SOUTH AFRICA: Huntershill 2019 From Bad To Worse!!!

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Dcarr, May 25, 2019.

  1. mark-hunter

    mark-hunter AH Fanatic

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    Oh, thanks for compliments!
    Seasoned I am. But not seasoned African hunter. (namibia two times, planing safari no 3. there are much more knolegable hunters and professionals here)
    But I did research as much as possbile, and do that continuously.

    This forum is very good, but it will take some time to find your way around. In the mean time, I suggest to order some of the books I recommend, they will give you excellent orientation to focus faster on what you are interested.

    Not bringing trophies home, is not unusal. For various reasons.
    Shipping and taxidermy costs. So this saves the money.
    Some trophies are non-exportable also. For culling hunts same can be considered.
    Then tuskless elephant, etc... For that one, nice large HD photo, well framed will make good trophy on the wall as well.
     
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  2. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    While not entirely foolproof, it may be helpful in your decision making to attend a local SCI banquet and speak with experienced Africa hunters. You may even meet up with someone who's looking for a fellow hunter to accompany him.
     
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  3. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    @Dcarr Thanks for posting your report and sorry this didn't turn out like you expected. But if you are going to list facts, list all the facts.The Breeding Buffalo were in fact mixed in to the hunting herd because a problem Rhino decide to rip a hole in the fence where the Breeding herd are kept and release them into the main camp. Now they have the problem of darting over a hundred breeding buffalo and putting them back into the breeding camp not a job I would like to have. Now you keep talking about a PH that is offering you hunts in a Breeding pen who is the PH that you had? I have done 7 safaris at Huntershill and at no time has Greg allowed hunters to hunt his breeding stock that wouldn't even make sense to shoot off your breeding stock. btw those are some nice pics of Buffalo but I don't see the ear tags you are talking about did you go up and pull them out before taking the pic? :E Rofl:Now I will say this and if I am wrong Outfitters please let me know as I may have misunderstood how it works. As I understand it all high fence farms in South Africa that have Buffalo, you must first put up a fence that will hold Buffalo then you must have that fence inspected before you get a permit or license to be allowed to put buffalo inside that fence area which means at one time or another you had to bring in the buffalo they weren't just magically appear inside the fence. I guess Dcarr is referring to this as put and take as Greg has his own breeding herd as he has mentioned himself as seeing tags in the ears of breeding bulls . Now on the note of shooting old breeder bulls, Yes and I believe it is standard practice when you bring in new breeding stock to improve your genetics in your herd you take the old breed bull out and place him into the hunting camp to be hunted as chances are the younger bull with better genetics would probably fight and possibly wound or maybe even kill the old bull at least that would make sense to me. Now I will add these facts and many members on here know it to be fact over the years I have sent more hunters and their family's to Huntershill then I have fingers and toe's to point at them and to date Everyone of them had a great time and yes everyone of them thus far has been a return client that says a lot for itself.

    So with that being said I think your report has a little to much :S Bs Flag: in it!!!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2019

  4. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I´m not the most experienced African hunter here, so I will refrain from giving any advice, but I will share what I do.

    I won´t hunt with an outfitter unless someone I know and trust gives me a good recommendation. So, no surprises.

    As for canned or pen shooting, as far as I have experienced, your outfitter gives you what you want, it is after all a business.

    You want fair chase, fine, you can get it, one of my next goals is an Aoudad/Barbary Sheep. I have the choice of chasing it up and down the kopjes of the property, or just sit down next to a waterhole and ambush him. It´s my choice.

    You want a huge buffalo, sable.... without much effort, fine, just state how many inches you want the horns to be, and be prepared to pay the price, he will take you to a smaller fenced area and lead you to the animal. I have witnessed some of these hunts, and you can see them offered right here on AH.
     
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  5. Albert GRANT

    Albert GRANT AH Fanatic

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    That is great advice and exactly what I did on my first safari. Saves a lot of time, money and headaches. If you are not currently hung up on taxidermy in general then it won't bother you at all. I would add one piece of advice- don't worry too much about trophy size on a first safari (especially if not doing taxidermy) Just take good representatives, unless a monster happens to walk out first, lol! You will be much more relaxed and have a better overall experience. Fall in love with Africa on your first trip, THEN come back with goals and an agenda- or just keep going with the flow. There's only one first time!
     
