ETHIOPIA: Rocky Valley Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by JES Adventures, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Well, its a long story how I got here so I'll spare you the boring details and give you the short version. At the last minute this opportunity came up and since I was in the "neighborhood" I decided to add this on to my trip. I said to my wife "life is too short, I'm adding on to the Uganda trip".


    Day 1

    I headed to the airport a little after 10 from Kampala to catch the 2:45 AM flight from Entebbe, Uganda to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    Uganda has the tightest firearms control of any country I have traveled to. Margaret (the meet and greet person for UW Safaris) had the policeman meet us at departures and he checked serial numbers then counted live and spent rounds. From there he filled out a document and had me sign. Then we went to the Ethiopian Airways counter to check in and he had to get another signature from the airline. Then once all that was done he followed me to passport control with all my luggage and once he saw me being processed he and a porter took my bags to the plane. Well I can say one thing, it may have taken over an hour but I am darn sure my bags are on the plane!

    Once through passport control I hit duty free to spend the 36,000 Ugandan Shillings I had on two candy bars and a bottle of water!

    We boarded the plane and took off for Addis Ababa, I almost immediately fell asleep only to be woken 20 minutes later with meal service! I can't believe a flight of two hours in the middle of the night and Ethiopian Airways is doing meal service. Of course the couple next to me ate but I managed to get brief, interrupted 15-20 minute naps until the captain announced final decent for landing.

    We deplaned and as I walked into the terminal, Addis appears to be a nice modern airport. I took the direction for baggage claim while the rest of the crowd took the "In Transit" direction. At passport control, I was the only person there! Strange, but at 5AM I was the only inbound passenger. I had obtained an E-Visa online and the whole process took less than 10 minutes. Off to baggage claim and before I got to the carousel a young man from the airline approached and asked if I needed assistance. I explained I had firearms in my luggage and he took it from there. Thirty minutes later he showed up with my bags and walked me to the customs "Red Lane".

    Here I was met by several nice, young people working there. None with identification badges or uniforms, looked like a bunch of twenty somethings just hanging out. I produced a copy of the import docs the outfitter emailed me and after a few minutes the young man appeared and said his boss told him he needed the original.

    I had the outfitters (Daniel Negussie) cell number and I showed it to the young man on the email in my phone. My AT&T phone indicated No Service. I asked him to please call and he got ahold of Daniel who was waiting outside of customs with the original documents. He came through with the docs and after a quick check of the serial numbers and round count we were on the road for the Bale Mountains!

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    Daniel runs Rocky Valley Safaris, a company founded by his late Farther Col. Negussie Eshete back in the 80's. As one of the oldest operators in Ethiopia, they enjoy having one of the best areas for Mountain Nyala very near the Bale National Park. I had known of the Eshete's for many years through my friend Bert Klineburger.


    I felt like a zombie and told Daniel I will probably sleep most of the 8 hour trip to the mountains. I can't remember anything about Addis, I woke once a couple hours into the trip coming through a small village lined with street vendors and he asked if I wanted coffee, I said no but water would be great. He pulled over, rolled down the window spoke to a woman who was tending a stand. She brought over a 6 pack of bottled water and he paid her - never got out of the car! Then, he reversed about 20 feet and this stand had fresh avocados, mangos and other fruits but also there was smoke coming from the back. He called and out came a young woman and girl both in traditional Muslim garb. He ordered a coffee and 3 minutes later here she came with a small porcelain cup and saucer with a very dark cup of coffee. Once again, he never got out of the truck. Now that is service!


    We carried on and I fell asleep again. Up and down I was in and out so can't recall much but we passed through many small villages. I awoke as we came to a larger city with lots of people moving about. Daniel said "we will stop here for breakfast as it is the last, best place". He turned into a gated courtyard of an old hotel. We went inside and found our way to the dining room. I was pleasantly surprised they had wifi so I could text my family and let them know that I made it fine as I had no cell service so it would be several days before they hear from me again.

