A Hard but Great Hunt at Huntershill Safaris E C
This is a discussion on A Hard but Great Hunt at Huntershill Safaris E C within the South Africa Hunting Reports forums, part of the Hunting Reports & Questions About Outfitters/PHs category; Once again I would like to Thank Greg & Bruce and all of their staff for a Great time at ...
06-10-2012, 03:20 PM #1
A Hard but Great Hunt at Huntershill Safaris E C
Once again I would like to Thank Greg & Bruce and all of their staff for a Great time at Huntershill Safaris in the beautiful Heuningklip Valley of the Eastern Cape, South Africa, is your premier hunting safari destination with their great chef from the Congo who prepared such great meals that when I sat down to eat I wondered if I should be wearing a tie, 5Star all the way, and to Debbie the secretary for being there like a best friend, Thanks.
Well to start out Deb and I left Huntsville and flew to Dulles caught our flight out of Dulles on to Dakar and then on to Johannesburg without a hitch had a little trouble in Johannesburg but more on that later when I get an Email back from Air2000. Missed our first flight but was able to get on the next one 40 minutes later Guns made it to East London but the Luggage and of course the Ammo did not. We were met at the Airport by Gerald from Hunters Hill Safaris along with another family from Colorado that we met on the flight also going to Hunters Hill Safaris. Loaded up and headed out for the 2 ｽ hour drive to Tarkastad got up the next morning went to the lodge and Debbie was already on the phone with SAA locating our luggage and Ammo. When we went outside we were met by our good friend and PH Rusty who said not to worry he had the 300 Win Mag that I used last time behind the seat so I borrowed a hunting jacket from Alex and bought Deb a nice Huntershill fleece jacket to wear and we were off to the range to checkout the 300 Win Mag. Deb was the first in the hot seat as Rusty spotted a small herd of Red Hartebeest on the hillside while we were out scouting so the stalk is on. Several hours later we are all within 320yards as Deb and Rusty low crawl to a good shooting position 320yrds deb waits there are 12 Red Hartebeest standing in front of them 11 broadside and 1 looking straight at them Rusty ask deb. Which do you want the biggest or the oldest? Deb Looked at him and ask, if it were you which one would you take? And he said the oldest he has a lot of character and Deb said then that痴 the one I want so they waited because that was the one that was looking straight at them. 30 minutes laying on the hillside no shade the sun is getting hot and Deb has shed the fleece jacket that I bought for her, the Red Hartebeest finally turns takes a few steps and stops broadside and Deb takes her shot 320yrds Red Hartebeest in the salt and my lovely wife has taken her first African Plains Game Animal. Its back to the lodge for the trackers to do a skinning job and we were off to the lodge to enjoy dinner and good company what an end to a great day. The next day as we get to the lodge for breakfast we are told that our luggage and ammo has been located and is in East London and Gerald will get it this morning as he has to go to East London to pick up more clients. So we are off to eat breakfast and decide to hunt another one of the animals on Debs list the Zebra. So after Breakfast we head out scouting for Zebra we made several stalks but were busted every time so when we come in for lunch our luggage and ammo were there so after lunch we were back to the range to check our own guns. I sighted in the Browning 308 that I would be using a few adjustments and I was set deb shot her 3006 and found out that the scope ring had been broke so that afternoon it would be hunting for one of mine the Common Reedbuck we stalked the rock bluffs where the Reedbuck had been seen but no Reedbuck day 2 no animals. Deb痴 gun was taken to a local gun shop by Bruce the next morning and he waited for it while it was fitted with new bases and rings he took it to the range to check the sighting when he got back and Deb took it back to the range for final adjustments. The next day we decide to hunt one of the animals high on my list the Vaal Rhebuck we go to a friend of Rusty痴 sheep and cattle farm in the Winterburg mountains to hunt the Vaal Rhebuck as we stand there looking at the mountains they point out that this is the highest moutain in the Winterburg range at 7800 feet above sea level. So we spend the day climbing and scouting for Vaal Rhebuck we see lots of females and young bucks but no shooters so at 7700 ft above sea level its time to head back down and back to the lodge for the night.The next day we head out for Deb痴 Zebra again my poor legs need a break or so I thought, our first stalk was for a herd that had been spotted on the hillside we stalked it for better then a mile when they finally decided they were tired of us following them and left us behind. We caught back up to them after lunch when we spotted them moving over a ridge so the stalk was on again we crawled to within 150 yards Rusty and I were watching them as Deb and Jami Rusty痴 fianc馥 got in to position about that time Rusty looked down at the ground and said something under his breath and the Zebra ran off I ask what happened and he said another hunting vehicle had spooked the Zebra from down below. So we were headed back to check the area where the Common Reedbuck had last been seen when the trackers spotted 3 more Zebra on the hillside so we headed around and came in from above the ridge we got to within 100 yrds of the Zebra it was a really big female and Deb was