SOUTH AFRICA: Eastern Cape With KMG Hunting Safaris Late May 2021

Randy F

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Well that story is imprinted on your forehead for all time! Awesome! :)

Fantastic trophies! Great writing, keep it coming.
 

Bill DeHaan

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Well that story is imprinted on your forehead for all time! Awesome! :)

Fantastic trophies! Great writing, keep it coming.
Ha! That’s the truth!
Thank you.
 

wipartimer

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Great story,very well written and a huge congratulations! I might add that's it's a good thing you were wearing a quiet shirt for the crawl, I know how Marius handles clients with loud shoes on a stalk.
 

Bill DeHaan

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Great story,very well written and a huge congratulations! I might add that's it's a good thing you were wearing a quiet shirt for the crawl, I know how Marius handles clients with loud shoes on a stalk.
A barefoot stalk! Well, stay tuned. That lesson was learned on our safari too!
 

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What a grand adventure! You are doing a great report! Thanks for sharing such a great time. Nice brow dinger!
 

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Keep it coming....
 

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Nice BW and sounds like a proper stalk. Congrats
Bruce
 

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A “bare sock stalk” in Africa - You a Brave Man Bill! Nope, I don’t have cavemen feet OR that trophy better be #1 on some organizations list! I spied my Hunting partners bloody white socks hanging over his chalet balcony rail & ginger stepping x 2-days after a long brutal bare sock bow stalk on a bedded Oryx - ended w/ 15m shot so it does work! But ...

I was told in 2009 my boots squeak, I think PH‘s have stock in Boot Co! @ PH Marius: Kudu vellie‘s w/ a rubber sole is my footwear, No Squeak = my shoes stay, or, we hunt on the beach .
 

Bill DeHaan

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That afternoon the wind continued to blow as we turned our attention to Red Hartebeest. I find them to be oddly attractive animals. Before the hunt Tom and I mused about how they look like they were assembled with a random set of left-over parts. Still, more beautiful than new automobile models that ARE assembled from left over designs!

We went back out and glassed the vast grassy plain, looking over two herds for a proper bull. Getting into range for a shot was going to be difficult. Lots of eyes on animals with hair-trigger flight instinct. In fact our first stalk was blown before it got started. We were glassing a herd of Red Hartebeests and had just about finalized a plan for the stalk when the herd seemed to spook themselves. There were actually three or four stalks that were blown for one reason or another over a period of almost 4 ½ hours. The best bull in the group, a dandy, was a cagy rascal. He seemed to always be in the middle of his herd, moving, scent checking the cows, and always keeping a halo of cows around him at all times.

The first stalk involved a walk to higher ground and then a crawl over to the lip of a wide canyon in hopes of a shot as the herd grazed at the bottom out of the wind. Unfortunately, a herd of Blesbok on the far rim of the canyon, on the other side of the Hartebeest, spotted us and bolted. This triggering the Hartebeest into blind flight.

On the next stalk we bumped a small and unseen group of Impala who similarly bumped the Hartebeest. Argh! This seemed to be the pattern all afternoon as we hiked/hustled across many miles of country, pressing for one proper stalk to yield one shooting opportunity. I know I was mentally reciting the mantra, “..give me one chance” and suspect the rest of our team was too. We had not completely exhausted all avenues to stalk kill the one bull, but it was getting late in the afternoon, I was physically worn down, and it looked like the herd had started its annual migration. Marius walked up beside me, looked me in the eyes and asked, “Bill, do you have one more try in you?” In my best General George S. Patton voice I said, “Hell yes.” And off we went. We briskly walked parallel to the path of the herd, but about 100 yds behind brush and other cover. We needed to get caught up with the herd, maybe just ahead. I do not recall how far we walked but I do know we covered some ground quickly. Then, probably by instinct, Marius turned 90 degrees toward the herd and we began our approach.

