The Last Day Kudu
Africa, the mere sound of the word congers up stories of Hemingway, Corbett, Taylor and after 50 plus years of waiting to go to Africa for a Safari, I finally made the decision to bite the bullet and contacted Chris Troskie of CT-Safaris where I advised Chris of my limitations and asked him was it going to be possible to have the Safari experience to which Chris advised me that he works within the limitations of each client so a booking was made in April 2011 for an early August hunt.
After arranging all the necessary paperwork to export 2 firearms and ammunition, PBS medicine etc and all the little things that make up the Safari experience, on Tuesday 9th August 2011 it all began when I flew from Dubbo to Sydney where I stayed overnight before going to the International Terminal at 0700hrs Wednesday 10th August to have Customs check that all was in order and after the mandatory security check I was ready to commence the 14hr plus journey to Johannesburg.
I always fly Qantas and this time I was seated in Premium Economy which was the only seats available on the required date but it was a pleasure to have the extended leg room and the meals were a lot better than Economy.
If I said the time flew by I would be lying but we arrived about 30 minutes ahead of time where I was met by the staff of Hunters Support who collected all my checked baggage and whisked me through Immigration and then finally I was re-united with my Pelican Case in the SAPS Office where the serial numbers of the rifles were checked and once they were happy I was handed over to Chris Troskie and after the normal introductions we started a four hour trip to Bloemfontein where we stayed the night ready for an early start the next morning to the first area to be hunted which was situated next to the Orange River near the town of Aliwal North.
The Orange River is the border between the Eastern Cape and the Free State but the property was actually in the Free State.
After settling in and checking the rifle for accuracy, we proceeded to start the hunt.
Day 1. 11/08/11
As most hunting is done in the morning and afternoon, we were in time to start our hunting in the afternoon on Day 1 which was to say the least an eye opener with the country side far different to that of Australia. The weather was quite pleasant with no jackets required but this would soon change.
Our first African species was the Zebra taken just after 1500hrs whilst running with Wildebeest, it was a nice male with not much damage to the hide and will make a very nice rug.
After taking the Zebra to the skinning shed we had a general look around and became more familiar to the lay of the land.
Day 2. 12/08/11
In the morning about 0930hrs we took a nice Springbok and in the afternoon a nice Blue Wildebeest at about 1700hrs. In the morning although cool a jumper was all that was needed but by the afternoon a jacket was required as well.
Day 3. 13/08/11
The morning saw us doing a lot of looking but with no real trophy animals seen, however the afternoon provided a change in luck with a nice Impala taken about 1450hrs and weather was pleasant and we were back to just a jumper.
Day 4. 14/08/11
Sunday saw us change hunting areas by 20-30 kilometers into the Eastern Cape but it was cold, real cold and the jumper and light jacket was replaced by a jumper and a heavy jacket and gloves etc but by 1030hrs we had got a nice Black Springbok.
Day 5 15/08/11
Although we had been looking for the very nice Waterbuck known to haunt this area for the last two days, today was the day that we found the stag that had been hunted by the last 4 hunters to this area to no avail. As we moved slowly forward, wind in our face and sun at our rear we approached the rock ledge which overlooked a grassy area with light scrub and close to the Orange River and there much to our Trackers surprise, there he was.
My guide Chris estimated the distance to be about 170 yards downhill so he set up the sticks ready for me to take the shot. After correctly finding the right one
( there was two ) Chris gave the instruction to shoot when I was ready. At the sound of the shot, the second stag stood up not knowing what had happened and although my stag was anchored a second shot was provided to ensure all was well.
Now considering a few facts, my inability to be a mountain goat and the fact nothing is left behind to go to waste, it was decided that it was best if I observed what was happening from above and Chris and the trackers do the honor and retrieve the trophy skull and hide along with the meat.
Day 6. 16/08/11
Today we went after Gemsbok which are both illusive and run like the wind if they see or get wind of a hunter. After a lot of work by the trackers we were able to take this one.
Chris, Myself & Mbuto
Day 7. 17/08/11
Saw us drive to the Eastern Cape to another property near the town of Steynsburg for the last 3 days of the hunt. We had been told of the possibility of getting a good size Black Wildebeest so it was worth the drive. On arrival we settled in and went for a quick look around ready for an early start the next day.
