NAMIBIA: AfriHunt Safaris Hunt Report Otavi Mountains

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by hawkhunts, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. hawkhunts

    hawkhunts AH Member

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    After 16 long years I was able to return to Africa for a short family vacation. As a follow up to my first trip to Zimbabwe, I decided that I wanted to add the desert species to my trophy room, so after a bit of research, my wife, son, and I were booked to hunt with Justus Britt of Afrihunt Safaris.
    Our travel was pleasantly uneventful, no issues to speak of, but it was long. We did stay at the Afton house the night we arrived in Joburg and it was as advertised. I would not hesitate to use them again, and Mr X was very helpful with the gun permits and getting us back out to our flights the following day. It was a very nice way to spend the evening, enjoying more than a few cocktails, and convesing with fellow hunters that were excited to be in Africa as we were.
    When we finally arrived at the Ohange Mountain Lodge ( Justus and Karla's resort where the hunters stay ) we were greeted on the road by damara dik dik, impala, and gamebirds. The lodge itself overlooked a waterhole, and there was a constant stream of game day and night. There was hardly a moment when there wasn't an animal at the waterhole, and we fell asleep every night to the grunting calls of rutting impala rams and jackals.and every morning we awoke to the calls of hundreds of guineas coming for morning water.
    Our hunt finally started on July 2nd- after checking our rifles we were off to explore the property. Since i was focused on an old eland bull, we hunted on the larger of Justus' properties. We would drive the roads looking for tracks where the bulls were jumping the fence for water and to mingle with the cows. The property was a 50/50 mix of heavy, almost impenetrable brush, and open grass and brush that they have been clearing. The brushy sections were absolutely full of dik dik and duikers, and we also saw numerous kudu ( although we never saw any of the shootable bulls the previous hunters spoke of).
    My son was up first, and after a couple of attempts, he finally let loose his first shot on a big gemsbok. Unfortunately, he didn't see a small tree and ended up hitting it dead center when he shot. He took it in stride and we moved on. Just before lunch we found an ancient old warthog boar that just had Austin take to give him a confidence boost. The 200 grain A frame found its mark and the old warrior never twitched.
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    Later in the evening of the first day, Austin would get an opportunity to stalk a large herd of Red Hartebeest we had seen ( and stalked unsuccessfully) earlier in the day. As my wife and I watched the stalk unfold from 300 yards behind, we saw Justus set the sticks and Austin line up his shot. As the solid thunk of the bullet slamming home found our ears, we saw Justus slap Austin on the back and we knew that the shot wa true. As we walked up to the hunters, we were surprised to see a very nice gemsbok cow dead in her tracks. My sons first African trophy would soon be in the salt. We couldn't have asked for a better start to our trip and my sons first African hunt.
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    That evening we had another fantastic meal of eland filet- the food and atmosphere every night were unbeatable. Dining around a firepit, enjoying a cocktail and a cigar while watching countless animals come to water was a fitting end to every day.
    On the second morning I moved into the spotlight. After traversing the numerous roads running through the bush in search of an eland or kudu bull , we finally headed out to the open grass and brush at the back of the property. I was surprised that we found Hartmann's zebra out in this area. I had expected to find andhunt them in the mountains- but here they were right out in the plains.
    Afte locating a herd in a stalkable position, we were off throug h the brush after my first Namibian quarry- after we had covered a couple of hundred yards, we realized that they were now walking directly towards us. We set the sticks and debated which of the six in this herd was the largest ( hoping it was the stallion). It was quite challenging as they were all mature animals. We finally selected what we felt was the largest and my 375 Ruger bellowed. It wasn't long before I had my hands on a beautiful old mare with an exceptional hide.
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    My wife joined us once again for the afternoon hunt on the second day- after lunch we loaded up and headed out to the hills in search of a burchells zebra for Austin. As we were driving the roads looking for tracks we bumped a small herd of burchells, an of we went on foot. They hadn't moved very far, and it wasn't long before Austin got his shot. When we caught up to them, we found out that the zebra had went over the top of the mountain, but that he had shot a large black wildebeest bull. After we climbed the couple of hundred yards up the hill to where they had stood, we found a small bit of blood, but unforunately there was a bit of water and grass as well. What we had thought was a very god shot had quickly turned for the worst. Throughout the remainder of the day we had two close encounters with the bulls. We were never able to sort out the wounded bull though. We would continue the search for our bull early the next morning...
     
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  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Liking the tale thus far....

