SOUTH AFRICA: Huntershill Safaris April/May 2019 Plains Game Safari

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by TXhunter65, May 20, 2019.

  1. TXhunter65

    TXhunter65 AH Veteran

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    A few basics to begin:

    Hunt Dates: 26 April - 5 May

    Travel: Delta from Dallas Love to ATL to JNB. Spent the night with Africa Sky then on to Port Elizabeth and back the same route, excluding the overnight!

    Type of Hunt: Plains game hunt for two friends, 17 species targeted, 15 of those taken along with 5 additional species.

    Method: Both rifle hunting one with Howa 1500 .308 and other with a Howa 1500 .300 Win Mag.

    Outfitter: Huntershill Safaris

    PH: Jason Olivier

    Taxidermy: Kruger Human with Marakalalo Taxidermy in Bloemfontein, SA. We're both having European mounts with the exception of a 1 kudu shoulder mount.

    Agent: Had 3 agents for travel, safari, taxidermy, import, ect....Me, myself, and I.

    Locations Hunted: I took 5 trophies on Huntershill's main property, 5 trophies on nearby low fence properties, and two days SE near Sutterheim chasing bushbuck.

    Species Hunted: Zebra, Nyala, Sable, Lechwe, Black Wildebeest taken on Huntershill's main property, Eland, Waterbuck, Springbok, Mountain Reedbuck, and Fallow Deer taken on low fence properties near by. As previously mentioned I hunted bushbuck hard for two days and spent several hunts for wart hog as well unsuccessful on both species.

    Trophy Quality: I would say I am extremely please with the quality of the animals I took...several of my animals had very heavy horns...a lot of mass!

    Species Seen: Axis, Aardwolf, Baboon, Barbary Sheep, Bat Eared Fox, Blesbuck (Common, White, Copper), Bontebok, Cape Buffalo, Bushbuck, Grey Duiker, Eland (Cape, Livingston), Fallow Deer, Gemsbok (Regular and Golden), Giraffe, Red Hartebeest, Hippopotamus, Hog Deer, Impala (Regular and black), Kudu, Lechwe, Nyala, Ostrich, Pere David Deer, Mountain Reedbuck, Common Reedbuck, White Rhino, Roan, Sable, Sambar Deer, Springbok (Common, White, Black, Copper, Kalahari), Steenbuck, Tsessebe, Vervet Monkey, Water Buffalo, Warthog, Wildebeest (Black and Blue), Zebra (Burchell's and Hartmann's)

    Lodging: The chalet's were classic Africa, thatch roof, and skin rugs, very spacious.

    Food: Max made many wonderful meals incorporating different game meats into the menu. Most nights he also provided an option of chicken, fish, beef, or lamb for those not so adventurous guests.

    High Points: There were many high points, the eland on top of the mountain and the mountain reedbuck we could never get to move his head so we could see his horns, but my PH saying based on his body he looks mature go ahead and take him...and he turn out to be as big as he was, were probably the to highest of the high points.

    Low Points: I guess the lack of success would be a low point. Hunting bushbuck hard for two days from sun up to sun down and not bringing one home was disappointing but it gives me a reason to return. We spotted one early the first morning and I made a shot across the canyon at 360 yards and think I hit him just below the vitals in the leg. We found blue and bone but no luck.

    Overall Rating: I was extremely please with the experience. The scenery is beautiful, but also very challenging. The staff is very friendly and always accommodating.

    Would I recommend: Yes, this was a wonderful experience and I look forward to returning.


    Now that we've gotten all the basics out of the way:

    Two years ago I hunted the Limpopo province and had a wonderful time, when I returned I wanted to see a different part of the country and hunt in different terrain...enter Huntershill.

