Leaving Nashville TN for Namibia and KOWAS on Monday April 29th !

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Chuck Smith, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith New Member

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    4/25/19

    It's finally here! After years of reading helpful post on this outstanding AfricaHunting.com website and hours of research and preparations my hunting buddy Mike and I are heading to hunt with the wonderful Strauss family at KOWAS ADVENTURES May 1st- 8th. We leave Nashville on Monday afternoon with a flight to ATL then a longer flight to Amsterdam then to Windhoek.

    Here's a brief summary of my "story" if you have a few minutes to spare. I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure with a leaking mitral valve (heart) 16 years ago when I was in my early 40's. Had surgery to put in a mechanical mitral and one of the first implanted defibrillators and stayed pretty much out of the hospital for many years. They told me "one day you will have to have a heart transplant". They knew what they were talking about but I never thought it would really happen. About 16 yrs later the night after I walked my youngest daughter Jordan down the aisle to be married I got sick. After returning back to Nashville the next day we visited my long term cardiologist and they put me in the hospital. Diagnosis: I had only a few days to live unless something was done. Long story a little shorter I had surgery to implant a heart pump called a VAD to keep me going until I could be evaluated to possibly be placed on the heart transplant waiting list. Never dreamed that they would do evaluations and have interviews to see if you "qualify" for one of the very special gifts in life..... a precious, rare donor heart that has the same blood type and body build as yourself. Thankfully I survived the VAD surgery and received the heart pump to keep me alive short term and got approval to be placed on the TN Donor Association transplant list. I was very sick after my VAD surgery. I'm 6 ft tall and have weighed 175 pounds for the last ten years. After my VAD surgery I got down to 146 lbs and but went back to work after two months with a battery pack across my chest calling on agents across three states. Six months later we got a call and they asked if we could drive to Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville to get my new heart. GOD IS GOOD.
    I was fortunate to be on the transplant list only six months. The heart transplant surgery took six plus hours but it was successful. They keep you asleep for the first 24 hours but when I did wake up they had me sitting in a chair with a few hours and taking steps the next day. I was walking laps around the floor in two days. I was walking 25 laps around the floor within a week. The record for getting out of Vanderbilt Hospital with after a heart transplant is 8 days. Not that I'm competitive or anything...…. :) ……. I still had one major drainage tube in on the 8th day but I WALKED OUT of the hospital on the 9th day! Two and a half months later I was back at work full time. I've worked as a sales manger for the same company now for 37 years.
    During my time in recovery I started planning this trip to Africa. I have been on one other trip to South Africa hunting 8 years ago. As I read on here so often, once you see and hunt Africa you will be back. Just after my transplant and while still in the hospital I was on so many meds I literally could not sleep for days at a time. It was during this time my wonderfully supportive and caring wife would plug in my charger to my phone and I would use the hospital internet to start planning my return to Africa. You can get a lot done if you don't sleep at all.…..
    I had been a silent viewer of this website for some time. It is AfricaHunting.com and Jerome that provided the incentive to start learning more about where to hunt, how to determine which hunting location to consider booking the trip with, what questions to ask, how to get prepared with shooting off sticks, how to pick your travel agency (Special thanks to LORI at TravelExpress for all her expert assistance), how to pack, etc.. I picked up hundreds of tips from the members on this website. Thank YOU all. After years of research and discussions Mike and I decided to book our hunt with Kowas Adventures of Namibia. The recommendations of so many AfricaHunting. com members and many long emails with the Strouss family sealed the deal for us. Ansie, Jacque, Elleni and all members of the Strauss family have been truly outstanding in their pre-hunt information and recommendations. They have been helpful with quick responses to our numerous questions. They have a great reputation on this website.

    I am dedicating this hunt to the memory of my donor Jace Taylor whose heart I now have beating in my chest. Jace was a sixteen year old teenager when he died in a tragic accident. My wife and I have met his family and stay in touch with them frequently. We were invited to attend his High Schools annual homecoming and cross town rival high school football game where Jace's MOM Angie wanted her son's heart to be on the field with his team. He was a was JR high school football player when he was killed. I was asked by the team football coach to talk with the team before the big game. That was one of the toughest things I've ever done. Why was I here and Jace was not? We were invited by the County School Superintendant to walk to the center of the football field and stand on the 50 yard line. They announced to the crowd of 7,000 people that Jace's heart was on the field with his team as his Mother wishes and introduced us. Everyone in the stadium stood up and gave the memory of Jace a standing ovatation. Ill never forget that special moment. The Strauss family already knows this basics of this incredible story. I'm truly blessed to even be alive but to think that I'm able to do what I love so much and even dream about hunting in AFRICA again after having a heart transplant three years ago is a HUGE BLESSING. I Dedicate this hunt and this trip to my donor Jace Taylor and his family. Oh yea. "Our" team won 42 to 7...….

    We are going on a 7 day cull hunt with some extra "TROPHY" animals on our list with KOWAS. I'm open to whatever we come across that would be considered an exceptional trophy but on my wish list are one male and one female ORYX for possible pedestal mounts, a possible red hartebeest, but my BIG (pun intended) Wish List animal is a mighty, old, scarred up, grey warrior ELAND with a black face and huge ruft.

    On my trip to South Africa I was fortunate to take a nice Kudu, bushbuck, warthogs, impala and wildebeest.

    If anyone is interested I hope to write a trip summary of our trip to KOWAS upon our return.

    Question: Any suggestion on how to keep my PH Jacque Strauss happy? Watch his Kowas video clips and you will like his obvious enthusiasm for his chosen profession!

