SOUTH AFRICA: KMG Safari Family Hunt 2013

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by HuntingGold, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Veteran

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    My appologies in advance as I am going to post this report in segments. There is quite a bit going on around here that needs my attention, so please bear with me.

    Late last year I posted that I was looking for a hunt for myself and two of my daughters. My request was along the lines of we were looking for Kudu and Black Wildebeest but must also be able to see some lighthouses and penguins as that was a request for the daughters. Shortly thereafter I received PM's from many outfits, some of which clearly had not even read what our desires where. They just simply wanted to throw their name in the hat.

    One of the PM's I received was from Marius at KMG Hunting Safaris. Marius had clearly read the post and had come up with some ideas for us. We exchanged a few e-mails and then arranged for a phone call. In the meantime I continued to receive PM's, many of which were quite intriguing. My wife then stated she wished she was going, so before I had even booked one hunt, we actually started talking about another! After a phone call with Marius and several more e-mails, I decided to book this particular trip with him. This would be my first trip to Africa and had many questions. Since I had not been there before, I am certain my questions clearly showed how new I was!

    Over the next few months, I reloaded a ton of ammo and waited patiently for our local squirrels to emerge from hibernation. Locally we have the belding ground squirrel which looks like a small prairie dog and lives in colonies. The farmers hate them as they are pests and getting access to shoot them is not a problem. Each girl shot over 200 rounds of .223 and some 17 HMR as well. In fact they got more trigger time than I did! Finally I was satisfied they were as ready as they could get.

    As soon as the girls got out of school, we tossed our bags in the car and raced for the Sacramento Airport over four hours away. We made it in time to check in then catch the red-eye for New York. A short time later we were then on the 14 1/2 hour flight to Johannesburg. From there, a short layover and then on to Port Elizabeth. We collected our baggage at Port Elizabeth then headed out, I had not even cleared the door when I heard my name called and out popped Marius! A brief greeting and then out to the parking lot where we met Lloyd the tracker/skinner and Flecks the tracking dog.

    Marius then whisked us away to the Penguin Sanctuary where we got a personal tour of the facility, learned about the local penguin, and then saw the birds they were in the process of rehabilitating. My youngest daughter was thrilled... but exhausted from the flight. I think she was mostly in shock that she was there and getting to see the birds. The tour was short as the place was about to close and our next tour-guide was waiting for us. We then shot down the beach a few miles and then received an absolutely magnificent personal tour of the lighthouse. My oldest daughter was now thrilled to be touring all the way to the top! Julius did a great job and I could not have asked for a better tour. We snapped photos, concluded the tour and then blasted off towards Grahamstown.

    As we drove about an hour and a half to the lodge, Marius and I chatted and got to know each other. I think one, if not both the girls, fell asleep. Along the way we saw giraffes, black wildebeest, springbok, hartebeest and more. It was pretty wild to be looking at photos on the internet for months, mounts on other hunters walls, and now to be seeing these critters live and running wild! I also spent alot of my time just taking in the sights, looking at the new vegetation, and just looking at this new world! It really was a lot to take in! At the lodge we met Hendrick, had a quick dinner and went to bed.

    I woke about 4:30 the next morning and could not get back to sleep. I spent my time unpacking and exercising until the sun came up. Once a little light hit the sky, I walked down to the lodge. I had not even got to the door when I noticed animals in the dirt roadway hundreds of yards below. I then went back to my room and picked up my binoculars and raced back outside. I then started picking up Kudu, Nyala, and what I thought was a bushbuck. I then walked into the lodge, found some juice then went out onto the balcony to do some more glassing. I continued to watch the animals come and go, again trying to identify animals that I had only seen mounts and photos of. My Bachelors in Wildlife Science that I earned in the states didnt prepare me for all these critters!

    Marius came down shortly thereafter and we started looking at all the critters. He confirmed or corrected my identification of some of these critters. He then saw the bushbuck and told me that several have tried to take that particular bushbuck and that he was particularly nice. Would I be the one? We then found another younger bushbuck just under his room! This day had not been set aside for hunting as we had some tours to go on... but I was starting to get antsy to get going!

