SOUTH AFRICA: Fantastic Adventure With Chris Troskie Safaris!

BeeMaa

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I know a Buffalo is the cool thing to do for your avatar, but the pic of that Impala and your rifle is pretty awesome.

...says the guy who has a puppet in his avatar.
 

PaulT

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Ben, congrats on an outstanding hunt, well done.
 

BenKK

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In two previous safaris, one to the Eastern Cape and one to Botswana’s Kalahari, a warthog boar had eluded me, although I shot a magnificent old sow in the desert. So I was very hopeful on this trip to the Waterbergs.

I assisted Chris and Sammy in sorting-out an injured warthog boar, and although I’d shot quite well on three antelopes my performance in this episode was mediocre. I missed the first two shots off the sticks and then instinct took-over and a running shot offhand at a good distance slowed the suffering animal enough for Chris and DT the tracking dog to put an end to it - job done. But the rot had set-in with my shooting.

Compared to our wild pigs... well, warthogs simply don’t compare! They’re super-switched-on!

We were stalking a creek line and Sammy spied a “groot, groot vark” laying down. The boar arose and I shot worse than an amateur at approximately only twenty metres, maybe less - too far forward and low, the kind of shot where you instantly know it’s all wrong. Why admit all this? Not sure, maybe to let folks know that you will eventually make a mistake. There were only a few drops of blood, and the boar was full of energy when DT caught-up to him twice over a long distance through the thorns - and the thorns were too thick to shoot. The boar was too fit and healthy to stay and fight, and eventually the approaching evening and strong wind (blowing the scent away) beat us.

Collecting myself after such a failure was tough, and the next day we returned to search to no avail.

My warthog quest was not over yet. I’ll write more later.
 

BenKK

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Soon after we were hunting along the Mogol in an attempt to break my vlakvark jinx. Once again it was an incredible thrill to be stalking so quietly that a pair of giant crocodiles had no clue we were there, just thirty metres from them. We avoided the danger zones, skirting back into the thorns if the deep water got too close to the bush line.

Three good boars were seen sleeping just ahead, but we wanted to get a better angle so we sat waiting patiently for them to stir. Unfortunately a waterbuck spooked them away.

We resumed the hunt. Not long after, a mob of twenty warthogs was seen foraging along some muddy waterholes. A giant boar was among them! Sammy was excited! I was nervous! I didn’t take the necessary time to calm-down and settle-in properly, thinking I only had a small window when he turned broadside. At the shot, pigs disappeared in a split-second. I was dejected. I’d missed a huge boar and could sense Sammy’s disappointment. He’d worked incredibly hard to get me that second chance. Sammy disappeared into the bush following the boar’s tracks and returned some time later confirming the miss. My only consolation was that it was a clean miss.

As we walked to a beautiful spot to braai overlooking the Mogol, our philosophical mindset returned and we couldn’t help but be cheerful just being there, and optimistic for the afternoon’s effort ahead.
 

BenKK

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After resuming our walk along the Mogol that afternoon, we hadn’t gone far when we saw several warthogs ahead, including a “groot, groot vark!” Sammy was keen for me to send a bullet down-range then and there, but I didn’t trust myself and felt we could get closer due to the lay of the land and the reeds. So we did. The pigs were in the reeds when we reached a suitable position about forty metres away. I got on the sticks...

“Can you see the big one?”

“Yes.”

“Shoot him.”

I could indeed see a big pig, with impressive dentistry. The situation was perfect and I felt steady and confident. I shot the pig in the heart and the reeds erupted. I felt good.

So, imagine my surprise when Sammy, heartbroken, told me I’d missed! Confused, I tried to point-out the massive blood trail while Sammy tried to show me where the giant boar had been standing, and then the pieces of the puzzle came together and I realised I’d reached another African milestone - shooting the wrong animal! I’d only been able to see one animal, and vice versa.

