Austin's and Phil's HartzView Hunting Safaris 2013
So the time has finally come. I'm going to try and do a daily running report of our father/son safari with Jacques and HartzView safaris. We'll see how that goes, I expect a day or two break at times. I'm doing this as much for myself as a bit of a journal as I am for my AH brothers. If it gets verbose, my apologies. Just skip to
I used frequent flyer miles to book the bulk of this trip. The FF world being what it is, it was best to book from LAX to Kimberley via Frankfurt and Jo'burg. Our flight to Frankfurt leaves in about 3 hours. We had an uneventful flight from Phoenix to LAX last night, staying in a hotel nearby. First time to LAX, in spite of arriving sometime after 11pm, the airport traffic was crazy. It took probably 30 mins to get out of the airport. But all bags arrived as expected. I was happy that I escorted my rifle case to the TSA agent who quickly moved it along.
Back to LAX this morning, traffic at the airport not much better than last night. We were one of the first at the Lufthansa desk which opened shortly after we got there. Friendly, efficient service. Lufthansa requires you to let them know in advance that you're carrying firearms which of course I did, so this did not come as any surprise to the ticket agent. So no fuss no muss. Once again we took the rifle and ammo cases directly to TSA who were very friendly and got us on our way to the main screening in short order.
The main TSA security area was fairly crowded, but it moved along fairly well. One of the TSA agents however is apparently a grumpy former KGB agent or missed his morning coffee......just a bit too impatient barking at my son and me. I'm a fairly experienced traveler and have made being prepared for and getting through the scan quickly as I hate being in the lines. Still, this was not fast enough for TSA Agent Stalin.
So here we sit for another couple hours before boarding. Guess I'll knock out a few of the particulars.
Travel : As mentioned we're flying Lufthansa from LAX to Frankfurt. From there SAA to JNB and then connecting to Kimberley. Pretty much the opposite on return, only stopping in Munich.
Rifles: Tikka T3 Lite in .308 Win for Austin, Winchester M70's in .300 Win Mag and .375H&H for Phil
Ammo : 165gr, 200gr and 250gr North Fork Bonded cores following caliber list above.
Animal Wish List: Springbok, Blue and Black Wildebeest, Kudu, Gemsbok, Eland
All for now, perhaps a report from rainy Frankfurt tomorrow. We will have some time to go into the city and get a bite, perhaps see some sights.
Hunting Day 2 - Dad's a mess, Austin cleans up
This is our second day of hunting, but first in this new property in the Kalahari desert. We are a long ways from nowhere much less from somewhere. The sand is red and thick. I am amazed that vegetation can take root here, but it does. It's a mix of pure sand and vegetation. But the sand is everywhere, there is no such thing as solid hard ground anywhere. However it is quite apparent the Springbok, Eland, Gemsbok, Steenbok and Duikers find it appealing.
We spent a few minutes re-sighting rifles for longer shots and off we went. We weren't gone long before seeing a herd of springbok off in the distance, but closer to us was a single ram....a good one. Off the truck we go and climb up to the top of the dune to shoot across the street between the dunes. Springbok ranged at 300 plus yards. I'm not big on Austin taking his first shot at a smallish target at this range. But, boy he's nice. I decide to break out my .300 Win Mag and take him myself. Had to wait awhile for the perfect shot, but eventually he turned perfect. Crosshairs lined up, steady, a shot I've made numerous times on Coues deer.....bang! Springbok runs off totally unscathed! I have no idea how I missed this shot.
Springbok is running away but not in a huge hurry and while he's moving away, he is crossing the street towards our side. We jump in the truck and move a bit down and sure enough he's getting closer. Out we go, leaving the .300WM behind and instead bringing Austin's .308. Ocker, our PH, does a perfect job of getting Austin into position using a treebranch for a rest. Still the shot is 225 yards, about as good as it's going to get. Bang.....thwap......down in it's tracks!! Shot was a bit high and spined him, but he's down. Pretty thrilling moment seeing your son take his first animal.....a great day already by 8:15 in the morning.
We see lots of Eland during the rest of the morning. One herd counted at least 50 animals. But we haven't found a nice old blue bull to take yet. There are Steenbok everywhere in this country too. As the morning wears on and it warms up, the animals lie down and it's time for lunch.
After lunch and a nap, we are back out at about 2pm. Again we are seeing lots of Eland, just no shootable bulls. Steenbok everywhere as usual, going to take one of these if a "big" one is spotted. But now we are getting into Gemsbok action too. Somewhere along the line I grabbed the .375 to make a potential stalk on Eland.....a terrible plinking sound comes from the scope. An interior lens has let loose, we can actually see it looking into the scope. Bad juju.
You need to be prepared for longer shots here. This does not bother me at all on Gemsbok sized animals. We got to a herd and pursued it over many of these dunes. We got to a point where I had a 340 yard shot on a great bull......blew it missing left. Haven't a clue what I did.
Whatever the case, I've missed twice today. No matter, there's tomorrow and Austin has his first animal.