SOUTH AFRICA: 1st trip to SA , Shangwari Safaris and Juan Pace.

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by alwayzinit, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. alwayzinit

    alwayzinit New Member

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    Hi All.

    Just a quick preview of my trip with Juan Pace of Shangwari Safaris.

    In short, excellent!

    If I had been using a rifle I could easily have bankrupted myself!!

    Juan was an excellent host, good company and easy to get on with.

    Even though I was not a big bucks client I could not have been treated any better.

    Full report will be posted after my daughter shows me how to insert pictures!!!!!

    Cheers

    Alwayz
  2. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    will there be a report and some pictures to add to this post.
  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Look forward to your introduction into higher end computing. :)
    Congratulations.
  4. alwayzinit

    alwayzinit New Member

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    View attachment 14331 View attachment 14325 View attachment 14326 View attachment 14327 View attachment 14328 View attachment 14329 View attachment 14330
    First Timer Bow Hunt with Juan Pace and Shangwari Safaris.
    I have just returned to Dubai after 5 days in the company of Juan Pace of Shangwari Safaris.
    The aim of this trip was originally take my wife, Hils, away for a few days as we are now new empty nesters with both our children away at Uni in the UK.
    Unfortunately, due to my desire to surprise Hils, she was unable to take time off from her work! So I was dispatched by her on my own.
    I arrived from Dubai in Johannesburg late afternoon, we had to hold off from landing due to thunderstorms over the airport (more on those later!)
    My suitcase came through very quickly but with no sign of my bow case my worst fears began to surface. However, after a quick word with a member of staff (it turns out that odd shaped cases come out behind carrousel 2!) my bow case appeared.
    So now fully equipped I went out to meet Juan, who was waiting in Arrivals.
    After quick introductions we loaded up my gear into his truck and we struck out north, into a darkening and threatening skyline with Isaac, Juan'sé¾ tracker in the back.
    The rain started shortly after leaving the airport with the intensity increasing every mile. With the sun now set we were witness to an epic biblical display of the power of nature for the next 4 hours.
    The night sky was constantly being split by vicious lightning bolts striking either side of the road. The rain was so heavy that even with the wipers on full speed we were more of a submarine rather than a truck.
    Juan stuck at the driving managing to navigate his way along a road that was more river than road with water covering the cat'sï½´ eyes on the side of the carriageway.
    The phrase "another 10 minutes and it will clear" was repeated more than a few times as our ETA at the lodge slipped back later and later.
    We stopped just south of Petersburg, shortly after we had cleared the storms, so Juan could have a break and we all had a bite to eat.
    So finally after the best part of 6 hours we arrived at the Kubu Game Lodge to be met by Charl and his wife Anemi.

    To say the least it was an interesting start to my first hunting trip to Africa.
    And finally to bed???.

    Day 2 dawned overcast and cool with a constant northerly brisk breeze.
    After a quick cup of something warm Juan and I went to check the zero (and my accuracy!) on the range. With that all completed we drove out to get installed in a tank blind by a water hole.
    Prior to arriving I had told Juan that my target species list was modest, being an Impala Ram or 2 and a tusky Warthog.
    Driving out to the blind we saw numerous species Giraffe (appearing as if from nowhere!), warthog families strutting purposefully into the thorn bushes, Eland, Gemsbok and many more.
    The cover was grey and dry, this part of SA has suffered a hard drought and it showed.
    Juan and I got settled into the tank blind, a bit of a squeeze as neither of us could described as slight! And then the waiting began.
    Being so cool the need for the animals to drink was curbed though we were entertained by a troop of monkeys and the police Chickens (Guinea Fowl). These awkward looking fowl scratched and clucked, pecked and bickered providing a constant sound track as we waited.
    At around 11am we called time and returned to the lodge for a late breakfast.
    The afternoon was in a different blind. The weather stayed cool and the wind unpredictable giving away our presence before any targets provided a shot, frustrating but also enjoyable with "will they/won't" they anticipation making the time pass towards sunset.
    After a hearty dinner we made plans for an earlier start the next day and retired to our cabins.
    The accommodation at the Lodge is in well-appointed traditionally styled thatched cabins overlooking what will be a water feature and grazing for the many animals on the farm. There is no hunting within approximately 1km of the lodge so come nightfall the lawns outside the cabins are a good spot for animal watching.

