SOUTH AFRICA: Another Terrific Hunt With CT Safaris In the Northern & Eastern Cape 2016

bluebill

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Well, it's been a few weeks since I returned from my third trip to southern Africa and I'm finally caught up enough to post a report and some pictures. This was my second trip with Chris Troskie and CT Safaris, and boy what a trip! Chris runs a first class operation, and works very hard to put his clients on animals. This was originally set up to be a 14 day safari, as my wish list was long and fairly flexible. I really was not dead set on filling the entire list, but as it turned out, I did so - and then some! Chris had arranged access to properties in several parts of the Northern Cape, and several in the Eastern Cape. We definitely put some miles on his truck, saw some beautiful country, and enjoyed terrific success on every animal we chased. It was really a dream come true. So, here's a full report with a few pictures along the way.

Dates - May 31 to June 14
Location - Northern and Eastern Cape
Weapon of choice - 6.5 Creedmoor, 129 grain Hornady SST
Animals on wish list - pretty much everything that is pictured below, much to my wife's chagrin...

After an uneventful (thankfully) flight from Atlanta to Joburg, it was time to get settled in at Africa Sky. As usual, the folks there were wonderful and it was off to the Northern Cape. Weather was beautiful, chilly in the mornings and very comfortable in the afternoons. Day 1 saw us basically getting our wits about us - me, Chris already had his wits. I was the one with jet lag, anxiety, and buck fever all wrapped into one. After flubbing a shot on a red hartebeest, things settled down and I started to focus on what I was doing. Warthog wasn't on my list, but when we ran across one with good tusks (for this area of the country), I jumped at the chance to take one. The ice is broken and the home team is on the scoreboard.

The rest of day 1 was spent trying to outfox springbuck, and they won. However, at last light we were able to make a nice stalk on a group of hartebeest and this time I did my job. A nice bull resulted, and day 1 ends on a high note.

Day 2 sees us head several hours away to the Cold Mountains. These mountains are named appropriately I discovered, as they were windy and cold! The goal is to find and take a Vaal rhebok, and I was super excited as this was a critter at the top of my list. After some looking, and quite a bit of navigating through the mountains, this ram presents a shot. What an interesting animal! Beautiful in every aspect, and a really nice ram. The rest of day 2, what was left of it, saw us getting the ram off the mountain and back to camp.



Day 3, well, things seemed to jump into overdrive. The goal was to visit an area a short drive from camp, and chase black wildebeest, mountain reedbuck, and springbuck. Chris and I discussed the wish that perhaps we could take a couple of animals on this day, should the opportunity present itself. Little did we know...

After stalking up a few ridge lines, checking out some reedbuck in the distance, and moving around our tracker Sammy spotted a nice mountain reedbuck laying on a hillside with a female. We quickly bail out of the truck and get into a position to see if he'll give us a shot opportunity. After a while, we got exactly that and the shot was true.


With the reedbuck loaded, we head off after black wildebeest only to encounter a really good steenbok. This guy wasn't on my original list, but after seeing him I quickly added him! What a beautiful creature in hand.

We find a group of black wildebeest with 2 nice bulls in it, but they are not in the mood to cooperate. They run, we chase. They win, we lose. Finally, they decide to settle down beyond a group of trees surrounding a small pond, and it gives us the chance to stalk within 300 yards for a look. After what seems like an eternity of laying on my stomach waiting for him to clear, he does so and a nice black wildebeest adds to a growing trophy list. Definitely one of the coolest animals I've ever taken!

So, with the afternoon wearing on we decide to chase springbuck. My goal was to take a common, black, and white. As it turned out, Chris was able to get me an opportunity at a copper that wouldn't break my budget, so we decided to try for the slam. The common was first, and after quite a while waiting, watching, and laying in the dust hoping some would walk close enough, we finally got a chance at a nice old ram late in the day. And day 3 ends with a bang! We had hoped to make a small dent in my wish list and see some nice animals, and make a dent we did indeed. At this point, I really felt like I was living a dream.

Day 4 sees us head off for Barbary sheep, and we were told that several nice eland were in the area as well. So, we head up the mountain for sheep and after some looking find a group with 2 nice rams. They're above us, and have the advantage, and after realizing our presence group up in a ball. No shot. Minutes turn to what seems like hours, but I suspect it was only 10 minutes or so. Hell, you could convince me it was 6 hours, at least that's how long it felt before the ram we wanted finally stood without a female in front or behind him. A long uphill shot, and a nice ram is mine. If day 3 was a dream, day 4 was picking up right where it left off.

