SOUTH AFRICA: First Safari Father Son With JKO HUNTING SAFARIS

Inline6

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How it came to be:

I love shooting, it's by far my most favorite hobby. All my free time was dedicated to it. I was never opposed to hunting did it a lot when I was younger, I just did not pursue it.

So a little over two years ago my son came up to and asked "If I get a job, save up for a hunt in South Africa, paying my own way with all my animals. Would you go with me? " I looked at him a little surprised, not that he wanted to go. He was drawing pictures of him going to South Africa when he was in the second grade. It was a surprise that he wanted to get a job and make it happen. I told him, "if you are willing to get a job, save your money, and pay your own way. Yes I will go with you". Mom was not excited about the idea of a job because he was playing ball, she did not want him to miss out on that. We talked and a little convincing that hard work and patience on his part will go a long way in life. She finally gave in and he got his job. He was so driven to get more hours and do good work that after a year and a half that wanted to move him into management, only problem was he was 17. They offered him a assist manager position when he graduated high school. He informed them he was going to college and was grateful for the opportunity but he would be leaving a few weeks after Africa.

Now when I agree to this, I immediately started thinking what in the world am I going to hunt? I thought long and hard, going back to the 3rd grade I remember reading books close calls with death and how if I ever made it to Africa I would want to hunt black death.

We met with a few guides/PHs and no one really jumped out at me. That's until I was viewing the deals section on this site. @JKO HUNTING SAFARIS was offering a buffalo and Sable package. We started talking and hit it off. He was my kind of people, Chance and I reviewed his price sheets and we had nothing to complain about. So we booked with Jacques Spamer. He met my wife and my youngest son at the DSC. My wife was a little disappointed she wasn't going this time.

I believe that set the stage for how it came to be.

Actually getting there was a whole new set of opportunities to figure out. It took 11 months for me to get my passport. I spend 70+ hours on the phone with Passport and Vital records. I can't tell you how much air freight I spent trying to get them everything they needed but it was more than I care to admit. Chance was about to lose his mind thinking it might have to be delayed again. We had to push it a month once. We could not order plan tickets due to me not having a passport, could not get rifle permits because no passport. It arrived in late May. We got everything filled out for permits and tickets bought. We used @TRAVEL EXPRESS, Lori was taking care of everything for us. Unfortunately we did not get to start the trip with her help. It was very sad to read of her passing. We gave it a few weeks to let things calm down and I talked to Jennifer. She had everything under control and took excellent care of us. No questions asked we will use her in the future.

Flight were smooth, Chance got his nerves rattled when we were in Doha airport. I got pulled out of line and was being questioned about my keychain. It was a father's day gift from my boy's. It was a solid aluminum bullet cut for a bottle opener that had #1 Dad on it. Chance knew I was going to jail. I talked really calm to security and explained what it was. They did not understand, I said easy fix. I will take it off and give it to you. They agreed and were appreciative that I did not make a fuss. Lol, I think Chance had watched to many movies and knew I was going to jail and getting beheaded, Crisis adverted. We got to Joburg and with Rifles and Ammo, Africa Sky took care of our permits it was smooth sailing.

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Inline6

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Arrival :
Ehan picked us up from the airport, very nice young man helped us get the rifles picked up. He loaded everything into the land rover and off we went. A short 1.5 hour drive and we arrived at the ranch house. We had seen pictures online so we had an idea of what to expect, it exceeded our expectations. I am not sure what "normal" Souh Africa is like, all I can say is their hospitality reminded me of the south. They fed us and made sure we were taken care of. When we were taken to our rooms they were nice, very nice. We had some JKO customized shirts with our names on them. We appreciated the little details like that, it made me feel like JKO goes the extra mile to capture them.
Jacques met us a little bit after and took us to the range to check zeros, we made a few adjustments and had everything dialed in. He then showed Chance his double, A Merkel 470N.E. He asked Chance if he would like to shoot it. Chance looked at me, "son you may never get another opportunity to shoot one". Jacques went through the operation of the rifle. loaded it and handed it to Chance. I can't really put into words what happens next. So I will just share the video.

Looks like I need help posting this.

Now I laughed my tail off at that!!! Then Mr. Bryan would you like to shoot it? Now I just witnessed a very harsh reaction, my neck is not in the best shape in the world. So I think hard and say sure let's see what happens. I take aim squeeze the trigger nothing happens. Mr. Bryan take off the safety. SMH, feeling like a rookie now... okay, okay now I am anticipating what's about to happen. NOTHING!!!! I had a little flinch, damn it man. Jacques asked what happened, I looked at him and said I don't know. I cracked the rifle open....and found out why Chance had such a interesting recoil impulse. As I'm typing this I am truly LMAO, he fired both barrels at the same time! What that video did not capture due to the angle of the camera, was the WTF just happened look on his face when that rifle lit off! His jaw literally dropped open and he did everything in his power to ensure he did not drop it, as you can see he did a damn fine job, it did not hit the ground. At this point no matter what happens this trip every second of the 41+ hours of travel spent was worth it! Okay back on topic, Jacques loads up the right barrel, I am way more relaxed now knowing what happened. take aim and hit right over the top of the target. I'm good with that, recoil was very manageable. I was rather surprised by it, I think that I would not be opposed to owning one. But that's another story. We came back to the ranch house and sat by the camp fire. Ehan grilled some Eland steaks on an open fire for dinner. Once the steaks were finished we all sat at a large dining room table and ate a fantastic meal. After I ate, I had to apologize. I had been up for almost 52 hours, I could not sleep on the planes. It would be 10-15 minute cat naps here and there nothing solid at all. Walk into my room and realize the time. I had a meeting to catch, it went well lasted about 30 minutes. I took an advil PM, hopped in the shower and hit the bed.
 

