NAMIBIA: Plains Game Hunt Report

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Countrylife, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. Countrylife

    Countrylife AH Senior Member

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    I’m recently back from my first trip to Africa. I’ve posted a few comments in other threads already so you may recognize some of these comments and pictures.


    I hunted in April at the edge of the Kalahari desert southeast of Windhoek (probably about a 3 hour drive but I really didn’t keep track of the specific location).


    The first day we started at the rifle range since I was renting a rifle from the PH (Dzombo Hunting Safaris). I used what he recommended which was a 7x64 which was set up with a very light trigger. The range had an enclosed shooting bench in an area of lots of animals that were not allowed to be hunted. As a result, the ostriches came over to check us out and stuck their head into the enclosure. Made for an interesting experience. The two rhinos pretty much ignored us and went where ever they wanted to. After everyone was satisfied at the range we went out to hunting area and to see the animals that were on it.


    It was my first time to Africa so I’ve only seen the animals in small groups in the zoos. It was quite different and interesting to see herds of zebras running and running and running and the Springbok bonking. Seems like all the animals are either eating or running. Seldom did I see one walking. I could sit for hours and just watch, especially the Black Wildebeest. They are something else! Just watching them run and changing direction so many times and end up back where they started. And that tail! Reminds me of a propeller.


    We were the first hunters in the area for this season so the animals were not as cautious around us as they would be later in the season.


    I had 2 Springbok on my list so we went off to hunt them first. All the animals I’ve shot before only needed a single shot so I was expecting this hunt to be similar to other hunts, just different animals. We spotted a herd of Springbok and headed off on a stalk. It was early in the morning and the dew was still on the grass. With the red sands, the dew, and the recent rains, everything was sparkling. It looked like diamonds were scattered over the ground. I was following the PH and trying to be quiet and keep up with him, but the sparkling diamonds really intrigued me. I thought to myself, I should be able to pause for just a few seconds and investigate this and catch back up. So, without telling the PH, I stopped and picked up a sample of the “diamonds”. Turned out to be pieces of mica that were sparkling. Now with my curiosity satisfied, I caught back up to the PH (who had noticed I’d stopped). From then on, for the rest of the trip, he kept a close eye on me to see what else I might do.


    We continued the stalk in a dry river bed and once we got close to where we thought they were, we climbed out and startled a herd of Springbok. They took off in a big circle and ended up heading back toward us. As they approached they slowed down to check us out. The PH said he’d never seen that before, but we’ll take advantage of it and set up the sticks and told me which one to shoot. I fired, the Springbok fell down. I figured DRT so I picked the rifle up off the sticks and started to make the gun safe. That seemed to be the signal for the Springbok to jump up and run off. The PH got excited and said “shoot, shoot again”! I just stood there with my jaw hanging down trying to figure out what happened. I mean, after all, the Springbok was DRT – wasn’t he? Apparently not. I finally got my act together and chambered another round and fired at a running animal from an off hand position, also something else I’ve never done before. This hunt was the first for many things. When I fired, the Springbok dropped. This time he did not get up. I consider that shot more luck than skill.

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    We set up for pictures and then went looking for the second Springbok. I learned some on the first one so the second was not nearly as much excitement, but still rewarding. Once I had my 2 Springboks, we put them together for pictures. I managed to get my wife to pose with them, by herself. She struck the same pose that the girls in skimpy bikinis on magazine covers use. That is a good picture! And no, I’m not sharing it. And no she’s not wearing a bikini – Umm, I mean she’s wearing jeans and long sleeve shirt to protect from the sun. When we got back to camp for lunch, she was bright red and managed to get a pretty good sunburn in spite of all our precautions. But, so did the PH. Remember the mica in the sand? Turns out there was so much glare from the sand that we were baking and roasting at the same time.


    After lunch and a nap, we headed out again without my wife to hunt Blue Wildebeest. We saw some but could not get in a position to start a stalk. Same with Oryx and Red Hartebeests and all the other animals. That afternoon turned out to be a drive trying to get into position for any animal. Very frustrating. That evening around the campfire we discussed the days events, especially the afternoon. We finally realized what we did wrong in the afternoon. My wife wasn’t with us. So I and the PH and the cameraman informed her that since she seemed to be our charm, she had to go out with us in the morning.


    Next morning I helped her with a stronger sunblock to be sure she was fully coated. Then we went looking for Blue Wildebeest again. It wasn’t long before we found several. I told my PH what I wanted and he picked one out and it looked good to me so we started a stalk. Things are better when my wife is along. We stalked from one bush to another and it wasn’t long before the Wildebeest was facing us. We stopped for awhile to see if he’d turn away. We didn’t have that much farther to go, so we decided to risk it and moved forward from one bush to another while he was facing us. We managed to get close enough and the PH set up the sticks. I lined up the rifle and fired.


