Headed to South Africa for a hunt in the Free State and East Cape

PHOENIX PHIL

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Let me know when ya wanna hunt dove!

Oh yah, not sure if that's going to happen this year. Off to Yellowstone next week. Will see when I get back if there's time.
 

vancewalker007

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@vancewalker007

Are you in the Phoenix area? I saw you say you shot at the Ben Avery range.. Haha.. I'm in Yuma, and I'd love to talk to ya about how to go about setting up a trip! Maybe give me some pointers? That's a nice Wildebeast ya got!
Yes I am in the Phoenix area.
 

vancewalker007

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After my wife's great success on the Blue Wildebeest during our first morning walk and stalk we loaded the Wildebeest into the Ford Ranger Raptor Bakkie and headed for the skinners. Yes, our PH was a Ford man, funny but true. It seems like a lot of the PH's here now have wenches mounted behind their cab to allow easy loading of game. Last time we were here we didn't experience this. It was 4 guys including us and 1,2,3 heave.

The Blue was taken on top of a big plateau area so we had to go down at one point through a big bowl valley. at the crest of the bowl we spotted a big herd of Common Springbok. Well, Springers we on my wife's list so we parked the bakkie to not spook then too much, because those little guys are spooky. We made slow but short stalk using some trees in the bowl to hide our approach. When we got into position my wife got the rifle onto the sticks and I got the little Cannon video camera steady on the tripod. I ranged the male we were targeting at 235 yards so no correction, wind was nominal. The rifle we were using, a 6.5 PRC built by Kyle Craig of Craig's Custom Rifles (shameless plug, he's my friend) for long range Coues deer hunting was sighted in at 200 yards so 235 was a no change distance was ready. The PH whispered "Take your time...". In about 30 seconds the trigger broke and the male bucked and ran about 20 yards and dropped. More adrenaline was now hitting but slightly less than the first time. We quickly rushed forward to experience the pronk. It was the first time we smelled that cotton candy sweat fragrance on the trip, but not the last time. Once a few pictures were taken we loaded him up and headed for the skinners again. Time for lunch.

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vancewalker007

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The second hunting day would be a pursuit of a big Blue Eland Bull. My wife had decided she wanted to hunt a Giraffe but we didn't bring a rifle for it so our PH, Mias Steyn, agreed to loan us his Musgrave 375 H&H Mag.. More about the Giraffe on day three. We decided to carry the 375 for the Eland hunt we were going on as well. We went and took a few shots with it each off the sticks at the range to try the trigger. We both shot it good. The rifle had a proper stock on it and had no barrel lift to speak of. We were off in the bakkie to find a specific Blue Bull that had been seen several times near a dirt pond. The walk took us over and down a couple of high ridges. We slowly approached the dirt pond through the trees. A careful inspection of the area around the pond turned up no Eland, no animals at all in fact. I guess we were there at the wrong time. Before we headed for the bakkie we noticed 2 Sable bulls coming down through the trees to hit the pond. My wife took the rifle and we tried a circular stalk to no avail, they detected us an went running straight back up the ridge into the heavy trees. The stalk took most of the morning so we headed back to have a quick lunch. After lunch we went into a flat valley that held a lot of Sable bulls. We spotted a shooter from the bakkie and jumped out to start a stalk. Again after a few minutes the Sable caught a whiff of us via a swirling wind and shot off like a whitetail. We let him go and continued with our walk African style to see what we would stumble across. After about 20 minutes we saw some Kufue Lechwe crossing left to right in front of us about 150 yards. The big male was bringing up the rear. My wife decide she like him so the 6.5 PRC went up on the sticks. After about 30-40 seconds she was on him at about 120 yards. One shot to heart lung area and he disappeared. We waited a few minutes and slowly approached. He had run up under some trees and expired. One the photos were done we headed to skinning shed and then back out to try that Big Eland again.

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vancewalker007

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Second Day Continued. After we dropped the Lechwe into the capable hands of the skinners we headed back to the dirt pond haunt of the old Eland Bull. We stalked in from about a 1/2 mile this time. As we got to where we could see the pond area we saw several large Waterbucks, a couple of big Kudu initially. Our PH saw several Eland right off but they were headed out as we arrived. I only saw a young Eland for a moment. The Kudu and the Waterbuck were sticking around though. We froze in trees and thorn brush for about 20 minutes watching and hoping the Eland herd would swing back around. We noticed some new visitors slowly coming down on the opposite side of the pond area. It was the 2 Sable bulls from the morning. At that point I made a command decision and decided I would now take a Sable as my wife decide on a Lechwe earlier in the day, assuming one of these bulls was a shooter and they would afford me a shot.. The other animals parted ways as the Sables came near the water. The PH said shoot the one in the back. Well, I assumed he meant the one near the back of the pond, but he meant the farthest one from us. Snap went the trigger and down went the bull nearest us, about 80 yards. The PH quickly let me know it was the wrong one. Whoops, my mistake, or was it? It turned out the one I shot was the older broomed-off one of the 2. I was happier to have the old animal. Even broomed off he was still 41+ inches. Pictures time then off to the skinners.

