SOUTH AFRICA: Huntershill Safaris Treated Us Like Royalty & We Filled Every Animal On Out List

cagkt3

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Well done!!
 

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Looks like a great hunt with some outstanding trophies. Now a nice day by day recount would be great!
:D Pop Popcorn:
 

SHOCKER

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As 100% of you all know my wife and myself along with our aunt Linda took a trip of a lifetime to the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This was Lindas 10 time hunting in Africa and our first of course. Where we hunted with Huntershill Safaris for a full week and traveled for a week following the hunt. I must say this trip has changed our lives in ways we weren't expecting. We posted pics of our trip but only with a quick blurb of the story behind them. So I'll post a pic and the story of it each day for those who are interested. Sunday June 23 was our 1st full day of hunting. We began our hunt at the Rocklands camp (1 of 5 camps owned by HH) It is a newer property they had purchased I believe about 2 yrs ago. At breakfast I asked Boyce our PH, (Professional Hunter/Guide) what is the plan for the day? He said today we try to get you a "proper" kudu. Kudu was #1 on my list along with a few characteristics I'm looking for. First horns had to be symmetrical, 2nd must have the ivory tips, 3rd when looking from the top of the horns it had to have the perfect curls so when looking you can see all the way thru the curls, 4th I wanted the horns to go straight up not angled out. Boyce said he had gotten permission from a farmer to hunt his property since the quota was already filled for the Rocklands property for Kudu. After picking up our trackers Mutile and Smiley our trackers, we made a 30 min drive to this other property to pick up a tracker that knew the lay of the land. We had about a 20km drive back in some of the roughest terrain I have ever seen. (If you get motion sickness you'd be in bad shape) The morning was mid 50's, since it's their winter, windy with a very light on and off mist. We stopped and glassed the side of a mountain for about 30 min with nothing moving. Boyce said this is the worse weather we could have for Kudu. We walked back up to the truck and and got on the backside of another mountain. From this side it was dead calm and the sun began to come out. Boyce stopped the truck and he looked at the side of this mountain intensely then he grabbed his binoculars and he said get out lets go. There were 3 bulls and 6 cows at 800 yds. So all of us (both girls and trackers) started making our way down this trail single file. We came to a turn in the trail Boyce stopped looked to the left and said back up. This is where plans changed quickly. I was confused because I didn't see squat. Right away he told the girls to sit down and stay with Mutile. Boyce said there is a good bull up here are you ready? I couldn't get the word yup out with my excitement so I just nodded. This bull had 2 cows and a young bull with him working their way down and we had to close in on them. There were times I was on my hands and knees going thru brush and getting hung up in the thorns. (literally everything has thorns in Africa) We finally made it to a spot where we could actually set up for a shot. We closed to 215 yds. and I saw the cow but not the bull. Boyce set up the shooting sticks and I got on the scope after he gave me a land mark where the bull would be stepping out. Like a kid in a candy store I turned and looked at Boyce and I told him I'm not seeing him. He said just wait. When I got back on the scope I saw horns. I about lost my shit. I said I see horns Boyce said perfect he said wait til he turns. Boyce ranged him and called out 215 yds aim 2" high. I was shooting a Howa .308 a little lighter than I had hoped but knew it would get the job done. It was crazy my nerves shut down and total focus was on the shot. I've never been so calm as I was at this moment. About 5 sec later that bull turned broadside and I put the crosshairs right on the shoulder and squeezed. The gun went off and I heard a sound that I'll never forget which was the sound of the bullet hitting. Best way to describe it is a deep hollow thud. He dropped right in his tracks. Boyce said "SHOT" which means perfect hit. He said you may be a lil low but he's not going anywhere. I quickly loaded another round and as he tried picking up his head Boyce said SHOOT!!! So I sent another round down range and same thing "THUD". I turned and shouted We gottem!!! Boyce said he's gonna die but let's get up there. So we got up to him I saw 2 perfect placed shots and he had a little kick in him so I put a 3rd shot just to get it over with quicker. Boyce yelled "NOW WE GOTTEM!!!" Then I heard the girls and trackers celebrating. Boyce had messaged Mutile to bring everyone up to where I had shot from and by the time we got up to the Kudu they were there. Perfect timing. They ran the 200+ yds and Jen and Linda squeezed the crap out of me. Now I was told just before I shot to put it 2" high...I failed to do that and put it right on the shoulder (being use to a .270) which dropped 2'' taking out bottom of the heart/lungs. He was gonna die with the first shot but we want to put them out quickly. I was initiated with my face painted with the blood as this was my first African animal. Boyce got me a Kudu that met all my wants in a beautiful Kudu. They are such a majestic looking animal. I know for a fact that the calm that came over me just seconds before I shot was uncle Tom taking the reins. We said before we left for this trip that this was going to be in honor of him. We shot him so far away from a trail the trackers headed back to the truck to see how close they could get to load this bad boy. Just over an hour later they were able to boondock the truck to about 100 yds from us. They had to cut it in half on the spot and carry it out on bamboo poles. We had gotten the trackers and Boyce as a gift their own brand new Buck Knives with their names and 2019 engraved on them. The trackers were in heaven when they were able to finally use them. When they opened those gifts you would have thought they just won a million dollars. They had something that was special.
 

