SOUTH AFRICA: Bushbuck Redemption With KMG Hunting Safaris

Sand Rat

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I hunted with Marius in 2016 and was unable to connect with a bushbuck ram. I’ll admit that we saw several mature rams but not the one I was looking for except for the 17” plus ram we had at 300 yards facing us straight on. We couldn’t get him to turn broadside and due to his location on the side of the canyon we were unable to approach him from a different angle. He eventually disappeared into the brush leaving both Marius and myself second guessing our decision of not taking a low percentage shot at a ram of a lifetime. Fast forward to 2018 I rebooked with @KMG Hunting Safaris for an eight day hunt in July this year. Marius was already booked with Dudders who we shared camp with in 2016 so I jumped on the opportunity to hunt with Martin who had joined us for the last two days of our previous hunt. I had three weeks to burn so the wife and I decided to take our time and spend nine nights on the Garden Route on the way to Grahamstown. We stayed in Hermanus, Mossel Bay, Plettenberg Bay and Addo Elephant Park. Highlights included Whale watching with Southern Right Charters, Southern tip of Africa “Cape Agulhas”, Point of Human Origins Cave Tour @ Mossel Bay, St Blaze Trail, Mossel Bay tidal pools, Robberg Nature Reserve, Birds of Eden and Addo Safari night game drive.
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Sand Rat

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Cape Agulhas
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Human Origin Cave
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BRICKBURN

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Nice to see the out of the way spots you can get to with a little more time. [Helps to be the four hundredth trip :) ]
 

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Pictures didn’t turn out on our Addo night game drive but the game viewing was great. Following critters were spotted, porcupines, bushpigs, bat eared fox, owls, jackals, spotted hyenas feeding on a dead kudu, duiker, elephants, springhare and a large heard of bedded Cape buffalo. The next day July 8 we were picked up from Addo by Louw Pieterse of Mpunzi Lodge. We caught up with our PH Martin Neuper and headed to the range to check the zero on the two rifles we’d be using for the week. Since most of the items on my wish list were smaller plains game I’d be using Martin’s suppressed Sako 243 and for long range his Tikka 300 WSM using the same suppresser can. Both guns shot good and we were ready for our first day the next morning in search of the elusive bushbuck. Food was outstanding throughout the week, beer was always cold in the evening nothing else needs to said. Nicole at Mpunzi runs an excellent kitchen! My animal list for this safari included the following, bushbuck, mountain reedbuck, common reedbuck, common duiker, blesbuck, warthog, steenbuck, baboon, porcupine and a springbok for the wife.

Day 1 July 9, we headed out to a nearby low fence cattle operation for bushbuck. I was determined to be in better shape for this hunt and had been walking about 6 miles a day in the Saudi summer heat to prepare as well as hitting the stairs for the last 3 months up to my fifth floor apartment. In addition the wife and I took in as many hikes as the Garden Route had to offer through some pretty rough country. This still doesn’t prepare you to follow someone half your age with twice your stride up and down canyons all day at elevation way above sea level. For a soon to be 59 year old fat man I was able to keep up most of the time. Martin and his tracker Tandy took care of me and we had a great time. We were stationed most of the morning on the shaded side of a large canyon watching the sunny side. Several bushbuck ewes were spotted off and on feeding throughout the morning and one smaller ram. We moved to a water hole where a large ram was known to water at midday, here we spotted several warthog but no ram. After a late lunch we decided to try the baboon blind until three and head back to hell’s canyon. On arrival to the blind it was obvious the something was actively feeding on the oranges and we got set up for the wait. Turns out that was about tens minutes of quiet before a lone large mail showed up to continue his lunch. The little 243 barked and we had our baboon.
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Mort Hill

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Great lead up to a fun safari. Love the pictures of some the history of the country I have not had a chance to see
 

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After dropping off the baboon we headed down into Hell’s Canyon #2 and once again started glassing for Mr. Bushbuck. On the way in we jumped a nice duiker ram that disappeared into a thicket but were unable to flush him out for a better look. Little activity spotted from our vantage point so right before dark we moved back to the same canyon we hunted that morning and once again nothing was moving. We’re headed to a large conservatory tomorrow in Fort Beaufort for mountain and common reedbuck. Quest for my bushbuck will have to wait.