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Nyati

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Hey, this is going pretty well so far !
 

vancewalker007

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Day 2 Continued: Once the Sable was at the skinning shed we took a drive on the opposite side of the property. Still looking for a Blue Eland bull. After several miles we spotted a big herd of Eland, and there were 2-3 shooter bulls with them. We drove down about a mile to keep the wind right. The Eland were slowly moving through some sparse Sweet Acacia throne brush feeding. We took a walking direction more or less straight at them. We were skirting the base of a ridge and using the Acacia and other low brush to hide our approach. The wind was light an in a good direction for our approach. Eland, like North American elk can causally walk and easily out pace humans that are walking as fast as possible in rocky terrain. The herd was moving away and to our right passing through a small valley between the ridge we were near and a farther ridge. Our PH was in lead I was second carrying my rifle and my wife was third carrying the camcorder on the tripod. The PH quickly realized the Eland would soon be on the far side of the ridge on our right so he decide we should cut directly across it to catch them in the valley on the far side. The quickened pace up hill quickly pushed my heart rate to 150+. We reached the far side, which was essentially a straight down cliff where were showed up. The PH quickly set up the sticks on a step down from the top of the ridge. I quickly put the rifle up on them and ranged the front animal, 393 yards. The herd was slowly walking across us and angling away about 1 o'clock, so slightly away. By the time I found the bull the PH pointed out the second range showed 495 yards. Quick mental check, no wind, big target in the open set the hold over into the VX6 and take the shot. They stopped for some inexplicable reason just as I settle the crosshair. The shot broke. The herd took off for the near by sweet acacia trees. The old bull swapped ends and stood still. I had another round in by then so the trigger broke again on the left shoulder, another good hit. At that shot he turned and slowly went into the trees. He bedded down in a short distance. By the time we got to him light was fading so the 375 came into action again for the sure finish shot. The bulls neck was so big I could not reach around it.
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vancewalker007

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Something different and fun. My stepmother mentioned to our PH and host Mias Steyn that she really loves lamb. So unbeknownst to us he called the butcher in Brandfort and had them slaughter and prepare a lamb for a Braai. During the third day craziness my wife and I got to ride to Brandfort to the butcher and pick up the cut up and marinated lamb. This was one of those fun unexpected experiences you have on the these trips. We picked up some biltong as well and these little round liver sausages that I have forgotten the name of. You can see the biltong hanging in the pict below. The little liver sausages joined the lamb on the grill later and they we very good. So here are some picts of the butcher and the Braai. We also had the very South African braaibroodjie, which is a tastee cheese sandwich grilled on the braai. My stepmother is in the Braai pict middle person and my wife, the great white hunter, is in the butcher pict.

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vancewalker007

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Day 3 of the Hunt - The Giraffe
On the first morning at breakfast we discussed pricing and what animals might be available. During this discussion the fact that a old bull Giraffe was available that was possibly going to be culled at the end of season. He was interfering with the younger bulls getting to mate. Out of no where my wife piped up that she'd be interested in hunting the bull. So, day 3 we are down to Giraffe hunting time. The Giraffe hunt actually started the second day of our hunt when we picked up the barrowed 375 H&H for hunting Eland at close range and Giraffe. I fired the rifle on the range from the sticks, no problems good trigger good stock design. Very similar to my 375 Ruger, which was at home in the US in my gun safe. Mias, our PH piped up to my wife, "Ma'am, this is the rifle you need to hunt the Giraffe." Zip, she stepped up to bat on the sticks. Note, my wife has not fired any rifle except my 6.5 PRC so I was surprised how well she handled the 375. She hit the bulls-eye at 100 yards twice, I'm thinking who are you, hahahaha. So, now a day later we were off to locate and stalk a bull Giraffe. After about 30 minutes of riding the 2 tracks we located the herd with the old bull. We parked about a mile away and started our stalk into the wind. After about 25 minutes of careful walking we located the bull. They saw us and took off, of course. We paused and watched the herd split up. A cow and the big bull went right and the other bulls and cows went left. They went almost out of sight and slowed then stopped. We stalked slowly towards the bull. We reached a comfortable shooting distance and Mias eased the sticks up. I had the camcorder rolling and my wife eased the rifle onto the sticks. The scene was amazing. The bull and the cow were up on a ridge above us and Mias and I gazed in amazement at the scene, see the first pict. We should have counselled my wife to aim a little lower than where we had originally discussed. She fired and the bull and cow lurched off. At that point a 2 hour stalk and chase ensued. The PH and I thought at first the shot was a miss. After getting within shooting distance several times we realized that first shot hit, but a hair high. After some heart pound moments over about 2 hours my wife got a clear frontal shot at about 100 yards that was the final shot. She had a great bull Giraffe, the herd would now grow with one of the young fertile bulls stepping in, and some underprivileged Afrikaner children would get meat for 3 months. The first shot hit a hair high just missing the lungs. The group picture below was the recovery team.

