SOUTH AFRICA: Safari with Bosbok in Limpopo

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by sestoppelman, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Well so we're back late last night, still a little woozy from the breakneck pace of return travel. CBP was a little different this time upon return to JFK. Got pulled out to check the rifles, and ended up getting the full search job! Everything! Turns out the guys really wanted to finger my Winchester 1895, seems they thought it was an original! When I told them it was a Japanese repro they were somewhat disappointed. Got searched anyway and admonished for not having a 4457 on my 27 year old Nikon binos of all things! Also they found a branch end and a cocklebur, a few rocks my boy threw in my bag etc. Told me I should have declared the rocks! Really?
    If anything keeps me from doing this again its the travel part, it really sucks. Now most remember this was my boy Nathaniel's first trip anywhere so this was quite the trip for him. First hunting trip as well, never taken anything before. He was first up with a nice blesbuck. He was shooting my dads old pre-64 Model 70 Winchester rebarrelled many years ago to .284 Wiin., which some would consider light for African plains game. Don't believe it. I had worked up a great shooting load using the 140gr Barnes Triple Shock at just over 3000fps using Win 760 powder. My PH Phil de Kock is a big fan of this bullet so he was not surprised by its performance. Nate nailed the buck from about 80 yards, the bullet taking him on a quartering to shot. It ran about 50 yards and piled up. Here Phil gave Nate his initiation into the ranks of hunters and gave him the "blooding" treatment on his face. This was a real moment for him and for me as well. I could not have been prouder of how he did on his first big game animal. Of course I am chasing eland around during all of this as well. Eland and hyena were the only things on my list as priority and anything else would be gravy.
    On day 2 while hunting eland (what else?), the trackers Nelson and Dennis spotted a kudu bull, so Phil and Nate went after it, I followed behind with TR's "medicine". At about 180 yards or so Phil put the sticks for Nate and he popped the bull and down it went, to a high shoulder shot. A chip off the old block for sure as I often manage to shoot too high, however it is a good anchoring shot. Phil had Nate give a finisher in the neck as it was thrashing around a bit, but could not get up. For a guy who has never shot at game before, especially off sticks, he is doing pretty well.

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  2. billc

    billc SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Nice animals and a proud dad you must be.Sorry to hear the eland did not happen for you.There is always the next trip to try again.
  3. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Thanks Bill. You know how it is, some things come easy, some not. I reckon to have spent some 30 days now total in pursuit of bull eland over 4 trips and 3 countries. More coming.
  4. CAustin

    CAustin AH Enthusiast

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    The proud dad photo is worth all the TSA crap.
  5. billc

    billc SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Any eland bulls tempt you that you got to stalk at all.Pieter just post a pic of a eland bull like we will be looking for crossing my fingers we have some luck.It seems a true big eland bull is one of the hardest trophys to get.
  6. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I hope I can shoot as well as Nate.
    If that hole I see in that Kudu the high shot, I think he is doing just fine.
    Congratulations on the success thus far in the story.

    I'm with you on the flight. There is nothing that makes that travel better.
    If I could stop for a day in Europe or some small Atlantic Island it might make it better.

    I'm still holding out for an Eland picture coming in this story.
  7. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Great hunting report, can't wait for the whole thing.
  8. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Awesome Ses! And Congrats to both you and your son, your son for his awesome shooting and trophies and to you for bringing him up right! Sorry you didn't get your Eland but hell just one more excuse for going back. Thanks for sharing with us.
  9. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Thanks guys, there wont be any eland photo Wayne, though I did get one pretty special trophy on the last day.
    Bill we did get close a few times. Almost got a shot once. Phil put up the sticks for me to pot a bull thru a V in a tree. Only problem was where he put the sticks, he didn't see a clump of thick bush in line with my view from the sticks. Of course when we moved the sticks, the bull took off on the dead run. We had several near misses. One tracker we used named Zephyr from Zimbabwe got us close a couple of times, but thick bush and very noisy ground made for difficult stalks.

    On day 3 we had no shooting for either of us. We hunted a different property for oryx on the way to Phils other main property some miles away. Here we hunted all day and in the afternoon after a few busted stalks for bull oryx, we bumped into one who let his guard down and Nate got a pretty close shot on him and the .284 did its number again. A quartering shot on the point of the shoulder that kept on going, in and out. A dandy bull of about 32 inches. I am a bit jealous of that one as I have only taken two cows in Namibia. It just about didn't happen though. As he carefully took aim, he squeezed (slowly!) the shot, there was a loud CLICK! I was behind him a few yards, and saw him look at Phil, then slowly retract the bolt and out popped a live round with a light strike on the primer! He quickly reloaded to the now very nervous bull and shot just as it started to kick off. The bull ran off behind the brush for about 40 yards and piled up.
    The next day on Phils main property, we hunted eland, wildebeest and others and later in the afternoon Nate got his chance for a really nice, wide impala. We had seen many rams, some good, many youngsters and a few that were really good, and this was one of them. A careful stalk with Nelson and Phil, I lagged behind to keep the noise down and we waited for the ram to come out of the trees about 200 yards away. Phil had the sticks up, with Nate on them waiting not so patiently. I could see the tension was starting to get to him after several minutes of this. I could not see the ram step out, but I did see Phil put his fingers to is ears so I followed his example and BOOM! No one heard the hit, just the echo of the fast stepping Barnes headed into eternity. We hustled down to where the ram stood and started looking around. I thought uh oh, he missed. However the unflappable Nelson stepped away from us as we begin looking around and pretty soon he let Phil know he found blood. As we all begin to spot the drops, I looked ahead and saw some tan and white laying in the grass. I said to Nate, "there he is, but wait, is that a rock?" Nope, its the ram down less than 75 yards from the shot, hit perfectly. What a dandy impala. Wayne, I do have something to crow about on day 10, so watch for it.

