Africa 2nd time around
We were off again to South Africa. We went in 2002 for plains game with Blaauwkrantz in the cape area, little did we know how different this trip would be. Same flight to joburg but a new flight to hoedspruit, hunting in an area called thorny bush. We were hunting with spear safaris this time, outfitted and run by Ernest dyason, also the ph, along with his able bodied and very nice wife, marita. Lodgeing, food, trackers, all staff were excellent.
This time we were having our hunt videoed by African moving arts. Any thoughts about an extra body on the stalks decreasing the chances of success was quickly eliminated, you never new Carl [a. k. a. Flicky ] was there. Absolute professional. I was there to try for a cape buffalo bull. Deena came as an observer, with the permission to shoot a trophy if she wanted to. She was using her contender in 35 rem with 200 gr silver tips, I was shooting my contender in 45-70 with cor-bons 405 gr penetrator as my solid and Winchesters 300 gr nosler as my soft point. Both gun's are scope sighted. We arrived at Hoedspruit airport around 1oclock, was met by Ernest and flicky and grabbed our luggage and was on our way.
Camp was a supprise, warthogs on the front lawn, nyala out back taking advantage of the electrical fence surrounding the camp to keep the lions and elephants out. We unpacked and grabbed our gun's to go and check zero. Everything was as it's supposed to be so off we went to look around. We couldn't believe the difference between here and the cape. Not only plains game was here but also the big 5. Every day we saw something of the big five.
When we arrived it was really hot, as we drove the country side we started seeing rain clouds. Soon it started to rain, and then, pour. We were in the open safari truck and needless to say we were sopping wet by the time we got back to camp, Ernest called it our baptismal. We went to our hut and had a shower and went to our first dinner. Beef, we had beef the first night. Wild game every meal from then on. GREAT!!!!! South African red wines are also GREAT!!!
First day, looking for Nyati, I decided I also wanted a warthog. Driving around looking for buffalo tracks, Get out and try to stalk, swirling wind's blow it. This would happen all day long. About 12 o'clock back to camp for breakfast. Back on the track, keeping an eye out for a good warthog on the way. Every hog looked great to me but Ernest would say to small. Finely he spots one and out of the truck we go. Stalk, stalk, wind changes and, gone. Back to the truck. We pile in and off we go, John, the tracker informs Ernest that a big warthog was sleeping under a tree 15 yards from where we had parked. Ernest stops the truck and tells me to get ready. stalk, stalk, and john is right, under a tree some 50+ yards is this warthog snoozing. I place my duffel bag on a solid rest and using a 300 gr soft point I get my first trophy. The pictures, congradulations go on for awhile and it's back to hunting.
Took this nice warthog with my scope sighted contender in 45-70.
Cape buffalo, tracks, stalking, constantly checking the wind. We see a good size herd and Ernest is excited, he thinks he saw a great old bull. Im after an old warrior with worn down horns and big, solid bosses. Off we go, stalking, weaving in and out of the bush, very thick and high this time of year. Ernest holds up his hand, get down, crawl, stay down. I look back to see where Deena is and she is smiling with excitement, flicky is rolling film, john has the shooting sticks, I'm behind Ernest. You can see the buffalo every where, but always blocked by bush. Ernest points out my bull, I see him for a second, he turns sharply and is gone. the wind has changed again, sounds like a stampede as they move. Ernest keep's after them, this goes on for an eternity, over and over we close in and they take off. It suddenly dawns on me that they seem to be enticing us deeper and deeper in to the bush, twice now Ernest has put the shooting sticks up for my shot and twice my bull has given me that, I owe him money look, and twice he has turned to fast for me to shoot. We continue after him and again he stops and looks back, faceing me dead on. I don't want to take the head on shot, Ernest says to risky. The sticks go up again and this time I'm ready, we stare at each other, 63 yards away, im ready this time, he blinks and starts his turn, I'm already squeezing the trigger when Ernest say shoot. The gun goes off before my bull can get away, dust and mud fly off his right side behind the shoulder, in tight, inside the triangle that Ernest has drummed inside my head. The kill zone. Ernest ask's what I think, did the shot feel good? I hardly hear him, im listening to the now dead quite that surrounds us. Everybody is by my side now, wondering if I was successful. Ernest wants to wait a few mimutes, flicky says he got the shot on tape, Deena tells me she knows I got my bull, john wants to start tracking. All of a sudden, out of the quite comes my bull's death bellows, 4 loud and clear death bellows. I start to breathe again, I did it, a clean one shot kill on an African cape buffalo bull with my handgun. Now, to find him and make sure. We all follow john and Ernest to where my buffalo was laying dead. He traveled about 75 yards, no blood was found until about ten yards from his final position, then we saw where he had spit out a 13 inch circle of blood. Ernest was very excited over my bull, needless to say deena and I were a bit more excited. I cant imagine it ever getting any better than this. After pictures the real work began, getting him back to camp.
Took this great old bull with my scope sighted contender in 45-70.
