SOUTH AFRICA: 31 Days, 3 Outfitters, White Lion, SS Pro & Chumlet Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Neale, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. Neale

    Neale AH Enthusiast

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    The planning for this safari began not long after getting home from my first safari to the Eastern Cape with Karoo Wild safaris. I did write a report on this 2015 trip. https://www.africahunting.com/threads/south-africa-karoo-wild-safaris-hunting-report.26036/


    After my first trip I had contracted the Africa disease and had to try and get back. I decided to sell some stuff including a custom built 257 Weatherby and the biggest and hardest decision was to give up smoking. Cigarettes in Australia are extremely expensive and I decided that if I could give up smoking I could save about $4000 per year. There lies my objective, Give up smoking and book myself a trip to Africa. I must admit that if I did not have this as my objective I do not think I would be have been able to cope. ( have I mentioned how many South Africans smoke and how cheap it is)

    I decided early that if I went back to Africa I would like to see different parts of the country and new landscapes. I had seen a Cull hunt advertised by White Lion safaris and thought that this would be a good opportunity to get some skins for the floor and experience the Free State.

    I also wanted to return to hunt a really good Southern Kudu and SS Pro were advertising a good package deal for some trophy animals and a Kudu in Australian dollars. This was a good value and I thought if I added a few more days to the package I would have a good chance in a once in a life time Kudu. I love Kudu hunting and already had two nice Eastern Cape Kudu.

    Lastly I wanted to go to KwaZulu Natal and hunt Nyala in a free range situation and Chumlet safaris were well positioned to offer this type of hunt.

    With much communication between these outfitters, dates were set and my dream of a return started to become a reality. All up it was going to be 31 days in Africa. Now only 12 months to wait....wait....wait. I spent far too much time reading hunt reports on AH during the wait period and the anticipation was building.

    This trip I was going to take my Remington 300 WSM with lightweight McMillan stock loaded with 180 gr Accubonds and Woodleights. I had shot the accubonds out to about 400 m and had taken it on two deer hunting trips during 2016 and it had performed very well. At the last minute I decided to also take my old Ruger 280 AI loaded with 160 gr accubonds as a backup as it has never let me down and I am confident in its ability. Both firearms have Leupold VX3 4.5-14 with CDS.

    At last Thursday 4th May 2017 has arrived and I am driving for 12 hours to get to the airport. I fly out of Cairns in Queensland and then to Brisbane and Perth. Then board the South Africa Airways flight to Johannesburg. We arrive at Johannesburg about 5am but they cannot get the airbridge to work so we are stuck on the plane. After about 40 minutes they decide to get stairs and by the time we are in the clearance area there has been another two international flights come in so the area is packed. I had already arranged for a meet and greet and firearms pre-approval with “Hunters Support” and was glad I did as I had a connecting flight to Bloemfontein at 0800. All went well and I was soon on my way to White Lion safaris.

    Sunday 7th May 2017

    Arrive at Bloemfontein and am picked up by Jaco who will be my PH for the next week. We immediately hit it off as he is an avid gun nut and likes his long range shooting. He had only just given up smoking and I gave him some moral support by saying that it is not easy and I still feel like having a smoke. ( Did I mention that most people in SA smoke) It was about an hour and half drive through open grass land and corn fields. Finally we started to get into some hills and pulled into the driveway. I was met by Ricus de villiers and his wife Nelia. They made me feel most welcome. Ah, the smell and sound of the African bush, this is why I have returned. I can already feel the disease symptoms subsiding.

    I settled into the accommodation and Jaco and I then went out to test the guns. Both were fine and I had a few shots at the 300m gong as some long shots may be required. We then went for a drive and walked up a small hill, on the other side we could see some Zebra feeding uphill and some springbuck behind them. I had 4 springbuck on my list so we waited on the sticks for the springbuck to feed closer but they were very mobile and never gave a shot opportunity. I did not want to take a marginal shot at my first animal and besides couldn’t we find something bigger and closer for my first shot??

    This hunt was a cull hunt which included 1 x Blue wildebeest, 2 x Black wildebeest, 1 x Warthog, 4 x Common Springbuck, 2 x Common Blesbuck and 1 x Impala.

    We walked around the hill and over the next ridge and spotted some Blesbuck feeding on the flat below. We stalked to within 230m and they started to become restless. I got onto the sticks and took a ewe with a well placed heart shot. She fell on the spot and I had my first African animal and it was not even day one yet.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. reedy0312

    reedy0312 AH Ambassador

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    Good start, looking forward to more!
     

