SOUTH AFRICA: AfricaHunting/Wintershoek Safaris Hunt 2019

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by MAdcox, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. MAdcox

    MAdcox GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I've been home about 4 days now and, as most of you know, the worst part about coming home from 2 weeks in the bush is playing catch up at home and the office. But the kids are all hugged, the cattle are counted, and the office... oh well it will always be there. So I think I can get the hunt report started.
    This might should be at the end but I want to start by again thanking AH and Wintershoek Safaris (https://www.wintershoeksafaris.com) for offering this hunt giveaway (https://www.africahunting.com/threa...erver-4-trophies-taxidermy-for-2018-19.42394/). My wife and I had the time our lives. I had hoped Christina would have a good time and enjoy the hunt enough to see why I love Africa. She had such a great time she is already planning our return. The lodge, the property, the wildlife, and especially the people at Kareekloof made this the most enjoyable trip the two of us could have ever asked for.

    Arrival:
    We got off the plane in Kimberley tired and a little lost as we are not exactly international travelers, but Gideon met us there and we headed for the lodge. Gideon explained the history of the 1887 ranch house they had converted to the lodge as we drove. as we pulled in the entire staff was there to meet us with a glass of Sherry and a warm welcome. Yvan Nieuwoudt also arrived at the same time and said he would my PH for the week. I had met Yvan in Dallas and was happy we would be hunting together. He also introduced us to his girlfriend, who was just in from Mississippi to see Africa with him for the first time. Yvan pulled me aside and asked if she could take a drive with us that night to see some stuff, but then Georgeana could stay at the lodge as PHs don't invite friends on a client's hunt. By the way she and my wife were already laughing and chatting, I told him that I was inviting her on any day she wanted to come because I couldn't think of a better way for Christina to enjoy the hunt than to have another lady along, especially another southern girl from the States. We got settled into our rooms and Yvan asked if we just wanted to rest or take a drive? I told him I would like to shoot the camp gun I would be using for sure, then maybe start hunting in the morning. The range was a couple of miles away and we were already seeing Springbok and Wildebeest driving in. I shot the rifle and we decided to go ahead and have a look around as we headed back to the lodge. We made a short stalk on a nice set of Springbok rams but cover was light and we never got close. I had already had bad dreams about these tiny antelope at distances of 200 - 300 yards off sticks, so with no sleep I wasn't up for 300+ yard shots on Springbok. The next thing we saw was a large herd of Gemsbok. Yvan said they were in a tough spot to approach but we might as well try, so off we went. About 350 yards from them we had been spotted and didn't have much left for cover so we were just glassing them. Suddenly Yvan pointed to our right at a lone Springbok ram about 150 yards away feeding on a ridge. We got to within 80 yards or so before we had a good enough look at him to know he was a shooter but he fed away out of sight over the ridge. As we quickly but quietly headed his way, Yvan said he will be at our feet when we top the ridge, be ready. At the top he set the sticks and bang, I had my Springbok. After losing sleep imagining 350 yard shots off sticks, I had my ram at 40 yards.
    Honestly the picture session and rest of the night is a blur, we were so tired. But after our first taste of Aretha's awesome cooking we went to bed early after a great first night in Africa.

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  2. Firebird

    Firebird AH Veteran

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    Enjoyed the beginning and eager to hear more-beautiful springbok pix!
     
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  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    (y)
     
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  4. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Good stuff.

    Keep it coming !
     
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  5. BnC 04

    BnC 04 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Excellent...keep it rollin'
     
