SOUTH AFRICA: A Return To Huntershill Safaris - Even Better Than Last Year!

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by One Day..., Aug 10, 2019.

  1. mark-hunter

    mark-hunter AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2016
    Messages:
    761
    Video/Photo:
    21
    Likes Received:
    607
    Hunted:
    Namibia - Kalahari, Namibia - Khomas highland
    So, next year will be season 3, huntershill reloaded! Congrats on the buff! What an amaising hunt and adventure!
     

  2. One Day...

    One Day... AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2018
    Messages:
    755
    Video/Photo:
    276
    Likes Received:
    1,405
    Member of:
    PHASA
    Hunted:
    Europe, America, Canada, Africa
    Yes, likely Huntershill season 3, with a focus on Duiker (hopefully luckier next year than this year:whistle:); Grysbok; Klipspringer; Bushpig; Vaal Rhebok again... (love it!), etc.
    That is unless I hit the lottery (yeah, right!) in which case I would really be interested in a tuskless elephant cow in Zimbabwe. They are supposed to provide a most interesting hunt...
     

  3. One Day...

    One Day... AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2018
    Messages:
    755
    Video/Photo:
    276
    Likes Received:
    1,405
    Member of:
    PHASA
    Hunted:
    Europe, America, Canada, Africa
    Pure Bontebok face markings...

    A question was asked about Bontebok that have their white face mask interrupted by a brown band between their eyes, like mine has. This is a legitimate question, and I apologize for amply contributing to the confusion because I did not know the answer when the question was asked.

    Upon a discussion with Greg and Jason at Huntershill (is not WhatsApp really great?), and a little bit a research, here is the answer.

    It is actually quite common for pure, registered, DNA tested Bontebok to have a brown band between the eyes separating the upper and lower white patches, and therefore to NOT have a continuous white mask.

    For example, see this auction post from registered breeder Dreyer van Zyl. Note in the description: “He is fully DNA tested (nuclear and mitochondrial, pure Bontebok),” and it even lists the microchip number…

    upload_2019-8-19_9-0-38.png

    For examples too, see the following internet screen captures showing Bontebok with brown band between the eyes dividing the white face mark in lower and upper portions.

    I am sure that many will recognize some of the names: Shakari Connection, SCI, Limcroma Safaris, Somerby Safaris, Induna Safaris, Richard Holmes Safaris, Thormahlen & Cochran safaris, Lategan Safaris, 4 Aces Outfitters, Blaauwkrantz Safaris, Sulurija Safaris – Hunting Southern Africa, Limpopo Travel - Diana Hunting Tours, Wintershoek / Johnny Vivier Safaris, Hunt The Sun Mike Birch Safaris, Russ Field Safaris, KMG Hunting Safaris.

    upload_2019-8-19_9-3-46.png

    upload_2019-8-19_9-4-14.png

    upload_2019-8-19_9-4-49.png

    upload_2019-8-19_9-5-13.png

    upload_2019-8-19_9-5-42.png

    upload_2019-8-19_9-6-22.png

    upload_2019-8-19_9-6-52.png

    upload_2019-8-19_9-7-20.png

    And maybe, to close, it is appropriate to use this beautiful picture from African Sky Hunting Adventures, another big name in the South African safari community, that shows Bontebok with and without the brown band between the eye.

    upload_2019-8-19_9-8-39.png

    I thinks this closes the discussion whether Bontebok that do not have the continued white blaze on their face are hybrids or not. The clear answer is no. The answer is supported by nuclear and mitochondrial DNA testing, and there is ample field evidence from a broad range of sources to demonstrate that Bontebok may or may not have a brown band between the eyes.

    Regarding Huntershill’s Bontebok, as previously stated the herd is registered as a pure Bontebok herd with the South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs, and there are animals in it with and without a brown band between the eyes, just as illustrated in the above picture.

    Thx
    P
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
    BeeMaa likes this.

  4. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    11,251
    Video/Photo:
    136
    Likes Received:
    3,586
    Member of:
    Northeast Wisconsin SCI chapter, Lifetime member of NRA,RMEF
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa (East Cape, Guateng and Limpopo)
    Congrats! Great shooting, the 100 gr TTSX do a number on plains game. Very thick sable horns!
     

  5. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa AH Elite

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2017
    Messages:
    1,173
    Video/Photo:
    38
    Likes Received:
    1,063
    Location:
    Eastern US
    Member of:
    NRA Life Member, SCI
    Hunted:
    Eastern US & RSA
    Sorry Pascal, wasn't trying to stir the pot.
    I do really appreciate the response as well as the time and research that went into it.

    Cheers.
     
    SHOCKER likes this.

  6. One Day...

    One Day... AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2018
    Messages:
    755
    Video/Photo:
    276
    Likes Received:
    1,405
    Member of:
    PHASA
    Hunted:
    Europe, America, Canada, Africa
    No worries, really. It gave us both an opportunity to learn :)
     
    SHOCKER likes this.

