Only five more days left to post your essays to win this hunt with Spiral Horn Safaris. At this time your odds are better than 1 in 10! Good luck to all.
Only five more days left to post your essays to win this hunt with Spiral Horn Safaris. At this time your odds are better than 1 in 10! Good luck to all.
Day #2 saw a nice red hartebeest fall to the combination of Ten Point, Muzzy and Easton. Day #3 brought a warthog and a 30” blue wildebeest to the game pole. Day #4 was the beginning of a new definition of the term “adventure”. This was to be the day of the “kudu”. It started off well enough. I was in the hide for about 20 minutes when a huge herd of kudu came to the water hole. I had shot a 41” kudu on my first trip with my son, but I wanted to break the magical 50” mark this time. As I watched and waited, my mental tape measure was scoring all of the bulls, One after another, after another. Finally, I saw one that looked as though it would push 50”. Now I needed to wait for a clear shot. It was amazing how those cows always seem to be in the way. Well, after about 30 minutes of watching and waiting for the cows to clear, now I am forced to make my decision. Shot or wait for another one. I chose to shoot. With all of the animals up to shooting the kudu, I had complete pass throughs. When I took the shot at the kudu he was at 24 yards quartering away. The perfect shot, right? When I shot, the arrow looked as though it had very poor penetration, and the kudu ran off. I marked his direction of flight, and then called for the professional hunter. When the PH arrived, he readied his tracking dog to trail the kudu. The adventure is about to begin. As I left the blind to join the PH for the tracking job, I grabbed my crossbow and video camera, but left my pack and water bottle in the blind. By now, the time has gotten to be about 9:30 AM. As the dog started onto the trail, the PH had him on a lease, but the dog was straining so hard that the PH decided to release the dog. That dog took off like he was heading for a hot date. The PH who is about 20 years my junior takes off after him. That leaves me and my crossbow quickly falling behind. I continued to chase the bark for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the barking stopped and so did I. As I looked around the bushveld, everything looked the same. As I took a quick inventory of my equipment, I counted a crossbow, some arrows, a video camera and a watch. I quickly discovered that my pack which contained my GPS and water supply was still in the blind. Drats! Next I hollered the PH’s name, but only got rustling of the leaves as my answer. As I thought about my predicament, I remembered the sun being in my eyes when I took the shot. That meant that meant that we had walked east and north as we were tracking the wounded kudu. That meant that I needed to walk west and south to return to the blind. One other tidbit that I remembered was that there was a large tree, one of the few in the area, by the water hole. So, I just need to walk west, and then south, look for the big tree and I am back at the blind. Simple, right? After all, how far can you go in just 20 minutes? At this point, I had no idea, but I did know that I felt somewhat lonely and somewhat lost in the bushveld. Now I know what crocodile Dundee was talking about when he said that he was going for a “walk about”.
Well, I started walking west. When I thought that I had gone far enough, I looked down and saw some droplets of blood. Looks as though I was on the back track. It appeared that the blood was turning south, so I did, too. When I turned, I noticed two things. One, I could see a very large tree in a southern direction, and two I could see a high power line. I remembered that as we drove into this property earlier in the day that we had driven under that power line. So, I had two points of reference, the power line and the large tree. First things first.
I set sail for the big tree. As I approached the tree, I expected to see the blind. Well, I quickly came to know that there many large trees in the bushveld. So, on to plan #2. I decided to walk to the power line, turn to the right and follow the power line until it crossed the road. I failed to mention that whole time that I was on my “walk about”; I was avoiding any vegetation that would not allow me to see my feet. The area is famous for its black and green mambas, spitting cobras and a host of other predators. So, to say that I was stepping lightly is an understatement. Well, off I go heading towards the power line. Before I got within 300 yards of the power line, I came to a fence. A fence with roads on both sides of it and a fence that seemed to run parallel to the power line. I decided to follow the fence. Even though I had only been walking for about 45 minutes, did I mention how thirsty I had become? That is the way that it works when you don’t have something that you want.
