SOUTH AFRICA: Crusader Safaris early April hunt

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by ActionBob, May 13, 2014.

  1. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH Fanatic

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    My wife Ann and I went on our first African trip and had a great expieriance at Crusader Safaris operated by Andrew Pringle. We did 9 days in early April. Our PH was Mark and he was the perfect guy to team us up with. Not sure if it was planned or good luck but I had described to our booking agent (James) what we wanted and did not want... Mark was the right guy and he had in camp his expierianced head Tracker Clive as well as an apprentice, Patrick who was grass green but very enthusiastic! And of course Gismo the Jack Russel and real tracker of our merry little group. Mark met us at the PE airport and helped us get our guns and load up our luggage then took us on the 2 1/2 hour drive to camp. He pointed out several animals in the dark on the drive in. (the flight from Joberg to PE was on Africa time, but we had been warned and took it in stride) Everything else went very smoothly all through the 4 flights to get there. All our baggage and guns arrived with us. James had arranged for our gun permits to be handled in JoBerg by Henry Durhiem and he made that whole thing easy and fast... Henry also went the extra mile to get us all checked back in and pointed out where to grab a bite to eat and where our departure gate was.

    During the hunt, Mark took us to 3 distinct regions and gave us a nice broad expieriance with different sights, smells, terrain and of course animals. We were the first hunters of the season on a couple places. He put us in front of a lot of game and had us hold back on a lot that did not meet his standards..... Heck we did not know what was good or not. I was told to expect a few great trophies, a few so so, and many average. I'm very happy with what we got.

    More importantly my wife was happy! She went over half heartedly willing to shoot a Zebra but unsure how she would feel about it when it came time to pull the trigger. And she was very concerned that she did not want to spend 9 days staight of only hunting so I had communicated this as well and there was the option of going on a day trip with Julia, Andrew's lovely wife. Much to my surprise, Ann turned her down! When I looked at her with what must have been a puzzeled look, she explained that she was afraid she would miss something exciting on the hunt if she left! She took 5 very good animals herself and 4 were one shot kills (the scope was set a little low on the first). It is hard to discribe the emotion when she took the big fat Zebra Stallion in one clean shot (her second animal)... Her face was red and sweaty with hair falling across it from the physical effort of the stalk in the heat of mid day.... And she was lit up with the biggest most genuine smile that portrayed happiness, pride, reverence for the animal, and complete satisfaction with herself and the expieriance. She does not like killing but she loved the "hunt" and the total expieriance. She "gets it"... the difference between killing and the conclusion of a successful hunt. She understands fully that hunting is a natural and nessasary part of the Natural World that she is participating in the very essence of nature. She absolutely revelled in the hard work of walking across the plains, climbing mountains, sneaking through the thorn bushes, and stalking the river bottoms.... And the successes and failures of a good hunt.

    Ann was also very into taking photographs and documenting all the different species we saw... She had a list of 20 from the evening drive into camp and the first day of hunting. Mark went out of his way to point out birds, tortouses and even stopped to get pictures of mountains and clouds. That was important to the sussess of Ann's trip and Mark understood that. We had a package of 5 animals and then wanted to add on Zebra, Eland, and Wart Hog but explained to Mark that if we came across good specimens of other species, we would do our best to aim carefully and squeeze the trigger. We took a pretty relaxed view and did not get too wound up about any particular species, Mark seemed to take care of any worrying about such details for us. We got everything we wanted except a big Wart Hog.... And several we did not know we wanted until we saw them.... Like a fine Mountain Reedbuck, my first African animal and one we just came across first thing the first morning... Mark spotted it, confirmed I really wanted to shoot any fine specimen and then said, "bring your gun, you need to shoot this Mountain Reedbuck!" That set the stage for a great hunt. I took 10 Antelope and a Jackal.

    The only negative part of our whole trip was that we did a couple Photo Safaris after the hunt and then a lot of other "tourist stuff" including a drive on our own down the Garden Route. After expierianceing "the real thing first hand"... The rest of the trip was very nice, but somewhat "anti-climatic". Riding around in crowded game viewing trucks with a dozen tourists who do not have any idea of how ot keep quiet, circling "wild" life with 5 other trucks all vying for possition to get the best "shot" of animals that pose for pictures every day, simply cannot compete with being out on a real hunt for real wild animals. And the various nature reserves and parks, and even Table Mountain with their paths all laid out, cannot compete with climbing a mountain over loose rocks trying to get above a herd of Eland or sitting atop a rock escarpment glassing for Kudu.

    I have to get back to to hunt Africa again soon!

    Bob
     
  2. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    gday bob , nice hunting report
    that last paragraph sounds so true .
    glad anne had a wow of a trip and took lots of photos ,mate .
    im sure l speak for all your friends on here , we would love to see some of them ....
    sounds like your p.h , mark , really knows how treat a client .
    thanks for sharing your memories with us .
     
  3. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Thanks for sharing the hunt Bob, but, as Bluey said, now we need to see the pics ;)
     
  4. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH Fanatic

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  5. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    nice photos bob.
    terrific animals ,mate .
    thank you once again
    love them bold markings on that zebra .....
     
  6. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Great job on your hunt. You did get a great mix of trophies.

