SOUTH AFRICA: Excellent Experience With Tsala Hunting Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by LivingTheDream, Aug 13, 2018.

  1. Edge

    Edge AH Fanatic

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    Beautiful sable, congratulations!
     
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  2. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Legend

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    Day 4 – Cape Buffalo and the Tree

    Day 4 started pretty much the same, except the 300wsm was left behind in exchange for the 416. The Cull Belt was loaded with Swift A-frames and my bullet wallet with 5 Solids in case things got real. We had about an hour drive to the buffalo property and it was a scenic drive and was cool to see it as the sun was coming up. My dad and Glenn were with me but we would split up once there. They were looking for plains game and I was after my buff.

    After meeting Carl, who would be the accompanying PH, we set off. I was pumped up and completely focused and couldn’t wait to get started. We immediately got to waterhole and I was thinking, cut a track and lets go. Except he didn’t come to that waterhole…ok well to get jitters out, we stalked our way over to the next waterhole. There were some old (relatively speaking) tracks at the next one and we started to follow them. To me it seemed like a typical buff hunt, we were moving pretty fast on the tracks, and then they started to get fresher…we slow down, start to scan, every thick spot brings a new excitement of heighten senses. As many of you know hunting in August there is a dead leaves, which essentially seems like we are walking on corn flakes, so you have to move reallllll slow in order to maintain some type of quietness. After an hour and half, we finally catch a black spot in the bushes 80 yards ahead. A quick turn of the its head and we confirm that it is indeed a buff. The wind was good so now we just needed to get a clear shooting spot. However, the buff had other ideas, he wasn’t spooked but just started walking in a different direction….damn.

    Probably what is worse than following spoor into the thick stuff is seeing one walk into the thick stuff…because following spoor you are prepared for him to be there, but seeing him walk in your know he is there. So we are creeping along, find his tracks again, creep, look, creep, look…out of the trees and into waist to chest high grass. As we are all looking left, the grass explodes to the right 10 yards away, the tracker is getting down, the guns are swinging over…and 2 warthogs trot off…we were now officially awake. Refocus and creeping along, we go maybe 30 yards and there 40 yards away in some bushes is the sun glimmer off the left horn. Sticks up, looking through the scope trying to find the body…where is my window…the window closed as the wind shift and he was gone, trotting off and taking a group of impala with him.

    Time to regroup again…by the way…it should noted I hate ostriches now, I was always indifferent but their black body is just about the right height that there movement through the bush freaks me out.

    We follow the spoor, and he is a looping around, back to the original waterhole, we think we know where he is going and catch a glimpse of him moving up ahead…cut the distance and then slooowww down and start to stalk and creep, the wind is wrong and he is off again.

    Time for lunch

    After lunch, we pick up the track…this guy was head to up to mountains, but there is a thick layer of bush at the bottom, we figure this is where is going. We stalk creep and stalk creep, seems like we can’t catch up to him as he isn’t really laying up. He just seems to be walking and we keep finding his tracks. After this last stalk in the thick stuff and with maybe 2 hours of light left we figure we need to catch up. We get in the truck and start trying to figure out where he crossed last. Another stalk by the waterhole and the same results, we just aren’t catching him, but we have to move slow because at some point he is going to lay, it is a catch 22.

    We get to the next road and see where he crossed we are running low on time, and need to close the distance. So in the truck and driving roads, ok he crossed, circle around to the next one, ok he crossed, circle around to the next one. There is the damn ostriches again…I am watching them as we are trying to pick up the spoor and suddenly there he is!!! It is like he is leading the ostriches across the plains. Truck stop, we get off and it is a dead sprint as he is walking away from us. Get on sticks, still walking away, we need to cut him off, sprint, jog, look, sprint…damn ostriches…jog, we are within 60 yards, perfect wind, sticks go up, he is in the opening…this is going to happen, following him on the cross hairs, visualizing the perfect shot, Rouan says wait for him to stop…safety off, cross hairs following, whistle, two steps stopped…and there is a single tree in my way, you could not place the tree any better, it is not a little tree but it is the only tree and it has completely covered the vitals. Every curse word under the sun is muttered, he is looking at us and just like that he is gone…with the sun setting we backed off left the area and strategize about the next day. The Bush Red Willow is now my nemesis and tomorrow is another day.