Inline6

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Day 1:
Started out with a little fog in my head, I hate take the pm meds but I know I needed quality sleep. I was moving a little slow in the morning, ate a little yogurt. Got everything loaded in the truck and off we went. Vella (pronounced Fellow) was our PH today with Ehan driving and Jacob our tracker. We go through the gate and start seeing game right away. Waterbuck, kudu, nalaya, warthog, spring buck, bontebuck, and blesbuck. About 30 mins into our drive we spot a batchelor group of Eland I'm glassing them hard and they look good to me but they are 756 yards away so I'm not sure. We move a little more to get a better angle glass them more and Vella asks who wants to go after an Eland? It was on my list but I was expecting later on in the trip. I have had this bite me before, passing on an animal the first day not to get another opportunity the rest of the time. So we grabbed the 375H&H and some ammo and headed out. The wind was in our favor we had the mountain between us and the Eland. We walked about 2/3s of a mile. We came into a little valley and the wind started swirling. We are not sure if they have winded us now. Vella slowly works his way up a ridge to glass for them. He spends 2 to 3 mins glassing them. Comes back down and tells me to load a round in the chamber and follow him. We are moving very carefully through the rocks and the brush every noise sounds like you are pounding on a drum. We work our way from one bush to another. We finally work our way to the last bush between us and them. Vella does a little more glassing, the very back one that is your bull. I confirm bull furthest to the right. Yes that is him, we set the stick up to shoot in a little hole in the bush we were behind. Vella confirms the bull again, 165 yards nodding to him I'm good with the distance. Put it on the point of the point or his shoulder he whispers, aim a little low I don't want you to hit the brush. Looking at his shoulder crosshairs on his shoulder a little less than a 1/3 the way up his body. My heart starts to pound, settle down take a few deep breaths concentrate. Heart beat under control flip off the safety concentrate on the trigger squeeze. Gun fires you can hear that 300gr AFrame smack the bull. I see him react to the bullet impact and he runs. I load another round. My heart sinks thoughts of a miss entered my mind a flood of emotions and adrenaline filling my body. Vella says it looked like you got him good lets go have a look. We started looking where the bull was standing, looking for blood we did not see any on the ground. That sinking feeling starts in my stomach, we take a few more steps and nothing, 2 minutes later the tracker Jacob finds him. Maybe 30 yards away, the bull fell off of a 5' ledge. My goodness they are such big beautiful animals! Less than 2 hours into the hunt first animal is in the salt! Vella, Ehan, and Jacob worked their butts off to get him posed for pictures. I have seen a lot of game pictures and never realized what effort went into that. Chance and I talked as they were setting up, we feel yet again we are in very good hands and this outfitter is going the extra mile to make sure our pictures to remember are as good or better than the animals taken. The skinning crew comes to load him up they confirm what I want done as far as a mount goes and we head off in search of more game. We drive another 30 mins glassing all kinds of animals. Vella spots some really nice impala rams. It is not on either of our list but Chance wants one. So we load up the magazine and drop off in a washout working our way up to them. About 300 yards in 2 big waterbuck cross in front of us. Chance and I looked at each other they look big and they are on the list. Vella informed us that they are still young and not fully mature. Again this was confirmation we are with the right people. We continue our stalk as we get closer the wind changes direction. We get to the point where they were and we were busted. Vella calls for the truck to pick us up. As we are waiting I spot the ram we were after, got Vellas attention and started the stalk again. The wind was wrong and we had been spotted everything left the area. We loaded back up, headed back out. We drove another 45 minutes or so Chance looks at me and says "I think I want an Eland too". got to love my son! We spotted a small group of Impala rams, we glassed them for 5 mins and it held some shooters. Wind was very much in our favor, we had to walk about 800 yards wind blowing in our face 10-12mph. We get to them, 65 yards away, I'm look at one ram Chance and Vella are looking at 3 others. I start filming the wrong ram, Vella whistles to get the one they see to lift his head. As soon as he does Chance shoots the 300wm the 180gr paragon hit it's mark the Impala jumps and it takes off. We look for blood we find a little here and there Chance is nervous, I see lung tissue in the blood so I feel certain it did not go far. 20 yards into the track we find lots of blood. The ram was 50 yards from where he shot it. I think the bullet performs like a solid on game that small, hit was a little high and back, Africa game is tough. Same effort was given to ensure good photos were taken. Loaded him up and headed back to camp for lunch. Spring buck and warthog sausage was our lunch. (sorry I did not grab pics of all the meals) Was able to talk about our plan for the afternoon hunt. Vella said we are going to see if we can run across some red heartabeast and see what Africa may offer us along the way. Again we were very impressed with the amount of animals on this property. We spotted several Sable they were to young, Kudu, Nayla young males, a heard of Eland cow and calves just animals everywhere. We rounded a switch back started up it and the land cruiser stops. Vella say to look under the trees and points out some buffalo under a tree on the other side. I get on glass and find 3 bulls, one you can tell was young, Ehan backed up a little so we could get a better angle. The one bull looked at me and I thought to myself SOB I'm going to kill my buffalo on the same day of the Eland which is my first day hunting...my wife is going to hate me lol. This was a beautiful big body bull, his horns reached out further than 40", deep curls dropping well past his low hanging ears, thick wide bosses, his bosses did not meet. Beautiful bull my thoughts exactly what I want! I have looked at a lot of pics ya'll have posted and I did not think I would want a bull like that. I have always felt like I wanted the bosses to meet, that's what I thought I wanted, seeing this bull in person changed what I thought to what I knew. Damn Vella that's a good bull, Vella responded yes he is but he still needs a few more years. He explained that he still had soft bosses. Had he not told me that I would have happily tried for that bull just because I did not know better. I have done a lot of reading on this sight about soft and hard bosses and while some of it is easy and difficult to understand the biggest takeaway I always received, a good PH will never let you shoot a soft boss bull. Vella says "we have better, older bulls, and bigger bulls here". He said something to Ehan in African and away we went. I was smiling ear to ear if I get an opportunity at a old bull bigger then that guy, I'm going to be thrilled! We head off driving several miles glassing looking. Vella spots a herd of Red heartabeast, we glass and talk and glass. Vella asks Chance if he's ready, they are on a large open flat it's going to be tricky with the wind. Chance is all about it! "Let do it!" he says. We start our stalk, working our way through the rocks. Which is not easy in knee high grass with rocks you have a hard time seeing. We are using the little things that the terrain has to offer. Putting bushes and little crops of rocks to put between us and them. We slowly work our way down. Seeing different animals along the way working carefully not to spook them. We get to within 70 yards of a spot we want to be and you can tell the bulls are getting nervous, and start walking away. We make it to our spot almost an hour and a half in. We get low and wait, Vella ranges them 487 yards. We waited a little longer and the herd started back our way. Vella set up the stick in anticipation, 230 yards. I tell Chance to dial up 2 clicks on his scope, Vella whispers to hold just behind the shoulder, wind was blowing pretty good, figuring 10mph wind moves that bullet a little over 3" at that range. I shook my head in agreement. Chance the second bull in line take him as soon as he stops. Bull stops I'm watching Chance get ready and the bull starts walking, he walks 3 yards and stops. Chance takes aim and the shot sounds like thunder on that open plane. Vella says Chance you shot in front of him hold more wind left. Chance cycles the bolt all the bulls have not moved, he fires again Vella says you shot over his back. I just watched a wave of disappointment and doubt wash over Chance. He was heartbroken and embarrassed he missed that shot. We talked about what happened, " I rushed the shot" he said. He knows the effort Vella put in to get him on an animal. Heading back to the cruiser I was running the events through my mind. When we first sighted in Chance tried the 200 yard steel and hit high, his impala impact was high, he just shot over this bull. Riding back to camp we talk, son are you sucking the rifle into your shoulder pocket? No I'm just holding the rifle steady, well son the good news is you did not wound that bull get that out your head. The other good news we now know how to fix your issue. We went over the fundamentals again, the sticks the we are using support the forearm and the butt of the rifle, it is very stable. That's good but misleading; you still have to control the recoil, the rifle is moving back before the bullet leaves the barrel, the way the sticks are designed when the rifle moves back the front moves up and that's why you are hitting high. Son you fix that, hold the forearm and pull it into you and put downward pressure on the sticks and you will be okay. Not much talking on the way back except for him telling me he was grateful for a clean miss. He tells me he did not know what he would do if that happened to him with a Kudu. I could tell he was beating himself up pretty hard, son get it out of your mind. We know why, you can fix it, things will be fine. We got back to camp, Mr Dan bagged a very nice Sable bull! We all shook his hand and congratulated him. We shared some stories around the campfire while the lamb chops were cooking on an open flame. Dinner was delicious, I was thinking I would lose weight on this trip...I don't think that's possible at this point. Again more stories and we game plan tomorrow's activities. We are going to see what we can find in the morning and scout for buffalo after lunch tomorrow. Jacques talks with me, Mr Bryan I need to know what kind of buffalo you are looking for, what kind of shape, what do you want? I pointed to a picture hanging on the wall, that's about what I want, old with white on his face. Jacques was happy to hear and see what I had on my mind, side note it never occurred to me to really drill down to what I was after. If someone is planning their first buffalo, it would behoove them to send a few pictures of what they are expecting. With the plans set I called it a day. Before I went to my room I had one more conversation with Chance to reinsure him his problem is solved and he will make it happen.
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Inline6

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Day 2:

