Sounds like a fantastic hunt, congrats... Some very nice photo's of the area and game, I really liked the picture of the Blue Wildebeest, Gemsbok and Zebra all lined up, looked like there were getting ready to find out who was the fastest...:bolt::bolt::bolt:
Can`t believe this half way through the hunt. Please don`t let us wait to long for the rest:) This place is a hunters wet dream;)
You learned well from Cliffy. Keep it coming.
The sixth day of Safari dawned with my attempting to sleep in after a very exciting and tiring day spent completing the Giraffe mission. The skinners had been up working very late, mainly with the preparation and salting of my Giraffe hide, which I had elected to have tanned as a full flat skin. After a late dinner we decided that we all would benefit from a late start the next day but try as I may, there would be no sleeping late for me, as the call of the Kalahari was beckoning. I couldnt seem to stand the thought of wasting good hunting time and we were soon going about the business at hand.
We had a good breakfast and then set out with a couple of particular animals in mind With the Giraffe down, our main focus would now be to find and harvest what we considered to be the most challenging two species to get within range of a shooter of. We had seen tons of nice Kudu bulls, but the really big guys had proven quite wary and always seemed to slip out the back door on us. Mature Eland bulls, while very plentiful on the property at Kanana, had simply seemed to most often have been in the places where we werent, as we had mostly seen young bulls and cows with their young. We had gotten very close to a group of very large bulls while stalking the old elusive Giraffe the day before, but we had only given them a quick look and then moved on. The next time things would be different.
Our hunting party was soon on the prowl once again, with a lot of ground being covered in the Land Cruiser, and the occasional stalk of game that was either spotted from the truck or discovered as we sneaked up to one of the abundant waterholes found at Kanana. Many times we would only catch a glimpse of an animal as it disappeared into the brush, and if it had shooter potential, we would often go after it in search of a better look.
One of these such encounters paid off with my being able to harvest my first Jackal. I had actually missed one due to a rushed shot very early on my first day of hunting, as it unexpectedly appeared, trotting right at me when I stepped out into a small clearing during a walk around a waterhole looking at game tracks. I cleanly missed the now or never shot and the Jackal made his escape. As this one ran into the brush upon seeing us approach, I thought that it had escaped as well, but it made the mistake of turning and running parallel to us. As it hit an opening, I touched off a shot at the running canine and had the immediate satisfaction of seeing it fold up on the spot. It was a good way to start the day and resulted in a nice mature male Black-backed Jackal to have a flat skin made from.
With so much time during the traditional Safari type hunting being spent in the hunt vehicle covering ground on the massive properties found in Africa it is important that a PH have comfortable and reliable vehicles from which to hunt. This is certainly the case at Kanana, as the Toyotas being utilized there are top notch in every way and are always kept clean and hunt ready. As a truck loving guy I really appreciated the versatile set up of both the Toyota Land Cruiser pickup truck
And the Toyota Land Cruiser GX Station Wagon used for client pickup and return at the airport.
Towards the end of the day, we returned to a favorite watering hole where we had previously observed sizeable herds of Blue Wildebeest present. We had watched the comical animals as they would suddenly stampede away from the waterhole only to stop in the distance and then make their way back in again. There was always a decent bull or two in the crowd but never anything that excited us too much. With little trigger time under my belt for the day, I was hoping that we would see something we liked on this trip to the waterhole. As we crawled our way into a good position from which to view the action at the waterhole, a nice Blue Wildebeest bull spotted us at the same time we saw him, and turned to face us. With Jason looking at him through his binoculars, I anxiously awaited his judgement call. "Hes a good bull," he said, "but he wont hang around long. I think you should take him." I immediately placed a shot in front of the shoulder that quartered slightly towards us and he was off in a cloud of dust. With darkness falling swiftly, we briskly walked in the direction he had taken away from the scene and found him piled up just a few steps away from the shot site. He was a handsome, brindled specimen that I was very proud to have taken on yet another fine day on the awesome Kalahari.