    Later the girls woke up and we all at our breakfast, toast, yogurt and fruit. After breakfast we headed off towards Addo National Park. We took many back roads and got to see the country side. I noted the similaries and the many differences from our home state of Oregon. At one turn around a corner, we suprised a big group of baboons and got some up and close views of them. Clearly we werent in Oregon anymore! One of our late requests was to take an elephant back ride tour. We found the concessionaire and waited our turn. Finally we loaded up on the elephants , the girls on one, Marius and I on another. Poor guy got the back end and had to sit on the elephants spine! Must admit I felt a little sorry for him. The ride was short and then we hung around to watch the elephants drink, bathe, and then feed in the bush. Later the girls fed the elephants while I snapped some photos.

    We then headed off to tour Addo where we saw warthogs, hartebeest, zebra, mongoose, various birds, a jackal, and some elephants. While looking for kudu we encountered a problem, the clutch was going out on the bucky (pickup truck). It appeared to be getting worse and we cut our tour a little short. As it turns out, this may be a blessing in disguise. As we were on our way back to the lodge, and well away from the national park, Marius and Elia both yelled out almost in unison, LIONS! Marius brought the bucky to a stop and we all bailed out to look and photograph the male and female lions. I was running the video camera when the lioness made a little roar and bluff charge. Both girls squeeled a little bit and then there was another little vocalization from the lioness and then they faded back into the brush. The encounter was about 2 to 3 minutes long but the memory will last us all a lifetime! We then went back to the lodge for dinner, desert and off to bed.

    I must end this for now and go take care of some family business. Marius, if you happen to catch this, could you post a photo of the lions?
  2. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Veteran

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    The next morning we ate breakfast and then headed out to the range for target practice. We were using Marius' .308 rifle. Though it was sighted in, we wanted the girls to become familiar with this rifle. Randee was up first and practiced with a little dry firing. Once completed, a live round was chambered and fired. Marius and Hendrick walked down and back and Hendrick pronounced the hit and "one-hundred percent." Randee hit directly where it should have hit. Next up was Elia and the same routine was played out. She shot well but not quite as well as her older sister. A few minutes later it was my turn and I truly brought up the rear. Both girls shot better than I! All their trigger time had paid off. After this, Marius took some time to have the girls practice using the sticks. Marius was patient and gave good instruction.

    That afternoon we went to an adjoining ranch to meet the owner Sid. Sid is a semi-retired PH and loves the art of chatting. I enjoyed meeting him and listening to the converstation. Sid then told us where a blesbuck had been hanging out then was pointing the direction. While he was pointing the way, I noticed something moving on the horizon and there was our blesbuck. Sid sent us on our way and then we loaded into the bucky and drove out of sight and parked. Marius, Elia, Randee and I then headed out in a circuitous route to find our quarry. The route placed the wind and cover in our favor. Soon we were at some brushy cover and Marius put up the sticks however we were busted and the blesbuck trotted off. We then followed and used clumps of cover to continuously follow and get closer. Finally Marius asked Randee and I to stay back while they continued on. We sat back and watched as Elia and Marius slowly worked their way from cover to cover and finally out of sight. Randee and I waited for over a half an hour then decided to move a little in attempt to watch this all play out. We didnt move too far when we could see our hunters about two hundred yards away. They were slowly closing in on some brush and clearly had their quarry in view. Marius put up the shooting sticks and Elia put the gun up. She was on the sticks for quite some time when I saw the branches in front of her muzzle violently shake and then heard the report of the suppressed rifle. Almost at the same moment I heard that unmistakable sound of the bullet finding its mark. I continued to watch and after about thirty seconds saw Marius say something to Elia and then he offered her a congratulatory high-five. Randee and I then started on our way to the team. I could hardly keep from running. My youngest daughter had just taken her first big game animal! How many Oregon kids say their first big game animal came in Africa!

    Randee and I got to Elia and Marius just after they arrived at her blesbuck. Marius temporarily left our side to direct Lloyd how to get to us with the bucky. Meanwhile I snapped some photos and listened to Elia as she described what had happened during her hunt. Marius rejoined us and took more photos. Soon the blesbuck was loaded and transported back to Sids place.