  3. jasyblood

    jasyblood BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    31 days..wow! Sounds like a dream trip Neale!! Looking forward to the next installment.....
     
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  4. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I just love the coat on a blesbok, it's so pretty.
     

  5. Jfet

    Jfet AH Fanatic

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  6. dory

    dory AH Fanatic

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    What a dream trip Neale .
    Really looking forward to how you got on .
    We are going for six weeks next time so want to see if all your travel arrangements worked out .
    Way to go with a cull hunt first .
    Blow the cobwebs out and get the eye in before the main event .:D Beers:
     

  7. Neale

    Neale AH Enthusiast

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    Dory, A month was not enough especially when moving to different regions. I did shop around and got some really good value deals which allowed me to do this trip. I wish I was still there.
     
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  8. dory

    dory AH Fanatic

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    I know how you feel .
    We went for a month like you on our first trip .
    Man did it fly past .
    I remember getting home and the wife saying have we really been , it feels like we just left .
    I dont know how our frinds from the states can go for 5 and 6 day hunts ?
     

  9. Neale

    Neale AH Enthusiast

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    Monday 8th May ( Day 1 )
    [​IMG]
    The area where the Waterbuck was living


    First thing this morning we looked for a trophy Waterbuck that had escaped from Ricus farm and was sighted along a creek on the next door unfenced farm. We spent the morning searching but we did not see him. We drove back to the farm and around some of the rocky tracks that transverse the property. We did sight Kudu cows, Blue Wildebeest and Impala, none of which were suitable for a cull. A comment was made that the Kudu rut appeared late this year and the cows still have fairly small calves with them. We continued along the track and pulled up so that we could glass the opposite hillside. Jaco spotted some impala and we decided to have a closer look. We walked around the side of the hill and then climbed over the back of it to get the wind right. The impala had not moved too far and we closed the distance to about 100m. The cull Ram was selected and I was on the sticks awaiting a shot opportunity. Eventually the Ram moved into a clearing and was quartering away. The 180 gr accubond went in through the second last rib and into the opposite front shoulder. He ran about 20 m and fell. I was very happy with my second trophy ( Floor mat ) .

    [​IMG]

    At lunch time I went for a trip into Jagersfontein with Jaco to get a few supplies. This is still an active diamond mine and has the status of once producing a fine diamond that ended up on American gangster Al Capone's tiepin. (Google search) We returned to the farm and went looking for Springbuck. There is a large population of them on an adjacent low fenced property but the catch is that there is no cover and they start running from kilometres away. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts to get close enough for a shot a plan was put in place for me to wait on an elevated levee-bank (earth bank formed to divert runoff water) and Jaco was to drive to a ridge a couple of kilometres away. As luck would have it some Springbuck came up behind me and I was able to head shoot one. ( no picture for obvious reasons). This will be the start of a nice round floor mat I intend to make from the Springbuck and Blesbuck.

    On the way out a herd of Black Wildebeest came running by and did big circles and then ran back near the Bakkie. I did not want to shoot from the car but had a good look through the scope. It was getting dark and the Wildebeest moved off again to continue their aimless circle work.


    Tuesday 9th May ( Day 2 )

    We set off early to look for the Waterbuck again but no sighting. We did see plenty of tracks. ( The reason we were chasing the Waterbuck is that Ricus said he was a really good Bull and that he may not hang around too long. He also said that it would only cost me $400 ) We gave up about mid morning and then went looking for more on my list. We walked over a large hill and after about an hour of walking we spotted some Blesbuck feeding near some cattle. We stalked to the opposite ridge but the Blesbuck were gone . We then crossed over the valley and threaded our way through some grazing cattle. The wind was in our favour and the Blesbuck had fed out onto the open plain. We closed the distance to about 100m and I aimed at one that Jaco identified. It was quartering away and fell instantly to the shot. The bullet lodged under the skin on the opposite shoulder.
    [​IMG]
    We then took the Blesbuck back to the skinning shed and went out to look for Warthog. There were three feeding out on an open plain and the grass was very high. We managed to get within 200m of them by using some small prickle bushes as cover. I set the sticks up and steadied my rest and waited for the young boar to stop feeding and get onto his legs. Finally, he got up and moved into a small gap in the grass and a well placed accubond (pass through) in the heart put him down on the spot. We took the warthog back and the cook was going to prepare us some to try at dinner.
    [​IMG]
    We tried for springbuck in another area but could not get close enough in the open terrain. (Those of you who have hunted springbuck will know what I am talking about. They frustrate you.) Jaco then decided on another plan which would find us walking then crawling along an erosion gully to get within shooting range.( That is if you call 300+ m in a strong wind within range). I was fairly confident though if I could backup a bit and get a prone position on a small mound behind us. We got to position and I could only see the top of the springbuck back above the grass. One however had a little less grass in front of it and I shot. The wind was a little stronger than I thought and it hit near the base of the neck but with the desired result. There was a bit of skin damage but maybe it could still be used for my mat.

