SOUTH AFRICA: Hunting with Karoo Wild and Victor Watson

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by trstallone, Nov 15, 2013.

  1. trstallone

    trstallone New Member

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    7 day hunt. The list, Kudu, Gemsbok, Impala, Coin toss on Blesbok or Warthog. The place-- Haaspoort Bush Camp.
    A 15 minute drive off the main road thru multiple gates. The complex is a group of private Chalets linked together by winding gravel paths. ( Check out the website), Arrive late to Port Elizabeth and get to Haaspoort with only time to settle in, have dinner and get some sleep for an early start. Up early to one of Lindsay's spectacular breakfasts and then to the gun range.

    Using Victors Supressed SAKO .270 with 150 gr Sierra Game King handloads. Conditions are unexpeected, big gusty swirling 15 -20 mph winds and temps in the 50's, shooting an unfamiliar gun in sticks I've never seen before. The inevitable " under the microscope" nerves take hold. Mitchell runs out a cardboard square with a small paper bullseye target that blows over twice as Victor screws on the silencer and hands me the rifle. Being 6'3" the sticks are a bit low, so I'm crouched over, cross wind blowing,and eyes beginning to water as I try an position to get the scope picture. Unfamiliar trigger so the first one pulls wide left. ( SHIT!). Work the bolt and try an relax, control breathing, squeeze and (SHIT) wide right.
    I catch Victor and Mitchel out of the corner of my eye and swear i can see the eye rolls silently saying " this is gonna be a tough 7 days". Victor blurts out, " OK, get down to the low sticks and shoot sitting". Fine, more stable now even with the gusting cold wind and by the third shot I feel the trigger now and send one 2" high and 2" right of the bull. Can feel the palpable relief not only from me, but the observers. "ok, one more Ted". Drop the Second 1.5" high and 1" right. Gun sighted for 1.5" at 100 so everyone is satisfied.

    Back in the truck and the Impala hunt starts. 15 mins later Jacob taps the roof from the truck bed and we stop. The heard is about 250 to our left grazing with the wind in our face. WE get out, grab the rifle and Victor says " this way" and we start walking opposite, away from the herd. Down into a dry river bed of ankle busting rocks like the Martian landscape, to circle around out of sight to come up on them on the right behind some low bush and trees for cover--wind still ok. . Walking along the 200 yards with my ankles rocking back and forth like a 12 month old's first steps and kicking myself in the ass for not spending more time in the gym, then we're clambering up steep river banks through thorn bushes and stalk to about 120 yds behind a tree. Victor glasses for a minute or 2 and then hurriedly says " ok brace on the tree , its the 3rd from the left, COME ON!"
    I find a rest, get on the scope, ( damn, 8 power) and start scanning the herd for the one he's talking about. Find it, settle down, and another one walks in front and block the one we want. "HOLD ON"--waiting, they meander around, then start moving off! Wind shifted DAMN, and by the time the shot is clear its over 300 and I know Victor is not confident I can make the shot so he says "Ok, lets call in the truck and try something else."
    SO he sends Jacob and Mitchel off after the herd and he and I circle to another location. We get there and he sits us under a tree about 50 yards off the road. Pointing toward a ravine about 290 away that then rises up into a treed hill--" mitchell and Jacob are pushing them to us, keep an eye out over there". 30 minutes later we see a few come through the woods. " LETS GO" he says and we're on our feet crouch running in the open, rock strewn ankle busting field to get closer. "I'm taping my ankles tomorrow!!) We get about about 50 yards closer and Victor abruptly pulls up, slams down the sticks and says " Get Ready". As the rest of the herd slowly drifts out of the woods Victor does the whisper scream thing "THERE!! THE ONE FACING RIGHT, NEXT TO THE THORN BUSH! So, I do my best "zen" relax i can do and I have him in the scope. I ask " Range" and Victor says "Hold dead on and just shoot!!!" I think " Ok' a little testy but" crosshair just behind the shoulder, I squeeze the trigger, much more comfortable now, hear the crack, I see it shudder and I could swear he should just drop-- but spins 180 and start running and as I'm saying "SHIT" Victor is slapping my back and exclaims "GREAT SHOT TED!!

    Now thoroughly confused he says to me " Those are tougher than people think, he's down in the bush no more that 20 yards away from where you hit him, when Mitchel and Jacob get here we'll get him" After 20 minutes of seeing them go back and forth from the bush to the shot location for the blood trail, they disappear and 5 minutes later come up the side of the ravine smiling and carrying him in. Victor almost giggles " he's big Ted, congratulations".
    THe posing and back slaps and handshaking and pictures ensue, and everyone smiling in the truck now, I go with, to the skinning shed and watch to masterful pros, skin and cape this Impala out and get it in the salt bed.
    Back to camp, clean up and hit the LAPA for drinks and recapping the day, trading barbs on scaring Victor on whether I could shoot or not and then drilling the Impala at about 240--and enjoying an amazing Lamb stew dinner and fine wine by Lindsay and the staff during which we're asked " do you guys like Game meat?"
    TOMORROW--The GEMSBOK!
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2013
  2. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    shaping into a great hunt stallone
    keep them finger dancing across the keyboard mate ,and don't hold back on either detail or pictures .
  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Takes me back to those occasions when the nervous hunter (me) is trying to understand what the PH is pointing out.
    Then to comprehend and execute.
    They've been there before the hunter has not.
    Sure leads to some pressure.