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Yesterday I began telling the stories behind each hunt. I started on day 1 of our hunt and the story behind that beautiful Kudu. Today is day 1 continued and I will talk about the 2nd of 3 animals for this day. So in the morning I was blessed with the Kudu on a property separate from HH due to the quota being filled at Rocklands. From what I have gathered through asking ?'s and observing is that $$$ is not exchanged between the property owners for the right to harvest the animals. It's more like I scratch your back you scratch my back. For example Boyce asked this land owner for permission to hunt Kudu on his farm. I was told in exchange he is welcome to Rocklands for a big Gemsbok when needed. But if he would have denied us access, that land owner would be denied access as well. That's just ONE of the awesome ways Huntershill can keep their prices so extremely competitive. Other places charge a premium to the land owner (meaning you pay more) plus a substantial markup for animals over a certain size...Not here though. So getting back on track. We had to go up to this land owners skinning shack to drop off my Kudu I had gotten. As part of the deal they get the meat from the animal so they had to cape it there. While we waited Boyce had brought delicious tomato and cheese sandwiches along in the cooler for lunch which his wife Lucy (Head chef at Rocklands) had made. After I tipped the tracker from that property for his help navigating the HUGE farm and getting us to where the Kudu were we made our way back to camp for a little rest before heading out for Impala in the evening. Now the following story happened all in just under a minute so you can understand how big of a rush/confusion/cluster this was. LMAO!!! As we were coming up to the road Boyce yells "FOOKING BIG BABOON"!!! Sure enough I watched as he crossed the highway down a little from us and came to our side of the road. Boyce pulls up the path slowly as he tells me get the gun, load it and shoot. For some reason this baboon sat right there 40 yds from us. I was in the passenger seat (our driver side) but the baboon was on the other side of the vehicle. Boyce says get out and shoot. So I step out to lean over the hood and I hear "WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? GET BACK IN HERE!!! I said what, you told me to fooking shoot.(We did all of this laughing our asses off) He said there is a car coming.(We weren't on the road but close to so of course safety is gonna go to the way side) So I hop back in he puts it in reverse turns around so I can shoot out the window. While he was turning the truck around we are all dieing laughing so hard, he looks at me and says "NOW STOP ACTING LIKE YOU WANT TO GO GIVE HIM CANDY AND A DAMN HUG AND FOOKING SHOOT" If you have never tried concentrating on a shot while laughing so hard to where your gut hurts...It's not easy!!! Surprised this boon was still there after all of this crap as they are the most weary animal I have ever seen. I was able to rest the gun on the mirror and sent the .308 round down range hitting him in the side of the right shoulder. He turned made 2 bounds and fell flat. Now as a lot of you know I can be crazy and loud having a great time giving people crap and talking smack all in fun. Well I warned Boyce about this the first time we met. After I shot Boyce says we need to go get him and get out of here. I had total excitement and panic at the same time when he said that. I said "What am I going to jail? What's wrong?" I looked at Linda in the back with the look on my face saying "What's going on"? She just said TIA (this is Africa) The trackers Mutile and Smiley jump out of the back of the truck and I see Mutile carrying a huge bamboo pole. He looks back (still laughing about this whole ordeal) and says this is my gun. Boyce said if for some reason that baboon is wounded it can get ugly so they were bringing that for defense. While they were retrieving the animal I said to Boyce "What the heck did I just do something illegal"? (It felt like it because here you shoot from a vehicle you're in big trouble) He just looked at me and laughed. Meanwhile the girls just started roaring in the back. They said look at these guys carrying the baboon. Here they come one on each side holding by the arms skipping and swinging this dang thing like you would your kids. It was fricken hilarious. I said to Boyce I'm gonna go see it. He said NO MAN THIS IS A LOAD AND GO!!! Once again he erupted laughing and said I should text this guy and tell him we just shot a baboon on his property. I totally didn't think about that part??? He eventually said everything is just fine he was enjoying me panic so he just kept adding to it. Well played Boyce!!! We are getting a full mount of and we need to have a proper name for him of course. I gave Boyce the honor of coming up with a name. He wanted time to think about it and a couple days later he said Howie "the highway baboon" We all thought that was a great name, so Howie is a very old Boar (male). His hair is exceptional for his age. Usually at that age it's thin and full of bugs and rubbed off. His teeth are HUGE and it's easy to see how they can do a lot of damage. You need to know these baboons are BAD dudes. They are no different than humans. They will break into cars and houses. They will steal and kill pets. I heard that one of the mountains at HH is referred to as Sams mountain. From what I understand Sam was the house Labrador and the baboons killed Sam up there. Baboon was on my list and I knew that if I got one it would most likely be by chance in passing. That's exactly what happened. Now yes I could have sat in a blind over oranges and baited them in but wasn't gonna waste a day just for that. It's a good thing we got Howie when we did because all the other baboons we saw were running full tilt away from us or the other side of the mountain ranges. The plan for the mount will be involving a most likely a cigar in one hand and a beer or candy dish in the other.
 

