SOUTH AFRICA: My First Safari with Wayne Wagner Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by PHOENIX PHIL, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Well my wife and I just returned from our photo and hunting safari to RSA. We spent our first week on the photo safari in and around The Kruger National Park and surrounding private game preserves. If you've never been to Africa, this is in my opinion a great thing to do. When not hunting game, I love to watch the animals. My wife and I had a great time on this part of our trip and I'd recommend this tour to anyone.

    When the photo safari was completed, we made the drive back to Jo'burg. As some of you may have read in Spiral Horn's thread about choosing an outfitter, this is the point where things turned south for about 12 hours. Shortly after returning to Afton for the night before heading out to Kimberly for my hunting safari, a phone call came in that my wife initially took. A long story made short, there was a problem for my outfitter with his partner who is the landowner where we were to hunt. I was therefore told not to go to Kimberly. When I went to bed that evening, my hunt was cancelled and I would be spending the next day trying to get out of Jo'burg and back home. At about 6am however, my fortune changed and I was now booked with Wayne Wagner Safaris. Ironically, Wayne runs his safaris just a few minutes from where we were staying for our photo safari. A quick turn of events and we were on a plane back to Hoedspruit. We were met there by my PH, Ian Brown. Ian took us back to the lodge and told me to get my hunting clothes on and my rifle out as we would head over to their range to make sure of my sighting in.

    So on what I call day 0 of the hunt as I really had not planned to hunt, we hit the range at about 3:30pm or so. After a few shots and a minor correction, we declared my Tikka T3 in .300 Win Mag ready to go and off we went hunting. The first animal spotted was a black backed Jackal, but we were unable to catch up to it. Up into the hills we went and crossed paths with three Nyala, two of which Ian declared as shooters. We continued on past the animals for a ways and then got out of the Landcruiser and put a stalk on the animals. Some 20 minutes or so later, I was on the sticks. The smaller of the two shooters was staring right at us and it seemed that at any minute he'd bolt. He was standing such that I didn't have a shot. The smallest animal was in a clearing standing broadside, but I did not want to take him. The largest of the three was not yet visible. After what seemed an eternity, the largest animal came into view and eventually into the same clearing the smallest was previously standing in. As he came into the clearing my PH let out a call to stop him and I took my shot. It was a little back of where I'd like it, but was certain it got the back half of the lungs. The bull bolted and was out of view quite quickly in the thick bush. My PH and I walked to where the bull was standing when I shot and on the ground was obvious lung blood. We looked to our right at the same time and could see the bull about 60 yards away on the ground. A second mercy shot was made to dispatch the animal.

    In about 24 hours time I went from planning to hunt in Kimberly to no hunt at all to a hunt in Limpopo to a Nyala on the ground. You couldn't slap the smile off of my face. The Nyala measured 28" green and clears SCI gold by about 1 2/8" at the moment.

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  2. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Okay, someone will have to help me with attaching pics. How do I do this with files on my computer?
     
  3. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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  4. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Okay, so I managed to get a pic in and now on what was supposed to be the first day of the hunt. Well the wind blew and blew pretty hard and it was cold in the morning. There wasn't a lot of activity. Some in the afternoon, but the critters were mostly staying near their beds, so no shooters today.

    On day 2 of the hunt, conditions were better. We had a small herd of impala that we worked a stalk on, but I came to appreciate how jittery these animals are and we did not get very close to this herd. So back in the truck and off we went. It wasn't long before we saw another herd of impala along with a very nice Kudu bull. Unfortunately, the Kudu were off limits in this particular concession. But the impala were fair game. We got ahead of the impala and setup an ambush. A young ram had us made out and kept barking at us, but the rest of the herd seemed to not care. We waited a long time for the herd to show us a shooter and sure enough he showed up. There were two very brief moments where he presented a shot, but not long enough. Eventually the herd started moving towards us with the shooter ram bringing up the rear. He crossed in between two acacias and presented a quartering towards me shot. I hit the shoulder in a good spot and the animal bolted about 10 feet and dropped. We saw a lot of Waterbuck today, but no shooters.

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  5. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Phil,

    Congratulations for bagging a classic Impala trophy ......

    Monish
     
  6. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Phil,

    Remarkable Nyala , congrats .....

    Monish
     
  7. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Day 3 conditions were good. We chased after a number of different critters but no shooters were found. The hunting conditions were such that the animals are scattered and can hide very well. Even though this is well into the dry season normally, late rains and lots of them had the vegetation very green and most of the waterholes held water. No animals were taken on this day.

    Day 4 found us at a new location. We saw lots of animals in the morning but no shooters. My PH spotted a Kudu worth taking a closer look. This was near a big waterhole. We tried a stalk on the bull, but my PH decided to back off with the breeze swirling around. We decided to setup on the waterhole and see if the Kudu would come to water. Well the Kudu may have been nearby, but a very nice Waterbuck bull showed up first. I did not make the best shot on this animal, a little low and forward. The bullet managed to find however the front of the lungs and he went down albeit after a 400-500 yard run. The bull measured 31" and green scored 3" plus above SCI gold. I was quite happy with this bull.

