SOUTH AFRICA: BOWHUNT: Dark Continent Bowhunting - April 2012 Report

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by TOM, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    I'm finally getting this hunt report out! If there are some weird spellings, etc. please understand that I typed this out in Word and then pasted it in here.


    HUNT REPORT Dark Continent Bowhunting
    Dark Continent Bowhunting

    Location Northwest Province, South Africa
    Dates April 9-17, 2012
    Booking Agent Hunting for Adventure
    Hunting for Adventure - Hunting For Adventure
    Professional Hunter: Sean Daniels
    Hunter: Tom Addleman

    Game taken: Steenbok, Ostrich, Porcupine, Wildebeest (2), Red Hartebeest, Blesbok, and Impala

    Game seen but not hunted: Zebra, Common Springbok, Black springbok, Impala, Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, Nyala, Gemsbok, Steenbok, Ostrich, Duiker, Blesbok, White Blesbok, Kudu




    We were surrounded. I was trying to breathe but my breaths became short, beads of sweat trickled down my face, and my racing heart felt like it was going to explode. My fingers gripped the bowstring. The wildebeest were literally out every window of the blind, some within 3 yards

    WELCOME TO DARK CONTINENT BOWHUNTING

    I arrived in Johannesburg and was met by Sean Daniels and Francois Pinaar of Dark Continent Bowhunting. I had found the outfit through Africahunting.com and decided to research further into the outfitter. As I emailed and contacted Sean and Sheryl Daniels by phone and skype, I knew that they were good people and that I would be in good hands. I booked the hunt on very short notice (less than 30 days) and I was excited!

    As I have been on a number of hunts in Southern Africa, I was the slightly worried about Dark Continent as the prices for daily rates and trophy fees was significantly less than their competitors. Could I really have a good hunt for the low daily rates and trophy fees? What would the lodge and accommodations be like?

    The greedy guy in me wants to say that it was no fun, no animals and for other hunters to go elsewhere in an attempt to protect the deal I have found. But, that just wouldn't be right. There were lots of animals, I had a load of fun and the pricelist is very tough to beat!

    The main hunting area is about an hour and a half (yes, 1 1/2 hrs!) from the airport. It makes for a nice, short commute from the airport to the lodge. As you enter the main gates you drive a few hundred yards and immediately notice the main lodge with lappa, pool, 3D bow range and smaller chalet accommodations surrounding the main building.

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    After having my bags delivered to my own personal chalet, I quickly organized a few things and met Sean, Sheryl and Francois down at the Lappa (fire area) for a few drinks and discussion of what the week had in store for me. After a few laughs and strategy session (æœaking a plan? for the hunt, I was off to bed.

    My chalet was wonderful. It had a full kitchen with fridge and sink, three beds, and a nice bathroom that was clean and well organized. The accommodations are very nice. A guy could easily bring his wife or girlfriend here and the lady would be very pleased and comfortable. A group of guys could either share one of the big chalets or be broken up into several different chalets. There are four individual chalets sleeping up to four hunters each, plus three rooms in the æœain lodge capable of handling several more. The laundry was done daily and room service made the bed and straightened the room each day. It doesn't get much better than that.

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  2. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    With a gentle tap on the window and hearing your name called in a strong Afrikaans accent, you wake up remembering you are in Africa!

    A hot cup of coffee and rusks awaited me in the main lodge. As I pieced together my Black Widow recurve and located my release for the compound, Sheryl had cooked up a large hot breakfast! I had promised the wife that I would lose some weight on this trip?ut I could tell right away that it wasn't going to happen. Sheryl is a fantastic cook and really caters to what you want. Prior to my arrival they had contacted me with a preference list, asking what I wanted and preferred to eat and drink. I told them traditional South African food with mostly game meats for dinner. Ask and you shall receive! Breakfast was eggs, bacon (awesome),boerewors and droewors.

    After breakfast it was time to head to the well appointed 3D range. It was pretty neat to have 3D animals of hyena, gemsbok and Red Hartebeest to double check your equipment. After everything was functioning well, it was off to the blind.

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    DAY ONE
    Some days in Africa are just 途ight? This turned out to be one of those days. Shortly after settling into the hide, a mature Steenbuck made his way past. Knowing the nature of these fast animals (典hey live on RedBull said my PH Sean Daniels), I aimed low and focused on the spot. At the release of my muzzy tipped arrow, the shaft disappeared through both shoulders and skidded to a halt after passing completely through. The buck ran 15 yards and then collapsed. What a way to start the day!