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  6. TTundra

    TTundra AH Enthusiast

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    A few things I pulled away from this thread.

    1. Ask detailed questions before your hunt.
    -I have a RSA buff hunt next May. I told my PH I want a decent size area (10k + acres), older buff, buff that have been in said area for a few years at a minimum.

    2. Some AH members are a little too passive aggressive.
    -Its OK if people have a bad experience and post about it. Not everyone asks the right questions and/or has something(s) bad happen to them.

    3. Great opportunity for HH's owner to come in for some great customer service or an address in general.
    -I had a horrible Emirates experience on my first safari. I posted here about it. Most people have amazing Emirates experience, but I didn't. After quite a few calls and posts, a manager of CS at Emirates called me and made it right. No member bashing was needed, but Emirates stepped up direct and made good (eventually).


    AH members have always been more polite, friendly, and professional that many other forums. One of the reasons I enjoy it so much. Let's keep that track record strong.
     
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  7. Mike Van Horn

    Mike Van Horn AH Senior Member

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    Going by this post, it sounds a lot like a cattle operation instead of a place to hunt to me. Which is fine and good so long as it is advertised as such
     

  8. Dcarr

    Dcarr AH Senior Member

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    Bill, other than being fat, no. I'm 5'10 and about 275. I might look pretty soft but still run this ranch and do 99% of the work myself. We did get out and walk some on the stalks but when the animals dont know to run you dont have to stalk far I guess. I never complained one time about walking either. I very seldomif ever guide the guide. The 3rd day we stalked several times after mtn reedbuck and then when we went on the mountain behind the lodge my PH ask if we wanted to see the bushman paintings. He told us we would have to walk yo see them. We literally jumped at the chance and walked a ways to see them and of course walked back. Really enjoyed it and was very grateful for the opportunity.
    The other place I left from to go to HH we walked quite a bit everyday. I'm not talking miles and miles but between a quarter mile and mile or so and of course back on differentstalks daily. My PH there complimented me on staying up with him which I'm sure he held back but said he had a guy there that was slimmer built and looked to be in better shape but had to take frequent breaks and would put his hands on his knees and gasp for air.
    I do have to admit last year when we was in the Free State hunting in the mountains we seen 2 big trophy eland bulls almost to the top of the mountain. My PH started formulating a plan to walk up there to them to try to get a shot. I stopped him almost immediately and told him NO. He said, what. I said NO, I dont want to shoot an eland that bad to scale that steep mountain. I had already formulated that they were at least 3/4 of a mile straight up and me shooting a 9.3x62 I really needed to be within 200 yards for a decent shot. So that was still over over a half mile of grueling pull. He told me it wouldn't be straight up but we would zig zag back and forth to get up there. I said NO again. Didnt take long to cypher out that now he was talking about 5 or 6 times farther to get to the same spot. Needless to say we didnt get those eland!!!
     

  9. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    A few facts
    • Huntershill directly own ~55,000 acres and has acquired exclusive hunting rights on ~65,000 adjacent acres. This means that Huntershill's clients hunt 120,000 contiguous acres (188 square miles).
    • Considering an average typical density in good habitat devoid of top predators (Lions, Hyenas, etc.) of 2 to 3 animals per 10 hectares (25 acres) at Huntershill, the game population is in the range of 10,000 to 15,000 animals.
    • Considering even the crudest population natural growth modeling of an annual recruitment of 80 fawns per 100 does in good habitat devoid of top predators, the annual population growth at Huntershill is in the range of 4,000 to 6,000 animals per year.
    • Considering an annual hunting season of about 8 months, 240 days, it would take shooting 17 to 25 animals every day, just to offset the annual natural population growth.
    • If 10 hunters were in camp (20 people including spouses) every day of the hunting season, it would take every hunter to shoot every day 2 to 3 animals just to offset the annual natural population growth.
    Common sense and reality are of course that even though 97% of Huntershill clients at one point return to Huntershill, there are not 10 hunters / 240 days per year / taking 2 to 3 animals every day...

