Africa last year

gillettehunter

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I have been trying to take enough time to tell a little about my visit to RSA last year. So we'll try to get a story in today. My first trip to Africa I shot a 19 inch Impala. I hoped to improve on that last year. There were 4 of us that went to Thorndale in the East Cape. We wound up there based on a push from my taxidermist. He had a package in the East Cape in 2010 and it wasn't good. So he took a day from hunting to look at some of the other farms and lodges in the area. Thorndale was what he found. In telling us about it he claimed we would probably each kill our Impala on the first day as there were so many good trophies there...
I spent the first 4 days after other animals and I hope to tell those stories later. On the 5th day in the afternoon we were driving to a back corner of the farm to see if we could find a large kudu that was occasionally there. It was May and there had been a lot of rain just before we got there so the bush was green and hard to see through. As we we drove down the road I saw a nice Impala ram on the other side of the fence. He was barking at one somewhere on our side. I tapped on the roof and we stopped to look. My PH was Matthew. He said that a really nice Impala, but he is on the wrong side of the fence. So we drove on the back corner. Didn't see what were looking for.
So we took a quick look for an elusive Springbuck that was also of interest. No luck there either.
At the lodge that night we were talking about the days events and I told the group about the Impala that we had seen. Polla was a part owner and head PH at the farm. He said " why didn't you shoot him?" I replied he was on the wrong side of the fence. He said you should of shot him. I have an arrangement with my neighbor..... I wanted to choke him!! That Impala had only been 150 yards away. He was far and away the best I'd seen. In addition 2 of the others had killed Impala and they were not near this nice.
The next day prior to leaving Matthew asked Polla to call the neighbor and make sure we could kill the Impala if we saw him again. Matthew told me that Impala are territorial especially in the rut and we would find him back in the same area. Polls called and a special Impala was on the menu.
We went back looking for the Kudu. No Impala or Kudu either. Saw a decent Kudu on the hill on the neighbors property. As we drove back there I once again spotted the Impala. As we stopped only the head was visible in the bush. We got down from the truck to try and find an opening to shoot through. I was using a 7mm Mag that my wife had given me the Christmas before. I was using 150 gr TTSX's. The scope was a Minox 4X20. As we approached the Impala moved further into the brush. We got to the fence and and finally Matthew found the impala. By kneeling and getting low you could see the back part of his body through the bush. He was quartering away from us. Matthew asked if I thought I could make the shot. My answer was to squeeze the trigger. At the shot the Impala jumped and disappeared. We climbed the fence to see what we could see from the increased elevation. It was close to 10 feet tall and had 4 inch mesh. We could see nothing. The crosshairs had been forward of his hindquarter when I pulled the trigger. When we approached where he was standing Matthew pointed out a 3 inch branch with a bullet hole in it. Crap. I'd wiggled a little and gotten too far forward and hit that branch. Then he found a drop of blood. CRAP again. Only one drop. Nothing else. Now we had a wounded Impala to find. Matthew and the tracker started out on the track. No further evidence of a hit was found. After we tracked him 300 yards Matthew said, we need to go to the fence! He left the tracker on the track and we quickly headed for the fence. I couldn't figure out why we left the track. The fence had the brush cleared on both sides for perhaps 12 feet. As we stepped into the cleared area I looked left. Nothing. Then right and there was a Impala ram! He was at least 400 yards away. I immediately found a place to lie down and waited for Matthew to say yes or no. I watched as the Impala turned so his rear end was towards us. He reached around and licked his hind quarter and then turned and left the cleared area back into the bush.
Matthew said that was our Impala. My thought was I'm already paying the trophy fee so I should of been shooting. Matthew whistled to the tracker and we headed to where the Impala had gone back into the bush. We found his tracks and slowly followed. About 100 yards in Matthew pointed and whispered there he is. squatting down I could see only his legs. Matthew said, he will feed out into the open to our right. We waited 5 min and nothing. The Impala had moved on into the bush. We slowly followed. Another 50 yards and again Matthew stopped and whispered there he is. Again I couldn't see him. Now remember that I spotted him the first 2 times we saw him. My "game eyes" are not too bad. For the life of me I couldn't see him! Matthew said see the tree shaking? That's him feeding. Only 20 yards away. Bow range. I had time to check the scope and then out he stepped. Up came the rifle and as he turned his head towards me I pressed the trigger. Bang Flop. Dropped like a bag of rocks in his tracks. I suspect he caught the movement as I brought the rifle up to shoot. It was over before he could react to me.
He is a great ram, 25 1/8 inches. He has good bases and the points are starting to retreat. It was the perfect time to harvest this beautiful animal. The next day my son got one on the neighbors place that was 25 inches with a touch less mass. From what saw all of the larger ones had been harvested on the Thorndale side.
If you look closely in the picture you can just barely see the scratch from my first shot. The bullet deflected and just caught the top of the hindquarter.
If that had been a deer or elk in North America you would never of caught back up to him. The tracking job was exceptional. There were tracks all through the brush. Still don't know how they kept on his. I'll try to tell another story from this trip another time. Bruce

Africa 2011 196.jpg
 

BRICKBURN

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Damn bush gets you every time. It entered into a lot of my stories.

Thanks for the tale Bruce.
Very nice Ram.
 

Wolverine67

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well done! Exceptional ram!
 

Nevada Wapati

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Great ram, congratulations. Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your hunt.
Randy
 

Diamondhitch

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Great story, cant wait to hear more.
 

Nyati

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Thanks for the story, Bruce, nice ram !
 

enysse

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Great story! Luck was on your side that day!
 

RogerHeintzman

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Very good PH saved the day. Nice ram.
 

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