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    I let Daniel make a suggestion for me, so I had an omelette and coffee. To say Ethiopian coffee is strong is an understatement! I like espresso but that's a child's drink compared to this stuff. I asked for some milk and the waitress brought a larger cup about 3/4 full of warm milk. I added the coffee to it and could then drink it but it was still very strong.

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  2. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 1 (continued)

    Back on the road and about noon we left the valley and started to climb into the Bale Mountains. Once to the top we wound through the mountains in beautiful scenery. A storm was passing across one side of the range and the clouds hung low, strewn across the peaks. Much of the drive the past few hours reminded me of Colorado/New Mexico with green valleys flanked by rising mountains covered in timber.

    Shortly before 2 Daniel said "we are entering the park now" and I saw the sign but quickly noticed herdsmen grazing their stock. A short while later I could see stock off in the distance when Daniel said "there are Nyala, feeding in the bottom". I am looking towards what I thought were a group of horses 500 yards away close to the tree line and he said "no, right here a 150 meters off of the road. I couldn't believe my eyes, this elusive creature I have read about for decades is right in front of me. Then, feeding in the low brush Daniel points out a bull. He said "that, that is an old bull - see how light colored he is". I got out my video camera and zoomed in and I could see horn on the bull. Finally he raised his head and I could see that he had an impressive left horn, flaring out at the top but a broken horn on the right said. Daniel said he was probably in the upper 30's on the good horn. He was gorgeous and I was so excited to see him. We carried on and saw several others along with some Bohor Reedbuck and Warthog. I asked Daniel if he always see's them feeding midday down in the valley and he said no, it is because the early rains have brought new grass they are coming down.

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  3. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 1 (continued)

    In all we must've seen 8-10 bulls and 25+ cows and calves! All along they were around cattle, horses, sheep and goats. Daniel said the Mountain Nyala have coexisted with the herdsmen and their stock for so long they have become accustomed to them. He further commented that up in the mountains they will be the same as the local herdsmen graze their stock in the mountains.

    We settled in the base camp lodge, a group of 5 adobe/stucco buildings and had a late lunch. Here I met Shemeles, a nice young man who introduced himself as my PH. He speaks good english and has a pleasant demeanor as most of the people I have encountered here thus far. The camp manager is Negussie, a gentile older man who speaks very good english. He said he was educated by a group of Americans from the Peace Corp when he was very young. He is my senior so that must've been in the late 50's to early 1960's.

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    I retired to my room for a shower and a nap. We would meet again for dinner this evening and further plan the coming days.

    Daniel has trackers out scouting in the mountains and we are set to meet them tomorrow morning at 10AM. So, I will pack the bare essentials in my backpack (underwear, socks, toiletries, rain gear and hat, binos and rangefinder, bullets, knife and flashlights for our 2 hour horseback ride to the spike camp tomorrow. We will hunt from there the coming days, riding and walking each day 1-2 hours further into the concession to hunt the elusive Mountain Nyala.
     

  4. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Sounds like the start of a great tale! :coffee:(y)
     
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  5. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 2

    I woke at 5:20 to the sounds of the call to prayer at the mosque in Dinsho, a small village which is a couple of K's away. I rolled over and went back to sleep then woke well refreshed at 7. My mind was at work about the journey ahead. This is an adventure I have dreamt of for years and it is hard to believe that now it is becoming a reality.

    My thoughts go to speculations about the hunt, the terrain, the weather and ultimately the Mountain Nyala that I seek. The mind is an interesting thing, I wonder if this will turn out even remotely how I think it will!

    I organized the bare essentials in my pack and met Daniel for breakfast a little before 8. After a breakfast of strong Ethiopian coffee, toast and eggs I go back to double check my gear. Since we will be gone for up to 5 days, I want to be prepared for anything.

    We left the lodge about 10 AM and picked up the Regional Scout in Dinsho. The Federal Scout had arrived early in the morning to the lodge.

    Once again we drove through the park again and saw a few nyala then turned off on a dirt track going up a valley into the mountains.

