SOUTH AFRICA: Hunting With Big Game Hunting Adventures

Lou Toweill

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I returned on June 20 from South Africa where I had a great hunt with Big Game Hunting Adventures. I had signed up for the trip after visiting with John McAdams, having met him at a booth at the Puyallup, Washington, sportsman’s show. John was very patient in answering my questions in the coming weeks to help me prepare for the hunt. I felt very prepared before I left the US. They are a veteran-friendly organization and certainly treated me well as a vet.

The PH’s, Kobus Kok and Johan Seyffert, met me right at the airport in Johannesburg even though I arrived late at night and drove me to their hunting camp. Black wildebeest and blesbok scattered as we approached camp in the darkness.

I borrowed one of their 30-06’s with 180 grain bullets for all my hunting and felt afterwards that it was the right gun for the plains game. We shot at a target in the morning to make sure everything was on track and started hunting. The landscape consisted of open areas, fairly thick brushy areas and areas of scattered trees. The vegetation included many blue gum trees and acacia thorn bushes. Before long, Kobus and I encountered a beautiful nyala (in a brushy area) which I took. We saw too many animals to count in the herds of black wildebeest, blesbok and springbok as we hunted during the week. Vervet monkeys played around the main camp buildings. In the afternoon I took a good blesbok which stopped at the rear of one of the herds.

On the second morning, we found a kudu bull and female feeding on a hillside. We ran down the road and I shot the male. The crew was very good at setting up tripod sticks for my shots all week. We rested in the main camp for the noon meal and went out again in the afternoon. A big waterbuck was standing in a different position than I thought and I unfortunately wounded him. We trailed him for about 3 miles before we caught up with him again and finished him off. I was impressed with the ability of the crew to track a wounded animal so well. Fortunately that did not happen again.

I killed a nice impala on the third morning. That left only a warthog on my wish list so we hunted for one all afternoon without success but Kobus was optimistic that we would find one. We did finally take one on the fourth morning.

Having filled my desired list of animals, I turned down an opportunity to hunt zebra and springbok on the next day so Johan took me to the Cradle of Civilization museum and the adjoining Sterkfontein cave where we saw blind cave shrimp that had no pigment.

Johan and I had a shore barbeque the following day and went fishing for trout and bass.

On the last day, we gathered the trophies and took them to a taxidermist at Pretoria for dipping prior to obtaining export permits and shipping to the US. Then we went to a historical museum called the Voortrekker Monument which tells the story of some of the mostly European people who settled in South Africa. We finished up by eating a light lunch and doing some shopping for souvenirs before arriving at the airport for the flight home. I certainly had mixed emotions leaving after such an excellent week of adventure.

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cpr0312

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Welcome to AH @Lou Toweill !

Congrats on your safari, please share some pics when you can!
 

BRICKBURN

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Glad you enjoyed your hunting trip.


Welcome to AH.
 

cpr0312

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Congrats on your trophies and thanks for sharing!
 

BGHA

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It was a pleasure hosting you on your hunt Lou! We're really glad to hear you had a great trip!
 
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cagkt3

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Congrats sir!
 

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Welcome to AH, Lou, and congrats on your hunt !
 

Lou Toweill

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After assembling my thoughts a bit more clearly, let me expand on the details of the how the hunting itself unfolded for those who are interested. They reveal how not everything goes according to our plans but still comes together for a great hunt.

Tuesday morning, June 13, was the start of the hunt. Ostriches strutted near camp and I was warned to keep a wary eye on them since they are known to be mean at times. I borrowed a 30-06 from Kobus and used 180 grain cartridges. I had used this combination for years on deer and elk so I was very comfortable with it. In hindsight, it was a good choice for the plains game I was after.

We shot the rifle at 100 meters (109 yards) to be sure it was working for me. I placed two shots in the black so we started hunting. We had not been hunting long before we encountered a nyala in heavy brush and only about 25 yards away. I found my scope to be instantly blurred from looking toward the sun. The nyala was patient so I finally found him through the scope and shot. He ran to a small creek at the bottom of a draw where he died. The crew hauled him up to a spot where they could bring the truck on the next ridge to load him up.