    Day 3 dawned overcast and cool again leading to a quiet morning in the blind for Juan and me, though typically as we decided to take an earlier breakfast and climb out of the blind we spooked a family of warthogs who were approaching from our rear!
    The afternoon was a different matter entirely. The sun struggled to break through enough for the temperature to rise just enough to get thing moving. We had a large group of Eland occupy the waterhole for some time then at last a group of about 8 Warthog, one of my target species, made it to the water.
    The boar was an impressive size and the prospect of getting a shot got my adrenaline going.
    The internal politics of the nuclear warthog family are somewhat brusque to say the least! So with muscular è­šå¿–sical chairs around the feed and water going on the boar eventually presented a full side on shot.
    The distance was close so movement inside the blind had to be extremely cautious. Isaac, Juan逞エ tracker/skinner was hissing "Shoot him. Shoot him"as I stood to make the shot. (It's good to see a man enjoy his work ?.)
    I got to full draw staying clear of the shooting window, had a quick look to ensure the boar was still in play, eased over, breathed out and released my Montec G5 3 bladed broadhead, aiming to put it right into the crease behind his elbow.
    At which point all hell broke loose! The rest of the Warthogs bomb busted to all points of the compass, Guinea Fowl erupted in a confusion of feathers and squawks.
    Due to the distance of the shot, with the arrow travelling at 320ft/sec from my PSE Bow Madness XS, I had about 1/10th of a second to see the strike, which I didn't.
    Did I get him? I asked Isaac, from his expression it looked like I had missed! I could see the arrow no more than 20yds away pointing towards the blind. Had it hit the rock hard ground and flipped? I couldn't believe it!
    We left the blind to check, Isaac went to the shot spot, I went to the arrow. We reached our targets. No blood! Isaac called just as I bent to retrieve my.....Blood coated arrow! Bright red arterial blood covered the whole shaft. Isaac went about another 10 ft and picked up an easy trail. Not needed as no more than 35yds from the blind lay the still outline of a Warthog. My first ever bow kill.
    Isaac then pointed into the thorn bushes Big Warthog! What? Were there two boars in the group?
    Nope! In the time it took between my quick confirmatory peek and shooting the Warthog Musical Chairs had seen a large sow push past the boar, a fatal mistake for her and left me feeling somewhat foolish for not taking longer to confirm the shot. A novice mistake!
    That said the shot had taken both lungs and heart, blowing straight through. The G5 was undamaged.

    So ended day 3, Juan began to relax and I exorcised the beginner逞エ doubt of range shots over live targets.
    Result! Beer o'clock!!

    Day 4 was great. Not for the appearance of any Impala but for the sheer joy of plains game various strutting their stuff only a few yards away. The wind stayed in our favour so I was afforded a box seat.
    The highlight of the day was the appearance of a really nice Blue Wildebeest bull. Considering the harshness of the drought his condition was exceptional to my amateur eyes. He stayed in front of our blind for over an hour eating and drinking; never for one second did he take his eyes and ears off us. He knew we were there, the wind had changed to light and variable and he had our scent and still he stayed, this bull gambled that his reaction time would see him safe, and it did. I just loved his attitude.

    Eventually a male warthog appeared (definitely a male this time thank you), so with lack of appearance of Impala I decided to go for a pair of hogs.
    He was quartering away from me right side on at 27 yards. So visualizing the arrow's exit through the opposite shoulder I shot.
    It looked like a good strike, an inch too far back maybe, but both Juan and I saw the scarlet flash on his flank as he ran off towards the thorn bushes that surrounded the waterhole.
    I was confident of finding another blood coated arrow and yet when we retrieved it from the bushes it was clean!
    Isaac quickly picked up the tracks but there was no sign of blood. Gut shot! I felt awful.
    I followed Juan and Isaac as best I could (message to self, GET FIT!) catching them as Juan dispatched the hog with a well place .375 round to his vitals.
    On inspection my arrow had again gone straight through, exiting where I had imagined. On further inspection in the skinning house the arrow had cut both lungs at the top, so a lethal wound but not a quick one. So I was grateful for Juan'sï½´ prompt action.

