SOUTH AFRICA: BOWHUNT: Matswani Safaris Aug/Sept 2016

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by 50by50, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. 50by50

    50by50 AH Veteran

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    Good luck Gillette! Where you heading?
     

  2. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Wow. great pigs!! I'm jealous
     

  3. 50by50

    50by50 AH Veteran

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    Alright- left off with these beauties hitting the dirt.

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    Here's a picture of the 14+ inch warthog I got a couple years ago:

    IMG_5532.JPG

    Originally my plan was to just do a euro mount of this warthog but after getting two more big pigs I've decided to mount them as a group.

    Something like this:

    FullSizeRender.jpg

    My wife argues the warthog is the ugliest animal God created, but it will be a cool addition to the trophy room and I personally think they're awesome! Besides, can you put much stock in the opinion of someone that calls your trophy room the "room of death"?

    The mounted warthogs, in this picture, are good ones- really heavy. I like how the taxidermist pulled out the couple inches of tooth from the gums and showed them off. I'm going to do that with mine and with how long they already are; I'm expecting the finished piece of art to look ridiculously cool. I'll post a pic....

    Well, day two ended on a high although we didn't see hide nor hair of that big wily nyala bull, though the trail camera showed this long heavy horned bruiser coming in semi regularly.

    DAY 3

    At the lodge that night we decided to focus the next day on bushbuck. KP has a good friend with a ranch that's perfect for bushbuck so we decided to head there in the morning. 8:30am on day three found us climbing into a cool elevated blind tucked into a big tree about 20 yards from the water.

    The morning started off with 4 youngish nyala bulls coming in followed by 4 warthogs and a small herd of impala. I saw three bushbuck bulls but the only one that came in to water wasn't big enough. The waterhole was located in a dry river bottom (with flowing water only during the rainy season). In the morning there was lots of shade but as the sun climbed, the temperature climbed to. By 1pm it was easily 90 degrees in the blind. I was sweaty and uncomfortable. It was too hot for the animals and most were all shaded up and not coming in. And the ones that were coming in were all immature, so at 1:30pm we pulled stakes and left.

    Here's a picture of the nyala bulls on the breakfast we'd laid out for them by the water. I think they're one of the more beautiful (and unique) animals.

    DSC00079.jpg

    This is when we decided to go back to the concession with the dried up well and sit over a salt lick by the river, as I mentioned in my second post. Nothing came in until just before last shooting light and it was a group of blue wildebeest. I've already got a good blue so they weren't really on the list. At about 40 yards they winded us and blew out anyway.

    Bummer of a third day...

    DAY 4

    Day 4 started early... about 2:30am I was having a hard time with the jet lag still. By 8pm every night I was practically asleep standing up and then by 2:30am I was completely and widely awake. I usually laid in the bed for an hour or two and then showered, made sure the GoPro and video cameras were charged, packed my backpack for the day, and then went to the lodge to FaceTime with my wife. Around 5:30am I would eat breakfast and then shoot my bow. By 6:30 or 7am KP and Daniel, our driver/ tracker, had the truck loaded for the day and we were off.

    I'm always surprised how African animals are unique to our North American game in that they don't venture into water much before things warm up. Is it the chill of the morning they don't like? Whatever the reason, we rarely got much action at the waterholes before 10am and the trail cameras confirmed this.

    We went to a different concession day four and hunted another elevated blind. The trail camera had shown some nice animals, including some nyala and a huge eland, using this water hole. This blind wasn't set in a tree, however, and I was a bit nervous looking up at it swaying in the wind and was half convinced the puny poles holding it up would snap when we climbed all the way in. It had a slight tilt but luckily held us fine- even in the wind.

    It was super gusty that morning and the animals were sketched out and nervous at the water. We had a herd of 15 or so blesbok finally come in. Mostly females and young and the bulls we did see weren't big enough. Then some impala came in. They were fun to watch because the ram was snorting and grunting and chasing the ewes all over the place. We had a couple warthogs come in for a minute but the strong wind was shutting things down bad.

    I took some good video of the impala and some pictures of the blesbok.

    DSC00082.jpg

    Around 2pm we climbed down and hunted a different blind the remainder of the day and nothing mature and huge on my list came in. We did have a group of blue wildebeest come in with one huge bull and a big old baboon came in with his group and hung out on the pellets for quite a while.

    The big blue wildebeest was a really nice one and after comparing the picture to the one mounted downstairs, I wish I would have put an arrow through him.

