SOUTH AFRICA: Nyala - Trevor Lake Safari - 2014 - James.Grage

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by James.Grage, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Location: Kwa-Zulu Natal– South Africa

    PH: Trevor Lake– E mail: lakesafaris@telkomsa.net Web: www.lakesafaris.co.za

    Rifle: Ruger M77 – 338 Win Mag - Ammo: Barnes 338 WM 225gr.

    Trophy Hunted: Free Range– Nyala - I would estimate that we spotted about 60 to 80 different Nyala bull on this hunt, many were in the 25 to 27 inch range, the bigger bull are there you just have to spend quality time finding them. The area is big and I am only reporting on Nyala sighting in the 2 valley areas we worked.

    Weather: Cool night and warm days. Area was very dry for the start of August this year.

    Camp: Nice rustic camp with twin beds for hunters, Hot water showers.

    It should be noted that changing conditions in Africa are on us and locations like this one are difficult to find and I suggest that any hunter wanting a quality Nyala hunting experience consider this fantastic opportunity.

    Day 1: After we unloaded our gear, plus supplies, we were getting situated in Nyala Camp. Trevor has 3 anti-poaching members on his payroll for this area and they do double duty as our Trackers – skinners when hunters are in camp. The more eyes the better, I have found out.

    Trevor’s Nyala hunting grounds reminded me of hunting in Alaska, the hills had steep grades for making approaches and for getting close to looking at potential trophy quality. We were glassing for animals on the far side hills and when a Nyala showed potential we moved in closer to take a better look. Trevor uses 2 way radios to communicate with his trackers. As we dropped the trackers off at different viewing points we continued on. Therefore the more eyes we had looking from different locations the better for spotting potential game. The Nyala was usually spotted from 500 to 800 yards away. The first afternoon we spotted about 24 Nyala bulls in one valley, with 6 to 8 bulls needing a second look for trophy quality.

    Trevor was looking for a Nyala bull at he estimated to be in the 32” range, a prior hunter had missed this Nyala bull at 30 yards earlier in the season and that was his target to find. We made a few approaches and Trevor spotted what he considered 3 shooters bulls, however they were not the Nyala he was looking for. A few of the bulls just vanished in the bush and we were unable to spot them. At the end of the first day we had 3 Nyala bulls that would require a second look.

    We spend some time (hours) walking drainages, looking for track at water holes, and we have the trackers out walking other valleys at the same time. Trevor wants to know where the “big boys” are at.

    Day 2: We are up at 5 AM having coffee and breakfast. Today we will drive into a different valley and look to see what we can find. Again we do the dropping off of trackers and perform the glassing of the far side mountain. Toward 10 AM we move to the other side and glass the hill side we were on. About 12 Nyala bulls were spotted in this valley with 2 Nyala bulls requiring a second look, these Nyala bulls were estimated to be in the 26 to 27 inch range. We head back to camp for lunch.

    About 3 PM in the afternoon we head back to the 1st valley looking for 1 Nyala bull that Trevor wanted to get a closer look at. We were in luck, the trackers spot the Nyala bull in question, now we have to get closer for a better view. We close in to about 400 yards and are looking to get closer, at about 350 yards the bull is starting to move up the hill side and the distance turns to 400 yards and climbing. That bugger just kept on walking until it was about 800 yards away and started feeding again. This is the Nyala Bull that Trevor wants me to take. Little did we know that would be the last time we would find him on this hunt!

    Trevor and I had been e- mailing back and forth for a few months prior to our safari and he had asked me if I was open to taking a second Nyala if his quota allowed it on this safari. I was the 6th hunter in camp this year and there would only be one more hunter in a few weeks after I leave and there is one open Nyala tag. Trevor manages this area for trophy quality and has set a limit of 8 Nyala bulls a year. Therefor a second tag was available and I was looking at taking it.

    We are spread out looking again and a different Nyala bull with 2 side guards walks into the valley and a tracker is picking a path to get us closer to have a look at this Nyala bull. This one is old and the tips are worn and the mass of the horns is evident and it is different than my first Nyala taken in 2011. We close the gap to 276 meters and that is as close as we can get. We all sit down and glass this bull and Trevor asks me to set up. So we find a place for me to sit down and place the shooting sticks to allow me a direct line of sight with the Nyala bull, allowing for some movement of the Nyala. As I am getting set up Trevor asks me if I can make the shot. I tell him I can make this shot on the Nyala. Now have to wait for the Nyala to move out from behind a bush to make the shot. Trevor is letting me know the direction of the Nyala bull when the back ground is open so that we do not hit 2 Nyala with 1 shot.

    At the shot the Nyala take 2 leaps and lays down. The two Nyala side guards run off uphill. Now a plan is in place to make a recovery. Do we chop a path over to the bull and bring him back to our side or have the vehicle drive to the far side mountain top and carry the Nyala bull to the top? The plan is for Trevor and the 2 trackers to walk over and see what conditions we have and find the Nyala. One tracker and I stay at the shot site and guide them to the animal. Forty-five minutes later Trevor and trackers are nearing the Nyala location. When they are about 10 yards from the Nyala, it busts out of its hiding spot and runs about 20 yards to the deepest part of the canyon where it is recovered. The dirty bugger had made the recovery a little more difficult. A path now had to be cut to move and recover the Nyala. Sundown and night-fall was fast approaching; little did I know that this would be a norm on this safari.

