SOUTH AFRICA: Hartzview Hunt 2015

Wheels

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Hartzview Hunt 2015


My son Brandon, took his Oklahoma hunter safety course when he was eight or nine. I remember setting across the room as he took the test, watching him raise his hand periodically for the instructor to explain what some of the big words meant. Out of about 30 people in the class he was by far the youngest. Pride swelled up in both of us as he passed the test. My little hunting buddy was ready to hunt with me that fall.


My hunting style then, was probably not too different from many of us that have a short deer season. Get up early drive to the hunting area. Set in a stand/blind from two hours before sunup till an hour after sunset and freeze to death. This type of hunting is probably not ideal for a young guy with limited patience and no body fat.


Over the years Brandon shot deer and turkey but around 15 years of age he decided he didn’t want to hunt anymore. Every year I would ask if he wanted to go and he would turn me down. As time went on I stopped asking as he moved on with things that interested him more than hunting.


Thanksgiving is the holiday we spend with my side of the family. A number of family members hunt and hunting is often a topic of conversation. On Thanksgiving 2013, I was telling a family member if he wanted to hunt Africa that I would be happy to point him in the right direction or go with him if he wanted. Brandon was present and asked if he went could he shoot a kudu. My jaw dropped. I had given up on the idea of hunting with him ever again. I told him I thought we could probably figure out a way to get that done. I already had my Africa hunts booked for 2014 on that Thanksgiving day but filed the comment in the back of my mind.


As summer 2014 was closing, I knew I needed to take a business trip to Africa within the next six months or so. I asked Brandon if he wanted to go with me and if he wanted to try and work in a hunt on the trip. I was excited to hear he still liked the idea.


This hunt would take place in late January or early February which are months I have never hunted Africa in before. My concern wasn’t the temperature, it gets hot in Oklahoma. My concern was the thickness of the vegetation and if it would be possible for Brandon to get the animals he wanted, especially kudu.


Brandon knew about high fenced hunting and was concerned about hunting on a property he considered too small. (Not sure if he knew what was too small to him, but he knew at some level a certain size could be too small) Wanting him to have the experience he dreamed of I started looking at the very large properties in Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe for a plains game hunt.

In a casual phone conversation with Phil Clayton (PHOENIX PHIL) about something entirely different, I threw out my plans and asked him to tell me more about Hartzview. He told me of his experience and said he would get Jacques to get some pricing put together for me. I had met Jacques, Ockert, Ruan and Phil at DSC and like all of them.


Jacques got back to me with some attractive pricing. About the same time Brandon told me he would be limited to two weeks for the trip. Between the hunt, business trip and the travel days, there just wasn’t enough time to get everything in we wanted to do and we started seeing where we could save time. One way to save two days of travel was by hunting closer to Tambo. It is normal to fly into Kimberly when hunting at Hartzview. I figured we could rent a car and drive to Hartzview arriving around midnight and start hunting the next morning. Jacques would have none of that and said he would have Ockert pick us up at Tambo. The hunt would be shortened to five days and we would target kudu, gemsbok, wildebeest, warthog and impala. Hartzview is about 20,000 acres and when I described to Brandon how many square miles it would be using the Oklahoma City area as an example, he felt good about the hunt. Jacques felt that we could get the targeted animals even though we were only hunting five days. A deposit was sent in. Phil was fantastic to work with through this process.


I met the Hartzview gang (Ockert didn’t make the trip) at DSC and paid the balance of funds we thought we might spend and reviewed with Jacques more of what we should expect. We packed and left the Wednesday after DSC.


Lori Spears with Travel Express (AH member) handled all travel arrangements. Eight flights for each of us. Sixteen in total. There were a couple of major flight delays but everything from Lori’s end went smooth. No firearms were taken on this trip since we would be traveling through Tanzania but not hunting there.


We arrived at Tambo and met Ockert. We loaded up and took off for Hartzview arriving around 1:00am. As we drove through the gates we were welcomed by a nyala. We checked into our lodges and hit the bed.


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There is nothing like a father son hunt!

