SOUTH AFRICA: Hunt Kubusi Safaris 2016

jasyblood

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Hello All,

I’ve been a member on AH for a few years now but have not contributed much and I’ve decided that I need to change that….I figured that I would start with a hunting report from my latest trip to Africa……

To preface, this was my second safari and like most, I started planning this one about 2 minutes into my first safari. I knew immediately that I would be obsessed with trying to get back and relive the sights, sounds and emotions of hunting Africa….I just had no idea how obsessed I’d be…

Now, on to this trip….

After my return from my first trip, I of course had to tell all my friends and family about how great the trip was and that everyone should do it ONCE (hahaha…suckers!). As always happens, I had several people tell me that when I planned the next trip over, let them know and they would “see what they could do”…yeah right, I’ve heard that before and they always back out when it comes time to book. About two weeks later I set a tentative date (May 2016) and notified everyone that I had spoken to and to my surprise, 6 of about 20 people said to get them some details.

Now that I had an idea of how many were interested, I had to start looking for a trip/outfitter that could accommodate our wants/needs and budgets. I pretty much knew that it would have to be South Africa because of budgets and time constraints for some of the people that wanted to go, so that part was easy. So, in Dec 2014(Wow it doesn’t seem that long ago) I started my search in earnest. I checked with numerous outfitters online and on AH and just couldn’t quite find what I was looking for (to please everyone). Then in Jan 2015, we made our annual trip to DSC and bumped into Ed at EAI Outdoors(who books for Kubusi Safaris). I had spoken to him on several occasions at DSC and the Hunters Extravaganza (local hunting show), but honestly, I had never considered using them and I’m really not sure why?? After talking with him for a while, we decided to give him a shot and gave him a brief overview of what animals everyone wanted to hunt and budgets/time frames and he said he would email me a quote in a few days and give us a call.

A few days later, we received a quote and it was very attractive. I also did as much research on them as I could (mostly on this forum) and most of what I found was positive. Me and my buddy (Justin) and his wife (Stacy), who had both gone on the first safari with me, discussed it and decided that we would give them a shot and then ran the idea out to the rest of the group. Again, to my surprise, everyone said they were in and sent deposits. So, the group would consist of me, my dad, my brother (who had never hunted), Justin and Stacy, Justin’s dad and a buddy named Isacc.

Fast-forward to Jan 2016 – We again attended the DSC show and could not believe some of the prices we were seeing on buffalo hunts in SA! Justin and I spoke to several outfitters about making a 2nd trip to Africa in 2016 just to hunt buffalo….I didn’t really need to spend the money or time, but damn I couldn’t pass up the prices I was seeing. We discussed it more over dinner that night and decided we were going to do it. We went back to the show the next morning and talked to the same outfitters again and settled on the one we wanted to hunt with. We told him that our plans were to make a second trip back for the buff and he asked why we just didn’t add 2 or 3 days to our original trip and come hunt with him after we were done hunting plainsgame. Damn, why didn’t we think of that??? As it turned out, he was only about 1-1/2 hours away from where we were going to hunt and said he’d come pick us up and drop us off at the airport for the flight home. What a deal, right?! Well, we walked over to run all this by Ed to make sure it was cool if another outfitter picked us up from their lodge. He said that would not be a problem but asked why we didn’t just hunt buff with him. He said he would beat the deal that we were offered if we’d consider it. Long story short, we decided to hunt buff with Ed too and respectfully declined with the outfitter we had been talking to…more on that later.

So now, I would be hunting nyala, gemsbok, springbok, bushbuck, black wildebeest and CAPE BUFFALO!!! May can’t get here fast enough!

In between Jan 2016 and May 2016, Ed and I would occasionally communicate through email (usually prompted by me). Communication is one area I thought his operation could be improved. On my first safari, the booking agent sent us several packets that had all kinds of helpful info and answered most of the questions we had as well as the itinerary from the day we landed until the day we got back on the plane. I did get an itinerary from Ed but it changed several times right up until we landed in East London and that was a little frustrating. One thing that really blew my mind was he calls me at 7:00PM the night before we fly out to go over packing instructions and tips on how to get through the various airports and miscellaneous other tidbits of info . Strike 1 for Ed…this should have all been communicated weeks before along with the invitation letter from the outfitter that I had to request twice. All in all, not a deal killer, just frustrating and room for improvement.

