SOUTH AFRICA: Hunt Safari

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by akeate, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. akeate

    akeate AH Veteran

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    So I just got back Tuesday from my latest trip to South Africa. As always it was amazing. I will write a much longer report later but here are some pics. Jakes vd Merwe is my PH and Outfitter. The last pic is the lioness I took last year. Riaan at African Artistry and the owner of Tosca did the work. She is ridiculous. Now if I can only make sure the kids don't touch her........

    image-0-02-01-df9b983a7a2b1f221131647a8dd327d8b1dfd92bd04aab5bf4e60955214d6d52-V.jpg image-0-02-01-ed13473b2e5a8336c34c820829169c4fa2e958fa6c88f1bf96a16c23bd61e9d4-V.jpg image-0-02-01-db20a1e416ba16d19c1dea9c975f70e3f541ccbfc8764699ba4550603da47d9a-V.jpg image-0-02-01-13e4782e2cb872000aa6e545ed82491e990ba8be9b468932003a6725fc9f0365-V.jpg image-0-02-01-30f24941b5a470e19d7dc07c9024f05b8bd1edb4d7f4ddcc8d29ea7ebe8d5695-V.jpg image-0-02-01-feced9b437fb41acc7bfaaf4214c2bde1f508514eb4ad668393a8af187eb631c-V.jpg image-0-02-01-aadb176146ed6d06c5e00eec10823770e2b5b73c3d42f3fca98dc358d24f7cf5-V.jpg IMG-20160212-WA0011.jpg
     
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  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Look forward to the longer tales.
     

  3. akeate

    akeate AH Veteran

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    And here she is finished...... Riaan vd Merwe is awesome. Thank you again Riaan.

    FinishedLioness.jpg
     
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  4. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Good stuff.

    Looking forward to more!
     

  5. Clayton

    Clayton AH Fanatic

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    All nice trophies, but that lioness is beautiful.
     

  6. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I love that red hartebeest! Very nice white blesbok! Congrats, on the great trophies!
     

  7. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats and thanks for sharing!
     

  8. akeate

    akeate AH Veteran

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    So on to the good stuff.

    I left Salt Lake City on the 23rd of July headed to Jo'burg. Armed with Ambien, I climbed back into the flying tin can that would hold me captive for the next 20 odd hours or so. I'm 6'5, I don't fit in those seats. All the economy comfort seats were taken on the 200 flight and I refuse to pay $10K or 500,000 Skymiles. Did I mention I hate that flight? A few years ago my wife did it with me. She asks me every trip why I do it. My answer is always the same. I know what is on the other side. I will endure a day or so of pure nonsense for the 10 days of adventure.

    This time, for the first time, I brought a fellow hunter with me. I use the term "hunter" very loosely here. In fact, to be very specific, up until 2 months ago my fellow hunter had never fired a rifle let alone fired a rifle at an animal. I was nervous for him. Would he like it? Would he appreciate and love Africa and its animals as much as I do? He had talked about reading Wilbur Smith's books and said he loved it. He wanted to know what a bushbuck really looked like. Like everyone, he wanted to see a lion. I told him I would see what I could do..... I was originally going to hunt the bushveld with Jakes and HuntSafari but after Jakes and I discussed it, we both felt like taking a first time hunter to something that may require a significant amount of tracking depending on the shot and potential disappoint for my fellow hunter, we decided on the Free State. We figured if he wounded something we could quickly correct the problem if necessary. All of the worrying and discussion was ultimately a waste. He shot like a seasoned vet.

    So we landed. I use Adele as my SAPS, skip the immigration line service. She took care of it all and soon we were in the car headed to the Free State. Before we left Jakes sent me the weather report. It was not good. We were not in a hurry to drive late into the night to reach our hunting camp. Monday was going to be nothing but cold and wet and miserable. So we arranged a little surprise for my friend.

    After a few hours of driving we stopped at a place called Rhino's Rest. It's an amazing little B&B. After climbing into bed and settling into my drug induced coma, we woke up the next morning to the predicted weather. It was wet and cold. As we sat down to breakfast, we made a plan. The plan was hit the grocery store and get to camp. Not very exciting and I'm sure my friend was fairly disappointed until the door to the garage opened. As we all turned to the door, out trotted 4 little lion cubs. 3 weeks old they trotted around like they owned the place.

    I don't really want to get into a discussion of whether it's right or wrong to hand raise young lions but for anyone who has had the opportunity to see them up close, hold them and pet them, they are truly amazing. I think my friend nearly fell out of his chair. We spent the rest of the morning touring a bit of the "back 40" with the owner of Rhino's Rest. And while he didn't have Rhino's on display, he did have multiple 6 acre enclosures with plenty of lions. It was definitely something to remember. The lions all seemed to be in good condition despite the ridiculous freezing cold rain.