    I’ve heard that the Blue Wildebeest’s are born sick and a lead pill makes them better. I’ve also read on this forum that a frontal shot is not one of the better choices for a Wildebeest. Never-the-less both I and my PH thought that this one was do-able. The video of the shot and the action of the animal afterwards proved that it was a poor decision and that the folks here on AH were right again. The video of the shot shows that it grazed the animals left side about 1/3 the way up the chest. There’s a big cloud of dust from the side of the animal and he took off running. We started the track. There was a little bit of blood here and there so it wasn’t to hard to follow – for a while. To make a long story short, we spent all day tracking him, but were never able to get him. We think we saw him a couple times later that day but were unable to confirm that it was the right one. So, no Blue Wildebeest. That was a depressing day and the PH and staff tried their best to cheer me up. We got back to camp well after dark that day.


    When the Red Hartebeest came up for hunting my wife came along as well. We saw a very large herd and a smaller group of males. We decided to go after one of the males in the smaller group. We started out on a stalk. The Hartebeest seemed skittish so we very carefully used as much cover as we could and as quietly as we could. It took a little while but we got close to them and the PH set up the sticks and as I was getting into position on the sticks, they moved off. They didn’t go to far, but far enough we had to go back into stalking mode to move up on them. Finally got close enough to set up. Sticks came up and as I was putting the rifle on the sticks, they moved off again. To far for a shot, so we went back into stalk mode and moved up on them. Again, the sticks came up and as I was getting set up for a shot they disappeared. We looked for them but were unable to find them, so the PH called the truck to come and get us. We stood there out in the open watching a herd of zebras in the distance while we waited for the truck to pick us up. After awhile we noticed a movement off to our left and the Red Hartebeests stepped into the open and stood there looking at us. They looked at us as if to say; “Are you giving up already?” It was like a game where we’d move up, they’d move off, we’d move up and they’d move off. SO! Game back on! The PH called up the truck and told them to stop, we were back on the hunt. We went back into stalk mode and moved up on them, set up for a shot. - - And, guess what? They moved off again before I was ready to shoot. So, one more time, take the sticks down, stalk, set up, get ready to shoot and this time the results were different. The Red Hartebeests moved off again, but this time we were not able to locate them and they never showed back up. So the score for this game is Hartebeest 1, Hunter 0. When the truck came to pick us up there was a discussion about how far we stalked. Someone said 3 km, another said it seemed like 6 km and somehow that got turned into a 36 km stalk. The rest of our time there it was referred to as the 36 km stalk. No shots were fired that day, I carried the gun the entire time, I was worn out, tired and dragging, but I enjoyed it immensely.
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    The Kudu – There weren’t many shootable Kudu here that I saw. Matter of fact we had a hard time finding any Kudu. Every time we went out, we watched for Kudu and the ones we did see were cows. The terrain we hunted in varied from flat plains to rocky “mountains”, but not mountains as in the mountains in Colorado, nor the Smokey Mountains. It’s more like a pile of boulders around 300’ high (a guess). It’s hard to describe. All of Africa is hard to describe accurately – you have to be there and experience it. As the week progressed and I collected the animals, the Kudu were still not showing up. So, we set out one day specifically looking for a Kudu and drove the roads in the mountains. They were rough! We knew ahead of time that it was going to be a difficult trip for my wife. But, I asked her very nicely with all kinds of promises to go with us. After all, with out her along we would not get a Kudu, she’s my good luck charm. We drove those rocky mountain roads for miles. Bounced everyone around a lot! I used up all my goodwill chits with her on that drive.
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    Finally, about the time we’d had enough and were ready to call it quits, the road straightened out and headed downhill onto the plains. We breathed a sigh of relief and could finally relax a little. Then the PH got a call that one of the farm workers had seen a Kudu and told us where it was. Oops! That rocky road we just came down? Oh no! Back up we go! Fortunately it wasn’t to far, but we had to climb the hill on foot. While it wasn’t straight up, it sure seemed like it. The biggest elevation change where I live for miles around is 50’. So the tracker carried the gun, the PH carried the sticks, and I followed along the best I could. So here I am climbing this mountain, huffing & puffing and only focused on putting one foot in front of another in a safe place. One wrong step and I’ll slide to the bottom. As we climbed, we gravitated towards the right hand edge of a ravine and kept climbing. As we got into a small level clearing there was an Oryx skeleton. So, I went over to check it out. Psst, Pssst, what are you doing, over here! I hadn’t seen any signs of animals other than that skeleton, but when I turned around to see what the PH wanted, there was a Kudu on the other side of the ravine, probably 20 yards away just watching us. So, very carefully I set up on the sticks. Can’t shoot just yet. His horns are in the brush so we can’t see them and he’s facing us. After the fiasco with the Blue Wildebeest we decided no more head on shots. So we waited for him to move knowing that it will probably have to be a quick shot. And we waited. And he stood there watching us, it is amazing how well they blend into the background. Then he took a step downhill, PH said shoot, I shot and the Kudu disappeared. The PH said it was a good shot and said he heard him fall. So we all started looking for him. And we looked, and we looked. Then we enlarged the area and looked uphill thinking he may have circled around and headed uphill. No Kudu. Visions of the Blue Wildebeest fiasco started forming in my head. We went back to where he was shot and tried again, this time the PH went down the ravine and found him about 50 feet from where he was shot. He blended in with the rocks so well that we missed him the first time. I have a picture of just me and the Kudu and another of my wife and I with the Kudu, but my favorite picture is with everyone with the Kudu. Everyone in the picture had a part, and without each and everyone of them, that Kudu would still be roaming the hills after I’d left for home. I really appreciate the effort each and everyone put into the hunt.
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    This is getting lengthy so let me finish up real quick. I’m in my upper years so I don’t get down on my knees and crawl much and picking something up off the ground can be a challenge. So when we went after the Oryx and found I had to crawl on my knees to sneak up on them, I was concerned. But, I managed the crawl, they didn’t know we were there, one shot and my Oryx was DRT. I was finally getting back to where I needed to be. Only one more animal left.
    IMG_4762.jpg