Fast forward again to May 12th, 2016 – After countless emails/phone calls to Ed @ EAI, airlines, travel agents and to everyone in our group, our departure day had arrived! Everyone arrived at the airport on time (minor miracle) and everything went extremely smoothly with all our flights and connections. We arrive in SA, grab our luggage and head out to the SAPS office to grab our guns. On the way, we ran into Mr. X and Maurice from the Afton House who came along to help with getting the guns cleared. It took us a while because there were so many of us, but there were no problems and we were out in about an hour.

We arrived at Afton, visited with Annelise for a while and then had a great steak dinner. After dinner, my PH from my first safari stopped by to visit and had a few beers with us before we went to bed. It was good to see him and since I hunted with him in 2014, he has moved on to a different profession. I should mention that Afton is not the guest house that Ed recommends. I’m sure that the place that he uses is nice but Annelise will always have my business anytime I stay in Johannesburg….but that’s for another story.

We wake up early, have breakfast then back to the airport for our flight to East London. Mr. X meets us at the curb and directs us through the airport. He immediately gets us to the front of the line at the check in counter, helps us get our guns checked in and drops us off at security all in about 45 minutes. That guy is worth his weight in gold. The flight is to EL was short and uneventful.

We arrive in EL at 11:30AM, grab our luggage and as soon as we leave the luggage area, our PH’s are there to meet us. After introductions, they walk us over to the gun counter so we can start the process of retrieving our guns. While this process was going on, we all figured out which PH we’d be hunting with and kind of split up into groups. While talking to my PH (Andrew), he tells me something that was not part of the itinerary that I had received from Ed. He tells me that Justin, Stacy and I would be hunting with him and that we’d be heading to Tuskers Lodge and the rest of the group would be heading to Kubusi Lodge to hunt for 4-5 days and then meet back up with us….wait…what…WTF!? Why would you take a group that booked together and then split them up and not tell them until they are standing in the airport in EL?? I had several email conversations with Ed about wanting to hunt with my dad/brother a few times, so he knew that we didn’t want to be split up…Strike 2 for Ed. Andrew can immediately tell that I’m not cool with what he just told me and said not to worry and he would take care of it. He stepped away from the group and had a short phone conversation with someone. Two minutes later, he came back and said all was well and that we’d all go to Kubusi for 3-4 days and then all move to Tuskers for the balance of the trip….score 1 for Andrew. We all headed out to the trucks and packed away our luggage and guns and then off to Kubusi.

It was a beautiful 2 hour drive with lots of game seen along the way. I was a bit surprised at the lack of high fencing. On my previous safari we had hunted Limpopo and everything we saw there was high fenced. I was also surprised at the difference in terrain from Limpopo and knew that it was gonna be hard on a fat boy like myself…lol. We arrived at Kubisi at 3:00, had a late lunch, squared away our rooms, sighted in our guns and then drank a few beers and made a plan for the next few days. After a late dinner (impala stew) and a lot more beer, it was time to head to bed for good night’s sleep.
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Kubusi Lodge is an older lodge but everything was in good working order and it was set in a beautiful location


Sunday May 15th – Today our hunt begins and for Justin, Stacy and I, bushbuck is on the menu. We get up around 5:30; have a quick breakfast and then a 45 minute drive to the property that we’ll be hunting for the day. We stop to say hello to the landowner and pick his brain on where he’s been seeing big bushbuck. We also find out that we are the first people to hunt this property this year which gets us pretty excited. The property is beautiful; deep valleys that are so thick with vegetation that I wondered how we’d actually see the animals. We cruise around for a few hours seeing lots of game but only small BB rams and ewes. Sometime after lunch, we cruised by an area where the landowner said he’d been seeing a nice ram and sure enough, he was out grazing in a little thicket. We had determined that morning that Justin would be up first, so they made a plan and off they went. About 45 minutes later, we hear the shot and can tell it’s a hit. Andrew calls us on the radio and off we go to see the first animal of the trip.
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After taking a lot of pics and dropping of the ram and tracker at the skinning shed, we head out to look for a ram for me. About 4:30, we pull into an area where 3 valleys come together and start glassing. It doesn’t take long before we start seeing bushbuck. About 10 minutes go by and Andrew spots a nice one at about 500 yards and jumps off the truck and we start our way down the valley to close the distance. We get to about 200 yards and sit down on the steep valley wall, get the sticks set up and he points out the area where the bb should be on the opposite valley wall. About 10 seconds later, it steps out into a clearing and stops…I squeeze the trigger and it drops. Then a few seconds later it’s up (??) and moves to our left about 30 yards and stops again. I put the crosshairs in the same place as before and squeeze the trigger and he tumbles down the side of the valley about 50 yards and is down for good. When we get to the animal, we’re confused that we can only find one entry but two exit wounds. After closer inspection, we can tell that there were two entrance wounds but they were so close together that we didn’t see them at first. After pics, we headed to the skinning shed and while we waited, we chatted with the landowner and his family then back to Kubusi for dinner (eland steaks), beer and lots of stories around the fire.
Cape Bushbuck.JPG


