MOZAMBIQUE: First Africa Hunt With Neil Duckworth Of Mokore Safaris

Calawah

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Its been almost a week since my wife and I returned home from a 14 day plainsgame hunt with Neil Duckworth of Mokore Safaris in their Coutada 9 concession in Mozambique.
Videographer Jordan with Double D productions
I brought a Ruger MK-I in .350 Remington Magnum and Nosler Custom ammo loaded with 225g. Partitions.

Neil met us in the Tete airport and handled our firearm inspection for us, and we were quickly off on a 4 hour drive to camp. We talked about shot placement and expected distances, and I explained to Neil that as a blacktail deer hunter, mass and the age of the animal make the trophy quality for me and not overall length alone. I also told him I wanted to hunt on foot as much as possible but would be content with a few gift animals spotted from the truck but not shot from the truck. Neil smiled and announced that this was a proper plan.

Camp was beautiful and comfortable, my wife told her sister it was 'posh' :)

I have worked as a fly fishing guide in remote Alaska for several summers, but this was my first guided hunt. I told Neil I would have my 10x50's on my chest everyday and I wanted to be proactive in the hunting and not just following him around and shooting what he pointed at. I was looking for the kid in a candy store experience while still feeling like real hunting in wild Africa.

As the days progressed it became quite clear that I was in the right spot with the right PH. Game was abundant and trophy quality was excellent. We hunted on foot several miles in the morning and several miles in the afternoon with delicious lunches and an hour nap mid day and some driving in and around and between the walks.

Neil was a lot of fun to hunt with. Obviously very skilled and experienced with fantastic eyesight, at 6'4" he is certainly an asset in the field! Good humored all day even with my early shooting, more on that later, and fun to be around. He was very driven to find game and quality animals all day every day, and once we were on tracks or in good cover walking or better yet having spotted an animal and getting into a better position, he was 100% about the hunt, focused professional, cool as ice. It is always fun hunting with a determined partner and with Neil it became obvious quickly that the man loves hunting.

Whats more, the hours my wife spent riding passenger with Neil driving while I joined the tracker and videographer in the rack seat must have been full of wonderful conversation. I was delighted when part way into day 4 my wife told me she was going to confirm with Neil that we hunt with him again in 2020 in Zimbabwe for Buffalo and Leopard. I gave her two thumbs up and we told Neil. That quickly into the hunt we knew we had a PH we would be happy to hunt with again. The rest of our time in Mozambique further confirmed out choice.

We hired Jordan with Double D productions to film the hunt and I haven't even seen all the footage yet or the finished video but I would suggest anyone hunting Africa to pay a little extra to bring 'Jordy' along to capture your adventure to share with friends and family and to watch over and over again in your old age. Jordy has been in the Safari industry for over 5 years, he could probably become a PH in a minute if he chose to, he knows the area and the animals and spots game like a pro and judges game very well, and is silent as a mouse on stalks. Several times I checked to see if he was still with us because I hadn't heard a footfall for several minutes, but he always found the right position at the right time to capture my kill shots on film. He's also just an all around good guy, a real gentleman.

This hunt was a childhood dream of mine and I was so danged excited to be in Africa shooting stuff that I shot like hell for the first few days! I fortunately combined my bad shots with lucky shots and didn't lose an animal the whole trip, and we only had to blood trail two. I've read the books, I know some guys shoot like hell and then turn it around and finish strong, well by the time I shot my impala I was 4 animals in and I was ready to be shooting well! I left my safety on and loaded up the trigger then just about jerked the rifle off the sticks! I smiled to myself and clicked off the safety and executed a perfect shot. Neil was almost as happy as I was, and my wife was happiest of all knowing that I would quit whining about my shooting! From then on I dialed it right in and shot well, killed a handful of my critters with heart shots including my eland, also my longest shot at around 220 yards.

Every animal over there is beautiful, and even the reedbuck and impala are getting shoulder mounts. Possible my favorite hunt was sneaking into 25 yards of a big warthog and shooting him behind the shoulder with Neil's William Douglas double 470. Even with his lung hanging out the other side the old pig took off at a sprint, Neil hollered out to 'hit him again!', and my first ever big bore rifle and first ever double rifle shooting experience became complete when I swung on him and put the second softpoint a couple inches above the first and rolled him into the dust! It was too much fun and now I'm trying to figure out how to budget in a big double rifle!