    The first morning we left the lodge about 0430 and drove around the mountain to glass from a high point. We spotted a group of black wildebeest on a far hillside and were able to drive to the back side of the hill and stalk around the side, by then they had fed higher and we spooked them as we came around the edge of the hill. Luckily they ran down below us and stopped on a flat spot about 160 yards away and I made a good shot on a nice bull as he was quartered to me. Striking him on the point of the shoulder, he ran left and circled back right and I followed up with a second to the neck just as he stumbled.
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    That afternoon we went to a low fence cattle/sheep farm, as we drove through the gate my PH told the trackers, "Lets go become famous". At the time I wasn't really sure what he meant. We slowly made our way to the top of the mountain and were fortunate to find a small group of 6-8 eland. Unfortunately as we stalked close a cow caught sight of us and froze in place for what felt like 20 mins. After she finally moved on we tried to get into a better position to see the bull and another cow caught our movement and they took off. We gave chase and they finally stopped about 300 yards and turned to look back. I placed a round squarely on the shoulder of the bull and watched him mule kick through the scope. Then watched him run away like nothing happened. We gave chase again stopping just as they rounded the side of the mountain and followed up with a second shot to the rear. My PH took chase and told the tracker and myself to head back down the mountain as he would try to push him off the mountain to the flat ground below. After about 30-45 minutes we made our way down the mountain and tried to get around to where we thought the eland would have come down. We had lost radio contact with our PH and slowly began driving in the direction we thought the eland may have come down. On the way we passed a group of 7 waterbuck with what looked like 2 very nice bulls. We soon heard the sounds of a helicopter heading our way....Huntershill has a helicopter on the property to use for various purposes...apparently my PH had gotten ahold of the lodge and requested the chopper come help find the eland. Once they got near us it only took a minute to find the bull through the trees and we heard the call over our radio, "the bull is dead"...So we made our way to the area the chopper was hovering...and to my surprise my PH was already there...I could not believe he came all the way down the side of the mountain...According to Google earth the difference in elevation was about 1,300 feet, I was shocked to see him.
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    While preparing to load the eland we mentioned seeing the waterbuck and he mentioned it was odd for them to be on this property. Driving out we had the radio blaring and were singing/high-fiving/having a ball when my PH slammed on the breaks and said, "there's those waterbucks"...he grabbed his bino's and said, "I know you've taken two great trophies today but you need to shoot that waterbuck". Moments later, one shot he hit the ground, we made our way close and he stumbled to his feet and I took one more shot to drop him for good. He wasn't the longest waterbuck I'd ever seen but he was the most massive I'd ever seen and he carried it all the way to his tips.
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    WHAT A FIRST DAY!!!!!
     

  2. Patton63

    Patton63 AH Veteran

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    Congratulations. Beautiful animals. It sounds like a great hunt.
     

  3. BWH

    BWH AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    That was just Day 1?!?!?!!?
     
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  4. TXhunter65

    TXhunter65 AH Veteran

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    My buddy Mark also had a very productive first day:

    Blesbok taken at 302 yards:
    ab469b11-8cfe-42bf-89ef-ea363d2bb236.JPG

    Gemsbok taken at 78 yards:
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    Fallow deer taken at 189 yards:
    IMG_0803.JPG
     
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  5. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Wow, I'd say that's a heck of a first day!!!!
     

  6. TXhunter65

    TXhunter65 AH Veteran

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    Day Two:
    Since we had each taken 3 animals the first day we got to sleep in till 0700! I was going after nyala and Mark was going to be chasing kudu again today. We went to an area along a small river with dense brush along the river and several of the drainages feeding into the river. The surrounding area had patches of open plains and patches of acacia trees. We drove along the river for a while seeing impala, zebra, hog deer, pere david deer, lechwe, and several others species, no nyala. The PH decided we'd start searching the drainages looking for nyala in the thick brush. We'd made our way in, around, and through several drainage and were slowing crossing what appeared to me to be the last one before it opened up into a very large open area and that's when we spotted him. He was up the drainage from us in an area that was very thick and dark from all the brush. We were on level ground with him but he hadn't seen us, he was busy feeding. We got set up on the sticks but with all the brush we couldn't see his horns so we waited... and waited. We could see the base of his horns but not all the way to the tips. Finally after what felt like 5 minutes my PH said take him. Thankfully the entire time we admired him he was preoccupied and never realized we were there. I made the shot and he went straight down. As we got closer we finally got to see his horns with no obstructions...he wasn't the longest nyala in the world but he was very heavy...PH said, "he looks like a young kudu".
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    Apparently Mark had spent all morning walking off breakfast in the mountains...so much so that when we got back to the lodge for lunch he was completely soaked with sweat and had to take a shower and change....he told his PH, "you shouldn't try to kill your client on the second day"! Since I had already taken 4 of my animals we decided to go with Mark and his PH after lunch and see if my PH could lend a hand with a nice Kudu. We went back to the area where they'd chased a nice bull all morning. They climbed a small him and quickly located the bull with a couple cows and waited until they could determine a general direction they were headed. They came back to the truck and took off on foot south along the road. After about an hour I heard a shot...sounded good the slap came right after the shot and sounded like they had gotten in close, 10 seconds later I heard my PH yell and I knew the deal was sealed. The tracker and I drove down to them just as the sun was starting to set.
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    Wonderful day with two beautiful spirals.
     