Monday May 16th – Up at 5:30 again, another quick breakfast then off for an hour drive to hunt nyala and warthog on a different property. This was the hunt that I had been dreaming of for almost 2 years! We pulled into the property about 7:00 and picked up a second tracker and then a 10-15 minute drive up to the first spot to glass the mountain sides for nyala. We parked the truck walked to the edge of a cliff and started glassing. This went on for about 10 minutes with all of us glassing distant mountain sides straining our eyes to find a needle in a haystack. Then, tracker #2 tapped Andrew on the should and pointed directly below us about 50 yards…there stood the mostly beautiful nyala I had ever seen, glowing is the small patch of sunlight that he was standing in…then he turned his head slightly and the sun hit his horns and OMG….I knew this was the one I wanted!! I turned and looked at Andrew and his eyes were as big as mine! I knew then that this was a nice animal. As I looked back down at him, the ewe that he was with came out into the clearing and then they both took 2 steps and disappeared below us. We stepped away from the edge and made a plan…we would leave tracker #1 there with a radio and drive all the way around to the opposite mountain side and see if we could get a shot from there. We jumped in the truck for one of the scariest rides in my life. Every time we’d come to a switch back, we’d hit the brakes, turn the wheel and pray and I’d swear that we were going to slide off the mountain. We finally made it to the bottom and then repeated the whole thing again on the way back up the other side. We finally came to a stop about 400 yards from where we guessed the nyala would be. Me, Andrew and tracker # 2 got out of the truck and started easing our way closer. We finally got to within about 200 yards and checked with tracker #1 on the radio. He said that they had moved down to the valley floor and closer to where we were. We found a good vantage point, sat the gun up on the bipod and began to glass. About 5 minutes later the ewe popped out in a clearing just below us at 150 yards. I got on the gun and waited for the big bull to step out and about 10 seconds later he did. I got the crosshairs on his shoulder and just as I was touching the trigger, a young nyala bull came out of nowhere and ran the ewe away from us and of course, my bull was in hot pursuit. DAMN IT(and a few other choice words)!!!!! Andrew calmed me down the best he could and we began glassing again to try to figure out where he went. This went on for almost two hours and then I heard the radio crackle. It was tracker #1 and he had spotted him back on the same side of the valley as earlier that morning. We grabbed the rifle and bailed off the side of the mountain and made our way down to the bottom. After a little bit Andrew spotted him in a thicket about 250 yards from us and got me on the sticks. He pointed out a small gap in the thick bush and told me that he would most likely pass though there. Sure enough, about 5 minutes later, the ewe stepped into the gap and I knew the bull should be right behind her. My heart was now pounding out of my chest……The bull finally stepped into the gap and Andrew whistled and the animal paused just long enough for me to settle the crosshairs and squeeze. He dropped out of sight and me and Andy high-fived and look back and he’s standing up…WTH…not again!?!? I get the crosshairs back on him as he moves back to the right and I shoot again and then he’s gone. Andy is concerned because he didn’t hear the 2nd bullet hit but I’m 100% positive (kinda) that I did hear it. We sat there for about 2 minutes and never saw him so we decided to send tracker #2 back to the truck to get the dog to send in to make sure he’s down. About 15 minutes later I can hear someone coming down the trail behind me and I turn and look and it’s my buddy Justin…lol I forgot we left them in the truck several hours ago. Tracker # 2 is with him along with the dog and off they go to hopefully find a dead nyala. From our vantage point, we can see him the entire time as he and the dog head towards the spot where we last saw the animal. My stomach is full of knots by this point and of course all kinds of bad things are running through my mind….he finally reaches the “spot” and gives us the thumbs up…relief!!!!
Nyala #2.JPG