    Sean and I were congratulating each other when I heard æœmmmmeeeeewwwwwfffff out of the far blind window. I scooted over and slowly peered out to see a decent sized group of Blue Wildebeest heading our way. I prepared another arrow and got in position. The animals came in so fast that deciding on a particular individual became tough. Finally one stepped clear of the rest and a nice 18 yard shot in the vitals secured the second trophy within ten minutes.

    After waiting the generally accepted ?0 minutes we called in the truck. Both animals were found within a very short distance from the hide. Pictures were taken and it was time to head back for a late breakfast/early lunch. I can do that!

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    After food and a bit of shooting my recurve, it was time to head out to another blind. This time we were after Impala or Blesbok. The blind was chosen as it is placed in an area frequented by both species. As the minutes, then hours ticked by nothing was really happening. Then, as if on cue, out stepped two beautiful Impala Rams. I chose the bigger one (don't know how that always happens) and drew back. The lighted nock traced through the air and disappeared into the Ram. After a tracking job we found the impala. We took several great pictures and then headed back to the lodge for a great dinner.

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    What a great first day! Three animals and a wonderful day spent in the African bush with new friends. It really doesn't get much better than that!
     

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  3. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    DAY TWO

    I told my PH Sean that I was hoping to take things easier today in hopes of having some money left by the end of the trip! There are a few black springbok on the property and we chose a hide in the specific area that the ram frequented. We sat throughout the morning with no appearance by the springbok.

    On the way back to camp for lunch we were flagged down by an excited ranch worker. Approximately 75 yards from the truck was an African Porcupine. I have read about these creatures and often found their quills while out hunting, but had never had the opportunity to actually see one in person. I was staring at it awestruck when a voice said 鄭re you going to grab your recurve?? Oh yeah, back to reality. I grabbed the bow and two arrows and headed off on a porcupine stalk. As I neared the magic 20 yard mark, I pulled back and focused all of my attention on one spot. At the release of the bowstring I knew it was a good shot. The 150 grain silverflame broadhead disappeared behind the shoulder, angling toward the front of the offside shoulder. Perfect. The animal hardly moved but did do an odd 都hake upon passing that almost sounded like a rattlesnake. All of the quills shook around and then stopped. Very neat.

    After pictures and loading up my trophy, it was back to the skinning area to skin and prepare for a full mount.

    The skinning and butchering area at Dark Continent is truly outstanding. White tile floor, cutting and preparation areas, electric winches and freezer room all add up to a top shelf operation. The floor was so clean you could literally eat off of it.

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  4. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    DAY THREE

    Dinner at Dark Continent Bowhunting is a big affair. Fresh meats, salads, breads and desert. Don't go thinking you will lose weight. In addition, the after dinner drinks and conversation are truly memorable. Sean and Sheryl are wonderful people. Very nice, accommodating and professional. They have truly become friends.

    The reason I bring up dinner is two fold; I love to eat and after dinner strategy sessions were always fun. On the evening of day two we had decided to go after Red Hartebeest. Now I don't particularly find Red Hartebeest as beautiful, graceful or at the top of any of my lists?but I do find them interesting. For some odd reason I had a desire to take one with my bow. Other places I had hunted either didn't have them available or discouraged taking one with a bow. Not so at Dark Continent. So, Sean and I discussed the matter and decided that it was time to truly focus on a hartebeest. He recommended a blind and time frame (all day) and that was the plan! The decision was confirmed after discussing the matter with Johnny Walker. After a few drinks, Johnny suggested we go for it!

    Sitting in a blind on a property for one specific animal is both exciting and totally boring. The day you say çš„ want to see an X today? the waterhole is full of outstanding Y's. We watched and watched animals coming to and from the waterhole all day. Some within literal spitting distance. I read a book from cover to cover. I took a nap in the blind. Yes, there are actual beds in the blinds for this very purpose.

