SOUTH AFRICA: My East Cape Nyala
Lets try another story from my hunt in the East Cape in May of 2011. 4 of
us left Gillette WY early. We were catching a flight out of Rapid City
SD. That was the lowest cost flights we could find. No problems checking
guns. Got to Denver fine. Then what every traveler dreads. A flight
delay. We got out about 1 1/4 hours late. It was going to be tight with
our flight at Dulles. My first trip to Africa my rifle hadn't made it
until the 3rd day there. I had visions of the same thing again. Short
connection at Dulles and on to Jo-berg. Luckily all of our baggage made
it through. At Jo-berg we used one of the services to walk our guns
through. That helped because we still had a flight to Port Elizabeth to
catch. Finally we arrive there and meet up with Polla, the head PH at
Thornberg. After a drive of close to 2 hours we arrive at the lodge. 32
hours of total travel time. We eat and get to bed. Hard to sleep even tho
Time is turned around and excited about the hunt.
Up in the AM and a breakfast to start off with. My PH is Matthew. He is
only 23 yrs old. I'm 53 with a desk job. Off we go to check the rifles.
Everything is wet. I had expected fall type of weather. Dry. The week
before we arrived they have had 7 inches of rain! All of the bush is
greening up. Not going to help us any. We drive the long way to the
range. Polla takes the normal route and gets stuck in the mud. Not the
best way to start this hunt. We get a couple of vehicles on ropes and
get him out.
The guns check out at the range, so we split up to start hunting. Nyala
is near the top of my list so that is where we start. We park at the
base of a hill and start walking. We see Duiker, Kudu, Oryx and Nyala.
Our first bull Nyala we snuck up on and watched for 30 min. while we
glassed the area. He was just a youngster. After about 1 1/2 miles we
started back making a loop. No water. None of us brought any and I was
getting hot. Then I spotted 2 Nyala bulls walking down a hill. One look
by Matthew and we tried to cut them off before they got to the heavy
bush. Wasn't meant to be. Never saw them again. Once they got in the
brush they just disappeared. On way back to the truck we saw more female
Nyala, but no bulls. Once at the truck we headed to the lodge for lunch.
I had a heart to heart with Matthew. I can walk. Just got to have water
on the hikes.
After lunch we all packed up and headed to a farm over by the Addo
elephant park. Reputed to have bushbuck and some large Kudu. There were
roads cut through the thick bush and walked these roads looking for
game. Saw a couple of Impala and some warthogs. Always fun to see the
wildlife! Never saw a bushbuck. We saw several Kudu. One Kudu we watched
about 450 yards away. The tracker thought it might be close to 50
inches. Matthew thought 46-7. He didn't stay in the open too long. Not
enough time to decide to make a stalk and execute it. Larry, one of my
friends in the group killed a 50 inch Kudu. He was thrilled.
Next day my son Chris was heading back to hunt Kudu. I loaned him my 7mm
and I took his .243. The .243 was loaded with 80 gr Barnes TTSX bullets.
I was confident it would take a Nyala. We started early at the base of
the hill we had hiked the day before. We went up the valley that we had
come down the day before, so we were doing the loop backwards this time.
There was lots of fog and the dew was very heavy. We had wet feet after
walking only a short distance. Perfect stalking conditions.
We went less than 1/2 mile when Matthew spotted a herd of Nyala. 8 or 9
cows and a good bull. We climbed up the hill to get to their elevation
and then slowly around the side of the ridge. Then there they were. All
feeding with the fog swirling around them. After few moments we found
the bull. 170 yards away across the draw. Then the wait for a shot.
First there was brush in the way and then only his hindquarters. Finally
he turned so I could see his side. Chris has a Savage Edge and I hate
that trigger. I pulled the trigger and the shot felt good. I immediately
chambered another round and tried to find the bull in my scope. As I
found him in the scope he fell over backwards and rolled 30 feet down
the hill. I was thrilled. As you can see from the pics he is a nice
mature animal. d I think he is 25-26 inches.
Attachment 12125Attachment 12126Attachment 12127
He was just covered in ticks. Could not believe how many he had on him.
Chris got his Kudu so I got my rifle back for the rest of the trip. After getting
him to the skinning shed we spent the rest of the day looking for a particular
Springbuck. Never did find him. When I have time I'll tell you about the
Bushbuck and Lechwe. Bruce