Free range Kudu hunting combines two thrills in one. It combines the excitement of hunting a free range animal and hunting an animal that’s known to be challenging because of its vigilance.
Hunting Kudu is always a challenge, but hunting free range Kudu is a bigger and more rewarding challenge. To be fortunate enough to harvest a big free range Kudu is a great achievement. These animals move a lot in search of food, water, cover and especially in the rut. There are times we will see a big Kudu bull and for months even years never see that same bull again. That's the beauty of hunting and the in particular beauty of free range hunting; this uncertainty is the essence of the hunt. We know the animals are there, we see them all the time and shoot great bulls all season. Who will get that elusive monster, when it will be claimed and where are all factors we cannot control? It's great to know that when it's your day it's your day and that is what hunting is all about.
Crusader Safaris has two areas that support large numbers and quality of free-range Kudu. The Baviaansriver conservancy is a 400 000 acre conservancy in the Eastern Cape and has excellent Cape Kudu. The Umkomaas valley is a 100 000 acre conservancy in KwaZulu Natal and has the bigger Southern Greater Kudu. Being able to offer and hunt both Southern African subspecies of Kudu in South Africa, free range and indigenous to these areas makes Crusader Safaris the undoubted leading outfit for authentic Kudu hunting in South Africa.
Most Kudu hunts start out early in the morning on top of a hill or other vantage point, wind in your face and sun on your back. In winter Kudu will always spend some time in the early mornings trying to warm up. The hunt is on once a great bull is spotted. Where most animals rely on one or two senses, Kudu has huge ears, and they can hear well. They're often in herds and can see well, and their sense of smell is outstanding. A well-planned stalk is there very valuable.
Shots vary from 40 yards in thick bush to 400 yards if we cannot get closer due to the thick cover or undulating terrain. These are big animals, and a well-placed shot with high-quality ammo is very important. A wounded Kudu in the forest doesn't have to go far to be tough to find. With both areas being a big country and the natural movement of the animals out of our control when you see the right bull and get a good opportunity, we make sure we take it as it might be years before we see that same Kudu or get another chance.
In the Baviaansriver you can expect to see 3 or 4 good bulls a day and will usually get at least one opportunity. There are always more opportunities with the Cape Kudu because they are more common. In the Umko on the Southern Greater Kudu, you can expect to see a lot of cows and usually one huge bull a day. It usually takes 3 or 4 days to be certain of getting one of these monsters.
Every year Crusader Safaris produces some of the best Cape Kudu and Southern Greater Kudu. As a hunter to take either under authentic, fair chase, free range hunting conditions are something to be proud of. We always harvest great old trophy bulls, and every year we will shoot a few once in a lifetime monster Kudu, who shoots these giants, where and when we will not know but what we do know is that they are out there and that is hunting.