    Later in the day we saw two very nice Kudu bulls in this area, but only for a fleeting moment and we were not able to get a shot at them.

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  8. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Day 5 found us back on the same property as day 4 in search of those big Kudu bulls we saw the day before. We covered a lot of ground this day in the truck, but with very few Kudu sightings and those were not shooters. Late in the day as we headed down another dirt road, a bull was spotted just inside the brush. It was not a huge one, definitely not one of the two we spotted the day before. But it was late on day 5 of a 6 day hunt. My PH shook his head no, but I pressed a bit and told him I thought we should go after him. He said okay. We headed a bit further down the road before bailing out and sneaking back on this bull.

    Much to our surprise when we got close, we first saw a smaller bull that no matter what day it was, I wasn't going to shoot. We ducked down low when this bull decided to cross the road. He spotted us, but apparently in this crouched position we did not present a threat. He continued to cross and went into the brush. We stood back up and I was on the sticks waiting for the bigger bull. In a few moments he stepped out presenting a perfect broadside shot. The 180gr TSX found it's mark on his shoulder and the bull went only about 50 yards before dropping.

    He measured just shy of 50", but I didn't care. With the trophies I had already collected, I decided holding out for a bigger Kudu was just being greedy. I was thrilled to get this bull.

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  9. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Day 6 with no pressure on, I decided to see if we could find a zebra or nice blue wildebeest for me. My wife with me on all of these hunts has now been bitten by the bug and we decided to see if we could get her on an impala too. But first we headed to the range again with one of the outfitters rifles, a Sako in .223. Many years ago I had my wife on the range with a .243 and she shot well, but never went hunting with me. She was still shooting well.

    I don't know how many stalks we put on impala this day, but one way or another they didn't work out. About midday we found some zebra hanging around with impala. I should say, the zebra were staying upwind of the impala which put the impala between us and the zebra as we made a stalk. The zebra just would not play, but the impala kept coming in and out of a shooting lane. I told my PH while we waited on the zebra that if another nice ram showed up, I'd take him. Well, he did and I made a shot. The bullet unfortunately hit a branch we didn't see in the way. This deflected the bullet into another branch and despite hitting the second branch, the bullet hit the impala but in the gut. The TSX did a lot of damage and the animal was bleeding heavily. We decided to let the animal bleed out and not risk losing him.

    After having lunch we picked back up on the trail. We soon were on the animal and he did get up and trot off through the thick brush. It wasn't long however that we caught him in the open and I put a finishing shot on him.

    Funny how hunting goes. I wasn't trying at all for another impala and got one while we couldn't get a shot for my wife. That is until the last moment. With about 10-15 minutes of shooting light left on the last day of this hunt, the PH spotted yet another ram. It wasn't huge, but he was old. I let my wife and the PH bail out and give chase. The animal was close and I could watch from the truck. My wife made a perfect shot on the front edge of the shoulder of the animal that was quartering towards her. The bullet passed through both lungs. He ran only 50 yards before dropping. Her first animal of any kind on her first shot, and she goes to Africa to get it. I couldn't have been more proud of her.

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  10. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Like so many others before me, after one trip to Africa, I'm hooked. I was planning the 2nd trip well before this first one was over. Wayne runs a great operation. His wife is a spectacular cook and trust me you will not go hungry. The lodge was just beautiful with great views of the countryside from the veranda outside our room. Ian just astounded me with his hunting knowledge and the way he could plan a stalk and execute so well with about 5 seconds of thinking about it. Not every stalk worked out, that's hunting. But enough of them did and I could not have asked for more animals or better animals than I got.

    We saw lots of other animals on this hunt too. Hippos and crocs abound as well as blue willdebeest. Much of Waynes properties to hunt on are along the Olifant's River and some of this borders Kruger. There were also numerous Bushbuck that I would have taken a shot at, but the thick conditions made that an extreme challenge. If you're up for a giraffe hunt, I lost count of how many we saw on this hunt.

    Thanks Wayne, we had a great first safari!

    To see more on Wayne's hunts, click here: Wayne Wagner Safaris
     
  11. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Thanks monish!
     
  12. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Phil,

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful trophy photos , hunt report & the moments you spent hunting which are price less & are memories of a life time Africa has a mystic significance & is very addictive.....

    Thanks..

    Monish
     
  13. Thunder head

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    Congradulations,
    I am glad it all worked out for you. I bet that was one sleepless night.

    Did your original PH setup the new hunting destination?
     
  14. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Indeed it was a sleepless night. Yes my original PH helped get me setup with Wayne. I thought this spoke well of his character as he could have just let me go home and refunded my money.

    This situation also spoke highly of Wayne. He, his wife and my PH Ian put together this safari quite literally on a moment's notice and it was greatly appreciated.
     
  15. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    This is wonderful, good intentions from everyone turned what could have been a bad situation into fulfilling a dream, it says a lot from all of the people involved. I am very happy to hear that you and your wife had a great first safari! Thank you for sharing those moments and pictures.
     
  16. Spiral Horn Safaris

    Spiral Horn Safaris AH Fanatic

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    Hi Phoenix Phill
    I am happy to see that all worked out for you and you took some very nice animals congratulations!
    Cheers
    Louis

     

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