NAMIBIA: Cheetah Hunting Ozondjahe Hunting Safaris

Riksa

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Tough go on the tracking and coming up with one.
The animals are so similar and can certainly be tough to differentiate between individuals.

That shot placement diagram sure will play in your mind for some time to come.

Thanks for sharing your story.

I had memorized the shot placement diagrams of the species I was after + several others. But I only memorized the vitals. I didn't think that I would be trying to take shots from this angle to the neck. Clearly this was not enough and one should memorize the whole animal. This was another lesson learnt during this trip.
 

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Neck shots have always made me nervous, just because of the anatomical differences between the species. You just reinforced a lesson for me.
 
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Great report! Awesome safari!
 

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Great hunting report!!! Loved the pictures!!!
 

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Neck shots have always made me nervous, just because of the anatomical differences between the species. You just reinforced a lesson for me.
I used to hunt deer for a living , selling the carcases for meat export to Europe .
90% of animals shot were neck and head shot .
I only used a 222 cal rifle that was deadly accurate , I only had to track a couple of animals as most dropped on the spot .
Neck shot is fine but you must hit bone ,once again it comes down to shot placement .
 

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I used to hunt deer for a living , selling the carcases for meat export to Europe .
90% of animals shot were neck and head shot .
I only used a 222 cal rifle that was deadly accurate , I only had to track a couple of animals as most dropped on the spot .
Neck shot is fine but you must hit bone ,once again it comes down to shot placement .

More about hunting multiple species and being familiar with anatomy.
I have to agree that if I were to be meat hunting one species I think that a neck shot would be quickly learned and done quite proficiently.
 

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Friday 10.4: It’s easier to get a Caracal than a trophy bull Oryx…

We continued the search of cheetah in the morning. Francois was back as PH. We headed to the area where tracks were spotted before, but found no sign of the cat. Instead we found a herd of springbok. There are not too many of them in Ozondjahe due to the cheetah activity. Francois spotted a monster male and we decided to go after him. Main issue was that we had blue wildebeest in left and black wildebeest on right. Then in the middle a little further away were the springbok. As getting closer seemed difficult I got prone to shoot through a an opening. I guess Max got tired of the waiting as there was little activity and decided to use me as a mattress while I was prone. Easy to shoot with a dog laying on your back. Well, springbok didn’t come to the opening either so no shots were fired.

After a while we decided to take our chance and started stalking. Of course the beests noticed us and the springbok escaped. We followed them to an open area but there was no chance to get close to them afterwards. I tried to build steady shooting rest for a 300 m shot using both tree and sticks, but the springboks ran before my build up was ready. We still followed them a while, but no chance for a shot appeared.

We continued driving around and found a good oryx bull at one waterhole. It was with couple of females and some young ones. After around 200 meters of following the oryxes we came to an open field. We were walking through the field and trying to figure out where the oryxes went when suddenly Francois throws up the sticks and I spot movement on the left. “Caracal, shoot”. He sounded like a drill sergeant so I automatically obeyed. The caracal was jogging away from us and didn’t stop on a whistle. Shot was taken from 35-40 meters to a running cat and luckily he went down on the spot.

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And what a beautiful cat he is. Francois told that it’s very rare to find a caracal in the day time and we were extremely lucky to find him. He called this a once in a life time opportunity and I’m very happy that we got him. It’s no cheetah, but my first cat nevertheless. I don’t know if I can believe that it’s difficult to get a caracal as it seems to be easier than getting a trophy bull oryx.

Afternoon was pretty much spoiled with rain. We stalked a waterhole with plenty of oryx, couple of blue wildebeests and impalas. We got within shooting distance, but no decent bulls were in the group. Then the rain started. We stalked an oryx that Francois spotted crossing the road, but he was no shooter either. While stalking a big warthog escaped, but we continued to check the oryx. Then the rain got heavier and we spent the rest of evening on the truck getting wet and partially in a blind taking cover from the rain. I guess this was a good day to be tracker/driver or a hunting dog...

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Original plan was to get to a blind at waterhole close to the area where we found cheetah tracks and wait there until dark. We never made it there before the rain started.