going to take her as she started to get in to a good shooting position the tracking dog Spud stepped in the way and deb stepped on his paw he yelped and the Zebra took off with no chance of a shot so we continue on looking for the Common Reedbuck but with no luck so day 3 ended with no animals its back to the lodge for dinner and more great company. That evening Rusty lets us know that we池e going for the Vaal Rhebuck again and it would be an early start 5:30 am meet at the lodge. So the next morning we are off again to the Winterburg Mountains scouting for Vaal Rhebuck we seen a lot of them but again female and young buck so another day spent in the Mountains taking a crash course in getting in shape for those of you planning on Vaal Rhebuck start now getting those rock climbing legs in shape you値l be glad you did, so day4 ends with no animals but this is what hunting is all about free range Vaalie痴 one day their there the next their somewhere else so its back to the lodge for dinner and a surprise as this is June 2 my Birthday we eat dinner that night and as we finish I tell Deb that I知 going to go to the lounge for a Castle and head to the room Debbie is standing behind me and says to wait as she goes to the kitchen she comes back out with all the staff Rusty and Jami carrying a Birthday cake and singing Happy Birthday to me what a great bunch. So day 5 begains at breakfast Rusty says he has a plan and we are going for Debs Zebra again so we go back to the area we seen the first Zebra and sure enough there they are high on the mountain side yep, Burchell Zebra that want to be Mountain Zebra but Rusty says no worry I have a plan. We drive around to the other end of the mountain ridge the Zebra are on and Rusty instructs the trackers to listen to the radio and he would let them know when to start the push he looks at us and said we池e going to ambush them as they come across in front of us so we head back down and around to intercept them as they come, the first thing that came in the push was a herd of Blue Wildebeest. So we wait and watch as the Zebra move in. Rusty radio痴 the trackers and tells them to stop and let the Zebra continue on slowly so we waited as they moved to within 250yrds and stop Rusty points out the Big Stallion and Deb takes her shot hitting him good but he moves out 30 more yards and stops again Deb takes aim again at 280yrds shoots and the Zebra drops its head he痴 hit hard as Deb bolts in another round the Zebra falls and rolls down in to the Brush we all jump up with joy anyone that thinks hunting one of these buggers is easy is either a very lucky hunter or has never hunted Zebra before. We get to where he is laying and see that the first shot was through the back of the lunges the second shot at 280yrds was right through the pump station he was done. We get pictures and its back to the skinning shed, the trackers/drivers/skinners have more work to do. I have also added a picture of Jami our good friend and Rusty痴 lovely fianc馥 helping to field dress Deb痴 Zebra Rusty said 3 years ago he would have never been able to get her to do that, Go Girl I see a PH in the making. We take a break for lunch and head out at 3:00 looking for my Common Reedbuck now in 5 days we have seen several but Rusty says that痴 not the one. Rusty tells me that the one we are looking for is believed to be the biggest on the farm that he had been spotted several times and when anyone ask if he had seen the one on the bluff he would tell them Shhhh I知 saving that one for Bobby. We scout the bluffs out but no luck we haven稚 seen him yet its starting to get late and Rusty radios Aleck the tracker and Deb who was still at the truck to drive around and pick us up, Rusty is talking with Jami on the phone trying to figure out what was going wrong 5 days and no Common Reedbuck I am walking to the bluff to watch as they came to pick us up I had already made up my mind that if they jumped him out as they came around I was going to pop a cap on its butt, Rusty was still talking to Jami and listing on the radio when he just hung up on her and started calling my name Aleck had just called Rusty on the radio as they were coming to get us Aleck had spotted a female Reedbuck and said to Deb they were just here as deb looked back she said there he is in the brush on the bluff so Aleck said mom, he calls Deb mom I am going to leave you here to watch and I will go get them so Deb set in the brush watching them waiting for our return as she seen us coming Rusty was hauling butt and she stepped out to flag us down afraid we might spook them we blew right by stopped got out of the truck got set up for the shot it was going to be a long shot yep 40yrds you see Common Reedbuck think if they don稚 move you can稚 see them so 1 shot and he痴 down lots of pictures and Common Reedbuck in the salt what a great end to day 5. So Rusty lets us know that the next day we are going to be leaving early about 5:00am for a 2 ｽ hr drive to hunt Warthog and Bushbuck as it turned out we would be hunting a 80,000 acre private Game Reserve only 20 clicks from East London, we get there and it is a Beautiful place mountains, river and brush so thick you couldn稚 see into it. We meet the owner and he said the warthog and bushbuck should not be a problem as there were a lot of them and he wasn稚 kidding within 1 hr we had all ready seen 30 or more warthogs we did see 2 bushbucks but they seen us as well. That morning while glassing a young boar Rusty looks down in a field and spots 2 more Warthogs he says get the rifle and the stalk is on, using the wind and brush to our advantage we get to within 