SOUTH AFRICA: Father & Son Hunt With Pieter Erasmus & Pawprint Safaris

sierraone

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My son and I recently returned from a five day plains game hunt with Pieter in his camp in the Northwest Province about a two hour drive north of Johannesburg. The flight from Atlanta on 1 July went as planned. There were no issues with either our seats or checking our rifles. After clearing immigration and customs to pick up our guns with Rifle Permits assisting, we left for our hunting camp with PH Jonathan. After arriving in Bulule Bush Lodge around 2030 local time Sunday night, we had a great dinner and talked with Pieter and other staff about our hunt starting the next morning. After about an hour, we left for Flintbeck Nature Reserve, which up until recently had been Pieter's primary camp. It is about 10 minutes away from Bulule. We unloaded our gear, and called it a day quickly and hit the bed. PH Jonathan, Chris and I had found our home for the next six nights.

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sierraone

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Day 1, July 3
We were back in Balule for breakfast at 0800, then shortly after walked out to the zero range to check our rifles and scopes. Pieter and PH Jonathan were both immediately happy with the results. After a little more preparation and a quick lunch, we picked up Joe, our tracker and headed to a farm about 30 minutes away and met up with the owner. Then after a very short rough vehicle trail to the start of the hunting area, we finally there.

The majority of the terrain on this farm was very much like Texas Hill Country. Small clearings, some fields and mostly very rough, broken rock terrain and lots of small to medium thickets with considerable cactus plants and other things to stick you. When you did see a field, the grass was so tall, that you would only see an animal from the back of the truck, and for many of the smaller animals, not even then.

We had only been hunting maybe 10 minutes when the PH and tracker spotted a very large wart hog in a small open area maybe 100 yards away. Chris took aim with his Weatherby Vanguard .300 Win Mag and fired. The pig immediately went down, but was long way from dead. Even though he was on his left side, his rear legs would not give up trying get him up and going again. He was creating a minor dust storm with those two hind legs. Chris fired again. Another obvious hit, but still moving. We now walked up very close to the pig, Chris shot him in the neck and the pig finally called it quits!

Ten minutes of hunting my son had his first African animal. Needless to say we were both very happy!

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Going to sit at the table enjoying some pork of my own with pancakes and eagerly await more from your adventure!
 

sierraone

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Continuing Day 1

After photos, some including myself and the PH and tracker, we loaded the pig into the back of the truck. and continued hunting.

We continued onto another vehicle trail into an area covered with lots of individual thickets and small open areas. Once again after about 10 minutes more of hunting we came upon a herd of Blue Wildabeest. Most of the herd we could only get a glimpse of. But one large male was in an opening about 75 yards away. I aimed and fired my M70 .375 Holland. I think it was obvious to all I hit him. He was quartering away from me when I fired. He made a motion like he was literally ducking under the bullet. He then ran to catch up with the rest of the herd which were all now on the run. We then walked up to the spot where he had been. No blood! Joe our tracker after about 4 or 5 minutes found a single spot of blood maybe 25 yards away in the direction he ran. This began a three hour animal tracking that I had read about before, but never had been involved in. Joe continued to find spots of blood, usually just a single spot which I would have never seen. On two occasions during our tracking, we found more than a spot, but still very little blood in my opinion for such a large animal. After an hour or so Joe identified that the animal's right front hoof was splayed indicating he was favoring that leg and by splaying the hoof was spreading his weight on a larger area to take pressure off. More indication of a hit, but still very little blood.

After two hours of tracking Pieter showed up with a beagle. We search for another hour not locating "my" wildebeest. It was getting dark so we headed back to camp for supper and plan for tomorrow.

During our dinner discussion, it was decided that the next morning we would continue to hunt for the wounded animal for two hours. If he wasn't found we would continue hunting for other animals.
 

sierraone

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Day 2, July 4

After breakfast, we drove back to farm where we lost the wildebeest the day before. We spent the next two hours trying to track him down. Joe told us that our wounded animal had mixed into a herd again (and we only found one more blood spot) and that we should continue hunting our other animals. So we did.

Through the rest of the morning we saw many plains game of many species. But we never had a shot at any we were hunting for. We headed in to lunch.