Saturday 11.4: Going for a double

Cheetah tracks had always been spotted after rain in New Market so we wanted to go there directly in the morning to see whether the pattern would repeat itself. No luck this time… We found only mud and water and some more mud. And plenty of other animals. We got stuck in the mud and after that Francois started driving and Gottfried guiding the hunt. Maybe that will help to change our luck.

First stalked animal was a nice oryx bull. No luck and we returned to the car. Next we found mountain zebra tracks and started stalking. Roughly 5-6km walked, but they were making circles again. We spotted only plenty of oryx and wildebeest. We also found 2 nice oryx bulls, but both had a broken horn (what is wrong with our luck…). We checked plenty of roads and mountain zebra tracks indicated that the herd was in a big block. So in we went again. Another 5km stalk, but the same result. We were walking in circles and zebras were not found. It's safe to say that zebras outsmarted us 10-0.

Afternoon we changed to other side of the property. Francois was still driving. Some shorter stalks were made, but we could not find a thing. We stalked to a waterhole and found some animals, but the distances were over 300 meters and no trophy animals were available. I ranged a jackal to 231 meters and went prone to take a shot. Result was the worst shot of the trip. Huge pull and jackal missed. What made it worse was that I had laid on top of some small plants that had spikes and I hurt my left arm on those (arm looked like I had a bad rash). Well, that was deserved after the bad shooting…

Second stalk was made after an impala, which we didn’t find. But next field had some zebras, oryx and ostrich so there we went. We stalked to 80 meters from plains zebras and then noticed a nice warthog male in 40 meters. Which one to go after… The warthog. Up went the sticks and after a short wait the hog was clear for almost a broadside shot. After the bang the hog sprinted and we could clearly see a hit in the vitals. Good shot and the hog ran about 80-100 meters before going down. After the shot was fired the zebras didn’t know what happened and stayed still. I remembered the first hunting day when I shot warthog and zebra from the same spot. Can that be repeated? I had to try. This was the last full hunting day so I wanted to try the double again. I decided to take the stallion that was presenting a shot opportunity. Safety off, stallion moved slightly and then they ran off. Well, good for them. But it was a nice stallion. And I was very happy with the warthog anyway.

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Sunday 12.4 morning: Last chance

Still looking for cheetah (went to New Market), no sign of them though. We spotted a nice oryx male and went after it with Francois. Unfortunately we lost the tracks and didn’t find it again. Stalked a couple of kilometers and then went to road for pick up. After a short ride we spot something in the bush. It was a very young springbok. It could not have been older than a couple of weeks, maybe even younger. I wanted to get some nice pictures of it so I used a bush and managed to get within 5 meters of it. It casually looked around while laying down on the ground. Then the wind shifted and it noticed something was not right and got up. Luckily I got some nice photos before it ran away.

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We continued driving and made a couple of short stalks, but found nothing we were after. We started driving towards the lodge and spotted BIG oryx horns. Female. Damn. Still, the horns looked so big that we decided to go after the Oryx anyway. The horns were for sure over a meter. There were 5 oryxes in total. They ran just as the sticks went up. Wind was circling so that might have busted us. Small run after them and Francois checked them with binoculars. “Take the one on the right”, it’s the big one. Up went the sticks and rifle and at the same moment the oryxes were running again. No chance for a shot and back to the car we went. On the last straight before turning to the road leading to the lodge we spot zebra stallion and 2 smaller zebras on the road. We were 400 meters from them. Suddenly the stalk was on again. We stalked to 120 meters. As soon as the sticks went up the stallion walked slowly to the bush leaving 2 smaller ones laying on the road. Sticks were up and I was aiming through the scope. We were sure that the rest of the heard would follow the stallion. Maybe there would be another stallion. 1 minute, 2 minutes, … zebra head coming, safety off. Very nice female came, safety back on. More wait and aiming. Small ones started also leaving the road to follow the stallion, then they were gone. More wait. Nothing. Time is running so we needed to get closer. Unfortunately the zebras got our scent and that was the end of the hunt. Packing, clearing the accounts and visiting taxidermy in Otjiwarongo. Then off to Windhoek.

