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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.