SOUTH AFRICA: 61.5" Free Range Kudu Bull with Trevor Lake & Lake Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by James.Grage, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    OUTFITTER & PH: TREVOR LAKE :)
    COMPANY: LAKE SAFARIS (y)

    Web: www.lakesafaris.co.za
    E mail: lakesafaris@telkomsa.net

    Location: Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa

    Trophy Hunted: Kudu Bull FREE RANGE. Horn length 61.5 inches!

    Rifle: Ruger M77 .338 Win Mag
    Ammo: Barnes 225gr.

    Weather: Cool nights and warm days. The very dry winter conditions combined with above average warm days for the time of year restricted hunting opportunities to early mornings and late afternoons, although we hunted day in and day out. Game was not moving much during the day.

    Camp: Very nice, comfortable and homely. Our Camp Cook made fantastic meals for us combined with great hospitality.

    It should be noted that changing political conditions in South Africa are on us and locations like this are getting more difficult to find. The main reason behind this is the Government’s Policy of Land Redistribution. Established game areas tend to track nothing short of disastrous results where prime habitat and hunting is reduced to tribal subsistence farming where rampant poaching wipes out all the wildlife in a short space of time. I suggest that any hunter wanting Free Range hunting should consider this opportunity while it is available.

    One must also remember that hunting free range areas can become tiresome with little to no sightings of game at all. Areas can be rugged and accommodation basic compared to the more upmarket lodges of the game ranching industry. Hunt areas and locations may also need to be changed at short notice depending on what information your Outfitter & PH has on the ground as your hunt approaches. Be flexible and be patient!

    I hunted with Trevor Lake two years ago and rebooked immediately to hunt with him again this year. Trevor and I were trading e-mails on expanding trophy animal selections at the different camps we would be staying at during my Safari. He asked me about going after a big Kudu that he has been seeing on and off for the past 18 months, but was also honest enough to say it was a 50/50 chance of success. The Bull’s movements were erratic and the habitat allowed for limited opportunities. Prior hunters of Lakes had tried from time to time, but no one had been lucky to see him.

    The information that Trevor passed on to me was that he was pretty certain the Bull would go 55” or more, conservatively. Trevor likes to be conservative and I had no clue that I would be hunting a potential 60 incher! :):)

    The day we arrived in camp we put 2 trackers out scouting for the Kudu while we went to hunt Southern Reedbuck. We were successful on this with a nice old heavy horned Ram with a great curve.

    The trackers spotted 2 Kudu Bulls that afternoon, one of which they thought was the big one we were after. Trevor’s trackers are pretty good when it comes to knowing what is poor, average or very good.

    Trevor developed a game plan for the next day and “the game was on” with a higher level of excitement now that we knew the Bull was in the area. As bad luck would have it our attempts the next day came to a somewhat miserable end with an electric thunderstorm and a sprinkling of rain. At least we had a plan in place and were determined to try every afternoon as long as my time would allow.

    The following day we placed two trackers with radios at look out points, and a third spotter. We are covering a lot of area now and are looking at places that Trevor had seen the big Kudu before. About 5:30 PM we receive a call from a tracker, spotting two Kudu Bulls walking on the edge of some thick riverine bush on their way to a field to feed which they sometimes do at this time of year, normally at last light or after dark. We hustle back to the vehicle and make a speedy race to the trackers location.

    When Trevor put his binoculars on the two Kudu he immediately said this is the one. The problem we had was that it was last light and getting darker by the minute and the Kudu are 410 yards away! Trevor does not waste time and immediately the game plan is for him to lead and that I follow right behind him at a quick pace as light is fading fast. We close the gap to 200 yards and Trevor asks if I can make the shot to which I replied I could. However with the light being poor and Trevor wanting to reduce the human error factor as much as possible, he marched on with me following right behind. At about 170 yards the Kudu start paying us a lot more attention and take the “about to flight mode”. On we march…. :)

    At 150 yards Trevor sets up the shooting sticks and I get ready. Trevor asks again if I can make the shot and am I steady and I let him know I am. The big Bull is frontal and Trevor has me hold until he turns for a broadside shot. Seconds later he provided a frontal quartering shot and at this angle Trevor reconfirmed where to place the bullet and reconfirmed that I was steady. I squeezed the trigger and hit the Bull perfectly on the inside of his left shoulder quartering in, and the Bull dropped in his tracks and was dead seconds later. When I got up to him I could not believe what a magnificent Bull he was.

