SOUTH AFRICA: Huntershill Safaris

accipiter

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Outfitter: Huntershill Safaris, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Booking Agent: Pascal @One Day...

Date: September 2019; 7 nights, 6 full hunting days

PH: Jason Olivier, Huntershill’s Head PH; also Henro at the Hunter’s Haven Property

Trackers: Jeff and Strahli

Rifle: Camp Rile, Howa 1500 (Made in Japan) in 300 Win Mag fitted with a suppressor and Bushnell scope


Animals Killed (19 total)
Free Range Areas Trophy Animals
  • Kudu
  • Bushbuck
  • Warthog
Game Fenced Areas Trophy Animals
  • Bushpig (in daylight)
  • Mountain Reedbuck
  • Impala
  • Steenbok
  • Black Springbok
  • Baboon (alpha male)
Management Animals
  • Blue Wildebeest Bull
  • Broken Horn Impala Ram
  • Blesbok Ram
  • Black Wildebeest
  • Eland Cow
  • Red Hartebeest
  • Warthog
  • Broken Horn Duiker
  • Kudu Cow
  • Vervet Monkey

Summary
Huntershill exceeded all of my expectations. It was my most successful safari with 19 quality animals over 6 full days of hunting. Their hunting properties are large, their PHs are dilligent, and I enjoyed the company of every Huntershill staff member. Despite Huntershill’s extremely competitive pricing, there were so many extras that exceeded my expectations such as gourmet meals, comfortable and private lodging, great equipment and night hunting. I will book a return trip for 2022.


Background
In January 2019 I attended the Dallas Safari Club Convention for the first time. I stopped by the Huntershill booth and had a long chat with a Texas-based booking agent who organizes an annual group hunt at Huntershill. I liked what I heard but I had some doubts because their pricing was almost too good to be true. After returning home, I read through Pascal’s Huntershill hunt report here on AH and I was sold. I went to the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with my checkbook to put down a deposit. Upon returning home, I sent a PM to Pascal notifying him that I booked a safari with Huntershill, largely based on his positive hunt report on AH. He asked if I had a specific plan in place and I replied “other than the management animals in my package, I would like to take some trophy animals if the opportunity presents itself.” Pascal provided some suggestions, particularly about the different properties and areas, and soon thereafter I asked if he could help me with a detailed plan.

Pascal made a custom contract for me that included the animals and types of habitat that I sought. I was very focused on a trophy male baboon so that was part of the plan, in addition, I wanted to do some mountain hunting so Mountain Reedbuck was added. The final contract had 11 animals with a plan to hunt 3 different areas.


Report13.JPG

PH Jason (left) and PH Henro (right) pictured with a free-range East Cape Bushbuck I killed on day 4
 

accipiter

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Arrival Day
I was picked up at East London airport by Aubrey, their driver. He drove me back to the lodge in a Nissan SUV and upon arrival at 8:00 PM dinner was waiting for me.

The chef was from the Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville) so throughout the stay I used some French to compliment his cooking.


Day 1
The next morning we went out to the range to shoot the 300 Win Mag loaner rifle.

Report24.JPG

Camp Rifle, Howa 1500 in 300 Win Mag

It was a few inches off target so we made some adjustments to the scope and went off looking for animals. We came across a herd of blesbok and decided to put on a stalk. After trotting along a hillside, we came into a great position with the herd 125 yards away. I set the rifle on a boulder in the prone position, and took a shot at 114 yards. I missed! I shot high and to the right, completely missing the blesbok. That was a very easy shot so that was a disappointing start to a safari. Jason, playing the role of psychiatrist, consoled me and told me not to get upset as more opportunities abound.
He premonition was true as one hour later I redeemed myself with a 287 yard shot on a management Blue Wildebeest.

IMG_2159.JPG



Although this was a management animal, I surmise this animal is the same size as trophy wildebeest I have taken on prior safaris.

In the afternoon we headed to another property, Hunter's Haven.
 

accipiter

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Day 2
Henro is the PH at the Hunter's Haven property so he joined us for this portion of the safari. This turned out to be my lucky day. We came across a sleeping bushpig across a gorge. I set up for the shot, at 187 yards, and nailed him. Jason recorded this shot on video and it turns out there was a second bushpig behind the one I shot. I can scratch this sought-after species off my list.

Report5.JPG




On the drive back to the lodge, I shot a vervet monkey with a 22-250. Although there was no charge for this animal, I will get a skull mount as it is my first monkey.



Day 3
I killed a management warthog mid-day and then killed a broken-horn impala in the afternoon.

Report9.JPG



Although this impala was charged at a management price, it is a trophy in my mind and will be placed in my trophy room.

The day finished with a trophy Steenbok.

Report11.JPG
 

accipiter

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Day 4
This would prove to be a busy day of shooting with a trophy impala, management blesbok ram and cull kudu cow in the morning.

Report12.JPG




In the afternoon we hunted in nearby pastures. These pastures were lined with cattle fences.
Report29.JPG




Our target was bushbuck, and we saw many, but most of them were females. I took a trophy warthog in the lucerne field.

Report27.JPG



We scored a very large bushbuck.

Report13.JPG
 

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Day 5
Our priority was to focus on the remaining management animals in my package: Black Wildebeest, Eland and Red Hartebeest. We took all three on day 5.

Report17.JPG


This was my first Eland and although it was a female, I was impressed with the size of these beasts.

