This is the day I have to get PCR tested to return home. Unfortunately for us, the lab in int town 45 minutes away is closed on Saturdays', so we have to go to PE. I accompany my stepdad to the airport, and then Marius' wife Kim picks me up to take me to the testing site. We get through the drive in site in about 1 hour, and back on our way. More rain and storms are coming this afternoon, so by the time we get back to the hunting area, we only have about 2.5 hours of field time.
We spend that time looking for bushbuck again. No luck on mature rams, the storms roll in about 2pm and that's all for the day. They stop right before dark and we get some spectacular sights from the lodge!
We settle in for the night and think about what to do on the last day tomorrow. Bushbuck is still the priority, but I ask Marius about any properties that hold Red HB closeby. He says the has an option in the general area, and quickly makes a few calls and get us access tomorrow if we want it. I mention to him that I always regretted not mounting my first HB 10 years ago, and always wanted a shot at a real big bull. So in the morning we will look for bushbuck, then head to the other property for HB late morning if no luck.
We head to one the properties for bushbuck, thinking after the rain on a nice sunny morning they will be out like flies on manure. We see a few ewes, and another young ram. But no mature rams. We look around until about 10 or so and make the call to head to the Hartebeest property. We did see quite a few warthogs on this particular property, and so one here that was similar in size to the nice pig we saw day 1 elsewhere.
We head out and make it to the HB area around 11 or so. This property is a mixture of open Savannah type terrain and the typical thick and thorny SA bush. Along the way looking for HB we see a very nice kudu, comparable to the one I took 2 days earlier. We also see 2 huge sable, a big gmesbok (Marius said he should go near 40', and and the other hunter is camp would be after him), an absolute stud of an eland complete with huge dewlap and thick hair tuft, as well as lots of blesbok, black WB, and HB.
Once we identify a good bull, we make a plan with the wind and cover. We don't quite make it and the wind swirls on us and the HB run. We circle around and try to cut them off, which we do, but they make another break for it.
Ok, time to go to the other side of the property and look for more. We find a bachelor herd with a nice bull in it. Wind good, cove thick, lets go. We stalk into about 50 yards, through some very thick stuff, in order to identify the correct bull. Just when we are about to ease the sticks in place, the wind swirls and one bull smells us and grunts and the gig is up. We track them on foot for quite a while, and since it rained we can clearly see where they are going.
We get to where they are slowing down and come across a thick patch. We here some rustling and trotting away, and I think to myself, that sounded a lot bigger than HB. Looked at Marius and his face was saying the same thing I was thinking. He said there are Buffalo on this property and that was probably some of them. So with a single .308 between us, we decide its time to backtrack and find another group of HB later .
Onward we go, and about 30 min later we find what looks to be the original hers we were on. Get out of the truck ans they are pretty calm, stalk around and try to get downwind. We dont quite make it to a clearing and they bolt. Ok back to the truck and then to see where they went to make another play. We get in the truck and like I always do I feel my pockets and check the daskboard to make sure I have everything.... no phone! Uh oh, did I lose it jumping out of the truck? Or getting in the truck at our previous stop? Panic starts to set in, Marius, the tracker and I all scour the ground where se stopped, and even backtrack through the brush where we just stalked. No luck. I look allover the truck, no luck. Well thats not good.
Go through the truck one more time and see that it had fallen into a space between the console and the seat, where it was basically camouflaged. Ok, now we realize the dogs had got out of the truck and went after the HB! We could not hear them in earshot. Well onto the next crisis so to speak. We go off in different directions calling for the dogs. We get them back about 30 minutes later.. Ok now to try for the HB again. We spot them not 200 yards away, and make a stalk. Get into position on the big bull, get ready to squeeze....wind shifts and HB runs... not again!!!
Alright, lets try another place on the property. We go to the far side and see quite a few blesbok and HB about 600 yards away. We get out, stlak up closer. Now we only a few smaller trees to hide behind, so we crawl slowly on hands and knees another 200 yards to get to about 200 yards for a shot. We crawl around one final bush, sit down, adjust the sticks for sitting height and get on the bull. Marius looks over 2 good bulls who are together, and lets me know which one. The two bulls are grazing and play fighting for about 5 minutes before I get a clear shot. Get my breathing and excitement mostly under control, take aim, take a breath, and squeeze. The bullet hits him hard, he drops in his tracks and never moves. We both let out a sigh of relief. Getting on a HB today was like getting on a wily Eland bull, tough going.
This bull has everything, length, mass, spread, bell shape, dark red coat, you name it. I'm tickled pink and it looks like Marius is also. Snap some pics right before dark and head back to the lodge to celebrate!
I has a great time with Marius and thoroughly enjoyed the hunting! I knew Marius and I would get along, having met a talked a few times in Dallas over the past few years.
Mpunzi lodge is a very nice place, the hosts are very nice and down to earth, and the food was very good! The hunting area on Mpunzi and the surrounding properties all held good amounts of game, with lots of opportunities for very good trophies all around!
If this were my first or second trip over, I would have had the chance to take basically everything I have ever had on my wish list.
Sable, waterbuck, nyala, kudu, eland, gemsbok, bontebok, common and white blesbok, common and white springbok, duiker, steinbok, bushbuck, black and blue WB, red HB, warthog, baboon, monkey, giraffe, burchells zebra, cape mountain zebra, vaal rhebok, mountain reedbuck, impala, cape buffalo, porcupine, and 1 puff adder.
Marius is a very detailed PH and always has a plan and a few backup plans. I really liked that about him along with his personality!
I would not hesitate to go back and hunt with him again. You can certainly add me to the list of happy hunters with a fantastic experience with @KMG Hunting Safaris!
Until next time! (Pic somewhere over Moz/TZ border)
What a great trip, and some beautiful animals taken. Congrats on a successful hunt. Did I miss the Puff Adder encounter? If not, please more details for those of us who like snakes. Thanks again for a well written detailed report.
That list of happy KMG hunters just keeps getting longer...welcome to the club! I really enjoyed your report. It's great to read about familiar people, places, dogs and milkshakes!!! Marius is most definitely good at what he does. And holy moly that Kudu!!!
I have been looking at an option for a 505, that doesn't break the bank (that concern my have to yield), and is more in the 50-110, or 50 Alaskan range. However not easy to find a case, other than the Weatherby, of course. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Hello, do you have any information on your 505 SRE cartridge. Up here in Canada, there is talk about how the various 500s may exceed the 10 000 Joule limit recently imposed. Not that they do on paper, but you never know what they may infer or claim.