SOUTH AFRICA: Hunting Africa For The First Time!

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It’s been 18 months in the planning. Found an outfitter from NECG. Made contact and sent in my deposit. Booked my flights 9 months ago. Los Angeles to Germany to Jberg to Port Elizabeth for our ten day safari adventure. Then to Cape Town for five days as a vacation!!
I traveled with my 13 year old son, a sharp shooter at the age of nine.
I found this website after doing some research, best thing I have ever found. I must give a shout-out to everyone who has ever posted about going to or traveling to South Africa. A big thanks to Jennifer at @TRAVEL EXPRESS, with everything going on in the world today she made it happen for us, we did have some changes made but she took care of them all. Philip Glass who made videos just for me!!! Well it seemed like they were made just for me….He also took the time to answer my PM messages. Thanks also to Beemaa who called and spoke to me for 50 minutes. I can honestly say this website and members made my trip a dream come true.

We left June 11 from Los Angeles to Frankfurt Germany. 11 hour flt, 10 hour layover then on to Jberg for a 12 hour flt with another 6 hour layover at Jberg to get to Port Elizabeth. So all in all about 24 hours of flight time with about 20 hours of layovers, two days to just get there. Thank God for lounges and books.

Upon arriving our owner picked us up and brought us to the lodge. They had dinner ready for us and we met everyone including our PH, he would be with us for the next ten days. They did start us off with dry sausage and Biltong, wow so good. They served this to us at every dinner too.

After breakfast we drove to our first ”farm” which is 30 square miles and next to Addo reserve. Today was kudu, we walked around looking for the grey ghost and never saw them, saw a nice warthog so I took the shot, he ran about 20 yards and expired. My first African animal, simply awesome.

We continued to walk and glass. We ate lunch and drove to the top of the hill to glass some more. We saw a lot of animals but mostly small bulls. We drove up another hill stopped the car and started to walk, it was about five o’clock, the sun was behind us, the wind was perfect, as we walked to the top we saw a nice old bull eating, the PH set up the sticks the kudu was a 1/4 broadsided so I took the shot. Heart and lung with a broken right front leg. He dropped on the spot. I couldn’t believe how fast it all happed. Day one was epic. Dinner was served around 7. Kudu was the main course, not the one I shot. I was in bed by 9 as I couldn’t keep my eyes open. We walked and stalked about 8 miles. An awesome first day.

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CAustin

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Yes thank the lord for lounges
 

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Day 2

Woke up around 6 am. Ate breakfast and was out the door by 630. We drove about 2 hours to our next farm, about 100 sq miles. Today we are hunting gemsbok. I must tell you this is one of my all time favorite African animals, it was on my list of things to shoot while I was here. But since I got two animals yesterday I thought I would let my son take this one. Besides the mount will be going into my room anyway. I traveled half way around the world to bond with my son, it’s about the time spent enjoying our hunt, not the animals we hunted.

We drove to the main farm house and picked up two more trackers. They sat in the back smoking tobacco rolled with phone book paper? As we drove up the large hill we saw some mountain zebra and gemsbok, we started to walk and stalk the gemsbok. They were all lined up about 200 meters down hill from us, the wind was blowing very hard about 16-20 knots. The PH set up the sticks and my son shot low, loaded in another round but the herd started to run. They ran for the next six hours. Every time they saw us they ran. We used the truck to flank them which was awesome as it worked but the animals kept running right by us without ever stopping.
Two zebras ran right by us about 25 away, it was fantastic to watch and hear.
We drove up a hill and spotted them again, one stopped and then separated herself from the others. We set up for the downhill shot, about 60 meters. My son fired the gun and dropped her. I must confess I never saw the animal myself until we walked up to it. I was looking too close and from where I stood my vision was blocked. Another awesome day what a magnificent African animal.
Dinner was nyala which was very good.

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Nyati

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Doing nicely, keep it up :A Popcorn:
 

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Good to see you enjoying yourself.
 

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Day three,

We went back to the first property this morning after breakfast. Today’s hunt was for impala. As we drove up to the property we waved to the owner who was about to take off in his gyrocopter. It was explained to us by the PH that since some of his property is next to the Addo reserve he inspects the fencing everyday. We drove around for a while then started to walk around, most of the animals we saw were too young. It was explained to us that the horns haven’t turned out meaning the animal is too young.
After a while we ate lunch and started to drive again to the other side of the property, the tracker saw something so we got out and started to walk. We saw a bunch of warthogs with sheep and a single older bull mountain reedbuck. He was eating and walking and stopping to look around with his rear towards us. The PH set up the sticks but we used an old fence post instead. We were there for about ten minutes waiting to get a shot. The top of his back was the only thing we could see as he walked into a ditch. He was about 75 meters away. All of a sudden we heard crows flying off behind us , the reedbuck moved and my son took the shoot. A perfect shot as the reedbuck dropped!! Just then the owner and his son came up riding mountain bikes. We thanked them scaring the crows causing the reedbuck to move giving us the perfect shot. They actually thought they caused us to blow the shot. Since we had another four to five hours to go we would tried to find the impalas. About three hours later we were stalking an old bull with a female. We got about 100 meters away and my son took the shot. I saw the female run away as I saw the bullets hit the ground. I never saw the bull. As we walked around we didn’t see any blood trail. About ten minutes later the PH found the dead impala about 20 yards behind where the shot was taken. It was a great shot and a beautiful impala.
We ate impala for dinner again not the animal we shot that day. I can tell you I’m not a big fan. A little chewy for my taste.