Now it's off to chase eland. We make a few stalks that are a bust, or that end with us looking at a bull that's too young. After a while, we see a group of eland standing in a field just loafing. There are several nice bulls in the group, but they're literally 5oo yards from the nearest cover. Chris decides that we'll walk out towards them, and see how close they will let us get - mind you, this sounds absurd to a guy that hunts whitetails and if you wave your hand at one they run into the next county. But, we start walking into this field and we get closer, then parallel them, then cut the distance, repeat, repeat. The eland decide that 300 yards is as close as they'll let us get, several times. Laying prone with a perfect rest, we decide that the time has come. After a waiting game, my eland clears and the shot is perfect. He barely makes the treeline, and within a few minutes we're celebrating. What an overwhelming experience. Taking an animal of this size is quite emotional, I had a hard time holding it together. I'd dreamed of taking an eland, and did so in one of the most memorable ways imaginable.


With the afternoon running quickly, we get the ok to go search for copper springbuck on a nearby property. The landowner shows us where to start, and it isn't long before we spot a nice ram. A long stalk, we get busted, more stalking, they move off, another long walk, and we end up on a hill watching a ram approach us from distance. He's in no hurry. So, I get to lay in the rocks for an hour or so, watching him take a few steps, and stand behind a bush for 10 minutes. Then repeat, and repeat. With light fading, he makes a mistake and crosses a dry creek bed instead of walking down it, and in doing so, presents a good shot opportunity. And a copper springbuck is mine. Day 4 ends, and I'm having to pinch myself to realize that I'm actually alive and not watching this from outside my body.

Day 5 has us focused on continuing to work towards the springbuck slam. The take home of day 5 was quite simple. Black springbuck were going to be the death of me. I cannot count the busted stalks. But, a white springbuck ended up cooperating after hours of trying to get within range. I was really in awe of how white this guy was, literally like he was bleached. Gorgeous animal.

Day 5 ends with us walking all over the place watching black springbuck run over the next mountain. Day 6 is a carbon copy of the end of Day 5, and the black springbuck are winning hands down. At the end of Day 6, it becomes clear to us that the springbuck will win this battle, at least on this property. Chris says, let's start making our way closer to the Eastern Cape and try for red lechwe. While we do that, we'll also be able to keep trying for black springbuck. So, the end of Day 6 has the sun setting on the Northern Cape.

Day 7 opens with us chasing lechwe and black springbuck. It doesn't take long for us to see a group of lechwe in the distance, and the hunt is on. We take some time to judge the 2 bigger males, and ultimately it's clear that one is definitely better. Unlike springbuck, we are actually able to hunt lechwe without them running over the next mountain, and I do my job. And a nice red lechwe is mine.

Now, we spend the rest of the day being utterly and completely humbled by several group of springbuck. With an hour of light left, it's clear to us that we've lost again. Chris and I decide to head towards the truck, but Sammy says otherwise. We're frantically summoned to the top of the hill, apparently the group we've been after is heading around the base of the hill, and should end up within range. A quick, actually frantic, stalk up the hill, sit on this rock Mike, shoot that ram on the right Mike, and Mike finally ends the black springbuck curse! What..a..wonderful..relief.

Now it's time to head closer to the coast, with only a fallow deer and bushbuck left on the list. A late night arriving at our next destination, and we're off to bed realizing that the safari is half over and we're WAY ahead of schedule. That's a great problem to have. Day 8 has us chasing fallow deer, and chase we did. The fallow deer won, hands down. No contest. Just before dark, we finally put our eyes on a buck, but he's broken on one side. Bummer. Day 8 ends with us making a plan to be walking up the mountain early to get in front of the deer as they head to cover. We're hoping it works.

It did. Not long after shooting light, as we're easing up the mountain, Sammy spots an old buck. Up go the sticks, we quickly decide he's a shooter, and this hunt ends before the sun cracks the horizon. A nice old guy, he's been fighting and his antlers have taken the brunt of it. But I was tickled with him, and now it's time to head all the way to the coast.

Day 10 dawns with us now a few miles from the beach, chasing bushbuck. Boy, were they plentiful in this area. It was nothing to see them walking down the street in the town we stayed in. A few hours in to our hunt, we see a nice ram in the distance bedded down with several females that were feeding. We stalk, and finally run out of cover. It's time for a long belly crawl, and after minutes of me realizing I am no longer young and pliable, I end up within range and the hunt ends with a beautiful ram.

Day 10 and my safari is over. Well, not really. Because I've seen a nice impala while chasing bushbuck. So on Day 11, with the weather turning miserable, we spend the morning finding my impala. And find him we did, with pictures being taken as the rain pounded us.

Now, the hunting safari is over, because if I keep shooting, I'll be divorced. So, Chris and I spend a few days sightseeing, eating good food, drinking and socializing, and planning the next hunt. I cannot say enough about Chris and his operation. If you want to experience a dream hunt, he's your guy. If you miss, he'll find you another animal. If you screw up, he'll figure out a way to make lemonade out of lemons. And, he'll do it with a smile on his face and a wonderful attitude. You'll show up having a PH, and you'll leave feeling sad that you're leaving a friend. I can't wait to go back!