100yrds and glass them better one was in his prime but young the other was and older hog I told Rusty he has a good hook to his tusk, and Rusty ask are you happy with that one? and I said yes, so Rusty gets his shooting sticks setup I get ready and take the shot the warthog does not go down but ran into the brush a few yards away we go down and look and there is good blood sign so the trackers go in they are having a bit of a time following the blood due to the brush being so thick that Rusty sends Spud in on a leash to help track they find the pig but he is not dead yet and when Spud barked the pig jumped up and went down a hole. Rusty said we池e not giving up with that we値l smoke him out I ask have you ever had to smoke one out of a hole before and he said no but we値l try it, well it worked and we shot the pig again. Well we dropped Smiley my tracker off at the skinning shed with the instructions Full Body Mount as we head off to hunt Bushbuck. We hunted for the rest of the day with no luck for a bushbuck with plans to come back on the last day to try for Bushbuck and a Bushpig they had been baiting for so day 6 ended with me getting my Warthog life is good. We headed back to Huntershill with the plans of hunting Vaalie the next day. The next morning is another early start we are going to another area to look for Vaalie痴 we comb the hills and as we set and take a break and glass Rusty is listing to the trackers talk in African and he laughs they just said you are one tough white guy which made my head swell coming from guys that walk these hills like I walk down a sidewalk. Later that afternoon we are glassing and Rusty points at a Vaal Rhebuck and said that痴 the one we池e looking for and the stalk is on you could clearly see his horns above his ears at over 500yrds away we get to within 360 Yards and Rusty said that it was still to far I told Rusty that I had been shooting at 330 yards, what I didn稚 think of was that it was on flat ground and I was shooting down hill and he was right I shot right over his back he ran off but a few minutes later he returned with some females and stopped 300 yards up hill and I got another shot and hit him we could see the blood on his chest and it was a lot so we started tracking him it got late and still had not found him so Rusty said we would head back down the mountain and organize some walkers for tomorrow so ended day 7 with a broken heart its easy to over look someone else screwing up but we beat the crap out of our self when we do it. That evening setting at the lounge Bruce comes over and said you値l feel better when you find him tomorrow and I told him it wasn稚 just that I screwed it up for everyone it is our last day to hunt and we値l be looking for my Vaalie deb won稚 get a chance to hunt anymore. Bruce said we can get another PH to go out with Deb if she wants and he ask what is left on your list? I told him a Steenbuck and Duiker for Deb and a Bushbuck and Bushpig for myself he said this is what I値l do I will trade you those 4 for a Nyala we have a big bull we have been seeing and if you like he痴 yours that痴 a $400 discount Deb looked at me with a smiled Do it! Do it she said, What a Woman. So the next morning before breakfast and going to look for my Vaalie we were looking for that Bull Nyala we were about to head back to the lodge when Deb came through for me again she looks back and calls my name there he is in the bush the Nyala we were looking for so the stalk is on, when I get to where he was he was gone so I got down close to the ground and started looking under the brush there he was 50yrds on the other side of the brush so using the brush to cover my approach I get set up and wait for him to walk out, when he does he痴 only 20yrds away broadside he stops and looks at me as to say where did you come from to late I fired a perfect heart shot he ran 20 yards and dropped. Rusty walked up he looked at me and said wrong one I said yeah he痴 the one, NO Wrong one the shock on my face busted him out laughing he said that is a Magnificent Bull and I said give me my gun I知 going to shoot you for scaring me like that. The trackers had already eat their breakfast that morning so we had ours while they skinned and dressed the Nyala. After breakfast we loaded up all the trophies as we would be going right by Umilindi Taxidermy in route to look for my Vaalie. We dropped off the trophies with the hope of dropping one more off on our return. As we got to the farm we picked up 2 more walkers with Rusty and I, 2 tracker and 2 walkers and of course Spud Rusty痴 Dog we headed out the bad news was that, that night they had a bad rain storm something they usually don稚 get in the winter there so all the blood sign was gone, as we drove in my heart sank in every trail we took were Jackal tracks they to could smell the blood we spent the day combing the valley out but never found the Vaal Rhebuck Rusty ask the Walkers to keep an eye out for the skull they work these hills all the time for sheep and cattle if they find it they will take it to the owner of the farm and he will get it to Rusty and Rusty will find me another cape. I tip the Walkers for there help and will tip them again if they find it. We head back and settle up with Cecil for the Taxidermy work for more info on Cecils work, go to Taxidermy services | Hunting-Africa.co.za 2012 and check it out Highly Recommended Taxidermist. And for Hunters Hill contact Greg or Bruce at Huntershill Safaris in the beautiful Heuningklip Valley of the Eastern Cape, South Africa, is your premier hunting safari destination for a hunt of a lifetime, if you go once you値l be back.