    The place we were going to be hunting was located near Boshof in the Free State but since it was ridiculously cold and wet we decided to take a little detour. We drove to Bloemfontein and went to Riaan vd Merwe's new shop. Riaan owns African Artistry and the Tinashe Game Reserve (with his brother I think). Riaan is a fantastic guy. Super nice and an overall great guy to be around. After getting the tour of his new facility and meeting the staff, my friend (Ross) and I spent a few hours walking around getting taxidermy ideas. Lizzy, his office manager, was just awesome and patient in answering all of our mundane questions.

    As you know, US F&W has decided that they are the police of the world now and know better than anyone else the state of the lion and have closed importation. This has been fairly difficult I would imagine for Tinashe and Riaan. Last year in June I hunted a lioness with Riaan and Jakes. The lion was actually purchased from a National Reserve in SA and then relocated to Tinashe for the hunt. That lioness is pictured above. An interesting sidenote here. I have hunted 10 times with Jakes and HuntSafari. He has become not only my PH and Outfitter but he is a dear family friend. I have hunted with Jakes at other places with other Outfitters. I get really mad fairly quickly when the Outfitter we are hunting with tries to "poach" me as a client. Riaan is NONE of that. He is a true professional. Hell, we had to drag it out of him that he owned a taxidermy. I ultimately did decide to use Riaan and as you can see above, he didn't disappoint at all. In the end, Riaan decided to join us in Boshof for the hunt and just hang out. I am so glad he did.

    We arrived at farm in Boshof and cooked up some fantastic kudu sausage and bushbuck steaks. As we sat around the fire and caught up on life, politics, business and what not, we discussed the rules. Drink a beer, you're done hunting. Don't listen to the PH, you're done hunting. We discussed shot placement and showed pictures of what Ross would be hunting. Then Ross and I popped Ambien and went to bed.
     

  9. akeate

    akeate AH Veteran

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    Day #1 Hunting

    And so a plan was made. I would go with Riaan and Jakes and try to start on the springbok in all 4 colors. Ross would go with Frankie, our other PH and South African Rugby 7's captain, and try to nab a Gemsbok. And so we went in different directions.

    Africa is a special place for me. I live in West Africa for a number of years and have loved it since. I am a fairly personal, my wife would say intensely personal, guy and so I was really nervous about Ross and his experience. I wanted him to love it like I love it. If he were to come back and say that it was "just okay" I think it would prevent me from sharing these African experiences with other people in the future. I say this because I hope that it was just this worrying that lead to the ridiculously poor shooting I did on the first day.

    As many of you know, the Free State isn't exactly known for it's large amount of trees and cover. And these springbok weren't exactly going to let us get within 100 yards. So sitting on the truck glassing from 500-600 yards they were constantly moving away and circling. At home I had been practicing long shots with my 7mm and was hitting a two foot gong with every shot at 500 yards. I was actually fairly happy with my shooting before I can over. But these springbok were skittish. Every time we approached within 500 yards they moved. We spent the entire morning getting on them and setting up only to move again.

    Finally we got to within a reasonable shooting distance. I say reasonable because it's not like they were going to stand there and let us range them. So every time we set up, Riaan and Jakes and I would all give our guess as to distance and then they would move. Finally after about 2 hours of chasing, and it was chasing because there is nothing to hid behind, a copper springbok stood. Everyone gave their best guess of distance and I let it fly. And fly it did. Right over the top. !@#$%$#

    And then they were off. We chased again and repeated the process. We repeated the process 5 TIMES. High, low, right height but left. The storm from the previous day was gone but it was really windy and very cold. At the distance I was shooting I am sure the wind had quite a bit to do with the situation. It's not like we had time to gauge the wind and make the adjustments. It was all being adjusted on the fly. These springbok were runners. I was seriously beginning to consider adding my rifle stock to the kindling pile that night. After I started WWIII, I heard a shot come from the other side of the hunting area. We listened. No follow up shot. No call on the radio. Did Ross miss?

    Finally after what seemed like an eternity of chasing these springbok, the copper ram stood at 300 yards. 1 second later I let it fly. Bang. Finally. He walked a few paces and laid down. As we approached, we noticed it wasn't completely finished and so I finished the job. Copper springbok are beautiful.

    After the requisite pictures and loading the springbok, we started off in the direction of Ross and Frankie. As I said, there was no second shot so I was anxious to hear what had happened. We drove back to the lodge and as we pulled up Frankie and Ross came walking up as well. We all asked, well? Done deal. One shot down. They needed the truck to go pick up the Gemsbok.

    As we got into the truck, the conversation with Ross began. What did you think? Did you like it? Was it difficult? How far was the shot? Yes, we shoot off of shooting sticks here. Yes, it's different. Yes, it all happens that fast. It was about 120 yards. Yes, they still run a LONG way even though the shot was perfect. In the end, Ross made a perfect shot. He did say that he had to settle on the Gemsbok 3 different times. But he said that Frankie was great and told him repeatedly, take your shot and make it a good shot. Don't worry if it moves, we have plenty of time. So done and dusted.....
     
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