SOUTH AFRICA: Arnie Hunts With LJ SAFARIS For A Second Hunt

LJ SAFARIS

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This is a hunt that we have been planning for for a long time. Since Arnie's first hunt with us in 2019 we were talking about him coming back to hunt in 2020 and this would be a buff hunt, combined with some specific plains game like Waterbuck and Lechwe. Well we all know Covid killed the 2020 season so we postponed to 2021. Arnie arrived with us on April 4.
That morning we met at the airport and we were hopeful we would get some hunting time in that day or at least shoot the rifles. we headed off to our Karoo Concession and arrived there around lunch time, we unpacked had a quick bite to eat and off to the range. After a couple of shots we were ready to see what was out. The week before Arnie arrived I spent some time looking around and I saw a really nice Lechwe not to far from where we were, with more than 250 Lechwe on the property we always take our time to see what we can find. I knew for sure if we could find the bull I saw the week earlier we would be on a good bull.
We moved into the area and started looking around with no luck. We moved around some of the riverine and eventually found a bull in a patch of thick bush, with everyone excited we moved closer but unfortunately this wasn't a fully mature bull.

I decided that we need to move back to the vehicle and start looking else where, as we got close to the vehicle I spotted a bull moving down a little valley towards the river, this was the bull that we were looking for. We made a plan and started the stalk, the bull moved a bit quicker than what we thought and he got into the river valley before we could cut him off.
We quickly made a new plan and moved up a slope to try look into the river valley to find the bull. Half way up the slope we spotted two females in a clearing down about 300 yards down the valley from us, we decided to find a good spot to set up incase the bull would make an appearance with these females. We waited for about 20 minutes and the bull appeared giving Arnie a small window to make a really good shot and we have our first animal down for the safari. So end the first day, tomorrow we go looking for Waterbuck.
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Erny

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Nice lechwe. Keep them coming!!!
 

VertigoBE

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Great start of an adventure ! Keep it coming Juan! :)
 

Andrew Short

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Good to hear Juan! Glad you’re hunting again!
 

LJ SAFARIS

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When we started planning this hunt, the idea was to spend days looking for quality animals, both Arnie and I enjoy being out in the bush so both of us did not mind coming home empty handed for a few days. One of the animals that was right at the top of Arnie's list was Waterbuck. So for the next few days we were planning on looking for a good Waterbuck, both the Karoo and Coastal Concessions have Waterbuck but with more than 800 Waterbuck on the Karoo Concession chances of finding a really good one would be a lot better at the Karoo.
So after a very successful arrival day we set out for our first real hunting day, we saw many Waterbuck and some other plains game that morning, put in some miles walking but just could not connect with a nice bull. We had lunch in the bush so we could carry on looking further into the mountains that afternoon. The afternoon we saw plenty of Waterbuck and spotted a really nice bull up a slope in the mountains. We decided to move a bit closer and see if he was the one we wanted, we spent 40 minutes to an hour to get closer. We got a really good look and noticed that one horn was missing a tip so we carried on looking. The day ended with us not finding a bull we were happy to take.
The next day we headed into a different section of the mountains with the hope of finding a big Waterbuck bull. It was a crisp morning and most of the animals were looking for a bit of sun which made spotting animals a lot easier, again we looked over a lot of Waterbuck bulls, we spotted 6 bulls over a big valley on another hillside a few miles away and decided to go and have a closer look at these bulls.
We drove to the base of the hillside where we saw these bulls and started moving up the hill on foot, we moved slow to make sure we did not bump any other animals that might spook the Waterbuck or bump into a potential Waterbuck bull.
About two thirds up the hill Arnie spotted some Red Hartebeest about 400 yards away and said "that's a really nice Red Hartebeest bull." I was so focused on the Waterbuck that I did not really notice, I picked my binoculars up and had a look and it was indeed a really nice bull in the perfect spot to stalk, in the blink of an eye the stalk was on, we got to the spot I wanted to shoot from which gave Arnie a 100 yard shot and so we had our second animal down, got some photos and waited for the recovery team to get there.
We had lunch out in the mountains again to give us some more hunting time, the afternoon we carried on looking for the Waterbuck, late afternoon we spotted 3 bulls in a distance and oh boy the one bull was a beauty. We were losing light quickly and opted to leave them and come back looking for them the next morning, so we headed into camp.
The next morning we headed out early both optimistic that we have seen at least one bull we thought we wanted to stalk. It took some time to get back into that area as we got closer to the area we spotted the bull from the previous afternoon and we saw 3 bulls in a distance, 3 big bulls and one was a monster bull. We carefully made a plan and started the stalk, we moved closer and closer when we got to around 400 yards some blesbuck spotted us and gave the Waterbuck a fright, the bulls took off and ran around a little hillside. This was a disappointing start, we walked such a long distance only for a few blesbuck to give the game away. We sent a tracker back for the vehicle, while waiting I said to Arnie lets just take a walk onto this little hillside the Waterbuck ran around, it wasn't a difficult walk as there was a road moving up the side of the hill. We got to the top and started scanning the valley on the other side of the hill, we moved further around and I noticed my other tracker disappearing in front of me, there one of the three Waterbuck bulls were bedded down in the valley less than a 100 yards below us and I could see with the naked eye this was the big bull we wanted to stalk, we quickly got Arnie set up and as soon as he was ready the bull saw movement and got up looking straight at us, Arnie made a perfect shot and down went a massive Waterbuck.