    In the afternoon we decided to try for Black wildebeest. I was set up on the same levee-bank as I had previously shot the springbuck. Jaco once again drove up to the ridge a couple of kilometres away and the Wildebeest and springbuck started to run in all directions. I could see springbuck within range in front of me and the black wildebeest doing random circles a kilometre away. They then straightened and pulled up about 200 m from my position but the sun was low and I could not make out which was which and even if I could determine a cull female out of the herd then I could not get a good sight picture. Eventually they scented me and took off. By now the Springbuck were also gone. That ends another day in Africa.
    [​IMG]
    Wednesday 10th May ( Day 3 )

    We went out in the morning to once again look for the waterbuck. We crossed over the hills and glassed the opposite ridge. At the top of the ridge we picked up the distinctive white circle of a Waterbuck rump. I got a rest and had a look through the scope on my rifle as it was about a kilometre away. After a while we determined that it was a female and therefore there were more than one out here and the Bull now has something to keep him in the area. We did not have enough time to search any more as we were due to leave for a day wing shooting near Bloemfontein.

    We drove to a sunflower farm outside of Bloemfontein and was met by the farmer. The days wing shooting was organised by Ricus and a Canadian couple staying at White Lion Lodge. I just tagged along. I am really glad I did and also glad I was stationed in the sunflower field as I had developed a very bad case of diarrhoea and had to often walk in a few rows and do my business while the others sent shots overhead. I hoped the guys who were collecting the dead birds did not get too many surprises. The farmer gave us a semi-auto Beretta shotgun and a case of 500 cartridges each and we were positioned about 100m away from each other. The targets were pigeons and doves that come in on flight paths at a speed of about 1000km/hr and can bank at about mach 2. The farmer said that he can lose up to 30 % of his crop to these birds and I can believe that as nearly all the sunflower heads were attacked.

    They were extremely hard to hit as I had never really done much shot gun shooting but I really enjoyed the experience. If you ever get a chance to have a go while in SA then do yourself a favour and have a go. Result at the end of the day 250 rounds and 47 birds.



    Thursday 11th May ( Day 4 )

    Jaco and I went out to look for Blue Wildebeest but could not find any. We even sent one of the farm workers to the top of the mountain to see if they were on the top plateau but no sign was found anywhere. We decided to put in a stalk on some springbuck that were walking across a flat towards another ridgeline. I settled down with a good rest and the springbuck were about 300 m away. I took the shot and it clearly missed. I shot two more times and also missed. I was starting to wonder what was going wrong and felt I needed to check the point of impact as I had taken a fall on Tuesday and the scope got a bad knock but I was hoping it was OK. It appeared to be shooting too low and right so some correction was required and it appeared to be shooting OK.