  7. One Day...

    One Day... AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2018
    Messages:
    755
    Video/Photo:
    276
    Likes Received:
    1,405
    Member of:
    PHASA
    Hunted:
    Europe, America, Canada, Africa
    In Vaal Rhebok land…

    Vaal Rhebok land is beautiful.

    The Afrikaners call it mountains, but having grown in the French Alps, where “mountains” tend to mean glaciers, rock peaks, very steep inclinations over sheer faces 1,000 to 2,000 meters (3,000 to 6,000 feet) high, etc. and where "mountain hunting" often involves snow and genuine mountaineering or at least high altitude trekking skills, the South African mountains of the Great Escarpment often remind me more of what in Europe we call the Pre-Alps, than of the Alps themselves. But, French, Austrian, Swiss, Italian, New Zealander, Himalayan, Alaskan, etc. alpine mountain hunters will forgive me if I adopt the accepted term of South African mountains to describe Vaal Rhebok land. The more rugged areas of the Drakensberg certainly qualify for very rough landscape, glaciers notwithstanding, but the montane landscapes where Vaal Rhebok evolve are less dramatic.

    Pascal La Garde 2008.jpg
    Mountain hunting in the French Alps, circa early 2000's

    We left Huntershill at 5:00 am that morning for the two hour drive north toward Dordrecht, on the line between the Stormberg District and the Drakensberg District. We were going to hunt the high plateaus and mountains dominating a certain secret valley…

    It was not really cold at 7 o’clock when we arrived, but it was not very warm either. I was finally happy that I had brought my heavy insulated parka from the US. Last year in August 2018 I had worn it almost every morning as white frost scintillated in the morning sun, but this year, July 2019, I had, so far, not used it much, and I was starting to wonder if I had not brought it half way around the world for nothing. No, I had not. I was quite happy to have it that morning.

    We quickly moved into the mountains, following a rough bulldozer ‘road’ along a small stream in a gradually narrower canyon. Then, we started driving up the mountain, following a diminishing track. From steep grades onto flats, followed by steeper grades and higher flats, we gradually ascended a few thousand feet until we were in a vast mountain circle, where it was clear that even the Land Cruiser would have to forfeit getting any higher.

    DSC01710b.JPG
    The montane landscapes where Vaal Rhebok evolve are less dramatic…

    The wind was howling, we were running after blown off head caps, and it was high, and it was wild, and it actually smelled like only mountain air smells, and the sun had that unique shine of higher altitude purer skies, and it was beautiful, and I was happy. How I wish I had had the presence of mind to take a couple pictures! But I have realized a long time ago that I cannot hunt and take pictures at the same time, the two require a different focus, and I have never been able to simultaneously hunt and really take pictures. Of course, I do take some pictures, when I think of it, but when the hunt is intense, I just forget. That day, I would not remember that I always carry a camera on my belt, until we were back down on the lower plateau. Shame on me…

    There were a lot of Mountain Reedbuck in that vast mountain basin, in the slopes on the left, and in the long steep slope in front, gradually steepening and narrowing to the peak at the top. We hiked to a point where we could see both slopes, and the bottom of the basin where a small lake provided water.

    We sat low, and the glassing started, rhythmically punctuated by the “there!” “where?” verbal dance followed by detailed explanations. “See that huge red rock at the bottom?” “Yes.” “OK, about 100 meters to its left and 300 meters higher. See them?” “No;” “wait, yes, got them!” Finally, Jason said, “there is a Vaalie (Vaal Rhebok) just above the three Reedbuck in the last bushes at the bottom of the final slope, to the left, a few hundred meters below the summit.” I could clearly see the animal in my binocular. A tiny grey dot, way high on the mountain. Now, whether that was a Vaal Rhebok or a Mountain Reedbuck, I could not have told to save my life…

    We decided that we would climb the mountain from the right side, hidden behind the right ridge of the shallow drainage, then we would cross over to the left and try a final approach from slightly above. The Rhebok was something like 2,000 or 3,000 feet above us. That would be a nice, steep, long hike. Jason, and I dropped a few layers, we would get quite warm hiking up.

    “This is going to be rough,” said Jason with an apologetic smile. He remembered probably our Kudu hunt from last year when I just could not keep up with his galloping straight uphill. “I will just have to go at my own pace,” I answered, stating the painful obvious, remembering once again sadly that my main daily physical activity over the last two decades has been to amble from office to bathroom, and promising myself once again that: this is it, from now on I will walk one hour every day. Yeah, right!

    upload_2019-8-19_12-45-25.png
    Finally, Jason said, “there is a Vaalie just above the three Reedbuck in the last bushes at the bottom of the final slope, to the left, a few hundred meters below the summit.” We decided that we would climb the mountain from the right side, hidden behind the right ridge of the shallow drainage, then we would cross over to the left and try a final approach from slightly above. “This is going to be rough,” said Jason…
    (Note: This is not the exact mountain we were on that day, but it looks eerily similar…)


    The plan almost worked. By the time we were almost to the top, behind the ridge, the Vaalie decided he had business on the same side of the mountain as we were, and we saw him silhouette himself on the blue sky 700 or 800 yards above us. He saw us too and ran toward a gully in front of us. We tried to intercept him but, of course, he was faster than us. Maybe Jason could have gotten him, but I just could not run at an uphill tangent.