Day two of seven. Deena still hadn't decided what she wanted so I thought I would get a blue wildebeest. Off we went looking. Spent most of the day trying to find one Ernest was happy with. In the process of looking we happen to see a duiker. Deena wanted one. Ernest thought we would take a break from looking for the wildebeest and would try calling for one. These were common duiker, and he had never tried calling these. After breakfast we went calling. It was a blast. The first place we tried he called in a male and female in the first try. She could never get a clear shot because of brush. Soon the female busted us and off they both went. On one stand we called in a leopard, just a quick sighting and it was gone. Moving to another stand Ernest spotted the wildebeest he wanted, out of the truck we went and started our stalk. We tried to get in position un noticed but a cow saw us and gave an arlarm, the bull was out of sight so we just squatted and hoped he would show himself. Sundenly Ernest said get ready, he's coming out of that bush. Range was about 100 yards and I had a good rest on a tree limb with my duffel bag. I was shooting the 300 gr nosler, I hit him dead center right shoulder. He jumped and took off. I could not believe it. That shot should of did the job right now. Ernest couldn't believe it either. Off we went in search of him. After about 125 yards we found him standing facing away. Ernest said to put one at the base of the tail. Now I was using the shooting sticks again at about 75 yards and found I wasn't all that steady. We later found out my bullet hit one inch to the right of the base, going through the animal, taking out the lungs and lodging against the wind pipe. At the shot he dipped his hind legs and took off. Up to this shot their had been no blood. We went to the 2nd shot and found blood. Ernest sent john back to the truck to get the dogs for tracking. They came flying by and had that wildebeest bayed some distance away. Ernest and john went running toward the dogs as fast as they could as Ernest was concerned about his dogs getting hurt. Deena and I started running to catch up but my 66 year old legs don't work as good as my 36 year old ph's. The wildebeest had kicked the older dog and was starting to run again so I yelled to Ernest to shoot it. That took care of that bit of excitement. My first shot never went through the sholder. The bullet was never recovered, the 2nd shot was recovered but never expanded. Only two pedals peeled back. Wenchester has asked for the ammo back to check the 300 gr noslers. At this date ive heard nothing back. I will never use nosler bullets on any African game again. I will use the cor-bon 405 gr penetrator for solids and the cor-bon 350 gr swift a frame for soft points. It was getting late and we were a far distance from camp so we called it a day and thought about day three.
Nice Blue Wildebeest with my scope sighted contender in 45-70.
Day three was Deenas day. By now we had decided that I wanted a giraffe. We had been seeing some very impressive bulls. Anyway we were going to try calling in another duiker for Deena . Ernest was successful in calling a female, try somewhere else. We are driving down the trail and suddenly Ernest hits the brakes and ask me if I want an nyala. Off to the right are a group of Nyala with a real beauty in the middle, this is one super trophy of several lifetimes. He looks like a bongo. He never changed colors. Red with white stripes. Very large, thick ivory tipped horns. I don't even get a chance to answer, Deena says I WANT IT. Ernest pulls ahead out of view. He tells us that he has seen this nyala for the last three years and thought about taken it him self. The rest is Deenas story. She did get it with one shot through the center of the shoulder, a full mount will be done. Day three ends on that note.
Deena took this very rare non typical nyala using her scope sighted contender in 35 rem.
Day 4, Giraffe. Day 5 Giraffe, Day 6 Giraffe. The rest of the hunt was spent trying to clean up some lousy shooting on my part. We found a great old bull, Ernest had me on the shooting sticks at about 105 yards. I was wobbling to much to take the shot, should of refused it, I know we could of gotten closer or I could of found a good solid rest for my duffel and then everything would have been perfect. Didnt work out that way though, I wanted this bull and took the shot. The way it acted we thought it was perfect, blood was seen coming out of its nose right off. Right shoulder was broken and we thought it would go down fast, not so. We tracked that bull the rest of that day all the next and up into the last day. The trackers saw where it tried to water 3 different times but do to the damage to the shoulder it couldn't spread its front legs apart to drink. We kept trying to ambush it by having the trackers push it while we went around where we thought it would cross into the next block but it never worked. In the end Ernest went with the trackers and I kept with the original plan. The difference this time was Ernest would send John to get me if they could find it without him being aware of their presents. Then I would come in and finish him, however if he knew he was being followed then ERNEST WOULD PUT HIM DOWN AND END IT! And that is how it ended. When we got to the giraffe we found my bullet had hit two inches to far to the right. He would of died, but not before I had left Africa. That would have been a total waste. I will gladly share this trophy with Ernest.
Took this old bull with my scope sighted contender in 45-70, shooting the cor-bon 405 gr penetrator. He was past his breeding time but wouldn't let the younger bulls breed.
The rest of the story involves a trip to Kruger park and a lousy plane ride home, but we arrived home safe with our guns and health, looking forward to our third trip for leopard for Deena and a lioness for me, with Spear Safaris and Ernest, Marita, Flicky, John and crew. Good hunting, Ed and Deena