SOUTH AFRICA: A First-Timer's Journey (2012 South Africa, Leopards Valley Safari's)

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by rnovi, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. timbear

    timbear AH Enthusiast

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    I'm just back from ED. The bleeding has stopped, and they say the nails will eventually regrow... Seriously, keep it coming! You are an extraordinary narrator, and you've got me on the edge of my seat since yesterday!:worship:
  2. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    Several long minutes passed and Craig got on the radio speaking rapidly in Afrikaans. A few more minutes passed...and he turned to me.

    "Ok, Michael's going to go up the left side of the mountain about 75 yards that way. We're going to give him a few minutes and then go up the middle. If we're lucky he'll be under that thick clump of brush up there.

    Craig folded sticks up and we started up the side of the maintain. It was warm that day...the warmest I think of the whole trip. I was sweating in mere yards. We moved steadily, not fast, not slow...just steadily up. 50 yards...100 yards...150 yards...

    "THERE HE GOES! LET'S GO!

    Craig was shouting and sprinting and I saw that majestic animal hit a dead run across the side of the mountain, right in front of us, then right of us...and then just keep on going.

    "We can't let him get over the ridge! Let's go!

    Craig and I were in full sprint mode racing as fast as we could across the trails. We ran up to the crossing the Kudu had made and kept right on running to the right. I can see heavy dropplets of blood and splash here/there as we raced along. We were right on his trail well behind when he came up the other side of the ravine.

    I sprinted straight up the side of the mountain abut 30 yards to find a better shot and threw the rifle to my shoulder. The scope was heaving all over the place and I could barely hear Craig shouting "No! No! Use the sticks! Use the sticks!

    I let fly another wasted round hoping desparately to time the heaving of my chest and heartbeats at the top of the curve and therefore the peak of the sights. Dust exploded from the ground below the Kudu and I shucked another round into the rifle. The STICKS!

    I lurched up the extra five yards to the sticks. I put the rifle up and flipped the safety off and prayed. Or held my breath...or both. The kudu was now on the far side of the ravine a little over 150 yards away going up a steep angle. His back was to me and I centered on the spine.

    BOOOOOOOM...

    A fifth shot rang out and the bullet punched in about 6 inches left of the spine, angling forward into the right shoulder.

    The Kudu crumpled to the ground with both shoulders shattered. He was finally still...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Craig and I had several minutes together before the rest of the Team arrived. The three shots that hit (*that would be the ones I fired when I took my time!) were all properly placed shots. The first shot had destroyed the left lung and left shoulder. The 180gr. TSX (2,950 fps at the muzzle) did not exit. The second shot Came through the top of the back, angling steeply through destroying more left lung and exiting through the lower left chest. The final shot came through from left to right, ultimately destroying the right shoulder. It too did not exit. Post-mortem showed the TSX's petals broke up on the big bones of the kudu.

    I had time alone to thank The Lord for putting me on this earth. Time for the hunt. And time perhaps to feel just a little redemption from day one.

    Craig made a few calls over the radio and 30 minutes or so later we heard a "chug chug chugging" coming up the hill.

    [​IMG]

    Yes indeed. It was the Kudu Recovery Team. :bighello:

    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

  3. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    All, I just want to thank you for the kind words. I'm glad you are enjoying the story as much as I am writing it. It's like living all over again...only this time I get to bring more fellow hunters along.

    :happywave:
  4. GSTONE

    GSTONE AH Veteran

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    Thank YOU for letting it stop at a point where we can get some sleep! lol You are ONE TERRIFIC storyteller! :hail:But...I KNOW I am older than I was at the start of the story! WELL DONE. SIR!!!:master::clap::clap::clap:
  5. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Great tale.
  6. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    novi you mate are kicking goals with this report . dont miss a thing
    the way you are writing it its as if we are all right there beside you man
    so no more ADs some one will end up getting hurt
  7. DOC-404

    DOC-404 AH Elite

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    Can you please give me some info on these boots. Are they MERRELL's..?
    Thanks.
    Doc.
  8. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    Doc, yes indeed. Both Kevin and I wore Merrell light hikers. We specifically chose the non-gore-tex boots (which are not so easy to find).