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Today will wrap up day 1 of hunting with the 3rd animal. Just a recap I was able to harvest a beautiful Kudu in the morning and a HUGE boar Baboon in the afternoon. With all of the events that happened so far on this day we headed back to camp for some rest and only had about an hour and a half of downtime before we met back at the truck at 3pm for our evening hunt. This evening we were actually hunting the Rocklands property for Impala. Boyce knew of 2 huge rams with a group of females (ewes) and the area they frequently stayed. The plan was for Boyce to drop Mutile, Smiley (our trackers) and Myself off to start the spot and stalk in the area of the known Impala. Boyce had to run and get gas in the truck because he was unable to do so with all the events earlier in the day. So Boyce took the girls with him and we were gonna meet up eventually to them waiting at some point. It was nice because it was totally different terrain than the Kudu we had to chase in the mountains earlier. Boyce dropped us off about 1 mile up the trail from the camp and we had to go under a cattle fence. This was actually a huge cow pasture, something like you may see out west with scattered round bushes about head height or a little more. Which made it good and can be bad for spot and stalk. Being spotty gives you the chance to sneak up on animals during a stalk by picking the next bush and get across without being spotted in the meantime. It is also nice because it makes for more shooting options where as in the mountains you most likely have to "thread the needle". Mutile was the "lead/veteran" tracker so he took the lead with the shooting sticks with me following and Smiley behind me, once again walking single file. Upon entering this pasture we saw one of the rams that had jumped up from behind a bush about 100yds out and took off like a streak. We decided to pursue that ram and walked very slowly and quietly. About 25 min had went by and Mutile got a call, it was Boyce. Boyce asked our position and told Mutile that at the end of the trail/drive by the main road he had spotted both rams with the females all in the open. This was the exact direction we were walking. Mutile got off the phone and picked up his binoculars and looked straight ahead so I picked mine up and looked in the direction he was. He turned back to us and repeated what Boyce had told him. Of course the combination of me being myself and this style of hunting bringing out the 10 year old in me, excitement kicked in and I asked Mutile, "Do you see them yet? Where are they"? With a chuckled smile on his face as in what the heck are we dealing with here? he said "yes they are in that open area up there but are making their way to the brush so we must hurry". We had about 700yds to close between us and the impala. After ping ponging from bush to bush and about 30 min later. Mutile stops with a dead stare ahead. He slowly started separating the shooting sticks and never said a word. At this point I'm dumb founded, I don't see what he sees. I'm telling you these guys have eyes you wouldn't believe. He sets the sticks up and signals for me to get set up. He whispers in front of the brush...I looked at him and literally said "Are you high man?" He gave me a landmark to look for. I got back on the scope and sure enough I saw movement just behind the brush. One problem, they were nervous and on us like flies on crap. By the time we met up with them another bachelor group of small rams had joined them making for about 12 sets of eyes watching us. Mutile said 3 from the right take em'. (they always counted from the right) I asked for the yardage just to be sure, Mutile says 150. I found him in the scope but of course had one branch going horizontal the length of his body and right where I needed to put the shot. I said I can't shoot, I have to wait for him to move. Right when I said that one of the Impalas bounded of quickly and the others followed suite. It was a miracle, the ram I was on stopped after jumping about 10yds. I held on the should sent the .308 round down range and he piled up right there. Mutile aggressively said "SHOT, GOOD SHOT". We were pumped to say the least. We walked up to him and they both said that's a BIG ram. After celebrating for a few minutes Mutile called up Boyce and they were talking in their native language which is Casa. Of course not knowing what they were talking about I just stood there until Smiley giggled and I asked him what's so funny? He laughs and in his best english says to me "Mutile tell Boyce you wound him. He say you shot front leg off." I'm here to tell you at that moment us 3 guys became best friends. I was already rubbing off on South African trackers and they were already pranking the PH. (life in Africa is 100% different. there is a very profound pecking order) So we brought the Impala up to the trail even got it all posed for the pics. Then here comes Boyce with the girls hauling up the trail in the truck coming back from getting gas. The dust was just a rolling. The trackers and I were laughing soooo hard as they pulled up. There sat the ram all propped up looking good. They all got out and I kid you not, all 3 of them shouted "YOU A-HOLES" Jenni and Linda were telling me Boyce was HOT after getting off the phone, saying "What the hell did they do shoot 300yds? They had one job I even told them where to go!!! How could they screw this up so badly"? I was rolling from laughing so hard. We were all laughing and having a great time and talking about the panic Mutile had caused. This ended our 1st day of hunting with 3 great animals down. I told the girls later I bet Mutile will be a PH soon. (Which would suck for me because I want Smiley, Mutile, and Boyce on our next trip) Mutile is a very experienced tracker and will definitely move up one day.
 