In the late afternoon, I shot at a blesbok but shot low with a clean miss. A little later, we found another blesbok standing broadside about 240 yards away at the rear of a large herd. My second chance boosted my wilted confidence as I killed it with one shot. It turned out to be a really nice trophy.

A kudu bull and female materialized out of nowhere the next morning. They were feeding in a bush on a hillside ahead and slightly below us. We left the vehicle and ran down the road on foot. Richard, the animal manager, put up the sticks and I shot the male at about 175 yards. The kudu dropped on the spot. The crew was relieved since the bull would have otherwise run off the hillside into a canyon where he would have had to be quartered to retrieve him. They took him to the skinning shed and we returned to camp for the midday meal.

After resting for a bit, we started hunting again. In the afternoon, we found a large waterbuck standing with two smaller bulls a ways off on a hillside above us. His back half was in the shade which fooled me. He was quartering to us but when I shot, I thought he was quartering from the other angle. I hit him in the chest where I aimed but the bullet trailed just inside the ribs and out through the right side, probably just nicking a lung judging from the color of the pool of blood we found. He was tough. I had just wounded him and he ran out of sight. We ran up the hill to try to get another chance at him but could not so Richard and Kobus started trailing him. I was impressed with their ability to track him. We trailed him in brush for about 3 miles. The further we trailed him, the blood trail thinned out more.

As we were dropping off a ridge, I tripped face-first and head downhill on loose rock and fell a bit behind Richard and Kobus. As I recovered, they spotted the waterbuck nearly ready to drop down out of sight into a brushy canyon. If he made it into the canyon we might never recover him so Kobus, the PH, asked me if he could shoot it to stop it. I could not get into position quickly enough to shoot so I told him to go ahead since I did not want the loss of a wounded animal. He shot it there. Fortunately, I did not wound another animal.

That left only an impala and a warthog on my wish list. We had seen a herd of impala the day before so we hunted that area on the following day. The herd had left the clearing where we had seen them. We proceeded on and saw a large troop of baboons scampering across the hillside above and beyond us. Before we got to where the baboon troop had been we crossed a little ridge and found the impala herd. We took off on foot after the herd. A nice impala ram stopped to look at us but only gave me a head on shot at the neck and head over the crest of the ridge. My shot was true, filling my wish list except for the warthog.

The warthogs had been elusive and running whenever we spotted good ones but Kobus was optimistic that one would yet make a mistake. Kobus told me that if you spot a warthog first and then see the tusks, it is a small one but if you spot the tusks first and then see the warthog, it is a good one. We hunted warthog all that afternoon without success. As we passed a small lake, a lappet faced vulture fed on the skeletal remains of a black wildebeest. Egyptian geese sat on the water. A little further as we left the scene, a brown hyena was walking away from the area.

On Friday morning, we did finally see a good warthog moving along the hillside about a mile away in the opposite direction of where we were driving. The road made about a 180 degree turn ahead of us so we drove on and back to where we thought the warthog was headed. We stopped the truck and walked out on foot. We were very fortunate and intercepted the animal from about 110 yards away. He stopped and was facing us. I managed to collect him there with a chest shot.
 

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Congrats on your trophies. The waterbuck and Nyala both look really nice to me. So are you planning a return trip? Looks like you had a good time. Bruce
 

enysse

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Some excellent trophies! Nice warthog!!!!
 

Lou Toweill

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Congrats on your trophies. The waterbuck and Nyala both look really nice to me. So are you planning a return trip? Looks like you had a good time. Bruce
Thank you. Initial measurements indicate that the blesbok and waterbuck will easily make the Rowland and Ward record book. The nyala measured right at the minimum for Rowland and Ward on initial measurement. The blesbok, waterbuck, nyala, and impala should make SCI while the kudu was marginal for SCI. I am anxious to wait for the official measurements though that is not the most important part of the experience. I felt really blessed with all the animals that I took. I would love to make a return trip.
 

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Welcome Lou, and congrats on your trip.
One African trip is like one Lays potato chip, Nobody can eat just one. Your from that era and remember the advertising.
A second trip I can see in your eyes. Get "R" done.
 

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Beautiful trophies, glad you had a great adventure. Forrest
 

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Another grand trip! Thanks for sharing!
I'm jealous of that warthog. I haven't found the right one yet. Maybe next trip.
Best
 
 

 

 

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