Hunting Report: Lynx Safaris - Eastern Cape
Hunting for pygmy antelope is a great passion of mine and I have been fortunate to take a host of small antelope from all across Southern Africa, about 12 years ago I had spent a week hunting an area about two hours north of East London in the Eastern Cape province for the diminutive Blue Duiker. Although I had seen a few and came close on one occasion I was never able to connect with a mature ram. Fast forward more than a decade later when I got in touch of Jeff Ford who owns and operates Lynx Safaris with his son Dwayne, based out of Port Alfred they offer, amongst others, a number of hard to find and distinct species, they however specialize in Caracal over hounds and Blue Duiker which they hunt across the incredible expanse of the pristine Kowie Kariega Conservancy, some 4,500 Ha of prime East Cape hunting ground. Through year round hard work they keep close tabs on over 40 Blue Duiker pairs by means of trail cams and strict predator management. The sheer number of antelope like Blue Duiker and Oribi is proof positive of the work they have done over the past years to ensure a sanctuary for such endemic Eastern Cape species. (I have personally never seen similar numbers of Blue Duiker and Oribi anywhere else in Africa).
I had the good fortune to hunt with Jeff this past week for amongst others, Blue Duiker, Bushbuck, Bushpig and Caracal over hounds, with Blue Duiker being the priority. Countless emails and calls had been exchanged between Jeff and myself the past few months leading up to the hunt and both Jeff and Dwayne patiently answered my dozens of questions and regularly kept me up to date with new trail cam pictures and in regards to Blue Duiker rams they had spotted, soon one particular ram which stood out from the rest caught our attention. He was very cautious and would at first only come by the trail cam every other day and even then one would only get one or two pictures of the ram whilst we had dozens of the female travelling with him. So Jeff positioned a Gorilla LX5 blind well off of the trail the pair used daily and we confirmed a suitable date. Our plan would be to hunt for Caracal in the early morning, to going for sit the afternoon for the Blue Duiker and the evening we would wait for Bushpig.
I must commend Jeff and his son Dwayne for their absolute passion and determination, it isn稚 always the easiest thing guiding a bow hunter onto quality animals, even more so when it are such speciality species such as these. We were rather unlucky with regards to the Caracal hunting, the very dry and windy conditions made it difficult for the hounds not only to find a good scent but to keep it, but such is hunting and I must commend the absolute giant effort the hounds man put in, trying each and every trick in the book and working through some of the most rugged and vegetation chocked valleys in search of that elusive cat, but to no avail. (The hunter that came after me had better luck; he took the cat we had been looking for, a beautiful big tom, thanks in no small part due to the light drizzle on the evening of my departure). The pigs also proved to be their usual sneaky selves, the big old boar picking up our wind as he circled the blind, although we had others on the feed I was holding out for a particular large boar Dwayne had picked up on camera.
I however did succeed in putting my 12 year quest to rest by taking what can only be described as an absolute magnificent Blue Duiker ram, after a long game of cat and mouse I was able to thread a Muzzy Tipped Victory VAP arrow through some thick underbrush with my Elite Answer at 11.3 yards to anchor what turned out to be a very old ram indeed, with few teeth left and a scarred little face. I was ecstatic in having taken such a difficult and incredibly beautiful species, though the best was yet to come when Dwayne later put a tape to the thick and finely ridged little horns. It turned out that the ram measured a little over 2 inches with an incredible combined SCI score of 7 & 13/16? placing it above the current record by Robert Eastman of 7 & 11/16 taken in Cameroon during 1997. What an incredible and truly humbling bonus to say the least.
I wouldn稚 hesitate to suggest Lynx Safaris to anyone looking for a top quality hunt as the father and son team of Jeff and Dwayne Ford go above and beyond in ensuring their clients have a good time and have a good and fair chance at truly quality animals. From Blue Duiker to Oribi, to Bontebok and Bushbuck, If you are looking for a superb Eastern Cape hunt and/or for those little harder to find species do yourself a favour and get in touch with Jeff Ford as soon as possible. The wide choice of accommodation on offer is also such that one can comfortably take the family along for a combined holiday together with the hunting, as the quaint little town of Port Alfred is a real gem with some of the cleanest and nicest beaches I have been on, the beach house my family and I stayed in was no more than 200 yards from the breaking waves.
When booking your next hunting adventure do yourself a favour and look up JEFF & DWAYNE FORD of LYNX SAFARIS at:
Website: Lynx Safaris with Jeff Ford - LynxSafaris
Cell: 082 574 9050