    Take away points
    • "take & put" - It has been discussed what could be valuable questions to ask an outfitter to assess the "take & put" issue. My suggestion, as previously mentioned, is to ask two questions: 1) do you hunt females? 2) do you offer cull hunts? If the answer are no and no, you know that animal quantities are limited. This could be a motivation for "put & take." If the answers are yes and yes, you know that one the outfitter's concerns is to keep pace with natural population growth, hence the financial motivation for "put & take" does not exist.
    • "canned hunt" - It has also been discussed what could be valuable questions to ask an outfitter to assess the "canned hunt" issue. My suggestion is that in most cases basic numbers do not lie. Ask for the size of the contiguous hunting area (not the cumulated size of different properties separated by driving on asphalt). The chances of getting a canned hunt on a few thousand acres, never mind a few hundred acres, are geometrically higher than the chances to get a caned hunt on several tens of thousands of acres, not to mention over a hundred thousand acres.
    • "breeders animals" - As previously mentioned, diversifying, augmenting and improving the gene pool with selected breeders is good population management. Rims of science, whether in stock management or game management support his statement.
    • "high fences" - As previously mentioned, high fencing is a requirement by law in South Africa for outfitters who own enough property to want to manage their animals population and diversify, augment and improve the gene pool.
    • "breeding ares" - Outfitters who own enough property to want to manage their animals population and diversify, augment and improve the gene pool have high fenced breeding areas. These are not "pens" but "areas." Outfitters who own enough land have breeding areas of several thousand acres. Those areas can be large enough in themselves to be larger than other outfitters' entire property, or small farms hunted by other outfitters who do not own land.
    • "high volume, commercialized operation" - Truth be told, unless a hunter wants to be the only one in camp, or the only one on the property, which can be legitimate asks with outfitters who offer limited accommodations and limited land, the real question is whether each client receives personalized accommodation, personalized service by his PH and hunting team, and can enjoy his/her personal hunt undisturbed. This means that the real question is not a question of absolute quantity but proportion. Two hunters are a crowd in a camp with only one guest room and 3,000 acres to hunt. Five or ten hunters are not a crowd in a camp that can accommodate them individually and that offers 120,000 acres on site.
    • "wild animals behavior" - Enough has been posted by other AH members to dispel the notion that wild animals will automatically flee at the first sight of a truck or even man, and that animals that do not flee are therefore automatically "tamed" animals.
    Huntershill
    • Huntershill offers numerous very low cost cull hunts, especially targeted toward females. They do this not because they relish loosing money, but because all well managed large properties in South Africa struggle to keep up with natural population growth. There is no "take & put" at Huntershill. There is no reason for it. Incidentally, this also offers opportunities for hunters who could never afford Africa otherwise. We believe that this is good.
    • Huntershill offers to their hunters 120,000 acres (188 square miles) to hunt. There is no "canned hunt" at Huntershill. There is no need for it.
    • There are tagged breeders in the breeding area at Huntershill. They are generally not for hunting or shooting, but as their name implies they are for breeding. This is the reason why they are tagged, so that they are not shot accidentally.
    • The high-fenced, as required by law, breeding area located in the plain at Huntershill is by my estimation based on Google Earth around 5,000 acres. I apologize, I do not have the exact number. As mentioned above, it is in itself larger than many outfitters property in South Africa, and large enough for true hunting for people who either:
    1. suffer from physical limitations, or
    2. want an animal that only strives in flat plains, or
    3. insist on breeder quality trophies, as indeed, as previously noted, breeders are not eternal and older males will be expelled by younger males taking over, can be killed in the process, or will simply die of old age.
    • Even in the theoretical case of 10 hunters and their spouse being hosted simultaneously at Huntershill, which is a very rare occasion, and generally only happens when large groups are coming together, 10 hunters hunting 120,000 acres would still have in average (for what mathematical averages mean) 12,000 acres each, and they would each have their own private accommodations, their own hunting team, including 1 PH, 1 tracker, 1 driver and 1 4x4 hunting vehicle, and they would each receive undivided and individualized attention from their team. Truth be told, PHs are extremely competitive, and they would out-compete each other to get "their" hunter the best hunt, the best trophies, etc.
    • Huntershill has been welcoming hunters since 2002. Whether people believe or not that 97% of Huntershill clients return to Huntershill at one point (not every year of course!) will be argued. What is somewhat inarguable is that the safari business is an incredibly competitive business in which only the best survive. Huntershill has been striving for 17 years. Well enough actually that it has been able to acquire other properties to offer other diversified hunting opportunities to its clients, in the Winterberg, Limpopo and the Kalahari. If accommodations, food, staff, dogs, animals, hunting area, etc. were dismal, one would question why people have been going back for 17 years and how Huntershill is being able to offer more and more varied opportunities, in varied properties, in varied habitats, in varied areas to their clients.
    AH members can make their own determination whether Huntershill offers "high volume, commercialized, take & put, canned hunts of breeder animals in breeding pens" based on these facts.