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  3. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Great hunt so far! Congratulations to your dad on his excellent buffalo! Quite a handsome devil! (Buffalo not your dad!)
     

  4. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Legend

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    Day 5 – Cape Buffalo

    Here we go again at 5:45 am headed out to hunt the one that got away. Yesterday’s hunt was frustrating but that is why it is called hunting. We are pretty confident giving the way we were able to get on him and how he was wanted to loop back into his comfort zone.

    We get there and immediately find tracks, he is headed to the original waterhole we check yesterday. We find the tracks and start tracking. Confidence was still high and he was walking through some open areas, we were able to move pretty quickly but figured he wasn’t far. The cover changed from being able to see 100 yards, to 50 yards, to 20 yards, to maybe 10…it felt like the walls were closing in and he was leading us into a trap. We were moving super slow, literally walking up within 10 yards of bedded impalas, we moved silently and had great wind. It felt right, we hit an area where you could tell it was protected and there was warm thermals, it had plenty of cover and it just seems like the inevitable was about to happen. To say adrenaline was pumping would be an understatement. We made our through the thick area and couldn’t find tracks, we went up ahead and checked the road, no tracks. Ok so he has looped back on us and is headed to his favorite spot, just like yesterday.

    We take a quick ride and get perfect wind, and what took place was my favorite stalk of the trip. It seemed perfect, and every minute it felt like we were going to cut him off and meet him head on. While we were stalking it was decided that the road would be dragged so we would only have fresh tracks. The stalk was intense, and it felt like we would see him and we were checking every thick spot and moving quietly. My friends, the ostriches, gave us some false alarms but overall we didn’t see the buff or any spoor, or really any reason to think he was there. We checked all the roads afterwards and there was no tracks, we were kind of at a loss. We followed the original tracks and he didn’t loop back on us. We decided to get lunch. At lunch we moved to plan C, lets get some beaters and get his buff moving and get some fresh tracks. We get four guys, check the roads and still no tracks. We hit the favorite spot, the beaters were raising hell but there was no movement and no spoor. Ok back to where we lost him this morning, same results, nothing. Ok we try another block and then another block, and then another block, all had the same result…nothing. We go to the mountain and maybe he went up or is in the thick valley…we go up, beaters go low…nothing. We check all of the roads and tracks and there is no spoor anywhere….at this point we are confused and start wondering what is plan D.

    It was at this time, Carl tells me they had a buff 3 years ago, that didn’t move for 3 days…nothing could get this buff to move and they had to get a helicopter and even than it took it 1 and ½ hours find it. This speaks to how thick this area is as well as how tricky buff can be.

    We ride around for a while, did a short stalk into maybe a spot the beater missed and then decided to just sit under and tree and think about Plan E. Plan E was to go back to the where we lost the tracks and get the beaters but get noise makers and really make noise. It was about 4:30 and given the time of day, maybe he would be more inclined to move.

    We set up on one of the long roads, and off go the beaters and man are they loud. We sit and here go the wildebeest and red hartebeest and the monkeys...stuff is moving. Any finally bam there goes the buff, radio the beaters to stop and off we go, we get the tracks, we turn right and find more tracks, he is starting to walk, we look around and catch the tail end of him walking away. Off the truck and sprint! We get close and he is still walking away, he doesn’t know we are there. We run to get ahead, we are seeing him move up in the bush ahead, catch our breath as he is grazing a long. Check the wind and get ready for the final stalk. We make our way closer and closer, we have cover and get to within 40 yards and on the sticks, if he breaks left or right I am ready. He is kind of walking towards and goes right, given me a broadside shot.

    BAM! He bucks and is hit hard, instantly reload and never lost sight, I see him going away and Rouan is saying shoot again. BAM! This shot broke his hip, we sprint quickly to get a broadside shot. BAM! Another perfect hit and I am reloading, I get one in the chamber and as the scope gets on him, he goes down. Still on him, and then the Death Bellow! Pat on the back and Rouan says congratulations, enjoy this movement. Another Bellow, and drop to knee give thanks and take it all in. The sun is setting, and another Bellow and it is all over.