After walking along the fence for about 20 minutes, I realized that the road on the other side of the fence appeared to have 3 sets of tire tracks. I rationalized that the 3 sets of tracks represented the PH driving me to the blind in the morning, leaving and then returning to track the kudu. At this point, I decided that I might be walking in the wrong direction, at least the wrong direction to get back to the blind. So, I turned in the opposite direction and looked up the fence line. As I peered along the fence, there appeared to be a white pickup about 1,000 yards down the fence line. Hurray, I was found. I glanced down for a second, and when I looked back up, the truck was gone. Drats again! Though the truck departed, I decided to stay the course and at least walk to where the truck once was. As I approached the area where I had seen the truck, it magically appeared. The PH was in the truck. As I got in, he said that he was glad to see me. I said the same. So his record stays intact……………….he has never lost a client. I was happy that I did not break his record.
Oh, to be able to return to the adventure called Africa!
I am sitting here in Alaska looking out the window at the dark spruce trees set in the pure white snow, it is 21 degrees outside with a light breeze and yet I can feel the hot, dry wind blowing off the scrub country hitting the back of my neck. I can smell the barnyard (sort of) odor of the buffalo herd just ahead of us. When I think of Africa it is not necessarily the world record heads that I see in my mind, it is the huge numbers of game, it is the mopane trees, it is the stiff tail of the warthog cutting through the grass. I don’t need to kill the biggest trophy in the world but I do have a very strong need to experience the land that is Africa. To hear the call of the hyena, the grunt of a lion, to be weary from a day afield and to be glutted with the memories of the sights and smells and experiences of the day, this I need. To share these things with good companions of the hunt and especially with my Dad would indeed be a dream come true.
I could almost do a photo safari just to see Africa but I am a hunter born and bred, many would not understand this but you will. To lay my hands on the warm hide of a Kudu, to feel the rough texture of an old bull buff’s horn to feel the sadness of taking this great life and the quiet pride of doing so, these things are my meat and my wine. This is what feeds my soul.
I have hunted all my life from gophers and rabbits with an old single shot 22 held together with lots of black electrical tape to moose and bears here at home but the very name of Africa brings a chill to my skin.
My father took me hunting whenever he could and I have been able to return the favor a couple of times now as we are older, I am 52 years old and my knees don’t quite work like they used to but I still go whenever I can. The press of life, family and money have kept me from being able to fulfill my dream of experiencing the great lands and animals of the dark continent. Should I by some stroke of luck win the prize so graciously offered, I will take my father with me.
I could speak of other things I have done, other hunts, other times but this is not the forum for that so I shall close with a sincere thanks to you for bringing these thoughts to my mind again.
My personal thanks to both Shane and Lew very good posts and thanks for the hard work and effort.
An essay for Africa, hmmm well Im sure there are plenty of great ones that were submitted so I'll add my essay here. Hunting in Africa to me, like many folks, is a dream more than a reality. I believe that the rates for hunting especially plains game is very reasonable. The only thing that hurts is after you buy airfare and pay fees, a working man that is raising a family just can't spend the income on a hunt. Very rarely does a day go by that I don't watch a Africa hunting show, search outfitters on the internet or read about hunting the dark continent. My wonderful wife of 10 years just bought me the book Tracks Across Africa written by Craig Boddinton. She had it signed to me personally by Boddington. I have been reading the book the last few days and it is so easy to get caught up in the book. I keep saying that one day I will be able to afford an opportunity at least once. I know that when I do get to go that Africa will become part of me just like it does so many people. I keep telling myself that maybe I will win a large sweepstake one day and be able to make the trip. But on the other hand I have never won anything in my lifetime so that is looking grim for the time being. Africa is my dream, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana etc are all countries that I hear calling my name. Eventhough I have never been to Africa I hear it calling me everyday. It's almost like it has to happen. It feels like a part of me is not complete until I am able to make that journey. Will I ever get to Africa? I sure do have faith that I will, I trust that it is the will of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that I fullfill this dream one day. Maybe I will win this essay and maybe I won't but one thing is for sure. I will never lose the desire to spend time in the great continent and get to know her people. I think it is very generous for you to "give away" a hunt like this. It does give people hope and encouragement. I claim this prize. But if I don't get chosen thanks for the opportunity to write about my dream. It is another opportunity to think about the safaris that take place far far away from home.
Joey thank you for a very nice post and keep on dreaming of Africa dreams are what keeps us alive in our minds.
Thank you once again.:)
Louis van Bergen
2 days to go!Eager to know who the winner will be!!Many thanks to Louis and Jerome!
GOD BLESS THE HUNTERS!
So Africa ...never visited....always wanted too.
A few years ago I lost my mother-in law to cancer.
I will never forget the day she told me she had cancer. We talked about the beast that day but never again.