We meet in the morning confirm the game plan eat a little yogurt for breakfast load up the truck and head out. We are trying a different area of the property today. We set out and see a beautiful Sable on the side of the mountain 15 minutes in, we glass him for a while. Vella explains that he is still a young bull and pointed out what to look for. We drive a little more coming to a rest on top of a ridge where you can see out. A heard of buffalo you can see almost 2 miles away. We see some waterbuck and cow kudu. I catch something gray way off in the distance. Informed Vella of what I had seen we glass a little more Kudu. Vella says some big bulls are in that group we must check it out. We work our way to the top of the hill we spotted them on. Wind is perfect right in our face. We gear up and Chance looks at me, "if it is more than 100 yards I'm not taking the shot". I slapped his shoulder, "bud you no longer have that problem it will be fine. Hold the gun tight and squeeze the trigger". We drop down the ridge and slowly ease along working from bush to bush. Glassing and moving about 30 mins into our stalk we find them, several bulls. We work closer Vella ranges the distance 113 yards. Now we can't get any closer, a warthog is 20 yards away from us in between us and the Kudu, another 10 yards beyond it is a Kudu cow. Vella sets up the sticks, I whisper to Chance "you know what to do, make it happen". He shakes is head yes in response. While that is happening the bulls are working their way further away from us. Chance lays his rifle across the sticks, He and Vella are whispering about which bull to take. From my angle I see the biggest bull of the bunch, I start filming 4 minutes later, I stop to give my arms a break. You can just see the nerves working on him. 2 more minutes he and Vella whisper some more, camera back on, hit record. Chance is down on his rifle, watching him working through the steps, pulling the rifle in, getting steady, confirming the correct animal one last time, flips the safety off, finger goes on the trigger, applying pressure to the trigger, Boom! The Kudu doesn't move, shit I did not hear the wack and the bull did not move a muscle. Chance immediately racks another round, he and Vella are talking, Vella " wait, wait he's down"! You could literally watch the flood of emotions wash over him. Chance starts shaking to the point it was hard to keep his legs under him. Chance says, "this moment right here is why I worked hard and saved everything for the last 2 years". He was fighting back the tears, I also had to fight them back. It's a moment I do not possess the vocabulary to describe, to watch anyone especially your child accomplish a dream and have that type of emotional experience, is something you feel in your soul. If I do not kill anything else on this trip it is a success beyond measure. What had happened I was looking at the wrong bull, the bull I was filming was below the one he had shot. SMH, I was on the wrong one, I apologized to him about that. Chance pulls himself together and we walk to his bull. Once there Chance picks the tip of his horn up to have a look and enjoy the moment. He rubs the bulls neck, pats it, and then thanks him for his life. Everyone can see how much this means to him, everyone shakes his hand and congratulates him. I too congratulate him and give him a big hug, I tell him how proud I am of him, he says "thank you for making it possible". It's one of those moments, the one you hope to achieve but rarely seems to happen. Vella, Ehan, and Jacob went the extra mile to ensure the photos were setup well and that we had plenty of them. The skinners came to pick the bull up, Jacob helped them get it loaded. Once the bull was loaded we head back to the land cruiser. The reason I did not hear the smack of the bullet was Chance hit a little low and back. We talked about that, he ran through the scenario, sounded like he did everything right. I thought to myself nerves could have a little to do with it, I said nothing else about it, he had his mojo back and that was needed. We start driving around looking for more animals on the list. Chance says to me" I think I want a blue wildebeest". I laughed and asked what happened to the Eland, " well it will cost a lot more to mount ". I slapped him on the back, " I love you" I tell him. He smiled and we looked for animals. We did not see any that caught our eye, so we headed back for lunch. Impala meat pies were on the menu, they were fantastic! The food has been outstanding and diverse. I am very impressed with the facility. We ate talked about the plan for the afternoon hunt. I sat in a chair under the deck, face in the shade and the rest of my body in the sun to soak up the warmth, catching a little nap. We load up about 1430 and head out, I'm buzzing a little with the thought of, I'm actually about to hunt for buffalo. We drive to a look out point, you can see miles in all directions. We start glassing about 30 minutes into it Jacques spots a bull in a meadow almost two miles away. He points him out to me, even that far away you see the shining of the sun off of his horns. Mr. Bryan lets have a look at him he must be a big bull, he must be a big bull. Do you know how I know that? I shrugged my shoulders, because you can see his horns from here. We headed out that way and drove to another vantage point and glassed some more. Their are several in this group, they were working their way out of the trees and bushes down to the grass flats to feed. We watched them a little while longer at 1468 yards. It's worth seeing what is in this group Mr. Bryan. We drive around to a spot so that we can get out and make our stalk. Wind is good in our favor, We get out load the guns up and head towards them. We walked about 3/4 of a mile. We spotted them bedding down on the edge of some brush in the grass, 133 yards away. Jacques motioned me over, " we need to get a better angle to see what's in there". I nod my head and we slow work our way around. We get to within 70 yards of them, two big warthogs for the opposite ridge, the one that the buffalo came from start walking toward us. Damnit we are about to get busted by some warthogs. I am looking at the trail they are following and we are standing in the middle of it, no way around it we are going to get busted. I just watched Jacques head bob down staring at the ground, like really we are well over an hour just in this stalk to get busted by a few warthog. You could see the disappointed in his face. I was just waiting for the inevitable to happen, then before they took a left to the trail up the ridge where we were they turned right and disappeared. Again Jacques motioned me over and we were glassing the bulls. Then all of a sudden no reason at all they start getting up and walking off. Really I'm thinking, no way they can smell us, they can not hear us, it's like they have a 6th sense that works in double time mode. The bulls start working their way down a cut, we work ourselves to an opening to watch them pass through the bottom. We are 40'-50' above them as they are working their way down to a different meadow. We are able to get some really good views of them, Being 43 yards away. We can make out every detail on them. All are young bulls, they have soft bosses with the exception of one. He has nice hard bosses with good curls on them. Jacques talks to me about him, he needs another year or two to get right. I know the type of bull you are after we will find him. Let's go, we stalk them a little further as we are running out of day light, in this terrain you lose daylight fast. The bulls are 62 yards from us, Jacques motioned Chance beside us, he slowly works his way to us. Jacques, "watch their reactions" and he let's out a cow in destress call. They all stop, he does it once more and they start walking toward us to figure out what they are hearing. We were able to count 11 bulls in this group. One of the younger bulls started snotting up to where it dripping from his nose. Jacques makes a little movement so they can see we are not a cow and no sooner then that the bulls bolted off. It's a humbling experience being that close to that large of an animal. We walk back to the truck, load up gear and head back to the house for dinner. At this point I'm giving up on trying not to gain any weight on this trip, I'm just going to enjoy the moments and the food. We again sat around the campfire talking having drinks while lamb ribs were cooking on the fire. In all these stories around the campfire you realize how much in common we are with the people of South Africa. At the end of the day they work hard to provide for their families, their struggles are definitely different no debating that but end goal in to provide a good life for family. Once dinner was cooked we all went inside to eat. Every meal I eat here I just feel spoiled. Chance eats his first rib and looks at me " you know, I'm really going to miss lamb when we get back home". I agree, " I'm sure we can find somewhere to buy". We talk with everyone a little while longer. I ask Mr. Dan what he's after tomorrow, "Water buck"! He is very excited about it, his face just lit up talking about it. We have seen some really nice ones so far. Our plan is buffalo tomorrow. We both wished each other good luck. Mr. Dan is a good guy, just one of those down to earth hard working good guys. Chance and I were very happy he was hunting the same time we were. After talking with everyone for about another hour, I called it a night.
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Inline6

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Day 3:

