SOUTH AFRICA: Buffalo & Kudu Hunt With CT Safaris

ar15meister

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I recently went to South Africa to hunt with Chris Troskie. The trip started off with British Airways not allowing my rifles on the plane. Long story; their mistake. I notified them that I had rifles and they pointed me to their website. I viewed it, did everything it asked and printed it off (in case of any issues). What they didn't mention on the phone or website was that I should have written confirmation from them that the guns were added to my reservation. I just assumed since I called and told them I had guns and asked what I should do to comply that was enough. I was upset and it was a pain but I had a flight to catch and I wasn't letting it ruin my trip. I knew Chris would have a gun to lend me. I was, however, upset about not being able to bring my rifles, one of which I bought specifically for the trip. The flight was excellent. Business class on British Airways is absolutely fantastic. I arrived in Johannesburg about 26 hours later with a brief stop in London. The gun import guys were waiting for me, Hunters Support 2000, and I had no guns. They helped me carry my bags and walked me through customs and over to where I was meeting Chris. Chris was there waiting for me as discussed.

My friend, Nik, had arrived the night before and was waiting at a local hotel. We jumped in the car and went to pick him up and then headed to Lephalale, where Chris's hunting camp was located. We got there, sighted rifles, had some drinks, had some more drinks, ate and talked and then went to bed. Buffalo hunting in the morning.

Chris had a lovely camp, his wife Sabina was an excellent host. Our first lunch was set on a beautiful table in the garden. A woman's touch was nice. The accommodation was lovely. Everything was fantastic.

The next day we woke up and went Buffalo hunting. I have never hunted Africa before and never hunted big game other than White-tailed deer. This was an experience. We saw some smaller groups of Buffalo on the huge property. We didn't see any bulls. We saw Rhino tracks and all kinds of other game. Some more Buffalo, no good bulls. Then we stumbled upon an old bull sitting by a waterhole. He was a nice 34-36 inch mature bull and we got close to have a look at him but Chris decided that he wasn't a "first day shooter". He was friggin huge as far as I was concerned. Chris said he would only let me shoot a "real trophy bull" on the first day. We left him alone, after getting some pictures and video footage, and continued to drive around looking for tracks at various waterholes, roads, etc. We did, earlier that day, find a track where a lone bull had gone into the bush . "Big Bull" Samson the tracked said. I wasn't sure how I felt about going onto his tracks into the thickest thorn bush I have ever seen. Chris said if we didn't see anything we would come back and pick up his track late in the afternoon and go in and "have a look".

Well around 3pm we did just that. Samson in front, Chris with his .458 Lott behind him and then me with the .375HH and my buddy Nik with the camera. We tracked for about 30 mins and then Chris and Samson simultaneously dropped to their knees. The bush was so bloody thick. Chris started putting up the shooting sticks. I dropped and tried to find the buffalo in the scope. Finally I did. It was a frontal shot and all I could see was hit neck. Chris told me to shoot just below the neck between the legs. I tried to hold properly and touched off the shot. Distance was about 30-40 yards. I hit the Buffalo and he was instantly gone. We waited and heard him run then heard some laboured breathing. "High lung shot I think" Chris said. We waited a bit and then went to have a look. Guns were up and ready. We saw where he was hit but found no buffalo. we looked around for about 5-10 minutes and then Chris said we should go to the truck for a smoke and then follow up. We went to the truck and reloaded and got all ready and then went back in. Chris had his little 8 year old female Jack Russell who was also on her first buffalo hunt. She was working the trail. All of a sudden about 25 yards away we spotted him and both fired. He was gone. We later found that we had both shot about 2 inches apart into the only thing we could see, his gut.

Now began a game of the scariest cat and mouse I have ever been a part of. He still wasn't dead and Chris indicated both in his mannerism, facial expression and words that there was a very good chance this Buffalo would come for us. Chris had gone from being the affable nice guy that he is to a deadly serious professional. I knew that this was a serious situation.We followed up for what felt like an eternity, hearing the buffalo but never seeing him. The bush was so thick. We thought twice that the buffalo was coming as we could he stomping and running but I don't think the buffalo knew where we were. He was having the same issue as us. I was pretty scared at this point but continued to walk right beside Chris knowing that at any moment we would have to shoot. Nik, with the camera, was told at this point to stay back behind a tree. Samson, the tracker climbed a tree to see if he could get a glimpse of the buffalo. He couldn't really see him. Now it was getting very dark in the bush, maybe 15-20 minutes of daylight left, you can imagine how dark it was in the thick stuff.

The little jack Russell walked off towards a bush and was snarling at the bush. Chris and I were about 10-15 yards away from the bush huddled next to a tree guns ready trying to see SOMETHING....ANYTHING!!!

Chris asked me for the .375 with the scope so he could see a bit better to look for the buffalo. We had left the binoculars a while ago during this chase. I handed it to him and he handed me the open sighted .458Lott. He was looking at the bush when all of a sudden to the left of the bush I saw "something". It was the buffalo coming to 'visit' us. I snapped the .458 to my shoulder and fired. The buffalo turned and disappeared as quickly as he had appeared.

