2009 was the 100th anniversary of Teddy Roosevelt’s historic African Safari. One of America’s greatest presidents, Teddy Roosevelt was also an inspired leader in wildlife conservation. A year end bonus from my law firm gave me a bit of spending dough. After paying off some bills, I asked my wife if we could do our own modest version of the Teddy Roosevelt Safari.
This meant something to me. Teddy Roosevelt was not only a die hard hunter and conservationist, he was also Harvard Educated. I graduated from Harvard Law School in 2001. Like Teddy Roosevelt, I also share the passion for the outdoors, conservation and hunting. For me, following Roosevelt to the Dark Continent was a sort of a pilrimage. I was happy to learn that while an elephant or cape buffalo were out of price range, a person can do a fairly nice plainsgame package for not a lot of scratch. At the top of my list was the greater Kudu. I found an outfitter with an impressive 100% harvest rate on monster greater kudu, including many in the 50 inch range and even a world glass 60 plus inch which ranks top 5. His base package included my #2 plainsgame trophy gemsbok along with an impala and a warthog. All for less than a good guided mule deer hunt. We booked the hunt last minute and were on the ground in Africa a scant 6 weeks later.
This was easily the hardest animal to harvest on the Safari. Free range, rough country and dry weather. We saw a good number of kudu. Even captured some on film. But either the animals were not trophy class animals, or they saw us before we saw them. Nicknamed the gray ghost, the enormous antelope can disappear faster without a whisper.
After lunch we switched to the land owner’s Land Rover-one fine piece of machinery if you ask me.
The afternoon we missed a couple of quick-shot opportunities. The PH would say, “shoot that one.” But after being warned repeatedly not to kill a female kudu (like the hunter from the previous week.) I wasn’t about to shoot until I was sure that we were looking at the same animal. Opportunities missed only add to the excitement and sense of expecation if you ask me.
Shortly before dusk we saw two big bulls fighting in a meadow. They quickly disappeared into the thicket. When I finally located the big bulls as they moved through the thicked, I found a sliver of an opening through the trees. With my PH telling me to shoot, I was able to connect on one of the bulls.
You can see that the tips of these massive spiral horns arc outwards. I am told that only 1 in 20 greater kudu have this horn configuration with of most bulls curving inward (see photo above.) What a beautiful animal. I can hardly wait for the mount to arrive so we can enjoy this beautiful animals for many years to come.