    The attitude and planning got you set up for success.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  7. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH Fanatic

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  8. WALKINGPREY2

    WALKINGPREY2 AH Veteran

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    I hunted with Crusader Safaris April/May of 2012. It was an incredible experience and Andrew's team are simply amazing. The two agents (also personal friends of mine) who arranged the hunt here on the U.S. side, have hunted with Andrew's outfit for many years and have known his family for literally decades. These two agents have arranged hunts for 40 years in several African countries with various outfitters. But when in S.A., its Andrew's group they go with. Brittany Boddington hunted with Andrew just a few months after we did. Her mother told me Brittany also had a wonderful experience hunting with Andrew. I have also met several others who hunted with Andrew through the social media sites, each one having nothing but very positive experiences. I will actually be hunting with a woman this summer who too hunted with Crusader Safaris. While hunting with them, her husband experienced a ruptured heart aneurysm. Had it not been for the quick thinking of Andrew, her husband would have died. I hope to hunt with them again sometime in the future. It is an Outfitter I highly recommend.
     
  9. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH Fanatic

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    I cannot tell you how proud I am of my wife. Before the Blesbuck, she had never shot anything bigger than a squirrel. And she ran my ass off all over those East Cape mountains! She has the attitude that she is going to live life and see as much of the World as she can..... Of course that means we have to fit other things/places in before we can return to Africa to hunt some more.

    On another note, we live where there is a very healthy population of whitetails, but they cannot hold a candle to the wildlife in the East Cape. Look at how fat that Zebra is! The ranch we took him off was huge and not high fenced. Those animals could pretty much go where they wanted to... The Rancher was happy to have him taken out of competition from his cattle. In fact there were 5 stallions in that herd and he told ther PH to get back with more clients to take out a couple more. However he seemed content to leave the herd be and I think he liked seeing them there. That "sytem" where the land owners are essentially the "custodians" of the wildlife on their farms, and where they do get compensated for the harvested animals... Works! The MN DNR does a pretty good job managing the Whitetals in Minnesota, but no where near as good as the land owners in RSA do with their wildlife. As the PH said "if it pays, it stays". In MN a non hunting land owner has no financial incentive to encourage wildlife to be on his land. And if he earning a living off the land, he has a lot of dis-incentive.

    Not sure where to post this, but I've been able to have a couple productive discusssions with non-hunters since we got back.

    Bob
     
  10. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    ooohh yeah he is spectacular ,bob
    congratulations action annie,
    love them near white ears , they enhance his character ten fold .

    sounds like ever one gets the special treatment from Andrews team at crusader .......
    your mates husband sound very lucky to have had Andrew on hand in his time of most dire need ,WP2.
    thanks for sharing that hot topic with us all
     
  11. Wheels

    Wheels GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Glad you had a great hunt Bob. Thanks for sharing your story and photos.

    All the best.
     
  12. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Really enjoyed the feedback of your entire experience… Thanks for sharing all of it with us Bob!
     
  13. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Fantastic report Bob and Awesome Trophies Congrats to you and your wife on your first Safari! Thanks for sharing.
     
  14. Royal27

    Royal27 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Enjoyed the write-up and the pictures. The smiles on your face and your wife's sez it all!!!
     
  15. archer36

    archer36 AH Member

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    Beautiful animals. Great Safari. Congrats!
     
  16. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Thank you Bob for the story line :)

    The pictures and your trophy's were good :D

    So whey you going back (y)
     
  17. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH Fanatic

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    James, I want to go back in about a year. I fact I think a year and a week would be about perfect.... But Ann has a "been there, done that" or "one and done" attitude right now. She brings up the great point that there is a whole big World out there to see and expieriance. She wants to go to Peru to Machu Picchu next... So if we can squeeze that in and I wait a year and a day, in my way of thinking it will be into the second year since we have been to Africa.....

    I am having my taxidermy done there and hope to have them hold it until I get back to personally inspect it in a year. Ann will see the practicality of that, I hope! Then if all is well, I'd like try to complete the springbucks and add a few others like Nyalla, Greater Souther Kudu, and a couple of the little mountain species. We did not get to Crusaders Northern camp or their Stormburg Mountain place so those might be fun to hunt and expieriance. Still need a big ugly Wart Hog as well.... In fact I think I have a list of another 15-16 animals we could happily take with Crusader..... Then of course we need to spread out from there and get to some other countries and regions in Africa.

    Then again that Water Buff deal in Australia looks tempting!?
     
  18. WALKINGPREY2

    WALKINGPREY2 AH Veteran

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    I hunted my Springbok in their Stormberg area with Andrew's partner, Chris. Who is doing your taxidermy work? The reason I ask is that our taxidermy work was originally suppose to be done here in Virginia, but something happened and it was voted by our group to use a taxidermist that Andrew recommended. I'm disappointed because I would have loved to have watched the process. Thanks.
     
  19. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH Fanatic

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    We are planning to go with Andrew's recomendation of African Wildlife Artestry. Have not sent in the deposit yet but planning to do so ASAP so any info pro or con would be very timely.

    Who did you use and how did it turn out?
     
  20. WALKINGPREY2

    WALKINGPREY2 AH Veteran

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    The animals my group hunted are with African Wildlife Artistry now. And all I have been told at this point is that they are "coming along nicely". LOL My only wish is that they would send photos of the progress. I will let you know as soon as I hear anything or see any results. :)
     

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