    Question: If you have ever hunted with the KOWAS and the Strouss family please post some of your pics here for us to see. Any quick stories about your favorite hunt day or memory of your trip?

    Question: Any last minute advice before our departure on Monday?

    One last point for tonight. This is my first post ever on this website or any other hunting website. My only intention for giving this much detail is to give credit to the Good lord, my sweet wife/caregiver, the excellent medical team at Vanderbilt University, my wonderful friends and family members for their help and encouragement during some difficult times and for my donor family. This post is a celebration of life and a reminder that each day is precious. Please try to over look the obvious spelling and grammar errors.

    If you have read this extra long memo this far...… thank you. Will post more upon our return.

    THANKS.....
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
    WMU05, kevin masters, BenKK and 12 others like this.

  2. MMAL

    MMAL GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Wow. What a story and a special memory. I have not hunted with kowas but have hunted Namibia. You are going to be amazed and awed and feel like you (cause you almost did) died and went to heaven. My two pieces of advice is 1) talk extensively with your ph about what you want to do and then listen to him. If he says shoot, then shoot. If you do these things he will be happy. 2). After three trips and looking back I appreciate the pictures more and more. As money is always an issue. Think about reducing the taxidermy bill (sorry gizmo) and increase the animal count with multiple pictures. When you really think about it. 50 years from now the pictures will be around and your trophies will not be and who knows, AFRICA hunting might not be. You have a very special story so please continue to share it.
     
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  3. YancyW

    YancyW GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Thank you very much for sharing such a fantastic story. I hope you have great hunt and I also hope you keep us posted.
     
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  4. Tra3

    Tra3 AH Veteran

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    What a blessing! Yours is a touching history and a reminder that God can turn a tragedy into a blessing.

    I second the thought about lots of photos. Bring a phone battery charger. And don’t rush the celebration of a harvest. Some of my favorite moments of hunting are the quiet times after taking and animal when you can just stand, squat, or sit next to it and be thankful that the magnificent beast gave up so you can go on.

    Take pictures of your gear, your packing, the flight, the drive, etc. It is so much easier to tell a story when you have a picture of the camp, and the gecko that lives in the toilet.
     
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  5. YancyW

    YancyW GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    We must have been in the same camp, here is the toilet gecko.
    Gekco.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2019
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  6. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Pretty good start to your hunting tale.
    Enjoy yourself and be prepared to write it all up.
     
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  7. Philip Glass

    Philip Glass LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Chuck,
    Wow what a story. My father received a multiple organ transplant many years ago and I currently have a close friend on a heart transplant list. Praise God for your story and the memory of the donor. Again Wow!
    I hope you have a great safari to my favorite country! As for keeping good with your Ph just be on time, shoot straight, and be upbeat even when things go wrong, and help out with loading the Bakkie etc.
    Blessings,
    Philip
     
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  8. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Chuck, that is quite a story. God has given you the opportunity to now write the next chapter. Remember to get up from your seat while on that long plane ride and walk around a bit. There will most likely be a lot of other hunters on the plane with you. Ask if they are members of AH, if they are not "introduce" them to the site. On our last safari my son and I met a number of fellow AH(ers) both going and coming. I'm looking forward to your hunting story and photos.
     
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  9. gillie

    gillie AH Senior Member

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    You kidding us right ? of course we are interested !!! lots of photos as well please !!!
     
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  10. cagkt3

    cagkt3 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    That's a heck of an introduction! God is good! Best of luck and safe travels on the upcoming trip, and of course we want a report!
     
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  11. gillie

    gillie AH Senior Member

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    Enjoy Namibia, Jace is gonna be beating much faster once you guys set foot on Namibian soil. Namibia is very special and the reason why I drive there every year instead of hunting in SA. Looking forward to you report.
     
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  12. Holly Brewer

    Holly Brewer AH Member

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    Thank you for sharing your uplifting and inspiring story. Please, please write your follow up hunting adventure with Kowas. My husband and I have hunted, fished, and toured with Kowas and the Strauss’s four times ... each different, exciting, and fun. I know that you will have a grand adventure, and I wait in great anticipation for your next post!
     
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  13. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    An excellent start to your African adventure. Please keep us posted as I am sure many will want to follow. You have an amazing story already and much is yet to be written,
     
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  14. Dean Macdonald

    Dean Macdonald AH Senior Member

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    Wow, what a story. Sounds like you have been through the wringer, but came out of it on the other end. You are in for a special time ahead with your friend. Check out my story if you like, complete with pictures, under the Hunting Reports section. Bring your appetite, watch out for the Meerkats (one is a biter!) and enjoy the ride!

    NAMIBIA: Kowas Hunting Safaris May 2 To 9 2018


     
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  15. cls

    cls AH Elite

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    Great intro, good luck and shoot straight. Will be waiting for your the hunt report on your return. Safe travels.
     
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  16. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith New Member

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    I greatly appreciate your suggestions MMAL. Thank you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2019
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  17. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith New Member

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    I greatly appreciate your suggestions MMAL. Thank you
     
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  18. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith New Member

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    Thanks Dean. I'll check out your report.
     

  19. superdutch

    superdutch AH Veteran

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    What a start to you adventure. Your story of joining the team on the field was touching. You are in for a wonderful experience. I look forward to the report!
     

  20. Bwana Bob

    Bwana Bob AH Senior Member

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    You will have a great time at Kowas. Everything there is first class. I hunted at Kowas in 2011, 2017, and will be heading there again in 2020. My 2017 trip is in the hunting report section if you are interested in reading it. Good luck
     

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