I'm up early and ready to see what we find today. Everyone eats breakfast we load up. Chance and I load up with Jacques, Mr. Dan loads up with Vella and we leave in search of our quarry. We get to a beautiful glassing area. We glass for about 30 minutes. We see all kinds of animals all but the one we are after. We move to a different location and glass some more. 15 minutes in Jacques and our tracker start talking. I have no clue as to what they are saying other than their tone is getting higher and I see finger point and binos going up. I start glassing in that direction. Mr. Bryan, Johonaus spotted some bulls we are going to have a look. We work our way to position, wind in our face, terrain between us and the bulls, and we are in our stalk. I have been thinking about this moment for the last 2+ years. Reality is setting in that this is actually happening. I started thinking back to when I was a kid reading the near death experiences hunting buffalo in Africa, here I am. Never thought I would be here in this moment on this hunt in this country experiencing it with my boy. We catch up to the bulls and start glassing. Jacques, "my goodness he is a TANK", he tells me. Glassing the lead bull, only 2 in this group, you can see the size difference in the bodies. He is just massive. My heart rate goes up, We continue to glass, a third bull pops out and starts staring in our direction. I think to myself, shit we are busted. I point him out to Jacques and we slowly move a little further behind the bush. We need for "tank" to turn so we can get a good look at his horns. The third bull has not let up, I think to myself, I guess they all have a well intune 6th sense. The longer we stay the more nervous I get. We are 62 yards from this brute and he is just frozen staring into the canyon he is on the edge of. I just know he is about to disappear. 10 minutes which left like 10 hours, he turn towards us. His left horn is worn down pretty good with the tip broken off. The bulls start back tracking. Mr. Bryan he is a very old bull a very big bull but I know we can find you better. We careful walk parallel with the bulls, we have cover between us. I'm waiting on the word go, this brute pops out 32 yards in front of us. Massive, he has white on his face, eyelids so big he has to look up just to see. As we watch him walk away you can see a lot of horn sticking out from both sides of his body. Doubt is running around in my head, I have been in this spot, Pass on a real good animal in search of better, to never find anything as good as what you passed on. Jacques looks at me and must have read my thoughts, "Mr Bryan this is your first buffalo it is something special we will find your dream buffalo". After the bulls walk out of sight, we walk back to the truck. We start talking about where we are going to glass next and a call comes over the radio Jacques, Jacques, go for Jacques. Vella is talking to him, I thought trying to understand Spanish was bad, I'm completely lost." Mr Bryan, while Vella and Mr Dan were looking for water buck they spotted a good bull, let's go have a look". We get their and Vella and Mr Dan have big smiles on their faces. Mr Bryan, Vella says " this is a proper big old bull". We walk down to the spot the bull is at. This old bull is in a bottom in the middle of where three canyons meet, think of a Y in the center of that is where he is at. In the middle of the thickest cover, canyon walls are 90' to 120'+ tall, the bottoms 70- 100 yards wide. Just a nasty place, I chuckle to myself, it feels like I'm elk hunting the terrain is so rugged. We glass where the bull is bedded down, its amazing how a creature that massive can disappear in the shadows so easily. Once everyone guided me to the bulls spot I could finally make him out. Jacques says "Mr Bryan this bull has bedded down, let's eat lunch and come back this afternoon, he is not going anywhere and he will be in a more relaxed state". We load up and head back to camp, the whole way back I'm thinking of every shot placement at every angle, playing every scenario through my mind. Once at camp the lovely ladies were in the middle of making us Eland meat sauce spaghetti, ( I can tell now it is going to take me a month to lose the weight I gained on this trip). I sit on the back porch and relax in a chair in the sun and doze off. Temperatures were cooler than we expected, sitting in the warmth of the sun on a cooler hunting trip always has a relaxing effect on me. I was woken when the food was ready, As it has been the food was top notch. After we eat we talk about of strategy. Vella and Mr. Dan are going to return to the spot they had been glassing. We are going to the opposite side of the canyon and see if we can get into a position to glass. Once we make it there we will have to make a plan of action depending on what the terrain offers. 1430 rolls around and we load up and head out. Once we park, we grab our rifles and ammo belts. Jacques comes over the radio, Vella stars talking, Jacques replies "dankie". He looks at me, "he is still there in the same spot". Looking at the smile on his face, I had to wonder if he was more excited about this than me. We start walking, the ground is littered with big rocks hidden under the grass that is knee high. Extremely difficult to walk through much less trying to do it quietly. It was a long difficult hike, close to a mile from where we parked the truck. As we get closer to the canyon wall the wind starts swirling, damnit what was hitting our face is now hitting the canyon wall. The direction it's heading...towards the bull. I'm getting a little nervous now that we are going to get busted, My hope is we are so high up that our sent is picked up not blown down. Once we get to the Edge we have to drop down we are walking on a game path and I see buffalo droppings, how the hell do they get up here, I think. We have a hard enough time fitting down this trail much less an animal that size. After about 800 yards of going over boulders, under brush, and watching every foot placement to be as quiet as possible. We hit another drop off we are now within 200 hundred yards of this buffalo. Jacques whispered to us, the trackers and Chance stay here and watch the bull, you have a good vantage point, we are going to get closer. Chance whispers to me, " after all this you better kill him". I smile and whisper back, " only if he is the right one". Jacques, Roxy (our 4 legged tracker) , and I start to drop on the path. It's about a 5' elevation drop with not many places to put your feet. Jacques works his way down Roxy is trying to figure out her path, I work my way down and try to pick her up. She is having none of it, she goes away from me finds a spot and jumps, I watched her sail thought the air until she smacked a rock, she let out a little whimper shook her head moved away a little slowly but seemed to be fine. We slowly and carefully work our way down the path to get closer to our buffalo. Going through bushes, around large rocks all while finding buffalo dropping along this trail, how the hell do they do it? We get to a wall that will not allow us to cross any further, 92 yards Mr Bryan. We are in an elevated position, do you see him Mr Bryan? I'm glassing nope this guy that hug 92 yards away and I can't find him to save my life. See the dead tree, follow it down, just to the left of the base in the path of sun light you will see his head, do you see him now? I start questioning my ability to find game, I can not find this thing at all, WTF I'm thinking to myself. Just about the time I was starting to feel frustrated, I see an ear flick. Yes, now I can make him out. He is laying down in a quartering towards us position. We glass some more, no way to get lower, we would lose sight of him due to the brush on the side of the canyon wall. Jacques breaks out the sticks, Mr Bryan I'm going to call him, when he stands up we will have a look at him and make sure this is the bull you want. Then we talked over bullet placement one more time, I nod back in agreement. I get my rifle set up on the sticks, give another nod that I'm ready. A very low BBbaaarra, I'm watching his ears moving around but he has not moved, another slightly more elevated BBbbaaarra, still no muscle movement. Mr Bryan I'm only going to call once more because I don't want to spook him, I whisper back understand. Jacques calls once more BBbaaarra, I don't know Mr Bryan. Let's watch for a few minutes, no sooner than those words came out of his mouth, the bull stands up. Don't shoot Mr. Bryan let me get a good look at him. The bull starts moving his head scanning from side to side, don't shoot, don't shoot. My adrenaline is starting to flow, heart rate is climbing, breathe slowly I remind myself. Mr. Bryan this is your bull, when he starts to quarter towards us put it on the point of his shoulder. I'm steady on the sticks, shooting at a downward angle -12°. Safety flipped off, finger off the trigger, he takes a few steps forward, turn the power on the scope up to confirm nothing is in the bullets path. About that time, he moves his back legs and he is now quartering towards us. Now Mr Bryan, put it on the point of his shoulder.. Confirm I don't see anything in the bullets path, clear. Finger on the trigger, I'm concentrating on controlling my heart rate, I feel my left leg get shaky and weak. I adjust my position, I'm solid finger on the trigger, slowly take up on it, BOOOM, bull arches and turns broadside, put it on his shoulder, BOOM he arches again still standing there! Again I put the crosshairs on his shoulder, BOOM! Still standing, I put it on his shoulder, click, open the bolt damn it I'm dry. I look up at Jacques with a WTF look on my face and I guess he can read it well. Keep shooting he tells me, I quickly grab 2 rounds off my belt and throw them in the magazine, close the bolt. I lose sight of him in that process, Jacques whispers to me see that dead tree and that green bush over there, I nodded yes. Look at the bottom of them, he is in between the two, you can only see his back half. Go up to where his chest is and shoot him through the bush, I line up with what I feel is good, BOOM. I watched dust fly, Mr Bryan you shot over him, I look at Jacques no way I shot over him. Well just find black and put a bullet in him, we don't want to lose him here, buffalo can't run on 3 legs. Now the bull is facing away from us I put the crosshairs on the back of his spine in between his hips, BOOM! He busts out of the brush and into the grassy bottom. I reload again shoot while he is moving, BOOM, take aim BOOM, take aim BOOM, At this point I'm thinking to myself... I'm going to run out of ammo, how in the world is his guy still standing!!! The bull is now facing us, Jacques asks do you see the white spot between his shoulders, I whisper yes, put in right on that spot. Fingers on the trigger squeeze, wait wait he tells me I don't want you to hit his horn give him a second. His head starts hanging down, NOW, BOOM! Reload again, SHIT I'm down to my last 4 bullets! The bull doesn't move, no death bellow, we give it a few minutes and we see no movement at all. Let's have a look, Jacques tells me. I confirm my gun is topped off and we head down to him. He is dead, definitely a beautiful bull in my eyes. I'm almost speechless, a lot to take in on the events that just happened. The hunt was different than I expected but more full of adrenaline and emotion than I had anticipated. Looking at the canyon walls I did feel bad for the skinners, they are going to have a hell of a time getting this out. We finished taking pictures right at last light. We hiked out and headed back to the lodge. Eland and Kudu steak were on the menu tonight. Again dinner was delicious and I have accepted the fact I will be a couple of pounds heavier than I left. After dinner we had some good stories and conversations. Talked about our game plan in the morning, looking for Sable. Called it a night.
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Inline6