After a long picture session, we now have to figure out how to get this animal back to a road which would be no easy task. Then Andrew remembered that he saw some guys off in the distance, that were working in an alfalfa field, as we were sliding the truck down the mountain earlier that morning. He left us and the trackers with the animal and took off to recruit the guys in the field to give us a hand hauling it up the mountain. About 45 minutes later, help arrived and they had it to the top in no time at all.
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We dropped the animal and both trackers off at the skinning shed and went to lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, we went back and picked the trackers up again and off to look for warthog for Justin. We went to a different property than we hunted that morning and pulled up to a good glassing spot where we could see several waterholes. We sat there a good hour watching small boars and sows come to water and mostly bs’ing. We also see lots of other game including several nice waterbuck. While we sit there, Andrew tells us about a giant kudu that he’d seen in the area the last few years. He said that he figured it to be at least 56” but probably longer and described him as have a coat that was almost white….and you can guess what happens next. I’m watching a group of kudu cows milling around about 700-800 yards out and I look away for a split second and look back, a giant kudu is standing right behind them and he is almost white. I stare at him in awe for about 10 seconds and then I turn to Andrew and say “Hey, there’s the bull you’ve been talking about”. I direct him to where the bull is standing and he confirms that it’s him. Now, kudu is not on the menu this time but when one sees a kudu like that, especially in the East Cape and not behind a high fence, you have to go after him. I’m about to tell Andy that I want him and then I hear Stacy from the back seat say “I want that kudu, Andy”…damn it, she beat me to it. Andy calls the landowner to confirm that he’s fine with us hunting kudu and the price and off they go to try to get a shot at this truly grey ghost. I stay with the truck and watch them as they follow the group of kudu over the ridge. About an hour later, I see them come back over the ridge and you could tell by their body language that no shot had been taken. They finally make it back to the truck and said that soon after they went over the ridge, the kudu had given them the slip and not seen again. We drive around for another hour or so hoping to find them again but no luck.


About 5:00, we head back to the skinning shed to pick up my nyala horns and hide and head back to camp. We have kudu steaks tonight along with lots of beer and more stories from the group and everyone is having the time of their lives.

So far, here’s a list of what everyone has gotten and the end of day 2:

Me – bushbuck, nyala

Justin – bushbuck

Dad – impala, warthog

Brother – impala, warthog

Justin’s dad – impala

Isacc – impala, blesbuck

To Be Continued...
 

BRICKBURN

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Congratulations guys. Good start.
 

CAustin

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Very nice animals and great report. Thank you for sharing.
 

billc

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great report so far. Great animals also and I love the twist on the bushbuck horns.
 

jasyblood

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jasyblood

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great report so far. Great animals also and I love the twist on the bushbuck horns.
Thanks Bill! Bushbuck are one of my favorite animals to hunt.
 

gillettehunter

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Well done. What a great start to a safari. Looks like your having a grand time. Congrats. Bruce
 

Scott Slough

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Love the shape of the nyala ... thanks for sharing! Looking forwards to more!
 

cpr0312

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Thanks for sharing, some nice trophies there!
 

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Great read so far and can,t wait for the next installment. Great pics of your trophies. I really like the Nyala. Please summaries your learnings and any advice at the end of the report.
 

jasyblood

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jasyblood

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Great read so far and can,t wait for the next installment. Great pics of your trophies. I really like the Nyala. Please summaries your learnings and any advice at the end of the report.
Thanks! I'll post more tomorrow!
 

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Great post/photos. Keep it coming! My son and I hunted with Kubusi in 2014. First class outfit! We had a great trip. Ed could use some communication skill improvement. We learned that calling him was far better than e-mails.
 