    The Vaalie emerged, on the other side of the gully, lower and closer than he had been. We were just crossing a long steeply inclined rock slab. We crouched. The Vaalie stopped. Jason was already glassing him. The dreaded verdict came: “he is really good,” he said. “Can you shoot?” he asked. “I do not know,” I replied.

    I tried to lay down, but when I did, I started to roll down. I tried to lay on my left leg and use my right leg stretched downhill as a side support. Not great. I tried to put the tiny daypack as a rest. It kept rolling down. I tried to prop myself on my right elbow while laying on my left forearm. My right elbow kept rolling on the smooth rock. Dang it hurt! “This is not good,” I told Jason. “I know,” he replied, “but can you shoot?”

    The rangefinder said close to five hundred. The wind was howling, 15 mph, maybe 20 mph coming uphill and from the right. Accounting for the uphill shooting angle, hence reduced bullet drop due to the shorter equivalent horizontal distance, and the altitude lower air density – the Leica 2000 B does all that automatically - I would have to hold 12 inch high and if I could shoot at a time when the wind only blew 10 mph, I would need to lead about 17 inches into it. Then, the Vaalie started to walk. Good Lord, one more variable! A couple more inch of lead. I told Jason, “this is not a shot, this is a Hail Mary.” “I know,” he replied, “but he is fragile, if you hit him anywhere in the body, we have him.”

    That reminded me of another precarious shot, about 20 years ago, hunting chamois back home in the French Alps. Another equilibrium exercise in a hard place to take a reliable shot.

    DSC01389.JPG
    That reminded me of another precarious shot, about 20 years ago, hunting chamois back home in the French Alps…

    So, I took the shot.

    And I did what happens most often on those cases: I missed.

    “Where?” I asked. “Did not see,” replied Jason soberly. I shot again. “Woah!” Jason said, “good elevation, juuuust a few inches in front of him.” It looks like I over corrected for the wind, of maybe the wind did not blow as hard on the other side of the gully than on ours. Who knows... The Vaalie had had enough, he started to run almost straight up, and we watched him disappear in a minute over the summit ridge, as easily as if he had been going downhill. I stood up and unloaded the chamber of the rifle…

    We came down. Out of good conscience we did cross over to the right and behind the ridge. The Rhebok was of course nowhere to be seen, although we caught by surprise a group of Mountain Reedbuck that we could have killed by throwing stones at them because they were so close. But there was no big ram among them.

    By the time we were down back at the truck, it was time to try another mountain. We both knew it, and that was fine. It had been a valiant effort.

    The Gods of the hunt must have agreed, and must have thought that a reward was earned, as by the time we were almost out of the little river canyon at the bottom of the mountain, a great Mountain Reedbuck was watching us curiously from his perch, a couple hundred meters above us on the other side. Jason and I both looked at him. “Do you think what I think?” I asked. “He is much better than the one you got last year,” replied Jason, sealing the Mountain Reedbuck’s fate.

    It was short and simple. We left the truck in full view as a decoy. I walked a dozen yards or so toward a boulder, the Reedbuck kept looking at us, apparently reassured that people down by the river did not present a danger. We were not trying to climb to him. The boulder was too low to use as a rest for the uphill angle shot. So, I rested the little daypack on the truck hood. The distance must have been something like 400 yards of bullet flight, but I would be shooting steeply uphill, maybe at as much as a 50 or 60 degree angle. I had to crouch a little behind the hood to achieve the proper angle. The Leica 2000 B calculated that considering the flight distance and the angle it would be the equivalent of a 260 horizontal yard shot, I aimed a little low, and moaned in pain. I was looking almost exactly into the sun and the scope ocular was a fire ball. Jason leaned over me, shaded the scope bell with his cap, and it all came together. The .257 Wby shot echoed briefly in the canyon, and the Reedbuck collapsed, wedging himself into the rocks. Strahli and Henry had a heck of a time getting up to him and getting him down…

    Mountain Reedbok.JPG
    “He is much better than the one you got last year,” replied Jason, sealing the Mountain Reedbuck’s fate.

    It was so tight in the canyon that Jason decided, “let us just drive out to the plateau to shoot the pictures.” In order not to get the sun into the camera lens, we had to take pictures facing the plateau. I did not think of it then, but I now regret it. I would have loved to have pictures of this beautiful Mountain Reedbuck with his mountain as the backdrop.

    The afternoon was very much a repeat of the morning, but on a different mountain. An interesting little mountain, all alone in the middle of the main plateau. “Nobody would hunt Vaalie there,” said Jason. “Let us go check it,” he added with perfect logic.

