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. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    So the wooden thing behind the beer, what is that?
     
  2. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    :banghead: You mean I've been sitting here for 4 days only got up once to go to the bathroom and she ain't going to let you post no more today on your first African Safari:shocked: Hmmmm Time to get a new wife! :( Tell her I'm just kidding I got up twice. see you tomorrow. :happywave:
     
  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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  4. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    So this is the thing that they use to prepare that stuff out on the bar that we snack on. I think I'm going to be ill, look at the handle on that thing maybe they should have washed their hands once or twice before preparing our food. :dramaqueen:
     
  5. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    We awoke to the usual routine. A soft knock at the door...a small fire in the living area fireplace to take the chill off...hot water and NesCafe to jumpstart the ol' ticker. A now familiar russle in brush outside could be heard...the telltale sign of impending doom delivered by manical bundles of Karoo Joy. Kevin, blank eyed as ever in the morning and my beloved wondering exactly why she chose to join me on a vacation that had her awake at 5am.

    I poured my coffee and considered briefly adding a nip of last night to the cup. It was a good night...I smiled at the Kudu, the Impalas, the Warthog that were in the salt. We worked hard...ok, I worked HARD to get those trophies and while they will never be measured by Boone, Ward or any other kind of measure they were the greatest trophies I'd have the privelidge to hang on a wall.

    It was colder this morning...a delightful snap in the air that was sure to give way to strong stalking weather. The stars in the early sky were just starting to give way to light and the frost that hung in the air reminded me that Africa births itself anew each day.

    Forget the mistakes of yesterday...today is today and is meant for living.

    Breakfast was eggs, bacon...some fresh fruit. Trina went for the granola and yogurt. Kevin snarled on his way in. Grunting "Good Morning" in his own language.

    This morning would be the last we would spend on our current concession. The goal was to switch to a different place that offered Blesbok and Springbok and a shot at the Royal Game of Steen and Duiker. In our perfect little world we'd also get a shot at a Zebra - Kevin's main reason for being here. He has a special relationship with Zebra...it seems he hates them. Or, more accurately, he hates horses. They fit the description close enough.

    Drama-Donkey's. That's what Craig called them. I didn't quite hear it that way...I heard "Pajama Donkey" in the cold air. Such it was that we called them PJ's for the rest of the trip. Good times!

    We re-entered the concession and headed north and east up a new valley we hadn't been in before. The sunlight was just peaking out scattering magnificent scartlet light across the red-rock grounds. It was not unlike Sedona. I heard Shane from the bed of the truck say something, pointing one way and then the next. The truck stumbled to a halt and the binos came out. I wasn't sure exactly what we were looking at but off to my far, far left I saw the Ostrich wandering slowly looking so much like grey and black boulders on the ground. (*the head and legs of the Ostrich become invisible at distance leaving only the bodies visible. They look just like large rocks and boulders at a distance.)

    "Zebra, over there.

    Craig pointed and slowly my African Eyes began to focus. I could see...waves in the air like a mirage slowly vibrating in vertical stripes...and then they'd snap into focus and I'd see a herd of them. And another herd. And another!

    There must have been sixty or more zebra in the valley. Kevin gently opened the door to the truck and started to get out.

    "Nahhh. Wrong type. You wanted the Burchells Zebra...these are the Mountains. I had no idea they had so many of them here....

    Kevin slowly got back in the Bakkie but not before pointing a lethal forefinger at them and cocking his thumb.

    We rolled along, exploring the fingers of the valleys in the area. The zebra were literally everywhere we looked. Hundreds of them and hundreds of them. And all the wrong species...

    The bakkie stopped again and Shane was whispering quickly. Craig had the binos out again and was studying carefully.

    "Robert, want a rematch? Kudu...nice ones...two of them are definitely bigger.

    I lifted a heavy eye. This was supposed to be Kevin's morning for Zebra. I looked out and focused my binos on the strings of Kudu moving across the mountainside. Three or four different strings like pack-mules lead by the Patriarchal Kudu. Two of the strings stood out - they were walking away from us. If we wanted to be in position we'd have to move fast.

    I stepped out and was immediately handed the .300. I shucked four rounds down from my vest and walked over to stand next to Craig, hidden partially by a very large shrub. "Let's move down...backtrack 50 yards...see that opening? Ok, let's stage from there, move down the valley down and up and get over th...

    "Never mind.

    Craig pointed down...large shapes. Black shapes. Evil Shapes. Lots of evil...black shapes.