    Huntershill will not comment more than has already been commented on Mr. Carr's complaints. We actually trust that AH members will use their judgment and compare Mr. Carr's report to other numerous reports on Huntershill posted by other AH members who have been to Huntershill, and will consider with the necessary prudence opinions about Huntershill from people who have never been to Huntershill.

    Sincerely
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2019

  10. edward

    edward GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    i suppose the only way to really know what this outfit is all about is to go there your self. until this happens,its one story against another.
     
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  11. CoElkHunter

    CoElkHunter AH Veteran

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    Thanks so much for your response and the "other side of the story" on this issue. For someone as myself reading all of this information and never having hunted in Africa YET, your explanations of the reality of the modern African hunting situation and your operation is VERY welcome. I guess I was born too late (as many here were) to experience the African hunting as described in Capstick's, Ruark's or Hemingway's, etc. books, but that's really OK! North American hunting isn't what it was back in the day. There are MANY more elk, pronghorn and whitetails than even 40-50 years ago! Mule deer have taken a hit though. BUT, with preference point systems and specific bull or cow, buck or doe tags, it's not the same either as when maybe Jack O'Connor hunted. But the times are what they are, and I refuse to go quietly into the non-hunting darkness! Thanks!
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
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  12. accipiter

    accipiter AH Veteran

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    Thanks Pascal for a post that involves facts and logic. This along with the numerous positive hunt reports dispels the OP claims.

    I have hunted with an outfitter who also had a very negative report from a disgruntled client. Some forum members naively and in a knee-jerk impulse, took the disgruntled client’s report as definitive. In my experience, the copious positive hunt reports speak volumes not the single negative report. The positive experiences of many people, including AH members, were spot on for this particular fellow.
    Also, some people simply cannot be pleased - I think the OP expects a $70,000 Tanzania wilderness safari for $5,000 which is simply unrealistic. Outfitters such as Huntershill and scores of others in South Africa have made the dream of hunting in Africa an attainable and affordable experience. If you want a Teddy Roosevelt or Hemingway safari, pay $70,000 for a hunt in the Selous but don’t cry like a little girl if you cannot afford it.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
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  13. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    You are correct sir and is the reason I highly recommend this Outfitter. I have been on 7 Safaris at Huntershill and never once have I ever been disappointed, even on my first safari it was a cheap budget hunt my first time to Africa I had come in late that night from East London as my flight didn't come in til after 9:00 pm by the time we got to the lodge it was midnight but early the next morning I met Greg at breakfast and he pulled me aside and told me if I had any problems I was to let him know and he would fix what ever it was, and if you let him know I have never known him not to do just that. Tell you another story on the same line, in 2017 I went to Huntershill with some very good friends and members of AH the first night they came to me with a problem they were short one PH so when Greg Came in I went to him with the problem he looked at his Nephew and said I agree with him 100% Call so and so (can't remember his name) and have him at Rockland to meet them at 6:00 in the morning "problem solved" all you have to do is let him know what the problem is and he takes care of it. That's the kind of guy he is!
     