    In the afternoon we decided to try for the Black Wildebeest and implement the same plan as two days ago. I was to set up though further along the levee-bank. Jaco dropped me off and then went to see if he could get them moving. The herd of Wildebeest did clockwise and anticlockwise circles and figure eights and low and behold they stopped about 200m in front of me. I selected a cull cow and took aim and shot. At the shot the herd took off and I could not see which one I had hit. They did a big semicircle and I lost sight of them behind some trees. When they came out the other side I thought I could see one lagging behind. At this stage I was thinking what Jaco had said “Wildebeest wake up sick and each bullet you put in them makes them feel better”. I was not feeling good about this situation and was watching through the binoculars as they stopped about 800m away. One peeled off and lay down and then rolled on its side. I watched intently as the herd took off again. I tried to get a landmark beside a termite mound and then walked toward the spot. When I got there all the termite mounds looked the same and I could not find the downed beest. Jaco had arrived and I went through proceedings and I walked back to where I had shot from to try and pin point the location. It was grassy but open and I tried to picture the previous scene in my head. I said to Jaco that I was sure it did not get up and follow the herd away and that if it was down it would be around here somewhere. Finally after about half an hour we found her lying dead in the grass. What a relief. But, now I was starting to question my shooting and the rifle as it was hit not where I had aimed. ( High and too far back) We loaded the Black Wildebeest and then Jaco and I walked up the hills to the north.
    [​IMG]
    We got onto the plateau on top and we spotted some Springbuck. They were walking along and at about 100 m I shot the last one as it hesitated between some bushes. The shot was also too high and too far back but it dropped at the shot. I am now starting to doubt my shooting and rifle. I am trying to get it out of my head and Jaco says that I should walk further north and he will carry the Springbuck back to the car and pick me up on the other side. Sounded like a plan and off we went on our separate ways. I had not gone too far when another couple of springbuck caught sight of me and were off. I continued to walk along the plateau and when I reached the other side I could see some springbuck making their way through a rocky pass. I got a good solid rest and squeezed the trigger. In the back of my mind there was some doubt but after the shot the Springbok dropped on the spot. I hope the tannery has a large patch that they can put over the exit wound. ( Note: 300 WSM at 100m is rough on small game skins)
    [​IMG]
    Jaco met up with me on the other side and we loaded the Springbok and left for home. On the way he gets a call to help with the recovery of a Zebra that the Canadian Lady had shot. It was very cold and windy as we made our way up the mountain and then into where the Zebra was. By the time it was loaded and we got back I was starting to feel a bit sick. I had hot and cold flushes all night but I bombed myself with some drugs I had taken over and by morning I was feeling OK but tired and drained.

    Friday 12th May ( Day 5 )

    We went looking for Blue Wildebeest and after skirting around a hill we could see a lone Bull with some Zebra and they were feeding toward another hillside. They were too far away for a shot and the wind was blowing 30 Knots. I had changed rifles and was now carrying my 280 AI as I had lost confidence in the 300 WSM. We backtracked and went back to the vehicle and drove for some distance to go around and approach from the south. The wind was bitterly cold and it threatened to rain. We followed a creek bed and made some ground to close the distance on the lone Bull. He was now in the company of Zebra and Blesbuck and grazing out in the open. The Zebra were on one side of the creek bank and the Wildebeest and Blesbuck on the other bank and us in the middle. Jaco and I made our way to a non-prickle bush ( Yes, the only one in Africa) but had to climb a 2m vertical bank and get right in amongst the bush. I poked the gun out through the bush and got a good sight picture. By this stage all animals in the region were alert and the Wildebeest was facing directly toward me. I aimed dead centre of his chest and squeezed the trigger. He ran 30 m and fell over dead. It had taken us about 4 hours to stalk this bloke but I was so happy that we put in a good effort and the reward was a Wildebeest on the ground.

    [​IMG]

    Saturday 13th May ( Day 6 )

    We went out in the morning to look for the Waterbuck again. We had figured where he was probably living and decided to walk around the hill and approach from another direction. We were just getting to the area when Jaco froze and I nearly ran into the back of him. He quickly lifted his binos and said “there he goes”. I did not see him but Jaco said he was a very good Bull. We followed up but to no avail and that was the last time we were to see him. We went back to try and get another Springbuck as I had asked Ricus if I could get another 2-3 Springbuck in lieu of a second Black Wildebeest. I had now decided that I required 6 Springbuck for my circular ( hexagonal ) floor rug. Jaco drove and I was sitting in the back and we spotted some Springbuck making for the hills. As jaco drew closer he stopped and the Springbuck also stopped at the base of the hill. I took aim with the 280 and head shot one at 200 + m. I was very pleased with the result.

    It was so windy and cold and there was unseasonal rain all over South Africa. Some places received over 50 mm of rain and this was to play an important role in my future weeks.

    The Canadian had taken a nice Kudu so it was celebrations tonight. No need for an excuse for me but we all took it a bit far and next morning I had a super hangover ( combination of beer, SA red wine and Bundy Rum that I brought over from Australia ) that took two days to get over.