    About 45 minutes late we arrived to a place where a large group of people had gathered and there were several horses, some saddled. This would be our starting point.

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    Some children in the mountain village. All the Ethiopian people are very friendly. They laughed and followed me around as we prepared to leave for the mountains. They laughed a lot and some pointed at me - I expect they don't see many white folks around there!

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    The local school in the valley, I would hunt over the backside of the mountains in the picture.
     
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  6. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 2 (continued)

    Here were the local horseman and some trackers ready to embark on our trip. In total there are 15 in our group.

    We started off walking, as it had rained heavily the night before and there were quite a few streams running into the valley.

    Once we got past most of the streams(I thought) we got on the horses and started to ride. I should've known what I was in store for when I encountered rain the first hour of the trip.
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    Several times we had to stop and get off the horses house the ground was very slippery. The rainy season has come a month early here as well this year and by the looks of things it’s been pretty steady.

    Finally about an hour into the trip we stopped to check zero on the rifle. I’m glad we did as it was shooting high and Right. You can never trust an airline with your bags!

    We carried on up the mountain, crossing many small streams. I was starting to feel the altitude and was glad when we made it to a saddle in the mountains where they had planned to stop for lunch. I had a simple meatloaf sandwich which was very tasty and a bottle of water. I was just happy to get the rest.
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    The Mountain Forest (lunch stop)

    After lunch, we walked less than a quarter-mile and met a couple of trackers that had been watching a valley. They have seen some nyala there earlier in the day but the rain and fog is making it very difficult to see them. We got pounded by rain then freezing rain right at the end of the storm.

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    A big chunk of frozen rain!

    We stayed for about a half hour and started to move on towards Spike camp.

    There were two other trackers how about a half mile away and they spotted four Nyala in another valley so we took off. It was raining steadily, and when we approached them, fog had moved into the valley so visibility was nonexistent.

    The wind blew and the fog cleared out when one of the trackers spotted one of the female about 225 yards away. Then within five minutes the fog was back. Ten minutes later it cleared out again. This time Daniel spotted a bull on the edge of some heavy cover about 200 yards away.

    He got me dialed into the Bull and as I looked around I could see another one behind him. As we glassed carefully we spotted a third bull.

    The first one stepped forward enough to give us a good look at his horns. Daniel said he had heavy bases and good width but we need to see him from front on. The bull started to walk forward and we got a look as he turned his head. Daniel said he will be 31-32 inches. He is a mature bull but we should be able to find better. The other two bulls were younger, I would say in the upper 20s.
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    Note the fog - I took this picture at 107 yards with an iPhone 8
     

  7. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 2 (continued)

    I can’t believe it, here I am day one I'm passing on a mature bull! But I have learned over the years you have got to trust your PH. The time now is 3:45 and we needed to head for Spike camp.

    This turned into quite an ordeal for me living at 1000 feet above sea level. I am in reasonably good shape for 54 and hit the elliptical for an hour regularly during the week at home. My stamina is good and I can generally make any walk I’m required to.

    This was different, a lot of up-and-down (more up than down), a lot of side hilling and no less then 30 stream crossings. As I’m walking along speculating that the altitude must be 7 to 8000 feet I am reminiscing about a few challenging hunts I’ve had in the past.

    At times I felt like I was once again on my backpack Dall sheep hunt in the Yukon. With the fog rolling into the valley while we were trying to glass and visibility going to nothing, it reminded me of my Blue Sheep hunt in Nepal. Sitting there hunkered down in my rain gear getting pounded with rain and sleet, I felt like I was back on my Stone Sheep hunt in British Columbia!
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    Mountain Nyala hunting no doubt rivals any sheep hunt and this is the toughest animal I have ever pursued on the African Continent in my 32 year hunting career.

    We finally reached camp just before 6 o’clock, it turned out to be a seven hour trip from the vehicle. In retrospect I think we did about 45 minutes on horseback, 30 minutes for lunch, and 30 minutes waiting for the weather to lift so we could see the Nyala and the balance walking and climbing.