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vancewalker007

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Third Day Continued
The Giraffe recovery took the entire morning and through midday. After a quick lunch we went out to pursue Black Wildebeests. These were on both of our lists. so alright, I get to hunt again. We were looking for a specific bull for my wife. He had wider than normal horns. After glassing several herds our PH located the wide bull. We stalked bent over until we were about 380 yards out. My wife setup on the sticks and the effort to identify the wide bull and get her lined up ensued. We waited about 10 minutes through him moving and other animals not allowing for a clear shot. Finally, he was in a good spot for a shot. Re-ranged 360 yards, scope was dialed up, wind was light 1-2 mph so no wind call. She had been on the sticks and in rifle the entire time and had tired some what looking through the scope. Her shot went high, clean miss, and the herd took off. After the shot we noticed a lone bull in the opposite direction that looked very good to me so I said, lets stalk that lone bull and then catch up to the big herd after. After a few minutes we got a lucky break as the bull moved closer to us. I ranged him at 305 yards. I flopped down prone and dial up the correction. He turned just right and I snapped the trigger. My Black Wildebeest was down. Once we got the truck, took the pictures and loaded him up off we went to find the herd with the wide bull. We located him in about 20 minutes and the fun started. We'd setup 300-400 yards away and they would decide to move another mile or 2. This went ion for about 2.5 hours. My wife and I took to riding standing on the tail gate of the Bakkie to allow us to quickly get off and move into position to setup. Finally near the end of the day we were watching the herd from about 1500 yards and the wide bull broke off from the larger group with about 4 other Wildebeests. We were able to use a small line of trees as cover and get to about 400 yards. My wife is down prone, I'm ranging calling corrections to her, our PH is calling out which animal the wide bull is. He actually walked a little closer before there was a shot opportunity. He was very slight quartering away at 385 yards when the shot broke. He ran and spun and bucked a couple of times before going down. What a day, we had 2 very nice Wildebeest bulls and a huge Giraffe bull in the salt.

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gillettehunter

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Very nice wildebeests. Congrats
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Really enjoying your hunt report, super animals you and your wife have hunted. Looking forward to reading the rest of your story! Your photos have been excellent as well.
 

vancewalker007

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Really enjoying your hunt report, super animals you and your wife have hunted. Looking forward to reading the rest of your story! Your photos have been excellent as well.
Thanks, it was a great trip and a perfect first hunting experience for my wife. Its taken 32 years but I finally got her into hunting.
 

Hunt anything

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That’s a great report! Wish I could get my wife to do some shooting, she loves to go along on the stalks but just won’t shoot. Were the items taken from your carry on bags or from your checked bags? A friend was temporarily arrested in Johannesburg back in 2018 for having an empty cartridge that the PH gave him from his sable, in his carry on. I had some empties in my checked bags with no worries.
 

vancewalker007

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That’s a great report! Wish I could get my wife to do some shooting, she loves to go along on the stalks but just won’t shoot. Were the items taken from your carry on bags or from your checked bags? A friend was temporarily arrested in Johannesburg back in 2018 for having an empty cartridge that the PH gave him from his sable, in his carry on. I had some empties in my checked bags with no worries.
I had a small Fix-Stix kit in my carrying on that they went crazy over and they took a leather cartridge holder. Two of us inadvertently had spent rifle cases in our carry-ons. I had one and my stepmother had one. Neither of us meant to have them. I think they were in pockets and dropped in the carry-ons. They did say we could arrest you but they didn't.

So moral of the story, no tools through security no matter how little they are. They even took my 1/16 hex wrench.

Personally I think they took that leather cartridge holder because the guy wanted it.
 

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