SOUTH AFRICA: Chris Troskie Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Johnny7604, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. Johnny7604

    Johnny7604 AH Veteran

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    Chris Troskie Safaris Part 1

    Apologies for taking so long to get this out but it has been a very busy few months. The following is a hunt report for my second RSA hunt with Chris Troskie Safaris. This hunt it was my wife, daughter and I hunting in the Kwazulu Natal province of South Africa.

    We left our home in Northern Alberta the morning of July 6 arriving in South Africa the evening of July 7th. I opted for the economy comfort seats on this trip and they were worth every penny. I also had Africa Sky Guesthouse arrange for us to be escorted through customs and the SAPS firearm check in. All in all the upgraded seats and customs/SAPS services were worth every penny. Arrival was smooth as silk and before we knew it we were stepping out of the Africa Sky van and being shown our rooms where they had very kindly prepared some food for us since we were arriving after hours.

    The next day we were met by our transfer service for the 5 hour drive into KZN. The area we were hunting was very picturesque and we were greeted by small herds of Impala, Blesbok, Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Springbok and the odd Thunderchicken as we picked our way from the outer gate to the lodge.
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    Chris, Sabina and Sammie were waiting for us with their usual smiling faces having prepared for our arrival ahead of time. The lodge was beautiful (of the two accommodations we stayed at this was by far my favorite). The large two story building with 4 bedrooms, full kitchen, bar, indoor and outdoor dining areas topped off with a great view. Our rooms had their own private bathrooms/showers.
    We didn’t waste any time getting unloaded and settled before we were off sighting in rifles. We brought not only my rifle but my wife and daughters as well.

    The rest of the afternoon/evening we spent scouting before returning to the lodge for one of Sabina’s world famous dinners and a lot of laughs.


    Hunting Day 1

    After another great night sleep we woke up at a reasonable hour and began our day. We had a fairly extensive list to fill and only a couple weeks to do it so off we went. With such an abundance of animals in the area Chris was very confident we could be picky so we took our time and scrutinized every animal. It wasn’t long before we came across a lone Springbok ram feeding along an old low fence in the tall grass. The little guy was the best one we had seen and Chris figured he was the one for my daughter so we hopped out of the bakkie and prepared for a very short stalk. My daughter was understandably nervous (this would be her first big game animal) but Chris did a fantastic job of keeping her calm and collected and keeping her focused on where to aim.
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    My daughter set up on a large rock and took careful aim as she leaned into her little Tikka .260. I ranged the critter at exactly 200 yards slightly downhill. The little .260 barked and the springbok hopped up did a 180 and took off cresting a small hill and out of sight. We quickly pursued, as we topped the hill we couldn’t see anything with four legs for at least a kilometer so we started scanning the area. After a short search we heard eagle eye Sammie calling us over where the little antelope was laying having expired after roughly a 75 yard sprint. The shot placement was absolutely perfect and I couldn’t be more proud. My daughter beamed ear to ear as we watched the production of getting everything prepared for pictures. It was shaping up to be an incredible day.
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    After pictures and taking the little fella back to the skinning shack at the lodge we were off again. Chris had spotted a nice herd of Zebra and that was the top of the list for my wife. Unfortunately they had positioned themselves well out in the open making it very difficult to get anywhere within 500 yards without them seeing us. Chris took us around the back side of a small ridge where we disembarked and prepared for the stalk. It wasn’t long before we were on our hands and knees picking our way through the baseball sized rocks and low grass trying our very best not to be seen, heard or smelled.

    We finally made it to the crest of the low ridge and as we peered over the Zebra were already looking at us and they decided that perhaps another couple hundred yards of grassland would be a bit better buffer between us and them. Undeterred my wife set up on the sticks and with a helpful elbow was able to get a half decent shooting position. Once again Chris guided her placing the crosshairs on the tip of the chevron of the largest stallion. For the second time that morning a rifle cracked. The hit was unmistakable and the Zebra took off running for a few seconds before crashing to the ground. He quickly jumped back up ran another short distance and then crashed for the second and final time. We wasted no time in getting over to the Zebra where the emotions took over. You see this was also her first big game animal and she was ecstatic. Two firsts, two perfect shots and it was only half way through the first day. Chris frequently works miracles.