I got small issue with Air Namibia as I didn’t get baggage tags in Windhoed. I was guided by airport security to drop the gun case directly to the conveyor after it was checked by the authorities. It should probably have been dropped to the counter where the original paper work was done. Then I would probably have received the tags. Well, next time I will not repeat the same mistake. My gun case was actually lost, but finally I received the gun case on the following day in the evening. So everything was OK in the end.


Closing remarks

I did not get the Cheetah, but I had a good hunting trip. We had bad luck with the weather as there was plenty of rain and that didn’t make the hunt any easier. We would have spotted plenty of more game around the waterholes in case it would have been dry. But we can’t influence weather, we can only live with it. Rain or sunshine, I still enjoy hunting very much. And now when I’m writing this I still love every moment of the hunt.

When booking for Cheetah hunt I knew that it’s not certain I will get one. Of course it would have been nice to get it, but now there is one more reason to go back to Africa for a hunt. I was disappointed that there were so little Cheetah tracks, but the cat has 4 legs and it is not on a schedule. I think we did what we could and like mentioned I had a good hunting trip. Overall I’m happy with all the experiences and high quality trophies I was privileged to harvest. We could have shot much more game, but that was not the target for me. I wanted to have great hunt and focus on good quality trophies or management hunt animals. I think all of the trophies are very good quality and even if my original plan was not to take any horns with me to Finland I reversed that decision. Now I just need to find the space from my home to fit them somewhere. Or maybe I will build a new house (for these and future trophies). I will not stop hunting because of lack of wall space, that’s for sure.

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Despite the fact that I have made 2 hunting trips to Namibia where I have not been lucky enough to connect with the cats I want I still will continue to pursue them. I don’t know when exactly I will do my next trip, but there will be a next trip. I will just work harder and in the end I will have my cat(s). The mental planning for the next trip has already started. So the fun continues.

Thank you Ozondjahe Hunting Safaris! You have a truly great place for hunting. And besides the trophies and memories, I have also some pretty cool photos (some of the from Etosha).
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Over and out...
 
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AHS

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Riksa, Wow thank you for taking the time to write such an extensive and great hunting report. I'm truly glad that you had a good time at Ozondjahe and it was a pleasure helping you put together this hunt. Cheetah is certainly a very challenging species to hunt.
 

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Just wanted to share with you the result of the hunter who came for Leopard just after you… He was lucky enough to take his cat the second day. Thanks for helping with that!

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BRICKBURN

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I am starting to see a pattern here.
Someone getting a cat right after someone leaves......hmmmm.


Thanks for the write up. Very enjoyable read. Next time!
 

Royal27

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I am starting to see a pattern here.
Someone getting a cat right after someone leaves......hmmmm.


Thanks for the write up. Very enjoyable read. Next time!

Great point....

If you two would tell me when your next hunt will be so that I can schedule mine appropriately that would be great! ;)
 

BRICKBURN

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Great point....

If you two would tell me when you're next hunt will be so that I can schedule mine appropriately that would be great! ;)

I was thinking that you might be so generous as to do me the favour of pre-baiting a Leopard or two for me!

(To be fair, if I would have been there for 6 more days that Leopard would have been mine. )
 

Royal27

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I was thinking that you might be so generous as to do me the favour of pre-baiting a Leopard or two for me!

(To be fair, if I would have been there for 6 more days that Leopard would have been mine. )

Wayne,

I would be tickled to death if I "pre-baited" for you and you got your leopard!

But if that cat came to dinner early all bets would be off....
 

BRICKBURN

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It just dawned on me that the Cheetah would not exactly have to be working to hard and not traveling to far to get dinner if the bush is full of little Springbok!
 

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Just wanted to share with you the result of the hunter who came for Leopard just after you… He was lucky enough to take his cat the second day. Thanks for helping with that!

Happy to contribute (if only a little) to the success of the gentleman. There was plenty of activity already when I was there so the result was to be expected. But you never know...
 

Riksa

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Great point....

If you two would tell me when your next hunt will be so that I can schedule mine appropriately that would be great! ;)

I'm sure we can work something out. I am accepting sponsors for my next "prebait hunt". :D No promises though, I might accidentally shoot the main star of the show. UUUPS, it was like that when I arrived...
 

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