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    Fly Camp - A series of seven tents

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    The dining tent
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    My bedside table

    So that equates a little more than four hours of walking and climbing in the mountains! When I finally got a bottle of water down, unpacked my soaked day pack I got out my G7 rangefinder to verify the conditions. It was 54° at sunset and the altitude was 10,499 feet above sea level. No wonder I feel hammered.

    We had dinner at 6:30 and everybody was going down early tonight as we have a 3:30 wake up leaving camp at four. At dinner I thanked God for keeping us safe today and once again asked if HE would please spare us of the rain so we can be successful taking the Mountain Nyala.

    According to Daniel, Nyala are most active in the morning and we want all of our crew scattered out across several valleys at first light. Fortunately the rain and fog does not bother them, it only makes hunting them more difficult.

    As I finish writing in my journal, I think what an action-packed day it has been. As difficult as the climbing was, enduring the rain and generally crappy weather all of it seems worth it now to be able to see those Nyala Bulls.

    Blessings come in many ways you just have to be astute enough to see them when they are in front of you.

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    Tomorrow’s a new day, I will continue to pray for the rain to cease.
     

  8. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 3

    Knowing full well the wake up was at 3:30, I think I was asleep by eight. The wind howled most of the night and periodically I would awake to the sound of rain on the tent.

    I was sort of in a state of half sleep when I could hear faint voices of the cook preparing breakfast. As the rain continued to come down, I was warm in my bed and didn’t feel good about the upcoming day.

    When the wake up call came to the tent, I got dressed and donned my rain gear right from the start. I could tell it was cold as I could see my breath when I exhaled.

    I met Daniel for breakfast in the small dining tent where we had porridge, toast and coffee. He said we would have about a 2 1/2 hour trip to the area they wanted to hunt today.

    We started off from camp walking down the mountain for about 45 minutes. When we hit a plateau I was able to get on a horse and ride the balance of the trip. That was huge because I still have not become acclimated to the altitude and my right knee is giving me a bit of grief from the 4 hour trek yesterday.

    It was an interesting trip with all but 40 minutes of it being in the dark. Riding a horse, being led by my horsemen Amane who used a flashlight to see what was ahead of him. We arrived at the base of a rocky knob and we climbed up quickly as Daniel said we were late. It had only broke daylight about 10 minutes earlier.
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    Amane, my horseman and my trusty steed. These two saved my life more than once.

    We set up overlooking this valley and there were trackers with radios a mile or so either side of us. A light rain rolled in followed by periodic bouts of fog which would at times cut the visibility to zero.

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    About 45 minutes or so into the morning, radio squawk came in that there was a group of Bulls heading up the Valley in our direction. A few minutes later Daniel spotted the first Bulls straight down below us about 250 yards walking up a trail. They quickly disappeared into heavy cover. The distance the Nyala traveled in the open on this trail looked to be about 50 to 75 yards. That gave very little time for judgment and virtually no shot as they were on the move.

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    Just a few minutes later, radio chatter once again yet another group headed our way.

    This time I was ready, we knew they would be using the same trail. The first Bull appeared and he was young followed by a nice Bull tall but didn’t seem to be very wide. The third Bull was very good indeed, followed up by another young one.

    Of course, the fog rolled in and out the entire time so it was a very brief moment to view the Bulls. In total, Daniel saw eight I only saw five as I missed the first three that passed through.

    The altitude was 10,888’ and the temperature 47° misty rain and fog. I’ve got on medium weight longjohns, longsleeve T-shirt, cotton shirt, fleece jacket, cotton hunting pants and a full Sitka rain outfit and I am chilled to the bone! I cannot remember when I have been this miserable. I finally got up about 45 minutes after the last sighting and moved around a bit just to try to get my blood moving. I had the uncontrollable shivers like I haven’t experienced in years.
     

  9. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 3 (continued)

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    Hunkered down during one of the many storms that rolled through.

