SOUTH AFRICA: HOME FROM OUR FIRST SAFARI!!!

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by Don K, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. Don K

    Don K AH Senior Member

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    We just got back from our first safari to Africa. We were lucky enough to hunt with Ricus and his crew with White Lion Safaris. First class all the way! We hunted a couple different concessions and were treated with great accommodations, quality animals, knowledgeable PH's and wonderful hosts. The two concessions were dramatically different, one in the mountains, very rocky with large grassy velde spreading out from their bases and the other very bushy savannah with large Camelthorn trees and Blackthorn throughout. The areas were very large 25,000-35,000 acres each and we were the only group at them so it was very nice to say the least!

    The three of us were treated to the hunt of a lifetime!

    I took this Eland towards the end of the hunt at 130 yards (a chip shot as most of the animals were over 200...) It was an aggressive animal, goring and killing a Sable Cow the day before. It still had some blood on one of its horns!!! Though not on my list of animals to take it was hard to pass up when we heard the story and once we'd tracked it down I couldn't hold back. The bull was milling about with some Sable and no one wanted a repeat of the day before. We closed the distance to about 140 yards and then I had to wait for it to clear the Sable. There was one behind the bull and a couple in front. As the ones behind got nervous and started away I readied myself for the shot. There was one Sable left standing in front of the bull and when she lowered her head I squeezed off the shot, right through hThey are such immense animals! One shot from the .338 and he didn't go far.
     

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  2. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hi Don

    Nice Eland...

    now how about the rest of the report and some pictures...
     
  3. gutterdoc

    gutterdoc AH Veteran

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    I took the bait. Finish your story!
     
  4. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    congratulations on the sable killer .nice trophy .
    as said , mate .
    waiting for the rest of this adventure ,with the trophy picture s.
     
  5. Don K

    Don K AH Senior Member

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    I will add animals and stories over the next couple days!! I'd like to add it in 1 shot, but work went crazy when I was gone, my 2 kids and 1 wonderful wife are taking up most my time now!!! Lol
     
  6. Don K

    Don K AH Senior Member

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    In my avatar is the Black Wildebeest that I shot. We got onto a herd first thing in the morning and stalked them from there. We managed to get to 300 yards a few times only to have them take off running. I found they are very attentive especially if the wind is blowing and 25 sets of eyes are tough to hide from in the flats.

    We tried to keep a bush in between us as much as possible and when there was none we would slink through the grass. They are crazy to watch! Sometimes for no reason they'd bolt and start running in circles, chasing the one in front kind of like a dog would chase it's tail... It would be a stampede of hooves and dust, black shapes going everywhere in the cloud they made. Out of nowhere, for no apparent reason, one would fall over then get back up and rejoin the festivities! Quite a cool animal just to watch!

    We got on them at one point when they were a bit more at ease and I set up on the sticks for a 250 yards shot. The 250gr Nosler Partition was on its way! I hadn't allowed enough for the strong cross wind, hitting him hard but about 5 inches back!!! The vitals on the African animals are way forward compared to our animals. I had to remind myself all week of this as I would continually put the crosshairs just behind the shoulder instead of on the shoulder.

    A quick follow up shot as he ran put him down and it was picture time. The bull has great bosses, is heavy and was long. I was really happy with him to say the least.
     
  7. Don K

    Don K AH Senior Member

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    We managed to get a couple really nice Common Springbuck as well. They were always in groups and usually at the sight of either the Landcruiser or us on foot they were gone.
    image.jpg
    I got mine with a 230 yard shot, quartering away. It went about 15 yards and piled up. Shane got his with a longer shot, about 280 yards if I remember correct. It hit a bit low and took a follow up, but was soon ready for pictures as well.
    image.jpg

    2 nice rams!
     
  8. Don K

    Don K AH Senior Member

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    This is the Kudu I shot.

    image.jpg
    We went for a hike one afternoon and ended up catching him right at dusk.

    We walked as quietly as we could through the brush in search of Kudu and Duiker. The Blackthorn bushes are ridiculous! They have a small curved, hooklike thorns that catch you as you go by. Once hooked you literally have to back up or they tear your clothes pretty bad! I picked a few out of my hands and arms over the trip... My Sitka gear did pretty good, but only cause I was extra cautious, which made a guy quieter anyways. I'd suggest Carharts or an equivalent type pant as a much more suitable choice.

    We would hike and stop every so often and GOP up in a Camelthorn tree to glass around. We saw a few small Kudu bulls as well as the occasional Gemsbuck, but nothing worth a stalk. We slowly worked our way in a big circle from where we had left the Landcruiser, maybe 4 miles all said. As we were getting back to where we started we came upon this guy. A quick decision and a neck shot put him down for the count!! A lot of high fives followed.
     
  9. Don K

    Don K AH Senior Member

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    My second Kudu bull. I saw this bull along with 4 cows up in the rocks. To many this is an undesirable animal, but I couldn't resist. He has such character! .338, 250gr Partitions, 160 yard quartering away. He went about 30 yards before going down.
    image.jpg
     
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  10. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Awesome animals those Springbok's are fantastic as well as the rest of the animals. Congrats sounds like you had a unbelievably good hunt.
     
  11. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    nice springboks and your first kudu is a cracker .
    you had a great hunt .
     