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  10. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Again some fine trophies Congrats!
  11. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    That is one HUGE impala! We will be nicknaming your son "Dead Eye".
  12. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    While all of this is going on we place a bait out for hyena, but Phil had already warned me ahead of time that most activity seems to be of the brown hyena. Now the brown is legal to hunt in SA, but not legal for us to import to the states apparently. Trophy fee is the same, license is lots more, so I had to mull that one over. Is it worth it just for a pic of one? Not sure it is. Either way hyena like the eland bull is still on the list. The bait we placed was hit by a leopard family a couple of nights in a row. Did we hit hyena hunting hard? No. As time went on and eland being the main goal for me, and rounding up the main critters on Nates list, it sort of took a back seat and frankly that's OK.. It was more fun for me to see Nate getting in the groove and he still was looking for a warthog and wildebeest. We pursued the eland and others for days 6 7 8 and 9, with no shooting by either of us and I had by this time pretty much figured the eland was not going to happen so switched my priority to another handsome animal, of which we had seen quite a few in a couple of the areas we hunted. Along with this I told Phil that if a certain one-horned kudu bull continued to mockingly break dance on the road every time we drove by his lair on our way back to camp, I would not be responsible for my actions! Phil offered him to me at half price. Well that settled that. We never saw him again! Phil figured his one horn was well over 50 inches. So now its day 10, still looking for wildebeest for Nate, and I continued to search out one last chance to blood my .405 Winchester. I carried that sucker everywhere, no sling either, and was getting a little frustrated at not being able to find eland or at least something to shoot with it. This of course is one of things that happens once most of the more common species have already been taken on earlier hunts, one becomes a bit picky about what to shoot at. We start out early that morning and almost immediately spot some wildebeest in the brush not far from camp. A quiet dismount of the truck, a short, slow walk back to where they had been seen, still milling around in the thicket. Phil put the sticks up for Nate and they waited, moved down the road a bit more, sticks up again, wait...BOOM! This time I heard the smack of the bullet hitting hard. Not 40 yards from the impact the bull was down, the heart nearly cleaved in two we found out later, while searching for the bullet. It was never found. I had told Nate that if any critter on his list could stop the Triple Shock, it would likely be the wildebeest and I was right. Too bad it wasn't found. That load really worked well for us.

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  13. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Thanks guys! I began to realize shortly after Nate took his blesbuck, that this hunt was much more about him than me, and getting his priorities became mine. What the hell, I have taken some pretty nice animals over the years, some easy, some not. I still have the afternoon of day 10 to relate, which makes up for some of the disappointment of the eland.
  14. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    There were lots of rhino on one property. Here is a neat pic I got of one.

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  15. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I certainly got the sense of that conclusion.
    Taking new hunters out for their first experience is always rewarding and you get to experience hunting from a new perspective all over again.
  16. CAustin

    CAustin AH Enthusiast

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    I hope to get an old blue bull eland on my next trip to South Africa. To see your son get his Wildebeest must have been a great moment for you. Congrats to both of you!
  17. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Congrats, Ses, the look on your face says "proud dad" !
  18. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Thanks Nyati! I was very proud of him considering this was his first time at bat. He will be 17 next week, they sure grow up fast!
  19. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    So to round out this little story, on day 10, the same day Nate got his wildebeest, we laid up for a short siesta and went right back at it after lunch. We had seen a number of nyala on a neighboring property alongside Phils main property. So having pretty much given up on eland and being day 10, I had told Phil a day or two previous that I would take a big bull if seen and it must be around 26-28 inches or I wasn't interested. The trophy fee would be the same as for an eland. So shortly after lunch we are driving along and Phil spots a group of 4 males in the brush a short distance off the road and went past it a ways and stopped and left the motor running. We slowly got under way on foot, put up the sticks, Phil was glassing while I got the .405 ready on the sticks and waited for his assessment and call to shoot. "When the last one steps thru that little opening in the brush, wait for my tap, then take him". The distance was close, maybe 50 yards at most, the sun was behind my shoulder so the brass bead front sight was well lit. The last bull stepped into the opening. Phil started to say something and I let fly with the .405 sending a 300 gr Triple Shock towards the bull, which dropped like a wet sack at the shot. Nyala don't offer much resistance to a round like this! We quickly went towards him and found a large bodied, mature bull with horns of at least 26 inches perhaps more, a real beauty! As is typical of my shooting, he was hit high on the shoulder, but was not trying to get up and soon expired. As always I felt a sense of remorse at taking the life of such a fine animal, at the same time knowing that this was fine old bull and a trophy to be proud of, despite the relative ease of his taking. Somehow after 10 days of hard hunting for eland and a few days of looking over many nyala bulls, it just seemed right. A subsequent measurement of one horn taped out at just 28 inches, a fine trophy by any measure. Here you go Wayne, its not an eland but its a pretty nice consolation prize, eh?

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  20. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for the picture.
    One Spiral horn swapped for another is not a bad thing.
    Yup, that is certainly an excellent Nyala.
    I would not hesitate. Evidently you did not either.

    It is always funny to me when a PH tells you what the best one is, lays out the plan and then wants you to wait for another instruction.
    I did the same thing with my Red Duiker.

    "Ok, hold still". "Don't move".
    I'm on the sticks waiting.
    The call goes.
    We see movement a minute later.
    He comes running in to the call and stops, searching for the source.
    I don't need a long trophy assessment. Big enough for me.
    Bang.
    PH, looks at me.
    You think I am waiting for him to figure out I'm there? Not a chance.


    Glad you got to share your sons first hunt. You obviously taught him well.
    Thanks for sharing your time in Africa.

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