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We hunted with Kubusi Safaris in September 2015 and had a great time. Myself and my two sons took 16 animals all total. We had a great time with PH's Greg and Dion they were wonderful. I was waiting to have a second back surgery and went on safari anyway. The Kubusi folks bent over backward to accommodate me, Thanks Greg! Ed is a little slow with communications but will always return phone calls. The new Lodge is very nice and a great place to spend time. I do recommend these folks based on our experience with Kubusi Safaris.
 

jasyblood

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Tuesday May 17th – This morning we were up at 5:00 because we had a 1-1/2 hour drive to a new property. We’re on the road by 5:30 and heading up in elevation and it was amazing how quick the terrain and vegetation (or lack of) changes and how cold it got. We were headed to a conservancy to hunt black wildebeest, red hartebeest and springbuck.

We pulled into the conservancy around 7:00 and made our way to the farmer’s house that we’d be hunting with. After all the introductions were made, he told us of an area where he had seen an extremely nice RHB so we all jumped in the truck and headed out. It took us about 30 minutes to get to the area the farmer had told us about and we pulled up on a ridge to start glassing. Wow, this is beautiful country with herds of springbuck in the valleys and small groups of mountain reedbuck in the hills.

Sometime around 8:30 we spot a group of RHB off in the distance. After some deliberation between Andrew and the farmer, they determine that this is the RHB we need to go after. We drive as close as we can and the Andrew, Justin and Stacy get out on foot to try to get closer. Watching from the truck, we watch them walk for about 300 yards and then they get down on their hands and knees and crawl about 50-75 yards. At this point, they leave Stacy and start belly crawling for another 40-50 yards and they’re now on top of a small rise. We can see Justin get on the bipod but can’t see the RHB because he’s moved behind the small rise that they’re on. About 30 seconds later…BAM! We can tell immediately that it’s a miss! There are now animals running in every direction and the group of RHB is running directly away from us and goes completely out of sight. Well that sucked! They make their way back to the truck and we decide to let this area “cool down” and go try to find black wildebeest.

While the farmer and I had been waiting in the truck during Justin’s stalk, we had seen a heard of BWB way off in the distance and suggested to Andrew that we start with them. It took us a while to reach the area they were in but finally found them. As soon as they saw the truck (at about 600 yards away), they spooked and ran behind a small hill in valley they’re in. Andrew decided that we should walk straight to the hill they ran behind, climb almost to the top and then skirt around the side to see if they are still there. I’m up next so off Andrew and I go to hopefully get a shot at these odd looking animals. We get to the base of the hill and then Andrew decides that it would be a good idea to bring Justin along just in case there are two good bulls in the heard and we get lucky enough to get two shots off…this is assuming that they are even still on the other side of the hill. He radios the truck and tells them to send Justin our way with his rifle and when he gets there, we all three head up the hill and start easing our way around to the right side. As we get about half way around, we can see a good portion of the heard about 400 yards out and Andrew spots a good bull. We lay there for a while and they are not budging so we get on the radio and tell the truck to drive around the left side of the hill until they can see the WB and maybe they will spook again and walk right by us. I got in position to try to get a shot and they did come back by us…but at about 40 MPH. After they ran by, Andrew looked at me and said “Why didn’t you shoot?” and I’m not going to tell you my response but we all three had a good laugh. He then got back on the radio and sent the truck back to where they had ran to see if they would come back by us again. Well, this time they cooperated and stopped directly in front of us but about 300 yards out. The best bull in the heard was out front, and I was told the yardage and if I was comfortable, to take the shot. BAM!...BAM!!....BAM!!! Over the next 3 or 4 minutes I put on the worst display of long range shooting that anyone has ever seen. I won’t go into the details other than to say that I never missed…just didn’t hit where I was supposed to. I’ll also say that I wish my “buddy” hadn’t been with us to witness this fiasco because I’ll be paying for that for a long time. It also goes without saying that there was no way for Justin to get a shot at a second bull…..
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We snap a few pictures and then head to the skinning shed and then head out to look for Justin a BWB. Since I had just spooked everything on the east side of the conservancy, the farmer suggested that we head west. We drive for about 45 minutes and spot another heard off in the distance. We try to get close enough to see if there’s a good bull in the heard but they kept spooking and running. They finally ran themselves into a corner and we were able to make a plan.

There was a small dam that they had run by and it had a few small trees right next to it. We figured we could drop Justin and Andrew off in in those trees to set up an ambush and we could drive around the heard and hopefully push them past the dam.