    Buff.

    "Ok, I'm not walking through a herd of buff for a kudu. It's...(Craig glanced through the range finder) 280 yards. Let's move over to that landing and see what the shot looks like from there.

    It's a prone shot from the landing. I'm laying cold dirt, my hat is ontop of an 8" stone in front of me to keep the stock from more unwanted scrapes and scratches. My left hand, that all so useless left limb of mine is tucked under the rear of the stock in a triangle...supporting the rear for elevation.

    I dial the scope up to 10x...there's no need to rush. The Kudu aren't in a hurry but I also didn't have all day. I'm holding my breath...turning to the right to breathe over the stock and not fog my scope lense. I'm stable...mostly. Damn left hand. I reach and find a small 1" rock that I jam underneath the sling swivel. There...that did it. I couldn't have been more stable at the range at home.

    Craig is next to me, glasses watching the Kudu carefully. Range...285 now. Any day now...take him if you want him.

    I'm shooting across a ravine...the Kudu walking on a steep slope. My wife and friend are sitting in the Bakkie with bino's watching the Kudu.

    "Any day now...Any day...He's not getting any younger..."

    A poor shot and there won't be any real follow up. No way to cover the distance down the bottom of the ravine, around the buff, back up the mountain...breathe in breathe out...breathe in...breathe out....breeeeeaaattthhhheee...

    The trigger was cold. Biting cold and I could feel the body heat leaching out into Africa's winter ground. Much longer and I'm going to start shivering...it was 44 degrees when we drove in...

    I saw the kudu through the scope...I could touch him...he was so close...so close...I could see his breathe and mine...

    BOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!

    The scope came out of recoil just in time for me to see the bullet impact. It was on the right shoulder...just about an inch behind the right shoulder with a slight angle forward into the far left...

    A "whopp" sound reached my ears just a moment later.

    The Kudu just kept walking...
     
  6. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    The kudu took another step and another and another it never broke stride just moving as if nothing had ever happened. I kept watching in the scope for some indication

    "Umm, you might want to hit him again

    I shucked a second round into the rifle and drew the crosshairs onto its shoulder and started to squeeze. The kudu came to a slow stop and I watched its legs stiffen and then it slowly collapsed and fell

    And fall he did. Down and down and down rolling and sliding and spinning down the side of the mountain until he was no longer in sight.

    Cheers came up from behind us and Craig slapped me hard on the back. Great shot, Great Shot! I smiled and thanked God for a true shot. My wife gave me a great big hug, Kevin and I knuckled? I grabbed Shane and gave him a big hug.

    It took a while for the reality of what was to settle in.

    There was a ravine below us with 40 Cape Buff in it and we weren't exactly sure where the Kudu lay.
     
  7. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Great line
     
  8. GSTONE

    GSTONE AH Veteran

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    Uh Oh! Sounds like another adventure is about to take place. :nailbiter: Congratulations on the shot, though! :)
     
  9. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    I spent much of my childhood backpacking in the High Sierra's. I'd see deep ravines like the one in front of us and know that the switchbacks were right around the corner. Long, undulating trails mere inches wide in places would snake to the bottom and then back up the other side.

    I really hated switchbacks. It just seemed like such a long way to go for so little distance (*as the bird flies. Which they did. Frequently over our heads. Making fun of us. Bastards.)

    So we took the direct route, chipping our way straight down. This worked just fine until we'd build up a bit of momentum and crash headlong through the Acacia.

    Again, the birds laugh...

    We reached the bottom, ever vigilant for the Buff we knew had to be close by. You could smell them - the scent was everywhere. Tracks were dried in the mud...old turds and new...they were here. Probably less than 150 yards away. We couldn't see them and that was fine by me. I'd seen one close up on the first day from the Bakkie and he was having none of it.

    We scampered across the bottom and then started pushing straight up the mountain. Every two steps resulted in one step back...slides of rocks and scree tumbling down below us. My legs were burning with effort by the time we were halfway up. My shirt was drenched and my vest hung open panting for ventilation like a dog in the summer. Barely 15 minutes ago I was concerned about shivering a shot off. Now?

    I heard the laughter of the birds again.

    We pressed on, reaching the point of relative altitude from where we thought the Kudu had gone down. Only there was no blood and there were at least a half dozen game trails criss-crossing the mountainside. We began to search in earnest.

    "Where the hell's my damn dog?