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  6. MAdcox

    MAdcox GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    We started our first full day hunting without the girls. Chris was still sleeping as I slipped out of the room and met Yvan for a great breakfast. Aretha spoiled us with great Afrikaans ranch food.
    We went back to the same area as last night and early on spotted a nice old Blue Wildebeest bull. He was as wide as his ears and looked old and heavy. I was reaching for the gun thinking a stalk was coming, but Yvan just said "nice old bull, but there are very big wildebeest here. We will do better."
    We moved on and were watching a very nice, younger Gemsbok bull when we spotted Rhino moving. Now I would find out over the next few days that there are well over a hundred White Rhinos here. We saw lots of them every day at close range. But we soon discovered here we had 2 of the 3 Black Rhinos on the property. The bull and a cow, they are a very different animal than there large, almost docile acting cousins. We watched them from 60 yards for 15 or 20 minutes and while they did not know we were there they were very "switched on". They just radiated power and aggression. It was an awesome sight and Yvan explained, a very rare sight to see Black Rhinos in their natural state.
    As we headed further along we spotted a large herd of Gemsbok along the edge of a rocky little hill about a mile ahead of us. We hopped off and started closing but they saw the truck leaving and split into two groups going opposite ways around the hill. We used a little wash and got to the hill unseen and up we went. Just shy of the peak we spotted the larger part of the herd about 250 yards below us. We both immediately noticed an exceptionally long old cow and then Yvan pointed out a very nice older bull. Just as we verified we were on the same animal he laid down. We settled in expecting a long wait as it was heating up and most of the herd was starting to shade up. Instead he hopped up in about 10 minutes, but immediately started working through the cows headed away from us. We shifted positions a few times, but when we finally got on him and had him clear, I called the shot off. He just seemed too far. Yvan seemed relieved and told me he was over 350 yards by then and way to nice a bull to risk a long shot like that (in view of my shooting later on this was definitely the right choice).
    We went back in for lunch and found the girls laid out by the pool soaking up sun like we were in the Bahamas instead of on a Safari in South Africa!
    After a light lunch, they geared up and went out with us. That evening was one of the most amazing game viewing experiences of my life. Around every curve of the road we saw Sable, Roan, Lechwe, hundreds of Springbok, Tsessebe, and Blesbok. Towards sundown we spotted a large group of bachelor bull Buffalo. It looked like they were all young until the trailing bull cleared the herd. He was a wonderful old, hard bossed bull. An awesome sight for me. We finished the evening 40 yards from a White Rhino cow with a 2 week old calf.
    I never fired a shot, saw 23 different species of big game including Black Rhino and Cape Buffalo and will always remember this as one of my best days hunting ever.
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  7. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Elite

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    Those Rhino experiences are worth the trip. Very cool report so far!
     
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  8. MAdcox

    MAdcox GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Our second full day started early (and ended late). It was probably one of the most enjoyable, memorable days I've ever had.
    The lady's were up with us for breakfast and loaded and ready to go for the day. We saw a beautiful little Bushbuck ram and a Klipspringer in the fenced area around the camp and then as soon as we entered the hunting are we spotted giraffe- the one animal Christina was most excited to see.
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    Right after that we spotted a Steenbuck run into the brush about 60 yards ahead. I had told Yvan I would like one if possible and he said this one was huge. Richard, Yvan and I took off on the track. We bumped him a couple of times, but never had a shot. Watching Richard work out the track on an animal whose track can be covered by a nickel was pretty amazing. But we loaded up and headed for the area we expected to find Blesbok. We started spotting game immediately- a big herd of Gemsbok, a couple of Zebra, some scattered Hartebeest and Wildebeest- then we started picking out a few Blesbok. One in particular had Yvan's attention and he and Richard had a conversation in Afrikaans and we unloaded with the girls. The ram was over half a mile away with very little cover and he had the high ground, so Yvan had sent Richard around behind him in the truck hoping it would hold his attention. We started our stalk trying to keep the few shrubs and trees in between us and the Blesbok but mainly we just moved when his attention was on Richard. We closed to within 200 yards and that was it. No more cover. I had my elbow braced on the tree and settled into the sticks. It was a very solid rest and I just flat missed him. I slammed the bolt down and luckily he only ran about 40 yards -towards us- then stopped to look back where my first shot hit and I fired. The "shwack" of the bullet was a great sound and Yvan said "good, don't shoot again." He went about 20 yards and was down. He is a very heavy, great old ram. I was very happy- I joked that I always fire a warning shot!
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    After lunch we started spotting Gemsbok and Yvan said the girls must be our good luck charms -or maybe it was the girls that said that- but he thought we should get a Gemsbok or maybe a Wildebeest that afternoon. We glassed several herds of Gemsbok but they were all either in areas we couldn't approach or didn't have any good bulls. We then spotted a huge lone Wildebeest bull but he was 3/4 of mile away and had already spotted us. No chance for a stalk. We kept seeing Roan, Hartebeest and Gemsbok but nothing to stalk then Yvan pointed out a herd of Blue Wildebeest about a mile away and feeding towards a little sand ridge. It was about 6 feet high and had some low scrub on it. All four of us set off again to intercept the herd. Just as we were getting near the ridge, Yvan downed us quickly. Just as we crouched a pair of big Blesbok rams came over the ridge 40 yards from us. Luckily they looked us over and went on their way instead of blowing up our stalk. We crept up to the ridge and Yvan stood to glass the herd. They were about 140 yards out grazing along. He motioned me up to him and said look the third one from the left over. I glassed the bull and could see the black face and gnarly bosses and said he looked good to me. Yvan kind of snickered and said that's good because he is huge, lets take him. On the sticks I had to wait until he turned broadside and the shot went true. Yvan was clapping me on the back, saying don't shoot again, he is going down. He went 50 yards and piled up. He looked like a tank when I got up to him. Massive body, gnarled up old bosses and really wide. He is an awesome bull and one of my favorite trophies I have ever taken. We had made a very fun stalk and had a wonderful animal at the end of it. Then as we started taking pictures things got a bit exciting as a bull Rhino started trying to spark up a romance with a cow who had a half grown calf, about 35 yards from us. We would snap a picture then check on the Rhinos, then repeat. What a night.
    But it wasn't over! After dinner, Marius had invited us to his going away party at one of the houses behind the lodge. Marius has raised his family at Kareekloof while building it up from a 120 year old sheep ranch to a premier hunting lodge and property. Now he is moving to a newly acquired property to do the same. It was a very bittersweet move for him. I told him we really appreciated his invite but did not want to crash his party. He insisted we come, so we said we would be honored. This was a real South African backyard braai. There were 50 or more people there and you would have thought they had known my wife and I all their lives. They are the most warm and hospitable people. We were treated like members of the family and had an amazing night. We even got to meet Peter Wright whose grandfather started Kareekloof. He still lives on the property after selling it to Wintershoek and gave us more of the history of the place in the Boer Wars and further back. He was a very interesting man to talk to and when someone wasn't pushing drinks into my hand or grilled meat or insisting Christina and I get in some big family picture, I was listening to Mr. Wright. It was a fantastic ending to great day.
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  9. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Really cute PH you have there in the photo with the springbok!