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LJ SAFARIS

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Next on our list was a Vaal Rhebuck and we set out to hunt for one. We got into the mountains nice and early in the morning. While scanning we saw a really good Black Wildebeest bedded down in one of the valleys below us. We decided to take a closer look, we stalked in and when we eventually got into a shooting position the bull bedded down behind a rocky ridge just below the rest of the herd out of sight to us, so we opted to wait a bit. While waiting we looked at a really nice Blue Wildebeest just beyond the Black Wildebeest, while waiting a really nice Blesbuck walked right into our sight and stopped about 50 yards ahead of us. I whispered to Arnie, lets take a chance and shoot the Blesbuck, maybe the Black Wildebeest will give us an opportunity when the shot goes off.
Arnie made a great shot on the Blesbuck, unfortunately the Black Wildebeest took off and never stopped again, however the Blue Wildebeest hung around just a bit to long and again Arnie made a really good shot. We could not believe our luck two really good animals in one morning.

The afternoon we set out again to hunt for Vaal Rhebuck, we were barely into the mountains and we spotted a group of Vaal Rhebuck on the mountain side. We moved over the mountain with the vehicle to get out of sight. We slowly started stalking down hill, within about 45 minutes we were setting up for a shot on the Vaal Rhebuck and again Arnie did not disappoint with the shot.

The following day we were after the Black Wildebeest again. We headed into the area where we saw the group of Blacks the previous day but we had no luck finding it.
We moved further into the mountains and bumped a group of Black Wildebeest bulls there were 18 bulls moving together, we made a plan and started a stalk, there were two old bulls in the group that we liked. We took our time and got on top of a ridge and the bulls moved uphill just below us giving us the perfect spot to scan them all and pick the right one. The very last bull that walked past was the one we wanted and again Arnie was on the money.
On the way down the mountain we saw a nice Gemsbuck bull a distance below us in a valley, again we had the height advantage and it made the stalk a bit easier. This time as Arnie pulled the trigger the bull moved and caused the shot the hit further back and the bull too off running, we gave him some time and then followed up, we spotted him after about 800 meters of tracking him, he was about 600 meters ahead of us moving slowly. He was busy moving into a valley, we started moving faster with the idea that if the Gemsbuck moved up the slope across the valley it will put us in shooting distance. We got closer to the valley and the Gemsbuck appeared on the other side moving up the slope slowly giving us a 250 meter shot and we this time it was perfect.
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cpr0312

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Congrats to the hunter and thanks for sharing!
 

cls

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Congrats all around, thanks for posting
 

LJ SAFARIS

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From here we moved to the coast with Buffalo being our main animal. We arrived at the coast and unpacked. Had a quick lunch and then of to the range to check rifles. From there we went out hunting. We spent most of the afternoon moving around with very little success.
At almost last light we saw a really nice warthog and after a short stalk we had our first animal at the coast.
The next morning we went out looking for buffalo again, but again with very little success. We returned to the lodge for lunch. That afternoon we went out in a different area looking for Buffalo. We were after any old Bull we could find, however I spotted a bull walking with 2 young bulls a week earlier that I really wanted to try and hunt. Most of the afternoon went like the pervious couple of days with very little moving around. Arnie wanted a Sable as well but he wanted a big bull and we knew there were 2 really big bulls somewhere on the property. So with the afternoon not producing much we decided to head back to the lodge. On our way back we spotted 3 Sable bulls one really nice bull and two good bulls. We opted to look around a bit more as I thought we could do a bit better.
Close to the lodge we bumped a herd of buffalo and to our amazement we spotted the bull we wanted trailing the herd. It was to late to try and hunt him but we had a good place to start in the morning.
The next morning we started early and picked up on the tracks, within 45 minutes we had spotted the herd but could not see the bull we wanted.
The herd was slowly moving to a waterhole and we decided to move there and set up if the bull was still trailing the herd. We watched the whole herd at the waterhole drinking and moving on but no bull, only a much younger herd bull. We stayed put for another 20 to 25 minutes and all of a sudden the bull moved out some thick bush over the open towards the waterhole. He came right up to the edge giving us a perfect chance, 2 well placed shots and we had our Buffalo bull.
After the photos and helping to load we decided to head in for an early lunch and the afternoon we would head into an area where one of the trackers saw a nice Sable bull the previous day.
We were out early the afternoon and as luck had it we connected with another nice warthog and we had two warthog down. Later that afternoon we spotted a Sable up on a ridge and I don't think any of us needed to look him over we immediately started planning a stalk, after a long careful stalk we had a beautiful Sable down with 3 animals down in one day we decided to head back for an early supper.
When Arnie was with us in 2019 he really wanted a Common Reedbuck and we could not find a decent enough male to shoot. So we decided the next day we will try and find a Common Reedbuck.
We left the lodge early the next morning and traveled to the area where the Reedbuck are. We spent the morning looking over some Reedbuck but could not find a good male. Around 12pm we decided to stop for lunch, we were up on a ridge looking down a valley. Half way through lunch we spotted a beautiful Common Reedbuck down the valley from us, we quickly finished packed up and off we went. We moved around thebslope and came over into the valley which gave us a perfect short distance shot and this time we had the Common Reedbuck.
We left and headed back to the property where the lodge was.
As we arrived back on the property we spotted a Roan Bull in a distance, after looking at him for a few minutes we decided to see if we could get into shooting distance. With it being late afternoon the sun helped with the stalk and after a good stalk we had another beautiful animal down.
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