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Advice for a first timer to SA?

This is a discussion on Advice for a first timer to SA? within the Hunting Africa forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; Lots of questions are running through my head about my first hunt in Africa. Some of you may have seen ...

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    kala_azar is offline New Member
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    Default Advice for a first timer to SA?

    Lots of questions are running through my head about my first hunt in Africa. Some of you may have seen my post in the "intro" section, and to briefly reiterate, I'll be spending a week in SA w/ Thormahlen and Cochran on a plains game hunt. The rifle will likely be a Win 70 in 300WSM, with a 3-10x42 Swaro on top.

    1) What advice do you most wish you had gotten before your first hunt in Africa?
    2) What is the one plains game species above all others you would recommend?
    I'm leaning heavily towards a Kudu or Gemsbok as my "dream" trophy on this hunt, with 1 or 2 of the various smaller antelope as "safties" and a warthog. For timing and budgetary reasons, I doubt I'll go over 3-4 animals overall this trip...
    3) They have given me the option of either a Free State hunt or one in Mpumalanga. Any recommendations there? I have posed the question for more info to the outfitter, but I'd love some impartial advice from you all as well...

    I'm sure there will be many more questions, but that should get me started!

    Thanks to all in advance!

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    BRICKBURN's Avatar
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    Hunting:
    Know what trophies you want and what a good specimen looks like (in general).
    During your trip you will be happy if you see what they are pointing out to you to shoot, most likely.

    Hunting:
    The advice I did not get: Learn to whisper.
    When do you ever really talk while big game hunting at home?

    Budget:
    A friend kicked himself about the budget thing: "It's $500.00 bucks more, so what. How much is that really in the whole scheme of things." Lesson learned, take the trophy.

    Trophies:
    Kudu for the dream trophy.
    I love them both (Gemsbok and Kudu) and had to have both, but if you are only taking one, Kudu.

    Have fun!

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    Ok...for the trophy.....you will get as many awnsers as there are animals in Africa. You need to make that choice on your own. But since you asked the gemsbok!

    For advice.... start booking your return trip now! because you will go back! An bring another brain with you because you will forget something while you are there. You just can't take it all in! So in another words try to take it all in. You will forget some stuff. So bring a journal or a tape recorder to take down your thoughts at the end of each day. It's great to go back and hear those thoughts a few years later. You will remember things you had forgot about. It's like going on another safari! But just not as good as being there!

    As for the diff places to hunt.....don't have a clue cause I don't know about either of those areas.

    Good luck and have a blast!!

    Start planning that second trip!
    "Ignorance is curable, stupid is forever."

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    As far as area that really depends on what "smaller antelope" you are after. Both areas are vastly different and have different native species, as well as most others that have been stocked. My advise, and most likely the advise of your PH, is decide what you want and hunt the area they naturally occur. there is something to be said for shooting a Black Wildebeest on the open plains or a Kudu in the thickets, not the other way around.
    The journey is the reward.

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    X2 on the journal, you will enjoy it the rest of your life. If you can't decide between kudu and gemsboc just let nature take its course and shoot whichever you have the best opportunity for first. Of the really small antelopes the steinboc is my favorite. I really like hunting impala as well. Don't worry too much, just go and have fun.

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    Take a look at there web for trophy prices and put together a list of potential animals you will consider. You should have received there price list for your review by now. If not request one as soon as possible.

    When you have taken the flight over you need to be able to Provide your priority trophy list to your PH. If you pick the Kudu or Gemsbok let them know right up from what you will consider.

    The two properties to hunt on should have been explained to you prior to booking. As they will probably have different game animals. Viewing there web site i did not like the fact that they are not showing trophy rates, for comparison reasons

    Have a book with the African animals in it for your review and know what is available on the property.

    As others have indicated have fun and take some extra money with you for an animal or two and do not look back.
    James Grage - New Mexico
    Hold a steady Eye & Rifle...
    "Very few of the so-called liberals are open-minded...they shout you down and won't let you speak if you disagree with them." John Wayne

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    1. Camera - bring as good as you can afford and take lots of pictures

    2. Taxidermy - think about it NOW. Know where you're going to have it done and what you want and price it NOW

    3. Budget - See number 2, but as Brickburn has said, be prepared to spend more if you can. If the largest most beautiful animal you've ever seen steps out in front of you that you weren't planning on taking now suddenly stirs your interest (it was Waterbuck for me), you'll really hate yourself sometime later that you passed. I didn't pass on Waterbuck and have zero regrets about it.
    U.S. Contact for HartzView Safaris
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    As far as the trophy animal goes - the Kudu!! This is an amazing animal like none other. As far as a smaller antelope that is a magnificent hunt and usually not a very expensive trophy fee- the Bushbuck.

    Have a great trip. There is nothing like the first time!

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    Thanks for all the good advice.

    I would have checked the areas before booking, etc., but I won the trip in an SCI benefit auction, so it kind of just happened! Good thing is, we got a really great deal so no matter what it will be a great trip...

    I'm waiting for the outfitter to reply to my last email now re: the two areas, and hopefully I can pick the brain of the PH at that time, or soon anyway...

    I'm getting Taxidermy quotes now, both stateside and in SA - I think I'm leaning towards a domestic Tax even if it might cost a bit more, since it seems like it will give me more input/control on the process...

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    First, be sure to tell your outfitter and your PH what you hope to experience on your trip. I also hope you are doing a lot of walking or other aerobic exercise, the animals are going to make you work for your trophies.

    Take some good binos, not just for hunting but also for birding. Lots of neat birds around you won't see many other places.

    I took two cameras (packed in my carry on) to insure I had a backup.

    The journal is also really important.