    Thanks for the write up. Throw those pictures up when you get a chance.
  4. trstallone

    trstallone New Member

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    Hunting with Karoo Wild & Victor Watson Cont'd-Gemsbok

    Back at the Chalet after dinner and thinking on the Impala hunt I realized what they mean by "sensory overload". I don't know if all first time Africa hunters feel it or not, maybe it was partially jet lag, but I sure felt it. That first day everything was magnified by an order of magnitude. Next day was Gemsbok.
    IT was a short 20 min ride up the road, barely enough time to finish the morning coffee I brought, to the other family property Victor hunts for Gemsbok. As we cruised in the truck and saw a few herds in the distance but Victor and the trackers said there were better ones to find. We came upon a herd meandering toward a 200 foot rise the other side of a tree/bush line so we pulled around and parked the truck to begin the stalk. We walked into the bush line and began the stalk in another dry river bed. After about 200 yards Victor spots a few walking up that rise.
    Wind still in our face and we begin the cat & mouse walk. I remember thinking " these guys are good" because at least 3 times, while the animals were looking away, Victor would stop, holdup his hand for us to stop, and sure enough they turned to look in our direction. How he knew they were going to look our way I have no idea. We finally got into range and both the Gemsbok, and we, were at the peak of the ridge. Then for no reason I could discern, they dropped over the rise and when we hurried over and got there they were out of site. OH, well, that's why its called Hunting, and not Guaranteeing?
    Victor tells us to head down the rise and he went for the truck. AS we got down to the road Jacob points and about 300 yards away there were the Gemsbok coming around the back side of the ridge we were just on and moving away. ( I swear one turned and stuck out his tongue), Anyway, Victor arrives and we start the search again.
    After about half hour Victor spots a herd he likes. These are massive wide open plains now and all the mountains we can see have that blue haze showing their distance and they are still part of this tract that Victor hunts! So we start again. WE stalk in, stop and start for about 15 minutes to about 200 yards give or take.
    Victor sets the sticks and tells me to get ready so I chamber a round. HE glasses again and whispers, " ok, 3rd from the left and then we have to see if it breaks with the herd or splits off" as I get set I'm thinking " funny, yesterday his instructions seemed a lot louder" ;) , realizing It was my rookie nerves that had gone away and I am finally getting the hang of this, I set up and Victor whispers, " hold a minute, its quartering toward us a little to much, lets wait for it to turn a little more broadside". Just as Victor had predicted in a minute or 2 it took a few steps and squared up to us, Victor gives my shoulder a light tap and whispers " take it". deep breath, let out half, hold, squeeze and "CRACK". the Gemsbok jumps the herd runs right and the one I hit splits and runs solo to the left. " Nice shot Ted, might be a little back, we'll see".
    As we watch it run about 20-30 yards parallel to us, then the front legs crumble and its down. Smiles and slaps all around and we start the walk up to it. As I walk closer he says, "How about that, its a bull!! " ( which later turned out to be a 38" Bull with an SCI Silver score of 90 5/8") After the picts and loading the monster into the truck, we head out to a pretty spot to enjoy the lunch that Lindsay packed and talk about the morning's hunt. Another big success orchestrated by a real PRO and his team. We head back to Haaspoort. That afternoon back at Haaspoort we see herds of magnificent Blesbok but I pass because I really want Warthog despite my wife arguing "..its too ugly for our wall, take the pretty Blesbok!"
    That evening, Lindsay cooks up Impala Pie with all the trimmings and a terrific chocolate souffle type dessert.

    Next, as my wife was with me and a real trooper on the hunts we had scheduled a side trip. Went to The giant game preserve north of Haaspoort near Graff Reinet to see some Big 5 for photos, stay at an 1800's hunting lodge and even get in some hunting --Black Wildebeest and warthog.

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    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  5. Code4

    Code4 AH Enthusiast

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    Paragraphs man, please paragraphs.
  6. Wheels

    Wheels GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Sounds great. Looking forward to the next part.
  7. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

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    Nice looking Gemsbuck. Congrats. Bruce
  8. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Those nerves are what make it all so much more interesting.
    Nice trophy Bull.
  9. garyleach

    garyleach AH Veteran

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    Nice gemsboc:thumbsup:
  10. trstallone

    trstallone New Member

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