She was in and out of the hospital for surgeries,chemo, more surgeries, this that and the other thing until the doctors said it was time to take her home one last time.
Over the next few months the beast slowly drained the life right out of her. The cancer grew taking away her ability to walk and eventually every human dignity. Weeks passed as the beast finished its job, but I treasured ever last moment with her. One day I arrived she had lost her ability to speak and the following day with her family by her side she passed away peacefully.
She was a tuff old bird right to the end of year long battle with the cancer beast. Never complained. Not once. Always thankful. Religion and family was everything to her. She passed away virtually penniless in today's monetary standards, and yet she seemed rich beyond belief.
I learned allot about life and death from my mother in-law.
Not to long after I created a list of things to work on prior to my demise.....you know "THE BUCKET LIST".
- FUN - AT WORK & PLAY
- WEALTH / FINANCIAL FREEDOM
- EARLY RETIREMENT
- MAKE A DIFFERENCE
- SPEND MORE TIME FAMILY
- TEACH A CHILD SOMETHING…EX:FISHING,HUNTING,CANOEING,ETC….
- CONTRIBUTE MORE $ CHARITIES
- HELP OTHERS OBTAIN GOALS
- LAND/LAKE HOUSE
- ONE NICE TRIP PER YEAR
-- LEAVE LEGACY
I have been slow trying to accomplish the items on my list. Notice the AFRICA entry. Many years have pasted by since I first dreamed of going to Africa. Every year some how the monetary funds get diverted to higher priorities. In these tough economic times the Africa dream seems like an unobtainable goal yet I continue to watch and read everything about Africa. Drives my wife crazy :D
I have purchased some new hunting weapons for my upcoming trips. A 50 caliber muzzle loader,300 Win Mag, 375 H &H, and a new long bow. I have been practicing with the new rifles for the last few months at varies ranges from 25 yards to 300 yards and my new long bow almost shoots itself. Getting ready for a trip is half the fun:)
I think it would be exciting to shoot some of the plains game with the long bow at a water hole blind. Spot and stalk with the rifle or muzzleloader would also be excellent adventure. Ultimately, I want to shoot a Cape Buffalo.
Hunting for me it has never been about the actual animal harvest. Don't get me wrong I would like to shoot a trophy animal just like any other hunter, but for me it is more about the total experience. Africa would be a new adventure. A new place,smells,sounds,sights,animals,culture,and a chance to make new friends in a far away place.
My friends ask me - why do you want to go to Africa? I always answer because I have not been to Africa and why would you not want to go?. Africa - with its huge variety of wildlife,landscape,people,scenery,etc.... They always come back with saying ...NO way to Africa due to medical concerns like malaria,dangerous game,snakes,poverty,unrest,general unstable conditions, and 10 other negative reasons. My mother in law taught me to always try to be the type of person the glass is half full and filling not half empty. She said it would make life easier. Besides have you ever read or talked to anybody who has been to Africa that does not want to return?
I wonder when I finally get to Africa will I be able to soak her all in in one trip? Probably Not. Maybe I will react like my new puppy seeing snow for the first time. Get so dam excited run around in circles as if saying this is just too cool.....
I figure Africa is like my mother-in law. She has good and bad traits but her influence will change your life forever and you will always want to be with her. She will give back more than you ever give her.
Now I am pushing 48 ......Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock. Who knows when your clock is going to stop!
Please make the most of every day. Dream BIG and set the goals HIGH.
Lets see if I die penniless maybe a trip a every other year :cool:
Thanks for giving someone the opportunity to complete their dream with this free hunt.
Not sure if this is the way to post, as new member today.
Why I would love to hunt Africa, is two fold. I've been fortuneate to visit and discover Africa twice, both times in lovely RSA. Once in 1988 and again in 2006. I always said I would be back, but it took alot longer than I expected. I'm currently saving for another trip, as I have a few more things I want to see and do.
the first trip was a backpack style trip, in my early twenties, and stayed for a month,
not only chasing some wonderful animals, but a beautiful south african exchange student. Had a blast and vowed to return asap, but it took 18 years. Life is always revolving, and changes are always happening, but we are still great friends and still talk with each other all the time. I returned with my wife in 2006 for 24 days and did somemore hunting as well as visiting my old friend. She still is beautiful, inside and out. My wife loved the safari and again we all had a blast. I've again vowed to return for a few more animals and another visit with my friend. As most of the books and magazine articles say, Africa gets in your blood. Even our entertainment room is african themed. I think of Africa and my friend all the time. Hopefully all is well with you and yours, and maybe someday our paths will cross. I'll just have to take some time out to visit her again. Take care and good hunting !