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  14. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Actually, it is a little more than one story against another...

    https://www.africahunting.com/threa...n-to-the-east-cape-huntershill-safaris.42277/

    https://www.africahunting.com/threads/south-africa-huntershill-safaris-10-days-of-awesome.31178/

    https://www.africahunting.com/threa...if-my-wife-kids-can-do-it-so-can-yours.23138/

    https://www.africahunting.com/threa...h-huntershill-safaris-in-the-east-cape.48626/

    https://www.africahunting.com/threads/south-africa-back-from-the-east-cape.50657/

    https://www.africahunting.com/threa...aris-april-may-2019-plains-game-safari.50578/

    https://www.africahunting.com/threa...shill-safaris-for-another-awesome-hunt.50694/

    Additionally, there is a matter of common sense: why would Huntershill who owns 15,000 free ranging animals on 120,000 low fenced or no fence acres bizarrely deprive a client of this exceptional opportunity and instead go out of their way to constrict his hunt? This defies reason...

    What actually happens in African hunting, as emphasized by numerous AH members on this thread, is that outfitters and PH go out of their way to provide clients exactly what they ask for, and they instantly correct if provided the slightest feedback that their interpretation is incorrect.



    PS: Note that I have voluntarily removed from the above list my own report on Huntershill from last year, almost a year before I started representing them on AH because I expect it would be argued that I am partial. You can still see what my own experience was with Huntershill as a simple client last year...

    https://www.africahunting.com/threa...faris-august-2018-plains-game-paradise.45017/
    .
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
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  15. CoElkHunter

    CoElkHunter AH Veteran

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    Thanks so much for this! I appreciate your insight. Experiencing Africa for ME (while hunting) is the primary focus. Getting to harvest a few animals would be great and if I was fortunate enough to obtain a "trophy" (really a subjective thing), I probably would have a European style mount done (I like those). Thanks!
     

  16. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    An interesting thread, as most of these types tend to be. And the lesson is pretty much the same in every case - communication both before and during the hunt, are absolutely essential to a successful hunt.

    Having said that, there are a few things that I think are worth pointing out.

    I disagree. It is certainly true with respect to South Africa, which is one of the most developed countries in Africa and likely among the developed countries of the world. But there are places in Africa where's it's possible to get that old time hunting experience. They are more remote, and more expensive, without a doubt, but they exist.

    While hunting in Ethiopia we moved from the mountains when I (finally) got my mountain nyala, to the desert to hunt lesser kudu. We sent the tents on ahead and told our guys to find a nice place to pitch them in the general area where we'd be hunting. We ended up camped beside the bend of a river. We dug our own toilet, and our meals - good ones - were cooked over a campfire. No generator. We lived out of our old canvas tents and could have been in the 19th century. Loved it. I've had similar experiences in other parts of Africa, including west Africa.

    Wow. I get that all 40 of these people will not be in the same general area at the same time, and "15-20" may be hunting, but these are big - really big - numbers to have in and around a camp, in my experience. This doesn't sound like a "get away from it all" experience to me, but rather a big business trying to put through as many hunters as it can. Let me be clear - there's nothing wrong with that, so long as everyone understands what they are getting. Personally, I would have zero interest in this, which strikes me as a mass killing exercise more than a hunt, but to each their own. I'm prepared to pay more for some degree of remoteness. If you're expecting an old Africa hunting experience, this may not be the place for you. If you want to see lots of game and shoot all day, every day, well, it might be (although you can still get that with far fewer, if any, other people involved).

    Huntershill have every right to run their business as they see fit, provided they communicate what they are offering honestly and openly. I'm not sure they have done that, given this thread and the comments posted by Wayne from @Michael Dean, but I'm implying no intent there. Could just be, and likely is, poor communication. Having said that, I am not the only one apparently who finds @One Day... 's original post, complete with a dozen or more apologies, to be more than a bit sarcastic and frankly unnecessary. Even if the hunter is "wrong" (however we define that), he's spent some hard-earned money with you and a little more respect seems to be called for. (Note that I don't extend this courtesy to those who post fraudulent complaints, but I've seen nothing here which suggests that's possible). The response lacked class, and that's unfortunate.