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  7. Vanguard2279

    Vanguard2279 SILVER SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Congratulations on a great hunt! There always seems to be something untaken to give you a reason to go back. I'm leaving today. Sure, I'm planning to take a Cape Buffalo and Sable, but I'm obsessed with a Warthog that always seems to elude me.
    Thanks for sharing your adventure!
     

  8. chris mattson

    chris mattson New Member

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    Very nice animals you guys have there, looks like a very good first few days. My dad, brother and I are booked this same time next year at Huntershill, hope we share the same luck.
    Congrats
     

  9. cagkt3

    cagkt3 AH ENABLER PLATINUM SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Great stuff so far!
     

  10. TXhunter65

    TXhunter65 AH Veteran

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    I feel your pain...glad someone else is in this boat with me...on my two safaris I've dedicated 4 entire days chasing those dang warthogs. Had a shot this last trip, 230 yards, 20-30 mph cross wind....shot just over his back.
     

  11. TXhunter65

    TXhunter65 AH Veteran

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    Day 3:
    After another great breakfast we were off for warthog near the river. Driving along the river my PH got very excited pointing to the river on the passenger side of the vehicle, we soon realized the object of his exuberance....and yes I do still kick myself today refraining to pull the trigger on this magnificent animal. So does Mark for that matter even though he shot one the previous day.

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    He just stood there...and stood there, 60 yards on the far bank of the river. I can only assume he thought he was hidden well enough we couldn't see him. We killed him with our eyes for about 3 minutes, him frozen the entire time, then slowly drove away.

    We spent the rest of the morning looking for warthog. We saw one boar cruising for females, Mark and Lloyd put a stalked on him for 20-30 mins but could never get a shot in the tall grass, nor get him to slow his search for as my PH said the vertical smile. No luck with warthogs this morning, so back for lunch.

    After lunch we headed out again for warthog. We soon bumped a lechwe and he took off. Jason said he was a good one and after a short stalk I had him in the crosshairs at 311 yards quartered to me. The bullet struck him on the point of the shoulder, he wheeled running, quickly getting closer and closer to the ground until he rolled.

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    We left a tracker and radioed for someone at the lodge to come pick them up and head for the salt as we continued on for warthog. The rest of the afternoon we saw a couple small warthogs and a ton of steenbok. At one point I asked Lloyd to stop as we could see six steenbok in different directions. As we made our way back to the lodge we came on a small group of common springbok and Mark made a great shot at 302 yards.

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    After pictures and loading him with the sun setting we headed for the lodge to enjoy another wonderful meal and comradery around the bar with the other PH's and guests. It was also very nice to see the owner of Huntershill, Greg Harvey, eating dinner with the guests and spending time most nights in the bar sitting talking to the guests about their trip and in general just hanging out.

    Day 3 in the books.
     
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  12. Cam Moon

    Cam Moon AH Veteran

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    When I went to Huntershill I had Jason as my PH as well. I was very impressed with him! And yes, he walks those hills like a mountain goat! It looks like Lloyd did well for your buddy Mark as well. You guys both have some fantastic trophies! I'm sure you'll cherish some great memories as well. And good Lord!..... That Waterbuck! Wow! Keep the story coming. I'm sure looking at what you guys have already you are grinning ear to ear!
    I can't believe you didn't try for that Kudu!.... Gorgeous!
     

