Well, I wasn't
in Africa, but the animals I had seen so far, this day, made me feel like
I was. I had seen Eland, Scimitar Oryx, Gemsbok, Wildebeest, and a few
other I don't recall, including other exotic species from other parts
of the world along with a number of native North American game animals.
My buddy, Richard Lozano, who was also, the outfitter and taxidermist
for this trip, and I were in the South Texas brush country near Pearsall,
We were after
a Kafeau Flats Lechwe, and possibly a common Waterbuck. Both were antelope
of African origin. We met our guide, ranch foreman, Felix Arnold at the
lodge at the end of a game filled road. He told us that there were three
or four Lechwe bulls on the ranch all almost identical. Ditto with the
Ranch, where we were hunting, is famous for the size and diversity of
its trophy animals. As we drove around the ranch, we came upon (if what
my friends that have been to Africa say is true) a scene right off the
plains of Africa. Stretched out before us was a wide-open area dotted
with water holes and tall trees. Scattered over the veldt type plain were
a number of African species, including a pretty good Lechwe Bull. Felix
said, "That may be the best on the place, but since its early, let's see
if we can bust a little brush, and see if we can get a look at the rest
of them." As we searched, Felix made some observations.
he wasn't to sure about hunting with a handgun, especially for Waterbuck
since it has a very thick hide and tipped the scales at up to 700 pounds.
Richard told him that I was shooting a .375 Contender with a Leupold 4
power scope, and that he had been with me on some other hunts for pretty
big animals and would vouch for my marksmanship, so Felix said, "Okay,
we'll see." He also told us that the Lechwe and Waterbuck on the ranch
were nearly all the same age and size, and any one of them horn wise would
be very close to the same size. He also passed on to me, that they seldom
saw the Waterbucks and if we saw a bull it might be wise to take him,
if the chance came. We did some major brush busting, but no Lechwe bulls.
We did see a big Waterbuck bull cross a road trailing a harem of females.
Going from one dense thicket to another, we got to the spot in less than
a few minutes, but there was no sign of him. We circled around and through
the area, but didn't spot him or them again.
It was now
past midday and seemed to be as hot as any African day. We decided to
head back to the lodge and cool down and get something cold to drink.
We started back out about an hour later. Even I find it hard to believe,
as did our guide, but within 30 minutes we saw what Felix said, was as
good as Waterbuck as he had seen on the place. It was standing in the
middle of a large opening with 18 females, just standing there looking
back at us. The trouble was, he was close to 200 yards away. Which is
a little past the reach of both my .375's, Winchester 200 grain power
point bullets, and frankly, my ability.
at an oblique angle in their line of travel trying to cut the distance
down a little. We were at least partially successful. They started getting
antsy, and started ambling toward a huge expanse of brush. We figured
the bull to be at least 130 yards away, the longest attempt at a shot
I had ever taken. At the shot the bull started to run, but then started
to slowly walk in the other direction and even more brush. I decided even
though the bull was now out to at least 150 yards, I had better try and
anchor him. I knew the first shot had connected, because I had seen blood
behind its shoulder at the first shot. The second shot was dead on, and
nearly a mirror image of the first one but on the opposite side. The three
of us could barely roll him upright for pictures.
he would go back to headquarters and bring a front loader to transport
it back to camp. It's a good thing, since we estimated him to be 600 pounds
plus. Next thing I knew we were headed back to the plains area in the
hopes that the Lechwe bull we had seen earlier in the day would still
be around. He was, just not in the same spot. Luckily after awhile, I
was able to get myself in a position at about 70 yards. The shot was true
and the Lechwe was down and my African day was nearly over. The Waterbucks
horns were 27 inches plus, and the Lechwe were right at 27 inches long
as well. Both animals placed in the gold medal category in the record
Steve Mahurin on April 26, 1999.