    Kevin wore the Moab hikers. The Moab's were more of a softer running she last. I wore a slightly different set (now discontinued) that had a stiffer sole.

    In the end the stiffer sole was the better choice given how rocky the terrain was on some days. It made a big difference on the arch of my foot. Well, that and superfeet arch insoles.

    My wife wore a set of Keen low hikers and did just fine.

    More than one PH runs around in Chuck Taylors...

    As an aside, I'm going to do a full write up on gear, etc. at the end of this thing. But that might be a while...we haven't even wrapped up day two of hunting yet! ;)
  9. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Great story, fantastic storytelling !

    Waiting for the next chapter :popcorn:
  10. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    "Get the dog.

    Craig was staring at the ground, reading nothing in the bent blades of dry grass.

    ******

    It was just after lunch when Crag suggested we go for a walk. We were only going to spend one more half day at this concession and Craig wanted to make sure we got the best out of the experience. We were walking along a culvert, Kevin, Craig, Michael and I. The water was decent, not too high, not too low and the dry grass crunched gently under our feet.

    It was nice to be in high spirits. The Impala, the Kudu...Kevin's really great Impala from the day before...yes, the safari spirit was rolling well.

    It was warm and the sunlight felt great on our shoulders. Just a nice walk around a larger watering hole looking at whatever happens our way. Ole One Horn stood in a field chewing away, watching our every move. Birds chirped and flitted. Acacia thorns even seemed in a good mood for the moment.

    [​IMG]

    Every now and again Craig would stop, pick up the binos and look for a bit, shrug his shoulders and move on. Michael would occasionally lean one way or the other, peer gently around a corner, then keep on walking. It wasn't until he unclasped his hand and gently, every so quietly pointed down a narrow, shadow filled lane.

    Craig lifted his binos and quickly looked through them. Just as quickly he lifted the shooting sticks and set them up whisper silently. I had a round chambered before he had finished...

    "There. The grey rocks on the ground ahead, 30 yards out.

    What the heck are you looking at? I thought. I put the rifle up on the and adjusted the height of the sticks staring intently into the shadows. I still saw nothing.

    "There, on the ground, right of that fallen tree. They just stood up.

    It took forever before I could actually make out what we were looking at. Two male warthogs were standing in the shade, staring back us wondering if they were safe or not.

    "The one on the left...shoot the one on the left...

    They were head on, a relatively small target but up close and personal. These were not the pigs in Texas I was used to. To be honest, Warthog was more a "target of opportunity" to me and I wasn't really sure I'd want to necessarily shoot one.

    I wasn't sure, that is, until I had it in my sights.

    At the break of the trigger the pigs scattered, running at a pace I just couldn't believe. I walked up expecting to see a dead pig or at least a blood trail. I saw nothing. Neither did Craig.

    We called for the dog and Fury started making all sorts of nasty growling noises and barks.

    "What now?" I said...

    "Nothing. We wait here. Don't worry, if that pigs down Fury will find it. He hates pigs. I mean, it's personal to him.

    "How old is Fury anyway?

    "Year and a half. Come on, if you hear him barking it means he's found it. Try to keep up with him - don't want him getting too far out in front.

    That dog could run let me tell you! He was jumping over logs, under logs, around shrubs and into the brush...backtracking whenever he lost the scent and then right back on it. It wasn't 5 minutes before we heard the excited barking.

    "Yep, lets go. Hurry up I don't want to see Fury get on that pig for long.

    Huh? Craig must have misspoke.

    We chased after the dog, lost in the 2 foot high grass for maybe 75 yards when e found Fury barking like mad and pulling furiously at the pigs neck. He was in it for blood...the dog that is. Yanking hard enough to get 100# of pig moving and twitching. "HATES pigs" Craig had said. He wasn't kidding.

    The shot was good. I hit that pig dead in the chest and he just took off running. The bullet never exited and it really made me wonder what kind of scramble was inside him at this point. All I could say was that I was sure glad I wasn't cleaning him.