The next day found us headed into the Southern section of the property for some new scenery. Although the area we had been hunting was huge, I had only seen a small part of half of the vast property that is owned by Kanana Safaris. Many times in the past few days Jason had mentioned that we would eventually hunt our way into the Southern half of the property and now I was seeing the difference in the terrain and habitat for the first time. Being more developed, in the sense of basically having much of the blackthorn removed, this section of the ranch property offers a different view in the form of being more open and grassy. It was a very nice change from the thicker, more brushy type land that we had spent the last several days observing. With Kudu and Eland once again at the forefront of our expedition, we searched on.
Not too long into the hunt I was fortunate enough to experience my second Caracal sighting of the trip. The first one had come as Jason and I had bounced out onto a road after a long stalk on some Kudu bulls that I had chosen to pass on. The cat was a couple hundred yards away and exited the scene before I could get set up for a shot. This time I never even made it off the truck as the cat jumped off into the bush from where he was spotted just a few steps away from us. I had hoped to possibly see and take one of these Lynx like creatures while at Kanana, knowing full well that even catching a glimpse of one is a rare occurrence. I was grateful just to get to see one, much less two of them.
Riding along and looking around in an effort to see something of interest, I was alerted to the fact that Happy and Morlen had seen something that excited them. Although they were once again speaking in Afrikaans, which left me to rely solely on my imagination as to what exactly was seen, I knew enough to get ready when they became animated about a sighting of game. As Jason grew serious about the situation and motioned for me to follow him from the vehicle, I enthusiastically exited the truck with Kudu on the brain. We began our stalk in the direction that the game had been seen and I continued to look for the Kudu that I expected to come into view at any moment. All of a sudden a huge Eland bull caught my eye off to the left and I quickly squatted and alerted Jason and Morlen of my sighting by excitedly whispering that there were Eland over there. Come to find out, that was exactly what we had been stalking the whole time! After laughing at myself for a few seconds, I got serious about trying to get a good look at the Eland bulls. As we continued to maneuver into the wind in a circle around the feeding bulls I never could get a decent look at the horns of the largest bodied bull. We moved and then moved some more, setting up the sticks each time only to move them again, until finally Jason gave me the nod to take the big bull with his head still stuck in the brush and hidden from my view. Having learned to totally trust Jasons call, I put a round into the big Eland as he appeared almost unaffected by the shot. I followed the shot with another and then another until the beast finally lay still. Now, I would finally get to walk up on a big Eland bull-something that I had looked forward to since learning that I would be hunting one. Upon approaching the animal, I was just as impressed with his size and stature as I had expected to be.
With a major goal achieved of taking a mature Eland bull, I now had plenty of time to devote to the hunting of a really good Kudu. After loading the massive Eland into the Land Cruiser, we happily went along our way, knowing that some great steaks were now on the future menu. I had heard a lot about how great Eland was to eat and looked forward to finding out for myself.
We soon came upon a totally unexpected opportunity as a large Porcupine was seen and I immediately made the decision to take him. I had considered this situation while viewing photos and reading stories on Africa hunting and thought it would be a cool trophy to take if the chance came up. As we looked the unique critter over Jason mentioned how the meat was considered a delicacy by the natives and that it would certainly be utilized. While viewing the largest rodent of Africa firsthand, I knew that a full body mount was the order of the day for me on this species.
Then there is the Springbok. Along with the Impala, the Springbok is in my mind the very epitome of African game animals. It is pure joy for me to witness a nice buck as it engages in the act of pronking across the plains. Although not on my package list, this animal was very much on my to-take list, if I was lucky enough to see a very good trophy specimen.
I had seen them everyday, from the ones outside of my tent each morning, to the many herds scattered all across the hunting property that we crisscrossed each day. So far, although we had seen some definite shooters by most standards, we had not seen a buck that had really stood out from the rest. Driving down a long straightaway road, we saw a large group of the dainty little animals several hundred yards in the distance. As we stopped and glassed, and then inched closer and closer to them, one of the Springbok bucks stood out as being a bit different from the others. Although not noticeably any larger in body size, his seemingly splayed out horns appeared to be much more massive that the rest of the bucks that I had seen. As I contemplated taking the buck, they moved off into the brush and I decided to go after the obviously more mature animal with the heavy horns. After following along for quite some time as we tried to get a good visual on our buck, we finally got a break and I was able to identify the right Springbok and put him down with a shot from the .223.
