'surviving' Bushpigs In The Reeds...

Discussion in 'Survival Stories' started by sekelbos, Mar 29, 2019.

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  1. sekelbos

    sekelbos Well-Known Member

    Blog Posts:
    I am new with lots of stories to share--as such I could not revive the old thread and so will start a new one on the same topic.
    Also I still do not have blog privileges and hope to have all my stories maybe in one place at some time if the mods permit ?
    These are real life experiences where I 'survived' [not always due to my 'survival skills' !] in Africa to see the sun another day---enjoy!

    My good friend and hunting companion and I were out Bush pig hunting [problem animals] with bow and spear in the Makidikidiki river area in the Limpopo near the iconic Hanglip mountain.

    The ranch we were hunting on this time was right next to the huge 35000 ha private Game reserve. Some of the bush pigs had crawled from under the protective game fence in the river and created havoc with the farmer’s watermelon and groundnuts harvest right next door.
    Although usually nocturnal, these hogs had not often been hunted before, and as the reeds in the river offered protection and a safe passage, they fed during the daytime as well.


    We established that they came down through ‘tunnels’ in the reeds that had totally overgrown the stream at places. This made it nearly impossible to spot them during the day, and at night it was totally out of the question to see them.

    After investigating all the possible strategies, we concluded that the only way to hunt them with a bow was to hack a corridor/clearing in the reed bed in the river. We then put out some tasty watermelons pieces sprinkled with groundnut fodder as a lure, thus trying in that way to get them out in the open for a shot with my Mathews compound bow.

    The river has a little elevated bank near a bend on the mountain side, so we decided to build our hide there. It also gave us a slightly elevated clear view over the clearing, as well as the top of the 7-10 ft extremely dense reeds.


    We had just completed our crude blind, when we heard the faint splashing sounds of the bush pigs in one of the tunnels in the reeds to our right.

    It was totally frustrating when after about 2 hours of observing the reed tops moving, we still had seen neither hair nor hide of any pig, though we could still hear them moving about in the shallow water of the dense dark reed bed .

    After another 20 minutes, we could see by the movement of the tops of the reeds that a pig was on its way to the clearing and the broken watermelons.
    My hunting partner got ready with the 60 pd Matthews compound bow and 3-bladed 125 grain razor sharp Muzzy replaceable arrow blades, and scrutinized the ‘kill zone’ about 30 m away with anticipation through squinted eyes.

    I was ‘spotting’ the reed tops for him, and thus kept him informed about the pigs’ movements and whereabouts.
    Just before it emerged into the clearing ,the bush pig stopped dead in its tracks. It could distinctively be heard taking deep wheezing breaths as it smelled the watermelon and tested the air for any danger.

    Steady...Steady…, then with little splashing noises it ran into the clearing and stopped at the bait.

    My friend knew that time was limited, so mere seconds later the 500 gr Easton aluminum arrow flew true down the cleared reed bed corridor. Through my Steiner binoculars I could clearly see the tiny water drops splashing in a fine mist from its side where the arrow hit it just behind the left leg.

    It dropped like a log, its hind legs kicking once or twice, and the water surrounding it turned into a light pink colour. After I’d congratulated my friend with his good shot, as they usually don’t just fell down and die, I went down the riverbank into the about knee deep water and pulled the pig out from where it lay in some shallower water.
    As it was only 11h15 it was still early enough to wait for a possible second chance at another Bush pig.
    Well, again we settled in and waited. And we waited. Nothing stirred and it was another 3 hours later before we could again very faintly hear splashing noises downstream, this time to our left, coming from the direction of Hanglip mountain and the Game Reserve.

    Suddenly, all movement and noise stopped, and for a long time nothing happened. I started to feel a bit adventurous, and decided to stalk my bush pig in the reeds with my spear. Having taken numerous warthog with my trusted 6’’ .357 magnum as back-up on my hip, the hunt was on with my 18’ big bladed razor sharp 7’ cold steel boar spear.

    VAKANSIE AUG 2010 019.jpg

    It was decided that I would start well upstream to our right, and slowly work my way downstream towards the faint noises. After walking about 150 m on the riverbank upstream, I entered the reed bed.

    Picking the biggest tunnel I immediately realized that this was not going to be that easy, and maybe even a bit foolish,--but I was still young and full of confidence…..


    The reeds were very dense and the visibility was never more than 3-4 meters [10ft] at best. The water was for the most part knee deep, but a lot of unseen bent reeds underwater tried to trip me over nearly every step of the way.