Everything worked like it was supposed to. We drove around them, they ran right to the small dam and stopped and started running in circles….crazy damn animals! They did this for about 5 minutes and then started calming down until they finally started grazing again. Of course the one they wanted to shoot was right in the middle of the heard and it took 15-20 minutes for him to get to a spot for them to take a shot.
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Here’s a pic I took with my phone of the heard right before the shot. You can’t see the dam they are hiding at but you can see the top of one of the trees they are hiding behind on the left and if you zoom in enough, you can kinda see Justin and Andrew laying there. He finally takes the shot and the animal drops in his shadow.
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We drive down, take a few pics and then load him up and head to the shed. We eat our packed lunch while they finish skinning both animals and the head out to the area where Justin had missed the RHB earlier that morning to see if he had returned. It didn’t take us long to spot the group he was with and they were roughly in the same area as they were earlier in the day. Justin, Stacy and Andrew took off to see if they could get into position to get a shot. After another long crawling stalk, they were within 200 yards and set up for the shot. Just as he was getting on them, they spooked and ran to the left about 800 yards and then slowed down to a walk. They were headed for a small group of trees on a small creek that ran through the valley. The hunters started to follow and then caught a lucky break…another RHB runs out of the group of trees and runs the group of RHB right back to Justin. He takes a 250 yard shot and it’s a good one. The animal runs about 30 yards and falls.
IMG_1539.JPG


We drop it off at the shed and it’s getting late but we decide to try to squeeze in a few springbuck stalks. Long story short, we never could get close enough to take a shot. We gather up our 3 animals and get back on the road for our long trip back to camp. We arrive back around 7:00, have dinner (don’t remember what but I’m sure it was good), drink a few more beers and call it a night.

We had decided that we would only hunt a half day tomorrow and then all move to Tuskers lodge for the balance of the trip. Justin and I also decided that we’d split up so he could hunt with his dad the next morning and I would go with my buddy Isaac.

Everyone is still having a great time and I’ll get you the animal counts on the next instalment….lots more to tell!
 

jasyblood

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We hunted with Kubusi Safaris in September 2015 and had a great time. Myself and my two sons took 16 animals all total. We had a great time with PH's Greg and Dion they were wonderful. I was waiting to have a second back surgery and went on safari anyway. The Kubusi folks bent over backward to accommodate me, Thanks Greg! Ed is a little slow with communications but will always return phone calls. The new Lodge is very nice and a great place to spend time. I do recommend these folks based on our experience with Kubusi Safaris.
Although we didn't hunt with Greg, we did spend time with him in camp and I will agree that he's a great guy. Kubusi took great care of us as well and accommodated my father who doesn't get around to well these days and my brother who had never hunted a day in his life. They were very patient and accommodating with all of us really.
 

rinehart0050

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Congrats on your hunt and your trophies. Really enjoying your report so far.
 

enysse

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Great hunt report! I love hunting bushbuck too. That nyala is dreamy!
 

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Wednesday May 18th – As I said earlier, I would be hunting with my buddy Isaac today and Justin and Stacy would be would be hunting with his dad.

Because we were hunting pretty close to camp today, we slept in until 6:30 and with the animals I had left on my list, I was pretty much going along as an observer.

Isaac had already shot the 4 animals he’d come after so all he had left on his list was a baboon. We headed to a property about 20 minutes from camp set up on the edge of a deep canyon where they had spotted some baboon a few days before while hunting impala. It was a little foggy this morning and made it tough to see anything in the bottom. We sat there for an hour or so and finally the fog started to lift. We saw tons of animals this morning and heard baboons but never could find them in the thick canopy below.
IMG_1705.JPG