    Sunday 14th May ( Day 7 )

    Woke late with the hangover from hell and decided to go out one last time to see if we could find the Waterbuck. I think that he would have to be one dumb animal to be out witted by us two today. Anyway, after a couple of hours my head was telling me. Go home as it is a waste of time to be out here today. So it was back to the lodge and some rest.

    As I rested I reflected on the last week. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed hunting this area and the hosts were excellent. Everything was well organised and that is a reflection of the professionalism of Ricus and his team at White Lion Safaris.
    [​IMG]
    White Lion Safari Lodge

    [​IMG]
    White Lion Accomodation


    Tomorrow it is off to SS Pro in the Limpopo.
     
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  10. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    (y)
     

  11. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Sounded like a fun hunt!
     

  12. salesman

    salesman AH Senior Member

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    Great report. Sounds like you had a great time. I hunted with Ricus for the second time a little earlier this year. He and his team are first class.
     

  13. dory

    dory AH Fanatic

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    Hangover from hell just after a good dose of the full undies disease !
    Why do we never learn ?
    Good hunt though .
    Sounds like tons of fun .
     

  14. randallhebert

    randallhebert AH Member

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    They are defiantly first class. Can't wait to get back and hunt again with Ricus and Jaco. And Curtis the cook is very good at his job also.
     

  15. Neale

    Neale AH Enthusiast

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    Monday 15th May ( Day 8 )

    Woke up early and packed my gear for the airport. The flight from Bloemfontein back to Johannesburg was uneventful and I was soon greeted By Abel and Sam from SS Pro safaris. Abel is Scott’s brother and Sam is an American PH who works with SS Pro. ( Both smoke)

    My aim objective was to hunt a Kudu as close to 60” as possible. The area and SS pro are noted for big Kudu and I had many discussions with Scott regarding Kudu and that I would like to spend time walking in the mountains in pursue of a trophy Kudu. It was such a surprise when I received an email from Scott’s wife Sure’ to say that Scott was missing. Unfortunately there was a tragic outcome and the family is still coming to grips with the events. (My thought are still extended to the family. He was a well liked and respected man and I feel privileged to have walked on the same ground as Scott.)

    We leave the busy streets and outer Johannesburg and head toward the Limpopo. What a change in landscape from the Free State. About 2 hours into the drive you cross a mountain range and the bush veldt starts. The vegetation became very thick and in another couple of hours a mountain range appears and Abel says it is the Waterberg Range. We started down a drive way and pulled up at the lodge which is tucked away in the foothills of the Waterberg.

    [​IMG]
    Entry to SS Pro safaris


    I was greeted by the rest of the SS Pro team, Sure’ ( Scott’s wife), Pieter (Scott’s elder brother and lodge manager and bar keep), Nico ( Young PH with great enthusiasm), Vittorio ( Young PH with a great sense of humour and who I got to know well), Dante’ ( IT and tech support, a role which used to be performed by Abel with a hammer) and a multitude of dogs who I will never remember the names. I settle into my room and then we walk 100 m and test the rifles on the range. All seem OK. Abel suggested we go for a drive and have a look around. We all pile in Abel, Nico, Sam, Vittorio and myself. We see a number of different animals. At one stage a Blue wildebeest runs in front of us and stops 60 m away. We watch it and it finally moves off. There is some smart arse comment from the drivers seat about being on a hunting safari and not a photographic safari. The bush is very thick and visibility is limited, I think, how am I going to hunt this area. Abel said that the bush was thicker than normal for this time of year with late rains and the widespread rain a few days ago will put water back in the creeks and depressions and freshen up the vegetation. Well it wasn’t supposed to be easy. We stop the vehicle in the shadow of a huge sedimentary mountain and open the esky (cooler). Out comes black label beer and shooters for everyone. Great way to start the next 13 days. My primary objective is to hunt Kudu but I also have taken a package hunt that hopefully see me take Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Impala, Gemsbuck and Warthog. If any of these species are encounter while we are out then they are on the menu.
    The following are some pictures of the landscape I was to hunt.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Tuesday 16th May ( Day 9 )

    The night before Abel asked me if I would be interested in a cull Eland cow and I said I would so a plan was developed to hunt an area about 45 Km NW of the lodge. I was to be guided by Sam, Vittorio and Nico. (1X3Ph’s). Abel was going to stay back at the lodge and catch up with paper work. (He loves doing paperwork) Did I mention that all these guys smoke!!