    On a humorous point, I practice quickly getting on sticks and working the bolt. What I didn’t practice was loading from my cull belt. So after my 3rd shot, I go to grab a round, and in pulling it out immediately threw it over my shoulder. It didn’t phase me as I grab the next one, but kind of one of those things I will look back and laugh about.

    Picture time and to give thanks, he was a magnificent bull and definitely had me frustrated and a bit baffled, definitely have to respect these animals. I now have 4 of the Big 5, and it has been a pretty hectic and humbling journey.


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  5. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Legend

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    Day 6

    2nd to last day but the pressure was truly off for me. With a Cape Buffalo and my Sable in the Salt I was what I felt like truly able to enjoy the rest of the trip. I could be pretty laid back and had decided I was going to be pretty picky. Glenn, Dad and I all took off to another farm. This worked out great as Kilian and Ben were headed to another farm and think the change of scenery really did them good. The farm we went to was in my opinion slightly burnt out, we did see two nice sable. We saw a waterbuck, some gemsbuck, a few red hartebeest, a few reedbuck, but I didn’t really see anything that made me say wow. I was thinking about maybe shooting and Ostrich but there was not many there and shooting the only male I figured would make the land owner mad, so I didn’t even ask. I do appreciate the gesture as Rouan made a deliberate effort to get me a Bushbuck…but the weather was cold and windy so there isn’t much we can do there and made it extremely hard hunting conditions. Under normal conditions, I am sure we would have gotten my bushbuck.

    Made a quick stop at the Taxidermist as it was on the way back to camp. What a cool place and it was awesome to see the quality in their work and it really gave me a good feeling. I also saw some great Klipspringer mounts so they were definitely starting to move up higher in my list. Definitely something for the next trip.

    Lunch was the Lasange again which is fantastic. I would love to find out what the sirachi mayo combo they have is. I love it either way. The afternoon hunt was very interesting, as I told Rouan I wanted to shoot something magnificent. So yeah figure that out, didn’t necessarily care, could be a waterbuck, bushbuck, klipspringer, I just wanted it to make me say wow. So at lunch Brandon had come back with all of the Camera’s and what they showed was a massive Red Hartebeest, and some Gemsbuck. The Hartebeest was extremely unique and made was I excited about him. I knew they had some amazing waterbucks as well. So maybe even a good impala, I was going to picky.

    We start riding around and it didn’t take long to find the massive Red Hartebeest. We drove past and with perfect wind, the stalk was on. Glenn was very gracious in letting me take the stalk, I was kind of starting to obsess about this hartebeest. He was pretty unique. Well of all things a Bush Red Willow Branch was in my way again, we tried to move it 6 inches but I had another different cross branch now. They soon blew out and were gone for the day. Man what a heart breaker.

    We then took Glenn to the Gemsbok spot, they had been seen the past two nights in the area, a couple of Hay bales for them to sit on and there they were under a tree. I had a lot of faith in this set up as I think the truck freaks them out a little or at least makes them nervous, and I have had better luck walking and stalking. But that is just me.

    After dropping Glenn off we ride around for about an hour and we aren’t having much luck, not really even seeing much. Then we get a call there is a big Waterbuck at a waterhole. For whatever reason it was walking down the dam, and not the waterhole and this probably where things went wrong. As we had totally taken the approach that the Waterbuck was at the waterhole. And then there were some Mountain reedbuck standing directly in front of him. I couldn’t see his body but I could see his horns and he is a monster, a massive old bull and I couldn’t believe it. The reedbuck spooked and this cause the old bull to slowly slink off, we pursued and it was surprising how quietly we moved but he was gone. We got close to some Kudu bulls but nothing there for me. And like that I now have a waterbuck to haunt my dreams.

    As we leave we get a Text from Brandon saying do not come towards them. Rouan gets a phone call a and sudden Rouan makes a turn that way, in my head it only meant one thing. Gemsbok down!!! And sure enough Glenn had got his Gemsbok and it was a dandy 36 ½ bull. Some quick pictures and we were back to skinning shed.
     

