The next morning we headed for another ranch to hunt some of my critters.
We entered the ranch and saw gemsbok and springbok. We looked them over quickly then headed for the ranch house. As we were pulling up, several monkeys darted across the road. Fun stuff for us, but normal for those that see them everyday.
We unloaded our gear in the ranch house and took a quick tour. The house was RUSTIC but so much reminded me of a place I used to stay in eastern Oregon. I immediately felt at home. If I remember correctly the original house was built in the 1800's and over time had additions to it. I enjoyed seeing the kudu horns all over the place.
After a bit we headed out to look for Steenbok and Springbok. We wandered the ranch roads a bit stopping to glass every so often. We saw lots of gemsbok and enjoyed seeing them. Finally Lammie stopped the bakkie and we headed out for a low rise. I quickly realized we were on the back side of a knob that we had seen coming into the place. I remember Lammie and Attie had spotted some springbok and knew we were off for a better look. It took a bit to get there, but we finally started working our way to the top. We started moving slow, glassing, and moving again. Finally the springbok were spotted, four in all. One a shooter. As we attempted to get into position, another critter (blesbok?) spooked and in turn spooked our springbok. We moved quickly and repositioned. I went up on the sticks and Lammie was whispering which ram. I was having troubles staying on him and finally he stopped. Without all the excuses... I missed... just over his back. We headed back to the bakkie. All was quiet. I was now enduring the walk of shame. Painful.
We loaded into the bakkie and set out again to look for more. It didn't take long and some springbok flashed across our little ranch road and disappeared behind some brush. We stopped and waited and a few small rams emerged. No shooters. We started to roll again when another ram followed the others into an opening. Oh no hesitation... he was a shooter.
We bailed out and started working our way towards him. We didn't go far and the sticks went up again. I was about as nervous as seeing my date on prom night..oh man. The cross hairs were all over him. I took a big breath settled in a shot. I heard the hit and saw the ram dash off. Inherently I recognized the run, head low, mad dash... he was done but hadn't figured it out yet. I was still nervous and muttered something. Attie responded, "he's down sir." Oh I loved to hear it but wouldnt believe it until I saw him. A quick walk up the hill and there he was, and what a dandy! Lammie told me later it was either 235 or 265 yards (I cant remember).
That was the luckiest miss of my life as the ram I originally shot at was no where near the size of the ram that I took. I'm quite happy with him!
After photos, we loaded him up and worked our way to the skinning shed. We continued to look for steenbok and springbok. Nothing met the grade. Lammie stopped at the ranch house and dropped us off... for another nap. We were wiped out.
I laid down and hadn't quite shut my eyes when I could hear a vehicle coming up the ranch road. I assumed Lammie had forgotten something. I heard the door open and called out, what did you forget? Lammie poked his head in and said they had seen a tremendous steenbok. Im awake now! We pulled ourselves together and loaded up and blasted back down the ranch road. On the way, Lammie was clearly excited and told me that he left Attie to watch the ram. He also told me that there really wasnt much of a chance but we had to try. Fortune was not on our side. The ram was still there, but we spotted him a bit late. The sticks went up, and as the rifle went up, he was gone. I couldn't tell you much more about him as I didn't see the head. later I learned Lammie thought he would go 6 inches. Lammie was a frustrated PH and I was still wiping the sleep from my eye!
We delivered the springbok to the skinning shed. As we were moving him around, I really looked this ram over and realized he was a dandy. Oh crap, now I'm going to have another taxidermy bill. Momma ain't gonna be happy with another head on the wall.
Oh ofcourse we went back for our nap. We werent down long (it seemed) and Lammie woke us for an afternoon hunt. We spent some time looking for a steenbok ram but only could come up with small guys and ewes. Fun to see all the wildlife along the way. We saw blesbok and gemsbok and kudu... oh I love the kudu. One bull had a normal horn while the other went out straight to the side. Cool stuff.