    The sun finally started to get high enough that I could feel some warmth coming through the clouds, amazing what it does for you. The wind continued to blow and the clouds broke a bit so the sun shone through- Praise the Lord! This is the first time I’ve been warm since I got out of bed this morning.

    We stayed in the spot for another hour and then the trackers wanted to move across the valley to a large rocky outcrop where we could glass and possibly see these Nyala when I get up from their midmorning nap.

    I ranged a few of the openings, as the bush was very thick. The closest was 307 the farthest being over 500 yards.

    Just before noon, the trackers spotted the young Bull which by the look of his horns was the last one that had traveled through earlier in the morning. He must of been bedded in the heavy cover there about midway up the mountain.

    He was 320 yards away when I hit him with the rangefinder. The Bull was on the move and out of sight in barely a minute.

    We ate lunch and continued to glass, the wind picked up but that was nice as it blew some of the clouds out and we had warmth once again for a few hours.

    A little before 3 o’clock, the same young bull appeared again. Same story, had something on his mind and was headed to it so he was out of sight in a minute or so.

    We stayed until four and then started our 2 1/2 hour trek back to camp. The mountainsides are wet from all the rain so I had to walk down the mountain but then was able to get on the horse for the next third of the trip. Final approach up the mountain to where our spike camp is located was too steep to take the horses so we walked the last bit.

    Back in camp it was an early dinner as were planning the same drill tomorrow up at 3:30 out at four. Tomorrow we will be headed to a new area, I continue to pray that the weather will break.

    It’s obvious the Mountain Nyala population is very good, despite the bad weather I have seen 11 Bulls in the first two days of hunting. Of course as we all know, seeing and getting to take a shot are two different things. The weather has not been on our side but odds are we will get our shot if we hang with it.


    The key to success - "Perseverance and Prayer" I always say.
     

  10. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 4

    As I lie awake in bed listening to the sounds of the fly camp coming to life, my knees already hurt and I haven’t even got out of bed yet.

    The bright side though, it seems to have stopped raining!

    After breakfast of porridge toast and omelette with coffee we were off on our trek.

    Because the ground is wet and the place is very steep Daniel told me we would be able to use the horses only a limited amount.

    Walking in single file, through the mountains in the fog wearing a headlamp was almost surreal. The halo like glow from the lights in the fog as our group weaved through the Mountain forest is something I’ll never forget. Walking was difficult but fortunately I didn't slip and fall on the walk.

    I resigned myself to a two hour walk but surprisingly had that cut down significantly with the use of the horse. I figure I walked about halfway and rode the horse the other half.

    We arrived our place about a 5:45 and it was twilight. The wind blew in and the fog started to roll down the mountain so everyone lied back on their packs and rested while we watched for the sky to clear.

    In the brief moments of visibility, everyone would set up and glass. Then go back down again, at times visibility was less than 50 yards.

    Seems like I dozed off a bit when all the sudden there was a commotion, some of the trackers had radioed that they have spotted a group of Nyala with two Bulls in the valley they were glassing about a third of a mile away.


    Quickly we made our way towards them, fortunately most of it was side hilling so I was doing pretty good keeping up with the rest of the pack.

    As we approach the valley, on the backside of the ridge one of the trackers moved up slowly then motioned for us to come forward.

    I set up between he and Daniel and he pointed across the valley about 250 yards away in a small opening in the brush you could see a female along with a young one feeding. Shortly there after, Daniel spotted a Bull off to the right in some heavy cover.
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    They were in the heavy cover across the valley.

    Once I located of the Bull with my binoculars, we both discussed him. Daniel says he’s is a mature Bull however the trackers insisted seeing a larger one lagging behind. This Bull was beautiful, in the low 30s but with a very nice shape to his horn. As he fed across the valley from us he stopped to break some low hanging branches out of a tree to feed on the leaves.

    He was broadside, perfectly still 190 yards and I was settled on my pack. This would be like a shot off of the benchrest and I have no doubt my mind I could make it.
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    The bull, you can see only his body in the center, again this photo taken with the iPhone at 190 yards.