Thanks Sportsman and sako338mag .
I do appreciate your hard work and effort a lot
We will find out soon who is coming over it will not be an easy decision that’s for sure a lot of really wonderful posts out there.
What a wonderful offer. Thanks.
I'd love to participate.
I have a shirt in a plastic bag, I do not intend to wash
When I open that bag, I smell the smoke from the last mopane fire in camp.
When I open that bag, I smell the bread baking, hear the sizzle of gemsbok on the brae,
I feel the sun on my back as we slip over a kopje, closing distance on those three springbok,
I hear Marta singing as she cleans in the kitchen, and the coo of her baby on her back,
I smell the sweat, the acrid smell of burnt powder, the sweet salt smell of blood as we come up on my first African animal, the red hartebeest, who stood just a second too long.
I feel the sting of the accacia thorn that dragged across my face while we crawled toward that one tusked warthog,
I smell the barnyard smell of elephants as they came to water and the sight of the little one nursing from his Mom.
The mixed feelings of death and life after taking my gemsbok, just to find she was pregnant. Our decision to deliver the calf, to raise it on a bottle. I look at what's left of that bandana that we used to tie off the cord.
I feel the excitement of chaing after the boomslang, the puff adder, and the cobra. Of lunch of boerwust and lemonade, the smell of a lion kill, leopard tracks in the sand, baboons barking at sunset, of the milky way, of the southern cross, of petroglyphs of old times, of wilwitschia plants, of dropping off meat to neighbors, of the barbque with Danie's family, his Mom, his Dad, his brother, his uncle and aunt, and of evenings of stories and making new friends.
Of Sampie and Cecil, his grandson, whose keen young eyes spotted that great kudu behind the kraal. Of slipping up on that mountain zebra and Mateus' hand on my shoulder whispering, 'If you miss this one, we will never see it again;” the first time I heard him speak English. Of Ipenge and Bill laughing.
Of the smell of horn soup, of the feel of the burrs and thorns as I made my first and last foray bare footed onto inviting the Kalahari sands. Of how hard mopane wood is, of …
“Honey,” my wife interrupts, “I just washed that nasty old shirt you had in that plastic bag. I don't know how I missed it all this time. I think it was still dirty from when you were in Africa. What was that six years ago? Any how, it's clean now. I had to wash it twice to get that smoke smell out. What were you doing?”
I had a shirt in a plastic bag, that I did not intend to wash.
I need to go back.:daydreaming:
Give me some of that thank you for a wonderful post Black Fly.;)
Why I Would Like to Hunt in Africa
by David Gildemeister
Since my earliest days I have been a hunter down to my core. Growing up on a farm in South Dakota, I was immersed in the sights, sounds, smells and feel of wildlife and their habitat. As part of a hunting family, cleaning, preparing, and eating wild game has always been part of my life. This experience has created a deep appreciation of some of the most subtle aspects of hunting. I learned the difference in the sparse and drab feathers of an early season duck, and the thick, bright, luxurious plumage of a late-season migrating mallard. The soft and soothing sound of the wind through the green leaves make it relaxing to sit in a treestand in September. Conversely, the slightest breeze through the dry and falling leaves of late October and their familiar fragrance serve to keep me on high alert in the woods hunting whitetails. The exciting sounds of a whitetail buck grunting or the rare, soft dull bleat of a doe are rewards for hours of careful hunting. However, those rewards are eclipsed by the feel of rough antlers in my hands and the warm, coarse coat of a deer that confirms to my body that I have found success. The wild musky smell of tarsal glands tells my soul I have reason to rejoice.
The excitement of hunt emanates not only from knowing I have matched my skills to the game and won, but even more so from the thousand small signals that trigger my every sense. It is these jewels that drive me to hunt and make me crave and treasure each experience. It is God’s gift to the hunter, and is sadly something non-hunters will never know or understand.
I want to hunt in Africa with all that it brings. I want to smell the dry dust kicked up by a herd of impala. I want to hear the approaching hooves of wildebeest, barely audible above the pounding of my heart. Just as here I am entertained by the marsh wren, muskrat, squirrel and blue jay, I want to get to know the sights, sounds and habits of the animals common in Africa. The screech of a woodpecker can sometimes betray the movement of a hidden deer. Is there an animal in Africa that does the same? This is what I want to learn.