    Here's the comparison. This bull had a little better length than mine (maybe 30+ inches compared to mine that's 29 1/2 inches) but what makes him impressive to me is his bases. Look how my bulls bosses are kind of flat while this bull's bosses are big and rounded. My blue wildebeest is a fairly good one, by my estimation, but that blue wildebeest was better and KP was disappointed I didn't shoot him. And now I am too!

    IMG_6510.JPG

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    I passed on the baboon as well because I was hoping for something on my list coming in. Day four was a bust. I was starting to feel unsettled...

    Still- I was enjoying the experience and every day there were funny, interesting things going on. For example, I loved how the biggest baboons would plop down, like they were in a hot tub, in the bins of pellets we'd set out.

    DSC00026.jpg

    All the other baboons would be fighting over the straw and stray pellets while those big bullies sat on top of the bulk of the pellets contentedly eating and warning everyone else away. Last time I shot 3 baboons. This time I was focused more on getting the spiral horns and I was beginning to appreciate having baboons on the feed. So even though a couple of these big old mature baboons tempted me like crazy, I kept my bow on the hanger waiting for a nyala, bushbuck, kudu, or eland to come in.
     
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  4. rinehart0050

    rinehart0050 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Great report so far... congrats on some great trophies! Keep it coming!

    I know what that's like. Before our safari, my wife was strongly opposed to any taxidermy being done, not wanting dead animals in the house. That lasted until she shot her first animal, a beautiful sable. Now its shoulder mounts for everything! I went from a very cheap taxidermy bill to a very expensive one!
     
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  5. Patrick R

    Patrick R AH Fanatic

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    :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:....Those Warthog's are flippen monsters
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016
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  6. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Nice warthogs, congrats! I would love to have a mount of 3 GIANT warthogs like the ones in that taxidermy picture.
     
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  7. Bhfs300

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  8. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Very nice warthogs sir! Don't think I could manage sitting there and not sticking a baboon.
     
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  9. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Enjoying that flight over o_O Those kids must be some kind of fun.

    My "wall of death" compliments your room quite well. :ROFLMAO:

    Hunt how you want; Rowland has been my tape since day one.

    (Those critters/blinds sure sound like they have been hunted a lot if they are that twitchy.)
     
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  10. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I'm drooling and jealous of those pigs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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  11. 50by50

    50by50 AH Veteran

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    Hey- that would be great rinehart! Wish my wife was a little more into it.
     
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  12. 50by50

    50by50 AH Veteran

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  13. kathy

    kathy AH Fanatic

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    How many different bow blinds does the outfitter have to hunt?
    Could you not move if the wind was wrong ?
    I have been to Africa 3 times and have yet to get a shot at a mature bull Eland, maybe next time, ( bow only) . Forrest
     

  14. kathy

    kathy AH Fanatic

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    Forgot to say, I really like the trio warthogs mounts, don't think my wife would, something about hogs in the house. Forrest
     
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  15. 50by50

    50by50 AH Veteran

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    Hey Forrest- thanks for following the story and commenting. The outfitter has a lot of different concessions but the wind was a major problem in that it was either blowing super hard or swirling bad.

    Sounds like the 4th time to Africa is going to be when you get your big eland! Just wait- there's a few days of hell but I do get an arrow into a great eland toward the end of the hunt!
     

  16. 50by50

    50by50 AH Veteran

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    Hey everyone. Wanted to thank you for following this story. It makes taking the time to type it all worth it!

    Day five started like day four with an early morning shower, chat with Amy, great breakfast and some practice with my bow.

    KP was in good spirits that morning as he’d spent some time on the phone the previous night and lined up some awesome big properties to hunt. That same friend that manages the concessions with the well that dried up was going to allow us to hunt another concession that has not been hunted in a very long time as well. There were a lot of blue wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck, kudu, nyala and eland in the area and he was confident we would find a good mature animal there.

    We went a bit early and set up a blind 30 yards from a water hole. It was tucked in perfect but the wind was still plaguing us. We collected a bunch of zebra manure and, after making a trench in front of our blind and lining up the apples, we lit one end and climbed into the blind. That worked well and we got a slow burn of smoke for a couple hours. With the strong wind nothing much came in though, and by 3pm we decided to head out to KP's plan B.

    Another friend had recently purchased a property. The previous owner hadn’t done much with his land but had built and operated a wedding reception/ banquet hall at the front, which is where my PH got married 7 years ago! When his friend bought the land he inherited a lot of animals on it including a good herd of kudu, with some big mature bulls. So KP worked out permission to hunt this new property. This ranch was not huge but was still several square miles.