    We enter the farm and the boys immediately look for a suitable tree to drag behind the Bakkie. Later I was to learn that this was to sweep tracks on the road and if any Eland walked across the road we would see which block they are in. The vegetation on this farm was so thick that you would not have seen a giraffe if it was 15 m away. Anyway I thought, lets play this game and see what happens? Well nothing. It was then decided that Nico and I should wait at a watering point while Sam and Vittorio go and look for Eland. It was getting close to midday and some Wildebeest started coming into water. We were sitting under some bushes and at one stage we had about 20 Wildebeest in front of us. Nico motioned me to shoot the Bull that was looking at us at about 40 m but the trophy for me was the skin so I wanted one with better stripes. After a while they got too nervous and moved off. The other boys then arrived and said that they had found the Eland and we were to come. Away we went in pursuit of the Eland and we followed and we followed and we followed eventually going back to the Bakkie and trying to drive around in front of them. We waited in ambush but they were too smart for these 4 stooges.

    Sam and I then went back to the water point to wait till dark. Just before dark we could hear the almost electronic hoof click of a mature bull Eland. A sound I will never forget. The sound gets louder and then stops, louder and stops and then we see two young bulls and the most magnificent huge bull Eland with a large brown mop on his forehead. They are large animals and here was a fully mature bull not 30m away. He looks at us but we do not move but he knows something is not right and decides that it is better to leave and come back later when these strange things that are staring are gone. One in particular looks like he has droopy jaw syndrome.

    It is nearly dark now and we start to head home and spot a really good Kudu Bull but he soon disappears. A good quantity of Black labels and dinner and I am ready to turn in.

    Wednesday 17th May ( Day 10 )

    Rise early this morning as we are to travel to a farm about 40 km to the SW. Abel was the PH today and we walked many miles in some prime Kudu habitat but failed to see any Bulls. My discussion with Abel was that I was after a good Kudu that gave you a “wow, that is a nice Kudu” feeling. It was not necessarily about inches but I wanted to hunt hard and spend a lot of time walking the mountains in pursuit of a good trophy. I knew it was a big ask, but that is why I was hunting with SS Pro in the Limpopo and I had 12 days to do it. After walking most of the morning we decided to break for lunch under the shade of a tree. After lunch we drove to the top of a ridge and walked along the side of it and down into the valley below. We hunted hard all day and it was not until just on dark that Abel and I were walking along a track when a Kudu Bull materialised off to the side. He was a good Bull but had one deformed horn. He quickly made his self scarce and disappeared into the gloom. It was time to call it a day and head back to camp for some black labels and dinner.



    Thursday 18th May ( Day 11 )

    We started off this morning glassing for Kudu from the top of a mountain. We were scanning the opposite hill sides and the flat land below. We could see for many kilometres and noticed Impala, Giraffe, and Kudu on the flats below but the only Kudu bull had one horn. A leopard was sawing ( sounds more like rasping ) in the valley below and making the animals nervous. Abel noticed some Impala below and they were working their way up the hillside and hopefully within range. I got on the sticks and waited as Impala ewes filed past an opening. The ram did not appear and must have used the thick vegetation to his advantage.

    [​IMG]

    We decided to try another area further up the same gorge that held the Leopard. We did manage to flush some Bush pigs but that was all we saw. The morning was getting on so it was back down onto the flats and try for something else. We put in a stalk on some Impala but got busted and then some Wildebeest but they scented us. As we approached a cleared lane (track ) an Impala ram was walking towards us and unaware of our presence. I got onto the sticks and took a front on shot at about 60m and he went down on the spot. He was a nice mature ram with heavy horns. I was happy to take my first animal with SS Pro.

    [​IMG]


    Another vehicle had been dispatched from camp with our Lunch so the Impala was loaded onto that Bakkie and we continued our pursuit for Kudu. In the early afternoon we sat overlooking a water point without luck and then drove to another part of the farm and only saw some Kudu cows and young Bulls. The afternoon turned to darkness and we headed back to camp. On the way back to camp we noticed a light in an open paddock, formally farm land. Abel pulled up and the light appeared to be moving but as far as he knew there should be no one else on the farm. We drive over to investigate and find it is a torch on the ground with and intermittent strobe flashing. ( Hence, looked like it was moving) It is revealed by Abel that this is Scott’s torch he used for leopard hunting and it was lost about 18 months ago. An animal must have stood on the on/off button and turned it on before our arrival. What a coincidence as the battery would not have lasted all night.

