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My springbuck, hunted in the Magaliesburg region

Johan de Jager

I was sitting in my easy chair drinking a cup of coffee and reading a local hunting magazine. It was late April 2020 when my phone rang. It was my bowhunting buddy, Chris Trollope, with whom I had hunted for nearly four years. He simply said “Get your stuff together; I have found you a South African springbuck. We are going as soon as your Mathews VXR 31.5 arrives in South Africa.” My initial response was I so hope my bow arrives soon without any further delay.

Some time had passed while out at the local shopping centre doing my grocery shopping I got a call from Archer’s Edge. It was the owner, Redge Grant, on the line: “Your Mathews VXR 31.5 has arrived in store”. With great excitement I replied “I‘ll see you first thing tomorrow morning!” I wasn’t going to waste a minute and I knew the first thing I had to do was get my bow built and arrows chronographed.

I washed my Treezyn Camo Gear in my No-Scent Laundry Pods, packed my hunting backpack, and got all our hunting permits in order.

The long-awaited day finally came. I was on my way bright and early to Archer’s Edge to collect and have my new Ambush Mathews VXR 31.5 setup. After a heart-warming welcome from the team at the shop and taking some unboxing photos, bow technician Bradley Matthysen got straight to work on my bow. As minutes went by my ‘clean bow’ started looking like a mean rig and measured 75.2 pounds on the scale. My bow was fitted with the following items:

-    Sure Sight V6.1 Multi Pin

-    Easton Wrist Sling

-    Stabilizers 8”

-    VaperTrail Limb Driver Pro-V Rest

-    Easton Stabilizer Component

-    Mathews Arrow Web HD Series Quiver

-    Monkey Tails

It was mid-June 2020 now when I got awakened by my bowhunting buddy Chris with a steaming hot cup of coffee. I had a quick hot shower and then we were off to meet up with Tristan Phillips to follow him to his dad’s farm nearby Magaliesburg, Gauteng. After a short drive, we arrived at the gates of the farm We had encountered common blesbuck in quantity and some fellow deer while driving to camp. However, I was after a magnificent springbuck ram.

After unpacking my gear and enjoying a quick cup of coffee, I made sure my arrows were still flying true. After flinging some arrows at various distances I was happy with my current selected program on my Sure Sight.

After a short walk through various amounts of trees, we arrived at our elevated hide. We saw it was going to be a tight fit but we had to make the best of it. It wasn’t long after settling in when we spotted a herd of common blesbuck in the distance coming in our direction. While Chris was in the standing position and myself in the sitting, we glassed them through our binoculars and rangefinder till they had passed.

It was a cold crisp morning, but luckily we had our Treezyn Late-Season Gear, Gloves, Buff, and Beanie on to keep us warm. There was also an icy breeze blowing on and off that morning. With the icy breeze blowing on and off, we made sure to spray our No Scent Field Spray to cover our scent. As the morning hours were ticking on by Chris and I made turns rotating from the sitting to standing position. Suddenly my eye court movement to our right in the distance. There was a common blesbuck ewe that was making her way into the clearing in front of us.

To our surprise, there was the springbuck ram I was after tailing her. They started slowly grazing from the shadows of the border trees into the warm sunlight, ever slowly making their way to the pile of feed in the distance. While glassing them you could see how cold they were by their “fluffy” coats.

Later on, another large herd of common and white blesbucks joined them, slowly grazing and warming up their cold bodies in the sunlight. They kept a good 50-70 yards from us. Suddenly the wind shifted and they all ran off into the distance out of sight. We both “cussed” under our breath. By this time it was possibly around 10 am and both our faces were pink in colour from the cold.

It wasn’t too long till the next common blesbuck herd came back into the clearing and started slowly grazing and making their way to some feed. While that was happening the other common blesbuck ewe and my targeted springbuck ram appeared back into the clearing to our right. But they still kept their 50 to 70 yards from us. As time passed by we noticed that the springbuck ram decided to lay down in the sun.

A spike fallow deer stag appeared to the left below our elevated hide and kept us company while the springbuck ram was relaxing in the sun. I must say I was very tempted to take that ‘spike’, but I stayed focused on getting my first springbuck with my bow.

Moments later the fallow deer stag decided to go into the clearing to the feed in the distance. The springbuck ram got up and decided to go join him. That was my chance, probably the only opportunity I’ll have. I got up slowly from the sitting position while the springbuck ram was making his way slowly to join the ‘spike’.

Chris moved to my left as far as he could without falling out of the elevated hide and started getting his cellphone out to attempt recording the shot. The phone was ready and Chris started ranging the springbuck ram. The springbuck ram turned and stood about 90° degrees from our elevated hide while Chris whispered: “he is at 40, 40 yards, if you have a shot, take it”. It wasn’t too far and I was at full draw. Counting down on my LED Sight Pins from 20, the 40-yard pin settled on his shoulder.

I squeezed my Scott Samurai release. The arrow flew and disappeared on the springbuck's shoulder and dropped into the dirt. As the arrow hit the dirt, so did the springbuck ram. We called on the radio to Tristan and said: “We got him, he is down”. We all arrived about the same time by my springbuck ram trophy.

On this bowhunting adventure, I used an Easton FMJ .300 5mm 490 grain arrow tipped with a Swhacker 100 grain Mechanical Broadhead.