    Daniel spotted the larger Bull about 150 yards to the right of the bull cow and calf. It took a while for him to get me dialed into the location because all you could see was his horns and occasionally a small part of his head. He was clearly larger than the Bull offering me the easy shot.

    We waited and glassed for nearly a half hour but the bull never appeared, he remained in the heavy cover.

    Some fog started to roll down the mountain and fortunately it blew through quickly. Daniel became concerned that the visibility could be cut to nothing and the Bull would slip away unknown to us.

    Some trackers were on the other side of the ridge so Daniel decided to call them on the radio and have one of them come over the ridge some distance behind the Bull to see if he couldn’t get him to continue moving forward towards the other group. This may give us a clear opportunity to see him and hopefully get a shot.
     

  11. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 4 (continued)

    Daniel said "get ready, the tracker has just come over the ridge". I settled down on the pack and all the sudden he said "there he is, there he is". I could not find him, I scanned the area where I thought he would be. The tracker pointed more to the left, Daniel said "here move here" and he moved the pack over about 5 feet to the left and repositioned me.

    Then, Daniel said, "see him moving"? I said "no where, where is he from the big rock"? He said "look up and left of the big rock high on the ridge, towards the top". I scanned with my scope and couldn’t find the Bull. I had the power setting on 12 and the distance was about 225 yards so I put it down to 9 power for greater field of view.

    Again Daniel said "look again he’s moving to the left, to the left". The Bull had covered another 30 or 40 yards I moved the rifle over and the bush was very thick. Scanning with my scope I found him and could see that he was moving away from us and the distance was increasing. I didn’t have time to check the range but I figured he must’ve been about 220 to 230 by now. I saw an opening coming up where I thought he would appear the direction he was heading and continued to follow him and moved my crosshairs to the opening. The Bull appeared, I put the crosshairs on his shoulder, aimed to compensate for the distance and squeezed the trigger. The Dakota 338 Lapua barked and I lost sight of the bull with the recoil.

    I quickly reloaded and asked Shemeles - "was it a hit"? He said "I’m not sure" Daniel said "he still walking to the left, do you see him"? I scanned left and I saw the Bull in heavy cover walking very slowly. I thought maybe I had hit him a little far back since he was walking so slow after the first shot.

    The same scenario was presenting itself once again however the Bull must’ve been 20 to 30 yards further by now so in my mind I’m holding for 250. I was following his body, getting glimpses through the brush while looking for an opening the direction he was heading.

    It was coming up, I lost him behind some thick bush so I moved my crosshairs to the next opening. Just as he appeared, I acquired the target behind the shoulder and squeezed the trigger. Once again after the recoil I had lost sight of the Bull.

    Shemeles said "you hit him for sure". I reloaded and got down on the pack. Just as I settled on to the rifle to see if I needed to take a follow up shot I could hear people saying "he’s down he’s down". I said "are you sure"? Shemeles said "yes absolutely he is down" and then the handshakes and hugs began. I looked up at the sky and said "thank the Lord"! This has been a very, very challenging hunt to say the least and my emotions were running high.

    IMG_0868.jpg
    The Mountain Nyala - A truly Magnificent Animal that resides in an amazing habitat.
    IMG_0872.jpg
    Daniel Eshete to my right, Shemeles to my left with the Bull.

    IMG_0877.jpg
    "The Team"

    The tracker that had come over the ridge reached the Bull first. I could see him sitting about 5 yards from the Bull.

    By the time I got there Daniel, Shemeles and the Regional Scout were already at the Bull. As I approached, I was in awe of the size, they are very big bodied animals. My trophy was a very, very old Bull and heavily browned, with a tattered ear and battle scarred cape. Measuring 35 inches with very heavy bases, I was ecstatic! This is exactly the kind of Bull you want to take out of the herd. One that is post prime and on the downhill. This is the perfect example of Conservation through Hunting.

    Daniel later estimated the Bull to be 15 years plus.