    Friday 19th May ( Day 12 )

    We were up early and glassing from an area known as the “Neck” where there was a pass in the mountain range. We briefly saw a good Kudu in the distance but he was soon swallowed up by the thick bush. As the sun rose animals could be seen warming themselves in the more open patches of bush veldt. We decided to travel to a plateau and have a look up there. We did see some Zebra but after a short stalk they ran and we never seen them again. We walked over to the edge of the plateau and glassed below but did not see anything worthy of further investigation. It was now getting close to lunch so we went back to the vehicle and drove to a kopje that overlooked a salt lick and watering point. Young Nico have given us all a touch of the flu and we had boiled eggs for lunch so between coughing, sneezing, snoring and farting it was no wonder nothing came in while we were there. The afternoon saw us looking for Kudu again on the flats and small rocky ridges that rise out of the bush veldt. We were just going up one of these small ridges and some Zebra were spotted on the top. There was little chance for a shot as they had already spotted us and were making their way for safer ground. Just before dark Abel spotted some Wildebeest feeding toward us and we made up some ground using some prickle bushes as cover. We were standing behind a bush and the Wildebeest Bull became curious about what was making some movement behind the bush in front of him and he moved forward to investigate. (Well you know what happened to the cat) I moved a little to my left and took an offhand shot at about 50 m square into the chest. He turned and ran about another 50m and fell dead into some bushes. It was now nearly dark and I stayed with him while Abel went to get the Bakkie and cut a track in. We eventually got him into the Bakkie and it was back to the lodge for a well earned beer and dinner.

    [​IMG]


    Saturday 20th May ( Day 13 )

    I did not know it was day 13 until I began writing this report.

    Today it was off to another farm about 10 km away to try and get a Gemsbuck which was on my package list. I was after one with a good skin so either male or female would satisfy my requirements. I was with Nico, Vittorio and Innocent (the tracker and driver) today as well as a dog named “sookie” (close enough to correct name). We stalked into a group of Gemsbuck but they were onto us and moved off. We then spotted a few on the edge of a lane and I set up on the sticks at about 150m. I thought how fortunate this is, we will be home by smoko time.

    The target Gemsbuck was facing towards me, maybe a little quartering towards. I placed the crosshairs inside the point of the shoulder and squeezed the trigger. At the shot the boys said that they thought it was good and we would wait a few minutes and go have a look. After they all had a cigarette ( Not me ) we went to where the Gemsbuck was standing and found a little bit of dark blood on a leaf. (Not good ) I started to feel a bit of a sinking feeling in my stomach as the surrounding bush was thick and the wounded animal could have gone anywhere. Vittorio now called for Innocent and the dog sookie to take up the track. For the next half hour we had not found anything except for another small speck of blood. Then all of a sudden Sookie became excited and ran forward and started barking in some bushes. We approached with caution and as we stared into the bush a large Warthog erupted out and nearly cleaned us up with his escape. After that bit of excitement it was back to the business at hand. I was feeling bad about not finding any sign. Gemsbuck was my nemesis last trip and it would appear that it has not changed. It was now a couple of hours after the shot and we had not sighted anything promising until Nico called on the radio that he had just bumped a Gemsbuck that was laying down and it nearly skewered him when it ran past. Vittorrio and I went to Nico and was walking along a track when a Gemsbuck was spotted in the bush and behaving strangely (walking and not running). Vittorio could not make out if it was wounded or not and it soon disappeared into the bush. We ran around to an area where we thought it may be and walked slowly trying to locate anything out of the ordinary. Vittorio then spotted a lone Gemsbuck and after checking said that was the one. I got down on one knee and the Gemsbuck was making its escape so I decided I had to get another bullet into it and fortunately the shot hit the Gemsbuck in the spine and down it went. What a relief after about 3 hours tracking. The first shot had hit the outside of the shoulder and low. Probably only about 2 inches from a good shot but another lesson learnt ( Beware, the frontal shot)

    [​IMG]


    We went back to the lodge for lunch and Vittorio asked if I wanted to have a rest. I said that I was good and I did not come to Africa to rest and we must be back out hunting as soon as possible. We got Innocent to drop us off and we walked around a small mountain range. We caught a glimpse of Zebra and nothing else. The recent rain and thick bush was certainly aiding the animals in concealing themselves. It was late so we called for Innocent to pick us up and head back to the lodge.