  13. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Elite

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    Txhuntr..............sure enjoyed your report. That is a heavy eland, and some other excellent trophies. You really wacked and stacked! Well done. As for warthogs....well, you haven't paid your dues yet. I have now hunted 31 properties in Africa for the elusive porker, without a decent one yet..................we must go back and try again............thanks for posting..:LOL:................................FWB
     
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  14. TXhunter65

    TXhunter65 AH Veteran

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    Day 4:
    Early morning! Left the lodge at 04:15 headed south southeast. Drove for about 2 hours and watched the sunrise on a new world, lush green vegetation everywhere the valleys looked like tropical forest with many areas so dense passage looked impossible. The land owner had undertaken much work to clear open areas on some hillsides. We searched for bushbuck on the edges of the dense vegetation as we drove along the side of mountains and in the bottoms near stream beds. Reaching the rear of the property one of the trackers spotted a bushbuck across the canyon feeding in a tiny opening. How he spotted the animal from a moving truck well over 400 yards away was unbelievable. We walked through the tall underbrush down the mountain as far as we could maintaining site of him until we could go no lower. A fork in a tree provided a rest as Jason said to hold just above his back, at the shot I heard what sounded like an impact but didn't sound good we turned to see what Henry thought and got the thumbs up. I asked Henry what he did when I shot and he said he bucked and headed right. We never had any sight of him once he took off, and given the lack of a solid sounding hit I was less than optimistic this would end well. Once at the site there was some blood and few feet later a small bone fragment somewhat cylindrical in shape. I was sure the bullet had gone just low and struck his front leg. The blood trail only lasted a few yards. We put the dogs on it but they only went a short distance and returned. To be completely honest I was relieved when dogs came back, I knew this bushbuck was injured and given how extremely thick the cover was the last thing I wanted was one of the dogs injured because of my poor shot placement. The PH's put the dogs back on leashes and continued the search for some time. Given the lack of blood and the denseness of the vegetation Jason recommended we stop the search and move on. Hating to leave a wounded animal I heeded my PH's advice. Nothing to do now but push on for another bushbuck. Mid-day we stopped at a newly completed hunting cabin on the property to rest and have some lunch. The cabin was built up on a hillside overlooking a 1-2 acre round pond with open areas to the north and south and dense cover to the west. While the rest of us were relaxing enjoying a sandwich and chips Mark was scanning the surrounding hillsides and sure enough spotted a nice impala feeding in an open grassy area in the shade of two nearby trees...Lloyd upon glassing him said, "he's going home with us." While they closed the distance Jason, Henry, and I sat in the shade and focused on our sandwiches! Jason looked through his binos which had a built in range finder and said, "540 yards". As they made their way closer Lloyd radioed to ask if he'd moved which he hadn't. They located him and said they were 357 yards and couldn't get any closer...so we all picked up our binos watched and waited...the rifle echoed across the canyon as the impala took his last bite, running to the left getting closer to the ground as he went, as he approached a dense cluster of trees he made one bound into the darkness. We watched as they returned, drove across the hillside, and approached the cluster of trees. The bound into the darkness was his last.

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    After pictures and lunch we dropped the impala off with the land owner and continued the search for bushbuck. We saw a couple more rams but they either saw us immediately or were too far. It was a late evening as we arrived back at the lodge for dinner. I enjoyed seeing the scenery and watching Mark get his impala but I hated having wounded such a beautiful animal.

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    End of day 4.
     

  15. TXhunter65

    TXhunter65 AH Veteran

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    Yeah, the kudu still haunts me! I quickly learned with Jason a "slow short walk" translates to a gazelle like sprint for about 2 miles. I cant wait to get that waterbuck home to wrap my hands around those bases again.
     
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  16. Cam Moon

    Cam Moon AH Veteran

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    Out of curiosity, did you still have to pay for the Bushbuck? If so, was it full price? Thanks.
     

  17. TXhunter65

    TXhunter65 AH Veteran

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    Thanks for the kind words Bill. We must definitely go back and try again! And when we succeed I'm sure there will be another of African numerous elusive species we must return for as well! Six days to go!
     
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  18. TXhunter65

    TXhunter65 AH Veteran

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    Yes sir to both question!
     

  19. TXhunter65

    TXhunter65 AH Veteran

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    I never realized there were so many of us in the "can't kill a warthog club", maybe you, flatwaterbill and I should start a support group, here I was all this time thinking I was the only one...I just assumed everyone killed a giant white banana warthog on their first safari. I bet there are others as well!
     
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  20. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Elite

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    Sigmund Freud called it "warthog envy" I believe...................FWB
     
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