    The tunnels were at places completely overgrown at the top, making it dark and gloomy inside as well. As there also was a soft swirling breeze blowing, the leaves rustling against each other sounded completely like pigs moving all around me. [It could well have been!]

    The big 7’ long spear also became a bit awkward to maneuver at times when the tunnels became very dense.

    Under those difficult conditions it was impossible to continue walking quietly in the water and reeds with this high knee action movements to not trip over, while at the same time keeping a sharp lookout for the pigs.

    Even trying to keep my balance and not fall down every couple of steps, became such an effort that I decided to use the back of the spear shaft as a balancing/ walking stick rather than a hunting tool.

    When I eventually reached our man-made clearing with the watermelon bait without even seeing any bush pig, I decided that I’ve had enough of this nerve- wreaking scary reed stalking stuff with a spear for one day.

    Luckily sanity prevailed!

    A bush pig is not your friend at the best of times, and to have a possible encounter with one of them in these dense reed tunnels, together with the poor visibility and the extremely close range, was just not on.

    When I reached my friend on top of the riverbank, he informed me that he could still see from the movement of the reeds that our earlier bush pig to the left was still slowly advancing from the opposite direction.

    As it was getting late and near sunset, we decided to ambush this one at another nearby clearing a little downstream, where we could see the exit of one of the big tunnels.
    When I eventually observed the reeds swaying violently near the exit of the tunnel about 50 m away, I got ready for my turn with the compound bow on this elusive Bush pig.

    To our utter astonishment and shock, the next moment a huge 2+ ton Hippopotamus materialized in the small clearing!

    There were NOT supposed to be any Hippos here where we were hunting! ---
    [He had, unbeknown to us, escaped the previous evening from the neighboring Game Reserve!]


    At that moment I could clearly feel all the blood draining from my face, and distinctly heard my pulse pumping loudly in my ears as I became ice cold and completely numb. With shock I instantly realized that we could have even been together at the same stretch of reeds at the same time!

    My friend and I were utterly speechless and dumbfounded, but then self-preservation and survival and plain fright took hold of us.
    We knew that Hippo killed more people in Africa annually than Crocodiles and Lions combined.

    Now, we were both experienced hunters of more than 30 years each at that time, but I’m not ashamed to inform you today that seconds later, after the initial shock wore off, the moment we got all our faculties back and realized we were totally inadequately armed for such a beast at close quarters, we ran while we still can!


    Later that evening around the campfire, we were each enjoying a nice big T-Bone with the owner of the ranch, chatting about the day’s hunt.
    It really scared me thinking back on this episode where I was totally unaware of this beast in the same dense reed bed!

    After describing my stalk through the reed tunnels to him, and taking into account the restricted visibility and maneuverability of the big spear in that confined space, I asked him what I could have done had I encountered that Hippo at very close range [+_5-8 m] head on in a reed tunnel?


    Should I have stood still or even tried to dive away under the shallow water, as running or, heaven forbid, trying to fend it off with my spear really was not a very realistic option?

    He just looked strangely at me over the flickering of the small camp fire for a couple of seconds, and then he slowly shook his head, and quietly in a hoarse voice asked:

    ‘Can you pray?’

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
  2. sekelbos

    sekelbos Well-Known Member

    Blog Posts:
    I hope these type of 'survival' experiences from across the big water from a different continent, culture and perspective will also be ok here?

    Sometimes its foolishness to act macho and stand your ground out there--survival also at times imply --get away- and fast !
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
  3. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard ! Staff Member

    Blog Posts:
    Good story look forward to more.
    sekelbos and GrizzlyetteAdams like this.
  4. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor

    Blog Posts:
    Thank you for sharing that! I bookmarked your post to read it in its entirety soon.

    I, too, have been waiting for blog privileges... I know that a member has to be here for a time to earn it.

    How long, is anybody's guess... @Keith H. ? @lonewolf ? What do you think?

    TMT Tactical, Keith H. and sekelbos like this.
  5. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member

    Blog Posts:
    I have contacted admin twice now on this subject GA & have recieved no reply as yet. Sorry about this.
    Posted another to admin today 30th March.
    "I am still getting asked how long members have to wait before they get blogging privileges. Can you let me know please. Grizzlyette Adams needs a reply on this.
    Regards, Keith."
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
  6. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor

    Blog Posts:
    Thank you, Keith, your efforts have been much appreciated.

    TMT Tactical and Keith H. like this.
  7. sekelbos

    sekelbos Well-Known Member

    Blog Posts:
    appreciated KEITH
    TMT Tactical likes this.

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