Joella Bates marked her place in history by becoming the first woman bowhunter to harvest the Big Five.
Bates had won five 3D Archery World Championships and many other shooting titles, but the biggest prize started in 2009.
After meeting Tienie Bamburger, professional hunter with Warthog Safaris, she was encouraged to tackle what no woman has ever done before: taking down the Big Five with a bow.
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Her journey began on September 7, 2009, and her first mark off the list was the lioness. As you can see in the photo above, it was a proud accomplishment for Bates.
The trip through South Africa and Zimbabwe changed Bates’ life, to say the least, and was an emotionally exhausting experience.
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Her next target was the great African Elephant. Using her Carbon Express 175-grain, she managed to take down her second mark.
The third was the Cape Buffalo, known as the most dangerous animals in the world. Just as the previous two, the Cape Buffalo fell to her bow.
Her forth involved “green hunting” a rhino, which translates to shooting the animal with a tranquilizer, which then gave scientists the chance to study the animal’s health, learn more about them, and ultimately allowed the animal to be released back into the wild unharmed.
Bates’ final portion of her Big Five journey was the elusive leopard. On October 3, 2009, Bates took down one of the hardest animals to hunt, and become the world’s first woman to take down the Big Five with a bow.
For the detailed story through Bates eyes, check out her great reflection on Bowhunting.com.
Featured image via Throttle Communications