    We hiked on top of it, and then completely around it and were about to leave it when Jason dropped off the truck excitedly and said, “come.” No one, not even Strahli, had seen anything.

    I do not question Jason. I just follow him. He led me back straight up the slope for half a mile. We then crossed horizontally toward a rocky outcrop, fought our way through the thorns in the wet on our side of it, and peeked very slowly above the rocks. And there they were! About 300 yards away there was a group of female Vaal Rhebok. “As I was going to start the truck, I just saw one ear flicker behind the rocks,” said Jason...

    We glassed carefully, glued to our binoculars, and 50 yards behind the females, there he was, bedded, contemptuously watching over his harem. “Not as good as this morning,” Jason said honestly. I like this honesty. “But he is still very good,” he added.

    A cartridge was finding its way into the chamber, the safety was on, and I was carefully bending a few branches of the thorn thicket that gave me perfect camouflage on top of a nice big rounded boulder that was at the perfect height for a standing shot. The set up was indeed rock solid. “340,” said Jason. Hmmm? “370,” was saying my own Leica. “Meters?” I asked. “Yes,” Jason replied. His Geovid must have reset to meters. Mine was still measuring in yards. “6,” displayed my ballistic range finder next. I held what looked like 6 inch high.

    The Vaalie was facing us, his very narrow and long neck up, his shoulder behind a bush or a rock covered with a bush, I was not really sure. But his haunches, a bit sideways, were clear. “I will whistle to get him to stand,” said Jason, “but he will not stay, he will start running immediately.” “Wait,” I said, “I can break his rump as he is, that will anchor him.” “Can you?” asked Jason. “I think so,” I replied. “OK,” agreed Jason.

    It had been a long time since I had such a comfortable and stable field position. The crosshair was absolutely still. I held 6 inch high as the ritual unfolded: breathing control, rifle control, crosshair control, trigger control; I was humming to myself peacefully the little song: “squeeeeze, squeeeeze, squeeeeze,” and the faithful little .257 Wby decided to fire itself. A great “whonk!” came back as a cloud of dust surrounded the Vaalie. He stood up his two front legs, his broken back anchoring him to the ground. The empty case was still in midair, I was already squeezing the next shot, the cross hair on his shoulder line. Boom! Whonk! Another cloud of dust surrounded him when the bullet shook violently the dense fur on his shoulder. He was slammed onto the ground by the impact. Jason, let out a wild “whoop!” and screamed, “yeeeessss you can shoot!” I was happy, and proud to earn my PH’s praise…

    This was the day before last. Unless we would see a Duiker on the last day, which was very unlikely, this would be the last shot of my 2019 safari.

    And it was…

    Vaal Rhebock.JPG

    And so was concluded a great day and a great safari, with the climactic high prize of a true African mountains hunt for two of their most elusive trophies.

    Vaal Rhebok & Mountain Reedbok.jpg

    I hope you enjoyed this report of my 2019 Huntershill safari. I tried to share not only the usual trophy pictures, but the story itself, as the experience and the memories are so much more important than just the trophies.

    Thank you for reading.
    Pascal
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
    Red Leg, gesch, SHOCKER and 1 other person like this.

  8. One Day...

    One Day... AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2018
    Messages:
    755
    Video/Photo:
    276
    Likes Received:
    1,405
    Member of:
    PHASA
    Hunted:
    Europe, America, Canada, Africa
    Lessons learned

    So, what did I learn this year?

    The one that got away

    I also took three shots at a Gemsbok, which I should not have.

    Shot #1: we approached on old female with great horns, on foot, to about 200 or so yards in dense bush in Rocklands. Jason spread the sticks, I got on them. I could see her shoulder clearly through a small window in the bush, but there was an arm-sized branch going diagonally across it. I told Jason, "with my luck, I am going to hit the branch." "Not a chance!" he replied. Booom! No whonk. Instead, a resounding "clack!" We saw the big branch fall slowly, and the Gemsbok took off, clearly untouched.

    Shots #2 and 3: we got back to the Toyota. She ran across a drainage, then parallel to us on the other side. She was over 400 yards away still at a full run when she came in full view. Neither Jason nor I thought straight !?!? Jason stopped, I got out, and I took two running shots at her between 400 and I would guess 450+ yards. The height of stupidity! In both cases I over led, my usual issue on running shots with the rifle, and Jason saw in his binocs both impacts in the dust ahead of her. At least I missed her clean.

    Lessons I should have learned a long time ago, and that hopefully I got this time: do not shoot if you think you might hit branches, because you will, and do not take running shots at long distances.

    The 'Hail Mary' shots at the Vaal Rhebok

    As described above, I took what I characterized myself prior to shooting as two 'Hail Mary' shots at a Vaal Rhebok from a miserable field shooting position, at close to 500 yards, in a howling wind. What was I thinking !?!?