Day 2 July 10, early breakfast and we’re off for reedbucks. Not sure just how big this place was but we drove from pasture to pasture for most of the morning. Place had lots of both common and mountain reedbuck but the only mature ram we spotted was an old common that was bloomed off to about 7 inches. We did find one young common ram with one back leg hung in the top two strands of a low cattle fence. Tandy and the resident tracker were able to flip him back over and free him from his predicament. Place was full of game with several large herds of bontebok streaking back and forth. Martin spotted a nice springbok ram and after several attempts was able to get Sandy on the sticks at 280 yards. Once again the 243 proved adequate and Sandy had her springbok.
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We ate lunch our lunch while the trackers went to work on the springbok and were off again on another part of the ranch. Late in the afternoon Martin spotted a big boar warthog through the spotting scope and ask if I wanted to make a stalk, I grab the 243 and off we went. Luckily it was mostly downhill and we covered the 800 yards or so pretty quickly. Sitting on the ground using the short sticks Martin wanted to make sure I was on the boar and not his girlfriend before making the shot. I confirmed it was the right pig and at 200 yards it was a bang flop. While confirming the pig was down for good Martin notices that the boar we wanted was trying to hightail it out of there. Seems there was a second boar we hadn’t seen from the spotting scope. So I quickly reloaded and hit the larger boar on the move as he was headed over the hill. He was down at the shot but jumped back up and made about 100 yards before piling up for good.
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After pics and loading the pigs we continued through the property spotting several steenbok, mountain and common reedbuck and duiker but none mature enough to take. On the way out right at dark a large duiker ram was spotted and Martin and I attempted a stalk but he had ran off. Martin tried varmint calling with his mouth to try and get the duiker to respond and within a few minutes we had a jackal right in front of us. My fault for not taking the shot immediately on low power instead while I was adjusting the scope he hightailed it and we were done for the day.
Tomorrow it’s back after bushbuck...........maybe.
 

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The touring part of any trip if possible is always nice to have! Thanks for haring that part with us, some nice scenery!
 

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Congrats on the baboon, springbok, and pigs also!
 

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Looks like you had a great lead up to the hunt, some beautiful areas you visited. Look forward to the rest of the hunt
 

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Day 3 July 11, set off this morning glassing the shaded side of the second big canyon hunted on day one. Zebra, kudu and blue wildebeest spotted from our vantage point along with a pair of common duiker feeding in and out of the brush line but no bushbuck to be seen. Martin set up the spotting scope for a better look at the duiker ram as he fed in and out of the shadows. After a while he was convinced it was a nice mature ram of at least 4.5 inches and ask if I wanted to take him. From my seated position I settled in on the short sticks and at 220 yards the 243 was spot on. We had a very nice mature ram with secondary growth on his bases that taped exactly 4.5 inches. After pictures we headed back to Mpunzi for lunch and glassed the canyons till dark wondering if the bushbuck would once again be my nemesis.
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Shootist43

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Beautiful photos of places I've never seen before. Several laudable shots from that 243 as well. Looking forward to the rest of the story.
 

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Pictures didn’t turn out on our Addo night game drive but the game viewing was great. Following critters were spotted, porcupines, bushpigs, bat eared fox, owls, jackals, spotted hyenas feeding on a dead kudu, duiker, elephants, springhare and a large heard of bedded Cape buffalo. The next day July 8 we were picked up from Addo by Louw Pieterse of Mpunzi Lodge. We caught up with our PH Martin Neuper and headed to the range to check the zero on the two rifles we’d be using for the week. Since most of the items on my wish list were smaller plains game I’d be using Martin’s suppressed Sako 243 and for long range his Tikka 300 WSM using the same suppresser can. Both guns shot good and we were ready for our first day the next morning in search of the elusive bushbuck. Food was outstanding throughout the week, beer was always cold in the evening nothing else needs to said. Nicole at Mpunzi runs an excellent kitchen! My animal list for this safari included the following, bushbuck, mountain reedbuck, common reedbuck, common duiker, blesbuck, warthog, steenbuck, baboon, porcupine and a springbok for the wife.