I once heard that the "death bellow" was the happiest sad sound a buffalo hunter ever hears. I was dripping sweat, had just followed up a wounded buffalo for over an hour to an hour and a half in the thickest nastiest thorn bush I have ever seen and I was scared out of my wits but forcing myself to keep going. The buffalo bellowed once. Chris smiled. I asked "is he dying". Chris told me to wait. Another bellow, this time quieter and then a third. Chris shook my hand. "Congratulations Adam, I am very proud of you" he said. Being 30 yerars old and having just done the scariest thing I have ever "paid" to do, wanting to chicken out but refusing to, knowing in my heart that I had to finish this business, this fight that I started because that is what had to be done. Having an older (than me) seasoned Professional Dangerous Game Hunter say that he was 'proud' of the way I handled myself very moving. I don't think Chris will ever know how much those simple words meant to me. Someone once told me that true courage was being scared shitless but going anyways. Well I was bloody scared in that thick bush knowing that that old surly brute was waiting for me knowing I was trying to kill him.

We walked up to the area we thought the buffalo would be in and eventually found him. He was still trying to get up. I shot him twice more and it was finally over. We later found that the .458 I hit him with on the 4th shot had taken out the vitals and broken the leg. This was a truly magnificent warrior of a buffalo; I was glad it was over and glad to have him but also sad to hear him die and to have killed him. I always feel like this when I hunt; but this was different. I haven't hunted an animal this worthy before. We took some pictures and everyone left to get help and the truck to load the beast. I stayed with him and said a little prayer. I am not particularly religious but I have never felt so many emotions at such heightened points in such a short period of time in my life. I actually got tears in my eyes at the thought of the experience I just had while I was sitting there waiting for everyone to come back. I will never forget it. We did everything that needed to be done and the next day put the tenderloins into a marinade to eat on the final night of the safari. I was without emotions. They were all spent. I slept soundly that night. I was happy with myself. I had proven to myself that I was brave and that I didn't buckle under real life pressure. I would advise any serious big game hunter to hunt Buffalo at least once in their life. The story I just wrote doesn't even come close to the e actual event. Words could never do justice the heat, the sounds, the quiet, the fear, the excitement and the relief that we experienced. ON the last night of the safari Chris told me that it was likely the "hairiest" buffalo hunt he had been on in memory. He has hunted some 60-70 buffalo I think he said. I had just done it on my first day in Africa. We haven't had him officially measured by the taxidermist but Chris indicated that they were about 40 inches wide with hard bosses. I couldn't care less about the inches. He is the greatest trophy I could have asked for.
191.JPG


The final night, when we ate the tenderloins, we drank to the buffalo. They were delicious.

233.JPG
 
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adgunner

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Congrats on the buff and thanks for sharing your story.
 

Christina Nyczepir

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Awesome story! Felt like I was there. And great photos. Darn....now I want one of those too. LOL! :)
 

bluey

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cool writeup ,adam
sounds like a real good hunt ,mate
thanks for reliving it ,and taking us all back there with you .
 

James.Grage

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Looks like a nice hard boss buff.

The stuff dreams are made of. :)

Thanks for sharing.

You brought up a great point in traveling with your rifle. Using a travel agency that specializes in travel with guns is on the look out for there clients to avoid the glitches you had.
 

lwaters

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Great story and a really nice buff. I will have to hunt one sometime myself
 

enysse

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Glad you had a great time!
 

Rob404

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Great story ,,You hunted with the best
 

Wheels

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Great story.....great buff.

To bad you weren't able to use your rifles. As James said, a travel agency that specializes in hunters can be a great asset for the traveling hunter. Lori with Travel Express is a member/advertiser here.

Thanks for the story and photos.
 

Bobpuckett

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Congrats on a really nice Buff. Thanks for sharing your hunt and your pics.
 

Nyati

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Adam, it´s good to hear of a fellow hunter´s respect for the animal he has taken. It makes me proud of belonging to this hunting community.

Congrats for a hair raising hunt you´ll never forget. And yes, the trophy is very good !
 

Don K

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My whole hearted congratulations! Sounds like a heck of a hunt!!
Don
 

Royal27

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Well done, both with the hunt and the story!
 

Cowtown guy

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Congrats Adam. I heard from Chris last week about your success. Glad the bullets worked out for you. ;)

I had a feeling that this was going to be a good story.

That Sammy is a great little guy isn't he? I told Chris to hang on to him. I hope he sticks around.

Daryl
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Great story, you had me tense reading it from the comfort of my couch! I'm curious, where did the first shot end up?
 

BRICKBURN

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Well done.
The story tells more than you think it does.
Thanks.

(Thanks for the BA heads up)
 

hunting4sanity

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I enjoyed your hunt, thanks for sharing. I can't wait to get back to Africa for my second safari and after reading this I'm much more interested in buffalo.
 

Brett Becker

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It's a shame you couldn't use your own rifle as I feel that this is one of the main reasons for hunting in Africa, to use your rifle that you have spent months and sometimes years preparing for this trip and for some of us the only trip we may ever make. Just because some paper pusher decides you haven't ticked the right box. A friend of mine returned to Australia earlier this year and had his rifle confiscated because he had printed the original form in Black and White instead of Colour. This is the stupidity that the world has come to. Congratulations on a fine trophy and your conduct in both the hunt and at the airport. I am not sure I would have been able to do the same, especially at the airport
 

Velo Dog

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Adam, it´s good to hear of a fellow hunter´s respect for the animal he has taken. It makes me proud of belonging to this hunting community.

Congrats for a hair raising hunt you´ll never forget. And yes, the trophy is very good !

Ar15meister,

I am +1 with Nyati.
Also, I will submit that your writing style is quite excellent.

Regards,
Velo Dog.
 

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