Mike

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cpr0312

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Nice report and pics, glad you had a great safari! Thanks for sharing
 

billc

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that is a nice report and some great animals. Glad you had a great hunt.
 

Royal27

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Great report!

Always hear good things about Chris.

So when is the next trip? :)
 

Rob404

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I hunted with Chris in 2014 and had a fantastic time, Sammy has the eyes of an eagle, did Sabina make the trip? I hear no mention of her great cooking.
 

Hank2211

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You were a very busy man indeed! Congratulations on the great trophies.
 

gillettehunter

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So first of all a big congratulations. You did well. Better than well actually. Sounds like you had a great time and thats what it is all about. You took a great selection of trophies. Did you use the 6.5 CM on the eland and black wilderbeast? What kind of velocity are you getting with the SST's? I see dead animals so it obviously worked. What can you tell us about bullet performance? Did you get bullet exits on most of the animals? Did you feel undergunned on any of them? Thanks Bruce
 

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Congratulations on your hunt. Thanks for the report.
 

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You guys got that job done and then some.
Congratulations.
 

CAustin

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Thanks for sharing! Looks like you had a great hunt
 

bluebill

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Great report!

Always hear good things about Chris.

So when is the next trip? :)
I'm not sure when the next trip is, but it will not be too many years. My wish list will be much more modest on the next go-around, I can assure you!
 

bluebill

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So first of all a big congratulations. You did well. Better than well actually. Sounds like you had a great time and thats what it is all about. You took a great selection of trophies. Did you use the 6.5 CM on the eland and black wilderbeast? What kind of velocity are you getting with the SST's? I see dead animals so it obviously worked. What can you tell us about bullet performance? Did you get bullet exits on most of the animals? Did you feel undergunned on any of them? Thanks Bruce
Yes Bruce, I actually took every animal with the 6.5 CM. Frankly, I wasn't sure that would be the plan, in fact, it wasn't the plan. I had a .338 WM with me as well, intentionally to shoot the eland. But, I have been shooting the 6.5 and this bullet combination for several years on deer in the states, with several reaching nearly 300 lbs. The bullet has performed very well, and I shoot this rifle well, so I was confident that it would do the job. However, once I started taking animals with it, and seeing the performance, I simply decided to stick with it. I was confident with my bullet placement, and as you know, that is absolutely key. Of 17 animals that I shot in total, only one fell out of our sight, and that was the eland. He ran perhaps 100 yards, but the bullet placement was in the shoulder and through the heart. The black wildebeest was dead on his feet almost immediately, and ran perhaps 75 yards in a circle. This bullet is traveling at about 3,000 fps, and let me tell you, it delivers a ton of punishment. As far as bullet performance, the bullet obviously exited all of the smaller animals. We retrieved bullets from the eland and wildebeest, with both bullets lodging under the skin on the far side. Both performed as advertised. I can't speak for Chris or the others that hunted with us, but I can tell you that everyone that watched this gun and bullet combination perform told me flat out how impressed they were with it. The most important thing in my opinion is, I'm confident in the gun, shoot it well, and know where my bullet is going to hit even at extended distance. With very little recoil, and solid bullet performance, it does the job for me.
 

bluebill

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I hunted with Chris in 2014 and had a fantastic time, Sammy has the eyes of an eagle, did Sabina make the trip? I hear no mention of her great cooking.
Yes Rob, Sammy is incredible. How he saw some of the animals he pointed out is beyond me. And such a wonderful guy, just a pleasure to be around. Sabina made the last few days after we had finished hunting, as we made it to Chris's parents house. So, I was able to visit with her a few days although I wasn't able to enjoy her cooking! But let me tell you, Chris's mom isn't a slouch in the kitchen herself!
 

Royal27

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I'm not sure when the next trip is, but it will not be too many years. My wish list will be much more modest on the next go-around, I can assure you!

You say that now!!!

You got a taste of the little guys and they are addictive....
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Rob404

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Yes Rob, Sammy is incredible. How he saw some of the animals he pointed out is beyond me. And such a wonderful guy, just a pleasure to be around. Sabina made the last few days after we had finished hunting, as we made it to Chris's parents house. So, I was able to visit with her a few days although I wasn't able to enjoy her cooking! But let me tell you, Chris's mom isn't a slouch in the kitchen herself!
I spent the whole week with Chris and Sabina at their property, after the second day I felt at home, and making friends with Sabina's bird earned me the right to get my own Beer from the fridge, we spent the evenings telling stories and swapping experiences. I believe Chris and Sabina of CT Safaris offer a unique Safari experience.
 

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Congrats, a great hunt !
 

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What an awesome bunch of trophies! Congrats!
 

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Congrats on the great trophies and memories! I will try to get a Barbary sheep like you did one day.
 

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