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Day 4:

Jacques wants to try for a Sable he has spotted several times. Chance and I hop in with him, Mr Dan and Vella go the opposite direction looking for water buck. We get close to where the Sable has been spotted in the past. He is not there we drove scouted, glassed and glassed. We then went to a different location and repeated, we were sitting on top of the mountain on a ledge of rock we the call came over the radio. Mr. Dan had shot his water buck but they were not able to locate it. They found blood so it had been hit, I could see look of concern fall on Jacques face. He said, " where that water buck was shot if they did not get some help it would probably be lost". I looked at him and asked what can we do? I suggested flying a drone might work if the winds were not so strong. Jacques replies, " I don't care if it crashes if we can find I don't want to take away from your hunt". My reply to him, " I feel Mr. Dan would do that for us and it's just the right thing to do". Jacques flew it with no success in finding the wounded animal. After 20 minutes he brought it back in, between the deep canyon and the shadows in it, you just couldn't see as good as he hoped. After you can see the look on his face he was sick about the situation. I asked again, " what can we do"? Jacques replies, "if we get to the edges of the canyon and get some eyes in it maybe we can find him". Again his response " I don't want to take away from your time". Jacques it's the right thing to do, so we hopped in the land cruiser and head that way.. We all grab our rifles and lined the canyon walls while Mr. Dan and Vella walk down the middle. Looking at the canyon it was a long hard hike, lots of rocks and very thick brush. They got to us and you could tell they were tired. We knew that the water buck had not got by us so Jacques, Chance, our trackers and myself went to the top of where the canyon came out. The tracker Johonaus found some blood, he and Jacques were talking about that when Frederick our other tracker said something in Africaneece and pointed. I looked through the binoculars 528 yards. I called that out to Jacques, it was a very fast long shot, he held even with the top of his head and fired. No call, I informed him. We sent the trackers that way to see if they could pick up the trail. We loaded up and headed down the to the base of the mountain with Mr Dan in tow. Vella stayed with the trackers working his way down the mountain. Once we made it to the bottom we started glassing. We all were on glass and we could not see anything no sign of him at all. While Mr. Dan and I were glassing up top (on the back of the cruiser). He told me that he was very sorry to take up our time and he really appreciated us using our precious time helping him. He said the bull was a quartering towards him shot, he had made the shot many times before. He went on to say it was a bad trigger squeeze, you could tell and he said he felt horrible about the wounding the animal. We change locations again and got back on glass. Not 10mins later Johonaus was on the radio telling Jacques that he just jumped the bull 30 yards in front of him and it's heading our way. We spot the bull running down the mountain. Jacques asks to borrow Chance's rifle, he takes a shot, missed I call out 422 yards need to come up 1.7mils. Jacques takes aim and fires again the bull is hit this time. He and Mr. Dan book it to where the bull dropped. The bull was recovered Vella caught up with Chance and I at the truck, he shed his jacket and binos grabbed a water. He said "I want to thank you guys for helping us I know you time he is short". I'm still amazed how appreciative everyone was of this, I did not find it to be a hard decision. I also think it was a good life lesson for my son. The skinners made it to the site, poor guys had to split up they were still packing out the buffalo I had shot yesterday evening. We went to the lodge and ate a late lunch kudu tacos and again awesome food! We talked about how we were going to approach the remainder of the day. We would scout for Sable on the way out for a look at blue wildebeest. We glassed and did not really see anything but a young bull, which is the way it seems to go when you are hunting a certain species they never seem to be around. We head to the plains and glass, we spot a small batchelor heard with a really good bull in it. We tried stalking but they would not let us within 500 yards. Driving around we find a depression in the flats we decided to see what would happen if we walked into it and waited. Jacques, Chance, and myself jumped out grabbed the sticks and rifle and Johonaus drove the cruiser away. We glassed the herd for 15-20 minutes, they were feeding our way, wind is in our favor, we wait. They feed to within 218 yards, I tell Chance .3mils. He comes up 3 clicks, gets on his rifle, he and Jacques talk about the one he is going to shoot and go over shot placement. I can't really hear everything that is said but I get the idea, Chance gets steady on the sticks and smacks the bull right back side of the shoulder. The bulls runs around for 30 yards or so and drops. Chance made another great shot, it's another dandy. It's a very mature bull with a very wide set of horns. We take our pictures get the bull loaded up and head back to camp. Mr. Dan bagged a really nice Springbok. Lamb kabobs is on the menu tonight. Another fine meal with chocolate moose for dessert. We talk about tomorrow's game plan, which I by this time realize you can see how well it works out. The bush has a way of changing the plan from time to time. For now the plan is Sable.
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Inline6

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Day 5:

Eat a little cereal and yogurt, check the weather. It's going to be the windiest it has been the whole trip for us 18-22 with guests close to 30. We start at the same are we did yesterday. We spot a bull in the flats and one in the mountain near the top, Jacques, " the one in the flats is the one I want you to have, he is long symmetrical, and has a beautiful flare". range him at a little more than 1400yards. We are going to get as close as we can and see what happens. We get out, grab the rifle and sticks and head out. We make sure we have plenty of cover better us and him wind is in our favor. We easy our way closer, stop and glass making sure his is not looking at us before we move again. We work ourselves within 354 yards, wind is still in our favor. Jacques is checking to make sure the bull is feeding before we more. We more another 20 yards and he is gone. I don't know if the winds switched, he seen us, or if his 6th sense was working well either way he disappeared. Johonaus was watching from the truck and he and Jacques talked on the radio. The bull moved to our right. We slowly walk that way and glass, no sign of him anywhere. We slowly work our way another 800 yards. Without seeing anything and the type of terrain he would have had to cross, doesn't appear he would have taken that route. Jacques radios johonaus to bring up the cruiser. Mr Dan was along with us on this hunt, he killed out. So tagging along and taking some pictures made sense to us, already here might as well use every minute you are here. We loaded up in the truck, rounded a bend it the road. Right across the canyon from us stood a very nice Kudu bull. Jacques and I are in the front Chance and Mr. Dan in the backseat. We stopped to glass this spot. Mr Dan said I see your Sable Jacques and I replied it's a Kudu. Mr. Dan I don't see a Kudu but I do see a Sable. Sure enough the Sable was hidden from us by the door pillars and the Kudu was hidden from Mr. Dan by the grab handle. I pop out of the truck with my rifle waiting on the word. Jacques looks him over good, " Mr Bryan I'm so very sorry, this is the bull I wanted you to take. This is the first time I have ever been this close to him. He is to young, no secondary growth, brown in his main, and his body is a little small. I'm sorry we just can't take him". "Jacques nothing to be sorry about, do I want to take the biggest Sable on the concession, yes yes I do. Do I think it a requirement no I don't. I rather shoot a smaller old smart bull that makes me work for it. Than a large bull that you can walk up to and shoot". I could see the relief on his face, it also proves to me yet again they really do pride themselves on quality trophies of mature age. So we left that area in search of another bull. We glassed and checked new areas, No luck. We headed back to camp for lunch, Eland lasagna after lunch we talked about a few spots that we needed to try. We loaded up about 1430 and headed out. Went to several spots sat on some rock outcroppings and found some young bulls. with all this high wind we did not see much animal movement period. All species were on edge is this wind, it's just going to be one of those days. We found a nice old bull half way up a mountain, We try it, we get within 500yards and he hit a gear going downhill I did not know Sable possess. I did not view them as mountain Goats but I am getting that impression. This is not the first time this Sable has given Jacques the slip. He and Mr Dan had tried him several times before without luck. So we try another spot, strike out. We have a goose egg on the day. We head back to camp empty handed but that's hunting. Dinner was steak, it was as I have come to expect delicious, we had some sweet rolls kind of thing for dessert. We chatted about the days events and what we are going to try in to morning. We are going to look for water buck and see if we can stumble into a Sable while we are at it. First spot we want to try is the canyon where I shot my buffalo. We seen a very nice one while we were working our way to the buffalo.
 

