To celebrate the release of Richard Mann’s book “The Scout Rifle Study”, the Scout Rifle Safari in South Africa will be taking place during the month of June on Fort Richmond. 11 Hunters will be using various Scout Rifles to hunt game on the African plains. The Kudu antelope is among the game that will be hunted.
Being part of the Spiral-horned antelope, the Kudu is not only the grandest but also one of the most sought after plains game trophies in Africa. It is at the top of the list for most hunters doing an African safari.
The Kudu is stately in appearance with its long spiral horns and proud bearing and therefore it is no surprise that it is such a favorite with hunters. Kudu come with their own unique camouflage, perfectly suited to the African bush. Their ghost-like reputation can partly be credited to their ability to blend so well with their pale-grey to brownish-grey coat as well as for being extremely elusive with exceptional senses. Combined this makes for a challenging hunt.
“The “gray ghost,” ubiquitous cliche that it is, is still about the best description anyone has come up with to describe the greater kudu. A kudu doesn’t emerge from the bush, it materializes; they do not walk into deep cover, they vanish like smoke in a stiff breeze. …there is no more impressive single trophy to be had than the horns of a mature greater kudu.” Terry Wieland, Spiral Horn Dreams
Kudu are browsers who feeds in the early morning and late afternoon. Kudu drink regularly and therefore will never be far from water.
Kudu lives in small herds – family groups consisting of 6 to 12 animals, mostly cows and calves but large numbers can sometimes be seen at water holes. The bulls only join the herd during their mating season. The bulls form bachelor herds or become solitary.
Kudu are difficult to spot for various reasons. They are very alert and nervous animals who spend nearly all their time in thick bush. They usually stand very still (freeze) for long periods when suspicious. When it gets disturbed in the bush habitat, the animal will move away quietly or dash off after giving a loud, sharp alarm bark. They move surprisingly quietly through dense bush. This majestic animal is so graceful in flight and extremely athletic, jumping very high considering the size of its body.
You might get a close up shot at a Kudu but chances are the light will be poor or the bull will be in dense cover. For these reasons a rifle scope with magnification of 4x or more will allow you to better resolve this beast that sometimes seems almost invisible.
As with the hunting of all species, shot placement is paramount. The high heart/lung shot is the most effective for hunting Kudu. Concentrate to bring your sights directly up the foreleg, about one third into the body and squeeze.
This is a very exciting and rewarding hunt.
It is difficult to assess a Kudu trophy because the depth of the curl of the individual bulls’ horns can vary a lot. A good representative of the specie is a 45 – 50 inch set of horns with nice ivory tips.
The following is an article Richard Mann wrote on this hunt in Cabela’s Outfitter Journal. The Fence – Hunting free-range Kudu in South Africa by Richard Mann.
To read more about Bat’s hunt at Fort Richmond: click here
“There is something about this lovely beast that makes him a hunter’s grail. Perhaps it is the tremendous sweep of those double-curling horns, as brown and clean as rubbed mahogany, heavy-ridged from the base around the curls, and ending in polished ivory points. Perhaps it is the chevron on the nose, or his clean, gray, white-barred hide, the skin thin as parchment. Perhaps it is the delicacy of his long-legged deer’s body, slimness of his deer’s legs, the heavy-maned swell of his neck, the enormity of his ears that pick up whispers at radar range. …The kudu is just under your hand, and yet he always manages to escape you. Robert Ruark, Horn of the Hunter