A Sable Story - A ReelCamoGirl Guest Blog
An African Adventure Story. Written by ReelCamoGirl guest contributor Sherri Usselman. “Have you ever thought about hunting a Sable?” was the question Lammie Potgieter, owner and operator of “Dare to Bowhunt South Africa” asked me in one of our many email conversations leading up to my 2nd trip to South Africa in August of 2014.
My answer then was that no, I hadn’t really thought of hunting sable before. The more I looked at pictures, and researched these beautiful antelope, the more I thought about doing it. I I decided to go for it! I mean it’s not every day that you get the chance to hunt an animal that is on many people’s “dream hunt” list, let alone go hunting in South Africa.
Five months later, after flight plans, packing lists, checking and double checking equipment, (not to mention 23 hours of air planes and airport layovers) I was back in South Africa!
After a much needed nights' sleep, I was ready to get this hunt started. I got my Excalibur crossbow put together, and did a few test shots to make sure the travel hadn’t jarred my scope too much. After I was confident that I was still hitting my mark, Lammie took me to my blind where he said three Sable had been frequenting. Two of the Sable were often together, and one was almost always alone. Lammie told me that if the solo sable came in, it was a big one.
By the time I got dropped off, it was pretty close to noon. The sun was high in the sky and it was already pretty warm outside. Ideally when I’m hunting at home, I prefer to be in the blind and settled early in the morning or late afternoon. But what did I know about Sable movement? Obviously not much because within half an hour of getting settled, movement to my left caught my eye. A lone Sable was coming directly towards me!
So many thoughts were going through my head. Was this the big guy? Was he actually alone or was this the duo and his buddy was close behind? As he kept coming in closer I could hear my heart pounding in my chest and I was starting to shake. I turned my video camera on and waited. He was big and he was alone. This must be the one Lammie was telling me about. I set my cross bow up onto my shooting sticks, took a deep breath, and took the safety off. I had him in my scope at 20 yards away when something behind me spooked him. He jumped and ran off straight away. I looked up expecting to see nothing but his tail heading into the bush. Whatever spooked him was either not a real threat, or him just being paranoid because he circled around and came back in to 30 yards. I re-positioned myself, aimed again, and squeezed the trigger. The Sable jumped, and ran off to my right. I immediately grabbed my video camera and watched the shot in regular view, slow motion and frame by frame. I came to the conclusion that it was a good shot! ( Oh how I hoped it was a good shot!!) I called Lammie and told him my exciting news!! He told me to stay in the blind as Sable will get aggressive if they’re wounded. I waited impatiently for what seemed like hours for Lammie to get there.
When he pulled up, I showed him the footage and he agreed that it looked like a good shot as well. As I stood up on my still shaking legs, we headed in the direction my Sable had gone. He was laying in the grass 50 only yards away. One shot through the heart with a PX2 broadhead had brought this giant down on my first full day in South Africa. The Sable’s horns measured 38 1/2 inches long and his jet black hair shone in the sun as we set up for pictures. Once we had taken a few different picture angles, we loaded my Sable up and took him back to camp.
Two nights later, Lammie’s wife Allison prepared Sable meat for our supper. The final chapter of this journey is yet to come as this Sable will soon be shipped from South Africa to my taxidermist here in Saskatchewan where it will be transformed into a pedestal mount and I will forever have a life-like momento of my hunt of a lifetime. - Sherri Usselman