    Looks like your having a great hunt. Looking forward to reading more.
     
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  10. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Enjoying the report!! Congrats on everything so far(y)
     
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  11. MAdcox

    MAdcox GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Richard, Yvan and I got a late start the morning after Marius's party. Don't remember why! :E Hmmm:
    We headed to a different area where there was more cover and hopefully a chance at a Steenbuck. We did see several but they were either females or small rams. But as we came out of the scrub into a little area of rolling hills we spotted Buffalo shaded up in a little patch of trees. We were glassing them and had picked out three bulls with the shapes and shadows of several more when they broke out the back of the brush. Their ended up being 13 bulls in that little thicket. I love having these animals in the area I'm hunting.
    We then spotted a big herd of Gemsbok about 600 yards away that looked to have at least a couple of big bulls but they were moving away from us. There was a ridge they would pass behind so we headed for it trying to cut them off but because of the angle we were having to go fast. Just before we crested the ridge a huge Springbok ram came right over face to face with us. Yvan got excited and said we have to take this ram he is huge, but as we were staring at each other completely in the open, as soon as the sticks went up he bolted right back over the hill and into the Gemsbok. Stalk blown. But as we were watching them move away we spotted another small herd of Gemsbok down the ridge from us about 800 yards away. We had the wind but very little cover, but with a lot of effort and some luck we got to a tree 200 yards from the herd. We glassed them for 30 minutes or more. There was a very nice bull in the group but Yvan felt he was still young- very long but without the mass and dark bases of an old bull. We had already discussed I wasn't interested in taking inches, just old mature animals, so we watched a bedded animal for a long time feeling like he was an old bull but not able to judge him from where he laid. Finally he stood and we could see he was a very old bull, but with one badly formed horn. We backed out and headed to camp for lunch and to pick up the girls.
    We saw a lot of game again after lunch but it was getting late when we spotted a lone Gemsbok bull we thought we should try for. He was in a very open are but feeding towards another of the little sand ridges just like the Wildebeest from last night. We headed out from 600 yards away and it seemed like an easy approach. We just hoped he was where we wanted him when we hit the ridge. He wasn't! As we were trying to spot him he popped over the ridge 200 yards to our left and immediately spotted us and started to run. Yvan and I followed quickly for about 30 yards and, how Yvan knew exactly when he would stop I don't know, but he set the sticks and I got on him just as he stopped and looked back. He was 200-225 yards off and I just flat rushed the shot. I shot right in front of him and knew it. I reloaded faster than I ever have but he was already moving again. I was upset with myself, but Yvan asked if I knew the best thing about missing a Gemsbok, "you get to hunt more Gemsbok!"
     