    Picture of 28 “ 1st Nyala Bull

    upload_2014-8-15_13-25-19.png

    Day 3: Up at 5 AM we are out the door after coffee and breakfast. We are trying to locate the Nyala from the first day. We are out pounding the bush looking for this big guy. With four sets of eyes in the field we spot many bulls, however none are the one Trevor is after. About noon we are heading back to camp for lunch. As we round a curve in the trail a Nyala bull is spotted about 500 yards off. The vehicle is stopped for a better view. Out of the truck we go, shooting sticks and gun in hand; downhill we go looking for a better view of the Nyala. Trevor is getting all excited with this new bull and has the sticks set up and for me to get ready. We are about 300 yards off and I am asked if I can make the shot, I ask to see if we can get closer and we continue down the hill. At about 200+ yards this is our nearest point without losing a line of sight with the Nyala. Up the sticks go and I am all set, Trevor ask if I can make the shot and I tell him I can. At the shot the Nyala lunges forward about 10 yards and lays down in some cover. The vehicle drives down to us and we develop a plan to recover the Nyala. I am on guard duty to shoot if the Nyala gets up. Meanwhile, Trevor and 2 trackers head down and across the ravine to find the Nyala. The trackers spot parts of one of the Nyala horns, however, the trackers are not sure if the Nyala is alive or dead. Trevor sends 1 tracker to retrieve me in case the Nyala is alive so that I can make the finishing shot. As I near where Trevor is, the Nyala burst out of cover on a dead run. We have very few blood drops to follow, the trackers do their skills as I am the marker for last blood drops found, about 50 to 75 yards away we find the Nyala dead under a bush in mid-stride.

    This is another path to cut and carry the Nyala to the vehicle!

    Picture of 29“2nd Nyala

    upload_2014-8-15_13-26-6.png


    …….more to follow on this safari hunt, stay tuned!


    upload_2014-8-15_13-26-31.png

    Trevor Lake - and both sets of Nyala horns.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2014
    ActionBob and AfricaHunting.com like this.
  2. Red Leg

    Red Leg SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Great report! And two fabulous trophies. Am typing this at 2 am in J'burg (jet lagging) awaiting our onward flight to Mozambique and hopefully a long awaited encounter with one of those. Really we'll done.
     
  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Good luck Red Leg.

    Those are two great trophies. I love the shape that Trevor always seems to find with you James.

    With shot placement like that, how did these rams get up?
    Incredible they got up and took off, only to drop so shortly after.
    Wildebeest are tough, hmmm.

    Keep it coming.
     
  4. CAustin

    CAustin AH Elite

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    Outstanding looking trophies sir.
     
  5. huntermn15

    huntermn15 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    Great trophies, especially the 28" heavy horned ram:).
     
  6. Wheels

    Wheels AH Elite

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    James,

    One of those is worth the trip over.......you pulled off two beauties. Congratulations!

    Looking forward to the rest of the report.



    Red Leg,

    Have a great trip.
     
  7. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Nice nyala James! Trevor is holding two but neither look like the 2nd nyala whose left horn looks much longer than its right, at least in the picture.:confused:
     
  8. PeteG

    PeteG AH Enthusiast

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    Very nice James, those are great looking trophies.

    Hmm Ses, got me thinking...
    I can only guess the angles are different in the 3 pics making the perspective different?
     
  9. Royal27

    Royal27 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Nicely done!
     
  10. EricM

    EricM New Member

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    Great report. Congrats on your Nyala!!
     
  11. Huntin Africa

    Huntin Africa AH Senior Member

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    congratulations on this great hunt. Beautiful trophies.
     
  12. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    The two Nyala sets of horns that Trevor is holding are the two Nyala that i was able to get.
    Now Looking at the picture, the left Nyala is the 2nd Nyala that was taken and other Nyala is 1st Nyala taken.

    I just knew that we should have turned the horn sets around for the picture taken, to be in proper order that they were taken...
     
  13. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Not a matter of the order taken or pictured. Its just that the one listed as #2 with you doesn't look at all like the two Trevor is holding. I think it must be the angle of the photo because you have the same effect on the 1st nyala pic as well, just to a lesser extent. Must be the angle. Good stuff!
     
  14. Biddleman

    Biddleman AH Veteran

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    James, those are two wonderful Nyala and wonderful hunts to go with along. Sounds like Trevor is doing the proper things and his area is going to continue to produce some fine specimens.
     
  15. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Biddleman

    Trevor has been active in protecting this area from outside encroachment and poaching. Having his own anti-poaching group living in the area and patrolling it.

    By limiting the number of Nyala taken each year, their is a steady Nyala population moving up in size. Being free range the animals can move on or off the area at any time. Some big Kudu and Eland move through from time to time.

    They found a nice 52"+ kudu skull this year, the skull and horns are in the skinning shed for viewing.

    Also Trevor has a few additonal free range places for big Nyala that he uses from time to time.
     
  16. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Very nice Nyalas, James, congrats !
     
  17. lwaters

    lwaters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Nice animals! Well done.
     
  18. tay50

    tay50 AH Member

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    James very nice Nyala's great opportunity to double down on two beautiful animals.
     
  19. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    i would say that this is area is big, and the land scape does change from rugged to a little less rugged... You do not want to fall down while walking, it a long way to the bottom. Plus it appears that every thing wants to put a sticker in you or sting you. I am still pulling stickers out of my hands. I think i got the last one yesterday. Now to check the legs.

    The Trophy quality is some of the very best. We did see bushbuck, however we did not see any that Trevor thought was trophy quality (meaning better than the one i was able to take on my last trip). The Goal is to do better than the last time.
     
  20. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    But wait, what about the bushbuck you show in the other thread?:confused:
     

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