As we were poking along, the bakkie had rolled to a stop. I was on the high seat with Attie and not privy to the conversation in the cab. Apparently Elia had seen a springbok and said, "springbok." Lammie said they were sheep, which there was a band of sheep in front of us. Elia said no there is a springbok there. Lammie replied there's a zebra. He started to roll again and apparently got a little frustrated and insisted on the fact there was a springbok in font of us. About that time a springbok ram emerged from some brush. It had been walking with the sheep. A quick look and out we went. We started to actually go away from the ram to get a small hill between us. I stopped the procession to advise I had seen a gemsbok just over the hill, just prior to seeing the springbok. We stopped our stalk and restarted, only this time going towards the ram. We went past the bakkie we just left and put some umbrella trees between us. The zebra spooked which in turn spooked the ram. The ram didnt know where the danger was and actually started towards us! The sticks went up and directions were given. The ram kept coming and then finally started angling towards some brush. He paused for a moment and then started to step, BOOM and DOWN. That girl flipped that ram right over. Elia was now three for three. I think our PH was appreciating the shooting of junior. As time would tell. She outshot her old man.
Afterwards we loaded up the springbok and headed back to the skinning shed. There we met landowner Warren Rudman. Pleasantries were exchanged and we were invited in to meet his wife Belinda and son Glynn. Spent a little time chatting and getting to know one another before Lammie ushered us out for another hunt.
We rolled and rolled on ranch roads looking at game. Loved every minute of it but never did come up with our steenbok ram.
After time passed, we went back to the ranch house. A fire was started and a beer was opened. Junior had a water. Not long thereafter, the Rudman family joined us for dinner. We spent the evening around the fire, chatting and getting to know one another. Absolutely wonderful evening. Could not have asked for more.
She has been a good kid. She paid her way... as best as a kid making babysitting money could (800).
The ostrich? Not yet determined... leather for sure but not sure after that. Hopefully something that will last long after the old man is gone.
Great write up, thanks for sharing! Lammie and Attie are top notch and a pleasure to hunt with. I am looking forward to my return trip to Tootabi Hunting Safaris end of this month for kudu and buffalo plus any other trophies that present themselves!
Morning came too quickly but it was welcomed. There was a steenbok ram out there with my name on him and I wanted to meet him.
We got ready and loaded into the bakkie. We first headed up the ranch road directly to where the monster ram had been seen. We saw many steenbok along the way and they were extremely skittish this morning. When we had seen steenbok the previous day, they often would stare back for the longest amount of time before sauntering off. Today was much different, pause for a second and then off on a mad dash. It wasnt much different when one was spotted low and away from the road. I put up my binos and immediately called for the gun. Lammie looked him over and said no, and that he thought we could do better. Wow, this was a good ram. About that time the ram blew out of there. Off down the road we went. It was clear Lammie had one ram on his mind and that is where we were going. We slowly rolled into the area and really looked hard. Nothing. We looked further and one was seen way out but we couldn't tell much more. We unloaded from the bakkie and walked down to take a look. We used brush as cover and did our best to get closer. This animal didn't stick around and back to the bakkie we went.
We returned to the ranch house and at a light breakfast. Once done we headed back out for steenbok. We hit all our normal locations and then started expanding into new country. The farm is quite large, some 25,000 acres so we had plenty of room to look. I enjoyed seeing new parts of the farm; we saw plenty of kudu and that kept me very happy. We occasionally saw steenbok but they were females and smaller males. We rolled out onto a spot overlooking some lower country and glassed. I saw a steenbok way out and pointed where. By this time he had disappeared into some brush. We worked our way around and towards the steenbok and stopped. The steenbok had disappeared behind some brush and still was not visible. Lammie then pointed out a young warthog about 150 or so out and asked if I could shoot him for meat. I took aim and the cross hairs settled in just under the eye... no wait aim a little higher and be a show off... put it in the eye. This is how it went in my head. Boom and that warthog boiled out of that brush patch and went on a helluva run. I think I cut some eyelashes but that was it. My daughter gave me crap for missing, again, but I was happy as it was fun.
We again set about looking for a steenbok. We rolled and glassed and rolled and glassed. I really enjoyed seeing the farm. We saw a duiker ram at very close range. I'm guessing he was about 4 inches. Not quite as big as the one I have from a previous trip but fun to see at such close range. We rolled into some rolling hills where we saw more kudu and a few blue wildebeest bulls. Somewhere in this time frame, my mind began to wander. The steenbok are clearly here but also clearly are not cooperating. My time on this farm was limited to just a few more hours, maybe we can find a substitute animal. My mind wandered to a group of black wildebeest we had seen the day before. I've always wanted one and had some cash for the upgrade. I also thought about perhaps one of the gemsbok we had seen... and so my mind wandered.