    Lesson I should have learned a long time ago, and that hopefully I got this time: no 'Hail Mary' shot.

    Logistics - main luggage

    Last year I had taken a duffel bag, but this year I was concerned with the new regulation at Johannesburg OR Tambo banning 'irregular-shaped' luggage, including duffel bags (https://www.africahunting.com/threads/new-luggage-restrictions-ort-johannesburg.48818/). I therefore decided to purchase a robust hard sides suitcase, and figured, quite logically I thought, that nothing would be more adapted than a Pelican 1605 Air suitcase.

    Mistake!

    I take a backpack as a carry-on in the plane, with what I cannot afford not to have for the hunt in case the checked luggage gets lost or delayed. This is not a theoretical hypothesis to me. As stated in my 2018 report (https://www.africahunting.com/threa...faris-august-2018-plains-game-paradise.45017/), in 2006 I ended up showing at the Prince George, British Columbia, airport for a 10 day Grizzly and Moose hunt, with ... just what I was wearing !?!?!? After a quick trip to the local stores, we left for wilderness camp, and my luggage did not show up at the airport until a few days later. We were long gone...

    And I darn near repeated the story this year!

    My carry-on backpack contains a full set of hunting clothes, binoculars, range-finder, camera, phone, chargers, spare glasses, passport & cash money. (I also put in it my water canteen, because you do not share a water container with anyone in Africa, period, and thin water bottles tend to burst in field packs.)

    DSC01444.JPG

    My main, checked luggage contains all the rest...

    DSC01441.JPG

    There was an interesting lesson to learn about using a Pelican suitcase.

    Every airline and airport security agent, as in all of them, 100% of them, got thoroughly confused. The dialog in Phoenix, New York, Johannesburg and East London went about as follows:
    - Sir, I cannot check a firearm, you have to go through security with it (pointing to my Pelican 1605 Air suitcase).
    - This is not a firearm, this is my regular suitcase with my clothes etc. My rifles are in the other case (pointing to my Pelican 1750 rifle case).
    - Is there a firearms in this case? (pointing to my Pelican 1605 Air suitcase).
    - No, there is not.
    - But it is a rifle case.
    - No it is not. It looks like one, but it is a regular suitcase, see the different shape, with my clothes in it.
    - I cannot check a firearm.
    - There is no firearm in it.
    Repeat the loop from the top two or three times...

    Through patience and in most cases the intervention of the counter manager, I was able to check the Pelican suitcase at the counter, except on the return flight from New York to Phoenix. The counter agent took it and tagged it, but the luggage handler refused to put it on the conveyor belt behind the counter. Same dialog, but no manager to override, and I had to check it with TSA as a firearm although it did not contain a firearm...

    The second side of the story is that my Pelican 1605 Air suitcase never, not once, showed up in the luggage carousel. I had to go search for it every time. It sometimes showed up with over-sized luggage, sometimes with firearm cases, and in both OR Tambo and JFK I found it at random, literally abandoned along a wall of the luggage hall.

    In the end, it all worked out, but this truly added unnecessary stress and frustration. I guess that Pelican has really cornered the market in terms of brand recognition for firearm cases. I even removed the Pelican sticker from it in Huntershill, slapped on it a giant "Fragile" sticker on it for the return flights to try to re-brand it. To no avail...

    I guess that I will be buying a pink Samsonite for next year...

    The .257 Wby / 100 gr TTSX in Africa

    As previously stated, I experienced 100% one-shot-kill reliability on 17 animals.

    Technically, I fired 19 times when I hit the animals I was shooting at, but I doubled on the Roan, which I do not believe was really needed, he was dead on its feet, and I purposely took a first back breaking shot at the Vaal Rhebok because his vitals where behind a rock, and I doubled on him when he stood his two front legs.

    The three missed shots at the Gemsbok and the two missed 'Hail Mary' shots at the Vaal Rhebok cannot be blamed on the rifle. These are five shots I should not have taken.

    As stated along this report, I did not recover a single 100 gr TTSX bullet. All went through and exited through quarter-sized holes. I must admit that I was really amazed at the killing power of the .25 caliber 100 gr TTSX in the .257 Wby. There might be something about that speed thing after all...

    Lesson learned: I would not shoot a Roan or a Sable, or a Wildebeest through the shoulder with a .257 Wby and 100 gr TTSX. It could work, but I am not sure, and this is a bet I will not take. But clearly if the big shoulder bones are not in the way, the cartridge will do the job on animals up to 650 lbs, and likely more.

    Safari Preparation

    That is the smartest thing I did this year.

    Last year I was not overly happy with my shooting. Yes, everything dropped, generally to the first shot, but many animals were still alive when we reached them. "Putting one in the boiler room" works, especially with the big .340 Wby, but many shots landed a few inches right, left or high. The crosshair was hovering too much back then, and it was due to my lack of practice shooting off the sticks. So, before going this year, I shot 5,000 (yes, five thousands) rounds of .22 lr at 150 yd off the sticks at a 6" steel plate, from my full-size bolt action Winchester 52, over a period of 10 months, typically 100 to 150 shots per session on the weekend (I am lucky enough that I live literally 5 minutes away from National Forest land in Arizona).