  12. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    The world record is a screwball like your second Kudu. Good on you. It is one of a kind and character is putting it lightly.

    Interested to know which Sitka gear you were using that you had issues in the Sekelbos?
    There is really nothing that is impervious the Sekelbos thorns. Caution and moving around it is the only way.
    If you are not careful you will learn to be!

    Keep writing as you are able. There is no race.

    Thanks for sharing your story.
     
  13. Don K

    Don K AH Senior Member

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    Thanks guys! We had a fantastic hunt. What surprised me the most is the fact the guys at White Lion far exceeded my expectations... I would take a hunt with them over any of my northern hunts for bear, sheep, moose and caribou. I NEVER thought I'd say that. I think it was the camaraderie and friendships we made that put it over the top!!
     
  14. Don K

    Don K AH Senior Member

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    [​IMG]
    On one of the days the wind was crazy. We had a hard time finding animals and the ones we did manage to spot were so spooky, getting within shooting range wasn't a remote possibility. Shortly after noon we found a bowl on top of one of the 'mountains' that had a herd of Impala, a few zebra and about 40 Blue Wildebeest. We quickly put a plan together and the stalk was on!

    We slowly worked our way with all the available cover we had. Using a few small bushes and the grass we worked to about 240 yards from the group of Wildebeest. There were a couple good bulls, a couple young males and then cows and calves. We agreed on the bull that was the shooter and settled in.

    The cows mulled around and the large bull kept to the back of the herd. Occasionally it looked like a shot would present itself, image.jpg only to be thwarted by a cow filtering across the shooting lane. After about 15 minutes the bull bedded down; right at the back of the herd AGAIN!!! We settled in again and waited... Eventually the bull stood up and worked his way over to the right side of the group. When he took one extra step past the cows I was ready and squeezed off the shot getting both lungs. They're tough buggers and he still tried to get out of that bowl! One more shot put him down for good.
     
  15. CAustin

    CAustin AH Legend

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    Don K,
    Like you I like the Kudu that is twisted and bent. He does have a lot of character. Congrats on a great hunt!
     
  16. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Enthusiast

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    Great Report Congratulations on a wonderful Safari. GREAT PICTURES ! I've hunted with Ricus , White Lion Safari's
    HE IS A FIRST CLASS PH AND PERSON ! GREAT TRIP WE HAD My wife and I, We will be back !
     
  17. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Congrats, Don, for a great hunt and very nice trophies. I like your atypical kudu !

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  18. Don K

    Don K AH Senior Member

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    We found a decent Blesbuck by himself one day. He was bedded across a large meadow and the wind/cover didn't really lend itself to a stalk. We got as close as we could and hunkered down in behind a Blackthorn bush. I ranged the ram at just over 400 yards and we decided to sit, wait and see what time would present us with.
    The Blesbuck stood up a few times, milling about and feeding, before laying down again. Eventually he started to quarter towards us. He worked in and I ranged him at about 340 yards before I set up on him. The plan was to let him work as close as possible to us and I'd take the shot when the right opportunity presented itself.
    He kept quartering to us, then he turned and began paralleling before eventually starting to work slightly away. As he turned to slightly quarter towards us again I steadied for the shot. I figured him to be anout 245 yards and aimed slightly higher than my intended POI. I squeezed the shot off and watched him drop where he stood!!
    As I was smiling and enjoying the moment with Ricus, he said mid handshake 'There he goes!' Wtf!?!? I quickly cycled the bolt, ranged him (now 320+ yards!!)
    and sent another Partition on its way. We heard the solid 'WHUMMP' as the bullet found it's mark just as the ram got into the rocks and brush. I then ranged where the ram stood at my initial shot, 232 yards... I'd shot high and had knocked him down but not out.
    We took up the trail where the ram had entered the bush and were able to easily follow the track. There was a fair bit of blood and we could hear him scrambling ahead. It was cat and mouse for a bit as every time I was about to shoot he'd dip behind a bush or rock and away we'd go again.
    I managed to get a couple more bullets in him. Shooting at what I could see of him when he stopped, but never getting the shoulder/vital shot I needed. One shot as he quartered away high in the back and another shot placed farther back as he stood half covered by a big rock. That was enough and we managed to get right on him for a merciful last shot.
    5 shots and 5 hits with the .338 proved how tough these animals are! 3 of the first 4 shots would have been kill shots on our North American game, but with this ram they were all slight 'misses'. The animal would have died, but the fact is you keep shooting over there til you're over the animal as you don't want to lose the track in the rocks or the dirt.
    It wasn't my proudest moment of my hunting career, but I was certainly glad that it ended the way it did. The Blesbuck is a good representative of the species, no giant for sure, but it will have a special place on my wall. It represents how amazingly tough these animals are and I will remember that part of my hunt forever.
    image.jpg
     
  19. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    congrats on some real nice critters. nice flames shirt btw too lol
     
  20. Don K

    Don K AH Senior Member

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    I had to represent!! :)
    I have a few pics with shirts and hats.

    I left hats and shirts for the guys and trackers as well as some other stuff. They really were a hit.

    Next time I'm going to take that, as well as leather gloves (or Mechanix gloves) as well as jeans, Carharts and boots for the trackers and skinners. We felt guilty taking our $500 boots home with us... I will easily pack all my stuff in a single bag and use the second for taking things for the guys over and above cash tips!!
     
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