The Shortest and Most Amazing Kudu Hunt – Ever!
By PH Kirk de Bod Late
One evening, not too long ago, I received a phone call. The caller had a very distinguished “Queen’s English” accent.
He immediately started telling me about all about his African experiences, multiple kudu hunts all over Africa, and three times to the C.A.R., walking for a total of 63 days to get the Lord Derby eland and bongo trophies he was seeking. While he continued rambling on about his wanderings throughout Africa, I thought to myself, “This guy I have on my hands looks like he’s very picky and specific about his desire for ‘the ultimate kudu hunt.’” “By the way, I’m Jeremy Boyd and I’m gamekeeper on a large English estate,” he said. Then he stopped talking and asked, “Are you still there?” “Yes, when are you coming over?”
He musingly replied, “Come to think of it, when do you think is the best time for the opportunity to harvest a 60-inch-plus kudu? I know you can do it, I see in the books you’ve got quite a few over the mark.” “May,” I told him. “I have an opening from the 17th to the end of the month. But like all other hunting, I can’t promise a jackpot. All we can do is try.”
So the 17th comes and I sit at the airport, waiting for the flight from London. Now just while I was wondering whether I’d be able to identify him before he does me, when out the door he walks, clean-cut, a military-type English gentleman, and with him his friend Chris Squance. We shook hands, did the formal introductions all around, and off we went.
“How far?” he asks. “Sixty kilometres south, close to Dordabis, in the mountains to a game ranch called Bergzicht in Afrikaans, which translates to ‘mountainview.’” At the lodge in the 60,000-acre privately owned rangeland, we unpack, have lunch, and then go out to sight in the rifles. When I let them sight in the guns, they are one inch high at 100 yards; because most shots here range from 150 yards to 200 yards, with that adjustment, the hunting rifles will be close to spot on.
My assistant, PH Hannes, and Chris decide to head for the plains; we decide to carry on with the two-track road into the mountains.
About 15 minutes later down the bumpy road, the tracker, Sakkie, points out a thicket about one-third of the way up the mountain and says, “Kudu, but it looks like they’re all cows.”
We stop the truck, take the guns and shooting sticks, and make use of the available black hook thorns for cover to close the distance for a better look. You never know whether Mr. Grey Ghost might be in there with the cows and do his famous “invisible” trick. One by one the cows break cover, look around nervously, then hastily walk higher and higher up the mountain. We still have good cover. I set up the shooting sticks to rest the binoculars on in order to observe the cows and just enjoy the moment.
The next moment, there he is, out of nowhere, in the open in all his glory – the Grey Ghost. My heart jumps out of my chest and I become speechless. He is the best kudu I’ve ever seen in my entire hunting career! Huge, deep curls with very heavy bases.
I am still elated and stunned. While I try to speak, Jeremy politely asks, “May I take him?” I suddenly find my voice and say, “Shoot, or I will.” Jeremy takes his first shot – we hear the delay in the thump as the kudu is 250 yards plus and still moving up. “Reload and shoot again – aim high!” Jeremy hits the bull again, but there is still no change in the bull’s stride. Again the bullet has found its mark, but the bull pushes on briefly before coming to a halt and then going to ground.
We are breathing hard and still shaking, going up the mountain. After a 25-minute climb, we reach the bull. There he is… What a sight! I still cannot believe what I see. What a magnificent animal; so much better than I ever thought. Jeremy says, “He looked pretty good to me.” “You won’t believe how good!” I reply. We set him up for the pictures in the late cloudy afternoon.
The light is fading behind the clouds when the trackers finally reach us with all the tools to skin him and pack him out. I search in my backpack and find my trusty old SCI measuring tape. The moment of truth. I know the horns appear to measure well over 60 inches – but how much over?
Jeremy helps me and we very carefully follow the ridge along the outside of the spiral Then we run out of tape at the 60” mark – with still some horn left to measure! Jeremy starts to yell, “Thank you, God!”
We mark the 60” spot and measure the remaining horn, reaching an unbelievable 66½”. What a day! What a remarkable trophy to be long remembered by all. As of today, the kudu still ranks #3 in NAPHA’s Top 10 Trophies.
Dirk de Bod has been hunting Namibia professionally for the last 22 years; he holds a number of Top 10 trophies in the NAPHA listing. Winner in 2008 of the SCI Professional Hunter of the Year award, de Bod is an avid conservationist and game rancher. He is the co-owner of a private game reserve 90 km north-east of Windhoek, where he operates from a luxurious hunting camp. 20.3NamibiaKuduDeBod 940 words “But like all other hunting, I can’t promise a jackpot. All we can do is try.”