We rolled out of the rolling hills and were starting back towards the ranch house when junior spotted a steenbok. I lifted my glass and immediately liked him. Lammie wasnt so sure. We rolled closer and shut off the engine. The steenbok was skittering away, but yet along the same path we were on. He would skitter then pause to look at us. Lammie would keep sizing him up. I could see that his horns were above his ears and called for the gun. Again Lammie wasn't so sure. I was on the high rack and Lammie was in the cab with my daughter. We discussed it back and forth and Lammie said he wont go five. About this point, the ram lay down between some brush and looked at us. I looked him over and thoughts rolled quickly through my mind, our time was limited and this is a very nice ram, yes there are bigger but we are having fun, it's been a nice hunt, and I like him. I then let Lammie know I'd like to take him. Ok. Moments later the crosshairs settle on the ram. Careful of the cape... BOOM. It was done.
I was quite happy with my decision and we all walked down to see my trophy. He was beautiful. Photos and more photos. I am very happy with my ram at just under five inches.
After the photos, we loaded up the ram and headed to the skinning shed. We met with Warren, Belinda, and Glynn and said our good byes. Absolutely wonderful people.
We loaded up or gear and headed back to Tootabi Safaris main lodge. Along the way we stopped at the Daniel Wild Cat breeding facility where cheetahs are bred for conservation purposes. We took a quick tour and continued to Tootabi. We hung out for the rest of the day, catching up on some much needed rest.
Somewhere around dinner time, Loodt dropped a bomb on me; he had an oribi permit. I nodded but tried to show no emotion. Oh man what an opportunity.
We had a beautiful dinner and retired. My body was tired but my mind kept racing back to the oribi. I finally fell asleep. When I woke, I showered and headed for the lodge where I found Loodt in his office. How much? He didn't make it any easier. We spoke briefly about the permit and I squirmed. I didn't quite have the money and I hate credit cards... I mean I really hate credit cards. We had a tour planned and a warthog to hunt. Loodt asked that I give him an answer by dinner time. Reasonable enough.
We slept in a little as we had a tour planned and Attie and Lammie went out to look for a wounded warthog. Elia had taken all of her animals in the first two days so the afternoon before, while looking for a big warthog, we came across a cull. I let Elia have the shot. Unfortunately the shot was a bit low and very long story short. The warthog was lost. Huge credit to Lammie, Attie and the rest of the staff as they really worked hard to find the warthog.
Lammie and Attie returned and I learned the news the pig was not found. It hurt but it occasionally happens. It's our job to make sure that we do our best to keep it from happening, but it does happen.
We had breakfast and left for the next tour. We toured Born Free, another cat reserve where big cats are saved from improper lives. Lions that had been fed spaghetti and other cats who were declawed and defanged to make "better pets." It was educational, Elia enjoyed it, but was not really my cup of tea.
It rained and turned cold... cold for Africa anyways. We left Oregon while it was snowing but it did feel cold in Africa. The day was used to relax. Elia was invited into the kitchen to learn how to make South African desserts. Charlene and Carlene really took Elia under their wing. This was a cooking lesson my daughter will never forget. I really thank these ladies for taking the time to teach Elia.
As the day faded away, it also took my fire to take Loodt up on the Oribi permit. I did not want to rush that hunt and we now only had a day left and still one warthog to hunt.
I just looked at my notes... I was off one day on the facts in this report. It was on this afternoon that Elia wounded the warthog. This occurred after the rain. Apologies.
Hi Bob, how's things going in Wyong?. Down your way a couple of years back but haven't been in NSW since Ebor for the fishing. just getting over some nasty storms up here in Qld, seeing the sun for the first time in a few days. I'm going to NZ in the spring and hope to clean up a few buns while there and perhaps shake the spiders out of my old .303LE (currently owned by my BIL). Cheers Brian