Day 1 July 9, we headed out to a nearby low fence cattle operation for bushbuck. I was determined to be in better shape for this hunt and had been walking about 6 miles a day in the Saudi summer heat to prepare as well as hitting the stairs for the last 3 months up to my fifth floor apartment. In addition the wife and I took in as many hikes as the Garden Route had to offer through some pretty rough country. This still doesn’t prepare you to follow someone half your age with twice your stride up and down canyons all day at elevation way above sea level. For a soon to be 59 year old fat man I was able to keep up most of the time. Martin and his tracker Tandy took care of me and we had a great time. We were stationed most of the morning on the shaded side of a large canyon watching the sunny side. Several bushbuck ewes were spotted off and on feeding throughout the morning and one smaller ram. We moved to a water hole where a large ram was known to water at midday, here we spotted several warthog but no ram. After a late lunch we decided to try the baboon blind until three and head back to hell’s canyon. On arrival to the blind it was obvious the something was actively feeding on the oranges and we got set up for the wait. Turns out that was about tens minutes of quiet before a lone large mail showed up to continue his lunch. The little 243 barked and we had our baboon.
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Martin's .300 wsm didn't have the suppressor when we used it! Great PH (and a great rifle).
 

Sand Rat

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Martin's .300 wsm didn't have the suppressor when we used it! Great PH (and a great rifle).
He’ s threaded the barrel and swaps the same can back and forth as needed along with a thread protector.
 

Sand Rat

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Day 4 July 12, it’s off to the mountains! We started the morning off so high up we were actually in the clouds and had to wait for the low stuff to burn off before we could start any glassing. Plan was to scout for bushbuck early and then drop back down the mountain and come up the other side for mountain reedbuck. With the heavy cloud cover and wind we weren’t seeing much movement. So mid morning we headed back down the switchbacks and moved to another ranch on the backside of the range that was much more rugged than the cattle country we left. After a quick stop to grab a resident ranch hand and radio we started the long rocky climb to the top. I asked Sandy if she had her seatbelt on and told her I had full faith in Ricky Bobby’s driving skills but shit happens. There was nothing wrong with Martin’s driving skills but was trying to break the tension and get both of us to laugh. What good a seatbelt would have done is beyond me cause it was a long ways to the bottom. About 2/3 of the way to the top the trackers spot a ram moving up the mountain side mixed in with a flock of sheep. We bail out but pick him out amongst all the brush and boulders. We continue in the truck as the road makes a hard left along the mountain face giving us a better view of the slope behind us. The spotting scope is set up on the tripod and he’s located about 400 yards quartering to us in the edge of a brushy outcropping. Martin decides this range is better suited for the 300 WSM so the can is swapped from the 243 and the distance is entered into his ballistics app and the proper adjustments are made. During the course of the setup the ram decides his best bet is to lay down and lower his ears. Given the slope of the terrain our only option is to send the tracker over the top and flush him out. The ram holds tight and the tracker has to throw rocks to make him move, he relocates at about 300 yards and hides again. The tracker flushes him a second time and he drops straight down the mountain face crosses the road behind and below us. While he’s moving Martin is adjusting the scope back to zero as fast as he can and the ram slows down enough to give me a downhill shot at 200 yards and he’s down. We walk back down the road and meet both trackers carrying a great mature ram back up the steep mountain side.
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Pic of the trackers getting the ram back up to the road. Picture was taken midways from where the shot was made.
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johnnyblues

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Very nice congratulations.
 

Sand Rat

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Been pretty busy since getting back from SA, after 9.5 years my assignment in Saudi is coming to an end and we’ve been working with the packers to get everything shipped back to Texas. It will be nice to be back home on a permanent basis for a change. Now back to the hunt. After skinning the mountain reedbuck we were once again off to the other side of the mountain range in search of bushbuck. While crossing a swampy glade low and behold a pretty good warthog boar jumps from the waist high grass in front of the truck. He crosses through the fence and slows down in amongst a bunch of cows as we drive past. Martin twisted my arm a little.....well maybe I twisted his and after driving past his last position 100 yards we bailed out and made a stalk. My only shot was through some pretty thick grass but the 243 once again did the job and another good boar was in the salt.
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We glassed the rest of the afternoon and spotted a couple of bushbuck rams from high above the valley below, one big enough to pursue but both were on the move quickly disappeared into the thick vegetation at the base of the ravines.

Day 5 July 13 was spent close to the lodge working the deep canyons until lunch time and moving to an adjacent property in the afternoon. Lots of other species encountered but once again our main target Mr Bushbuck had given us the slip. Tomorrow it’s off to Port Alfred with Dudders and his son for an offshore fishing trip on the charter vessel “Blackfish”. I hope the weather cooperates.
 

cpr0312

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Congrats on the warthog!

Looking forward to hearing more about chasing bushbuck :A Popcorn:
 

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