    Come on and show me some pictures of the Otavi Mountains. I miss them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016

  3. rinehart0050

    rinehart0050 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Great report so far. Congrats on your trophies.
     

  4. siml

    siml AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    That's a super gemsbuck cow, congrats.
     

  5. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Gotta like a man that hunts with a 375 Ruger! Congratulations on the Hartsmann's, as well as the other fine trophies you and your son have taken so far.
     
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  6. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats. looking forward to the rest of the hunt report!
     

  7. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats on the hunt and thanks for sharing! Look forward to more
     

  8. hawkhunts

    hawkhunts AH Member

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    Our third morning began in pursuit of our wounded wildebeest bull. We were very optistic that we would find the group of four bulls in close proximity to where we had left them the previous evening, and hoped our bull would have expired over night. It was not to be, as we bumped into our bulls before we anticipated, and they thundered of into the brush before we could decide which one was our wounded bull. At that point we decided to allow the trackers to take up the track and see if the wounded bull could be located when they bedded, and another tracker was sent to a secluded watering hole they thought the bulls could be using. We decided to head out and try to find the track of an eland bull since it was still early.
    While on the way to the second property (about a ten minute drive) we located a small herd of springbok that had a couple of shooter rams. They were in the open grasslands, and we were never able to get within 300 yards, and after a couple of failed attempts the entire heard ran off. Somehow we did get lucky, as the larger ram and a couple of others split from the herd and circled back to an area within range of some brush. Justus was able to get me within 180 yards of the big ram for the shot. I was mentally shot though. Between the howling winds, the small target, my excitement, and admittedly getting in my own head a bit because of the wounded wildebeest, I wasn't as confident as I normally am. After settling down, I squeezed the trigger and found the mark. I will admit,the 300 grain tsx may have been a little much for tiny springbok. The ram was quatering to me slightly, and the entrance wound just missed the shoulder and exited the abdomen with little or no expansion. The ram never moved but it took 3-4 minutes for him to fall over. My ram went a little over 15 inches and was heavy as well. Better than I had hoped for, but I would find out my luck would only improve!
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    After dropping the springbok to the skinning shed, we once again headed out to look for eland (or whatever else we could find) . Justus has a half dozen trackers on his staff, and they had already determined the bull we were playing with had jumped into our pasture (the game fences are two meters so an easy jump for an eland or kudu) but had watered and wandered around before jumping back into the neighbors.
     
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  9. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Nice Springbok.
     

  10. hawkhunts

    hawkhunts AH Member

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    We continued on to the open pastures at the back of the property to look for a gemsbok or hartebeest. We soon located a pair of gemsbok that were bedded with some blue wildebeest. On my previous hunt to Zimbabwe, i was not overly impressed with blue wildebeest. They seemed to be a little dull there and not very elusive. That was definitely not the case here. These guys were hyper wary, and were off and running most times as soon as we stopped. The two gemsbok were of shooting quality, but they soon moved away with the wildebeest without presenting a clear shot.
    We ended up still hunting across a large flat that had a little ridge running through it. I was amazed at how much game we were able to locate hunting in this way. We saw herds of eland, mountain zebra, kudu ( no good bulls), hartebeest, wildebeest, and oryx. We never saw anything worth stalking, but it was one of my favorite hunts of the trip. We ended our walk by stalking a duiker that I found in his bed from 300 yards. We closed the distance to 60 yards, but he wasn't of sufficient size and we let him be. Benjamin, the apprentice ph, soon gathered us with the truck and as we sucked down some much needed water, we noticed a large herd of gemsbok feeding across the area we had just hunted.
    As the gemsbok entered the heavy brush we drove ahead a few hundred yards to close the distance. My son Austin was the shooter now. He hadn't shot since his wildebeest and we needed to get him back up on his horse and thats exactly what he did. As the first few gemsbok filtered past, we noticed a great looking heavy horned bull. Austin was on the sticks a couple of hundred yards from us as we watched from the truck. Soon the shot rang out, and the solid thump of the Swift A frame reached our ears.
    We picked our way through the thorns to were we thought the bull was when he shot. I turned back towards Justus and where the had shot from and ranged it at 225 yards. We weren't able to find any blood, but the group of trackers that had been tracking eland earlier in the day were working on the fence a short distance away, and it short order they were all there helping to locate the spoor.
    Within minutes the trackers had spread out and found blood. The first flecks of blood were probably a hundred yards off from where we belive the bull was shot. That explained why the dogs Karra and Tractor had never taken off. Once they were called over to the spoor they were off in a flash. Within a couple of hundred yards they caught the bull and the fight was on. We were racing through the brush and trying to get steady. We eventually got a clear shot as the bull began to run off and it was over.
    As we walked up to the bull we discovered two things- the bull was really well shot, one shoulder was shattered, and we eventually recovered a perfectly mushroomed A frame in the off shoulder. The second was that we were a long way from the road!
    Eventually, we taped this bull at 36" and I believe Benjamin told me the bases were over 10" . Not really sure what that equates to, but we thought he was a hell of a heavy old bull and a great trophy taken ethically with a great shot.
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    The trackers and dogs were exceptional. It was inspiring to watch them work, and I am glad my son and wife were able to see them in action.
     