I was actually in shock as I walked up on the ancient giant Springbok! I did not realize what kind of trophy I had run across until I saw him up close, but as Jason became more impressed and excited by the minute, even a first time Springbok hunter like me could see that I had been extremely blessed with a truly great Springbok!
Great report and pics. Really liking the waterbuck. Congrats on an awesome hunt.
excellent report, look forward to more, awesome animals.
Awesome. Keep it coming and congrtas once again.
Ancient old scrapper of a Springbok..
You are leaving nothing unscathed Jeff.
From the very beginning of the planning and learning stages of my Safari, the Kudu had become my favorite African plains game animal. It seems that we all experience this favoritism thing at one time or another, and it usually evolves and changes from one species to another as we experience and learn more about what all is really out there and available to us. The Kudu was up there at the top of my priority list, and I wanted the one that I chose to take to be a good representative of this regal and unique game animal.
Sunday morning began with the Kudu bulls on Kanana being more in peril than ever before during my Safari. With the harvest of the Eland bull the previous day, our list of animals to take was slowly but surely being narrowed down, and Kudu was undoubtedly the main target of the day. We did still have a Red Hartebeest bull to take, and although we had been in close on them a few times, they had proven adept at giving us the slip. Part of the problem had been trying to identify the right animal to take from among the herd as they more often than not would detect our presence and blend into the bush as they made good on their escape. We were confident that our time would come with the crafty critters though, and felt that our efforts should be spent on putting a good Kudu bull on the ground.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed viewing them, I had seemingly become somewhat spoiled by the large number of Kudu bull sightings that took place daily. Even though each one was unique and interesting, I had become so accustomed to seeing the average sized bulls in such large numbers that it took a very good bull to get me excited about the prospect of taking one. We had seen a couple that, for whatever reason, really tended to get my excitement level up and I knew that was the type of animal that would make me want to get serious about letting the air out of one. We had actually seen several that Jason had determined to be shooters, but I couldn't seem to be convinced that I needed to shoot one of them either by him or myself. Jason jokingly commented that after having witnessed us pass up so many shooter Kudu bulls, Morlen & Happy were probably muttering to each other about how crazy we were! I realized that I was passing on some good, solid bulls, but after having experienced the elevated excitement level induced by the brief encounter with a couple of particularly grand ones, I knew what it would take to make me shoot. In order for me to be truly satisfied in the harvest of my Kudu bull, we were simply going to need to once again run across one of those especially elusive "Voodoo Kudu" as I had affectionately taken to calling those elite Gray Ghost of the desert.
And run across one we did... He just suddenly appeared about midmorning on this 8th day of the Safari as we plodded on with our search, and I immediately knew that I wanted to take the bull. He was feeding in a quartering away position from us at about 200 yards, and with the wind blowing hard into our faces, he was totally unaware of our presence. Wasting no time, we set up for the shot and our Kudu bull was soon down. Very excited to have our Kudu on the ground, we quickly approached the animal and began to admire him from a few steps away when he suddenly came to his feet and scattered us in all directions! With a finishing shot to the heart he was down for the count and our Kudu was in the bag.
Once we had the Kudu taken care of back at the skinning shed, we continued to hunt in the search of a Red Hartebeest. With the temperature having warmed up towards midday, we sneaked in on a waterhole that we suspected may attract our targeted quarry. We began to see game at the spot long before we got very close to it, and we crawled on hands and knees for several minutes, stopping to glass into the open areas along the way. There were several animals present at the drinking place, including a couple of very nice Kudu bulls that began to plant a seed in my mind of possibly taking yet another one. As usual, several big Gemsbok were milling around as they occasionally peered in our direction, threatening to spot us and become alarmed like they would so often do. The half dozen or so Warthogs went about their normal business of wallowing as our attention was drawn to a few Red Hartebeest that suddenly drifted into our view amongst the many different species that were using the water source. Unable to properly identify a shooter Red Hartebeest as we attempted to gaze through the open pockets in the brush, we patiently continued to sit and observe the activity taking place before us. Eventually, the majority of the game finished up their drinking & socializing and melted away into the bush.
Feeling that we could now make a move to get into a better viewing position without being detected by the game that was visiting the waterhole, we crawled around until we came to a better place from which to view the action. As we sat watching a few Blue Wildebeest interact with one another, Jason directed my attention to a very old bull that stood among them. We admired the old battle scared bull with the worn down horns for a few minutes before deciding that he was a true old trophy bull worthy of the taking.
