SOUTH AFRICA: August 2021 With KMG Hunting Safaris

Uintaelkhunter

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Hello all. I know with Covid and everyone being cooped up and wishing things could get back to normal. Some of you may enjoy the day to day of what happens on a hunt. As I’m not much for doing hunting reports and have hunted with @KMG Hunting Safaris a few times before. I thought it may be nice to bring you along as we hunt.
I really should have started things a few days ago. So I will try to play catch up. We all know there have been some more hoops to jump through. This hunt all started a few years ago when I last hunted with Marius we talked a bit and I give him a small deposit to hold some dates for me. Then it seemed the world flipped upside down and panic set in or was it fear I’m not really sure. I for one didn’t really seem to understand or care much for it all I know is it has pitted us against each other and seemed to devide us I two. To hunt or wait it out to hide in fear or embrace it and push forward. What I do know is the safari industry is hurting much the same as every other one because of a virus. I for one was not going to let it stop me if there was a way to keep my dates an word I was going to make this hunt happen.
Fast forward a bit I am one that likes a plan. I try to book things as fare out as I can airfare ect. Well with all things going on I waited longer that I normally do and kept a eye on who was flying. I seen Qatar kept at it and so even though I like the direct flight from the states I decided the safe bet was Qatar and booked it.
Then just a few days before the flight I did the same with my Covid test. This is also when I seem to stress the most is just the few days before actually leaving up until I board the plane. As I’m sure some of you do. It’s all those last minute things that seem to creep up. Well I can say Covid and all the new requirement we must do have defiantly taken it up a notch for travel. It all came down to the night before leaving. Waiting for those results double checking airline booking to make sure there was no last minute changes. Making sure you packed everything for the trip. Then for me atleast the calm comes when I’m on that that leg of flights. When I know there will be know more hurtles to cross the finish line. The 100 percent certainty that the Safari is going to happen. No matter how it goes your on your way.

Well a few days ago was that day! Seeing Marius familiar face and catching up. Knowing the hunt is on. We are hitting the ground running. Even though I’m running on little sleep and over two days on airplanes and airports. Still in a daze but on African soil in Jo-Berg Marius with KMG Safaris in toe we are on our way one last flight to Hoedspruit in the Limpopo and we will be hunting.
 
Looking forward to hearing about your adventures!
 
Day zero or night one I think I will call it. We both boarded the plane to Hoedspruit and arrived around 1pm in the afternoon but unfortunately our rifles where still on a coffee brake in Jo-berg. Lucky there was another flight coming in around 3pm so we took a little time to chat and have some coffee and cake as well. While waiting for our rifles. If you know Marius he always has a plan B and a sweat tooth.
Once our rifles arrived we headed straight to the place he has us booked into and meet up with our PH that had some pre baiting done for Hyena. We had a plan to get cleaned up changed and head straight to set a blind and check the rifle before it got to late.
After a quick shower and sorting of gear we had a early dinner and made our way to the place for a long night ahead or up to three night actually if it need be and hope we come right. As we have three different camps to hunt in a 10 day timeframe to do it in.
 
First night hunt was setup so we headed out to a pre baited Hyena bait. I was feeling the jet lag and the prior two days travel but was excited for what was to come.
we got to the bait site made quick work of setting the blind and scouting which way we figured the hyena where moving as there seemed to be tracks coming and going in all directions. Then got into the blind for the long night ahead. As it was atleast a hour until dark with possibly many more hour to go before we would get a chance. So I tried to close my eye a bit and rest sitting up.
just before dark with the last hind of light when you seem to get that haze in the air The PH nudged me and said he seen movement. So I slowly raised the rifle and started to scan. Slowly finding one then another two dark outlines near the bait piece we had left in the road near out bait that was hanging. I tried to focus and pick up each spot so o have a good idea where the vitals are. But in a flash one of them takes off so I move to the second one and again find the best shot placement you can I such conditions as begin to watch him mill around the bait and sniffing the ground but my PH whisper hold on let’s let him go.
So now with a second wind I’m up and awake eyes glued and ears open for any shadow or sound. We are both in sync waiting for the next possible chance as the minutes pass by. Not long and Marius hears something else but it’s out of view to my side. I must just sit and wait as I get whispers telling me where he thinks it is and when it is coming. Then it finally come to a spot where I can pick him up. Fist just a shadow then as my eyes focus it becomes clearer it is defiantly another hyena he looks o be moving up a road slowly towards out bait cautiously sniffing as he goes. Just before he gets to the bait I hear a whisper you can take him when ready. So I settled in and said I’m ready. BOOM as the shot range out I hit him clean on the shoulder he dropped to the shot then stood back up and started to spin around so I racked another round and squared up again to the same spot as before and let another one ring. This time the hyena did not move. First night in Africa and I have a hyena headed to the skin of shed. What a great feeling. For one I’m exhausted but have a bit of relief as it takes some pressure off or the busy days ahead. So we can move camp and have a few nights to hunt some of the other smaller cats and night animals of opportunity.
 