    Later that evening we sat upon a ridge-line and glassed for my kudu. A beautiful evening for sure, but my kudu did not show. We did see impala, hartebeest, and some kudu cows and calves. Maybe tomorrow!
  3. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Veteran

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    We awoke the next morning to find the wind blowing pretty hard. The girls were allowed to sleep in and after breakfast we went out to look for bushbuck and kudu. A short ride in the side by side brought us to the top of a brush-filled draw. We walked and glassed and occassionally heard kudu barking an alarm. They were here, but where? We worked our way down the top of a ridge, stopping occassionally to glass the opposite side. An occassionaly nyala or other critter. Finally we started working our way back up the ridge. Hendrik suddenly spotted a Kudu and was excitedly trying to point out where when the bull busted out and started up the draw. Wow what a sight. I watched him as he worked his way up the draw and then into some heavy brush. When he came out of the heavy brush two more bulls had joined him. All three then quickly disappeared out the top of the draw. Hendrik said he thought he knew where they were going and off we went. Soon we were glassing a knob trying to find sign of our disappearing bulls. A young bull kudu and another nyala bull is all we found. We then were moving position when Hendrick spotted a bull deep in the draw below us. How he spotted that bull is anyones guess as it could only be seen through a hole in the heavy brush. Marius put up the sticks and I was now looking through a hole in the brush at the bull below me. I could see the bull in the scope but every half second or so the wind would blow the brush back and forth in front of my scope. I pulled my head off to see if the bullet had a clear path and considered timing the shot. Marius then found a route in front of the trouble-some brush and called me around. Now we are on the breaks of the draw on fairly steep ground. The bull could only be seen from certain angles so this was going to be it. The sticks were put up and again I was looking at the bull. The bull was unaware of our presense and reaching and feeding up into some brush; his beautiful spiral horns dancing with each bite over his back. Now I was having troubles holding steady on the sticks with the footing I had. I felt like I was standing on a ball trying to pull off a trick shot. It was less than a hundred yard shot but certainly not easy at all. The cross hairs found the shoulder and I fired. The bull wheeled and ran down hill. I immediately was concerned as I did not hear the slap of the bullet. Marius asked about the shot... it felt good but the footing was bad, there was no bullet slap, did I miss.
    After a few moments of wait, Henrick stood with a radio as we made our way down and across the brush-filled hole to where the bull stood. We found no blood and I immediately got a knot in my stomach. We followed Flecks down the draw but he clearly was not on the path that I thought the bull had taken. Likely he was following the scent of other unseen kudu we had heard blowing out after the shot. Marius questioned me again about my shot and I played it over and over in my mind. Doubts were setting in. I could also see the doubt setting in on Marius but none of us were giving up. Meanwhile Hendrick made his way down into the area where the bull had stood with Lloyd and was looking as well. I could hear Marius and Hendrick on the radio and Marius looked up and said, "I wont shake hands until I see it myself." Had Hendrik found my bull? We started working our way back and Marius and Hendrik were having more conversation. Finally Marius looked up and said, congratulations you made the one-shot kill. Moments later we found Lloyd sitting in front of my bull. He was buried in some brush with little sticking out but those spiraling horns! We then looked around and realized there was going to be a hell of a pack out of this spot! After some time, we starting pulling the bull out from his hole. It took all four of us to wrestle him out so that we could get some photos. What a beautiful animal!
    Many hours later, and with the help of three others, we finally had the bull at the bucky. Now it was time for lunch!
    The wind continued to blow hard all that afternoon and we did little but rest at the lodge. All of us were quite tired.
    At the end of the afternoon, Elia and I joined Marius and Hendrik as they checked a bush pig bait site. It was a great opportunity to see other parts of the ranch. After we checked the bait site, we walked a little farther up. Elia and I were walking well behind the two when they stopped and brought up their binoculars. Wounded pig! The sticks were set up and I was directed to shoot this warthog. Poor old gal had been hit, perhaps by poachers, low on one side and breaking the femur on the opposite side. She had been wounded for some time but her rear leg was useless. One shot and she was done.

    I gotta get. I will continue to update tomorrow.
  4. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Great start.
  5. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Great start indeed :)
    Looking forward to the rest and the pictures.
  6. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Very nice write up so far! Thanks for sharing, looking forward to the rest of the journey and seeing some pictures... Upload them as well in the Photo Gallery.
  7. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    you have my complete attention
  8. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris SPONSOR AH Elite

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    [​IMG]

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  9. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    nice lion :cool:
  10. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris SPONSOR AH Elite

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    Bluey, are you judging the lion by its mane or from whats sticking out at the "other" end?
  11. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    definately by mane marius
  12. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Veteran

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    Continued... Again Im sorry for doing this in segments. I have multiple things going on at home including a new litter of puppies that arrived while I was in South Africa. Work, kids, wife, dogs, puppies, girls sports....