    [​IMG]

    It's strange both how similar and dissimilar the wartie is from a Texas hog. The skin was coated in mud with coarse hairs covering its body. I patted the pig then and I can still feel the sharp ends poking my fingertips.

    But the ivory! Oh the ivory tusks! They were just gorgeous. The left tusk was worn down from constant digging and but the cutters - wow! The cutters! They were razor sharp and just perfect! This was going to be a skull mount and it would sit on my desk at home. What an absolutely magnificent beauty.

    We dropped the warthog off at the skinning shed and picked up the days trophies for the salt back at the lodge. It was dark now...we'd been on the hunt since before sun up and until after sun down. What a marvelous day!

    I slouched down in the back seat of the Bakkie and looked over at my beloved wife. She smiled back gently, happy that the safari was finally on track for me and snuggled onto my shoulder.

    The Bakkie began to slow down and then come to a quick stop. Shane popped a head out of the back (he rode in the bed of the Bakkie) and shouted something unintelligible. Craig shouted back and Shane hopped out and the just as quickly hopped back in. The gate was double locked: we would have to go back to the main reservation and pick up the spare key and let ourselves out. Not a big deal but the delay would cost us an hour and dinner would be delayed a bit. I snuggled up to my wife and relaxed.

    It just doesn't get much better than this.

    A brief moment later Craig was braking. Braking too fast really...I sat up about the same Time I heard Shane rapidly tapping the roof. He wasn't laughing as a rut caught him and jolted his ribs into the rails. We were seeing something unbelievable unfolding in front of us.

    [​IMG]

    A rhino was in the middle of the road trundling along in the blackness. We were more than a bit gobsmacked. The cameras came out and the beast barely noticed. It continued on the path, zig and zagging along slowly much like a Setter quartering a field.

    There was something very imposing about the beast. 8000 pounds of mass and horn covered in thick skin that hung like plates of armor. It had to know we were there...and it sure wasn't bothered by it either. Craig would slowly gas the vehicle trying to rush the Beast and possibly get it to move off the road. It wasn't interested at all. Moving that is.

    Every time that Craig would move up on it the beast would stop and turn and give us"The Look". I was that look of "I don't know what you are...but I think I'm going to hurt you..." It had the look of a Hit Man on a bad day discovering that his mistress is sleeping with his Boss and you just walked in and spilled a drink on his shoes. Somebody was gonna get it...

    [​IMG]

    And that rhino decided right at that moment that it was going to be us!

    Craig slapped the Bakkie into reverse and punched the accelerator hard. Four wheel drive spun up the wheels into a cloud of cold dust and we pitched backwards fast with Shane hanging on laughing and tapping the roof of the truck.

    "Baz! Baz! Good one Baz!" He was laughing and cracking up.

    We played tag with that rhino for more than 20 minutes. I was HIS road and we sure weren't going to push him off it!

    I managed a couple of pictures out of 20 or so that came out. It was just such a site.

    When we managed to finally get home there were really only one thing to do:

    [​IMG]

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  11. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Obeer30;)
  12. GSTONE

    GSTONE AH Veteran

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    I'll drink to that!:beer::cool2:
  13. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    playing tag with a rhino .not many blokes could make that claim .:wacky:
  14. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    Can I go to bed now! Please? :)
    You know guys, this sets a new standard on this board!
  15. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    it certasinly is going to take some keeping up with cliffy
    sleep well
  16. 35bore

    35bore AH Elite

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    You are correct sir, +1

    I have refrained from posting, because the story just kept on coming. It sounds like a fantastic hunt, and you sir are a great narrator rnovi. The pictures were fantastic and you kept us all on the edge of our seats.... Don't know whether to say congrats or call you a big tease...:gorgeous:

    Congrats on your fantastic hunt. May you have many more.;)
  17. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Ok guys I've got to get up and go to the bathroom but I'll be right back to see if rnovi has add another chapter to this great book.
  18. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Beer and Biltong, the perfect diet.
  19. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    No post tonight all, My Wife has dibs. :)
  20. GSTONE

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    Thank you, thank you, thank you:worship:...a full night sleep! Oh Joy!:):happywave:

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