    Lesson learned: it paid huge dividends...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
    BeeMaa, gesch and mark-hunter like this.

  9. Art Lambart II

    Art Lambart II AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2015
    Messages:
    806
    Video/Photo:
    20
    Likes Received:
    970
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Member of:
    NRA Life Member, SCI, QDMA
    Hunted:
    MI, TX, MO, South Africa Limpopo & Northwest Provinces
    Great write up on the lessons learned and a great heads up on the pelican suitcase.
     

  10. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa AH Elite

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2017
    Messages:
    1,173
    Video/Photo:
    38
    Likes Received:
    1,063
    Location:
    Eastern US
    Member of:
    NRA Life Member, SCI
    Hunted:
    Eastern US & RSA
    Wife and I each packed a Pelican 1650 (one tan and one army green) case and had no problems whatsoever.
    Rifles were in a black Pelican 1750.
    FYI the Pelican 1650 case is the largest you will be allowed to be used for checked baggage.
    And by the way, empty it eats up 23# of your 50# limit.
    We also use a 1510 as a carry-on.
    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:


  11. One Day...

    One Day... AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2018
    Messages:
    755
    Video/Photo:
    276
    Likes Received:
    1,405
    Member of:
    PHASA
    Hunted:
    Europe, America, Canada, Africa
    Happy that it worked for you BeeMaa.

    Maybe the mistake I made was to buy mine in black color. I have actually wondered about that... The bright Orange and Yellow were a little too much, by they do make it in silver, and this is probably what I should have bought.

    The weight is exactly why I went for the 1605 without wheels rather than the 1650 with wheels. The 1605 without wheel is only 9.28 lbs. empty, and I just could not make the 24.03 lbs. empty of the 1650 (per the Pelican website) - almost half the maximum allowed weight - work, especially with the 5 lbs. of the ammo box inside it for the US and international legs of the flight. It would have been over 50 lbs. when full... I suspect that you can unscrew the wheels assembly off the 1650, but I do not know how much weight it would save?

    My 1605 is barely big enough, but it is big enough. That is including a pair of North Face mountain boots that I only take when mountain hunting, so without them I have more space. Fully loaded per the post picture its weighed 46 lbs. 14 oz. That leaves me a 3 lbs. margin.

    Do you manage to keep your 1650 under 50 lbs., or do you pay for overweight?
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
    David AK 53 and BeeMaa like this.

  12. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa AH Elite

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2017
    Messages:
    1,173
    Video/Photo:
    38
    Likes Received:
    1,063
    Location:
    Eastern US
    Member of:
    NRA Life Member, SCI
    Hunted:
    Eastern US & RSA
    Our cases are Pelican Protector, the 1605 is a Pelican Air case and is very different.
    I looked into Air cases, but didn't like some of the reviews about them being thin.
    Several comments about the corners and wheels being bashed in, so I went HEAVY.

    Both 1650's were overweight on the flight over but the nice lady at the counter took pity on us...no charge.
    On the way back only one of the 1650's was overweight and we were not so lucky, cost us $80 USD.
    Next safari we will pack one 1650 with light stuff and the 1510 with heavy stuff for checked luggage along with the rifles in the 1750.
    Backpacks for each of us as a carry-on and call it good.

    We WAAAAY over packed for our trip...it was also our first so kinda understandable.
    Next one will be going much lighter.

    Any word on how hard they are enforcing the "one hard side" rule at OR Tambo?
    What exactly will they do if you have luggage sent from the US to there that doesn't have one hard side?
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019

  13. One Day...

    One Day... AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2018
    Messages:
    755
    Video/Photo:
    276
    Likes Received:
    1,405
    Member of:
    PHASA
    Hunted:
    Europe, America, Canada, Africa
    That makes complete sense to me. As you can see from my pics, I really pack light. One set of travel clothes on myself, 2 sets of hunting clothes (daily laundry, right?), boots, hunting belt, binocs, range finder, camera, toiletry kit, fleece, big parka and Gore Tex light rain jacket for winter in the mountains of the Cape, and 'what if' stuffs (possible bag, lens cleaning kit, basic rifle tools & cleaning kit, basic medicine kit). That's it.

    You were lucky not to be charged for overweight on the way over. Rare, these days... Good for you :)

    I goofed in the above post. This is not "5 lbs. of ammo box" as I said, but 5 kg of ammo box, or 11 lbs, maximum. Blame my dual European & American culture...