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  11. hawkhunts

    hawkhunts AH Member

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    Wait a bit- it gets better!
     

  12. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Good report and pictures keep it coming sir!
     

  13. hawkhunts

    hawkhunts AH Member

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    As we sat around having coffee the morning of our fourth day, I wondered when we would slow down. We had been taking great trophies almost every hunt, but we hadn't tackled the bucket list yet (Austins Zebra, my eland). Would we hit the wall at some point? Fortunately for me, today would not be that day!
    We headed back to the other property at daybreak to once again look for Kudu and for eland tracks. We found some kudu, but once again, not the bull we were looking for. The previous hunters had seen 7 shooter bulls in one day in the same brush veld we were hunting, one of which they expected to go over 60 inches, so we were diligent in our efforts. It was not to be today, as all we saw were 6 cows and a small bull. The eland tracking was becoming more interesting, as we now had two bulls in our pasture, and the other bull we were looking for had walked the borde fence across from our bulls. We never took up the track, as the larger bull was still staying on the neighbors. Not having him jump the fence is probably the best thing that could have happened.
    Since our bull wasn't on our side, we moved to the grass to search for another eland bull or gemsbok since I hadn't taken one yet. After an hour or so we located a small group of gemsbok that were approachable. As we stalked, two seperate cows stood out to me. As Justus and I scanned them, he agreed with my assesment and we decided to close in. After we closed a few yards, just set the sticks, and I got a sense of urgency. He directed me to one of the cows we had seen earlier and instructed me too shoot ( with urgency!) . I settled in as quickly as I could for the 225 yards shot and let it fly. All appeared to be good, so Benjamin, Hendrik (main tracker), Austin, and i took up the track.
    I was starting to believe that gemsbok were bulletproof or didn't bleed. Hendrik quickly found the running tracks, but just small flecks of blood to start. That all changed within 75 yards as my son, a rookie tracker was finding blood as quickly as the trackers! That was when I noticed the lead dog Karra was missing as well. Well not missing, but already at the now fallen gemsbok. She only barks when the animal is still alive, so we finished up the blood trail to find a monster of a gemsbok cow!
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    Justus wasn't quite sure if it was a bull or a cow- she has really good mass, and doesn't flare out as much as a normal cow does. Regardless of whether it is a cow or a bull, it is a world class trophy stretching the tape to 44"!
    Rolling back to the lodge with high spirits, our day was far from done. We had planned on heading to the other property that just has access too. Little did I know that it was a conservancy covering, ohh, about a million acres! Once we arrived there, we could hunt virtually every thing we could see.
    When we arrived at the first ranch we were too hunt in the conservancy, we were on the prowl for a big warthog for Austin and a kudu bull. We drove around a large mountain glassing for kudu bulls sunning themselves in the afternoon sun. The country just screamed "leopard" and Justus told me one of the last Leopards he had a tag for went over 180 lbs on this very mountain. We never found a bull, but the country looked so good we just kept scouring the brush.
    We drove the roads looking for warthog and tracks- we never saw an eland bull, but we found bull tracks, so our confidence was high. We saw a number of warthog, but the one we saw with big tusks crossed the road in heavy brush and we never were able to see him after he scurried into the brush. We did see some kudu cows as we were getiing ready to head back to Justus' main eland ranch so we had a couple of hours before darkness. The plan had always been to scout the ranch, locate a bull, and return the next morning to hunt him down.
    After a quick drive, we went through the gate on the chosen ranch. Within minutes Justus skidded the truck to a halt on the main road and told me"there's your bull!"
    Over the course of booking and during idle time of the hunt Justus and I had discussed what i was looking for. First and foremost he had to be a dark faced, heavy mopped bull with deep ridges. Length was always an afterthought, but i had hoped to get something that would go 36-38". There was no doubt this was him.
    As he was running with a large herd of cows, calves, and lesser bulls, we had no idea where they would stop. We drove to the end of the road and stopped for a while to glass and make sure they weren't heading into the mountains. We could hunt everywhere we could see, so that was an issue. We just needed to narrow down where a battalion sized force of eland were now hidded.
    We turned back down the road where we had originally seen them, and they had settled down in some heavy scrub. They were now someplace we could track them down, so we moved to get the wind right.
    As we moved towards the herd on foot, we realized two things. The only cover of any significance was a large termite mound, and that there was one lone cow eland that looked like she could present a problem.
    As we played cat and mouse with the lone cow, we realized the bull and the rest of the herd was moving towards us, but were still 500 yards away. With a little luck and patience, they could walk within 100 yards of where we were hidden beside some brush.
    Our luck however did not hold, as the lone cow walked into us and bolted for the herd. The jig was up, and some of the cows began to head out. We hustled to that lone termite mound to close some distance, and when we got to it Justus instructed me to use my 300 win mag and shoot that bull to break him down. We didn't have time to range him, and my instincts took over. I laid across the termite mound and settled in for what ended up being a 391 yard shot. The first shot went through the bulls hump and into his neck. And the bull dropped to his knees. He was hit hard but made it over the fence. Justus now had my 375 and put a round high in the shoulder, and my bull was off and running. I missed a running shot low, but the bull turned to run straight away. This time the shot was true. At what was now probably 500 yard i broke the bulls right leg anchoring him for good. We hustled up to this magnificent bull for a finishing shot and it was done. A lifelong dream was achieved.
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    This is when Justus asked me if I realized what I had- we all thought the bull would go over 40 inches, his face was black ( with a livingston eland chevron and stripes), a heavy mop, and ridiculously deep ridges. Absolutely the bull of a lifetime. I'm generally pretty stoic, but I had to admit I had to choke back some tears.
    When it is all said and done, this grand old bull taped 42 1/2 inches on his long horn. I can happily say that is a hell of a number, but it didn't change the way I felt about the bull as a trophy, or the effort that was put forth by the team to help me secure it.
     

