SOUTH AFRICA: RSA 2012 Kwan Safaris
Another great hunt is in the books. Paul, Ray, Samuel and Myself were the hunters. Ray and Samuel were Africa rookies and had no idea what to expect. Samuel is my Godson, and I told him a few years ago that if his grades were good when he graduated high school, I would take him to Africa hunting. He didn't disappoint, and ended up with a 104 average and has been accepted in to the engineering program at Texas.
We flew into Joberg on the 2nd, and after a little scare with the gun permit situation, we headed north. With each SAPS officer following there own rules, I had to do some quick negotiating in order to get the gun permit for Samuel. One place says 18 is fine for permits, but this guy was adamant that he needed to be 21. He agreed to let me sign as a guardian and we were off. We drove a few hours north and stayed the night at a small farm about half way to where we were hunting.
Up early the next morning, I could see that Ray and Samuel were itching to draw blood. Each of the guys had a list of things they wanted to try for. The rookies quickly found out that Africa is a terrible drug. Once you are on it, it is almost impossible to get off. After getting settled in at the farm, we checked the rifles and Samuels bow, and we were off. Samuel really wanted to use his bow on most of the animals, but I was nervous he would take up too much of his 7 days trying. I was wrong.
Samuel, Walter (PH) and I went to a pit blind that afternoon to see what would come in. Not ten minutes later an old warthog to water. His tusks were broken, but I told Samuel to get something in the salt. After a perfect 22 yard shot and a few minutes wait time we were taking pics. We spent the rest of the day sitting in that little oven with nothing else coming in.
Samuel really showed his skills with a bow. He ended up taking a warthog, two impala, kudu, and a blue wildebeest with it. He also took a nice warthog with his rifle.
Ray started off slowly, missing an impala and losing a duiker. On the third day, he made up ground quickly taking an impala, kudu and gemsbok in one day. He also had a great waterbuck, duiker, wildebeest and a warthog. Ray is already planning for next year. He came home and ordered a Butch Searcy double rifle, and plans to hunt buffalo next year.
The conditions at the farm were as bad or worse than south Texas was last year. The farm manager gave us a list of highly discounted animals if we wanted them. He really wanted Paul and I to take 2 bull giraffes that were fighting and tearing up fences. Not being at the top of my list, I hesitated for a few days. That was until Paul took his. Hearing about the stalk, events that followed and seeing the giant on the ground gave me a whole knew respect. After a mile plus game of cat and giant mouse Paul placed two 480 grain 450 Nitro bullets into the shoulder, and said it never even flinched. The animal ran another mile before they caught up to it. Numerous shots later, and another mile or so, it was over. The skin on the giraffes shoulder is over an inch thick. Two days later, I got my chance. After a blown stalk on an eland, the tracker found some fresh giraffe bull tracks. We didn't realize he was only a few hundred yards away. He was very skittish, and would run a 100 yards or so and stay behind trees every time we got within range. After the third try, he made the mistake of standing a few seconds too long. I was using a new Heym 450/400 NE. I learned from Paul's where to place the shot. I really only needed one shot, but that is why you shoot a double for big game, a quick follow up. He ran 80 yards and plied up. One more shot into the spine and it was over. The manager was happy, and so were we.
Paul had recently received his Butch Searcy 450 nitro double and was eager to use it. He made good use of it, taking the giraffe, wildebeest, and a zebra with it. He also got a nice steenbuck and a warthog.
My main goal for the trip was buffalo again, but I also wanted a bushbuck. I was told of a place not far away with nice sable for a good price compared to normal South African prices. I had no problem taking a look at the. After glassing over the herd, I made up my mind. We made a stalk and ended up with a nice 40" bull. Another PH Johan and I traveled to a farm on the Limpopo river one morning in search for bushbuck. This place was loaded with them. We saw a few young rams at first. Then the tracker spotted a nice ram. We positioned ourselves for the shot and I took it. The afternoon after I got the giraffe, the farm manager asked if I wanted to take an old eland bull with a broken horn. I said if we get him on foot with my double rifle, ill do it. Well, after 3.5 miles and light getting low, I had my shot. He soaked up the 400 grain hornady and ran another 300 yards with a broken shoulder. He took another shoulder shot and once again took off. We found him again and I put him down. My tally for that part of the trip was eland, giraffe, sable, bushbuck and a baboon.
We were ahead of schedule, and were able to start hunting buffalo a day early. We left the farm and headed to Jejane. That is where I killed my buffalo last year. The difference is that the elephants have knocked down a huge portion of the fence. We watched a bunch of buff traveling back and forth between the reserves. Now it is pretty much open to Kruger. The reserve is joining the Greater Kruger Reserve in a few months, and all the fences will be coming down.
After checking rifles again and unpacking, we set out for buffalo. It almost happened too fast. We saw a group of dagga boys within an hour of driving. Four of us got off the truck to try and make a stalk. We had seen a nice hard boss bull we wanted to take a look at. As we got closer, he stepped out to where we could see him. Walter said to hammer him when he cleared the brush. The wind suddenly swirled and that was it. He only needed to take one more step. That was pretty much it for the day.
We started early the next morning, checking watering holes and looking for tracks. About 8:45 we spotted a group of bulls crossing into the reserve. Me made a plan to get on them, and it paid off. By 9:30 we had one on the ground. Two shots to the shoulder, and he was down in 50 yards. I took one more shot to make sure he was down. One minute later he lifted his head, so I had to shoot him again. He is not the biggest bull in the world, but he has great bosses. Measurements are 36" wide, and 18" bosses. Samuel and Ray were set to leave that morning. I was really glad they got to come out and at least see on up close.
That night we had a herd of about 200 buffalo come to the waterhole below the house. They stayed for about an hour and sucked the waterhole dry. Looked the over and only saw young bulls.
Started off the next day in the same fashion. Looked over some tracks, and decided they were too old to follow. We checked out the fence line where we saw the bulls the day before, and they were coming across again. This time there were some other bulls in the group. Made another plan and had one down within 15 minutes of the one the day before. He was 30 yards from where the other stood, and died 25 yards from where he did. We set up for pics and realized he was the bull from the first day. This one was 42" wide and had 15.5" bosses.
With a day to spare, We packed up and Headed to Dullstroom for some bird shooting. It was cold there, and I wasn't ready for that. Killed a few Francolin, and took it easy after that.
We had a great time, with great friends. Walter was great as usual. Johan and Jason are great PHs, and I hope to hunt with them again. Zelda the cook, made sure we came home fatter than when we arrived. This was a great warmup for my wife and I's trip to Tanzania in August. Ray and Paul are already making plans for 2013. Ill probably be right there with them.