    After taking photographs, I looked back to the location with my rangefinder it was approximately 257 yards to the place where I had shot. The altitude was 10,770 feet.

    IMG_0838.jpg
    The place where I took the shot from, left of the big green tree on the opposite side. Just above the rocky outcrop.
    IMG_0890.jpg
    Trackers and the Bull.
     

  12. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 4 (contiued)

    We were finished by half past eight and started our trek down the mountain. It took us about two hours to reach the car, once again about half of it riding and half of it walking.
    IMG_0772.jpg
    Reaching the valley floor, Amane is leading my horse

    As we descended I could feel the temperature rising and quickly started shedding layers. Shemeles was in the village, ready and waiting to take us back to lodge. Traveling through the park we saw a group of Nyala off in the distance near the timber. BTW - There are always Olive Baboon along the road, I guess they've learned that some people will feed them from their cars. All of the sudden, a big male was charging straight for us down the road, like he was playing chicken! Shemeles came to a stop and he jumped up on the hood of the cruiser and stared us down. I have never experienced anything like this in 32 years traveling to Africa. It was all too quick and I couldn't get my phone out fast enough to take a picture. By 11:30 were back at the lodge, getting ready to have a much-needed shower and lunch followed by a cigar. Oh and an Ethiopian beer or two!
    IMG_0926.jpg
    I spent the afternoon cleaning up after three days in the mountains. After lunch I sorted through my wet gear and put it all outside in the sun to dry.

    We capped off the day with grilled Mountain Nyala backstrap which was very tender and tasty. A unique Ethiopian Red Wine accompanied the meal and I finished the bottle for desert with a cigar celebrating our success I was so fortunate to have had today.

    Hunting Mountain Nyala is without a doubt the most difficult of all safaris on the African continent in my opinion. Furthermore, I would say that the hunt is very similar to a North American Sheep hunt. I am very blessed to have experienced this adventure, and collected this grand old Bull. At 54, I’m in good shape but my knees just aren’t what they used to be. I wish I would’ve done this 10 to 20 years ago. Oh, BTW - It didn't turn out anything like I thought!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2018

  13. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 5

    We slept late (7ish), had a nice breakfast and packed up to head for Addis Ababa. Daniel and I had a liesurly drive and I got to the hotel about 4. Addis is bustling with a lot of new development projects - high rise condo's going up everywhere.

    He collected me again at 7 and we went to his home for a wonderful meal of authentic Ethipoian dishes finished off by the traditional coffee ceremony complete with the roasting of fresh coffee beans!

    The next day Shemeles took me to lunch and then the National Museum where I saw artifacts dating back to the 5th Century B.C. Ethiopia is a country full of culture and steeped in a great history. I look forward to the day I can return and explore more of this amazing place.

    Feel free to send me a PM if you would like to learn more about hunting Ethiopia. I am proud to say I am now representing Rocky Valley Safaris.
     

  14. stug

    stug AH Fanatic

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    Great report on a fantastic trip. The mass on the horns is amazing!
     

  15. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Great shot and what a very entertaining report, thanks.
     
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  16. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for sharing the report and congrats!
     
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  17. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    What an adventure. That is a great looking Mtn Nyala. Love the mass. Quite the hunt you had to get him. Interesting you saw so many driving in yet they hunt them so high.... Leave the easy ones or just not in a hunting area. No other animals to hunt once you got your Nyala? Thanks for the story. Congrats on a old bull.
    Bruce
     
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  18. CEO

    CEO AH Veteran

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    What amazing terrain.
     
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  19. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Thanks @stug, he was a really broomed off old bull.
     

  20. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Well Bruce, it's the typical story - you see tons of them in easy places in the park! Ethiopia law dictates a 15 day minimum for Mountain Nyala, 21 days to add one more specie. So, time and financial constraints kept me from staying on. The only other species I could hunt that I have not taken were Menelik Bushbuck and Colobus Monkey. If I wanted to change areas to the Danakil I could add 7 more species but that goes to 26 days and easily adds another $30K. I will be back you can count on that.
     

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