After we headed back to the farm we were hunting for that day, (same as the day before). We were seeing lots of animals of many species, but none we were looking for. At about 1600 we saw 3-4 zebra and 6-7 blesbok in an area of multiple small thickets. When we would stop, the zebras would trot off with the blesboks with them. We drove on ahead before stopping again. The PH and I exited the rear of the truck and enter the thickets ahead of the animals, shooting stix in hand. Twice during the next 25 minutes or so, I was on the stix. Both times the animals into or behind other thickets before I could aim, let alone fire off a round. This time they didn't just run a short distance and stop. They all, zebras and blesboks disappeared.

We made it back to the vehicle trail and then back to the truck. We loaded back up and continued our hunt for blesboks. After about 10 minutes, we observed a single blesbok ram standing in a small clearing about 55 yards of the road. I saw him about the same time the PH did. By the time the truck stopped, I was already on him. I fired and he fell in his tracks....not going to have to track this one!
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sierraone

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After photos and loading him into the truck, it was getting dark. As we were headed out of the hunting area we observed six kudu in a field. But more importantly, very close to the kudu, there were two male impala on their rear legs fighting about a hundred yards out. I tried to get the cross hairs on one of them, but they both decided not to stick around. They took off in a run to our left and into a heavily wooded wash out. We took a few minutes to search field for any sign of other animals we were looking for, but found now. We now headed to the skinning shed to drop off the blesbok, and then to supper.

Will continue with Day 3 after a break!
 

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Was great sharing camp with you and chris. Made for some fun nights around the fire and dinners

It is funny how your hunt worked out. I remember the first dinner how Pieter and I were telling you warthogs are hard to get and then chris gets one right of the bat. You just never know what will show themselves and when.
 

sierraone

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Was great sharing camp with you and chris. Made for some fun nights around the fire and dinners

It is funny how your hunt worked out. I remember the first dinner how Pieter and I were telling you warthogs are hard to get and then chris gets one right of the bat. You just never know what will show themselves and when.
Agree. The best of it was I now have another face and story to put with a name!
 

sierraone

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Day 3, July 5

After breakfast, back to the same farm. Met with the owner who advised us that earlier that morning he had seen a nice warthog with a broken rear leg not far behind his house. So we headed down a trail to that area which was thick overgrown gully by my definition. We saw the pig quickly, but he saw us too! No chance for a shot. The PH, tracker and I dismounted and headed to where he was last seen. We spent probably 30 minutes looking for this animal but never saw him again, nor did our tracker pick up on any think he could follow. Off we headed to this farm's main hunting area again. After maybe driving 20 minutes, The PH and farm owner, also in the back of the truck called a halt. There was a fairly deep ditch on the right of the vehicle trail we were now on. They was a male bushbuck standing in the ditch. I couldn't see him, but Chris could. Just a problem with being short. After a few minutes the bushbuck decided to show himself, trotted out in the more open area about 50 yards away, then stopped and stood broadside looking at us. Easy shot for Chris or me, but we weren't hunting bushbuck. Also couldn't get to my camera in time before he ran off into more thickets. The second animal we had been told how hard it is to find one, at least on this property! Oh well, next time!!!

After lunch we went back to the same area and saw only a couple of animals for the afternoon. One being a nice warthog in a deep wide gully, who saw us too. Amazing how fast he moved running uphill. No shot.

The day was starting to close. We decided to head back to camp since we had seen so few animals that day after seeing animals every where to looked on the day before. We were at the gate where you enter/leave the property when the land owner received a phone call. It was the manager of the farm a short distance away where I had wounded the wildebeest some 52 hours earlier. Our land owner and PH talked in their language for a moment, the my PH explained to me the situation. The animal was alone and was obviously wounded since he was limping badly. I told the PH to tell the manger to shoot him and we would be over to collect him. The farm manager didn't have a gun with him! I'm thinking WHAT? out on a multi thousand acre game farm, nearly dark and no gun. Anyway that's for another story.