  12. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Looks like you got some nice animals and had a great time. Waiting for the rest.
    Bruce
     
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  13. buck wild

    buck wild SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    enjoying it so far and this was the donated hunt correct ?
     

  14. MAdcox

    MAdcox GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Yes this is it.
     

  15. MAdcox

    MAdcox GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Monday was our fourth full hunting day and Gemsbok was our main target. I had planned to add a Steenbok (which were kicking our butt), an Impala (which weren't in the same kind of country we had been hunting for everything else) and another Springbok (which we had made a few tries at but only as a secondary targets to Gemsbok stalks). It was cloudy, cool and windy all day. I learned something about Gemsbok when it is cloudy and cool- at least on this particular day- they start moving they tend to keep moving. At least 4 times in the morning hunt we spotted herds of Gemsbok, sometimes 50 or more in a group, and set up stalks to intercept them on ridges or brushy draws, only to get there ready to intercept them and find them 3/4 of a mile further along still going. Not because we had bumped them or been winded- just because they could.
    I did get to see one of those African scenes that makes the whole day worth while though. At one point a herd of over 60 Gemsbok were skylined on a hill 600 yards above us. To the right was a herd of 12 or 15 Zebra, just below the Gemsbok was a herd of 10 or so Eland, and scattered all along the hill down to us were Springbok playing and feeding. We were under cover but couldn't move without being seen with all those eyes. It was quite a view with all that wildlife in one spot.
    For the afternoon we went to the other side of the property hoping the Gemsbok would not be so joggy, but we soon found the same thing. We got on two different groups that never stopped traveling. Towards sundown we tried a stalk on a lone bull that was feeding along by himself, but the wind shifted on us and we blew him out at 300 yards. From where we lost his track we spotted one of the large herds from earlier in the afternoon feeding across an open spot. They were in the wide open and so were we but it was last light behind us, so Yvan had me close up right behind him and flipped his shooting sticks up in a V in front of us. To my amazement we walked right up to within 200 yards before they started getting nervous. Yvan said with the light getting bad it was a good time to make a mistake on one so we just watched them ease off in the twilight.
    A tough day where we logged close to 9 miles on foot and never really even got on the sticks. Gemsbok were starting to get under Yvan's skin and after my miss from yesterday and the miles of chasing them today, they were getting into my head a little. I would find out just how bad the next morning.
     
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  16. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Nothing like a miss to get in your head.
     