    Picture of 61 1/2” Kudu. (y) :) :D (y)

    IMG_8102-1.jpg
    IMG_8129.JPG

    I cannot stress how” professionally calm” Trevor remained throughout this very exciting stalk as he knew better than I did what that Bull really was. As much as I was excited, it must have been very hard for him to keep his nerve too, but I believe his calmness and willingness to get close, and then closer still played a large role in the overall success of getting this once in a lifetime trophy.

    It should be noted that we spotted another 2 Kudu bulls in the area the next day. One younger Bull and one larger Bull with the same horn configuration as the one I was able to get, but not as big. None the less, a very nice Bull. Great potential for future hunts!

    I requested a special safari plan from Trevor as it was my wife’s first trip and I wanted to show her new and interesting places. (y) He selected five different camps and locations where you stand a good chance at good representatives of the species you are after. :) Trevor allocated the number of days at each camp for the trophy selection and his estimates were spot on for the most part. He made suggestions on going after certain game and it was my choice to say yes or no to the suggestions. I passed on a very nice Impala among some other species and missed out on the Bush Pig as they were on the bait in broad daylight (5:15pm!) as we got there, which is very rare. A little frustrating for us after them not coming in the previous night while we sat patiently until 10pm. But that is the challenge and the fun of hunting Bush Pig :D

    Trevor has planted the seeds for a future safari for me to go to the Kalahari for Springbuck (2) and Gemsbok (2) with him. He has an area up there that has produced his clients some really great trophies. From there I will swing down to Kwa-Zulu Natal for another Nyala hunt as I love hunting Nyala in free range territories. And who knows what else he may find as the year unfolds :)

    My wife and I had a super safari with Trevor Lake. (y) It is my second hunt with him and I don’t easily book with the same guy twice. He is straight down the line, fairly priced and will hunt as hard as you can manage. The results of my hunt speak for themselves when it comes to Trevor’s hunting abilities. I encourage you all to look him up on his website www.lakesafaris.co.za or feel free to contact me.
     
  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Once in a lifetime, no doubt.
    One my dreams are made of for sure.
    Awesome trophy James.

    I just went back and looked at your trophy picture again. That smile on your face says it all.
     
  3. Sable123

    Sable123 AH Veteran

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    A great story and an incredible Kudu. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.
     
  4. spike.t

    spike.t SPONSOR GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    so james that was the kudu that might have been mentioned!!!! stunning trophy congrats (y)
     
  5. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    "So yeah, I guess I'll do a shoulder mount", is that the way the post hunt conversation went? :) Wow, what a bull!
     
  6. Johnny7604

    Johnny7604 AH Veteran

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    What a fantastic trophy congrats. The smile says it all.

    John
     
  7. tarbe

    tarbe AH Fanatic

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    Stunning!

    You look like you just won the lottery....and in a way, you did!
     
  8. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Congrats James, a really great trophy !
     
  9. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

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    That is a real stud of a Kudu. Congrats! Sounds like you had an exceptional hunt. Thanks for the pics and the story. Bruce
     
  10. bassasdaindia

    bassasdaindia AH Enthusiast

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    magnificent , congrats
     
  11. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Cracker kudu ,young fella.
    In the photo you look ten years younger,congratulations to both you and lake safaris
     
  12. SCJagter

    SCJagter AH Member

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    Very Nice!! Well Done!
     
  13. Mack

    Mack AH Member

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    CONGRATULATIONS from the Philippines mine measured 53 but you got my dream and its just the same happy for you !

    01f1b6bb80a3a8ff846b2584274763f4c843563914.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2014
  14. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    That is a beauty of a kudu James! Well done!
     
  15. woods1126

    woods1126 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    Wow!! What a beautiful beast of a Kudu! Congratulations to all involved. Kevin
     
  16. IdaRam

    IdaRam BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Congrats James and WOW! The stuff dreams are made of... The smile says it all :D Thank you for posting your wonderful story and the awesome pics.
     
  17. PeteG

    PeteG AH Enthusiast

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    Fantastic kudu James. That is a really nice trophy
    Congrats
     
  18. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    For those who have asked Trevor's Phone number :

    +27-82-970-1231

    There is a 8 hour difference from Mountain time.

    Also Trevor is going in to the Nyala camp on Wednesday, for the final Nyala hunt at this location this year.
     
  19. Wheels

    Wheels AH Legend

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    James,

    I had noticed that your avatar had changed. Didn't realize how large he truly was. Congratulations!(y)

    As has been mentioned, the smile says it all.:D

    You certainly picked up some nice trophies with Lake.

    All the best.
     
  20. huntermn15

    huntermn15 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    Absolutely fantastic James!
     

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