As I scanned the herd, one bull stood out from the rest. He was lying down with all the others, facing away from us. His horns looked very big, but as you know, it is very difficult to judge a kudu’s horns from behind. We had to wait for him to either stand up or turn his head. As we eliminated the other bulls as possible shooters, this bull seemed to get bigger and bigger. My initial guess was 53+”. After a good look, I eventually ended up at 55″. However, as I knew that the longer one stares at a kudu, the bigger it gets, I met myself halfway at the 54″ mark.
This beautiful bull was surely worth taking. But Jurgens was still not convinced. He wanted to make doubly sure. This was the first big bull we had encountered and we were only three hours into our three-day hunt. He wanted the bull to stand up but we could not risk spooking the animals, so we had to wait. It was agonising, to say the least. After an hour of waiting, Jurgens noticed that the herd of females was heading towards the bull herd. Another 15 minutes dragged by and then the first bull got up. It was far too early in the season for mating but I was sure that the bulls showed some interest in the cows. They were now walking together and our bull eventually got up.
As he stood up, my thumb rested on the upright safety of the Weatherby, waiting for Jurgens to give the go-ahead. He still wanted to confirm the bull’s age but when the animal got up, one could clearly see the massive body, much bigger than the other bulls. A mature bull of well over eight years, he had certainly passed on his genes. Jurgens nodded his approval. The tricky part now was to get a clear shot as the males and females were all together in one group, increasing the risk of the .30-378 Weatherby shooting through the bull and hitting a second animal behind it.
Our bull walked slowly behind a female and as he stepped clear of some herd members behind him, I heard Jurgens whispering, “If you are …” That was all I needed. The trigger broke, sending a deafening sound through the holes of the muzzle brake that reverberated over the mountains. I knew it was a good hit as I had aimed just behind the shoulder with the second line on my reticle. The bull jumped and came to a halt after a short dash of 20 paces. Jurgens urged me to put in another shot, and even though I was very confident about my first shot, I reloaded and put in a shoulder shot. Within seconds the bull went down. The rest of the herd disappeared in a flash. Reaching our bull, I could see why Jurgens had asked me to shoot again. A mere 10 paces further, there was a drop of more than 100 m, almost straight down. The other kudu manoeuvred down but if our bull had to attempt it, it would have been an absolute nightmare!