  6. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats on a nice buff!
     
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  7. jasyblood

    jasyblood BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Great bull! Congratulations!
     
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  8. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Another excellent buffalo!
     
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  9. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    That buf gave you a run for your money. Congrats on a great hunt.
    Bruce
     
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  10. MikeDeltaFoxtrot

    MikeDeltaFoxtrot AH Veteran

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    That is a beautiful buff. Congratulations. I am plotting a second safari, and buff is at the top of my list.
     
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  11. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I love the shape of the horns on the cape buffalo!
     
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  12. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Legend

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    Day 7

    The weather was complete shit. We woke up at 5 and to leave at around 5:45 to check out another property, but the weather was so shitty, it was cold and windy and extremely damp. These were about the most awful conditions possible especially since we were hunting a farm that was mostly open plains. Make a long story short, there was a lot of shivering on the back and not much else. That’s hunting, but the scenery was awesome. Lots of story telling and laughs.

    Lunch though came through as we had a cook out by the river. It truly was lovely with the Rouan’s whole family being there, the clouds were starting to part and the sun was coming out. The lunch consisted of Klipspringer jerky, Brats, and Bush Pizza – very good. It was a nice time and took us to 3 oclock which is the perfect hunting time. Everyone loaded up and we were off one last time, to recap my dad was done hunting, Glenn was done hunting, Ben was after a Gemsbok, Kilian a Kudu and I was looking for something magnificent.

    We did cover some new trails or at least trails we haven’t frequented as much so that was kind of cool. I was hoping this would make the animals move a little bit. Riding around we were see animals but none of the targeted ones, impalas, zebras, eland but it was cool just riding around. We come around a corner and off go the hartebeests and my boy is with them. We take off running and see them walking away, we kind of know where they are going. In the truck and start to circle around…nothing. Come around another corner and here they are coming towards us, get off the truck, no time for sticks they are on us, facing shot and I am shooting off handed…BAM…Missed I had rushed the shot and pulled it to the left and low…so sick, should have taken my time and controlled my breathing. They ran off and quickly jump in the truck. Go not even 300 yards and they are staring at the truck. Though rushed, I take my time, Breath and squeeze. BAM! Solid hit. They star to run and we run quickly to see where they are running out…here comes one female, here comes a second….the male isn’t with them. We know he is down and I have my hartebeest. He hadn't gone 5 yards, and he is stunning. Load up and picture time and we have about an hour left of hunting. It was the perfect ending for me as he was absolutely magnificent.

    We hung around the fire a little longer, the trip was over and but had a big breakfast plans and we finally got to sleep in!!!

    Overall, I can’t say enough good things. I would have loved to have hung around and few more days and gotten to target that waterbuck. But now I have a reason to come back as he will haunt me. It was an amazing trip and everyone had a great time. As for the 4 African Newbies…they have unfortunately caught the African bug and it is not if they are going back but when! Thank you @Tsala Hunting Safaris


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  13. cmnhunt

    cmnhunt AH Veteran

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    I love the pics with a pile of skulls. Awesome hunt.
     
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  14. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Legend

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    @cmnhunt I had seen other guys do it and thought it was a must have picture with all of the guys and the success we had. We still have a wildebeest and my hartebeest in the skinning shed so we actually had a few more.
     

  15. cmnhunt

    cmnhunt AH Veteran

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    It's an impressive hall!!!
     
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  16. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Now that is a cool hartebeast. I love the shape of his horns. Nice to be able to get him. They can be pretty shy when hunted. Great way to finish a great Safari. Congrats!
    Bruce
     
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  17. Bob O

    Bob O AH Member

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    Thanks for the great heart-pounding stories. That is a very nice Buffalo!
     
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  18. kevin masters

    kevin masters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Great picture! You guys will remember this trip for a lifetime!
    congrat's on a great safari!!
     
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  19. cls

    cls AH Elite

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    Congrats on a very successful hunt and thanks for the report and pictures. Nice buff
     
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  20. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Great Buff Mike. Congrats on a great hunt!
     
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