With the bull quartered hard towards me and now becoming alerted to my presence, I scooted sideways in my sitting position to better clear some ground brush, and proceeded to somehow make my worst shot of the Safari. Blue Wildebeest are known for their toughness and can sometimes cover a huge amount of ground even when hit well. Hit one marginally however, and you are just asking for trouble. My first Blue had been shot about as perfectly as you can shoot one, and his immediate demise had caused Jason to comment on their supposed toughness as well as the performance of the Norma Oryx ammo in the 30.06. I hit this one a little too far back, and even though we were able to get him finished just a few minutes later, it was a long few minutes for me. I was replaying the shot in my mind and wishing I could have it to do over again, even as we tracked the fatally wounded bull down. As Morlen took up the track of the Wildebeest, I looped around in an attempt to close off the bulls escape path should he have the ability to go very far, and Happy ran to fetch Jasons CZ 550 Magnum in .416 Rigby for him to back me up with. Only moments later, I heard the big rifle sound off once, and then again, after which time it once more became silent in the bush. I hurried back towards the location of the shots and was glad to see that the old bull finally lay still.
I immediately thanked Jason for the help in fixing my mistake and began to look the old veteran Wildebeest over. He was indeed an old battle scared fellow with very beaten and broomed horns, especially on his left side. Jason said that when the Wildebeest had turned to face him, he hammered him straight in the chest from 25 yards with a 400 grain Rhino solid, then stood amazed to see absolutely no reaction to the shot by the old bull. As he stood there looking at him, Jason bolted another of the huge rounds and placed it right beside where the first one went. The old patriarch finally went down, once again proving that the Blue Wildebeest is indeed deserving of it's well known reputation for toughness.
While roaming around later in the afternoon, we came across a temptation that I couldn't resist. I mean, we were after all in the business of shooting Kudu bulls today, weren't we? I honestly do not know if my appetite for them wasnt fully satisfied with the first one, or if Id simply had so much fun with it that I wanted to do it again! Either way, having spotted a really nice old Kudu bull, I soon found myself in the midst of yet another stalk to get within shooting range of him.
We crept closer to the bull that we'd spotted from atop the Land Cruiser as he fed in brush that was well over our heads. The only part of him that we could fully see was his head, and then only when he picked it up high to look around. As we moved around trying to get a clear shot, we could see that with this tall, thick brush surrounding both ours and the bulls current positions, things were not likely going to improve for us anytime soon. On top of that, the bull had become aware of our presence and was showing signs of leaving the area on us. I still laugh when I remember the way that Morlen excitedly whispered "the neck, the neck!" over and over to me in an attempt to get me to crack down on the Kudu with a neck shot. That guy truly loves the hunt and gets just as excited as the hunter during the pursuit, and I totally appreciate that. As I patiently continued to wait for a better target, the bull finally showed me just enough shoulder in a hole through the brush and one shot put him down. He was a nice old bull and we had a very enjoyable hunt for him.
We took care of our kill and for the first time since I had arrived in Botswana, we made it back to the lodge before dark. It was nice to have a little extra time to sit around the fire in the Boma both before and after dinner, reflecting on the day's hunt.
Hell of a day! and still more to come. Congrats yet again.
Only one way to cure Kudu fever..... another and another.....
this is just getting better and better jeff thanks again
i cant wait til august next year to hnut in africa again and your just making time tick slower and slower
The next morning we set out to try and hopefully accomplish a couple of things, the first of which was to find a good Red Hartebeest bull. This was now the only animal that was on my package that we had not taken. Interestingly enough, during the process of learning about African game animals, especially the ones that would be available to me on my plains game hunt at Kanana, the Red Hartebeest had started out as the least interesting of all to me. I had progressively become more interested in them as I began to see them while hunting and had eventually come to view them as a very neat species. It seemed ironic to me that the one animal that I was at first the least interested in hunting had now become the main focus of the hunt! Second on the priority list for the day was to simply have fun while out hunting and possibly take the odd species that presented an opportunity.
