Well, I am back from another great safari With Chris Troskie of CT Safaris. This year we started off in the Free State hunting along the Orange River then moved south into the Steynsburg area of the Eastern Cape to finish things off. Once again Sabinas cooking was wonderful and I hunted 12 days and killed 14 animals, most of them on purpose. LOL I could, of course, have killed many more including Lechwe, Audad, White Blesbok, Fallow and others. Most trophies taken made SCI gold or silver and several made Roland & Ward. We hunted selectively for large trophies on foot. In the Free State we stayed at a beautiful lodge and got to enjoy both Bushman cave art And being sung to sleep by roaring lions right behind the lodge. The closest Lion is 1.5 years old and was hand raised until recently when he was placed in with the other Lions. He is still affectionate and likes to be petted through the fence (as long as no ther Lions are close enough to have a go at you that is). Sorry for the poor pics, never assume you will have plenty of opportunity for pics. I missed out on some great pics of petting him and also of the young cubs in with mom and pop this time when our plans changed unexpectedly. We got down to business on the 1st hunting day chasing Zebra. Long story (and walk) short, we spent the day tracking the herd up and down a couple mountains finally catching up to them below us in the cliffs. The shot was short and after a few yards the Zebra piled up wedged in a narrow wash and took what was rest of the afternoon to retrieve. This spot is much steeper than the pictures show. At any rate the .338 Lapua curse was broken and we were off to a great start. Next we chased Black Wildebeest between rain squalls and managed to get poured on quite badly. We gave up and headed back to the truck when the lightning started and got there just in time to miss a small hail storm. After the hail we set back out and although the rain prevented any videoing we were able to kill a R&W Black Wildebeest. After dropping the Black wildebeest off for skinning we headed back out for Blue Wildebeest and once again got back in the truck just in time for the hail. This time it was a big storm but it didn't last long. With all the hail behind up was pressed on and found a herd of Wildebeest. Long story short we got up to them but the detected us and Both Chris and Lashlay, out tracker, determined the best bull was on the right facing away from us. I got on the sticks and waited for him to turn. When he turned I did not look at anything but the chest and with Chris OK I shot. He bucked like a Stampede bronk and went down. Neither Chris, who was watching through the video camera, or I had noticed when he turned that he was actually a young bull. Despite being young he still had a good set of horns. Next was the real test for the Lapua. We hunted on another property which encompassed a large mountain and could not find any eland where a sane person would shoot one. After considering shooting one far from the road in formidable country we were fortunate enough to run into a couple farm hands on horseback who volunteered to push a huge canyon for us. The Eland had other ideas and headed over the top however instead of down to our position. We continued glassing from up top and found several herds down low. We descended about 1500 to get to them and after navigating 2 big herds of cows and numerous other species we get in on a herd of 9 bulls who managed to stay in thick cover and join up with another big herd of cows. With light failing fast we paralleled them for 500yds finally catching a break at the foot of a large steppe. I passed on the 2 biggest bulls for aesthetic reasons and could not get a shot at my #1 choice. This bull finally gave me a 5 window and a 283yd walking shot off of the sticks. At the shot he jumped and fell dead in his tracks. We then went out in pursuit of a Black Springbok that was reputed to be large enough to score in the top 20, Chris disagreed with these predictions but felt he was plenty big to chase. We got lucky and found him in a position for a good stalk. While he is not top 20 material he is a beautiful animal. While dropping the Springbok off to be skinned we spotted a herd of Hartebeest and circled way around with the truck to get in position for a stalk. After a short stalk we were in position and hammered this bull from the cliffs above him. He went down hard then got back up and tried to make a break for it, a quick shot and he skidded to a stop. We headed to the winter wheat fields to search for Steinbok. After looking several rams over we spotted this 5 1/16 ram and made a great stalk up a dry wash. With plenty of time left in the hunt and a growing body count we headed to the Eastern Cape to hunt my primary obsessions Cape Kudu and Vaal Rhebok. Acommodations were nice but a bit chilly even with the electric heaters going, next year there will be wood stoves in each room. Shortly after arriving, ranch owner Jannie VanWyn asked if I wanted Blesbok. He had an old breeding ram that was being kicked out of the herd by a younger rival and felt it was best to kill him before the young ram did. He offered that if I did not want the ram I could shoot it for free but of course I wanted the ram. In steady 30mph winds plus gusts the closest we could get to the herd was by climbing a long ridge and then having them driven from the plaind to the foot of the ridge. It worked but the herd held up at 315yds and my 1st shot overcompensated for the wind. #2 undercompensated and struck him in the guts, on shot #3 I held my crosshairs right on the sweet spot of the ram now trotting with the wind, this shot was carried a bit forward by the wind which was blowing much faster than he was moving. He went down and a carefully and meticulously calculated finishing shot also managed to hit him in the guts. Now completely weighed down with bullets he could not get up and I was able to radio the truck for more bullets and finished him off at 25yds (with no compensation for wind!) He is a huge bodied old bull. We took a drive up into the Northern Cape to find a Copper Springbok. While driving in to the area where the Coppers were at I caught movement to my left, a Black Wildebeest bull was running and bucking right beside the truck! My 1st thought was someone must be feeding him but after talking with the landowner he explained that the bull was known for attacking vehicles and had dented and smashed lights out of several, why he hasn't eaten a bullet yet is beyond me. We spotted a group of Common Springbok and stalked them around a koppie. When we got within range of the rams I saw that none had the hooked in tips I was hoping for so I passed on the group. Chris said he would love to hang one in his lodge and I offered him my gun. The 300yd shot was right on the money and Chris had given himself a birthday gift a day early.