We followed the massive blood trail into the thorns, finding a very dead old sow with fine dentistry, an ancient trophy that I was very grateful for. I reassured Chris and Sammy that I really appreciated the magnificent old warthog, that I was grateful for a fine memory made, that I was pleased to build a little bit of confidence again, and... it was pretty funny!

So, here she is...

IMG_7898.JPG


We continued hunting hard for a warthog boar that afternoon, and we came close many times! But the swirling wind or the thick reeds defeated us, and I thought it was marvellous. I experienced the highs and lows of hunting and had a fantastic day which I treasure very much.

But the quest wasn’t over yet...
 

shootist~

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Great story - warts and all!

Thanks for showing we can all be human on occasion. All part of the adventure, IMO.
 

cls

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Enjoying the report, you have taken some very nice animals.
 

vancewalker007

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There is some wild and rugged country upstream along the Mogol River, absolutely spectacular!

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We saw a monster nyala crossing a track but I couldn’t get a photograph.

Then we saw an incredible kudu! I reached for my camera, because for me personally the hunt means more the harder it is. I didn’t want to shoot this bull from the car. He may well be over 60”.

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Truthfully, though, after driving well past we did try our best. We parked the vehicle and doubled-back, hoping to track him. At one point Sammy sneaked ahead to scout alone, and he suddenly lay flat on the ground gesturing back at Chris and I to get down low, too. The bull was just ahead and had laid down to hide. Chris and I crouched low and moved to where Sammy was, but the bull had evaporated, and we never saw him again. We tracked him for some distance before giving-up, as he was onto us and always keeping the breeze in his favour to keep tabs on us. I’m glad we never got him, because I think he’s got more breeding life left in him yet. It was an honour to be outsmarted by such a bull, an absolute thrill. So he’s still out there in those massive hills!
Thats an old giant. Wow!
 

BenKK

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Great stuff mate, thanks for sharing your wonderful trip. (y)

Thank you, mate! Nearly done, just a couple more stories to add as time permits over the next few days. Looking-forward to reading of your African adventure that you’re planning, too! Need to send you a question about Blasers, too.
 

Code4

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Congratulations Ben. I said you wouldn't go wrong with Chris as he is as honest as the day is long and listens to his clients. It took me five trips to get control of my love of Africa. You still have a few to go. (Insert happy face emoticon).
 

lwaters

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Great report. You seen some beautiful kudu. A bushbuck is the one spiral horned that I like to get.
 

BenKK

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Congratulations Ben. I said you wouldn't go wrong with Chris as he is as honest as the day is long and listens to his clients. It took me five trips to get control of my love of Africa. You still have a few to go. (Insert happy face emoticon).

Honesty is absolutely one of Chris’ core values. He’s one of the good guys, for sure.

Mate, I don’t think I’ll ever get the lure of Africa out of my system!
 

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This is grand! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who makes an “OOPS” shot!
I’m really enjoying this BenKK!
 

BenKK

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About to write the last bit of the trip...

By this stage I was battling some fevers each night from a condition I was born with, so I was getting worn-out.

On the last morning we decided to try to cull a wildebeest - bull or cow - due to the drought. Sneaking undetected through the thorns wasn’t easy because of the giraffes, but eventually we were on the sticks with an animal selected out on the vlei. I made a terrible shot. As I mentioned, I wasn’t at my best. The animals departed at top speed and I was feeling really bad. But then I got a sense from Chris and Sammy that things were looking good way across the vlei, and they soon saw the young bull collapse after his sprint. I had made a lung shot. The bull was beautiful. Wildebeest seem to be a humble animal, but when you see them up close they’re amazing! I was very pleased.

IMG_7810.JPG
 

BenKK

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We loaded the bull and were driving back, but decided to check a bore. Driving past, a great old boar erupted from the reeds in the waterhole and commenced his departure. I scrambled to get my rifle out of the bag and crouched low to shuffle my way over to a mound of dirt, upon which I was able to lay prone and get a rock-solid rest. The boar collapsed at the shot. Finally I had a warthog boar, and he was the oldest one in all of Africa! We certainly did him a favour.

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