I have passed many hours fascinated by spiders, beetles and bugs of all sorts as they go about their daily battle for survival as I have sat in wait for game. Likewise, I want to see Africa’s “supporting cast” that form important strands in its web of life. These interesting side-shows fill the frequent stretches of time when game is not visible. Many non-hunters have told me they think being in the woods or marsh all day would be boring. Those of us who hunt know otherwise. There is always a show going on somewhere. You just need to look for it.
Each new sunrise around the world is greeted by a chorus of birds and other wildlife. I want to hear the sounds of the Francolin and Guinea fowl, the and yes, the grey go-away-bird. These are sounds that will remove all doubt that I am in Africa. I would love to see the swarms of mousebirds and doves at the edge of a watering hole. I want to feel my heart jump as the birds scatter at the unpredictable approach of a herd of tsessebee or zebras. In the woods of North America, the perfectly subtle grey camouflage of the whitetail is contrasted by the bright red of the cardinal and vibrant blue of the blue jay. In Africa I want to see the brilliance of the crimson-breasted shrike and the startling blue flash of a glossy starling. What better to contrast with the striped grey coat that keeps the large body of the kudu hidden in nearly any cover.
I am all too familiar with the wariness of the whitetail and the pronghorn antelope. Countless times I have witnessed them turn from calm to gone with little cause. Even so, I think nothing in the world is as paranoid or quick to react as a warthog. I want to watch as a wise old warthog approaches a waterhole endlessly stopping and starting. A warthog is strung as tight as a piano wire and will jump and run at the flutter of a small bird or a swirl in the breeze. I want to match my skill and patience against his fear and reflexes. I hope to emerge as the victor. I want to feel that dry, dusty hide, coarse hair and sharp tusks. I want to see the relief in my PH’s eyes when he knows I’ve made a good shot on an animal that can be dangerous to recover.
Of course, most of all, I would like the opportunity to return to Africa to experience all it has to offer as I try to take several of the most fascinating and beautiful animals in the world. I want to hear my spirit silently screaming “Just one more step…Just one-quarter turn more!” I want to experience the highs and lows that make hunting the matchless sport that it is – the high of seeing an animal fall within sight, and the low of having a coveted animal suddenly flee without offering a shot.
Finally, I want to experience the friendship and camaraderie that is part of any great hunt. I want to create lasting memories of the smiles, laughter, and back-slaps. I want to remember the taste of backstraps and the distinct smell of African campfire smoke as well as good conversation and stories told in the flickering firelight. After hunting in Africa, I hope to return home with a renewed appreciation of the common bonds hunters share across the globe.
Gildy thank you for a great post.
We will find out soon who the winner is good luck to everyone.
Thanks for all of the great submissions, this essay contest from Spiral Horn Safaris is now closed for entries. All of the entries will be carefully considered and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 1st.
Hi guy’s I would like to thank each and every one of you who entered deciding on a winner was no easy task since everyone had something very good to say. A special thanks to Jerome for hosting the competition. This is a great forum and there is no better place to be if you’re thinking of hunting in Africa.
The winner is ThomasBeaham.
Congratulations Thomas and I am looking forward to hunting with you.:)
Louis van Bergen
Congratulations Thomas! Way to go. Excellent essay as well. I'm jealous. I think we should thank Spiral Horn Safaris as well for providing such a cool contest. Way to go guys!
Congratulations ThomasBeaham!! I know you will have a fantastic hunt with Spiral Horn Safaris. Now the fun begins.:)
I would also like to thank all the hunters who took the time to sit down and actually compose a story and enter this contest. Louis made a very generous donation and the winner, as it should be, was a member of AH who has not been to Africa and who put some thought and effort into his entry.
It is a sign of the times I guess and an indicator of just how lazy people are...........but I find it interesting how so many did not spend the time it takes to enter this contest and instead took the easy route of entering a contest where all you had to do was say "Enter me." Louis committed a considerable amount of his time and services when he offered this package.
All I can say is WELL DONE to both ThomasBeaham and Louis.
Congratulations ThomasBeaham!When you get back, be sure to be able to determine how the bark of the baobab feels like, how its like to spot game on a termite mound or what a herd of wildebeest smells like!!All the best on your safari and i'm sure you will enjoy hunting with Louis!