SOUTH AFRICA: Huntershill Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by accipiter, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. accipiter

    accipiter AH Enthusiast

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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
     

  2. accipiter

    accipiter AH Enthusiast

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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.
     
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  3. accipiter

    accipiter AH Enthusiast

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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
     
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  4. accipiter

    accipiter AH Enthusiast

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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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  5. accipiter

    accipiter AH Enthusiast

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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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  6. accipiter

    accipiter AH Enthusiast

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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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  7. accipiter

    accipiter AH Enthusiast

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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!
     

  8. accipiter

    accipiter AH Enthusiast

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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
     
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  9. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Congratulations on a successful hunt.
     
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  10. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Congratulations on quite the haul! You sure kept the skinners busy!
     
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  11. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Elite

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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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  12. accipiter

    accipiter AH Enthusiast

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    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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  13. accipiter

    accipiter AH Enthusiast

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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
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2019

  14. accipiter

    accipiter AH Enthusiast

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    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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  15. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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

  16. BenKK

    BenKK AH Elite

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

    flatwater bill AH Elite

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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
     

  18. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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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
     

  19. accipiter

    accipiter AH Enthusiast

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    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

    IMG_2607.JPG


    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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  20. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats, that was a great hunt !
     
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