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Now that day 1 of hunting is all covered we will quickly move through days 2 and 3 and take a couple of days to go through day 4 of our African hunt. On day 2 we were asked to meet for breakfast at 6 am. Boyce joined us as he did with all of our meals. I said to Boyce as he walked into the dining room " Good morning Sir, What's going down today?" He replied (with a smile) "Possibly Gemsbok but we will see." Some how the way I read between the lines with his body language and tone as if he was saying, It's gonna have to be a BRUTE since we already had 3 animals down on day 1. Now me being "me" with the mind and excitement of a 10 year old, I'm like let's rock man!!! I'm ready to drop the hammer. Well after breakfast we loaded up in the truck and we were on our way to pick up Mutile and Smiley from their camp. By this time the sun was above the horizon big and bright. Boyce said let's shoot some Vervet Monkeys. The monkeys would sit in the top of the trees first thing in the mornings to warmup. He pointed and said "You see those white dots in the trees? Those are the monkeys". We got out Boyce set up the sticks and due to the small size of these varmints it looked to me they were out there a mile. I asked for a range, he called out 200 yds. I put the cross hairs on one and sent one down range. That monkey folded over but got hung up in the tree and was unable to get to it. (Now you must understand that there are so many of these critters and they are so destructive to the farmlands and crops that the South African Govt. has made it clear that they may be hunted all year with no limit.) After I shot the rest disappeared. So we waited a couple minutes and they came back out and I shot another one and the exact same thing happened. So we went and picked up our trackers and basically drove around the property all day and really took it easy. We put a stalk on some Gemsbok but they were onto us so quickly and Boyce didn't seem to excited with their sizes. But we saw herds of giraffe, and many other species, and got charged by "Black Death" (Cape Buffalo). Come to find out they were hunkered in the brush as we driving by. Boyce stopped for us to take some pics and evidently they didn't appreciate that. Good thing we were in the truck and were able to get out quickly. (That my friends was awesome)
So that wraps up day 2 and on the morning of day 3 after breakfast we left Rocklands headed over to Huntershill (the main camp) about 2 hours away for a couple of days. On the evening of day 3 we went out looking for my wifes Blue Wildebeest. Jenni is in love with this animal and could not wait to get one. That evening we saw herds of Wildebeests. While we were up on a mountain we spotted a big bull in a herd of about 30. Boyce took Jen as we sat up on the side of the mountain and was able to watch everything unfold. We were able to see 7 Cape Buffalo come out of a low area past them at 50 yds. (That had my attention) A herd of Zebra joined in and one walked up to within 10yds of Jen while she was getting set up. But once those Cape Buffalo's stepped out into the open those Blue Wildebeests headed for the hills and that wrapped up day 3.
At breakfast Boyce was all excited. After a couple of days just taking it all in it was time for the girls to get their animals. Linda Veurink wanted a stallion Zebra. This was her 10th time hunting in Africa and has gotten Zebra but never a stallion. As we were driving around looking for a place to stop and glass we spotted a group of 7 Zebras. After determining there was a stallion Boyce told Linda to grab the gun and for us to stay put. Boyce and Linda were able to get about 60 yds from them and they had NO idea they were there. She made an absolute PERFECT shot on him and he only went 20 yds and piled up. What a great memory!!!
Now it was Jens turn. We chased the dang Wildebeests ALL morning without being able to get within range. These animals travel in large herds and are very skittish. We decided to take Lindas zebra up to the skinning shack at the camp then head back out for another run at the Blues. As we were driving we spotted a herd of Wildebeests laying down in a grove of trees. Boyce stopped and glassed them. He said there is a big bull and told Jen to get her gun. As we stayed back at the truck Boyce and Jenni Ewinghad to close about 150 yds to get a shot. Of course they spotted them and all got up. They trotted about 100 yds from where they were bedded down. Jen had the scope on the big bull but there was another standing behind the one she was going to shoot. Finally that one moved and Jen had about a 150 yd shot, she dropped the hammer and I saw the bullet/shock wave move through the animal looking from my binoculars. It was a perfect hit. He mule kicked to the moon and ran into another wildebeest and fell over. I got out of that truck found them and squeezed the crap out of her. She had finally gotten her Blue Wildebeest. Of course she had to be initiated with the blood of her very 1st African animal!!!
 