We probably saw 100-200 game animals a day, and when we sought a specific species Neil got us onto them. It was still true hunting, the Nyala took us several days to find a good bull that would hold still long enough to get shot, but in the meantime we picked up a few other species which is the glory of the place, the number of animals and the number of species of animals and then trophy quality, I was giddy the whole time.

The antipoaching effort going on here is mind boggling. Thousands of big steel jump traps made from leaf springs, and wire snares, have been removed out of the area since Mokore got the concession, and hundreds are still pulled per year. We made some longer drives out to the edges of their concession and where the antipoaching measures can't keep up with the poaching, and the number of game animals present drops precipitously. As a wilderness deer and elk hunter I decided to pay a little more for my safari to hunt without fences (to each his own), but I am very happy to do so knowing that a big chunk of the cost goes towards keeping this piece of wild Africa safe from those who would kill every animal down to the last, to dry into bush meat and pack back to town to sell.

While in camp I was fortunate to meet and visit PH Grant Taylor of Mashambanzou Safaris, and Gary Duckworth (Neil's brother). Both of these guys strike me as respectable gentleman hunters and I would be happy to share camp or hunt with either of them.

My wife and I are both looking forward to our next hunt with Neil at Mokore, my wife wants a leopard skin rug and she might even shoot a buffalo herself when we go. In the meantime I am sending my good friend straight to Neil for his first Africa hunt as well. Can't speak any more highly of him, he made this trip better than I'd ever dreamed it could be, and I had decades to dream!

This forum helped me chose where to go and who to go with, so thanks to all you for providing so much great information on Africa, the choices are whelming and all you who share are doing the whole hunting community a great service.

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Ridgewalker

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Calawah welcome to the forum side! It appears you have been a member for quite a while.
Thanks for sharing your hunt with us! You took some fine trophies! I’m so jealous particularly of the warthog...nice! Congratulations on an excellent Safari!
 

Shootist43

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Calawah, nice trophies and a good report. Your wife's thoughts for future hunts is what intrigued me most. A gal with an attitude like that is probably a "keeper." Thanks for sharing.
 

johnnyblues

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Fantastic...Congrats.
 

cpr0312

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Congrats and thanks for sharing! Looks like you had a great time with some excellent trophies!
 

billc

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wow what a hunt you had. Those are all great animals and your Ph did a great job for you. Love that bushbuck and eland the nyala to.
 

jasyblood

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Wow, what a hunt! Awesome animals....I especially like the bushbuck!! Congrats!
 

Red Leg

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I know you know that you have several wonderful animals that will easily make Roland & Ward. That eland, the large bushbuck, and the second sable in particular, are simply magnificent. I have twice toyed with the notion of hunting PG in the Tete area with Grant, but each time, the buffalo in the Delta in Coutada 14 have won out - also not a bad thing. Congrats on a wonderful experience and hope to see you post some more.
 

gillettehunter

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I agree with Red Leg on the trophy quality. Looks like an exceptional first hunt in africa. The Duckworths came through with flying colors for you. Congrats on a great hunt.
Bruce
 

Brent in Az

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Excellent! Looks like the plains game hunt of a lifetime. Super trophies!
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Wow, that's one helluva a start to hunting in Africa! Lots of great trophies, I think you'll have a tough time getting a better Eland. Congrats!!
 

cls

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Now that's a great First safari. One boat load of trophies for sure. Congrats and thanks for sharing.
 

MAdcox

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Amazing first hunt. Each trophy there is tremendous, but that eland is going to haunt my dreams until I get the chance to get back over there and try to find his brother. Congrats on a great hunt and an obviously trophy wife with and attitude like hers.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Awesome hunt and excellent report. Looking forward (ok, way forward) to your 2020 Zim buff hunt report too.
 

BRICKBURN

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Glad AH played a part in your selection and education.
Thanks for paying your taxes with the report and sharing your excitement.

Congratulations all round.
 

ROCKET

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Wow....congratulations in your first African hunt.....those are top quality trhopies no doubt.....wel done....!!!!
 

MMAL

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Great write -up and excellent trophies. You got into to them didn't you. Unfortunately I read everyone of these write ups and my mind immediately starts adding up dollars. Best of luck and post pictures when the trophies get home.
 

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Wow, some fine trophies for your first safari. Thanks for taking the time to write your report. I would love to see the video when finished.
 

tarbe

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That's quite a serious first African hunt!

Nice write-up, animals and pics.

It seems that the Duckworth's are pretty much a sure bet - they are one of those outfits that just never seem to miss the mark. Congratulations to the Mokore crew for another fine hunt.
 

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Outstanding !!!!
 

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