    Craig was more than a little perturbed. Fury had run off somewhere...big lot of good the Tracking Dog was going to be without us near him. We'd been following his motion up and down and across for maybe 30 minutes...nothing. No reaction. I began to replay the shot in my mind...trajectory was nearly flat...let's drop down 30 yards and try get on the same altitude...ok, more to the right, I remember the bakkie was right about there...

    The radio crackled to life.

    "Sir?" - it was the ranch manager. He'd come out to supervise the Recovery.
    "Sir?" the radio crackled again.
    "Yah, Craig here." Craig clicked the button on the talkie and released it.
    "It's your dog Sir." Tension immediately built in Craig's Shoulders. He clicked the button.
    "Yah?"
    "He's chasing the Buffalo Sir."

    Craig deflated. His hand hung limply at his side with the radio looking like it would slip away. His head drooped...shoulders slumped forward. He clicked the radio...

    "Are the Buff ok?

    "The Buff Sir? I was worried about the dog."

    "Hell, I'm worried about the Buff!" Craig clicked the radio off.

    Somewhere in the ravine below 40+ Cape Buffallo were charging and stampeding away being chased by a Dachshund.

    "That damn dog better not get itself killed. Fecking dog." Craig shook his head. "Fecking Dog."

    We continued our search for another two hours. Across the ravine the Kudu Recovery Team stood by, waiting...waiting...waiting...waiting...

    [​IMG]

    Yes, there's a 450# animal buried in there. We sent a cheer up and the Kudu Team immediately went into action. This...was not going to be an easy recovery.

    [​IMG]

    In unision...HUP! They began walking along...picking there way down the hill. Carefully. Slowly.

    [​IMG]

    The pictures just don't do the ravine justice but they never do.
    [​IMG]

    The Kudu, near as we could tell fell and tumbled nearly 25-30 yards from its original spot and left no blood. There was no impact trail and the exit would didn't bleed out. It was indeed a perfect shot, destroying both lungs and heart and exiting just behind the shoulder. Textbook perfect.

    And he was old, very old. His teeth were gone and his hide was heavily scared on his face and neck from fighting. There were large bare patches of skin instead of fur...fur that had long since been worn away. His tips were old...bare..ivory.

    Recovering this Kudu took the team nearly the day, 50 yards at a time. Slowly.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Africa does nto give up her living...or her dead without a fight.

    PS: I just noticed something in the last picture worth mentioning. Remember when I talked about the size of some of these concessions? This particular concession stretches to the tops of that snow covered mountain plateau far in the background. Yeah, it's high fenced.
     

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  10. DOC-404

    DOC-404 AH Elite

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    ..eish, Bob, that's from years and year's of use, my mate, and is caused by the fat and oil from the biltong itself.
    Much like the stock on your favourite rifle..surely you don't wash your hands after every shot..? :biggrin2:
     
  11. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    :laughing::beer:
     
  12. GSTONE

    GSTONE AH Veteran

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    Really nice Kudu.:) Why is it that Kudu and Elk always manage to "pile up" in the worst places? :confused: Oh well, congratulations! I'll be here waiting for the next chapter. :popcorn:
     
  13. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    You did not even have to mention it. I can see the fence with out even straining.


    Congratulations on a very nice free range Kudu trophy.
     
  14. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Nice Kudu aren't you glad you wasn't doing this on your own.

    @ Doc I wear white gloves doesn't everyone.:laughing:
     
  15. jduckhunter

    jduckhunter AH Veteran

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    So we're sitting down to dinner and I say to my wife, honey you ought to check this out, this guy is telling a pretty good story. Now I've finished the dishes took the laundry out of the dryer and walked the dog and she has just finished reading this whole thread and probably several more. I'm not sure what I have started but it has to be good. Right?
     
  16. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    Hopefully a wonderful thing! It's sure worked for me!
     
  17. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Oh I see your not trying to give up your man card by finishing the dishes taking the laundry out of the dryer and walked the dog your just buttering her for the Safari. I Gotchya sneeky :clapping:
     
  18. DOC-404

    DOC-404 AH Elite

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    ..aah, as in 'Bob, the Hunting Butler'.. :tongue:
     
  19. jduckhunter

    jduckhunter AH Veteran

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    Bob you see right thru me. Any extra points can't hurt.
     
  20. GSTONE

    GSTONE AH Veteran

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    I believe the saying " the ends justifies the means" is appropriate, here! I shall follow your lead! Bravo!:worship::clap::clap:
     

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