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    Well now what, there was still half a day left so Chris decided we would make a play on a very nice Mountain Reedbuck we had seen earlier hanging around the top of small mountain not far away. The first attempt proved unsuccessful. The Reedbuck simply would not present a shot before he finally got fed up and took off out of sight. We loaded back up into the truck and went for a tour towards the heavily forested far end of the hunting concession to see what we could see. On the return trip we would pass by the Reedbucks mountain and sure enough Sammie picked him up. They had made their way around the side and farther up to the top. We quickly disembarked and I found a spot to take a shot from. It was a steep angle and I am no contortionist which led to what was at the time my most “interesting” shooting position to date. The Reedbuck came into view however and presented just enough of his vitals to take a shot. The loud boom of a .338 and a bit of recoil later and he was on the ground. We hiked up the hill after Chris and Sammie at which point they decided it was too steep and rough to get photos up there so they carried him down to the base of the hill for congratulations and photos a’plenty.

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    As we headed back to the skinning shack for the third time that day I had to wonder if this pace kept up what would we do with the rest of our time here? We were greeted back at the lodge with a wonderful dinner and a few celebratory drinks. The remainder of the evening would be spent laughing and enjoying the beautiful landscape. If I only knew what was in store for us and how successful we would be.
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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2018

  2. mdwest

    mdwest AH Fanatic

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    Nice report, and some great pics! Thanks for sharing!
     
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  3. Dr Ray

    Dr Ray AH Elite

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    Nice story. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  4. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for sharing, look forward to more!
     
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  5. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Having had the pleasure of hunting with CT Safaris a few years ago. Chris runs a top notch company, Sampson has the eyes of an Eagle and Sabinas' Food can't be beat, looking forward to more posts of your Safari
     
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  6. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats, I'm sure you had a very successful safari with CT Safari.
     
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  7. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for sharing! Looks like your family had a very good hunt.
     
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  8. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    So far so good, looking forward to the rest of the story.
     
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  9. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Looks like an excellent start to your safari. Looking forward to hearing more.
    Bruce
     

  10. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Good shooting. Keep it coming.
     

  11. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Great start! KZN looks like a great place to hunt.
     

  12. Johnny7604

    Johnny7604 AH Veteran

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    Chris Troskie Safaris Part 2

    Hunting Day 2


    We were up early on day 2, Nyala was my primary goal and Chris wanted to try and get that one done as it could take some time. There were none on the ranch we were staying at so we would have to drive to another concession nearby.

    The frost in the air was a bit surreal, not something one really thinks about when planning an African safari and made for a chilly ride in the box of the bakkie. Once the sun crested the hills it didn’t take long to warm up as we toured around searching high and low for Nyala. The rest of the morning was spent hiking hills or touring around in the bakkie with only one sighting of an immature bull.
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    Giraffe, wildebeest, kudu and zebra were in no short supply but the Nyala continued to elude us so we retired for lunch.

    Lunch was the national dish of RSA (the name of which eludes me) made with Kudu. As always delicious and my wife was determined we were not leaving without the recipe. While we ate Chris was formulating a plan.

    On the way back Chris informed me there was a part of the property that rarely gets hunted. It was close to the entrance and most people simply drove past it to get into the depths of the ranch. As it turns out this was a narrow valley socked in with heavy brush. We glassed over the area from a vantage point and sure enough there was a nice bull and some ewes up near the far end. We donned our gear and started up into the valley.
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    Picking our way through the heavy brush was a challenge. As we approached where we thought the Nyala would be if they hadn’t moved we were busted by a small group of warthog . If they didn’t know we were coming before they sure did now. We picked up the pace slightly and within minutes through a break in the brush we could see the ewes cresting the top of the valley and heading over a plateau out of sight. Suddenly Sammie urgently whispered “Nyala” and pointed straight down from us to the valley floor and there he stood quartering away looking over his right shoulder at us.