Day 1 - Hyena - The PH's perspective
We had received a permit for a Spotted Hyena in an area that I had only hunted once before. This did not bother me, as I know that there is a very healthy population of Spotted Hyena in this particular area. The last time we hunted this area, we had a big male Leopard on the bait while we were in the blind.
Pre-baiting had already begun as I requested. We are running on a rather tight schedule for this trip. We got to the bait tree, and I was satisfied that the area was covered in Hyena tracks. The trail camera also confirmed that the first individual appreared around 19:00, with different groups visiting the bait site all the way past midnights.
We settled into the blind around 17:00, with it still being quite light out. Mark had just gotten off the plane a couple hours earlier. When we started planning this hunt, I asked him to push through the pain barrier for the first part of the hunt. He had just endured a two day flight over here, and was now in the Hyena blind, without having had good sleep for 2 days.
I leaned over and told him to get some rest while I keep a lookout. I will walk him up as darkness fell. We still had and hour and half until dark. Mark nodded off.
As light started to fade, just before darkness, I picked up movement under the bait tree. I instructed Mark to get ready. We had left a little bit of bait in the road , around 30 yards from the blind. At once, a second Hyena appeared , coming in from our right. I tried to distinguish which was the bigger one, but everything happened rather quickly. Both of them were now standing over the carrion that we had left in the road. The bigger Hyena grabbed the bait and took off, runnning past the blind at about 15 yards. Both of the two Hyena were adults, but Mark and I have known each other for a few years, so I was hoping to out him onto something exceptional. One ofthe Hyena stayed behind, interested in the bait in the tree. I could see that he was uncomfortable with the blind, looking in our direction often. He might have picked up movements or a silloutte, but impossible to stay. After a minute or so, he also decided to leave. Immediately that feeling came over me.
Those who have hunted with me and know me, will tell you that I hate letting opportunities go by. Whether they are within my control, or not. Have I made a mistake by letting them walk? The sequence was running through my mind continously. Maybe I should have instructed Mark to take the shot?
The calming factor was that I knew another opportunity would come. I was also pretty sure that the one that ran off with the small piece of bait, would be back. Hyenas can't help them selves, and that particular one, never knew that we were there.
Everything was quiet for a while, as I continously scanned the area. Always listening for grass moving, just to get that half a second on him.
After roughly 20 minutes, I picked up movement over the top of the long grass. It was just the head of a Hyena sticking out. It was standing roughly 20 yards to the right of the tree. The grass was almost 3 feet hight. The entire body was still covered. I focused on the head, particularly the size of the head , as well as the size of the neck from its shoulders. I instructed Mark that I could see another one, and that he should get ready. The Hyena moved slowly, inching forward, sniffing the air. Saviouring the meal to come. Focused. As he inched forward, and stated to expose himself more, I started to see that it looked as if the neck and shoulders was the same size, joining to the head. This was an exceptional animal.
I instruced Mark that when he got the chance that he should take this Hyena, trying to keep him calm as well. There is no point in me getting excited, and this spilling over to him, although, I knew what we were looking at. I was waiting for him to walk closer to the bait, but saw that he was unsure about his surroundings. I instructed Mark to slide the crosshairs to the right of the tree, around 15 yards. Then the words that I love hearing. "Got him"
Mark fired the first the shot, and I could see that it connected. The Hyena initially dropped, andf tried getting back up again. The second shot rang, and hit him and inch away from the first shot, right on the shoulder. The second shot was not necessary, but better to make sure.
After calling in to be collected, we waited in the blind for the vehicle to arrive. There are many Lions in the area, so best to have sufficient light before getting out. We walked up to Hyena. He was enormous. An unbelievable specimen. These incredible animals never seize to amaze me, and I could not be happier for Mark.
 