    The next morning both girls joined us for our morning hunt. After my phone and e-mail conversations with Marius I decided to drop my request for a black wildebeest and look for a cape bushbuck instead. I am glad that I did. Without too much fan-fare, we spent three days looking for the right bushbuck. The big one below the lodge never showed himself for more than a few minutes and we were unable to close the deal on two others. One in particular was a dandy. While I have no experience with African game, clearly I could see this guy was definately very good. He was above us and looking down, partially obscured by the brush. While Marius looked at him through the binos, I started looking for a place to shoot from. I found a spot and was hoping to go prone. I apparently was going about this too quickly because I did not see the cactus and laid my leg right into it! That took a moment or two to clear out. I then found that prone wouldnt work due to the downslope while he was upslope. Marius handed me the short sticks and I got the guy into my scope. I was a little excited and the cross hairs bounced about on him. Even after a few breaths to settle, the crosshairs seem to bounce from guts to chest and back. I just could not make it work. We then moved again and tried improvising another position. This looked like it was going to work... but he had faded into the brush and was gone. This fell on me, not on my PH.

    We tried several locations and one other ranch. At this new ranch we sat on a hillside and just glassed. This really was my style of hunting, just glassing and picking away at the vegetation with your eyes hoping to catch some piece of an animal. Over time three bushbuck appeared below us, two ewes and one immature ram. Later I caught a short glimpse of another ewe as she fed between two clumps of brush, only her head was visible as she did so. They were here, we just needed to find the right one. After several hours we started to move on. Just by standing and moving only a few feet, it gave us a new view. Marius picked up his glass and looked again and excitedly said he sees a ram. I looked over his shoulder to get a bearing and also found the ram and he looked to be good. We moved around to the hillside in attempts to close the distance and to get a good shot. Things were looking very good and then he just seemed to disappear. We moved up and around again to try and look at the backside of the ridge he was just on but could not find him. We moved again and continued looking when I picked him up in my glass. The sticks! Marius handed me the sticks and asked me to wait so he could confirm it was the right ram. I settled in, and as he gave his clearance to shoot, the ram began moving quickly off the ridge. Something clearly had his attention (and it wasn't us). I continued to track the ram in my scope waiting for him to stop or pause but it was not to be and he was gone.

    My concerns faded back to my daughters who were left at the lodge while we hunted. This was supposed to be a family trip and I felt the need to return. Marius obliged and we made the drive back. We made one more attempt at bushbuck the next morning but only turned up ewes, including a white one, but no rams.

    Though unsuccessful, I really enjoyed my bushbuck hunt. I enjoyed working along to different spots and using the glass to pick away at distant hillsides. This is the same technique I use at home to look for mule and black-tailed deer and I enjoyed it. These glassing sessions turned up nyala, kudu, wildebeest, warthogs, birds, and on two occassions grysbok! I really enjoyed seeing them!

    As it turned out, my unsuccessful attempt at bushbuck turned into gold! More later as I must wake the wife and girls for school and I need to race to work.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  13. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Great encounter on a first trip. Incredible lions.
  14. DOC-404

    DOC-404 AH Elite

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    ..you lie, you bugger..! :heh:
  15. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Congrats to you and the girls looking forward to the rest of the story and some pics.
  16. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Veteran

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    We hunted bushbuck mostly in the morning hours and then in the afternoon would hunt other species. One day we decided to go after Randee's impala. The weather was marginal but we tried anyways. Things just didnt quite work out the way they should so we backed out for another try. The following day we tried again. The weather was a little better but would occassionally rain. A band of bachelor rams was found just before they entered some heavy brush. We just watched for some time and finally they started moving about again. A plan was put together that Marius and Randee would go it alone and would sneak the brush line in attempts to catch the band unaware. I stayed at the bucky and watched along with Lloyd. It wasnt all that long and they were in the area. From my vantage point I could see many of the band, while I am sure they could not. As the approached several younger males stared in the hunters direction and appeared to be getting nervous. They then moved up a little then went back to feeding. Randee and Marius were now closing the distance and I could still see eight rams together in a small opening seemingly oblivious to the hunters approach. I was over a half-mile away and watching things unfold from a distance can be very deceiving, but the hunters appeared close. Finally I saw Marius put up the sticks and could see Randee put the rifle up. I saw a ram that appeared to be the biggest and focused on him. Some of the rams appeared to be getting nervous again when I am certain I saw the impact of the bullet in the rams side. All at once the rams blew out of there and a moment later I heard the report of the rifle. Marius called for me to bring the bucky around and to bring the tracking dog. It took a little time before I arrived. When I finally made it, Marius had found good blood. The dog was turned loose and moments later the ram was found only yards away. Beautiful young lady, beautiful ram.
    As it turns out, they had crept to within 30 yards of the unsuspecting rams. Impressive.
  17. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    HEY?
    im only intrigued with the trophy in the front half of that lion
    im jealous of the jewles in the back half :sarcasm:
  18. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Veteran

