am sure not every hunt can be successful. All the equipment was packed checked and ready for action. We arrived on the side of the mountain after a short 3hr drive through the rolling hills and grasslands Mpumalanga and the free state. The wind was driving the grass into a furry and gave it the effect of looking at the ocean while its rolls and lists this way and that. As we cleared the Drakensberg and entered the realm of the Bushpigs, the excitement was on me again, we turned off the main road onto the road less traveled and up a mountain.
We arrived in great warm weather, we off loaded the truck and the ATV, then got our gear ready as the sun started to crest the western horizon. After a brief discussion about the evening’s plans we were off to our designated spots. We are hunting Bushpigs in the most unbelievably thick and dense black wattles saplings on the side of a steep mountain, it is so thick you cannot walk in the wattles, something you have to see to believe.
My ATV is a Bombardier Outlander 400hp 4X4 and is essential when working in these mountainous terrain. It easily moves through this terrain and is very reliable, so you don’t need to worry about getting around.
My Bowtech CPX insanity is set at 80lbs, shooting Mamba 400 arrows weighing in at 500gr fletched with 4 fletches and leading the whole setup a 125gr rage 2blade braodhead. I use a Spothog Bosshog 3 pin sliding sight. This is my set up and I use it for all my bowhunting requirements, all I change is my arrow weight. My bow is shooting really well and I have practiced shooting in low light for ages. My trick is the illuminated peep sight, I find this works very well and I can see my pins easily.
So after all the time spend getting ready and the hours of effort put in getting all the information and the trends of the pigs, I am finally in my blind and the brief African twilight is fast lapsing into darkness. Before you know it, it is pitch black and all I can see is the light on the bait (maize water and beer). As the time starts to tick by your mind play games with you and then its there or is it no it’s a porcupine, wait no it turns out the first visitor to the blind is a Large Spotted Genet and it moves like smoke in the wind dead quite and its agility is beyond belief, and then gone.
Back to the waiting game, eventually at 12 oclock the temperature has fallen I am starting to get very cold in this dead quite cold air, I hear the snap of a twig, Quite then again and so it starts until they get close, very close you can hear the ears hitting its head when it shakes its head, the twigs are breaking and the way they grunt, bark, snort and emit their warning grunts keep you on your toes.
It can become quit interesting and the adrenalin is now pumping so hard through my veins I can hear it in my ears. I am ready, arrow knocked release on, all I need is that big boar to step into the light. Nothing, more grunting and the wattles are now breaking and the noise is now impossibly loud but nothing comes near the bait. I am looking all around and I cannot see them but I can hear every step each one makes. It is nerve racking and exhilarating.
You just need to experience it yourself, what I am explaining does no justice to it. Then, they all start calming down and move off totally spooked, by what, I don’t know, and then its dead quite, cold and dark. I look at my watch 1:30 AM. They were there for one and a half hours and didn’t come to the bait. I am upset and disappointed and exited. The experience is un-matched but they are gone. I wait another hour before packing up walking along the spooky path between the wattles to fetch the ATV to load my stuff and head down to the house for something to eat and some much needed sleep under the stars on the mountain slopes. I am at last into camp and the news seems to be the same all-round, but one blind produced a nice sow.
Tomorrow I will get one, I know I will. It looks to good everything looks perfect and plus even after five years to get him on the first night would be to easy (hahahahahaha and I keep myself confident). The next day we are all up and have a lunch on the BBQ and the weather is hot and the wind is calm. Just gently blowing a cool breeze to cool us off a bit, it is magic. Then a call comes through-Jono its burning, the mountain is on fire on the backside from where you are now-and as the call ends it comes over the crest. A blood red snake poisoning our plans and ending our hunt once and for all, disappointment. The fire ended the hunt so we slowly packed everything up and start making plans for the next spot and what we are going to do after the ground recovers. After a night spent watching the read flames devour our hunt, the end result is not as bad as expected but the animals have moved to a different quarry. So let the games begin, so we start again.
The time spend up there is really great and I look forward to the next trip. Stay tuned to find out when and where we find the next Bushpigs, as for me, the up and coming lion hunt is my main focus now.
PH, Jono Joseph