It was still fairly early in the morning when that first odd opportunity presented itself. I had toyed with the idea of shooting a big mature male Ostrich, and when the right one came along at the right time, I did just that. Having picked one out as he separated himself from the others, I patiently waited for him to stop moving and present me with a good shot. When he finally stopped trotting around and stopped broadside to me at about 250 yards, I instinctively aimed at what I thought to be the best spot for a heart shot and squeezed one off with the .223. The big bird staggered for a few short steps before falling straight over, and a close inspection of the Ostrich revealed that my good luck was still holding up for me as I had indeed pulled off a perfect heart shot.
I had a plan in mind all along to have the Ostrich's skin tanned. They reportedly provide a skin that is approximately 4' x 4' in size that can either be made into a variety of different items, or simply enjoyed as what it is. After taking the huge bird and closely inspecting it in total fascination, I have to admit that seeing one up close and personal is in itself alone worth the harvesting of it. At Jason's recommendation, I will also have book ends made from the huge feet. He was pretty good at coming up with such ideas.
We decided to make our way back down to the South end of the property in search of Red Hartebeest. I liked the idea of hunting that area, as we had seen plenty of game there and the scenery was just different enough to create a feeling of hunting an almost entirely different place. We saw lots of game all throughout the day, as usual, but this one group of young Kudu bulls contained more animals than I could capture in one photo. There were actually seven of them in all. The future for Kudu hunting, as well as for all of the other species found on Kanana is very bright!
As addicted as I am to finding shed antlers and horns, I couldn't pass up checking out the gnarly old Gemsbok bull that I spotted from atop the Land Cruiser as we drove past it lying in the brush. Possibly a Cheetah kill but definitely a very old fellow, the Gemsbok bull's horns had bases like none that I'd ever seen, even though they weren't really that long. This one would have been a great trophy to have harvested, in my opinion. I like old!
Later that day we approached yet another waterhole that I had not yet visited. We observed the ever present Gemsbok and Warthogs there, along with some Blue Wildebeest, but no Red Hartebeest were seen. As we sat and watched the game go about their business, a couple of Jackal showed themselves and we decided to do some population control shooting. We were able to take two of them out before the shooting, as well as the day, was over.
Man did you have fun, can't wait to hear more.
Wow, What a hunt! Thanks for writing and keeping the fire burning until my hunt next year.
As the sharing of my experience with you at Kanana Safaris draws near an end, I want to recognize a couple of key players that were instrumental in helping to make this awesome event happen for me. When I ran into some challenging issues during the planning and booking stages of my Safari, Tom Addleman off Hunting for Adventure - Hunting For Adventure stepped in and graciously offered his help, which I readily accepted. Tom's affiliation with Kanana as a knowledgeable booking agent, in addition to his being a traveling hunter himself that is headquartered in the United States, combines to create a great convenience for the hunter traveling abroad.
Lori Ginn, of Travel Express: Cheap Airfare To Africa Low Cost Flights Travel Agent Discount was also extremely helpful with not only the booking of travel arrangements, but as a Safari Gal herself, she also provides a wealth of information pertaining to the whole Safari process from start to finish.
For the direct link to Kanana Safaris, click here: Welcome to Kanana Wilderness | Living the Kalahari
Last but not least, the regular members here at Hunting - Hunting, Bowhunting, Hunting Forums, Forum, Hunting Equipment, Hunting Gear, Hunting Outfitters, Africa are always quick to jump in and lend a hand to someone in need. With several guys among the ranks who have all either been there/done that or who have at the least learned through the shared experience of others, their willingness and ability to help fellow hunters out is priceless.
The tenth and final day of my Kanana Safaris Adventure found us once again heading down to the south end of the massive 100,000 acre ranch property in search for my Red Hartebeest bull. Jason had determined that our best strategy for seeing a good bull would be to cover a busy waterhole in the area from the large elevated rifle blind located there. Having enjoyed nine full days of basically going after our quarry the hard way, I was completely fine with taking a break from the daily stalking routine and enjoying the comfort and ambush advantage that the blind afforded. The fact of the matter was, the continuous several days of hunting hard all day every day, plus the late nights that the guys spent taking care of my trophies, had left the entire hunting party fairly exhausted. Although we all loved the hunt and would never complain of being tired, getting a well deserved break would draw no complaints either.