    The Blue Wildebeest has a very special place with me. Of all the animals in Africa it’s number 1 and in all the world, it’s number 2 behind the New Zealand Red Stag. Since I didn’t get the Blue Wildebeest I talked to the PH and outfitter about another attempt. We reached an agreement and we set out the next day for a Blue Wildebeest. The criteria for the shot was going to be that it has to be “close” and it has to be broadside. We also agreed that once we got in close, before we set up, we would pause to be sure my breathing and heart rate were under control. So off we go looking for a Blue Wildebeest. We drove past a Black Wildebeest no more than 50 yards away. Kinda like he knew we were not after him and that he was safe. Finally found a Blue standing off by himself under a tree (probably a camel thorn, and what an interesting tree, did I tell you about the mica, and Oryx skeleton?) ok, focus, focus. The Blue was standing by himself under a tree and there were tall shrubs about every 50 yards such that we should be able to stalk him to about 50 yards without him seeing us. So off on the stalk. Everything is going as it should. Sneak to the next bush, PH checks the status of the Blue. Repeat and repeat and repeat. When we get to the last bush, we paused just like we’d planned at the beginning. When we’re ready, the PH checks the animal one more time and gives me an update. This stalk I behaved myself and kept up with him and let him do all the looking. All I saw during the stalk was bushes, grass, and the backside of the PH. As the PH sets the sticks he reminds me to keep shooting until he tells me to stop. I set up and make sure I’m lined up properly for the first shot. I start to squeeze and the gun fires, the wildebeest starts running, I cycle the bolt for another shot and fire off hand, quickly cycle again and fire off hand, cycle again to fire off hand and the rifle goes “click” and the Blue Wildebeest drops about 150 yards from the first shot. He’s the one in my avatar. (a side note: while the shot placement was not ideal in off hand, I did hit him)
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    All in all, my wife and I had a very good time. They took very good care of us. There are many things that this report does not cover which are also very important to us personally. We had some time to talk with the owners of Ganieb hunting ranch and were able to visit the local school. It was a very special time. And, yes, we’re making plans to go back to Africa.
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    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
    MAdcox, Rob404, Ridgewalker and 7 others like this.

  2. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Looks like you had a great time. Thanks for sharing. Good pics.
    Bruce
     

  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for sharing your hunt report.
     

  4. Brewster6514

    Brewster6514 AH Member

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    Thanks for the report, loved how your headline says our "first trip to Africa " nobody goes just once.
    glad you got your blue, i had a chance on our first trip and turned it down, didnt do that this time.
     

  5. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats for a great African experience !
     

  6. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Wonderful! Some very fine trophies, but my favorite picture is the last with you and your lady having a sundowner in a beautiful site!
    Congratulations on a fine first trip!
     

  7. blacks

    blacks AH Enthusiast

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    Congratulations and thanks for the report. Namibia is such a beautiful place!
     

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