In the late afternoon, we would be traveling to a free range area to target Kudu. Along the way, we got a great opportunity at this Mountain Reedbuck.

Report25.JPG



We got to the neighboring property, a low fence property, with the aim to take a trophy kudu. This proved to be a well-deserved animal. We were crawling on our bellies, scaling rock outcroppings and when it came for the shot I actually used Jason's shoulder as a rest!

Report20.JPG
 

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Day 6
This was my last hunting day and I was a bit worried about failing to get chance at a baboon in the first 5 days. Jason said "no problem, you will get a shot today" and he was right. I not only got one, but it was an alpha male.

Report19.JPG

Jeff, one of the trackers for my safari, pictured with a trophy baboon


Later that afternoon I connected with my first springbok.
Report23.JPG
 

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Everything was great about this safari. I owe @One Day... a debt of gratitude for helping with the planning process. I will be returning!
 

accipiter

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My taxidermy plans include 13 Euro mounts, 2 skull mounts (Baboon and Vervet Monkey), 2 sets of tusks on plaques (Bushpig and Warthog), and a flatskin of the Mountain Reedbuck.

Report22.JPG
 

BRICKBURN

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Congratulations on a successful hunt.
 

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Congratulations on quite the haul! You sure kept the skinners busy!
 

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I don't believe I have ever seen an impala that I liked better than that heavy old warrior.
Good report on a good outfitter............thanks and congrats...............FWB
 

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I don't believe I have ever seen an impala that I liked better than that heavy old warrior.
Good report on a good outfitter............thanks and congrats...............FWB

Thank you, sir. I made the joke with my PH that it is a “dagga boy” impala.

Initially, we got within 300 yards and had to crawl to close the gap. We managed to crawl to within 180 yards before I took a shot. One of many memorable stalks with a young, energetic PH.
 

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Here are some of the flavorful dishes I enjoyed.

81DA92EA-A4CA-41A9-ACB5-9536AED15D66.jpeg

Dinner: Kudu steak au jus, couscous, sautéed vegetables



B064828A-10CA-42D8-9AFE-A508AC98C17A.jpeg

Lunch: Chicken curry, rice, fresh vegetables



A709C004-987A-46E8-8738-4C87F47A426C.jpeg

Dinner: Springbok filets, macaroni and sautéed vegetables


2EB934E2-18A4-4123-B311-05457E517C15.jpeg

Lunch: Breaded chicken cutlet, pommes frites, salad with buttermilk dressing
 
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accipiter

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Congratulations on quite the haul! You sure kept the skinners busy!

Indeed!
The trackers did the skinning. Strahli did not speak English but could understand it. Jeff, on the other hand, spoke proper British English (close to the “Queen’s English”). I went to the skinning area often to observe their skill dismantling the animals. It was a pleasure to tip them on last day.
 

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That's a lot of trigger time! Congrats and thanks for sharing!
 

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Accptr................good to have a solid PH behind you when facing a dagga boy.......a raging impala can absorb a lot of lead...............you got some other fine trophies as well...like the food fotos......looks great.......FWB
 

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That is a lot of shooting in 6 days. That is a great bushbuck and one of the heaviest mtn reedbucks that I've seen. Nice impala too. Sounds like you had a wonderful hunt. Congrats.
Bruce
 

accipiter

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Nice bushbuck! Congrats on the baboon, too! They’re a wily animal. Can you tell more about the baboon hunt?

Of course, it would be a pleasure!

On my prior safari in Limpopo I killed an old baboon. That was my first baboon and it was really challenging after missing shots all week. My wife has a "no primates in the house" rule with regard to taxidermy. So I did not bring back that baboon and have always regretted that decision. Thus, a day or two focusing on baboon was an important aspect of this safari. Pascal (@One Day...) designated one day at a nearby sheep farm which has a mountain populated by baboon troops. This area contains mountain species such as Mountain Reedbuck, so most guys find the baboons an annoyance or an outright hindrance to their pursuit of mountain species. However, we did not pursue this option because I already bagged a Mountain Reedbuck the night before and there were baboons coming a bait pile. Due to the time of year, Huntershill was able to get oranges from a nearby processing facility. The baboons were hitting these oranges the past few days.

IMG_2559.JPG


So on morning of day 6, I went into a blind about 30 yards from this bait pile. I set the rifle on a chair, wrapped the suppressor with a fleece vest and positioned it so the suppressor protruded about 2 inches from the cutout window.

IMG_2561.JPG



We heard the baboons barking on a mountain behind us and 90 minutes into the sit, a lone male came down to munch on the oranges. One shot from the 300 Win Mag and it was lights out. I was surprised how fast it transpired. We went back to the lodge and since it was the last day, we took a few hour break during midday. I went back to my chalet to catch up on emails and messages:

IMG_2590.JPG

In 2019, Huntershill's day fee was 260 USD. I have stayed in a Waldorf Astoria (Versailles, France) that costs twice as much but does not come close to this level of comfort.


We went back to the blind for the remainder of the afternoon and a rhino come in to snack on the oranges.

IMG_2608.JPG


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There is a black springbok in this image. After the rhino left a few black springbok ewes came in. Eventually a nice trophy male followed and I decided to take him. That was the end of the shooting.

This last day was very relaxed after five days of really hard hunting, mostly in the mountains. Some nights we did not finish until 11:00 PM so it was nice to have a relaxed last day.
 

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Congrats, that was a great hunt !
 

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