We headed back to camp about 10:30 so we could pack up and move to Tuskers and about half way back, a big baboon ran across the road. We slid the truck to a stop and jumped out and started glassing. A few minutes later, we spotted him sitting on the edge of a canyon about 600 yards away, barking at us. I should mention that our PH (Jeremy) was a bit of a long range shooting enthusiast and had a very nice suppressed 6.5 swede that Isaac was shooting. We got set up, dialed in the scope for 600 yards and Isaac squeezed the trigger and the baboon tumbled down the side of the cliff. The tracker took off into the bush to retrieve the animal while we waited on the side of the road. About 20 minutes later, he radioed that he couldn’t find the baboon but found a blood trail…uh oh. Jeremy grabbed his .357 revolver and took off the help the tracker find the wounded baboon…no thanks, I’ll stay with the truck…lol. About 30 minutes later, we heard 5 shots in pretty quick succession….about 30 minutes later, we see the tracker jogging up the road. He gets to the truck and we ask him what’s up and he says they’re out of ammo. He jumps in the driver seat and we take off to meet Jeremy to get him more ammo. We drive about 10 minutes down one of the sketchiest roads I’ve even been down and the tracker took off into the bush again. 10 minutes later, we heard 3 more shots and then we could hear Jeremy and the trackers coming through the bush and they emerged with a huge baboon. They took a few pics with it then we headed back to camp to pack for Tuskers.

We head out about 1:00 and arrive at the new lodge around 4:00 and meet up with the rest of our group that had arrived earlier in the day. We got our rooms situated and settle in for some beer and snacks before dinner. Tuskers Lodge is much newer and much nicer than Kubusi. If you’re taking your wife/girlfriend, I would suggest staying here as she’ll be much happier.
IMG_1666.JPG


For dinner tonight, we had Zebra fillets. Let me tell you, that had to be one of the best pieces of meat I’ve ever tasted in my life!!

After 4 days, here’s the list of what we’ve got:

Me – bushbuck, nyala, black wildebeest

Justin – bushbuck, black wildebeest, red hartebeest

Dad – impala, warthog, blue wildebeest, springbuck and blesbuck

Brother – impala, warthog, blue wildebeest and blesbuck

Justin’s dad – impala, warthog, blesbuck and springbuck

Isacc – impala, blesbuck, warthog, blesbuck and baboon


Thursday May 19th – Today we hunt buffalo!! We get up around 5:30 and have breakfast and then when it gets light enough we head out, stop by the range to check the zero on my .375H&H. I shoot 2 rounds and both are right where they’re supposed to be and we get on the road for the hour drive to where we’ll be hunting for the day.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I had prearranged for my father and brother to come with me on the buffalo hunt. I figured that this may be the only time that the 3 of us would be in Africa together and I know that neither of them would ever go on a DG hunt, so I wanted them to come along to experience it with me. Also, at dinner the night before, we were discussing the details and logistics and the entire group decided they wanted to tag along!

So here we go…3 truckloads of people for one buffalo hunt…lol

We arrive at the farm a little after 7:00 and meet up with the farmer. He’s a little confused at all the people with us but after Andrew explains, he’s fine with it. He told us that he had located the heard earlier and left a tracker with a radio to follow them so we could get on them quickly. I’ll admit, when the farmer told us that, it felt like cheating and not really how I wanted my first DG hunt to start but there wasn’t much I could do about it at that point. We all jumped in the trucks and head out to find the heard.

After a short drive, we arrived in a small valley and parked the trucks. The plan was for me, Andrew and the farmer to hike from there to find the heard and everyone else would stay behind until I hopefully got a shot. Okay, I had been pretty calm and collected up until this point, but when we took off, all that changed and I was pretty damn nervous. Some of that was because I was on my first DG hunt but a lot of it was because I had so many people there that were expecting me to get a buffalo on the ground…a lot of pressure. I did my best to put that out of my mind and to try to enjoy the hunt.

After a long walk, we’re standing on top of a ridge and spot the buffalo off in the distance. Andrew and the farmer look at them through their binos and determine which one we’re after. After Andrew is sure of which bull, the farmer returns to his truck and Andrew and I make a plan. They are in a small valley and feeding our direction and we figure that if we move down into the valley about 100 yards to a small group of trees, they should come right by us. We check the wind and it’s perfect and we start making our way down.

We arrive at the small trees pretty quick and get set up. In just a few minutes, buffalo cows starts popping out of the thicket and moving past us about 100 yards out. Finally, the bull emerges but there’s a cow walking right beside him and no way to get a clean shot. We let the entire heard pass by and then get in behind them and follow. They come into a big clearing and are heading straight away and going for big 80 to 100 acre thicket where several valleys feed together. Andrew figures that we should walk right at them until they spot us and they should all turn around to check us out. Maybe, if all goes well, we can get a shot. Well, one of the cows spots us at about 60 yards and they all stop and turn at us…except for one…yep, you guessed it. The bull that we’re after just keeps on walking and after about 20-30 seconds the entire heard turns and runs to the big thicket. DAMN IT!!