    So with me reflecting on the need for real accuracy I went for an early night.
    Day 5. There had been some rain the previous night making a soporific patter on the thatch of the cabin and I had slept really well. As the dawn broke it became clear that today was going to be a belter. Light fair weather cumulus clouds were scattered over the sky and the air was fresh and clear.
    We had discussed with Charl the previous evening where we had the best chance of finding the Impala and so we established ourselves early into a two tier thatched blind overlooking the dried riverbed and a waterhole.
    Everything was better. The visibility for the blind was a vast improvement over the tank blinds we had used on the previous days. There was a loo and even a bed (something that my buttocks were eternally grateful for!!)
    As an aside, the upgrading of the blinds on the farm should be completed in December '12, with the tanks all being replaced by purpose built thatched blinds on stilts. It will look really smart and they will provide a great view.

    Anyway, back to business.
    We had the ever present Guinea Fowl and then the action came think and fast. Mum warthog and four piglets (is it hoglets?) in tow quickly got comfy. Snuffling, grunting, having sibling squabbles all whilst mum took a mud bath!
    Then bold a brass a mature Impala ram with one horn just arrived! (if you have got this far thank you and I apologies for being verbose but?.) I can honestly say he took my breath away, forget the single horn, he was grace and assertiveness all rolled up in a tan and cream suit. Just brilliant! He was followed by a young ram who tried to emulate the mature buck but only achieved a comic level of mimicry (something that any Dads with sons will recognize!!)
    Juan and I agreed to leave both these boys alone and to wait and see what else might turn up.
    The warthogs were busy doing what they were doing and Juan and I were whispering something or other when a big single ram appeared. He was VERY circumspect approaching the water. But it was hot and he had to drink.
    Slowly, ever so slowly he came down to the water, his flanks were quivering with tension, ready to bolt at the slightest threat.
    I couldn't believe it. On the morning of my last full day and there he was.
    The bank of the water hole was quite steep so to drink he had to spread his legs to get his mouth to the water. With his head down I ranged him with my Leupold RX 800 TBR.( TBR or true ballistic range, is a great function that takes the guess work when shooting anything up or downhill. Displaying the equivalent range for the correct elevation. The old adage, shoot down, sight down in digital form.)
    27.4 yards on the display and roughly -19 degrees. So just about half way and a bit between my 20 and 30 yard pins.
    Deep breath, draw, slowly exhale, peep sight, bow string on my nose, knuckle in my jaw dip. Sights, sights, sights. Aiming to exit through his mid sternum Keep pushing holding the position and ...There it goes
    The arrow is embedded in the bank right where a pass through would have gone and the ram is...standing on the bank 15 yards up and behind a thorn bush? He is not bolting just standing there and then trots off?
    Juan watches him go whist I look at the arrow through my range finder. Bright white and green fletching, no discolouration. Oh no! I can't have missed surely.
    We exit the blind and sure enough the arrow is spotless, apart from a rather blunt G5 head. A complete miss, I am gutted. I feel sick on one hand but relief on the other as I missed him rather than just wounding him.
    We go back to the lodge, I really don't feel like eating but need to shoot some arrows on the range to double check my zero.
    Over a cup of tea we go over what happened. My bow is pretty quiet but obviously not quiet or fast enough. The arrow would have taken 46/100th of a second to reach the ram, enough time for a mature ram to hear and react to the string. His legs were spread, head down. In 46/100th of a second he stood up and the arrow passed underneath his chest.
    Another rookie lesson learned.
    For the final afternoon it was Isaac on duty with me. I even take a book to try and look unruffled!
    But what a great afternoon. We had a giraffe family, calf all wobbly legged try to drink as his hooves start sliding in the mud! Great photographs.
    Then from stage right, he was back. Even more alert. Shielding himself behind bushes, 42.3 yards. My zero is spot on. Just two more steps and he will clear the bush.