Photo of the hyena I will try to catch up and post bot mine and the PHs perspectives
875E242A-2FD0-4C10-AD99-66DCBC6256A6.jpeg
 
first full day and night in africa we have a slow morning but a busy day ahead we are moving locations to a new camp for 3-4 nights to hunt serval, civet, honey badger, and if time and opportunity allow genet, bushpig and caracal there are baits already up at the new location but we will be hunting mostly vegetable and citrus plantations. Defiantly a first for me. We get moved and things settled away in our new camp. We also got the rifles adjusted for longer shots. Now we wait for night fall. Camp is basic but suits our needs clean beds and hot showers and some new and excited PHs. We eat dinner and head out just after dark. We see some plains game and genets then we luck into a caracal early. He is close but moving fast away not much time to think just react. I swing fast settle the crosshair on him as fire. He dropped in his tracks.
Some photos and we where off again by then later the wind picked up. We still seen a civet or two actually but not much moving.
The following night the same with a cold front that moved thru this night was much colder and it kept everything quite for the last few nights. But with a warmup today and a forecast for tonight our last night in this camp before moving to another location and also moving to hunting during the day. This will be it. Hoping our luck changes for the better.
 
Day 2 PHs perspective-
Change in location
The plan was always to pack up as soon as we were successful on the Hyena. We built in the extra days as a buffer for some of the challenging species we were after as well as making sure we had the flexibilty to arrive either ealier or later.
The next morning we packed our gear and headed off to the new area for the next chapter, unsure about what we would arrive to. After roughly 1hr45 minutes on the road, we got to our new camp for the next few days. Camp was rustic but neat. We had to forego a few luxuries but we had good beds and comfortable living conditions.
We settled in and had opportunity to check the rifles out to a little further. All was in order. After supper, we loaded the vehicles and set out for the evening hunt after some night critters that inlcuded Honey Badger, Serval and Civet. Species of opportunity, could include species such as Bushpig, Caracal and Spotted Genet.
I was interessted to hear that we would mostly be driving and spotlighting for the animals, as the resident PH's felt we could cover more ground. We would be concentrating on big open fields as well as plantations. This was a little bit different to the baited hunts that I was used to in the past for these species. I was now on their turf, and trust their judgment fully.
After supper, we headed out for the night session. There is something quite exciting about night hunting. You just never know what you can run into. This was no different. As we cleared some brush onto an open field, we picked up eyes quite close to the vehicle, roughly 25 yards away. Confirmation was quick that is was a Caracal. As the light fell on it, the cat immediately started sneaking away. As it stepped to look back one last time, the suppressed .308 rang, and dropped the cat in its tracks. Mark was onto it in a flash, and fired his shot freehand, connecting with the cat just behind the last rib and the bullet exiting through the chest. It was a great start and probably the last species I would have expected to connect on. We managed to find one Civet later, but decided to pass up on it, as we felt we could do a bit better.Very happy with the start. Although we did not connect on any of our targeted species, we connected on a chance Caracal. Can't be unhappy about that!
 
Congrats on the hyena!!
 
Congrats on the Caracal and the Hyena! What a monster specimen ! @Uintaelkhunter
Looking forward to the rest of your adventures!
 
I just realized you're from Utah! Did @KMG Hunting Safaris tell you about the other Utah hunter that shot the wrong hyena? The hunter is mostly deaf and sort of a moron so i do have that as an excuse...I mean the hunter has that excuse

Looking forward to more pictures of your success!
 
Congrats, jealous about that spotted hyena, on my shortlist for next year...hopefully !
 
Nice follow through on the Caracal.
 
Night 3 and 4 we had a cold front move in night 3 we moved to some new plantations with bananas as they had a bait setup for bushpig and had had many airings of civets. The place sat on a hill with a river at the bottom. They owner said be carful as there where hippos that like to come up into the fields at night. It was a spooky felling walking down thru rows and rows of bananas with just a small glow of red light from a headlamp knowing there could be hippos close by. We all where very cautious at every sound we heard.
we made it to the bait pile with no luck. We stayed a bit and scanned for sounds but had nothing so we radioed for the truck and began working the orchards. Midway thru the night we found a good civet with a spotlight just under the edge of a row of trees. I squared up on his shoulder and squeezed the trigger. The shot felt good the cat flipped and went down as I cycled another round but by the time I was back on target. The cat had jumped up and gone. We made our best effort to find it but didn’t even find blood. They said they would send someone looking in the morning so we continued on but the rest of the night my mind was stuck on what had happened. We carried on for a few more hours into the night but I could not tell you what or if we seen anything much else as I was fixated on that shot. It is the first animal I feel I hit and have lost. Even the next morning when we got the phone call that they had found nothing. Made the day a blur. It did not help that the day was overcast cold and windy as we waited for the night to come.
The fourth night came with cold front and chilled to the bone cold. We started out on some tomato fields and worked our way thru seen a few rabbits and a mongoose but nothing much else.
 