We spotted members of the herd well before hitting the edge and end of cover. We could not see the whole herd nor the big bull. Marius crawled up to the last thorn tree that separated us from the herd, glassing left and right from his knees. Then behind the cluster of tree trunks and gestured for us to join him as low as we could go. Once there, he slowly raised the shooting sticks beside the tree, and carefully stood behind the trunks and glassed as much of the rest of the herd as he could. He eventually whispered that he couldn’t find the big bull.

In hunting these wily plains game critters, you likely faced similar frustrating circumstances. Maybe very frustrating. This is where we were. Marius looked over the herd one more time. Turning to us, with a look on his face that told me it was just about to get very personal for him, he said “…. climb this tree.” As an engineer and entrepreneur, I’m pretty good at making ball-park calculations, and I knew having me climb the tree was not likely to work. But I kept silent while I tried to rally for the challenge. Tom asked, “What?” Marius answered, “I’m going to climb this tree.” And with that he slowly went up, pulling on one wickedly thin dried limb after another, showering us with bark, twigs and debris, until he was almost 8 feet off the ground. There he glassed for 5 minutes, and then started down. No animals were spooked, he didn’t fall and none of us had to cushion his landing!

Once on the ground he told us he found the big bull, just over the visible horizon, less than 400 yds away. We crawled back away from the edge of cover and hustled to get closer to the front of the herd. Eventually we repeated our best crawl on all fours and were again hidden under the shade of a broad thorn wood tree. The shooting sticks were slowly raised beside the tree trunk, and Marius stood to glass the herd, and find that bull. The bull was actually walking back toward us, passing through the herd. I was told to slowly rise, get the rifle on the sticks, and get ready but don’t shoot. The bull was well covered by his cows. Slowly he walked back from my left to right. Eventually there were flickers of chances to shoot, but they appeared and disappeared too quickly. We needed enough of a window to assure the bullet (surely to pass through) wouldn’t wound another animal. So we waited and the bull continued his walk, eventually far enough that I had to change my foot position relative to the sticks. He was maybe 70 yards away!

Just as quickly as I stepped left, I lost track of the big bull. For a moment I felt panic rise, but soon found him and was back to “go” status. It looked like he was about to step clear of the cows, with nothing behind him. As the bull stepped away from the cow, I whispered to Marius if he got clear could I shoot? I was on target and on trigger when he whispered yes. Actually, he never got to the “s” part of his answer when my shot broke. The herd scattered but the bull was down! It took 4 ½ hours, but he was down.
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It was a long way back to the bakkie and thankfully our PH discouraged us from accompanying him while he quickly went to retrieve it. Tom, the tracker and I sat on the plain reveling in the scenery, the history, and the privilege to take this hunt.

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Marius returned more quickly than expected. (That man can really move in the bush! I can’t understand how he and Nick can scamper around those mountains when wearing slip-on boots! They could have a future in the NHL!) He informed us that he passed an open area with a water hole where he spotted a Springbok that we need to try to collect. So after the necessary photos, we loaded back into the bakkie. Tom was shooter-up and we had to hurry because daylight was again failing!

Tom’s account of what happened next to follow;
 

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Very nice Red, congrats!
 

Bill DeHaan

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Thx cpr. My wife saw that pic and said, you look so tired!” Told her that was joy. Ha! Maybe relief?
 

Bill DeHaan

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Some images from our hunt.
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and lastly and aerosol for use when you REALLY want a pest gone!

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Africa Sky looks after it’s guests!
 

Bill DeHaan

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Tom's Springbok story is being held hostage by his laptop that is suddenly displaying The Black Screen of Death. I'll continue with the next day (s) from my Safari Report and will post his account ASAP .
 