    Go to the rifle range and start shooting at plains game targets off of the sticks. You will be surprised how this will help.

    I had the opportunity to meet a number of SA residents, local folks, and spent time with them. SA isn't just about the animals, it has an incredible history and the people were great.

    Start budgeting for your second trip, it's going to happen.

    Looking forward to your report upon your return.

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    1) What advice do you most wish you had gotten before your first hunt in Africa?

    Extend your dates to as much as you can afford both financially and way from home. It is an expensive flight and hunt...the cheapest part is an extra day or two on the ground over there.

    Take lots and lots of pictures. Even your food, bed, etc. Little things like that will remind you later of your great experience.

    Take as much money along as you can. Adding a trophy to your list on the spot is much cheaper than returning in a year.


    2) What is the one plains game species above all others you would recommend?

    Kudu for beauty, impala just because i love hunting them, and warthog because they are just cool.

    You state in your post that you hope to take "3 or maybe 4" animals. If you are able to only shoot three on a week long safari....then you deserve a gold medal for self control. Most first timers end up with 6-10 animals and an empty wallet at the conclusion of the safari. But they have had a blast!!
    Tom

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    I didn't understand just how mountainous the area in NW Namibia was before I went on my first hunt. It was a great hunt, but I wish I was in better shape so I could have enjoyed it even more. The good thing was that I was young (36) and had been working out a lot, but the workouts I did were centered around weights and not cardio. I'm 90 pounds lighter now and even though I'm older, I'm in better cardio shape than I was then.
    I'm looking forward to earning my klipspringer next June when I go back.
    Even though African hunts don't tend to be as physical as sheep hunting, etc, being in good shape will add to your enjoyment.

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    You have gotten some good advice. Get in as good of shape as you can. The animals that you want are whats important. Try to have a list of animals that you want. Might even have a A list that you really want and a B list of animals of interest... It's not unusual to kill an animal a day in a decent hunting area so firm up your self control is you only want to pay for 3-4. I love Kudu. So I'd think about it as your #1. I think a nice Impala is beautiful and usually quite cheap[ often under $400]. Bushbuck are a challenge and quite a pretty antelope. Look at pics and if possible the actual mounts that others have or in sporting goods stores.
    The advice about shooting off the sticks was spot on. My first trip to Africa I had never shot off of the sticks. Seemed uncomfortable to me. Made it harder than it should of been. Second trip I practiced with a set of trigger sticks. It made a huge difference. I took my own over with me and that really made a difference. I shot lots of live rounds at the range. I practiced dry firing at home almost every night for the 30 days leading up to my hunt. It WILL make you a better shot.
    Next, remember if you draw blood you pay the trophy fee for the animal. Don't take any shot that you are not comfortable with. You have plenty of time and should have plenty of opportunities at the animals that you want to take.
    Take lots of pics and enjoy the hunt. Bruce

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    Everyone is correct! It's hard to go to Africa just once! Your outfitter is known for producing great trophies. Hunt hard, unless something is very huge, look over some animals before you shoot. Study what constitutes a mature trophy animal. I would take a good kudu and gemsbok is I could, you never know how long before you will make it back! Definitely set a budget. Take a lot of pictures. And practice shooting off of sticks.

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    Thanks for all the excellent advice! I am definitely picking up a set of shooting sticks, and will start doing live fire with my rifle/rounds I will be using, out to 200 yards at least.

    Has anyone hunted Mpumalanga concessions before? I've read everything I can find, but until I get a chance to talk to the PH personally, I'd like to find out a bit more before I decide between it or Free State...

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    One more suggestion: wear your hunting boots onto your flights to Africa, carry some light slippers in your carry on luggage, change out once on board the plane. If you pack your boots in your checked baggage and it gets lost, you are going to have some bad feet very quickly walking in your new replacement boots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Upton O. Good View Post
    One more suggestion: wear your hunting boots onto your flights to Africa, carry some light slippers in your carry on luggage, change out once on board the plane. If you pack your boots in your checked baggage and it gets lost, you are going to have some bad feet very quickly walking in your new replacement boots.
    Good advise
    The journey is the reward.

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    JamieD's wife here-
    I'm not sure if you are going this summer or another timeframe but you will want to consider taking long sleeved shirts along (even if thin). Jamie's shirts and arms got pretty scuffed up after walking through all the thorns that are EVERYWHERE. Also on the clothing note, (again if you are going this summer) consider the nights get quite chilly so take this into account. Many places do not have heat.

    x4,5, etc on the photos and journaling. Even though this is a trip of a lifetime (that you might want to take again next year- ha ha) you will forget some details even 6 months later. You can NEVER have too many photos and notations of your experience. You'll want to remember it all...even the bad stuff. While being in Africa the hunt is only part of the experience.

    Not to beat a dead eland but the basics of taking converters/adapters for plugging things in is also something to remember.
    Another friend (who first went to Africa) and Jamie have developed a philosophy when hunting Africa: Keep an open mind! Jamie didn't have waterbuck on his wish list the first year and they came across a really nice sized one (33") so that was a trophy he ended up getting along with others- some of which they "ran" into. Make a list of "have to haves" and "want to haves" and talk this over with your PH. He will know the area and patterns to guide you toward your "shopping list".

    No matter what happens, you WILL have a trip of a lifetime! PM if you want to discuss any other details. Africa is our favorite subject.

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    I think a lot of good advice has been given as far as the trophies if your thinking Kudu or Gemsbok I say take them both that way you don't leave Africa wishing you had taken the other those are the floor pedestal mounts in my game room and always are the center of attention.

    and as JamieD's little lady said take good notes and lots of photos because we're gonna wanta hear about it when you get back.
    Enjoy life now -- it has an expiration date.

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