Day 3 - PHs perspective
I have high hopes for tonight. We departed to a different area that had many plantations of all sorts. There were some huge Banana plantations, as well as Avo , Mango and Citrus blocks. The evening started off by us walking into the Banana plantation. The owner had a bait pile of excess fruits and nuts where everything got dumped. This was music to my ears , as I knew that this was where you would have a great chance at Bushpigs. We stopped the truck roughly a mile away and proceeded on foot.
We were warned about the possibilty of bumping into Hippo.
As we walked down the road slowly, we kept scanning into the rows of the Banana plantation, listening for the rustling of leaves for pigs. We ran into a few Bushbuck, but nothing on our target list.
We got close to the feeding spot, which was situated on a left turn bend in the road, and could hear rustling to our right. We had arrived at the bait pile too early. We were literally 5 minutes too early for the pigs and beat them to the bait pile. As quitely as they had made their way to the edge of the bush, they dissappeared into the darkness of night without a trace.
We carried on slowly, and picked up a huge porcupine which we decided to give a pass, along with a few Bushbuck. We summoned the truck for collection and carried on.
Roughly 500 yards further, we picked up a massive Civet in one of the rows. I ranged the cat at 107 yards, and Mark steadied on him freehand. At the shot, the Civet rolled and spun. After 2 second he got up and took off. We walked over to the area where he was and could not find a spec of blood or any sign of a hit. We managed to find his tracks crossing the road around 200 yards from where the initial shot was with zero sign. No blood, nothing. We searched the area extensively, returning to the area of the shot multiple times, but with zero sign of a hit. Not much that we can do further, as we asked the owner to have some of his staff walk the small thicket the cat dissapeared into, in the morning.
As we got closer to the end of the evening's hunt, the owner instructed us to take any Bushbuck ram that we see. The Bushbuck were eating the flowers off the Avo trees causing extensive damage to the plantation. Mark managed to connect on a nice ram. After the ram, we called it a night and travelled back to camp for some well needed rest.
I kept on thinking back to the Civet, and tried to analyze what happened. Hope that we will get another crack at one.
 
Day 4 PHs perspective
We left camp just after supper at 19:30. Tonight was cold. I double layered , but it did not seem to do much. We covered extensive ground, through some Citrus Orchards, as well as some Garlic fields, Avo and Tomato fields.
Early in the evening we picked up a White Tailed Mongoose, but it was getting out of dodge. We kept waiting for it to stop just for a look-around, but it never came. The Mongoose dissapeared never to be seen again. Mark was onto him from around 50 yards, all the way until he dissapeared into the brush at roughly 130 yards. The chance just never came.
Furthermore, we saw plenty of wildlife, but there was a distict lack of predator activity. I felt that the low temperatures had a massive role to play. There was almost zero wind. Just that deathly cold temperature. We ralled hard, but around midnight called off the night. Time to go back, catch up on some sleep and go all out tomorrow night.
I am positive that our luck will change tomorrow.
 
Day 5 last night of night hunting then we have a early start to day 6 by traveling a few hours drive and switching to days. Where we will stop going after predators and night animals and start for plains game and pre historic beasts.
Day5 the last night was a bit warmer and the cold wind had finally stopped blowing. We had a short drive to hunt yet another place to see if we could get lucky. The night actually started off with a lot of activity. With seeing some bushbuck and the first siting of a serval on the whole trip but it was on it was to the next farm in a hurry and didn’t present a shot. Then the night slowed for a bit. And we worked some orchards row by row. On our way back around we bumped a single bushpig head in a tree at close range. Being the last night I did not hesitate to shoot and the pig never stood a chance as it dropped to the shoot.
So with the night coming to an end I would. I would call it a success even without connecting on all that we had come for it will be an excuse to come back.
 

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