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Today I will wrap up day 4 with a story on both girls ostriches. Let me begin by saying that this ostrich part of the hunt was the biggest goat roping rodeo I had ever experienced. Again we were on the actual Huntershill camp property, after the girls getting their zebra and blue wildebeest in the mornings we went in for lunch and a little down time and met back up at the truck at 3pm. Boyce had a plan to drop my wife and myself off along with Mutile to attempt a stalk on a pair of males we had spotted about 400 yds out. While Boyce took Linda and Smiley down the property a couple of miles in the truck and try to push more down to us as well as trying to get Linda her ostrich. Like I said, we drew the short straws and got started on the spot and stalk. Just a couple of "minor" issues. First we only got about 75 yds and had to wait as a herd of Cape Buffalo appeared from the drawl where we needed to get to. We waited for them to move on for about 10 min so that slowed us down a bit. Secondly Ostrich like the 100% wide open areas. Trying to stalk a monster bird that is 400 yds out always on edge and alert through a wide open plain with no brush to hide behind is darn near impossible. We got about to the half way point from the drawl and of course we got pegged and they didn't run but kept walking away from us. It was equivalent to "one step forward two steps back", we were not making head way. Now my wife can shoot trust me, she groups me every time we shoot it's frustrating. We finally made it to the drawl where Mutile got the shooting sticks set up for her. By this time these birds were about 220 yds out and at a steady pace walking from left to right. Now at 200 yds standing still is no problem what so ever for her, but has no experience leading an animal at that distance. Mutile gave her the green light. I was looking through my binoculars and saw the "swirl" of the bullet followed by the dust behind the ostrich. It was a clean miss and that bird took off full steam followed by a dust cloud. Jen was a little flustered but as we sat waiting for Boyce and Linda she regrouped and was ready to go. I told her that was a difficult shot for anyone and no harm no foul. About 10 minutes later we heard a shot off in the distance and I asked Mutile if he thought that was Linda, and he said yes. About 20 minutes passed and Mutile poked his head up over the burm and glassed off in the direction Boyce and Linda were coming from. He said "here come the ostriches, a bunch of them". It was so open that we could see these birds carrying the mail heading right for us and they were still a half mile out. It was nuts. Mutile had a good idea the route they would take around us, so he got Jen up on the sticks all settled in. Well the birds were coming and a half mile behind them was Boyce and Linda (Dukes of Hazzard style) hauling ass chasing them in our direction. (Funniest damn thing ever) All I could think to myself is WTH is going on and (TIA/This Is Africa) all at the same time! Well Mutile was 100% accurate on the route. He said "here they come get ready" (If you have ever hunted these darn things I'm sure you can picture exactly what's going on). Well they came in fast, we whistled to try to stop them but evidently they weren't gonna fall for that and they left even quicker. I thought to myself we need to upgrade to a different animal in place of this ostrich, this is darn near impossible. So they pulled up to us and informed us Linda laid the smack down on a female. Boyce said let's go get Jen one now. I was instructed to get in the bed of the truck with the trackers and Jenni Ewing was to get in the passengers seat with the gun. I knew it was about to get real when the trackers told me to hold on tight. Boyce took off and the chase was on. For about the next 1.5 hrs we tried chasing 4 different groups, hauling ass across the plains, dodging termite mounds and holes. Not once did these birds stand still and give Jen a shot. They weren't even getting tired. I asked Mutile if these birds were on drugs, I never seen an animal go and go and go. He said they will start to slow down because the sun is going down. Their eye sight starts to fade quickly. Sure enough we stayed on this group of 3 with 2 females and 1 male. After boon docking for about 8 miles they slowed down Boyce backed off and by some miracle they stopped about 200 yds from us. Boyce said we only have 10 minutes of hunting light left, you need to shoot. She pulled up I whispered just (center punch em) she sent one down range and that big male piled up into a big ball of feathers. Oh my goodness, what a relief. We were laughing about this whole ordeal and celebrating. What a rush!!!
 

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What a grand time! I’m enjoying your report.
 

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Congrats !!! All Around. SO glad you thoroughly Enjoyed your First but never last trip to Africa. I saw this today and it's funny I've been pulling tags of skins and horns all week with Boyce's name on them as the PH. Mounting about 35 pieces from HH this week and the next 2 weeks . Around here Boyce's name on tags is very familiar as we get Safari's in every month or two from HH with multiple Hunters and Always see Boyce's name on some of those tags....Again Congrats !
 

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Congrats !!! All Around. SO glad you thoroughly Enjoyed your First but never last trip to Africa. I saw this today and it's funny I've been pulling tags of skins and horns all week with Boyce's name on them as the PH. Mounting about 35 pieces from HH this week and the next 2 weeks . Around here Boyce's name on tags is very familiar as we get Safari's in every month or two from HH with multiple Hunters and Always see Boyce's name on some of those tags....Again Congrats !
Thank you Sir!!!
 