Day 8. 18/08/11
Before we had a chance to look for the Black Wildebeest we encountered a lovely Duiker which although not on the original list was to much of an opportunity to pass up and luckily I did not and it turned out to be a lovely 5" Duiker.
Day 9. 19/08/11
Today was the day of the Black Wildebeest which are elusive and tough. Although we started the hunt in the morning, it was not until 1720hrs that our quarry was on the ground so with a bit of huffing and puffing the beasts carcass was loaded into the back of the ute for the trip to the skinning shed.
Day 10. 20/08/11
Being the last day of the hunt, I was beginning to get apprehensive as I really wanted to get a Kudu but the last 3 tries showed only females and younger bulls which was not our quarry. The property owner said that he has seen a couple of really good bulls over the last weeks but now they seemed to live up to their name The Gray Ghost as they could not be found.
Finally in the last hunting hours of the last day we finally found what we were looking for a very nice Kudu Bull where a heart shot put the trophy in the bag. When measured by the Taxidermist it measured 45" on both horns
It was some of the best moments of my life, I found all of the South African people I met very welcoming and helpful, I ate well and drank more than I normally do but hey, T.I.A. (This Is Africa)
If anyone is considering doing a Plains Game Hunt or in fact any African hunt, whether you are a fitness freak or have a health problem like me I can assure you that Chris Troskie of CT-Safaris will do all in his power to provide you with an enjoyable and productive hunt.
I hope you all enjoyed seeing my hunt as much as I have enjoyed showing you.
Cheers for now,
Gooday Jeff...good report & looks like you had a great time. Some nice animals there, like those Black Wildies and that Kudu looks quite heavy, well done. I know that "last day" feeling.
Planned the next trip yet?
Originally Posted by messmate
One Black and One Blue Wildebeest but the black is older and of a better size. I love the Kudu and a reasonable size for the E.C. but as for the next trip... well I'll have to win lotto first.
Congrats Jeff, I happy you got some terrific trophies and memories! Thanks for posting a hunt report!
Thanks for the report, Jeff, and congratulations on your hunt. Nice trophies !
Congrats Jeff Great report and some fine trophies but don't count that next trip out yet, thats what I use to think, with your mind set to save for the next one it is doable I plan mine every 2-3 years just start planning now.
Thank you for taking time from your schedule to put together a good story with photos...
i looks like you had a great time and will be going back...soooon...
Glad you were able to get that hunt in. Good trophies.
You got some nice trophies and a good PH always takes note of the ability of his client.
Chris obviously did a good job for you.
Glad I did not have to help gat that Waterbuck out of the river bottom. :)
Well done Jeff, I'm glad this hunt matched your expectations and desires.
Great Trophies and great memories.
Thank you, I am glad you liked the story and the trophies.
Thank you, I am glad you liked the story and the trophies. I know that I am very happy with the hunt.
I am glad you liked the story and the trophies. If money and health permits I will try again as it is addictive.
It is always nice to share ones hunts and read of others success as well.
Thanks for the thoughts, Chris did a wonderful job and to his credit was able to assist me into the right position to take the shot.
As for carrying the meat up, I thought that they were joking until they butchered the carcass after taking the cape. They were to say the least 'knackered' after wards which took a couple of hours but as they say "I can sit a watch work for hours" Just joking.
Thanks for the thoughts, it is greatly appreciated. As they say "No Pain No Gain" and in my case I had both but success is sweat.
How 'bout some info your the hardware you used Jeff ?
Congrats, Its good to see you did well and had a good time. I really like the heavy Waterbuck. Looks like Chris needs 100yds more winch line!!! LOL
I will send you a link a bit later as they are 2 Custom CZ550's that I had built for me.
Thanks, it was a fantastic time and am very happy with the Waterbuck but if Chris had another 100mts of cable he wouldn't get the exercise to keep him fit to keep up with Sabina.... Ha Ha..
Congratulations Jeff. Looks like all that planning came together. Did you get to eat Sabinas fantastic Tunisian Meat ball dish ? Mmmmm