And before even leaving plans are being made for our return Eland, Busbuck, Bushpig and who knows what else. So comes the end to another Great Hunt with Great Friends and the dreaming begins for our next trip.Enjoy life now -- it has an expiration date.
06-10-2012, 03:51 PM #2
- Member of SCI
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Great story Bob, I was really rooting for you with that Vallie. They live in such open country I imagine there is a good chance you will get his skull yet. Great adventure anyway, Congrats.The journey is the reward.
06-10-2012, 03:55 PM #3
- Member of SCI
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Nice hat by the way.The journey is the reward.
06-10-2012, 03:58 PM #4
06-10-2012, 04:24 PM #5
- Member of KZN Hunters Assoc
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Been there done that on those uphill shots on sheep. Never off the fur!!
I hope the walkers want that tip. Short grass and winters coming. should bode well.
Nyala will do that to you every time. Throw the others away just for the chance.
You have to keep that bride of yours if she gives that kind of advice.
Great job by the boys on that Warthog. I'll have to remember that trick.
Thanks for the tale!Practice whispering before you leave for Africa!
A Legend in my own mind!
06-10-2012, 04:34 PM #6
- Member of NRA, ATA, PITA, NAHC, NAFC, DU, TU, DSC, SCI, RMEF
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nice report and picturesJames Grage - New Mexico
Hold a steady Eye & Rifle...
"Very few of the so-called liberals are open-minded...they shout you down and won't let you speak if you disagree with them." John Wayne
06-10-2012, 06:07 PM #7
- Member of NRA, SCI, NAHC, RMEF, NBU, WSF
- Hunted Namibia, RSA
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Thanks for the report Bob, I enjoyed it a lot. Your challanges just make the trophies that much sweeter. I really like that Nyala. Hopefully I can get one next month.
06-10-2012, 09:05 PM #8
- Member of SCI (Sioux Falls, SD) RMEF, NWTF, NRA, NTA, BCSC, SDTA, NDTA, P&Y,
- Hunted Canada (Ontario,British Columbia,Manitoba), USA (Colorado,Montana,Wyoming,Texas,South Dakota), Africa(Limpopo,NW Province, East Cape, Kwazulu Natal,) Namibia
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Quite the thread. Tough hunts are always the most memorable. You always have to save a few animals for "The Next Trip".
I will be after the warrior Nyala this August in Kwa Zulu Natal.
"A Dream can be relived, again and again in Africa".
06-11-2012, 07:35 AM #9
- Member of SCI, SHAC, RW Guild
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Exciting report Bob! Congrats on fine trophies and a wonderful trip. Very good nyala and beautiful tusks on that warthog. But I have to admit its the common reedbuck I envy you most....
To bad with the rehbuck. Its allways difficult with those up and downhill shots. Bad luck, but maybe they will find it later.
One thing for sure, both you and Deb did very well. So now you have to plan the next trip.
TrondThe best hunt are the one in your dreams, the next best are the one in your memories.
06-11-2012, 09:33 AM #10
- Hunted Norway, Sweden, England, South Africa
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Congrats with a great trip!
I hope they find your Rhebuck.
Thanks for sharing your trip with us
06-11-2012, 10:10 AM #11
- Member of RFEC, RFETO
- Hunted Finland, RSA ( KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, North West ), Spain
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Thanks for sharing the story, Bob. And congrats for a great hunt !
06-11-2012, 11:06 AM #12
Thanks Everyone we had a great time even thow the full moon played haveck with our hunt, we could walk out at night and look at the grass fields and see wildlife feeding everywhere the moon was so bright. Here are a few pics of wildlife not hunted.Enjoy life now -- it has an expiration date.
06-11-2012, 11:35 AM #13
- Member of NRA lifetime, SCI Member, Longhunters LLC
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Bob, Congrats on a great hunt. Hopefully you get the call soon that they have found your trophy."Ignorance is curable, stupid is forever."
06-11-2012, 02:01 PM #15
- Hunted Namibia, Kyrgyzstan South Africa
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Sounds like a great hunt. Hopefully your Rhebuck skull turns up for you. Nice pics. Start planning the next trip. Bruce
06-11-2012, 02:32 PM #16
- Member of Patron NRA, SCI, KRVSA,
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Great story and hunt with many nice animals, congratsBigun
06-11-2012, 04:22 PM #17
- Member of Northeast Wisconsin SCI chapter, Lifetime member of NRA,RMEF
- Hunted Namibia, South Africa (East Cape, Guateng and Limpopo)
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Thanks for the hunting report! Nice pictures! Sorry, to hear about the vaal rhebok.
Thanks for a great hunt report and pictures!
06-12-2012, 05:51 AM #19
Thanks for sharing your hunt and pictures with us Bob!
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06-12-2012, 08:00 AM #20
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