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Today brings us up to day 5 and the events and the 3 beautiful animals I was once again blessed with.(split into 3 parts) Now just to quick backtrack, I had up to this point shot all of my animals using a .308 which is not a bad round at all but a little under powered for when matched against some of the larger animals on our list. On day 4 my #1 go to caliber became available at HH...the .270. That's the rifle I would have brought with me to Africa but didn't due to us having a week of traveling and didn't want to deal with hauling it around and blah blah blah. Jen shot her Blue Wildebeest with it and traded the .308 out for it for her Ostrich after Linda Veurink shot her Ostrich with it. Linda also used it on her Zebra. Ok so it's the morning of day 5. We woke up at 4 am to the soft gentle (<<SARCASM) roars of the pride of Lions that were about a mile away (HH breeds them) but not only sounded like but actually felt like only 50 yds away. I've told this story to a few people and I kid you not a couple have commented "ohhhhh I'd be ticked off if I got woken up that early". I told them both well you could go get a spray bottle and go up to the little kitties and spray them and tell them to be quiet. LOL!!!
I realized that there is no better way to wake up than to such a majestic and powerful sound. Psalm 104:21: The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.
At breakfast I asked Boyce what the plan of attack was for the day. He said we would hunt this morning and then after lunch head over to Comre for a couple of days and try to get the remaining animals. This is another camp owned by HH about 1 hour away from the Huntershill camp. Boyce said he wanted to get a Gemsbok for sure this morning and possibly a Zebra and a Blesbuck. While partaking in some fine cocktails the night before, we were talking with one of the other PHs and he asked Boyce what we were going for in the morning, Boyce told him Gemsbok was priority. (Now I will refer back to this part tomorrow when I talk about the Gemsbok) He proceeded to tell Boyce where he has seen a 40"+ female many times. So we ate breakfast at 6 and met at the truck about 6:30. Laughing and joking just like always we made our way up to the mountains. The morning started out calm but the forecast was showing 20+mph for the next 4 days. Boyce wanted to take advantage of the calm while we had it because up in the higher elevations that wind would be worse. Remember our primary target was Gemsbok so we were scanning and glassing trying to find one. We came up to a bend in a trail about half way up this mountain. Boyce told me to grab the .270 (we had both in the truck) and to come with him and for the girls to stay in the truck. For some reason he didn't want to continue driving and made the call to check around this bend on foot almost like he knew there was a good chance of something being around. We walked only about 50-60yds when everything came to a hault and Boyce was setting up shop getting ready to do some work. As he is setting up the sticks he isn't saying a word and I'm standing there with my teeth in my mouth totally clueless as to what he sees. He tells me to get the gun up as he pics up his binoculars and looks. After a few moments of intense glassing he whispers 2 from the right. Literally I said what the "EFF" are you talking about? He comes back and says wait for them to move into the open and turn and take the 2nd from the right. Laughing I said Boyce I need to play catch up here evidently. What and where the hell am I suppose to be looking and seeing. With an excited and quick (panic) tone he says "Zebra man!!! Right there man about 60 yds just behind the bushes. Wait for him to get in the open". Laughing I said "Ohhhhhh now I see!!! Isn't that much easier"??? I got on the scope and again I looked back at him and I said I only see 1 but you said 2 from the right. He said "that's the one" it had stepped out from behind the bushes. By this time about 5 minutes had gone by from the time Boyce spotted the animals and began putting up the shooting sticks and they were already locked onto us and they were getting nervous. A few had already bolted. After I recovered from my "HIAS" head in ass syndrome I locked down on the shoulder and went ahead and dispatched her. She dropped like a ton of bricks. (I thought very briefly to myself something about that recoil was off for some reason) I turned to Boyce and said "Now that's how it's done dawg". He smiled and like with every other animal stayed in all business mode until he knew for a fact that animal has expired. We walked up to it and it was a perfect shot, maybe about 1" to high missing the heart and just taking out lungs. By this time Mutile was driving the truck up to us with the girls. I wanted to put one more round in her just to get it over with. Now she was about 2 minutes from expiring. The will and power these animals have is unbelievable. I asked for Mutile to bring me the .308 (we were a little light on .270 rounds) and I was able to end it right then and there. After all the celebrating I grabbed a .308 shell I had in my pocket and replaced the one I just shot. As I looked at it I see that the round is shorter than the others...I was like wth, if I'm holding the .270 that means I shot the Zebra with the .308 and finished with the .270. Both guns are Howas with suppressors. The only difference and obviously I didn't check for it, is the .308 had a fluted barrel and the .270 didn't. I said "Ummmmm guys I made a mistake. Boyce FransLaughing said "YOU DID WHAT"? I said "yaaaa I'm an idiot"!!! I dropped a Zebra that I specifically wanted the .270 for with a .308. We laughed and laughed about that. Now my Zebra was a female (mare). I had told Boyce what I was looking for in a Zebra and this is what I told him. 1st: It has to be black with white stripes not white with black stripes HaHa. 2nd: I am looking for a mature animal but with a beautiful white clean coloring especially on the face. The females are a lot "brighter" than the males. The males seem to have a darker tone to them. That was just another memory of a lifetime created. It's just awesome when your PH feeds the crap right back at ya. I know these Phs don't have great hunts all the time due to a small group of "stuck up" or the "I'm higher than you" mentality clients. I told Boyce the second I met him "It's gonna be a great week, we like to party and have a great time". I also told him he would never be the same after we were done with him at the end of the week. We couldn't have asked for a better Professional Hunter and 2 trackers. I will be getting this Zebra put on a cherry wood pedestal with a shoulder mount and the back skins laid in the side panels.
 