    I did not reach the maximum but came reasonably close. Mine, an MTM ammo Travel-Survivor dry box with 30 rounds of .340 Why ammo 225 gr TTSX and 92 rounds of .257 Wby ammo 100 gr TTSX weighed 9 lbs. 2 oz. I always take extra ammo. It does not cost anything extra to carry it, and ammo can go quickly if you need to re-sight; all the PHs and half the clients in camp want to try your rifle; the outfitter offers you to cull; you do night pest control shooting; you start a missing streak; etc. etc.

    With 9 lbs. of ammo box (including the box), when I did my packing rehearsal, weighing each item individually and adding up, I HAD to have a suitcase that was less than 10 lbs.

    Another lesson learned

    This all makes me think that I forgot one lesson learned.

    I chose the MTM ammo Travel-Survivor dry box (large) last year because it is very light (15 oz) and looked solid enough. It worked great last year and also this year, but when it showed in New York this year, out off the Johannesburg flight, I noticed that one of the 3 latches was broken off and entirely gone...

    IMG_3143.jpg
    I noticed that one of the 3 latches was broken off and entirely gone...

    I guess that I will upgrade to a more robust Pelican 1200, but at 2 lbs. 9 oz empty, it will add 1.6 lbs. to the current 9 lbs. and get as close to the 11 lbs. max as I want to be...
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
    BeeMaa likes this.

  14. One Day...

    One Day... AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2018
    Messages:
    755
    Video/Photo:
    276
    Likes Received:
    1,405
    Member of:
    PHASA
    Hunted:
    Europe, America, Canada, Africa
    I do not know...

    The thing is, rules & regulations enforcement has become so unpredictable these days and at the apparent whim of individual counter or security agents, that I do not want to be the test case.

    For example, we went through TSA with the rifles in Phoenix and New York on the way out, and New York on the way back. One would think that the protocol would be the same all three times, right? Nope. In Phoenix the counter agent had no issue with them. In New York we were sent to "special services." Some TSA agents barely looked at the rifles; one lady in New York took the foam out of the cases to check underneath it; but no one checked that the rifles were unloaded (supposedly a primary check!), etc. In Phoenix the JetBlue agent walked us to TSA. In New York the JetBlue agent called the cops who walked us to the TSA drop off, where they re-did exactly the full inspection that another TSA agent had already done at the JetBlue counter. That almost cost us our connection. Same thing in South Africa in Johannesburg and East London: some Police officers wanted the bolts in the rifles, some wanted them out, etc.

    I am OK to roll with the flow - what choice do we have anyway? - but I am staying scrupulously within the rules & regulations because I do not want to give anyone any excuse to release their bad day frustration on me...
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
    BeeMaa likes this.

  15. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa AH Elite

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2017
    Messages:
    1,173
    Video/Photo:
    38
    Likes Received:
    1,063
    Location:
    Eastern US
    Member of:
    NRA Life Member, SCI
    Hunted:
    Eastern US & RSA
    We have 2 of the Pelican 12oo's, one for her (270WIN) and one for me (375H&H).
    We had to do 2 boxes to keep them under weight for the amount we each wanted to take (this also doubled the SAPS 520 paperwork).
    Thing is my ammo never got weighed.
    Matter of fact, my ammo never got even looked at IAD (Dulles, Virginia outside of Washington DC) or JNB.
    Not going in or coming back.

    The rifle case was thoroughly inspected before we left Dulles and also upon arrival.
    In JNB, they only verified the serial numbers of the rifles and never once looked at the calibers of each...or the ammo.

    Guess I will stick with the rules as well.

    I really think the new rule is to prevent you from just buying a $20 cheap bag at the airport and moving stuff over.
    Harder and more expensive to find a one hard sided bag for less than the extra fee.
    The airlines want their money is what it really comes down to.
     
    David AK 53 likes this.

  16. One Day...

    One Day... AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2018
    Messages:
    755
    Video/Photo:
    276
    Likes Received:
    1,405
    Member of:
    PHASA
    Hunted:
    Europe, America, Canada, Africa
    Feeling the blues of not being in Africa tonight...

    Sunset on Huntershill...

    DSC01802.JPG
     

  17. TragicLogic

    TragicLogic New Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2019
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    4
    I just spent some time and read this all over again. I greatly appreciate the "learned lessons" because I hate going through something like that and then hearing "oh yeah, you shouldn't have done that.
    You mentioned the constant inspections on your firearms and I was wondering if you feel that using the rifle case to carry clothing or additional items would cause more issues or delays than worth?
    Did you see any of the much talked about fences, besides the one you shot?
    Any of the larger antelope on your list that you would hunt again? You casually mentioned monster Eland so I am just curious.
    Did you carry a book to read or a pad to take notes while in the field?
    I bought a couple of the mtm large boxes for our group but I was not too impressed with capacity. I ended up getting a pelican im2050 which is what I will probably get for my mother as well.

    Thank you for taking the time to share this with us all.
     