Inline6

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Day 6:

A little breakfast to get some energy for running up and down these mountains. We talk at the table during breakfast and head out 0715. We get to our spot Jacques and I work our way to the edge. Chance gets my attention he going to take a leak, he walks by a tin pump house. I hear a loud thud, I chuckled to myself, why in the hell of all places did he go there. Jacques and I start glassing the sides. I hear him say I see a water buck cow, then he said I see a really good bull where is Chance at? I told him what he was doing he said go get him. Ranged him at 563 yards from where we were. We start our stalk get to the edge of our side, 393 yards. To far of a shot and we saw first hand how tough these animals are we need to get closer. We work our way from bush to bush stopping to glass at every one. Jacques ranges 234 yards, we all talk about it Chance feels confident he can make. I agree with the assessment, the way the terrain is we are now at his level and he is heading into thicker bush. We also have to cover a lot of open ground to get to the next bush. This is our best opportunity. Chance sets up on the sticks come up .4 I tell him, he dials it up. Takes his time squeezes the trigger, Boom we watch the water bucks reaction. He is hit good, Chance doesn't wait he puts another one in him. I watch the bull fall behind a dead tree. He said sorry I did not wait for you to tell me to shoot, I did not want to lose him. Jacques said no problem, he was the only animal around and he was dead with the first shot. You hit him right behind the shoulder. He went maybe 8 yards from the first shot. God I know these skinners are really going to hate us, now they have to retrieve a water buck from the same area I shot my buffalo. At least these walls are not as steep and compared to the buffalo this is a much smaller animal. We get him moved and we take our pictures. After that we head back to camp for lunch Kudu taco's! We are going to try our luck on Sable after lunch. We scout and glass and scout and glass. We are just not finding our bull, a ton of up comers just to the old smart one that has been giving us the slip. After 3 more hours I tell Jacques "lets focus on a zebra it seems like whenever you hunt a particular species they know it, as soon as you hunt something else boom they pop out of no where. He agreed and my mind was off Sable. Not 5 minutes later we rounded a corner, " is that a Sable I ask"? Jacques no and before he could explain out pops a Sable. 160 yards away, Jacques kills the cruiser and glasses him," Mr. Bryan that's your Sable that's the exact one that got away from us". Jacques stays on glass and the bull slowly walks way out of sight. We quickly and quietly get out of the cruiser, quickly walk down the road. Get to the bend and glass, we see him. We get closer, Jacques sets up the sticks, I rest my rifle in them. Jacques tells me 128 yards. I aim at the upper part of the shoulder a little back. Flip the safety off put my finger on the trigger and squeeze. I feel the the recoil before I hear the crack, I watched him through the scope until he ran out of sight. We went to where he was standing found blood quickly, we followed blood for 40 yards and found him. He is a nice old bull that had gray hair on his face, neck, and main. Excellent bull, a thinker, just what I wanted. We took pictures at last light, loaded him up and headed to camp. We dropped him off with the skinners and went to the camp fire to hang out and cook some dinner, Eland burger (again delicious). Had some good conversations and game planned for tomorrow. Chance is going to try for his Red heartabeast and Black wildebeest.
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Inline6

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Day 7:

Eat a little yogurt and cereal for breakfast, talk a little about how we are going to approach today's activities. We are going to try the same technique we did on the blue wildebeest and see if our luck will hold up. We don't have a lot of cover to choose from but we are going to see what happens. We go to the plains to have a look as to what's out there today. We find some nice red heartabeast they start moving as soon as we are within 500 yards. We go to our spot and wait for a while as Johonaus drives off the Springbok run like crazy which push the blue wildebeest and the reds to follow them. Luck was on our side they all ran up wind of us. Jacques was in contact with Johonaus, Johonaus said they were grazing our way. Jacques told Chance to adjust for 200 yards, he confirmed with me 2 clicks, I nodded. Chance set his scope while Jacques glasses. It feels like we have been there hours but it actually been about 45 minutes. Jacques tells Chance to get on the sticks. Jacques opens them up and Chance rests his rifle on them, Jacques tells him 160 yards. Chance looks at me, "your good I whisper to him". He lines up on a nice bull. Takes his time, wind is blowing directly into our face, nothing else around him. I can hear him flip off the safety them Boom! I watch the bull try to run in a circle. It is all over in about 5 seconds, we go to check on it. Another fine animal in the salt. We get some good photos, we get it loaded up and take it to camp. We drop it off and look for some zebra, we have driven a lot with no sign whatsoever. After about a hour it's time to head back to camp for lunch. On our way back we find them, then Fredrick think he knows where they are going. Jacques grabs the sticks I grab my rifle, up the hill we go. Chance is following close behind we make it up and over the first hill. Chance is falling a little behind as we start up the second hill. We cover 1.25 miles pretty fast we get to where Frederick thinks they are. nothing. Jacques call for Johonaus to bring the cruiser around, Frederick goes back up to make sure Chance makes it to us. About 5 minutes Chance show's up asking if we thought he was lost. We all had a good laugh at it, Chance also wanted a zebra but said after that little hike he no longer wanted to pursue one. We load up in the truck and head to camp. We have another wonderful lunch Springbok pastry thing that was awesome (they said the name but I could not remember). We talk about what's next on the list, verdict black wildebeest after the covid test. The morning hunting lasted longer than anticipated. We all load up to head to town, time to do our covid test. It was pretty quick and I was talking to the Dr while getting the paperwork done. I could here Chance talking smack about a line I use on my last name. I have had a lot of covid test, this one was not the worst but she went in your sinus cavity. When I was done, Chance's turn. I heard him talking with the Dr. I whispered to Jacques and Mr Dan to listen for Chance's reaction. Up until this point Chance had only taken two covid test. One he gave himself at Walgreens and the other was with me at the clinic where we did the pcr before heading to RSA. Which was easy the swab hardly went into our nose. So knowing this we are listening carefully. Dr tells him to lower his mask and tilt his head back. Then you hear Chance coughing and the Dr say let me get you some tissue paper for your watering eyes. We all busted out laughing, I love karma. When Chance came into the waiting room he was a good sport about it. I told him that was a ranking of 4 on the covid test sucking factor. We loaded up and headed back to the lodgeThe black wildebeest on this property are very skittish, we bumped them a few times and they ran like crazy. We saw where they went, this time we have cover between us and them. It does not help with all the Springbok they have in the area, they have blown more than one stalk for us. Jacques, Chance, and I work our way to a brick stock tank, about 6' tall, 10' in diameter and sit by the wall to see what the black wildebeest are going to do, I spot a Springbok walking right in front of us 200 yards out, I point it out to Jacques, he tells us to be still so we don't get busted. I tell Jacques it looks to be a pretty good one, he glasses and agrees. He passes behind some brush and we glass the black wildebeest some more still 418 yards out. That Springbok works his way to our 3 o'clock, Jacques looks at him again and asks if anyone wants a good Springbok, if so this is one you would not want to pass up. Chance immediately responded.. I was thinking about adding one. Jacques ranges it 170 yards, Chance looks at me, tell him he is good no adjustment needed. Jacques throws up the sticks, Chance places his rifle on them, Springbok is an almost perfectly broadside. Chance put the crosshairs on it's shoulder flips the safety off, boom. Springbok runs about 40 yards and expires. Another fine specimen in the salt. We take our pictures and again I'm very impressed with the amount of time and effort the JKO crew takes to get the best photos possible. I know we will appreciate it even more when we look back on this trip years from now. We head back to camp to drop off the Springbok with the skinners and call it a day. We hangout upstairs where they have a huge game room with looks to be some type of pizza oven. Vella cooks some nice Eland steaks for us, Sherise makes some homemade fries and salad. We enjoy our dinner and each others company. Reality is starting to sink in that the trip is quickly coming to an end. We talked about what we is remaining on the list. Black wildebeest, zebra, and a warthog. So we are going to try for the black wildebeest bull that we left alone this afternoon. Hopefully he will be close to where we last saw him.
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Day 8:

I have fallen into the routine of yogurt and cereal for breakfast. Not to filling helps keep up the energy for the start of the day. Talked with Vella some he brought his 10 year old boy. Very respectful kid. We load up the truck and head out to see if Chance can bag his black wildebeest. We make it to the location where we last saw him. We drive a little and glass, don't see anything. Well we were hoping it might be a little easier. About that time Johonaus tapped on the roof. We were closer than we had anticipated a little over 500 yards. Jacques tells us this is the crazy one that never let's his guard down. We drive 15 yards to get some cover between us and him. We unload grab the rifle and sticks and Jacques, Chance and myself start our stalk. We slowly work our way toward him, keeping brush between us. We get to the last bush between him and us still 356 yards away. We slide on our backside for 40 yards to the next spot. We get up and start working our way from one bush to another, watching the old bull to make he is feeding away from us. We work our way closer 242 yards and now he is starting to feed towards us. Jacques breaks out the sticks, Chance looks at me I hold up 5 fingers, he goes up 5 clicks. Places his rifle on the sticks, I hear Jacques tell him when you have a clear shot take him. No sooner than the words left his mouth, I hear the crack of his rifle and watch the bull just drop, no movement at all. Upon inspection of this old bull we discovered he was blind in one eye and getting that way in the other. We take our pictures call for the skinners to pick him up. We are now after the zebra. We start heading to the other side of the property where they have been known to hangout. On the way out there Jacques glasses a heard of blesbok and finds a stud. We talk about and ironically Chance was also thinking about adding one to the list. So we go up the backside of a hill that kind of in the middle of the plains. We hang out on that for a while to see what they do. They are slowly working their way toward us the closest they are getting is 348 yards. Can't get on sticks this time, we will be sky lighted big time. Chance rests his rifle on a rock and builds a steady position. 1.2mils 12 clicks I tell him. He comes up 12, there is about 60 bunched together. He and Jacques talk about the correct one to take. They get it figured out Chance is very slow and methodical on his placement with the trigger. Wind is in our face, I don't have any mirage to read to give a wind call. With the wind hitting our face I'm confident we are good. Chance takes his shot and the report echoes where we are. He hits it a little far back. He puts another into it, Jacques tells wrong one for the one that is hit. Good news is you missed it, Chance "whisper thank God". They talk and he gets on the correct one. Chance is now out of bullets, for this hunt Chance asked me to bring the 375 because that's what he thought he heard. We start walking toward the Female Jacques and myself and he asks me to finish it. I tried one shot with the tree it the reticle no luck, I then held over her back, I missed again. I asked Jacques for the range 220, I come up 2.25moa hold it on the back side of her shoulder because she is quartering away from me. Squeeze the trigger and she drops immediately. I handed Chance my rifle for him to finish off his ram. He finished him off and he felt bad that he shot a female it aslo cost him some extra money. It was a humbling experience for him. We took our pictures and and headed back to camp, Chance apologized profusely to Rickie about the situation. She said it happens and reassured him no hard feelings. We eat warthog and Springbok sausage dogs for lunch. Vella made the sausage this time it was very good. We talk about a game plan for the afternoon hunt. Zebra is next on the list, if we happen across a warthog then Chance can take it. We rest up a little enjoy the warmth of the sun. We head out about 1430 to a place the trackers have told Jacques they have been seen that morning. We drive for about 45 minutes to reach this side of the property. Jacques tells me this is the area and what happens as soon as we top the hill we drive right up on them and they take off! We watch them to see what direction they are heading to see if we might have a chance at cutting them off. We try a few times and they seem to be ahead of us at every turn. Frederick and Jacques start talking and we try a canyon and sure enough they were there. We drove by them and the hit a switch back and started up the ridge opposite the direction. Jacques, Frederick, and myself hopped out. Johonaus took the cruiser the away from the direction the zebra were heading. We gave it about 5 minutes to calm down. Jacques start glassing and found they had stopped. We slowly work our way toward them. We got to 300 yards of them. He asked if I could make the shot. I nodded yes, he set up the sticks. 5.5MOA I count the clicks, I'm steady as I can be. I flip off the safety the zebra is the one in the back of the line, it's at a quartering away angle. I aim to hit the shoulder on the opposite side, apply steady pressure to the trigger. I feel the recoil a fraction of a second before I hear the crack. I miss high. They take off again Jacques calls Johonaus to pick us up. I'm racking my brain trying to figure out what the hell just happened. The light bulb goes off, Jacques asked me to leave my zero a little high at 100 I never correct that offset in my program. I make the adjustment in the calculator. I explained to Jacques what happened. Now if I get another opportunity I hope to connect. We try another spot, Frederick and Johonaus tap on the roof. They have spotted them, Jacques and myself get out. We quickly walk 500 yards staying as low as possible. We see them heading up the trail, Jacques ranges them 280 and moving away. I quickly dialed and take aim, same position as last time quartering away. Jacques makes a call and they all stop, flip the safety off and squeeze. You can hear the bullet impact. I see the Zebra through the trees it's down. We again make this happen at last light. Beautiful animal not scarred up, will definitely have a flat skin done. We get the pictures done and head out. Once we make it to the main road we see a black impala ram in low fence and he is actually a nice one. Jacques informs me that they have only been seeing it off and on for about 3 months now. No one has any idea where it could have come from other than a ranch somewhere and only God knows how far it traveled to get there. He had a deal worked out with the farmer that owned the land, should someone want to try to bag it. Jacques asks if I would like to, I thought on it for all of 5 seconds "yes, I would love to try free range low fence black impala". Really how many could possibly be taken like that? So they set it up and we are going to try it tomorrow and if unsuccessfully we can try again before our flight in the morning. We finished our drive to camp where we got word that the tractor popped a tire on the way up to retrieve the zebra. Those guys have to absolutely hate me by now. We have killed in a lot of difficult spots, I'll figure out a way to make it up to them. Vella is making flamebrelay at the campfire, with springbok back strap. He browned the meat on an open flame and cut it into 3/4" thick slices. It was on the rare side, I asked if I could try a couple pieces like that. I guess the people from South Africa like their meat a little more well done. They all looked at me a little funny when I ate it. It had a very good flavor and melted in my mouth, just the way I like it. Vella did his thing and did a beautiful flame. Added some heavy cream to the pan. Mixed everything up scraping up all the goodness off the bottom of the pan where the flavor is. Again another superb meal. We ate and talked got our game plan together for tomorrow. We are going try the Black Impala and Chance has decided he also wants a Gemsbok so that's the plan. Being that Mr. Dan leaves tomorrow and we are leaving the day after him. Well they did a little going away party for us. Jacques and Rickie are awesome, we had a good time stayed up way too late. Talked listen to music, just had a really fun time. I joked with Chance, "do you know who is going to wake up without a headache in the morning"? He looked at me and shrugged, I pointed to myself. I was definitely drinking a lot, a lot of water. About 0300 Mr Dan and myself called it an evening. The rest stayed up until about 0400. Definitely a good time.
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Inline6

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Day 9:

Well this is the second time this trip the alarm woke me up. Mr. Dan and myself were the only one's up. We ate breakfast together and were able to laugh at the way everyone else is going to feel like once they woke up. Vella walked in and asked where everyone was, We told him about the unofficial going away party that we had. Vella said, " had I known that we would have tried to get your Impala this morning". I assured him it was no big deal and we could try in the afternoon. Vella drake some coffee and had some toast while we finished our breakfast. Vella said he would see me after lunch, he had a few things he needed to take care of. Chance texted me, It read " if ya'll are waiting on me don't". Mr Dan went to his room to finish packing for his return home today. I was looking at the mountain in the background through back windows, taking in everything. Today is our last full day here, I started to reflect on the experiences we have had here. While I deep thought Vella rushes in, "grab your rifle Mr Bryan we need to go, I just spotted the black Impala". Not knowing how long of a shot might be required I grab Chance's 300WM and head out the door with him. On the way Vella brought me up to speed, he was scouting the area coming up with a game plan on how we would approach the hunt this evening. In the process he spotted the black impala ram. Then he came and got me. We drove to the backside of the hill Vella had last seen him, it was about half a mile. We get out of the truck and hike up the hill. Once up top we glass, we don't see him. So we work our way down the hill into a saddle and walk up to the next peak. We are behind some bush to provide cover. Vella spots him, 354 yards I pull out the calculator 1.3 mils, I can make that shot no problem. Vella looks at me and says "I can get us closer". I nod to him, we work our way slowly walking toward him on the side of this hill. Going from bush to bush, we are definitely in a more exposed situation. Vella ranges again, 263 yards. If we go further down we lose or advantage of sight do to elevation. I checked the solution .6 mils. About that time the ram is out of sight. Vella glasses and glasses the ram just disappeared. We waited for what felt like 3 hours, reality 15 minutes. We talked 2 choices come back this evening or walk down there and try to find him hoping he is not bedding. I say let's try and see what happens. We are again working our way from one bush to another for cover, stop and glass, stop and glass. 20 mins in we have moved 289 yards. Vella stops, points in our left direction, "there he is". I have no idea how Vella spotted him, the two trees are so close together while feeding he is behind both trees at the same time. Maybe a yard in between them, the grass is 3/4 up his body and thick enough while feeding in addition to the trees you could not make out which end was which. Vella tells me 123 yards, he sets up the sticks. Looking through the scope, I find him and bring up the power on the scope. Vella asks if I'm on him, I nod yes. He whispers "I'm going to whistle when he picks up his head shoot don't worry about the grass". I'm on him safety is off, Vella whistles no movement, he whistles a little louder, no movement, whistles even louder. The ram picks up is head I aim a little high and squeeze, he bolts off. We listen and see him appear to our right, he stumbles and collapses, he ran maybe 60 yards. We took our pictures and the skinners came, where we were they had to carry him almost half a mile to get him out. While we were walking back to the cruiser we crossed a dry creek bed. We felt like that was probably where we lost sight of him. We got to the cruiser loaded up and headed back to camp. We got there just in time to see Mr Dan off and say our good byes. It was 1130 so we just stayed at camp ate lunch and headed back out about 1500 looking for Gemsbok. We load up and head to a lookout point. We glass there for about 20 minutes. Vella and crew found us 3 groups to look at. We drove to the first group all females with one young bull. Then we drive to the second group, we find a nice bull. We decide to give it a try we are 700ish yards away from them. We start heading there way keeping the group of us close together. Figuring out the name of the game is quick, quite, and cover. We worked our way to the group, Vella glasses and finds a bull for Chance. Vella talks him through it, throwing up the sticks Chance lays his rifle across them. Vella talks a little more with him about which one to shoot. I hear the safety click off, the rifle barks. Vella looked at Chance and says "you missed" Chance looked at him and back at me, " sorry I rushed the shot". Vella well lets give a few and checks in with the trackers who watched it all from a far. They chatted back and forth. Vella says let's go, so we followed in line behind him. We started walking, stopping, and glassing. We get to a watering pond, the Gemsbok are a little over 500 yards away now. We are talking about our game plan when 2 red letchway bulls pop up on the otherside of the pond. One is extremely big, I pointed him out to Vella, " yes that is a very good one". Chance tries handing me his rifle. I shake my head, " no son mom's already going to be upset enough I'll pass". We have seen some really nice reds on this concession so I'm sure when we come back we will have an opportunity of equal quality. Vella is focused on the Gemsbok, " they are spooked, I am not sure how close we can get but let's try it". As we start moving I'm looking at the sun on the horizon, we don't have a tremendous amount of time remaining in the day. We quickly make up the 500 yards and have an additional 1200 to go. We finally catch up to them at a washout, it's about 6'-7' deep. Some are on our side some are in the washout, others are on the otherside. Vella is glassing and Chance is getting antsy, I whisper to Chance, " make it count", he nodded yes. Vella glasses and finds the bull Chance shot at, 224 yards. I tell Chance up .4, 4 clicks. He comes up 4. Vella and Chance now talk about which one now the Chance is on his rifle. Vella whispers put it on his shoulder. Chance flips off the safety, I'm watching him, he pulls the rifle into him and takes time to get steady. Steady pressure on the trigger and the rifle cracks, you can hear the bullet impact, smack! the bull makes a decent size circle and collapses. Chance typical of him, I had to give him a warning shot first, we laughed at that and pointed out to him. " You seem to do that when you hunt with Vella". We get to the bull and what a bull it is! We are all happy that it worked out, I'm sure that someone else has killed bigger but I'm not sure that it could put any bigger of a smile on your face. We took pictures and got him loaded up. Beautiful animal, I was almost kicking myself for not trying earlier in the week when Jacques offered me to try, I think it was another excuse to make sure I come back, haha. We get back to camp and 2 new hunters where there. They were from Texas, always nice to see people from your state. We met them at the campfire. Had some good conversations with them, they asked how was the hunting? My answer to them, no shortage of trophy animals on this property, I'm amazed at the quality and quantity. You could kind of hear a little skepticism in their voice. They were hoping I was right, I knew I was underselling. We had Eland burgers for dinner sweet rolls with chocolate covered blueberries. We called it a night pretty early. Warthog is the last remaining animal on Chance's list, we are going to try for it in the morning.
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Inline6

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Day 10:

Last Day, we ate a little breakfast and Chance had some coffee. We met up with Vella and Ehan. We started driving and glassing seeing some activity. We end up spending a couple hours glassing, these warthogs don't seem to want to play our game. It's getting to the point we might not be able to make this happen. Driving around a little more Vella and Ehan find some 678 yards away. One looks to be of good size we discuss and think it's worth a try. Ehan, Chance and myself start the stalk. We work our way closer putting cover between us and them. We get to within 180 yards and a female with 4 piglets are 40 yards to our left. All I can think of is we are about to get busted. Wind is blowing 15-20mph and is in our face. They don't hear, smell, or see us. The boar we are after is in the tall grass we can barely see him every now in then. Ehan gets us into position 70 yards out, he and Chance talk about making sure it gets broadside. The boar is walking around eating does realize we are anywhere around. The boar steps into a clearing and Chance is ready safety flips off, boom! The boar never knew what hit him. Both Chance and Ehan have something to be proud of. It was Ehan's first solo stalk and Chance's first warthog. It was a very awesome moment to be apart of. They were both very excited over the entire hunt. They had become pretty close hanging out in the evenings so just another memorable event to add to the trip. We got the pictures done and got the boar loaded up. Heading back to camp was one of reality checks, we are done. The gentlemen from Midland both killed, one was a very nice Eland the other was a very nice Kudu. They both were impressed with the abundance of quality animals and realized I was not just talking. They say all good things must come to an end, not sure if that is true or not. All I can say is Chance and I will be coming back.

I can not say enough good things about the JKO crew we had this hunt planned for 2 years. We met with Jacques at the AH get together in Dallas 2020. We have had good communication the whole time. Our hunt exceeded our expectations and not just by a little. Accommodations were outstanding, food was fantastic and company was very hard to leave at the end. We definitely want to Thank Jacques and the JKO crew along with the Rickie, Vella and crew at Sandy Mount. We feel blessed to have had the experience we did for our first trip.

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PHOENIX PHIL

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Congratulations on some very fine trophies! Glad you and your son had this experience to share.
 

JKO HUNTING SAFARIS

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Thank you for putting your trust in us for your first safari my friend and for doing such a great report.

We had a great time with you and Chance in camp and I am looking forward to spending more time with you guys in the near future. You even got to witness which has been probably the most entertaining hair cut in the history of hunting camps.... ;-)

All my best,

Jacques
 

Inline6

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Thank you for putting your trust in us for your first safari my friend and for doing such a great report.

We had a great time with you and Chance in camp and I am looking forward to spending more time with you guys in the near future. You even got to witness which has been probably the most entertaining hair cut in the history of hunting camps.... ;-)

All my best,

Jacques

Absolutely!
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JKO HUNTING SAFARIS

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cpr0312

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Congrats on your hunt and thanks for sharing!
 

Jörg Krüger

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Thank you for you great report. An awesome read.
You guys have taken some really nice trophies. Great work from you, your sun and JKO Hunting Safaris
You must be proud of your son, working hard to get something he wants. That is the fundamentals of becoming successful in life. Well done to bringing him up right. Both of you can be proud of each other.
 

Inline6

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Thank you for you great report. An awesome read.
You guys have taken some really nice trophies. Great work from you, your sun and JKO Hunting Safaris
You must be proud of your son, working hard to get something he wants. That is the fundamentals of becoming successful in life. Well done to bringing him up right. Both of you can be proud of each other.

I have read many reports on here and did not truly appreciate how long it takes to actually write one. I am not the best writer, I'm sure I have a few grammar and spelling errors.

Thank you for the kind words and YES SIR I am very proud of my son!
 

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