The hunt that epitomizes Africa

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Pheroze, Jul 5, 2014.

  1. ActionBob

    ActionBob GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    You guys are bringing back a lot of memories of planning and the trip.

    Pheroze;
    Your tourism may depend upon where you end up going. We went to Port Elizabeth and did tour the city and coastline with a tour guide as well as going to Ado and Schotia photo parks.... Doing it over again, I would do a day in the city with a guide, being sure to do things like a township tour with the guide. But if doing it over again I would rent a car and do the game parks on our own, as well as being able to go to museums, etc. on our own. Rent a GPS with the car. Got a lot of value out the tour guide when he was driving and explaining history and local politics, etc. However to pay for him to go with on a game drive or wait around for us while we went through museums was not real cost effective... We did get a rental car and do the Garden Route on our own down to Cape Town but we had a lot of time. You can even take a train. You do need to figure out how to handle your gun while on tour.

    We took the advise of our outfitter to do the hunt first and then the tour. I think he was worried we might have high expectations after seeing the animals in the photo parks.... But I found them to be very anti climatic after the hunt. Riding around with a dozen other noisy tourists taking photos of half tame animals cannot compete with the real thing out in the wild. But it is a great opportunity to see the animals you will not be hunting. And you do want to figure out how to deal with jet lag.

    If I had a job with specified vacation time and had 2 weeks, I would probably include 3 weekends and stretch it to 16 days. But I think of think of things from a business perspective... To me getting over there and all the associated costs are the "overhead", and in a way the suffering of making those long flights is overhead as well. I want to get the best return on my overhead investment, therefore I want to pack in as much as I can.

    Add a day or two to the hunt and take 3 days touring? We spent 2 days getting there and a day and a half coming back. And you will want time to recover once you get home. You can travel more directly and in less time but we flew across to Paris overnight and took a half sleeping pill to get some sleep. Then we had a half day layover in Paris and stayed awake by going on a city tour (during the day) and flew South to Joberg the second night. That second night on a plane is brutal but at this point we were able to get some sleep and landed being pretty much adjusted to the local time. I suspect if you take the direct flight to Joberg, you will have serious jet lag so a couple days to recover before the hunt might be good. I would do a local tour before, or a couple days before and a day after.

    I also thought it was wise to break up the hunt with a day or two off in the middle. But that was somewhat un-practical. We got into a serious groove or routine and one day of hunting seemed to just set us up for the next day.... We would have lost momentum if we had skipped out... But I'm sure it could be planned. Fact is I had emailed about having someone (wife of the outfitter) take my wife to see things other than hunting... But when she made the offer to do it, my wife declined... She was afraid she would miss out on something if she left the hunt!!! But she was ready to be done by day 8, we hunted 9. She does not think of herself as a hunter but she did hunt (and I'm sure she will again). If your wife does want to get away from the hunt, it should be possible with good communication and a little flexibility.

    Another thought is to get her involved, having her take pictures is a logical idea. But also bring a journal and keep track of your exploits. My wife enjoyed writing down all the species we saw. We got the PH tuned in on that and he would go out of his way to point out every new rodent and bird as well as game animals. If she has an interest in plants that would be a whole new category. And be sure to get her a really good pair of binoculars. Even go as far to get her the best pair you can afford and have her help spot game.

    And if she wants to sleep in, no big deal, you should be back for lunch or even back to drop off animals at the skinning shed, sometimes even an hour after you left. So pick her up then.

    Your PH may also get you onto better animals if he knows he has extra days to get the job done. And if you want to get to different areas, it takes time. We were in the mountains and river bottoms common to the cape, then got to the Karoo for a couple days and the Cowie or jungle for a day... Each has something special to offer.
     
  2. ArmyGrunt

    ArmyGrunt AH Enthusiast

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    This site is just terrific! I read all sorts of different topics. I'm 77 days out, with warthog, impala, blesbuk, blue wildebeest and zebra on my list. I'll shoot at a baboon, if he shows his mug. Time constraints have me doing a seven day hunt, ten days total are expected, but I have no problem calling off work when I get home.
    Reading all the stories and recommendations throughout AH.com have me drooling daily. The excitement keeps building. I like the fact that several critters in my package deal are highly recommended by those posting here.

    Accipiter has a good point about circumstances changing. I read in a magazine about how relatively inexpensive it CAN be to hunt Africa back in January. With minimal searching online I found this site, and started planning soon after. September is GO time! If you haven't done much hunting before, remember to consider all the things you might need to buy beforehand. I've already spent several hundreds making sure I have necessary gear. Also, don't forget to get your body prepared for all that walking. Pump up your heart rate at the range, then shoot off the sticks. That pounding heart can make a shot more difficult if you aren't accustomed.
     
  3. jeffpg

    jeffpg AH Enthusiast

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    You will have a great time no matter what, but some things that my 2 safaris in Botswana taught me are:

    You can try to prejudge how certain species will effect you and how you will feel about them, but until you actually get to spend some time in a animal presence and experience hunting them, you don't really know. I figured that Impala was nothing special compared to the other more glamorous species like Gemsbok & Kudu, and I thought I'd shoot one just because it was the thing to do in Africa. Little did I realize what a impact hunting them would have on me, especially with a bow, and I have chosen to shoot more of them than anything but Kudu. I also could have cared less about the weird looking Red Hartebeest, but it proved the most challenging of species on my first trip and I finally took a great bull on the last day.
    Just keep an open mind about the various species and try to hunt opportunistically. Don't pass on a great opportunity for a trophy that appeals to you just because it's not on your "list".

    You already have the right attitude, because the flavor and atmosphere of what is Africa Is what will call you back there. Be ready for that!
    Enjoy the people and the culture of the places you visit. It's a huge part of the experience.
     
  4. jeffpg

    jeffpg AH Enthusiast

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    Oh yeah, you're just fine with the 30.06. Just use good bullets properly placed and it'll work out for you.

    I used one ony first trip with zero problems attributed to the caliber.
     
  5. ActionBob

    ActionBob GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    +1 on the Red Hartebeest. Jeff is so right and put that in words so well. My wife chased Black Wildebeest for a day and a half and had an absolute blast doing it. Those things have their own method of throwing out a smoke grenade! The herd runs in a figure 8 making a big dust cloud and then runs off with the dust between you and them! Think about how they evolved to have the instinct to do that. And those weird looking critters are one of Africa's most beautiful antelopes, in their own way. But we had them down as an "extra" or add on if opportunity presented itself. It turned into one of our favorite animals on the trip and my wife talks about it more than all the rest combined.
     
  6. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I love the Red Hartebeest and Black Wildebeest too. They are addicting to watch and hunt.
     
  7. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

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    You have received some great advice. I'll add a couple of items to also think about. With planning this far out you should have your choice of dates. If you can decide on who your hunting with I'd get a deposit out and a hunt locked in. Ask to lock in his current prices. That should help you budget accordingly. Next I'd pick the dark of the moon to hunt. Take any slight edge that you can get. Its been discussed here before and there are others that feel the way I do.
    As to animals that is somewhat personal to each of us. I would also suggest getting a priority list and then a secondary list. Let your PH know which ones are most important to you. For most of us Kudu is near the top of our list. I've never taken a Zebra, but that also says Africa to people. I also love the bushbuck. Interesting animals to hunt. I also love Nyala. Impala are cheap and a good one can be hard to find. Gemsbuck are another great trophy with their long sweeping horns. Even if you don't do shoulder mounts you might look at doing European mounts. Cheap and take up lots less space.
    On my last trip I took a East Cape Kudu. I only kept the horns and have them on a side table at home with the bases crossed and the tips going off of either side of the table. I think they look good there and my wife said no problem.
    Get a list of animals that your chosen company hunts. Then maybe print off pics of each to help you decide. Their list should also have prices to help you budget. I've been 2 times and hunted 7 days both times. Wished I had 2-3 more days both times too. Helps cut that "overhead " expense a bit. Good luck. Bruce
     
  8. Pheroze

    Pheroze BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    The advice is truly fantastic and has given me a lot to consider.

    Through reading this site I discovered that I cannot bring a semi-auto! My plan was my 30-06 and a BAR 7mm Rem Mag. I promptly advised the Mrs.that it is ill advised to travel with one gun so I must purchase a second(y) On a serious note I had not factored that expense but it seems like a good reason to start looking around for a 375 H&H on the economical side. To me the classic 375 just adds to the feel of the hunt.

    I find myself spending more time than ever just reading this site.

    Pheroze
     
  9. tiss kocovsky

    tiss kocovsky AH Member

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    Pheroze-
    I read on the page for "hunt S.A" on this site that you can ONLY bring bolt actions. It broke my heart because I to was going to bring my beloved 742 woodsmaster and her big brother the BAR .340 (who would go to Alaska with me). Now I must postpone my trip until 2016 at the earliest so I can save up for a $700-$1600 .375 h&h and get in sufficient practice (which by my definition is minimum 500 rounds). I hope Africa is still there when I finally get everything in line...
    Tiss
     
  10. tiss kocovsky

    tiss kocovsky AH Member

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    - No automatic, semi-automatic, lever action or slide action firearms are allowed. A semi-automatic shotgun for hunting purposes may be allowed if an application is made and granted through the Central Firearms Register at least 21 days prior to your arrival.
    quoted from "hunting Africa by country" thread as posted by the founder of the site.
     
  11. tedthorn

    tedthorn AH Member

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    The entire experience trumps what animals are taken
     
  12. jeffpg

    jeffpg AH Enthusiast

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    Yes indeed on the Black Wildebeest... they gave me fits!

    I never had a good chance at a great bull on my first trip, but we went after them harder a year later, and I encountered them on my second trip. After chasing a herd that was intermingled with a bunch of Zebra, I missed a shot at a good bull that was facing me at about 120 yards. I took a shot off the sticks when I shouldn't have cause I really wasn't comfortable with it. Well, the whole herd tore out and was gone.
    Later on in a different area, I was getting prepped to shoot a bedded bull at about a hundred yards when some others came running by and he joined them. After making sure he was the one we wanted, I took a shot at him running towards us. It was a hit, but I couldn't be sure how good it was. I was propped in the fork of a tree and when he turned broadside running to my left, I swung the rifle with him but got stopped by the fork in the tree. Knowing he was hit and that I had nothing to lose, I quickly touched off a shot that I knew was lots farther back than I would have liked. To make a long story shorter, after a long tracking job and a couple more shots, we recovered him to find that I had dead centered his tail on that "far back" shot! I kept the tail to send home with the cape and head.

    It seems that there's always at least one species that will give you a real run for your money in Africa.
     
  13. Primo661

    Primo661 AH Member

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    Three species in particular stand out for me. The warthog is sometimes referred to as the poor mans buffalo and the bushpig the poor mans leopard. These warthog are incredible quarry for a walk and stalk, both will have no qualms flattening you if wounded. Bushpig especially is an incredibly challenging hunt that requires a specialist PH to guarantee a good trophy, just like leopard. Even the method of hunting is similar - dogs or over a bait at night. Try any other method and you will not find success. There is a reason they are called the Ghosts of Darkness(incidentally also the title of a brilliant DVD on hunting them by PH Clive Curtis from Safari Vision)

    As has been mentioned before, I think a bushbuck is an incredibly iconic species to hunt. Where I grew up, there was an aura around bushbuck, a truely worthy adversary for any hunter and one that had to be earned. Growing up I shot duiker, impala, reedbuck, warthog, porcupine and more. I was taken on bushpig, blesbok and wildebeest hunts but never found success when I was sent out on my own into the bush after these species before I was allowed to even try for a bushbuck. I grew up hearing stories of how a bushbuck had once gored a family friend while he followed it up after wounding it, nearly killing him. I was told I had to prove myself worthy of a bushbuck. The fact that I shot a Reedbuck at 150m in the brain on a night cull and many more over 100m during the day with brain shots was not enough to convince my father and uncles that my marksmanship was up to scratch. The fact that I had gutted and carried an impala carcass out of a deep ravine on my own wasn't enough to prove my dedication to the cause. And stalking into a heard of Impala to shoot a ram from 15 meters didn't convince them that my fieldcraft was good enough. I wasn't allowed to shoot one until I was 16 and my first bushbuck was built up to be my coming of age as a young man so to speak by my family. When I was finally offered the chance, it was the biggest honour I could have imagined at the time, and indeed today the Nkonka(bushbuck ram) is a legendary foe that I will always look to with awe and respect.
     
  14. Pheroze

    Pheroze BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Tiss,

    I had planned to travel with two guns just in case of failure. The thought of getting all the way there and having the gun malfunction bothers me. Now I am down to the one bolt action. I am thinking about a Zastava 375 H&H to bring two guns. Even with a bedding job and aftermarket recoil pad you can be around $1,000. My gunsmith says they are a good buy so you may want to consider it.

    However, $1,000 also is at least one and maybe two trophy fees. After reading all the posts above I am thinking I need to make a bigger allowance for trophy fees as the unexpected hunt of opportunity seems to be where a lot of the fun is. Being only a moderately irresponsible father and husband I am trying to keep to a budget. Hence, I may just travel with the one '06 bolt action and bank the cash. Anyone think travelling with the one gun is a silly idea?
     
  15. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

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    Nope. 1 gun is enough. If you have a problem there will be a camp gun you can use. Often they provide a very good rifle. Bruce
     
  16. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I only bring one gun, same thing on next trip. If I was hunting the Big 5, I'd consider something like a big and small gun. Just because of recoil and being more comfortable with a deer rifle.
     
  17. ActionBob

    ActionBob GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Pheroze you are making lot of sense. How many failures have you actually had with a trusty bolt gun? Especially in 30-06.

    I have been cringing and biting my tongue every time I see a post from someone commenting about their budgeting and then buying new guns...

    Thanks for making a comment about being fiscally responsible. And you are indeed going to be grateful to have the extra money for extra animals when you get there. Packing and paying overages to the airlines will be easier/less with one gun. Even if you have a 2 gun travel case, you cannot put the ammo in that case, but you can get a lot of other stuff in there. Knife, flashlight, binos, maybe even a soft case or extra shoes. Some guys will pack clothes around their gun.

    Now like I may have said before, I'm all for buying new guns. So if you other guys really "want" a new gun, by all means... But think, and do the math. Do "your" math. A lot of life is about making choices. You will be a lot more content if you make your choices and don't worry about the other guys choices.... That is different than looking for guidance and advice and to have experiences and opinions shared.

    As for planning the animals, we had no idea what we really wanted and honestly I had to do a lot of research just to know what was what. We simply started out with an "East Cape Package" that included Kudu, Gemsbok, (I wanted those!) and Duiker (hadn't a clue, turned into one of my favorites) and then choice of two out of Bushbuck, Blesbuck, Impala, and Springbuck. Then my wife decided she needed a Zebra rug and I really wanted an Eland and to a lesser degree, a wart hog. Then I thought might as well take the other two out of the 4 choices. And a guy told me to try and get a Black Backed Jackal if I got the chance. That put 11 put on our list. I did not get the Wart Hog, but combined we did take 16 animals... 17 if you count a Hyrax that was practice when switching to my second gun for smaller game;)

    Before I went I talked to everyone who would stand still for a minute. An older gentleman working at Cabela's told me about his hunt. It was probably the only African hunting trip of his life. He was fortunate to be doing it with his son, they were bow hunting and their premium animals were an Eland for each. The son getting a Gold Medal and the old gent a Bronze.... But he had a big Sable bull come in and was at full draw when he asked the PH "how much?" The answer was $3500... He left off the draw, could not spend the money..... Understandable, but...??? This fellow said it was bigger than the full mount one at his Cabela's store... He likely will never get back to Africa, and even if he did, I really doubt he would be offered a trophy Sable for that price again. Opportunity gone.... And he already had the overhead paid!

    Ask questions before and during the hunt, print out a price list and take it with, ask if there are any special deals on the offing. Have a contingency plan and don't spend your last $1000 on something you don't really need and be all the way over there with a once in a lifetime trophy standing in front of you that you can not afford to take... That and stay out of the damned pen with the Sables in it! Ha Ha

    To me that bounty of species and not knowing what may show up around the next corner is what really epitomizes an African hunt.

    Bob
     
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  18. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    It's hard for me to stick to a budget in Africa, but sometimes it's better to stay the course. The sable, would have died at that price!
     
  19. ActionBob

    ActionBob GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Yea Enysse I agree. The extent of our budgeting was to go on a RSA PG hunt and not a DG hunt or someplace like Tanzania. But the brakes were off on any PG that caught our attention.

    However we could not have done that 10 years ago... And 6 or 7 years ago, we did not know we could go. There do exist great opportunities to have a World Class hunt on a pretty tight budget... But everyone has to fit within their own criteria.

    Now I am itching to get back for more PG, Buffalo and probably Lion.
     
  20. ArmyGrunt

    ArmyGrunt AH Enthusiast

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    Bob, it's like you were talking straight to me. I know my taxidermy bill will be way high, but I couldn't pass up that SIG rifle when I saw it last week. Especially being my birthday. I'm considering seeking a shotgun I hardly use. That'll recoup a fair part of the new gun's price.
     

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