  18. One Day...

    One Day... AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2018
    Messages:
    755
    Video/Photo:
    276
    Likes Received:
    1,405
    Member of:
    PHASA
    Hunted:
    Europe, America, Canada, Africa
    One of us used his rifle case to also carry binocs, camera, clothes, etc. It is completely OK to do so and it does not in itself trigger additional scrutiny etc. The only side effect is that it took him a little longer than the rest of us to unpack and repack during the TSA inspections, but that was essentially immaterial. I would have no issue carrying other things than the rifle in my rifle case if I do not not take two rifles.

    I actually looked long & hard for that, considering previous discussions. The answer remains the same. By law, in order to retain ownership of the game, hunting properties in South Africa must have a perimeter high fence. Additional fencing requirements (height, strength, electrification, etc.) exist for properties, such as Huntershill, that have dangerous animals (buffalo, rhino, hippo, etc.) in their hunting blocks.
    Because Huntershill high fenced area is so big (55,000 acres) and includes a section of flat plain with two public roads going through it, the roads actually divide the property in three hunting blocks, two of them in the plain a few thousand acres each I am guessing, and the main one in the mountain, 50,000 acres or so, each with its perimeter high fence. I have not seen any internal fencing inside these three blocks.
    Conversely, just as in the US, every farm field is fenced with barbed wire and these agriculture low fences are much more annoying to me. Besides being at exactly the right height to catch a bullet :E Rofl:, it is about impossible to hunt free range Kudu, Bushbuck, Rhebok, etc. in these mountains on millions of free range acres for 2 weeks, constantly crossing these pasture barbed wire low fences, without tearing up your clothes :E Excited:

    I am more focused right now on collecting the species I do not already have, so the next trip will be focused on small animals I do not have: Duiker, Grysbok, Klipspringer ... and always Vaal Rhebok because it love it so much.
    Also, truth be told, Sable and Roan are expensive, so I would have to bump into one tremendously better than the one I have to justify the cost. Life being what it is, I am always on a tight budget in Africa, and that is OK with me because it is what it it. I am grateful enough that careful planning, and the positive financial impact of being empty-nester after raising and educating five kids, are allowing me to go...
    Livingstone Eland will sooner or later be on the list (my Eland is a Cape Eland), and maybe one day Lord Derby's Eland, this is what I meant...

    No I do not. Hunting is something I cannot multitask with anything. I have a hard time enough remembering to take a few pictures from time to time. I have never been bored while hunting (no need for a book), and I cannot imagine interrupting it to write notes (no need for a pad)... To each his own :)

    Actually, the way to get a useful payload in ammo boxes that are small by necessity, is to not take the cardboard ammo boxes, but only the plastic carriers that are inside most boxes. I go one more step by using only plastic carriers from older Weatherby ammo boxes because they are the thinnest, and I cut them to length and width to use two of them sideways, and one of them with only a single column. That way I really maximize payload and take as much as 122 rounds in the MTM box...
    Truth be told, this is way more ammo than I generally use (I shot 26 rounds this year), but it does not cost a penny more to take plenty along, and consumption can quickly accelerate if your friends, their PHs, and everyone else in camp it sometime seems want to try your rifle, or if you need to re-sight, or if you start a missing streak, or if you need finishing shots for animals on the ground, etc. etc. For example, I used 56 rounds last year, only about half were used to down animals.

    IMG_2550.JPG

    IMG_2547.JPG

    As stated and shown in a previous post, the MTM box had one of its side latches broken during handling along the way by South African Airways / Johannesburg airport / JFK airport in New York / TSA, so I am moving to a Pelican 1200 next year for the ammo. I looked at the IM 2050, which is the same size, and decided to go with the Protector 1200. Both are identical quality Pelican/Storm cases, but the Protector 1200 two latches are on the front, while the IM 2050 two latches are on the sides, and are maybe (?) more exposed to the same type of shoving abuse that broke a side latch on the MTM box... I am certain the Storm IM case is much stronger than the MTM case, so I would not worry if you already bought it, but you may want to consider the Protector if you need to buy more...
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
    TragicLogic likes this.

  19. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa AH Elite

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2017
    Messages:
    1,173
    Video/Photo:
    38
    Likes Received:
    1,063
    Location:
    Eastern US
    Member of:
    NRA Life Member, SCI
    Hunted:
    Eastern US & RSA
    There are several differences besides the latches between the Pelican Storm and Pelican Protector.
    The Storm series was bought by Pelican from a competitor, Hardigg.
    I chose the Protector for the increased level of protection they provide.
    More info here...
    https://peliproducts.co.uk/stories/2016/02/17/peli-protector-vs-peli-storm/
     

    Attached Files:

    TragicLogic likes this.

  20. TragicLogic

    TragicLogic New Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2019
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    4
    I agree completely. I spent way to much time making a decision about which to buy and it honestly, in the end, didn't matter. I was concerned about latches on the storm (not as strong), about less room in the protector (10% or so), storm weighing slightly more, etc. Get which ever is convenient or on sale because trying to find a fault in either is just a loss of time.
     

Share This Page

 
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice