Now that horns and hides have shipped from Africa here is a way overdue hunting report. It all began in January of 2017 when my BIL @LegalEagle and I met Drom and the Somerby Safari crew At the KC SCI show. @LegalEagle and I would both turn 40 in 2018 and what better way to celebrate than a hunting trip to Africa. With two very understanding and supportive wives the planning began. Thanks to all on here that answered our many newbie questions. Took a lot of the stress out and had us well prepared for this adventure. Finally June 25th arrived and we were off from KCI to ATL and on to JBurg. We were greeted at the airport by Andre. He guided us through the process of getting our guns (300 win mags with 165 gr Barnes) from the police station. A little slow but overall went very smooth and we were off to the Elephant Lodge for dinner, a night cap and some rest before the morning drive. On the drive to the lodge Andre was right to the point. He needed two things 1) us to trust him regarding when and what to shoot and 2) if we needed or wanted anything let him know. We did both and had an amazing trip. It was a restless night as the anticipation for the next day was unbelievable. Day 1 We are up early for a drive to a nature reserve in the Free State. We arrived shortly after lunch, got checked in with staff at the reserve (what a deal...but that’s a story for another day). We go check the zero on our rifles and off for the last couple hours of light to find some critters. BIL and I had several similar species in common on our list but kudu and waterbuck were at the top of the list. So we decide he was up first for kudu and me for waterbuck, after that we’d just roll with it as the opportunities came. We made a couple failed stalks on gemsbok and had see a couple nice waterbuck. When we spotted what looked to me to be a good waterbuck, but Andre said we could do better. Okay..he knows we don’t. We move on around and Andre stops and says, “I’ve had another look.” Which meant let’s chase this one. We make a move around and in short order I’m on the stick and squeezing the trigger on my first African critter. We hear the bullet hit and he runs into the brush. The longest 10 minute search for an animal in my life begins. The tracker spots him and Andre and I approach. Andre grabbed one horn and said, “F’ me you have no idea what you’ve done.” This became a pattern for the trip. He stuck out his hand for a big shake and congrats. Nearly in tears I grabbed the horns of a 30” waterbuck as we got to experience our first African sunset. What a moment. We wrapped up the day with a couple celebratory drinks some amazing food and the first of many stories around an African campfire. Day 2 and 3 More chasing critters on the grasslands. My time was spent spotting and videoing for @legalegale as he successfully took a zebra, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, gemsbok and a waterbuck. Needless to say we were quickly learning at a target rich environment Africa can be. There was that one clean miss on a big kudu bull at the end of day 2 but let’s not talk about that... Day 4 Up early for a long hangover laden-drive north to the Limpopo. Did I mention the girls we combing but we wouldn’t see them till day 5? Boys will be boys and we might have drank a lot of brandy and jack before the girls arrived. We arrive at the hunting lodge in the Limpopo in time for a quick drive and failed stalk on a kudu bull. There’s another story there too but we’ll save it for a later date. Day 5 Up at day break to start cruising looking for critters. We spot a group of blue wildebeest and the stalk begins. It took several attempts as we kept bumping the group. They final got in an open area and I was able to connect on a long shot of the sticks and take a nice mature bull. Back to the lodge for lunch and feet the girls as they and just arrived. A quick lunch and back out to look for kudu. We find some young bulls and a few cows. Finally locate a good bull with cows. It was then that I learned how tough they can be. I took a hard quartering shot and sent one right through him. He ran. We circled and found him head up staring at us. A quick second shot through the shoulders and down he went. As we recovers the kudu the girls arrive and I was able to share that special moment with my wife. What an amazing first 5 days. A 30” waterbuck, a huge blue wildebeest bull, and now a 50” kudu, things couldn’t get much better...or could they... Day 6 We are hard after a kudu bull for my BIL. We spend the day looking hard with no mature bulls located. As the sun set we headed to the river in search of a bushbuck. They were high on my list. We had seen a couple in daylight but Andre said we would execute plan B. So we break out the lights and cruise some ag fields along the river. Spot a “huge” bushbuck according to Andre. He gets into the thick stuff and we have no shot. As we are contemplating what to do he spots an “even bigger” bushbuck and off we go. Just before he disappeared I was able to execute a good shot and down he goes. Andre scrambles into the brush and we hear...”f’ me, you have no idea what you’ve done.” Turned out to be a 16” old ram. What a cool battle scared old critter he was. As we head out Andre says he’s not sure we shit the right one...@LegalEagle can tell you the rest of that story if he wants. Day 7 Starts much like the others. Andre asked if we wanted to kill a warthog. I was game. They had been seeing a big boar that he wanted to find. So we set off and headed to a high point to overlook the bush. Andre spotted a warthog and off we went to see if it was him. We stalk in and there is very little cover so we can only get to about 150 yards. He finally turns I take a solid rest and let one fly. The warthog disappears in a cloud of dust. We wait a bit to give him plenty of time before tracking. To no avail we spend the next 2.5 hours looking for a dead warthog. Andre is convinced he’s dead we are just missing him...so I swallow the sick feeling of a lost critter. Later that afternoon @LegalEagle is finally able to connect with a great kudu bull. Day 8 Before we arrived @LegalEagle and I had independently decided we wanted to add Nyala to our list. I wanted an Eland but the wife thinks Nyala was a better choice than in her word a giant cow of an animal. So here we are day 8 with only Impala left on our “official” list and the desire to add Nyala, but we’ve not even seen one yet. Since I’d taken waterbuck and kudu first @LegalEagle was up first if we actually saw one. Mid afternoon @LegalEagle was able to connect at the same waterhole he’s killed a kudu the day before. Day 9 We change locations again. I really enjoyed the fact that we got to hunt on some different country and totally different habitats. We head to the eastern edge of the Limpopo. We arrived in time for a good lunch and off after an Nyala. For the first time the girls joined us on the excursion. We spot a couple nice bulls with cows before locating an old mature male hanging by himself. The property we were hunting had a nice small river running through it. He was standing in the tall grass on the other side. We slipped up on him, a quick clean kill on an old scared up 27” Nyala. Yet another amazing animal and a happy wife. Day 10 Our final day of hunting. We need two impala to finish out a great safari. As we are heading out of the lodge Andre gets a call. Trackers had found my warthog. I’d made a good shot but it had ran over a pond dam and apparently sank. A couple days later it finally floated and the trackers had recovered him. What a huge relief. I’d done my part just unfortunate circumstances. At least we would get the skull and tusks. The day ended up being pretty windy and we were hunting a pretty open area but this allowed us to locate a couple 25” impala and close out a great safari. Departure day A trip to universal trophy service to drop off hides and horns, and good dinner, followed by a trip to the airport to say goodbye to new friends. Until we return...list for trip number 2...Close out the spiral horn slam with an eland, sable... They should be in Dennis Harris’ @The Artistry of Wildlife hands shortly to work his magic. Can’t wait to see them again.