    To conclude, a thread like this gets us all thinking about what matters to us in a hunt, allows us to decide if we'd like to hunt with a particular outfitter or not, and reinforces the necessity of doing our homework, asking the right questions, and communicating before, during and after the hunt. All very good things.
     

  17. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I believe that the first entire quote was:

    "Yes, we still read Green Hills of Africa, or Horn of the Hunter, but the 3 months safaris on millions upon millions of acres of true wilderness are long gone, even in Tanzania northern blocks. Human population growth took care of that after WW II. So, expecting the Hemingway or the Ruark experience is hopelessly impossible, not to mention that I would be curious to translate in today's dollars what they spent in their days in such grand affairs."

    It seems you found the happy exception in Ethiopia and this is great, but I would not think that you mean to drive people to expect that your experience is the norm, correct? I was talking in the general case and the context for that post at that time was mostly around first time hunters in Africa.


    The second entire quote was:

    "This, by the way, explains why there may be occasions when several groups of people (maybe 40 in total, although I would think that 15 to 20 clients and 20 to 25 PH and trackers is a more accurate description) can transit at times through Huntershill on their way to or from the properties best adapted to the upcoming hunts. A Huntershill client may very well go spend a few days in Rocklands, or Comre if they are interested, to hunt for bushbuck, or bush pig, or Vaal Rhebok, etc."

    I do not believe that this implies that 40 people are hunting the same area at the same time. I have never seen 40 people at Huntershill myself - heck! they could not be housed - but I could see rare occasions at the height of the season when on certain days 3 or 4 new hunters arrive while 4 of 5 are departing; 3 or 4 who were at Comre for Vaal Rhebok or Bushbuck for a few days are coming for Kudu or Eland for a few days while other do the reverse, etc. Add the spouses, PHs, trackers, staff, etc. As I said, I never saw it...


    As to sarcasm, upon re-reading the post, I can see where it could be interpreted that way. It was not meant to be. You may or may not know that this has been going on for over 30 days first on Facebook, then on AH after there was significant push back on Facebook by numerous people who have actually been to Huntershill, some at the same time as the OP. One of the OP complaints was that no one ever apologized to him, neither during or after his complaints. I was trying to address this ask. Unnecessary? Maybe to third party readers, but it seemed necessary to Dcarr. Over done? I can see that now in view of your and Albert GRANT's feedback, but this was not intended.

    These are hard situations to handle and there are no wins in it. I am attempting my best to answer the OP asks for addressing his grievances, providing an apology, and also providing objective facts for people to make sense of all this ... which I will confess I have not been able to make myself, as I truly do not understand what happened to the OP who was by all reports, including other clients, a happy and charming guest at Huntershill.

    What is factual, is that the description of Huntershill is inaccurate (see post above "A few facts." Sometimes we miss more recent posts as we answer older posts).
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
    CoElkHunter likes this.

  18. WAB

    WAB AH Fanatic

    Joined:
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    I’ve got to agree with Hank as to what is still available. I hunted buff and ele on a million acre concession in bots surrounded by many other million plus acre concessions. There were no other humans on these concessions. The far upper end of the Luangwa River still offers a true wilderness experience at a price not too far out of reach of most.
     
    Wheels, Royal27, cls and 3 others like this.

  19. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    We all agree WAB, but if you remember, the context of my post was first time hunters to Africa on a limited budget... I mean, buffalo and elephant on a million acre in Botswana, are'nt we a little far from a guy's aspirations trying to save enough over a couple of years for a first plains game hunt :) ?

    Man this is not my day :E Rofl: What on earth have I done to myself trying to help folks get to Africa and all of a sudden finding myself transformed overnight from a generally liked AH member into a guilty party whose every word are individually dissected :E Excited: just because I dared say: hum, you know, there might be more to that Dcarr story...
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2019

  20. WAB

    WAB AH Fanatic

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    Fair point
     

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