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SHOCKER

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Continuing along with day 5 of our hunt on June 27. After harvesting the Zebra we took all the pics. By the way just a little side note. For those of you who have not hunted in Africa or been with someone who has, when you get an animal it's a big production. First, nothing is rushed, everyone involved really takes it all in and enjoys the animal and the moment. There is nothing but the upmost respect for the animal and the hunter after a harvest has been made. Just taking a quick pic and throwing the animal in the back of the truck is the furthest scenario from what actually happens. First, like I just said from my experience every animal I was blessed with we all celebrated and looked at them and studied the awesome characteristics they have to offer. Secondly, Boyce would stand and look around for the best angle and best layout for the pictures. Thirdly, the trackers always had water and a rag to wipe off the majority of the blood from the animal. Fourth thing they would do is pull/cut any vegetation and move rocks so the pictures are staged beautifully and all the attention is on the animal. We had it a few times where the head would not balance correctly so Mutile would actually lay behind the animal totally hidden and would be balancing the entire head of the animal and it would appear to just be resting on the ground and nobody can even tell. I took a few behind the scene shots of this with my wifes Blue Wildebeest just to show people.
So back to the hunt. After loading the Zebra into the truck I asked Boyce what the plan was. He said that he would drop Mutile, the girls and myself off at the top of a ridge just up a ways to begin glassing for Gemsbok while he took the Zebra back to the skinning shack so Smiley could get a head start. This morning was unbelievable as all the right cards fell into our laps. We had only been in the truck for about 5 minutes driving down the trail to our drop off point when all of a sudden Boyce hits the breaks throws it in park, tells me to get the .270 and get it loaded. He told the girls to stay at the truck. Now it didn't take long at all to start reading Boyces tone/body language. For example we were just laughing, joking and having a great time when all at once he turned his head to the right and stopped on a dime. This is where he put the all business hat on and he saw something he liked. As we started walking I still didn't know what the heck he was looking at it could have been 1 of any of the 4 animals I had left on the list. As we started walking my words to Boyce was "Soooo ummmmm...What are we stalking?" He said "Gemsbok". Once again me being worse than a kid in a candy store all excited and forgetting that maybe this would be a good time to shut my mouth and be quiet. NOPE!!! I kept spitting out more dumb questions like "how far" (I still had no idea where to look) "where are they" "how many". I admit I'm sure Boyce thought I was on crack. He literally turned to me and said "we really need to be quiet, they are about to head for the hills". We walked about only 60 yds from the truck to get in a clear shooting position. Boyce got the shooting sticks up and told me to get set up. Once I got on the scope once again I couldn't see where they were, these Gemsbok having the colors on their body that they do and the backdrop of the side of that mountain were one in the same. Just like my Kudu Boyce Frans had to put the scope on them for me like a little kid would have his dad do. He told me to look again and I said "ohhhhhhh hey I see em' now". Their was a group of 5 standing up on the side of this mountain. Just to be safe and make sure I was on the animal he wanted me to shoot he said "far left bull facing directly at us". I replied "on him". As I flipped the switch to kill he called out "200 on the dot, take him". Having the .270 and knowing this caliber very well, that was a no brainer. I held directly on his chest and squeezed. Again I heard that distinct hollow "THUD" of the bullet hitting and watched him drop like a sack of potatoes through the scope. All at the same time I heard Boyce say the one word every hunter loves hearing from the PH, "SHOT". That bull never moved another inch. Still in serious mode, Boyce said let's get up there. It's never a done deal until you walk up on it. So we got up to it and I was just in awe. What a beautiful animal these are up close and in person. The coloring on their faces remind me of a clown in a way. I grabbed a hold of those horns and tried to fit my hand around the bases and I couldn't. I looked at Boyce and said "so I take it this a good bull"? He said "no a good bull is only average this is an EFFING PROPER BULL BUD!!! I asked what he thought it measured in length and he said 38" for sure. As the girls and trackers were walking up to it Linda Veurinks jaw hit the ground and she said with lots of excitement and shock "MATT THAT THING IS HUGE!!! HOLY "CRAP" DO YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU JUST SHOT?!" Then Smiley one of our trackers he got all sorts of excited and with almost at a loss of words i picked out of his broken english which made it harder to understand with him being excited "I've never seen such a bull". That's what I gathered anyway.
Yesterday I mentioned that another Ph had told Boyce about a 40"+ female that was in that area. Both males and females have horns. The females tend to be on the longer side than the males but with skinny horns and not a lot of mass. Where as the males tend to be shorter but with much more mass making the males a preferred trophy over females by a lot of hunters. Still learning about what is an average trophy compared to an exceptional trophy I asked lots of ?s. I asked what is the average size for a male. I was told 35"-36" area. They said 40"+ female would be an absolute monster. Mine was a 38" bull which either way you slice it, is going in MY record book. It was another awesome adventure to say the least. This all happened quicker than expected. I shot the Zebra at 8:15 am and the Gemsbok at 8:55 am.
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SHOCKER