    It wasn’t a property that gets hunted but the owner told my KP his son had come home from college and shot a warthog over a water hole next to a big pump house with his bow and that his hands regularly see kudu on there. So we decided to sit there. It turned out kind of ghetto which just told me we were hunting a property that never gets hunted, so possibly had some great animals on it.

    We made a small pile of feed next to the water hole and climbed into the pump house. Here’s a pic of our food pile with a guinea fowl on it.

    DSC00117.jpg

    This next picture is the hole I’m looking out of from the small brick shed that houses the pump. It was a very awkward shooting position sitting down and kind of scrunched over but if the critter was big, I was willing to try it.

    DSC00116.jpg

    We had a couple immature kudu bulls come in, a few immature warthogs and right at dusk a jackal, that I missed, and that was it.

    At this point my hunt was over half over and we’d gone 3 whole days with no success. KP was really stressing out. I felt bad for him… and worse for me. But I couldn’t fault my PH. He was doing everything he could to get me on good animals.

    That night the lodge was doing dinner in the owner’s trophy room. It was a huge 7 or 8,000 sqft. building with probably 50 full body mounts in it. He had a couple cape buffalo, an elephant, giraffe, leopard, lion, hyena, rhino, hippo, crocodile, as well as all the plains game species. I was feeling pretty down and not in the mood for socializing, so after walking around and taking some pictures, I put myself to bed without any dinner. That’ll show Africa…

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    The middle of the hunt was SLOOOW. But hang in there. The end of the hunt was great!
     

  17. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for sharing more, cant wait for the end of the hunt! And holy cow, what a trophy room, I've only ever seen that many large full body African animals in once place and it was Cabelas!
     
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  18. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    All of my hunts have had some slow spots in them. Just makes success that much sweeter. Looking forward to the rest of the tale. Bruce
     
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  19. 50by50

    50by50 AH Veteran

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    thanks Bruce and Reedy! I'll add a little more here so we can get completely done with the slow part.

    The past 3 days had been very disappointing with windy conditions and bad luck plaguing us.

    Day six didn’t start until about 4am, which was a big improvement. I woke up feeling great! That was like sleeping in and I got up thinking this was the day it would all turn around.

    I had come to Africa to get those spiral horns, which, aside from a very average kudu I shot a couple years ago, had alluded me my previous two trips. With the hunt half over, I didn’t have one in the skinning shed and at this point I was resigned to maybe getting two out of the four. I was hoping day six would be the day I got one of them knocked off the list. I was right…. And wrong…..

    That morning we went to a big property KP had gotten permission to hunt and we saw some good waterbuck, a big herd of maybe 15-20 eland (females, young, and small bulls), some warthogs, impala, blue wildebeest, and tsessebe. We were there for Eland. His friend said he had a lot of mature eland bulls with some exceptional bulls running around. Unfortunately, we didn’t see them and KP was so stressed out that by about 3pm he called the tracker to bring up the truck and we piled in and took off.

    DSC00118.jpg

    On the way out we stopped to let some ranch hands know we were leaving and I saw where they had killed a porcupine. I jumped out and collected all the quills I could find laying around- 10 or 12 of them. So at least I came away with something! Oh- and I got pictures of some mounts in the owner’s place. This guy had some really good animals!

    For example, look at the size of this bushbuck!

    IMG_4948.jpg

    It reminds me of Kenny Hudson’s bushbuck in his profile picture. Kenny! Is there a story I can look up of your hunt for that monster ram?

    The guy was a real hunter and everything he had mounted was impressive. We took off from there and went to the same concession and pit blind where I’d shot those two big warthogs earlier in the hunt.

    Both KP and I were battling a 4-day bad mood and were needing to regroup somewhere where we’d had some success. We had a great warthog come in. His one tusk was at least 13 inches (11 inches showing) but his other tusk was broken almost at the lip line. So there was maybe 2 inches showing. I regret it now but I decided to pass on him and other than a few other animals coming in to water, no shooters came in ….

    KP was pretty upset. He turned to me and said:

    “Matt, I promise you right now you will go home with your spiral slam”.

    He was really earnest and sincere about it so I thanked him and didn’t bring up the fact that I believed there was absolutely no way it was going to happen.