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In the terminal at Hartsfield. My demented mind can't settle for a caption. There are just to many. I will leave it up to you guys to come up with one.

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My room at Hartzview.



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Morning the first day.
 
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Royal27

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Oh this is gonna be a good one!!!!

My sons don't huntil and I know how much I would love to share that with them. Can only imagine!
 

BWH

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Can't wait to hear the rest. I'm a big fan of Hartzview & crew! Looking forward
 

bluey

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keep it comm ing , young fella .
 

Timt

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Keep it up, love to hear about the bext generation of hunters :)
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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So is that a corn cob you got hanging there or are you......
 

Wheels

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So is that a corn cob you got hanging there or are you......

Good one!

Your in the lead regarding the caption.

Thanks for all the helping in making this happen.
 

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Thanks for the mention, Wheels! Look forward to hearing the rest of your story . . .
 

K-man

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OOOOhhhhh not fair to quit now and leave us hanging! Kind of like a cliffhanger ending from a sitcom... Post when you can. All the captions I can think of come off as kind of corny......
 

BRICKBURN

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Great start.
Sounds just like Jacques ; "He'll have none of that." Made sure you were taken care of from the get go.
 

Wheels

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OOOOhhhhh not fair to quit now and leave us hanging! Kind of like a cliffhanger ending from a sitcom... Post when you can. All the captions I can think of come off as kind of corny......

Another nice one liner.

In the past I have only posted completed hunting reports. Wondered what it would be like to post a "Who shot JR" type report. :whistle:
 

Wheels

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Great start.
Sounds just like Jacques ; "He'll have none of that." Made sure you were taken care of from the get go.

Thanks.

Yes, Jacques takes good care of you.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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OOOOhhhhh not fair to quit now and leave us hanging! Kind of like a cliffhanger ending from a sitcom... Post when you can. All the captions I can think of come off as kind of corny......

Well played sir, well played! (y)
 

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Wheels

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A few more photos from Hartzview.

Bottom photo my room on left, Brandon's on right.



Day 1

Morning came early. As we filled up our coffee I handed Brandon his first rusk. I am not sure if he ate another though. We had slept in a few minutes as we had to make sure the rifle was shooting straight. We would be using Jacques, Musgrave in 30-06 topped with a Leica 2.5-10. We brought a couple of boxes of 165g Barnes to use. The rifle needed a couple of adjustments and we were ready to go. Do to the time limitations, this was Brandon’s hunt. I would be acting as an observer / proud cheering pa.

Ockert wanted us to target kudu and gemsbok first as he thought they would be the toughest to get. Within an hour Brandon was on the sticks aiming at a nice gemsbok for a minute. They only problem was a small bush covering the vitals. The gemsbok eventually moved and we followed them for three kilometers before losing them. As we drove back towards the lodge we came across a herd of impala. We stalked them for about an hour. There was a nice ram in the herd and Brandon was able to get on the sticks again. The only problem was a small bush covering the vitals. These Hartzview animals are pretty sly! The herd finally went over the hill and we chose not to push them. We had a great lunch and napped till 3:30. We were both exhausted and needed the rest.


After lunch we got back on gemsbok fairly soon and followed them for two kilometers before losing them. We then walked right into another one but never got a shot. As we were following the gemsbok we heard blue wildebeest and decided to see if there was a shooter. The wildebeest were aware something was up but they evidently didn’t know it was hunters. We kept the wind in our face and the setting sun at our backs. Over one and a half hours we move 50 yards. Ockert is a young ph (with a ton of experience) and I’m impressed with his patience. Brandon hasn’t done much stalking or still hunting. This was a new experience for him and Ockert did a great job of guiding him through the process.


Ockert said there was a large bull in the herd. The bull was 150 yards away and there was a window the size of a beach ball through the bush with the bull’s vitals in the middle. (the exact opposite of the previous opportunities today) At the shot the bull took off. The shot looked good. Bullet and Roxie the two Jack Russels took off in pursuit. Seventy yards later lay Brandon’s first African trophy and his first trophy in 15 years. Dad couldn’t have been happier.