    He was close, less than 100 yards and by his body language he wasn’t going to be staying for the party. Chris had the stick set up in record time and I wasted not one second getting on them. The Nyala snapped into view instantly. I could see now the shot was close but tough. There was only a narrow opening through the brush that allowed a shot into the vitals and it was heavily quartering and at a steep downward angle. This is what it all boils down to, countless hours at the range and round after round practicing. I took a slow deep breath and squeezed the trigger. The shot shattered the silence and the 225 grain TTSX slammed home. The Nyala sagged then took off running. It was hard to keep track of him in the thick brush but he shot up the opposite side of the valley and hung a quick left side hilled for what seemed like miles but in reality was probably only 25 or 30 yards before he went into a large bush and piled up.
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    It was done, the primary species I had come to hunt and we had it on the second day. As we shook hands and congratulated each other I reflected on our success thus far. I was simply amazed. My first trip we were very successful as well and I don’t know why I thought this trip would be any different but Chris always seems to know exactly where the best animals are going to be and Sammie never fails to spot them……ever!

    We made our way down into the valley and up to where the Nyala had managed to entangle himself in the branches of a large bush of some kind. He was a beautiful animal and I felt very fortunate and humbled that I was able to be there at that point in my life to share such a hunt with my wife, daughter Chris and Sammie. He was the third animal in my South African Spiral Slam and they just kept getting better, Eland then Greater Kudu and now Nyala. Even as I write this the feelings of gratitude return. Thank you Chris the Nyala hunt meant a great deal to me.
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  13. kevin masters

    kevin masters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    great report looking forward to being in south Africa in april/may
    reading all these reports helps keep the excitement fresh!
     
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  14. Neale

    Neale AH Enthusiast

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    Thanks for writing your story. I am really enjoying your journey. The property you took the Nyala looks like a place I also hunted Nyala. Was it near Rorke's Drift?
     
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  15. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Heck of a nyala, congrats!
     
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  16. Johnny7604

    Johnny7604 AH Veteran

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    Yes it wasn't too far from there. We visited the battlefields before we left. I will post some pictures.
     

  17. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Fanatic

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    Well written, nice pics, beautiful family. Thanks for sharing.........................FWB
     
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  18. Johnny7604

    Johnny7604 AH Veteran

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    Hunting Day 3

    We slept in a little and had a relaxing morning since we were well ahead of the curve on our list at this point. After breakfast Chris suggested we go see if we can get the next animal on my daughters list which happened to be an Ostrich. For some reason she had it in for the big chickens.

    Finding an Ostrich wouldn’t be much of a challenge as we had been seeing them everywhere. Finding one that would stay still long enough to get a shot would perhaps be a different story.

    It didn’t take long before Chris had spotted some out in the grasslands and had picked one out for my daughter. Chris wasted no time getting set up under the only large tree around. It would be roughly a 160 yard shot off the sticks but I had her practicing this shot ad nauseam for the last year so I was confident in her ability to connect.

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    The kid did everything right and the shot played out exactly as she had practiced, careful squeeze on the trigger, loud boom and follow up. Before we knew it her and her little .260 had put the chicken down in the long grass and out of sight. She was all smiles and hugs at that point.

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    I didn’t realize quite how prehistoric those big birds were but if you ever want to find out take a look at the claws that they have on the end of their wings.

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    After delivering the ostrich to the skinning shed we set off again in search of some of the animals on our list that we could still hunt in this area. The wife wanted an Impala if there was a decent one (There are plenty of them but not a lot of trophy quality in the area. I also wanted a Red Hartebeest, not an animal that blew my hair back in the pictures but when I saw one in person it quickly found a way onto my bucket list. They are quite beautiful up in the flesh. There was also the possibility of a Giraffe, this was an animal I had put on the maybe list, if we could find an old bull and we had the time I would consider it.