We walk to the thicket and it is so thick, we decide that it’s not a good idea to try to follow them. So, we climb up the nearest ridge to try to spot them. No luck. We get on the radio to the tracker that had been following them all morning and he can see them from where he is. He gives us a bearing and we high-tail it to the area where we think they’re going. We’re now on the edge of a small creek and we set up in some thick reeds and wait. The tracker confirms that they’re heading our direction and a few minutes later they come out of the thicket and are walking right at us. They get to within about 80 yards and they spot us and stop. My bull is out front and is locked on…Andrew whispers in my ear where to place the bullet in his chest and I start to squeeze the trigger. I just about bend the trigger before I realize the safety is still on…rookie move dumb ass. I click the safety off and the bull turns broadside and everything kind of goes into slow motion. I squeeze the trigger and barely notice the report of the rifle. I see the bullet hit the shoulder and he buckles a little. The rest of the heard turns and runs straight away from us and he follows them into a small thicket. Andrew is pretty sure he heard him go down so we ease our way towards the area where he ran in. We get about half way there and hear the death bellow and spot him lying in small clearing. We move around to the left so we can get a better view and it appears that he’s done but I put one more in the spine to make sure. After giving him a little more time, we cautiously walk up to him and he is indeed finished. After a pat on the back and a handshake, Andrew leaves me with him for a while and calls in the rest of the group. With everything happening so fast, what just happened doesn’t really hit me until Andrew walks away and I’m left alone…it’s very hard to put into words the emotions I felt. While it was not the buffalo hunt I had scripted in my mind for the 20+ years that I’ve been dreaming about it, it was a good hunt with a great outcome and I couldn’t ask for more and having my family and friends there to experience it with me, made it all the better.
Cape Buffalo (1).JPG
Cape Buffalo (2).JPG


Everyone arrived pretty quickly and after hugs, handshakes and the longest picture session of my life (I enjoyed every second of it), a truck arrived to load the big bull. It was also interesting to watch about 10 guys load this animal by hand into the back of a pick-up. After they hauled my buff to the skinning shed, Justin, Stacy and I still had some hunting to do on this property, so we told everyone good bye and they went on to other properties to hunt while we went looking for springbuck.

We drove around and picked up the tracker that had been following the buffalo heard all morning and he took us to an area that was good for springbuck. After driving around for about an hour, we spot a small group and park the truck out of sight and Justin and Andrew head off to try to get a shot. It doesn’t take long before we hear a shot and they call us on the radio to come pick them up. He had made a great 225 yard shot on a nice ram.

IMG_1707.JPG


We took some quick pics and on the way back to the skinning shed, we spotted a lone springbuck bedded down on top of a hill. We stopped and glassed and decided we needed to go after him and drove as close as we could and started the stalk. We had actually parked right underneath him but the hillside was so steep and tall that he couldn’t see us. After about 20 minutes of slowly walking up the side of the hill (thank god!), we got on our hands and knees and started crawling. We got to within 70 yards and I got into position and extended the legs on the bipod. All I could see at this point was the top of his head and he was looking directly away from us. Andrew whistled and got his attention but he didn’t stand up. Again he whistled and this time the animal stood up and turned right at us. I put the crosshairs in the middle of his chest and pulled the trigger and he dropped right where he stood.

Springbuck.JPG


We got some good pics and loaded him in the truck with Justin’s and headed back to the shed. When we arrived the skinners were only about halfway through with the buffalo, so it took a while to get all three animals skinned. One of the skinners found my first bullet and it had gone through both shoulders and was just under the skin on the back side. It looked just like a Barnes 300 grain TSX should, with all 4 petals pealed back and intact. Before we left, we managed to snag a buffalo tenderloin to have for dinner.

For dinner tonight we had the buffalo tenderloin and one of the other hunters had brought in a blue wildebeest. Both were excellent and we were all a little surprised at how good a buffalo bull tastes. After dinner, me and my brother cracked open a bottle of scotch that I had brought and drank entirely too much!

Tomorrow we try to get Justin a buffalo…….
 

cpr0312

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Thanks for the update, some great trophies! Damn fine buff! Congrats to all
 

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