Eland steaks were served for supper. You can’t do any better than that. After dinner it was off to bed. We were both still exhausted.

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Day 2


I wake up at 4:30. Breakfast is scheduled for 5:30. I decide to pull out the computer and take some daily notes of the hunt.


After breakfast we head out. Ockert takes us to a hill that we climb to glass. There are a number of different species visible. I notice what I think is an excellent cow gemsbok and tell Brandon it might be close to 40 inches. We wave Ockert over and he thinks it is a 40 incher also. I feel pretty proud of my estimation. Maybe I have a career as a ph yet! We back off the hill and work our way around to the left. We get in a position where Ockert can see them but we don’t have a shot. The rest of us back off so as not to spook them and leave Ockert to watch. I set on a rock and work on my winter suntan for 45 minutes. I figure George Hamilton won’t have anything on me when I get home.


Finally the gemsbok work their way out of the valley and we follow them for a kilometer. We almost run into them and have to freeze. Multiple gemsbok are under some bushes 50 yards away. Ockert and Brandon do a butt scoot to get in position. It takes them about 45 minutes to go 20 yards. Have I mentioned anything about Ockert having patience? I am setting in the shade. It is getting warm and I am a fair weather tanner. As I daydream my life away a rifle cracks and the dogs are off to the races. I ask Brandon how the shot felt and he says good. We walk 100 yards and hear Roxie barking away but Bullet is quiet. I find out later that is a good sign. Bullet only barks at a live animal.


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Roxxie and Bullet


Ockert thinks he has lined Brandon up on a bull that is real nice. Not 40 inches but a bull none the less. We get up to the bull and find out there are no balls. I was very disappointed as I was really looking forward to gemsbok oysters. Bummer, I had to settle for kudu steak.



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By the time we get the gemsbok loaded it is time for lunch and some down time. I have caught up on sleep and decide to do some reading.


We head out for our afternoon hunt and spot a nice kudu running. He saw us first. We decide to drive around a hill and see if we can see him again. We spot a couple of kudu and follow them. By the time we get a good look we find out we have been following two immature bulls. The old guy gave us the slip. What do they say: “Old age and treachery beats youth and exuberance every time”. This is a saying I appreciate more and more every day.


While driving we see a bachelor herd of ten impala and decide to make a stalk. We work our way into position about 100 yards away but can’t get any closer. The largest ram just won’t provide a shot. After waiting 30 minutes some rams that can view us and have us pinned down move behind some brush. This allows Ockert and Brandon to scoot out to the side and make a shot on a nice ram. Rams go everywhere having no clue where we are or where the shot came from. I feel like I have been invited to a pogo stick party. The targeted ram goes 40 yards and is dead before the dogs can get to him or generate a bark. Brandon isn’t giving Bullet and Roxie a chance to show their stuff.

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Ockert and Brandon

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After taking photos we call another truck to come pick up the impala so we can continue hunting kudu. We don’t see anything worth stalking the rest of the day. It has been a good day with two animals in the salt.
 

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Wheels

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Oh this is gonna be a good one!!!!

My sons don't huntil and I know how much I would love to share that with them. Can only imagine!

You never know what will happen. I never thought this hunt would happen 1.5 years ago. Hang in there.(y)
 

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sierraone

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You never know what will happen. I never thought this hunt would happen 1.5 years ago. Hang in there.(y)

Even though I haven't been to Africa as yet, father and son hunting together is about as good as it gets, even for whitetails!
 

BWH

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That is good stuff. All I can say is relish every moment & opportunity. I can't speak from having experienced it.... rather the opposite. I have a father & a son. However, hunting together has/will never happen. So for those of you that do! DO IT!
 

Wheels

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looks like you had a great trip with your son :D Beers: hows tanzania ?


Thanks, I did have a great trip with my son. I always enjoy seeing your avatar with your son and you in it.

Tanzania is going well. Not quite like it would be if I was there all the time, but well. You understand how that is.;) T.I.A.

The first photo of Brandon and me is from there.
 

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