We told the manager to keep an eye on him if he could and we would head that way...(about a 30 minute rough trail ride). When we arrived at the scene, it was total darkness. The manager pointed in the animal's direction. I could not see him except for a very vague outline. So it was decided very quickly that my son, who had a much more powerful scope than I did and the PH who borrowed the manager's rifle, (he had a worker bring him his rifle from his house while we were heading to the site). They would engage the animal from the rear of the truck. The best I could tell, our wildebeest was about 30-35 yards away standing in the thicket looking away from us. But I was not sure at all. After Chris and the PH fired I think two shots each, we all headed that way on foot. I was behind them walking much slower due to total darkness and very rocky terrain. As I entered the thicket, there was one more shot. The animal had move probably 10-15 yards after being hit initially, then fell, but still holding his head up. The PH fired the last shot into him from only a few feet or yards away, finishing the roughly 52 hour ordeal!!! Many people played a part in finding this wounded animal, and three were directly involved in killing him. What a deal for a first hunting trip to Africa!!!
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sierraone

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Retrieving the wildebeest from that large thicket in total darkness was a story in itself. But I'll save it for another time. By the way, my original shot that wounded him, stuck in the right front leg roughly where it joins the body. The bullet took out a piece of meat but did not penetrate into the body area at all.
 

sierraone

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Day 4 will be coming up shortly. My son and I both getting lucky and him really showing out...IMO!
 

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Retrieving the wildebeest from that large thicket in total darkness was a story in itself. But I'll save it for another time. By the way, my original shot that wounded him, stuck in the right front leg roughly where it joins the body. The bullet took out a piece of meat but did not penetrate into the body area at all.

Glad you were able to find him and put him down. Forgive me but I must ask....the caliber was a .375H&H if I remember correctly from above, if so I'd like to know what weight and type of bullet you used was.
 

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What kind of bullet was it?

Retrieving the wildebeest from that large thicket in total darkness was a story in itself. But I'll save it for another time. By the way, my original shot that wounded him, stuck in the right front leg roughly where it joins the body. The bullet took out a piece of meat but did not penetrate into the body area at all.
 

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Nice pig! Look forward to more!
 

sierraone

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Glad you were able to find him and put him down. Forgive me but I must ask....the caliber was a .375H&H if I remember correctly from above, if so I'd like to know what weight and type of bullet you used was.
Hi Phil, My ammo was factory Federal Power Shok. The bullet was a standard Federal 270 grain soft point. According to the box, the velocity is 2690 at the muzzle and 2420 at 100 yards. The muzzle energy is 4340 ft-lbs. I have been shooting this same ammo in my same M70 for 4 years. I don't intend on changing in the future unless I decided to hunt buffalo with a .375. It has always been consistently accurate at 100 yds.
 

sierraone

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What kind of bullet was it?
Hi Charlie, See my response to Phil. That's all the info I have on the ammo. I don't reload.
 

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Hi Phil, My ammo was factory Federal Power Shok. The bullet was a standard Federal 270 grain soft point. According to the box, the velocity is 2690 at the muzzle and 2420 at 100 yards. The muzzle energy is 4340 ft-lbs. I have been shooting this same ammo in my same M70 for 4 years. I don't intend on changing in the future unless I decided to hunt buffalo with a .375. It has always been consistently accurate at 100 yds.

No intent on changing your mind, just wanted to know for my own memory banks.
 

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Did the initial shot just "graze" the Wildebeest, or did the bullet fragment on impact?
 

sierraone

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Day 4, July 6

Today we depart a little earlier than normal. The farm we were hunting on was an hour away. And much larger than we had been hunting. Most of it was savanna grasslands, but had it share of rolling terrain and some thickets. This day we were hunting Springbok, cull black Wildebeest, Impala and a second Warthog.

Within a few minutes of our arrival we saw a herd of springbok, a herd of black wildebeest and a herd of eland. We pursued the springbok. Because of the open terrain, it was hard to get close to any of the herds. After a short time we were within about 210 yards of the springbok. They would run a short distance, stop or walk for a minute, then run again. Our PH picked one for Chris to try for. He took a rest on top of the truck and fired. It was an obvious hit, but the target animal ran with the herd again, but not very far. As we approached the wounded animal, he was sitting upright on the ground with his head up. His intestines were hanging out of the body cavity. Chris shot him again, this time maybe 30 or 40 yards. The springbok got up and ran again to a nearby thicket. We followed him and found him dead 2 or 3 minutes later.
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sierraone

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Did the initial shot just "graze" the Wildebeest, or did the bullet fragment on impact?
As far as we could tell it just grazed him and never entered the body.
 

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