  14. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Nice report! Some great gemsbok and eland!
     

  15. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    What a hunt! Those are some terrific trophies. Congrats on getting it done. Bruce
     

  16. hawkhunts

    hawkhunts AH Member

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    We were now into our 5th hunting day, and considering the success that I had the previous day, I wouldn't need to pull the trigger again. We headed out bright ans early to try to find a big kudu bull or locate a zebra. I had purchased a package for Austin that included a Burchells Zebra. At this point Justus decided the gloves were off, and any Zebra stallion was fair game, whether it was a burchells or mountain.
    Once again we failed to find a kudu bull. It was like they had dissappeared in the last week. Our timing wasn't great, as the rut had already ended. We headed off to find a zebra, and had quickly located a small herd. Today was not to be the day for Zebra either. Locating scattered groups was easy. Locating a stallion and putting together a successful stalk was not. After 3-4 attempts, we finally gave in and headed back for brunch.
    After another delicious brunch (omelets and smoked zebra) Austin headed off to walk the mountains with the Appy PH Benjamin and track a zebra or impala ram. I spent the afternoon watching the waterhole at the lodge, catching up on email, and just relaxing with my wife. We were the only people at the lodge for a few hours, so on the outside chance our wounded wildebeest came there to water we were ready. The other trackers had not seen the bull at the waterhole the day before, and we couldn't find a track. We were convinced he was dead in the brush at this point, but we wanted to make sure. Austin and Benjamin had a great hunt through the mountains, seeing the burchells zebra they were after, but never able to shoot. They also saw some excellent Impala rams.
    As they returned, I noticed a lone wildebeest bull laying down a couple of hundred yards from the waterhole? Could this be him? I grabbed Benjamin and we went to look. He thought it unusual too for a bull to be lying in full sun during mid day and to be alone. So the stalk was on. We closed the distance, only to find that there were others with him that were farther into the brush than we coud see. We shadowed them for an hour or so, carefully looking over every one to see if one appeared to be injured. Despite being 40-60 yards away, we never could ID our wounded bull.
    The day never improved for us. Austin and Benjamin had a leopard come into the waterhole they were sitting on, so the kudu and other game were scarce. I hunted hartebeest, and after a good stalk, proceeded to miss the easiest shot I was presented the entire trip. I joked that I pulled the shot because I wasn't sure he was the best bull!
    A new day would dawn, and we were off the next morning in pursuit of Zebra and kudu. We bumped a herd of burchell zebra shortly into the hunt. They were on a relatively open hillside, but were off and running as soon as the truck came to a stop. Justus and Austin grabbed the sticks and rifle and headed from there to a waterhole that was in the mountains were the kudu water frequently.
    It wasn't long before a shot rang out, but we never heard the bullet hit. Soon we got a call to bring the truck, that they had an animal down. Was it a kudu? We did not know. After a quick drive, we found Austin and Justus with a big hartmanns stallion.
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    We never heard the bullet as they were able to get within 60-70 yards. The old stallion had seen them, and being unaware of what they were, had walked towards them. A full frontal shot was presented, and the stallion went straight down!
    We were not done for the morning. After a trip to the skinning shed and breakfast, we were off in search of a good Impala ram to complete Austin's package. After looking at a few rams that weren't up to Justus' standards, we located a shooter ram. As the ram moved into heavy brush, Justus and Austin moved into position. At the shot the ram bolted, but we could see he was well shot. Even though we knew where the ram was, we quickly took Justus' newest tracking dog Shakka to the spoor with the older dogs for a training session. Within minutes the dogs, even the young pup, had the impala at bay. Shakka was right in the mix, barking and distracting the ram while we moved in to finish him. It was over in moments, but the young dog got a valuable lesson.