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Day 5 wrap up and how I got my 3rd animal of the morning and #6 of the trip. After we got the Gemsbok all loaded which was on top of the Zebra in the bed of the truck, Boyce said "well now we try for Blesbok". Being a smaller animal I traded out the .270 for the .308. Like I said yesterday, we owned the morning. Everything fell into place so well it was unbelievable. We only got down the trail about 5 minutes and off to the left we booted a heard of at least 50 Blesbok!!! They were down in the brush when we jumped them and they were running along side of us about 175-200 yds out and were in the wide open. Boyce pinned the brakes told the girls to stay put and for me to get out and put one in the chamber. By this point they had cleared a "knoll/smaller hill" and we couldn't see them. Last we saw them they were heading hauling ass and appeared they weren't gonna stop until they hit Namibia. If I was a bettin' man I would have lost a lot of $$$. I was sure they were 2 mountain ridges away by now. We only had to walk about 30 yds. to actually be able to see what was on the other side. We both spotted the whole heard directly at the base of the last hill at the top of this mountain. They also spotted us, all 50+ sets of eyes. We didn't let any grass grow under our feet. Boyce threw the sticks up I got on the scope and Boyce while glassing them and ranging them said shoot the 4th from the right facing away. I was glad it was an easy one on the end and him not trying to tell me "20 from the right" that would have sucked trying to get on the same page. I should also remind you that the winds were suppose to be gusty and let me tell you, they were especially up in the total open and also on top of a dang mountain. I knew it was a poke and I knew that the .308 drops 2" at 200 yds. I asked for him to call out the range. Boyce said 250 put at the top of his back. At this point they were now seconds away from heading up that last hill and gone forever. The ram I was quartering away so I put the crosshairs oh the ridge of his back and about 3" behind the shoulder to both compensate for wind drift and try to drive that bullet through the whole boiler room. I flipped the switch got steady and squeezed....CLICK!!! I was to excited and forgot to actually put a bullet in the chamber when Boyce asked be to. OOPS. Boyce looks at me and says "What the hell man don't take that shot, wait for him to turn broadside and put a damn bullet in". All while laughing of course like always. In my defense he did tell me to shoot the 4th from the right. (Just saying) I responded back to him while I was looking through the scope waiting for the ram to turn, "so you were actually serious when you told me to put a bullet in huh"?(me being the smart ass I am) I seen him laugh and shake his head out of the corner of my eye. Just seconds later the Blesbok turned broadside. Again I put it on the ridge of the back and about 2" behind the shoulders. I took the safety off and sent one down range and "THUD" the sound of that bullet smacking him and Boyce Frans saying "SHOT" he dropped and never moved. I was amazed. I'm glad I moved my shot back 2" because the bullet hit the front part of the should where the neck meets the body. It was perfect "up and down". This all happened only 20 min from when we finished loading the Gemsbok. What a great morning!!!
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SHOCKER

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Day 6 Friday June 28: After another beautiful breakfast at 6am we got all set and met up at the truck to pick up the trackers Mutile and Smiley from the trackers camp just up the driveway. I asked Boyce Frans what the plan was for today. He said we should go after Steenbok right away while they are still out feeding. He said we have until about 8:30-9:00 for our best chances until they go bed down for the day until they move again at night. Then we would do spot and stalk on Springbok. The Steenbok are typically hunted from the back of a vehicle where you can have a better chance of seeing these tiny animals. Boyce said he knew where a PROPER Steenbok was, so we headed up into the mountain where we had shined the night before in search of this bad boy.
After about an hour of driving around and not much of anything moving except a herd of Blesbok down in the valley, our hunting plans switched gears. We had kicked up 2 Springbok rams and like every other time I've seen them, they were booking it and these animals don't stop. They are called Springbok for a very good reason. As they run it looks like they are on a "pogo stick" on steroids. These things are bouncing and running everywhere and I even seen them clear a 6ft tall bush instead of going around it, like it was nothing. They are VERY elusive.
So we jumped these 2 rams about 100yds ahead of us and Mutile glassed them and told be to keep my eye on the 2nd ram because that was a shooter. Low and behold they stopped about 200yds from us and Boyce inched closer to them slowly. Now I had the .308 back in my hand since we were going after smaller animals and we were within range of them. I told Mutile to have Boyce stop as these boys were about to bolt any second. I asked for the range just to be sure. I heard Boyce call out 170. Now FYI, these Springbok are not as big as they look. They are a very small target and even being at 170yds doesn't help a whole lot either. With a HARD quartering to shot I was able to put the crosshairs about 1" high on the chest/shoulder, squeezed, and sent a round down range..."THUD" that beautiful sound of that bullet hitting it's target and down he went. Mutile said "SHOT, GREAT SHOT"!!!
Now a cool thing about the Springbok is after it is dead the hair on it's back will stand straight up for literally only a couple of minutes. It is a great photo opportunity if you are able to get to it quick enough. I'm telling you that ram wasn't on the ground 5 seconds and both Mutile and Smiley were literally jumping out of the back on a dead sprint, grabbed the Springbok and sprinted back to us so we were able to get that awesome pic. After 2-3 minutes you can watch the hair just slowly lay back down into place. Also when the hair is up it lets off a little scent. Best way I can describe it is just a real light sweet musty scent. Their horns are really cool as they kind of have a heart shape to them. Like I said, these Springbok are small. Really weight wise 50 lbs would be on the high side. I'm guessing maybe 40-45 lbs. It is a great representation of the species. What a beautiful animal. They are VERY delicious as well!!!
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Shootist43

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Shocker that was one heck of a hunt. Have you and the girls already booked a return date?
 

SHOCKER

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Shocker that was one heck of a hunt. Have you and the girls already booked a return date?
Not yet but it is definitely going to happen soon. First we will get these animals back and shipping paid for then start planning the next trip to Huntershill. Hope to get a couple hunts off some auctions this winter to there. Africa is like crack...I need my fix already!!!
 

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