    One? Then without warning he bolted!
    Gemsbok!
    A female gemsbok trots into the arena and proceeds to bully all and sundry with her sword like horns and no impala are going to venture in as long as the gemsbok stays. Damn.
    Eventually the sun starts to set and it looks like a busted flush, then warthogs. Four boars and the fun really starts.
    A four way tag match ensues all jockeying for the prime spot. This is not a gentle rough and tumble this is THE main event of the evening. Butting and slashing at each other with their tusks. These boys are not pulling their punches.
    Eventually the winner is declared and he sidles up to collect his spoils as his vanquished rivals withdraw to catch their breath.
    He is the biggest warthog we have seen all week. Unlike the other hogs that had been struggling to get at the Pudding nuts, this boy has trouble getting his snout past his chest once his front legs are up.
    Every few seconds the boar would jump down to shoo away one of the others, then return to his reward.
    I decided that as it was getting dark fast the chance of any Impala coming was nil, so if he presented a shot I would take it. But the window of opportunity was narrow as the light faded.
    Then quickly as that he presented the perfect shot. His front legs were up on the feeder, exposing his left armpit? 34.4 yards TBR. The shot felt perfect and the boar pirouetted on his rear right leg and bolted up the dried out river bank and into the thorn bushes. Got him!
    Isaac confirmed the hit and we waited a few minutes before leaving the blind to see how far he had gone.
    Isaac handed me the 30.06 that Charl had lent me. Once out of the blind I put one in the chamber and set the safety catch on, adopted a high port and followed Isaac, ready in case our boar came back at us.
    Quickly Isaac found the arrow, now in two parts, thickly coated in blood. From the depth of the hoof prints the boar was driving hard away from the area. Then blood and lots of it, on the ground and on the branches of bushes he had crashed past still driving hard.
    After about 25 yards the bushes thinned out allowing me to scan for his possible return as Isaac, amazingly, followed his trail in the gathering gloom.
    After another 75 yards or so I saw what appeared to be a large flattened termite or ant hill just under a small acacia tree, he was down.
    Cautiously Isaac checked that he had gone and I, after he gave me a big smile, unloaded the 30.06 and went to see the beast.
    Now for you more experienced hunters, he may not have been a giant, but to me he was massive.
    Isaac ran back to the blind to radio Juan (see he was excited too!) leaving me alone with my prize as darkness fell.
    Brilliant!
    And that is pretty much it apart from the fact that Juan persuaded me that we should look for an Impala ram the next morning with Charl's 30.06.
    We did. After 20 minutes or so I took a handsome youngish ram from 150 yards.

    So there you have it, a rollercoaster emotional ride for me with many lessons learned and new friends met.
    Will I be booking again with Juan and Shangwari Safaris? Absolutely!
    But next time I will be bringing my family and a quieter bow!!
  5. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Congrats, seems like you enjoyed yourself !

    Thanks for sharing.
  6. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Congratulations on your first bow hunt.
    Well told.
  7. alwayzinit

    alwayzinit New Member

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    Thanks guys.

    As you can tell I had an absolutely great time. Quite tempted to get myself a Bear Anarchy on my next trips to the US, open to suggestions!
  8. Hotfire Hunting Safaris

    Hotfire Hunting Safaris AH Veteran

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    awesome, reading hunting stories will never get old, I am glad you had a good time in South Africa
  9. Buff-Buster

    Buff-Buster GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Great report! Thanks for sharing.
  10. Stretch

    Stretch AH Fanatic

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    Very well told story. Entertaining. The Bear Anarchy is a very nice bow. You may want to take a look at a Mathews Helium. Quietest, smoothest bow I ever shot. I will have one before venturing to the dark continent next August.
  11. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Great Read thanks for sharing, couldn't get the pics to open but the reading was great. Thanks

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