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    With the completion of the package animals, we continued to hunt for a kudu. Austin was once again in the blind where the previous hunter had missed the big kudu. Unlike the previous evening, there was no leopard, and the saw numerous kudu cows and small bulls, as well as duiker, warthog, dik dik, and large flocks of gamebirds.
    While Austin overlooked the waterhole, I set out for redemption from my previous nights missed shot. We located a herd of hartebeest from quite a distance and had quite a walk to get into position because of the wind. We had good cover, but were only able to get within a couple hundred yards. The herd was alert, and as we stood and set the sticks, it seemed every eye was on us. The biggest bull was standing at the back edge of the group, and as I was settling in a smalle animal stood in the way briefly. I waited a moment for it to move, and as the animal cleared I squeezed the trigger. The big bull bucked and jumped at the shot and we knew it wasn't a repeat performance from the night before. I lost the bull in the herd, but Justus was confident in the shot. As we approached where the herd had stood, Justus walked right on by while i was looking for blood. He told me he had seen the bull go down, and moments later we found him in his final resting spot in the tall grass.
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    I had to ask Justus how good he was, as hartebeest are an animal i never really had focused on. It was, in my mind a bonus species i could live without, so i never really studied up on field judging. His response was simply "Boone and Crocket"!
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    This evening was the end of our big game hunt. Even though we could have hunted the next day, we decided to spend the day as a family at Etosha. We were fortunate to see black rhino, lions, elephant, and countless plains game. image.jpg
    This will not be our last trip to Namibia. Now that Austin has his first safari under his belt, we can return to Afrihunts for the trophy kudu that avoided us, or funds permitting, a big tom leopard. We barely hunted the conservancy Justus has access to, and there are so many other things we would like to do from fishing on the coast to tiger fishing in the Caprivi.
    For those of you interested in hunting Namibia, I highly recommend Justus and Karla Britt and Afrihunt Safaris. While not a common name ( I had never heard of them until an SCI banquet) I think they are top notch. We had a short overlap with another group (1 day) as Justus normally guides each group personally, but it wasn't an issue. justus never asked or expected us to shoot sub par animals. Justus is extremely experienced with big game, and has hunted for or with some of the top outfitters in Namibia and Botswana before he returned home to start Afrihunts Safaris.
     

  17. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Great hunt and report, thanks for sharing. Awesome eland!

    Dave
     

  18. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats for a great hunt, that eland is fantastic.

    Thanks for sharing !
     

  19. buck wild

    buck wild AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Messages:
    654
    Video/Photo:
    207
    Likes Received:
    819
    Location:
    Texas
    Member of:
    SCI Brush Country Chapter
    Hunted:
    Limpopo, SA; Mexico; Texas
    great report and excellent hunt !! KUDOS (ok no kudu but kudos for great hunt :) )
     

  20. caddman

    caddman AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2016
    Messages:
    207
    Video/Photo:
    2
    Likes Received:
    100
    Member of:
    SCI AFGA DU AHEIA
    Hunted:
    Canada-BC,AB,Sk,QB USA-NM,KS Namibia
    Great looking trophies! A very interesting hunt report with good photos. It brought back some fun memories! Thank you for that.
     

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