    Sunday 21st May ( Day 14 )

    This morning Abel drove to the top of a mountain and we walked over to the edge where we could glass the other side. As the sun warmed the mountain face we saw a nice Kudu Bull heading high on the opposite mountain. There was also a group of cows with two good Bulls that made their way over the top and out of sight. Abel decided we should continue along the mountain that we were on and we drove the Bakkie up a rocky track and as we neared the top we bumped a group of Kudu with a number of Bulls. We followed them but only caught glimpses as they had split up and were making their way to thicker country. We then spotted some Zebra and followed then over some very rocky and broken ground but never got into a shooting opportunity. They need to call the plains Zebra in this part of the country “Mountain Zebra” as they seemed to only be on top of the mountains. It was now lunch time so we drove down the mountain and had lunch in the shade of a big buffalo thorn tree. After lunch Abel dropped Vittorio and Innocent off and they were to walk over the top of the mountain and scout for Kudu. Abel and I will walk a gorge over the other side. ( where the Kudu were heading this morning) Abel and I had been walking for an hour or more in the bottom of the canyon glassing up both sides. Abel suddenly says “There is a Bull”. I look in the direction he is pointing and there is a magnificent Bull standing on a rock ledge overlooking the canyon below. I get on the sticks and look at him through the scope. He is hard to judge from such an acute upward angle but he is a magnificent, proud animal. I study him but he just has not got the “wow” factor for me and I say to Abel that I would pass. Abel looks at me and asks “are you sure” I think for a while, take another sight picture and reluctantly say “ yes I am sure”. I then take some photos and keep asking myself if I have made the right decision or should I take him. I have another look through the scope at this magnificent animal and say sorry Abel but we have more days. The walk out of the canyon was quiet without a word spoken and when we met up with Vittorio there was an exchange of words in Afrikaans which I interpreted as “ That f#*&ing aussie c#%t just pass up a good Kudu because it did not have the wow factor” Over a lot of beers that night we did clear the air and I started getting a bit of a ribbing about the “wow” factor. It was all good but it really did hit home how much pressure there is at times on both the PH and client after many days spent in pursue of a trophy. I reassured Abel that the Trophy was a bonus and I am really enjoying the way we are hunting.

    [​IMG]
    Kudu mentioned in text that I passed. Photo a bit blurry.


    Note: The client is under pressure to perform and shoot well and each day takes it to a higher level. You start to doubt your ability to perform when the time comes and maybe you should shoot the next one that comes along. For the PH there is pressure for him to find the client a good trophy and when he has put in many days of walking and finally puts his client onto a good representative trophy it is hard for him as well when it is turned down.

    [​IMG]
    The Bar where all problems are solved.


    It is dark by the time we get back to the Bakkie and we head back for a well earned beer. When we arrive back at camp Pieter says that his good friend Theunis Botha has been crushed by an Elephant in Zimbabwe. Very sad indeed.

    More to come
     
    Dr Ray, HuntingGold and reedy0312 like this.

  16. dory

    dory AH Fanatic

    Joined:
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    Good stuff .!!!
    Nice Kudu , what was the lenght guessed at ?
    No what you mean about your Wildebeest skin.
    Of all the skins i have it stands out hte most and everyone comments about it .
    Yous looks unusually brown , or is that just the flash causing that ?
     

  17. Neale

    Neale AH Enthusiast

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    Dory, It was to hard to try and guess the lenght of the Kudu due to the acute angle and distance we were looking at. He was unaware we were there and was paying more attention to another bull and his girls grazing just below him. He did have really good curls and at times you could look throught his curls. He was a nice Bull.
    Yes, I think the Wildebeest colour is a bit misleading by the flash
    I have attached another photo but you still cannot see his tips. It is full zoom on my point and shoot camera using the sticks as support.
    I can look at Kudu all day
    [​IMG]
     

  18. reedy0312

    reedy0312 AH Ambassador

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    Very nice, congrats on the trophies and cull animals! Look forward to more!
     

  19. dory

    dory AH Fanatic

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    Shit hes got some amazing curl going on .
    Dont know if i could of said no .
    But then i wasnt there .
    Cheers .
     
    Roan and sierraone like this.

  20. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Legend

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    Looks like a pretty good Kudu. Congrats for the self restraint. Enjoying your hunt. Bruce
     

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