On the way to the area that was chosen to hunt that morning, we sighted yet another good male Jackal that would make a nice tanned skin. The two from the previous day were too bullet damaged to salvage, but this one was harvested in good condition.
As we drove up to the waterhole that we would observe from the blind that morning, we watched as a herd of energetic Springbok moved off at our approach, pronking in fine fashion as they left the immediate area of the waterhole to hang around on the perimeter. Jason and I made our way up the steps and settled into the spacious blind while Morlen and Happy drove back to headquarters to care for the Jackal we had taken on the way in that morning. We kicked back in the comfortable chairs that we had brought with us and waited for the show to begin.
We didn't have to wait very long before we were treated to the sight of two nice Kudu bulls as they came in to drink. After a very long pull from the water source, they drifted back off into the direction from which they had come.
A short time later, we witnessed a truly great sight as over a hundred Eland cows and calves, along with a herd of about a dozen stallion Zebra, suddenly materialized from the bush as they poured into the waterhole for a drink. This enlightening encounter made me wonder just what all I may have missed by not spending more time in the many blinds located on the waterholes scattered across the Kanana property.
As wonderful as it was to watch the large number of Eland and Zebra as they watered and relaxed at the waterhole, the best sight of all was to see this old guy wander in. He was the only Red Hartebeest in attendance at our pool party that morning, but he was exactly the one that we needed to see show up. With Jason's call to sit the waterhole once again proving to be right on the money as usual, we sat and enjoyed the scene unfold before us from our secluded position in the blind.
After watching him wander in to the waterhole and drink for a while, I slowly and carefully placed one good shot as the old bull stood motionless in front of me, and on the final day of the Safari, the hunt for the Red Hartebeest bull was finally over. I could not have asked for a better representative of this very cool animal that I had once failed to appreciate like I now did.
As I sat admiring the trophy Red Hartebeest bull that now lay still before us, Jason whispered for me to remain quiet in order to allow for the Zebra stallions to have a chance to return to the waterhole. He explained that this area held a few too many of the striped donkey, and we may try to enforce some game management tactics if given the opportunity. In other words, I might get to shoot something else, so I remained in stealth mode! The Zebra did not choose to come back towards the source of the loud noise that had caused the funny looking, long faced reddish critter to take a nap, but instead crossed an opening a couple hundred yards away as they slowly left the area. As one of the larger members of the herd stopped broadside in the opening, Jason asked me if I had a clear shot on the animal. With a steady rest on the rail of the blind, I centered the crosshairs on the chevron of the Zebra's shoulder and with a clear view through the riflescope, I assured him that I was good to go. With his nod of approval, I touched off the shot and the stallion was down after covering only a few steps. He was a beautiful, virtually unscarred Zebra stallion whose skin would make a great rug for a client of Jason's who had expressed his desire for one. Another mission successfully completed!
On the final afternoon of my Safari we chose to continue with the hide & wait strategy by sitting in a bow blind on a waterhole near an area where we had seen a very large Warthog that had eluded us the day before. We saw a variety of animals throughout the evening including Ostrich, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest and a few Warthog, but not the big boar that we were looking for. A Jackal came in and stopped within easy bow range of the blind, and we watched him casually trot away. A huge Rhino bull came in to drink and he spent the rest of the day with us.
As we sat and watched the sun sink on my final day of Safari at Kanana, I reflected on the past several days events with pure satisfaction. Never have I had a more enjoyable time in the great outdoors, and I look forward to my next visit to the great Kalahari Desert and Kanana Safaris with great enthusiasm!
Again Congratulations. Cant see how this trip could be much better, I think you just did my dream plains game hunt. This place is for sure on my list for places i want to hunt. Couldn`t getmuch better PR than this:)
Do you have a picture with all the trophies? This seems to be quite the full bag:)
Are you kidding me? How are you ever going to top this Jeff? Very well done, great read, great pics, nice acknowledgments. I am so ready to go there and take my turn. Thanks for sharing the fun.
Thanks for the kind words Jeff. We have truly become friends after communicating so much before and during this hunt! I'm glad (but not surprised) that you had a wonderful trip at Kanana. Let's do it again!
Good job Jeff.
Exactly the result everyone helping out on AH wants.