Bill DeHaan

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SD-5

I had long anticipated this day. Hunting Barbary, or Aoudad as we call them here in the US, has been on my bucket list for many years. And to have a crack at them on their native continent makes the opportunity extra special. Their habitat where we’d be hunting them could remind you of the lower mountain slopes in Afghanistan or Tajikistan. Lots of solid and fractured shale like rock, scarce plant cover, lots of wide spaces and eyes to deal with. Thankfully not anything close to a comparable altitude. To look upon the country with its textures, patterns and tones was a treat for the eyes.
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We left for the mountains early that morning so that we could be glassing from the foothills at first light. As we rolled in there were two groups of sheep we could see in binos. The spotting scope was brought out and it was clear that only one held a ram of interest to Marius. His interest was intense. The local tracker advised that there was another group a little farther around the mountain he could show us. Marius explained he had seen enough. The ram he was looking at was a spectacular animal and further scouting was unnecessary. I think the rough translation to English was, “Oh, we are definitely done looking!” As we unloaded from the bakkie and prepared for the stalk, I could feel the excitement in Marius. The spiritual energy of our small band of hunters took a big jump. It was show time for everyone. My job couldn’t be more simple - stay close to my PH, do what he says and don’t screw up the shot.

We ascended the first rise as quickly as possible. Aside from carelessly kicking a piece of loose rock across the landscape, being quiet while moving quickly was easy. However the pace and altitude was enough to elevate my breathing. Thankfully, Marius paused the group for a few seconds to give me time to catch my breath. From there we had to hunker down and do a squat-walk quite a distance. Far enough for me to feel that “burn” in my thighs, and to see the instruction to now begin crawling as a relief. A brief relief. The ground was 90% rock. Big flat concrete slab like chunks of shale, as well as patches of broken shale that scuffed, bruised, and scraped our knees and elbows.. Enough so to make this “hero” grimace more than I care to recall. Rare moments with knees or elbows landing on tiny patches of grass were just this side of luxurious.

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Eventually we were halted while Marius crawled another 5-10 yards, slowly, to locate and hopefully glass the herd. Amazingly, we had caught the ram and his ewes early. They were still on the rugged foothills, but just about to ascend some serious slope. Marius slowly looked back at me over his shoulder and mouthed the call to pass up my rifle. Right behind it, Tom handed up Dad’s camo fanny-pack to be used as a rest. After settling my rifle, Marius signaled for me to slip forward behind the rifle which I did.

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There in a dry ravine bottom were about two dozen sheep. Looking through my scope I was directed to the herd chief. He was definitely impressive. He was also so busy checking his ewes that he always had bodies before or behind him. Marius advised the distance to the ram was 218 yards. Given the clear sky and calm winds it would be what Marius calls a chip-shot. But while I waited for the ram to step clear, that chip-shot was becoming very problematic. The herd was traveling from my left to right heading for the high country. That meant that they would be passing directly in line with the sun. The herd and more importantly the ram and one particular ewe whom he was infatuated with had traveled about 30 yards toward the right. They had perhaps another 25 yards and then I would be dealing with rather serious sun flare in my scope. Their progression slowly continued for several maddening minutes. Before the rising sun shut us down, the hot ewe decided to lay down! The ram fidgeted around beside and behind her, placing his chin on her rump, making me think he might mount her! Eventually he decided to fail with less effort and laid down beside and slightly above her.
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That’s exactly the break we needed. Within a few seconds, the bullets path to and beyond the ram cleared, and the shot was taken. One interestingly side note, the sound of the shot reverberated three times back and forth around the mountain and back to our ears. The reassuring “wok” of the bullet impact was only heard once. Oh, and the ram never got out of its bed.
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Somehow, I managed to stay close, do what I was told, and didn’t screw up the shot. We had been so fortunate on this safari. If it had ended here, we would have returned home very blessed. But more adventure awaited us!
 

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Wow, congrats on a nice looking aoudad!
 

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:cool::cool:
 

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Bill, how fun & WOW ‘special’ is that stunner Ram w/ mass thru to the tips!
It’s the classic Rut Hunt story - “Ram allows little head to think before big head!” :-O Hunter 1 Ram 0.

P.S. DOOM - my savior along the Zambezi River!

P.S.S. Ridge top sunset portrait pic is postcard quality - thx for sharing!
 

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That looks like a great Aoudad. Congrats on a great stalk and shot. 1 shot kills are so very nice!
Bruce
 

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Oh my! That aoudad is awesome! Hmmm…so is everything else you’ve taken! Oh envy!
 

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