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  17. MAdcox

    MAdcox GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Tuesday was a hard day to put into words for me. Christina called it "the day of the Gemsbok."
    We started the morning in a cold drizzle that would clear off then roll back in on us. We were determined to get a Gemsbok down by lunch after the last two days of chasing and missing them. We headed to the same area I missed the big lone bull two nights ago. As we neared a little hill, we had Richard let Yvan, Christina and myself off to approach on foot. We spotted Zebra, Blesbok and a few Wildebeest, then spotted a lone Gemsbok. After glassing for a minute or two Yvan said he is a really good bull and he was nearly positive he was the same bull I had missed. But he was forever away with no cover. So, just like with the Blesbok, he radioed Richard to go around a mile or so behind him and either get his attention or bump him towards us. In moving around the hill, Richard bumped a pair of Gemsbok cows that came over the hill, picked up our bull, and headed straight towards us. We excitedly watch them come right at us from over a half mile away. At 300 yards or so I got on the sticks and Yvan said just hold, they are going to come right in on us. The cows were leading and started to veer to our downwind side so Yvan said as soon as he stops shoot or they are going to wind us. Almost immediately he stopped, broadside, right behind the only little shrub in the whole area! Now, without sounding like a braggart, I usually consider myself a pretty good shot. Not an expert by any means, but I generally know when I'm steady, know when I have a makeable shot or to wait, if I miss I generally can call it. However on this shot I was a ball of nerves- from missing two days ago, fear of being winded by these cows, two days of chasing Gemsbok, ... All of that is a bunch of BS excuses for screwing up a shot on a magnificent animal. I felt I had a window past the bush into the shoulder and got jumpy about losing the opportunity. At the shot he jumped high and we all heard the bullet strike, but Yvan's surprised look and immediate call to shoot again told me I had screwed it up. He and I both took running shots with no effect and he disappeared over the hill. Yvan quietly said "I didn't expect you to shoot there." A PH's polite way of saying "what the hell was that!" We easily picked up the track and after a mile we had found one little speck of blood and had not spotted the bull again. After two miles of tracking fast there was no more blood and no animals in sight. My heart was in my boots, I have missed animals before but I have never lost a wounded animal, but this did not look good. At this point, Yvan called in Richard to track and we loaded up in the truck and started driving big loops out in front of the direction we had seen him last. Then it started raining again, which matched my mood, but wiped out the tracks Richard was following. However he had already noticed the bull had split off and circled back the opposite way from where we were driving. We picked Richard up and headed that way looking. We quickly spotted a huge herd of Gemsbok and stopped to glass them, hoping. We glassed from 500 or 600 yards away for half and hour. It was a great herd with many shootable bulls, a lone Eland bull and some Wildebeest also. We then spotted a lone bull that just moved around the edges and never really looked like he was part of the group. Yvan said he was the right size and horn structure for our bull and he and Richard "might" be seeing a mark up high in his shoulder but weren't for sure. He certainly looked very healthy. As we tried to position for a better look he broke away and took off. We felt that had to be our bull and went around the herd in pursuit. But he had a big lead and the last time we saw him he was over a mile ahead of us going hard and we were out of road to follow. I was feeling sick about wounding and losing this great bull as we tried to circle some more, but knew we had lost him. Yvan said we had a decision to make here. We would continue to look for him, but chances were low on a 138,000 acre property and he was not mortally hit. So if we didn't find him and I wanted a Gemsbok I could pay for another one and keep hunting. I elected to do that, but was miserable over losing that bull. Christina, Georgeana and Yvan kept trying to cheer me up but I wasn't ready for it yet. Within an hour we had circled back to the big herd we had flushed the bull out of and Yvan and I got off and into cover as they were drifting our way. They were a half mile away and just drifting along so Richard took the truck around behind them again to bump them our way. As they got within 500 yards Yvan said it was the nicest grouping of trophy Gemsbok he had ever seen. Many big bulls! I tried to get excited but have to admit I was still sick. Then, we noticed a bull being chased and ran out in front of the herd. We both looked at each other shocked and hopeful then the bull turned sideways in the sun and had blood coming from the top of his shoulder. We could not believe it! It happened fast after that. I got on the sticks and Yvan braced his arm under my elbow for added support. The bull came across us at about 250 yards but on a full run. Yvan and I started shifting with him on the sticks the whole time ready for him to stop. As he passed in front of us still going hard and getting further out, Yvan said "he isn't going to stop, better try him." He stepped away to shoulder his rifle as well. I led him a full Gemsbok and squeezed. The smack of the bullet was the greatest sound I had ever heard. As the bull went down, Yvan was slapping my back and congratulating me. The whole herd stopped with my bull and hung out for 20 minutes or more. His head was still up so we didn't rush anything. Finally they moved off and as we approached, he shakily stood but another shot finished it and my bad day ended on an extra high note. Yvan had been telling me for three days what a bull he was and now that I had him down I could see what he meant. He is an outstanding bull and contains some of my lowest and highest moments as a hunter between those beautiful horns. We found that my first shot had hit him just below the top of his shoulder, a band aid and a week and he would have been 100%. Yvan thinks it hit the bush and deflected, I really couldn't tell you. I just know how happy I was in how it ended.
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    gesch, Brent C, Rick Cox and 8 others like this.

  18. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Joined:
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    Hunted:
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    Looks like a great trophy oryx. Did your PH measure him? Exciting hunt and congrats on getting the one you thought was lost.
    Bruce
     
    MAdcox likes this.

  19. kudukid

    kudukid AH Senior Member

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    Huge bull and a great story to go with it. Whilst I feel the pain you went through that day- it would have been a lot worse if you lost him in afternoon and had a sleepless night with the shot replaying over and over in your mind. We have all been there!
     
    MAdcox likes this.

  20. MAdcox

    MAdcox GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Hunted:
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    Thanks Bruce, we didn’t measure but P.H. thought he would be 38 or better. My favorite part is his mass. He is as thick as baseball bats most of the way up.
     

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