Hunt Report - Tall Grass Safaris
I have been out of the forum for over a month now. After returning from my safari, the work and family began to pile up. Good to be back on the forums and see the posts are still going strong. Anyway here it is...
Tall Grass Safaris - South Africa PH: Tom De Waal
Hunt Dates: 7/31/09 thru 8/11/09
Species Taken: Buffalo Cow, Impala, Blesbuck, Kudu, Red Hartebeest, Warthog, Bushpig and Blue Wildebeest
I arrived in JNB on 7/31 around 9PM. I dont want to waste much time about the flight, but for those interested, I flew delta from Atlanta direct to JNB. Aside from being on a plane for 16 hours, the flight was excellent. Good food, movies and service. I am about 6'1" and 185 lbs and the space was ample. Yes I was jealous of those in business class, but they paid more for their seat than I did for most of my hunt.
After meeting Tom and his wife at the airport, I gathered my bags and my guns and we headed to the lodge for the night. We all sat down for a great dinner and then to bed. They both made me feel very welcome and comfortable.
The next morning we started the 4 hour drive to our first hunting camp. I explained to Tom what I expected. I was not there to break any records or measure any horns. It was my first time to Africa and I wanted to see alot of different country and hopefully get good representatives of the species. I did not want to set at any waterholes or spend too much time in a vehicle. Fortunately I get paid to work out everyday and I am in fairly good condition. Although I soon found out that Benjamin, my tracker from Zimbabwe, was in great shape as well. We were searching for a group of bull wildebeests that were spotted earlier and after we tracked them over a couple of BIG hills and rocks, I thought my heart was going to explode.
Anyway, that first evening we spot and stalked a couple groups of impala. After a couple unsuccessful ones, we got into position on a nice ram and using a tree branch I had my first African species on the ground. It was still early, so after pictures we loaded him up and looked for some blesbuck. We located a group of about 100. The wind was blowing hard and I was actually pretty cold. Finally a nice male moved off by himself and I had number 2 on the ground. More pictures and back to camp for drinks and dinner.
The next day we searched for kudu with no success. I saw plenty of game and had a great time anyway.
Day 3 started the hunt for a old buff cow. Being a working man, I settled for a cow as compared to the fee for a bull. We traveled several hours away, hunting near the border of Mozambique and the Kruger Park. It was pouring rain all morning and the stalking was tough. We saw several great bulls, but not shootable cows. The rain continued and we decided to take a break and let things clear out. We found an old barn with an awning and made a fire. After several sandwiches, alot of muffins and snacks, the rain stopped. We headed back out for round two. We located several herds, but each time we stalked close enough we found only bulls and young cows. Still, every stalk was exciting, especially getting that close to buff in person. Finally one of the trackers saw an old cow mixed within a herd grazing thru the bush. We started our stalk and got into position at where we thought they would cross a small dirt trail. Like clockwork, the herd grazed passed and the old cow stopped broadside giving me a 25 yard broadside shot. The 375 roared and the bullet connected in the cow's left shoulder. She reared back and turned back on her trail. I gave her another in the rear quarter as she ran off.We regrouped and after some waiting followed the good blood trail. We found her about 100 yards off. She had stopped and layed down facing us quietly waiting. She stood up and before she had the chance to do anything nasty, I put one high in the spine at about 7 or 8 yards. She was down and the photos began. It was a wonderful hunt. Everything I had hoped for.
After some tough stalking the next day, I managed to take a nice kudu bull. Of course it fell in the rockiest terrain it could and it made the removal quite difficult.
The next day we loaded our gear and headed to our third concession. Like the others, it was well equipped and had plenty of game. I managed to harvest a warthog, hartebeest and blue wildebeest over the next several days. We hunted hard for the wildebeest and I finally took a nice bull my last evening. I knew the buff were tough animals, but I had no idea how tough those wildebeest were. They are amazing animals. As an added bonus, while searching for wildebeest one afternoon, we spotted 4 bushpigs running across the field about 300 yards out. My PH got real excited and told me to shoot the big one in front. The first shot was just over the back, but it caused the group to turn and head right towards us. They stopped about 200 yards out and I dropped it in its tracks. This was the first bushpig he had seen all year.
Since I was ahead of the game halfway thru the hunt, we spent 2 days touring the Kruger. That was an amazing experience. We covered alot of ground during those ten days, but it was by choice. We could have stayed in one place, but I wanted to see as much country as possible. Every meal was excellent. I had more red meat in ten days than I usually do in ten weeks. I had some great wine and beer and made some great new friends. I think I could live on the coffee and the homemade rusks I had. Having some family or friends there would have been nice, but hunting one on one with only my PH Tom and tracker Benjamin was nice. I learned so much in those ten days. All the people I met were wonderful. Tom and his wife took me out for dinner twice in Pretoria and had me over to there home as well. I am already excited about going back in the future to get that big buff bull and hopefully a lion.