Red Duiker Hunt

I could hear his heart beat and I whispered to him – take the shot now!

My name is Frans Loots, I’m an outfitter and Professional Hunter of Brave Africa Safaris. My pride and passion is bow hunting in South Africa, and to turn the impossible into the possible hunt. I am discussing my way to hunt one of Africa’s tiny ten animals, the species that my client and I hunted was the Red Duiker (Cephalophus natalensis).

A common species that occurs in Zululand (KZN) where I live, a species that’s smaller than the Common Duiker, a species that likes eating small leaves and twigs and fruits lying on the ground and weighs about 12kgs and has a shoulder height of 420 mm and its very aware of its environment and surroundings. The Red Duiker is also a monogamous species, that means one pair for life. The Red Duiker is very territorial, and both male and female species have horns. The horns of the male are clearly visible and the horns of the female are between hairs. The female is also bigger in body size than the male, but the male is darker reddish in colour and the female is normally a lighter red colour

I did not want to change anything on the environment where the Red Duiker was eating

Frans Loots

1) Hunting Method

Apart from the behaviour and anatomy of the Red Duiker the story is actually about How to hunt the Red Duiker with Brave Africa Safaris.

About a week before my client arrived I had seen a beautiful male Red Duiker underneath a wheeping boer bean tree, eating the small red blossoms lying underneath the tree. I decided to put up a trial camera against the tree to take better pictures of this Red Duiker. About 60 meters from the tree was a small round water trough. It was slowly overflowing because the ball valve that was suppose to block the water when its reaching a certain level was not functioning very well, and the water was flowing past the tree where the Red Duiker came in every morning between 9:00 and 10:30 and again in the afternoon between 16:00 and 17:30.

That was the good thing about the trial camera that I fixed against the tree. I started to get the Red Duiker’s pattern and in the back of my mind I saw the perfect opportunity of how we were going to hunt this vulnerable animal. I was thinking about a few possibilities of how to hunt this animal. I always tell my clients if you want to hunt an animal you must think like the specific animal that you are going to hunt. I was thinking about putting up a tree stand where the Red Duiker was eating, but I did not want to change anything on the environment where it was eating. I decided to build a blind about 20 meters from where the territory was, where this Red Duiker was eating the flowers and fruits from this Big Red Ivory tree.

2) How we build the blind

It was very important, how you build your blind and where it’s situated. Because the Red Duiker’s eye sight and smell is very good. It’s very important that you must put up the blind where it’s not visible and you must have a constant wind direction the whole day if you decide to sit and wait for it. 

Another important factor that you must bear in mind is where the sun is coming up and where will it go down. So I built it in a very thick sickle bush that was not in the direction from where the Red Duiker was coming in, and I have built it in a way that the sun was not in our eyes early morning but with the sun coming up from my left hand side which would then be east, and that was also the direction the Red Duiker would have came in to mark its territory and to have a early snack.

3) Materials

I used steel droppers and welded it together in a square shape frame about 1.5 meters x 1.5 meters, and covered the whole frame with a old grey blanket, I used this frame for the front part of the blind. On the sides I used a very dark green sunshade net and 2 small wooden poles on each side to keep the sunshade straight up. For the back I used dark black shade net – it’s important that the back of your blind is dark. Then I also used grass to cover the shade net on the sides and in front, To round of the whole blind I also chopped down some green bushes and packed it thick around the blind.  When all that was finished, I made 2 holes for us in the blanket.  The one hole was about 50 mm wide and 50mm long, that was just enough space to peep now and then through it, and to see any movement coming in from our left hand side of, and to tell the client when and which Red Duiker to hunt and for video camera to record the whole hunt.

The hole that we made for the bow hunter was about 100 mm wide and 200 mm long, which was big enough to take a shot through and to move left and right, and if he must quickly change his possession to take the PERFECT SHOT on this vulnerable animal.

4) The bow setup

  1. Bow used Elite Option 6 with twin cams on both sides of the split limbs, and a typical hunting bow, 60 to 70 pound bow
  2. Arrow used 575 grain gold tip with a 100 grain rage broad head that was cut down to make a smaller cut

In my travels around the world with bow in hand, I have been fortunate enough to harvest some amazing animals both large and small. As I sat there in that blind I couldn’t help but chuckle a little bit at what we are trying to do. I flew 1/2 way around the world to the dark continent which holds the largest animals to roam planet earth, and there we are, chasing one of the smallest! To this day I have not hunted a smarter, more keen animal that the Red duiker

Testimonial from Cody Witt
  1. Day of the Hunt

We decided to get into our blind around 7:00, before sunrise. Early that morning there was a southern breeze that was perfect for the way our blind was situated. My skinner, Thokozane took us to the blind and set us up. While we were preparing ourselves in the blind, getting the video camera ready and I also told Cody (my client) to put an arrow in his bow and to get ready. I showed him in the shot placement book where he must shoot the Red Duiker, aim low were my words to him, because they tend to duck. A few adjustments from the inside of the blind were made and made the peep hole little bit bigger for me to look through my binoculours.

At around 8:30 I heard a whistling sound, It’s was the sound that a red duiker makes when he is calling his partner or when he sees a predator. I signalled that we must be ready, and that I think he is coming in. Suddenly I saw a Red Duiker running about ten meters in front of us past the blind. That was very strange to me because maybe he saw us, or the wind direction had changed.

About half an hour after that I saw a female coming in, she walked straight to the tree and started to eat the fruits that were lying on the ground. She was very relaxed and about 15 seconds after that I saw another Red Duiker coming in. I took my Binoculars in my hand and lifted it slowly to look at this Red Duiker – It was the male. I gave Cody the thumbs up and we waited about 20 seconds for the Red Duiker to turn broadside.

The moment of truth arrived, suddenly it turned, and Cody draws his bow. I could hear his heart beat and I whispered to him – take the shot now! I clearly saw the arrow fly and where it went in – Perfect shot! The Red Duiker stumbled and took off, we could not believe what had happened. About 30 minutes after the shot, I called my tracker on the two way radio. When my tracker arrived we went to where the Red Duiker was standing. About 15 meters from where the Red Duiker was standing was the arrow lying. It was covered with a light colour blood, that gives us a indication that it was a long shot. We followed the blood trial for about 20 meters and there it was lying – what a beautiful male! We really did put a lot of effort in to this hunt, if you work hard for an animal that you really want to hunt with Brave Africa safaris, you will get it.

Share this article

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Related Articles