    We took off scouting in the bakkie and after a few kilometers Sammie spotted the herd of Giraffe across the valley. We took our time and looked them over carefully they were quite distant but we were able to get a decent look at them. Chris and Sammie were sure that the old bull was still with them. If that was the case the giant creature may be on the list after all. As it was midafternoon already Chris didn’t want to make an attempt and risk spooking them or having to clean one up in the dark. We took careful note of their location and moved on.

    We had only gone maybe a half a kilometer when we came across a small herd of Red Hartebeest, we had seen this group before and there was one that had some fairly heavy horns. Anyone that knows me understands I prefer mass and maturity over length any day of the week. The large one was easy to pick out of the group and we decided to make a play on him. They were positioned well out in the open with no cover and had demonstrated they were a bit spooky. Stalking close was not an option so it would either be a very long shot off the sticks or move out a little bit and take a prone shot off of a small hill nearby. I opted for the latter. Now before the criticism starts let me assure everyone I do not take shots that I am not completely confident in. I have the training, experience and never miss and opportunity to keep the skills sharp.

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    So we stealthily made our way to the small hill and set up for a prone shot. The rangefinder read 450 yards, there was no wind to speak of and the shot angle was pretty flat. I checked the drop data and dialed the scope. Our heavy fella was moving with his buddies and were not presenting a shot so we waited….and waited…..and waited some more. Finally they picked a tiny little knob with a bit of shade to start feeding. We ranged again and they were 500 yards. I made the appropriate adjustments to the scope and settled in for the shot. The shot was looking good so I gave the trigger a gentle squeeze and let the bullet go. The smack was unmistakable and our hartebeest tipped over and hit the dirt. Being a tough old guy he immediately jumped up and sprinted roughly 20 yards, stopped, wobbled and tipped over for the last time. It was shaping up to be another fantastic day of hunting.

    When I originally added the Hartebeest to the list I was sure I would only want a euro mount done but once I was up close and personal and saw the color and luster of their fur was I knew it had to be a shoulder.

    LRM_EXPORT_20180102_122944.jpg

    We got the Hartebeest to the skinning shed with daylight left so we decided to head out and see what else was in the area and headed back to where we spotted the Giraffe. Keep in mind we had not seen a single good Impala at this point and were fairly resigned that we would not get one here and would have to look in the next concession we were heading to later in the week.

    We were just about to get into a heavily forested valley when lo and behold what do we see grazing in the valley bottom maybe a half kilometer away but a sizeable herd of impala. Every eye was scanning the herd. Too small…too small…ewe… ewe…too small…too…..hang on….yup there he is. He wasn’t a giant but he was far and away the best one we had seen so far. Relativity is a funny thing, alone he wouldn’t be a giant but he sure did stick out like one when he was mulling around in the herd of little fellas.

    We decided it was the wife’s turn to tick another one off the list. There were a couple of very old, very low rock walls close to where they were feeding so we were going to low walk down the walls and try to get a shot from there.

    We made it to the stone walls without incident. My wife and Chris set up in a small gap in the wall that offered a good view of the herd. The only problem was now we were on the same level as them and they were very tightly packed. Trying to pick the big one out was getting increasingly difficult, it didn’t help they were constantly moving around each other. Imagine a giant game of follow the pea (with about 40 peas). We watched and scanned, we lost him, found him all the while watching the sun start to drop behind the horizon.

    Nearly an hour elapsed before the ram finally separated himself from the herd and offered a shot. The wife was waiting patiently and when the opportunity presented she took it. Here aim was true and the ram was hit hard. He only stood for a few seconds before collapsing.

    I never get tired of looking at impala, in my opinion one of the most beautiful antelope in Africa and one of my favorite trophies.

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    Another successful day in the bag, another wonderful dinner next to the fire telling lies and laughing. Africa is a magical place; there is no other place quite like it for hunters.
     

  19. PLM

    PLM AH Enthusiast

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    Great report on a cool hunt with wife and daughter. Looks like the whole family are very good shots. Philip
     

  20. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Well done all the way around.

    Your daughters smile is telling.
     

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