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Day four
Woke up early and left after breakfast. Drove to our biggest farm yet, 150 sq miles. We drove for about two hours. We checked in with the manager as the owner was on vacation. He gave us a gate key for the other side of the property

We drove for about 10 minutes the tracker stopped the car and we all got out, we saw a herd of blue wildebeest. They were about 150 meters up the hill. We walked thru the heavy brush to try and get a shot. The only thing I was thinking about was how we are going to carry this animal out. I was on the sticks waiting for a big male to show himself. He never did. The small herd walked up the hil and disappeared.
We drove around the property and right by two giraffes eating. Pretty awesome for a California boy. Then we saw warthogs running with impalas.
We walked around to glass around we saw another small herd of giraffes. After that we drove around then the tracker stopped us, we got out of the car and saw a blue wildebeest about 750/800 meters away. To me it looked like a bush. We grabbed the rifle and started the stalk. Stopped at 450 meters then 350 meters. We continued to slowly stalk from tree to large bush to tree again. We got about 257 meters from him plus we saw four waterbucks next to him. The PH told us these animals are like alarms for other animals. The blue guy had his butt towards us then he turned broadside, I took the shot and heard it hit. The beast shock it off and ran across the field. I loaded for a second shot but he disappeared around the hill
We walked to the top of the hill and found a small road. I followed around the road and the PH spotted the animal feet up in the air. Told me it might not be mine? As we got closers it was my animal. The double lung shot some how made his belly huge and bloated. He died on the road instead of running downhill.
We we’re done by 11am so I told everyone I would buy an African lunch and a small shop on the way home. Great day with an awesome lunch. I feed four guys with extra food and drinks for under 22$

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Day five. Springbok!!!

Woke up again early today for a two hour drive. Drove to a farm that has black, copper and common. We’re after common. We drove around the property and walked up a hill to glass 360 degrees. We saw a lot of them, just not what we were looking for. Finally we spotted about 6 with a nice bull. We walked down the hill and the stalk was on, the tracker stayed to spot for us. We came close several times but a shot never came. We drove around to the other side and was surprised to see a very large herd of black springbok circling us. We ate lunch and watched them for about 20 minutes running around us. There were a few common amongst them with no shot to had.
We walked up the hill which was a plateau which overlooked the valley. We spotted an old male by himself. He was 300 meters away. We started to stalk him. He kept moving so we flanked him and got about 120 meters downhill shot. My son took the shot and shot him in the back of one lung and above the belly. The animal ran then staggered then dropped dead. He ran about 50 yards. Really nice blood trail as we came up to him. He was a great animal.
We got home early and found some zebras but nothing was good enough to shot. We packed it in and will come back tomorrow

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Day 6

Zebra is on menu for today’s hunt. This will make my son fifth animal here in South Africa. Ever since I asked him if he wanted to come here, all he ever wanted was a zebra.
No driving today as we will be hunting on the farm where the lodge is. We walked around trying to look for them. The tracker was on a hill spotting for us. Every time we got close they would run away. After lunch the stalk was on again. We flanked them and got with in 50 meters. Then about 8 of them ran away when we came out to set up the sticks. But two were still eating grass and didn’t know we were there.
The owner told my son earlier that day to make a head shot between the eyes as to have an awesome rug made from it.
My son still on the sticks waited for the other zebra to move from behind the male. After about 6 minutes, I know because I videotaped the entire shot. He took the shot, the zebra was dead before he hit the ground. The bullet was felt right behind the head into the neck area. The funny thing is the shot was about an inch off center and my son felt bad about it? Other than that he was the happiest child alive. It’s great to spend time with your children.
I sent the video to the owner, he sent it out to everyone he knew. I think he was more proud of my son than I was. In the 23 years of hunting he has never seen a child hunt a Gemsbok and shot a zebra with a head shot.

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Your son is doing really good! You must be a good teacher.
 

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Congratulations to you and your son, what a great trip to share. Really enjoying your hunt report and photos!
 

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Thanks for all the great support. I have to tell you all when I had kids I just did what I have always done. I took them deep sea fishing, they love it. I taught them how to make breakfast so I can get another 20 minutes of sleep. I took my son hunting at 9, he was there just to learn about gun safety and hike with the rifle. A pig presented itself, he took the shot. The animal was wounded from someone else so the land owner told him to go get another one. He did a 450 lbs pig. Each one was a headshot. That’s my boy. I’ve taken fly tying classes with my kids. We all love ocean and freshwater fly fishing. Both my kids today are great cooks and bakers. Everything we hunt and catch we eat. They do very well in school to. I’m a very lucky man.
 

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