    As we were driving off the property, KP was on the phone with a friend of his that owns land along the crocodile river. He was speaking Afrikaans so I didn’t know what they were discussing until he got off the phone and asked me if I could shoot my bow at night if we used a spotlight. At first I was not excited. Spotlighting seems like cheating. But with a bow….?... yep, still cheating but I decided to roll with it and see what happened. So we drove an hour and a half to Bossi’s house. Bossi is a long-time friend of KP’s and farms wheat along the river. He has a lot of bushbuck coming up into his field at night and he subsidizes his income by catching and selling the bushbuck a few times a year.

    When we got there Bossi had just come from a wedding reception and was nice and toasted. He was very VERY gregarious and in his inebriated state had little interest in boundaries, so I was constantly fending off all sorts of weirdness. For example, several times during the night when I was sitting in the high seat in the bed of his truck and he had climbed out of the driver seat to talk to us, he would sidle up to me and, quick as a flash, stick his hand up the inside of my shorts! Yikes! And his jokes were quite hilarious but so off color I'd kicked off this forum if I told one here.

    When we got there it was already super dark so we loaded up in Bossi’s hunting truck. Bossi was driving while me, KP and Bossi’s 20-something year old son were in the back.

    I had rigged my headlamp on the side of the my head so when I pulled the bow back I could see the peep sight in my string to line up on the pins. Ghetto setup but since this is illegal in most parts of the world, nobody has bothered to come up with a better way!

    We drove up to the fields in complete darkness and when we got there Bossi flipped on his lights and we turned on the spot light. Immediately we spotted two eyes flashing in the wheat. We baja’d over and it was a ram. A good ram! Only 30 yards away. We estimated he would go 15 inches so I hurriedly drew my bow back and waited for the ram to turn broadside but instead of cooperating, the ram just dropped into the wheat and held perfectly still. We could barely see the tips of his horns sticking out. We waited and waited but he was acting like a pheasant, so we moved on, figuring we could come back and check on him later.

    We drove around the field and along some dirt roads that ran along the river and the river bottoms and saw an ewe with a baby, a young ram, and a really old ram. His horns were super worn down and his body was huge. When we saw him he had jumped up at 25 yards and was facing us straight on. He had been laying in the wheat. Bossi said something in Afrikaans and KP said “Bossi wants him for the kitchen if you can hit him in the throat so it doesn’t ruin any meat”. He was still facing us straight on, frozen in the spotlight. So I drew back and, using my jimmied setup, lined up between my 30 and 25 yard pins and let er rip. I watched the shot zip right in the throat… via his mouth. He turned and started sprinting away with an arrow sticking straight out his mouth! I was kind of in shock and just watched as KP grabbed his rifle and put him down with a perfect neck shot on the run.

    Bossi leaped out of his truck and asked me what I thought I was doing in a very colorful way. Oh man did Bossi have a great time making fun of me! I finally told him I did exactly what he’d asked and the only reason I shot him in the throat through his mouth is because I didn’t want to ruin any neck meat. He thought that was about the most hilarious thing he’d ever heard and left off his ridiculing of me.

    Here’s the ram. The arrow is connected.

    IMG_5009.jpg

    We did go back and try to get on that big ram that had hid in the wheat and we did find him again. I had a fleeting shot but before I could release, he ducked down in the cover again. We shouted a little and then I took the rifle and followed Bossi’s son into the field to see if we could flush him.

    Now I’d heard all the stories and seen some pictures like the one below I found on this site of this skewered hunting dog, so was naturally amped up and ready to shoot and run!

    dog-impaled-2.jpeg

    But we couldn’t find him! He’d disappeared. We walked and walked and finally jumped him nowhere near where we thought he was. I had a shot before he ran but it was head on and through a lot of wheat so I held off and took the shot while he was running away… and missed. Surprisingly Bossi didn’t say much. On the way home KP told me to go ahead next time and take the shot. At that range I would have hit him even through the wheat.

    All in all, I found the experience pretty dang fun! We didn’t get the ram for the wall but we had a good time and I was looking forward to coming back to Bossi’s and trying for a big one.

    Day six ended with us getting back to camp super late. This was 4 days without putting anything in the skinning shed. I had passed the stage of being stressed out and was now at the stage where you realize it’s out of your hands and you’ll just enjoy the ride and see what happens in the next 5 days.

    Ok! From here out it gets more exciting!
     

  20. 50by50

    50by50 AH Veteran

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    Brick burn- I got a laugh out of your comment about my kids...... and you're right. THey're a bit of a handful. Especially #3. He's the feral child.
     

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