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    On my last hunting day, the decision was made to try for bushbuck one last time. If we were not successful, I wanted to go for one of two nice impala rams we had seen while hunting impala for Randee. As mentioned before, no bushbuck was taken, and after brunch we all loaded up and went to look for impala. It was a short ride to where they had been previously seen. Marius, Hendrik, and I got out to go look at some kudu they had seen. I grabbed the rifle because one never knows what you will encounter. We walked into the brush a little ways to a slightly higher point where we could see out a little ways. Marius and Hendrik continued to glass and talk about the kudu while I was looking off elsewhere. Marius then said he saw a duiker go into some brush and we all started looking that direction. These small little antelope have always fascinated me since reading Jack O'Connor stories years ago. I had mentioned a time or two that I would be willing to take one. The bushbuck reappeared for a moment and I got to see him before he disappeared again into some brush. Marius asked if I was still interested and I replied yes if he is a good one. We moved around to get a better view and soon were under two hundred yards. The duiker was found standing under one bush that was bigger than the surrounding ones. The guys started talking to each other, presumably in Africaans, and I could sence some excitement. Finally Marius said that he believed I should shoot this ram. Meanwhile I had also been looking at the duiker and could see his horns were above his ears... a rather good sign! The decision was made to sit from that spot. My recollection is that Marius ranged him at about 168 yards. I sat and got on the short sticks. Meanwhile the duiker bedded down. After some direction back to the spot, I could only pick out an ear in the scope. Marius said that when I was ready, he would blow his predator call and hopefully the duiker would stand to see what was going on before running off. I continued to aim and my right leg would occassionally cramp. I would straigten it out and then go back to aiming at the duiker. This was repeated two or three times when Marius asked if I was ready. Before he could blow on his predator call, they said he is up! I got on him and found the cross-hairs to be bouncing. They werent doing that before! I shot and immediately heard the bullet hit. In the recoil I also saw the duiker dart off but it looked as though he was about to do a nose dive before disappearing in the brush.
    Marius immediately called for Lloyd and Flecks to come in from the bucky. Marius and Hendrik went to the spot where the duiker was standing while I waited and directed from where I had shot from. As soon as they got to the spot I began moving down with my daughters who had also arrived. They asked what I had shot and I wouldnt tell them. About the time I got to where the duiker had been standing, Marius called my name and up the duiker popped and ran by me. He flew by me only yards away but no safe shot could be taken. The duiker found the next patch of brush and went down. Marius called me to his location as he could see him clearly. I made my way around to him, got on the sticks and fired a final shot. We all moved up to find the duiker. What a beautiful animal.
    The duiker was gathered up and carried back to the bucky. While taking the photos, the guys kept mentioning that he was a good one. Later they measured him at 4.75 inches! I am extremely happy and so glad that we had not found a bushbuck. I am also very glad the girls were there for the tail end of that little hunt. That made it even more special to me.
    Thanks Marius for a great hunt and a great trip. The girls had fun and have been talking all week about the trip. Our Easter Sunday Feast was filled with talking about Africa to just about everyone in our huge extended family. I think I have wasted a bunch of time at work (on breaks of course) talking about our trip.

    Now in the next few hours... I hope to figure out how to post some photos. Be patient as I am technologically challenged.
  19. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    114
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    3
    Location:
    South-Central Oregon
    My Photos:
    7
    Member of:
    Mule Deer Foundation
    Hunted:
    South Africa, United States (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming)
    My 2013 Duiker taken with KMG Safaris.

    Attached Files:

  20. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,854
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    Location:
    Russellville
    My Photos:
    27
    Member of:
    NAHC Life Member, NRA Life Member,SCI, Buckmasters
    Hunted:
    USA(from Coast to Coast and Alaska), Germany, South Africa, Canada
    Thats Great I'm Glad you all had a fantastic hunt, so tell us how long did it take before the girls started talking about going back? Standing by for the pictures. :)

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