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    Finally, as dusk was turning to dark, a group of three red hartebeest literally came RUNNING into the water. It was like a whistle had blown and the 殿ll clear was given. The biggest bull came charging in and promptly stood broadside at 22 yards. You can't make this crap up. He wasn't drinking water, wasn't licking salt?just came running in to stand broadside at 22 yards for me. Amazing. I pulled back, settled the pin and let him have it. At the shot all hell broke loose. The bull ran down a valley and up the other side. Somehow I managed to keep my binoculars on him and watched him stumble a number of times. A review of the video showed the shot was good but just a tad farther forward than we liked. We waited thirty minutes and called in the truck. We drove over to where he was last seen and there he was. My Red Hartebeest.

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  5. DOC-404

    DOC-404 AH Elite

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    Thanks for sharing. Curious, how do you do 'Tom' in a strong Afrikaans accent..? :biggrin2:
     
  6. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    DAY FOUR

    After the success on the Hartebeest, I was left wondering what to go for now. When Sheryl informed me that they had a few Ostrich available I had to jump at it.

    Now Ostrich might not seem like a great animal for your safari. Afterall, it's just a big bird right? For me, hunting an Ostrich with my recurve was just the ticket! I have seen very few of these animals taken with a recurve bow so I wanted to give it a go.

    We drove about 20 minutes to a neighboring property. I could physically see the ostrich out on the edge of a big field. I learned that we would be spot and stalk hunting this one!

    As we crept closer and closer on knees I kept thinking that there is now way this will work. Believe it or not, the ostrich had it's head down feeding most of the time. As we tucked in behind a bush at about 25 yards, it looked like this was going to be it. As if on cue the ostrich moved a few steps and provided a nearly perfect shot.

    The vital area on an ostrich is right in front of the legs. It is weir placement but an arrow or bullet put in that spot will do the trick. I pulled back the recurve, mentally picked a spot, and let the arrow free. As if guided by a laser, the arrow flew perfect and sunk deep into the ostrich, a few inches in front of the leg. Upon impact the Ostrich started running, arrow fletchings clearly visible with binoculars. After a few minutes of it not falling, Sean and I decided it needed a follow up. After a follow up arrow to the chest, it was down for good.

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    It was pretty neat to take an Ostrich with a recurve bow. Something I will do again someday. They are amazing animals to see in the skinning shed. At points it almost looks like an alien hanging there. I知 having a shoulder mount done of the Ostrich and the leather tanned for gloves, boots or a quiver. Not sure yet but I will have something made out of Ostrich leather!
     

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  7. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    Ha! Sounds like "Dommmmm!, vake up"
     
  8. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    As my hunt drew to a close I had a few more animals left on my wish list. I was most interested in continuing to hunt with my recurve for a Wildebeest cow and my compound for a blesbok, male or female. On the fifth day I was able to take this old cow wildebeest and blesbok. Neither of them the biggest trophies I saw but they were both great hunts.

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  9. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    Now for a few pics of the hunting area.

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  10. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    Overall I had a fantastic trip that didn't break the bank. The prices were very good and I saw plenty of animals each day. If you are looking for a bowhunting safari in South Africa, Dark Continent should be on your short list. They are bowhunters themselves and know how to get game close.
     
  11. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    A few random photos:

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  12. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Nice report Tom, always thorough... Enjoyed the pictures and glad to see you wearing AH cap! :thumb:
     
  13. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Quite the body count for so little time spent, congrats.
     
  14. adgunner

    adgunner SILVER SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Tom, Thanks for the pics and story, just curious what setup were you using on your compound?
     
  15. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    Gunner,

    I was shooting a Mathews Switchback, 68 pounds. Gold Tip "Pro Hunter" arrows with 125 grain muzzy three blade broadheads.
     
  16. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Glad you got around to this report.
    Looks like you had some fun warming up the recurve.
    Congrats!
    How large is the farm?
     
  17. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    This farm is smaller than the others they hunt. I was told between 1250-1500 acres. It is a nice array of different topography though. Some very rough and rugged treed hillsides, some lowland wet areas and some open plains type stuff. A really neat mix of land types. It is bow only and no rifles allowed.
     
  18. PARA45

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    Very nice, thanks for sharing!
     
  19. Stretch

    Stretch AH Fanatic

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    Nice report Tom. You painted a good rendition of what to expect. Looks like you had some fun. Good job.
     
  20. davidhein

    davidhein AH Veteran

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    Great write up and awesome hunt! Congratulations on some fine animals and of course the stick bow is possibly the ultimate challenge. Seems you had an awesome time
     

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