Editor’s Note: Dave Stueve is the owner of Double Lung Archery, the La Porte City Pro Shop dedicated to all things bowhunting. As the exclusive booking agent in the United States for Infinito Safaris, Stueve makes an annual trip to South Africa each June to hunt on the 30,000 acres in the western side of the Limpopo province Infinito Safaris devotes to bowhunting.
Fourth in a Series by Dave Stueve
Up at 3:30 again, get ready, get everything else going and everyone up. Soon we are on the road, we want to be there before sunrise. I settle in, get everything set up and begin my wait. Chuck and Scott hunted here yesterday and saw a really big black and tan Zebra stallion. I hope he shows up today! I sit there, watching the sun rise above the horizon. As it comes up I can make out a rocky out cropping coming out from the low mountain. I am overlooking a valley of sickle bush, grass and a few small twisted trees. Pictures do not do it justice.
As the morning goes along, I see five Zebra to my right, the big stallion is with them. A while later I see another group on my left. They all headed the same direction, so I can only hope they come back later in the day. I see a group of 12-15 blesbok out in the open area. There are a couple white ones I’d like a crack at. I see a lone Warthog running across the open area, his tail high in the air like an ATV flag.
About 1:30 a group of five zebra are headed my way! The big black and tan one is with them! I am sure I am going to finally get my zebra! At 63 yards, they stop, and there they stay. I check the range again. Yep, 63 yards. That is just too far for an ethical shot on an animal with a bow (IMO) Arrows are not bullets. Just because you can hit a target at 63 yards does not mean you should shoot animals that far, especially a tough zebra! They remained out of range, just to tease me, I think. They eventually wandered off, the last animals I saw the rest of the day.
We arrive at camp and find out that we all blanked today! That is hunting. While seven straight days of hunting from daybreak to dark is taking its toll, it feels good! Tomorrow is our last hunting day, so we all turn in pretty early, even me.
Our last hunting day. So bittersweet. Everyone has been anticipating this hunt for almost a year and now it is down to the last day. I am up early, as usual, and get everyone else up at 4:30. I am going to hunt the same hide, hoping for another chance at my zebra. Scott and Marness, the professional hunter, will be hunting for kudu or wildebeest. The rest of the group heads to the “Chicken Farm.” I have not been to that property, yet. I hope there’s more than just chickens there!
The sun is already up as I slip into the hide. About 9:15, right on schedule, a group of zebra are heading to the open area on my right, same as yesterday. They disappear into the bush about 300 yards away. I briefly consider getting out of the hide and going to where they came back out yesterday. Zebra are VERY hard to bowhunt out in the open. They have great senses of sight and smell. I decide that my chances of pulling that off are slim, at best. So I wait and hope they come in. About an hour later, the stallion I want comes out, right where I thought he would, and he is all alone! I should have listened to my gut. Arrrrgggggggggg! Such is luck, at least my luck today. Sooner than I wanted, darkness fell on South Africa and our hunt.
We drive back to camp and find that Chuck shot a massive, 54” kudu bull and Matt shot a warthog and a zebra! We get to hear the “play by play” of how it all went down. I can see how proud Scott is of his son Matt. Cool stuff.
After dinner, we gather at the fire, joined by a new hunter in camp. Russell is from Canada, on his first hunt in Africa. Arriving a day earlier than his group, he has tons of questions. So he and I spent some time together discussing his bow set up and shot placement.
After recapping our hunt, Matt, Chuck and I are the last to turn in. I never want my hunt to end and am milking it for every minute! Besides, we all want to be tired so we can sleep on the long flight home! This has been a really good hunt. Not so much in animals killed, as we should have had lots more action. What it lacked in animals, it more than made up for in memories. Lots of new friends were made this year,
Today we go home. Before breakfast, Charl and I recap everyone’s hunt to get the paperwork ready for final settlement with each hunter. After breakfast is done, I take each hunter, one by one, and do their final paperwork and collect any monies due. Charl returns and we need to get loaded up and head out.
We bid our farewells to everyone that isn’t going to the airport with us. The name Infinito Safaris perfectly describes the memories we take home from this hunt, truly never ending.
As we look to the future, Charl and I are taking our South African bowhunting operation to the next level. With a new lodge, more land and permanent professional hunters, Charl continues to improve the hunting experience. As the exclusive bowhunting agent in the United States, my end is focused on promoting one of the world’s best hunting experiences at sports shows throughout the Midwest.
The trip home was not without some adventure, as a missed connection in Toronto resulted in Scott and Matt staying overnight at the airport, delaying their arrival at Chicago to the next morning. Much like our drive to Chicago, most of the trip home was made in the rain. Another trip is over and I can’t wait to go back and introduce more people to the land, people and animals of South Africa next year.
Looking for the bowhunting adventure of a lifetime? Hunt South Africa with Infinito Safaris and Double Lung Archery. Next year’s hunt is tentatively scheduled for June 14-25, 2015. For more information, contact Dave Stueve at Double Lung Archery Inc./Infinito Safaris, 501 Main Street in La Porte City or call 319 342 4550.