SOUTH AFRICA: Hunting With Stompiesland Safaris

matt vejar

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I hunted with Stompiesland Safaris owned by Nico Lourens and guided by PH Koosie. The hunt was in early September in the Eastern Cape.
After being picked up at the airport in PE by PH Koosie we made the drive up to Grahamstown. We stayed at a large, beautiful home on a private game reserve which had Cape buffalo and other game. The lodging and food were excellent. The first three days we hunted a property maybe 30 minutes away that was on both sides of the main road. Koosie had gone to school with the owners and new the property well. First day was nearly 100 degrees F. So we had a tough time spotting game (saw springbok,blesbok and a few female kudu) but he new of a good bushbuck the workers and owner had told him about so we went to the alfalfa field next to the Fish river and waited till dark. The bushbuck showed himself right before dark but we were unable to get a shot. He was a really nice buck and we made plans to take him the next day.
The next day it was a little cooler but still mid 90’s unusual heat and not good for hunting. We saw more game on the drive to the alfalfa field, but the bushbuck male failed to show. We then drove to the other side of the property which was on the other side of the main paved road( probably 5 miles as the crow flies) to look for kudu, bushbuck and whatever else we might see. The property is fenced and around 7,500 acres. We spotted some Kudu,but nothing large enough to take. Conditions were very tough with the heat and game was not moving. We jumped a really big Kudu while driving to a glassing spot but I decided against taking a running shot. Later in the day we came across a monster Duiker and short stalk netted a Rowland Ward Duiker of almost 5” inches. Lots of big Duiker on this property.
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I was very happy to get this very large Duiker as they rarely stand long enough to get a shot! After loading we drove back to the Alfalfa field to wait for the big bushbuck. He came out briefly with some females but went back into the river bottom and did not return before darkness fell. Next morning it’s cold and threat of rain -which is badly needed as the East Cape has been in a several year drought. Hot to cold and windy conditions are making hunting extremely difficult for kudu and Bushbuck but Koosie is a great PH and we keep hunting. We hunt the better (Kudu) side of the property that has big canyons but no luck spotting shooter size kudu only youngsters.
That evening we head back to the river and make a new plan for the bushbuck as the wind is bad. Sure enough he comes out at about 200 yds and using Koosie’s gun I make a high shoulder shot and drop the big Bushbuck in his tracks. High fives all around!
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Koosie and I with 15” by 14” beauty! Had a few beers to celebrate. Koosie has a 308 Howa Laminated stock fitted with a Vortex Viper 6 to 24 power scope that is an absolute tack driver. With a hair trigger and a bipod 200 yds is a chip shot.
Next day back to the kudu canyons where we saw numerous bushbuck and again smaller kudu on a dead still windless and rainy day. Bushbuck really come out on those types of days. We saw several shooters where previously very few were even seen. The brush was very thick on this property and canyons big and deep. The crazy weather was making kudu hunting tough.
The next day Koosie decided we needed to make a change so we went to a conservancy that held the chance for big Kudu, Impala, warthogs and mountain reed bucks. The drive was probably a good hour on a dirt road to his friend Jack’s ranch which is part of the Conservancy. He greeted us warmly, as he and Koosie have been friends a long time. He said to shoot all the warthogs we could as their a big nuisance and he doesn’t care for them. Man we saw some big ones for free range hunting in the East Cape. Once again kudu hunting was tough, but we saw a very good Impala and after a short stalk- as the Impala fed towards us at about a hundred yards -
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I took the shot off the sticks. I thought I missed completely as he ran off and we took off to our right where he reappeared and I quickly shot again. This time he dropped at the shot. Upon looking at the fallen trophy the first shot had grazed his neck. I must have pulled down slightly as I was aiming at the chest with his neck down feeding toward us. I was shooting my 375 with solids. The Impala in this area have thick horns and he was just under 24”. My best Impala of the several I have taken!
We continued looking for kudu and finally spotted one across the ridge we were on in a big open flat. While stalking him we spooked a kudu who burst away out of the brush. We continued the stalk and suddenly the same kudu we spooked ran up to us at 40 yards and stopped. Koosie said it’s up to me and since I had never taken a free range kudu in the East Cape I touched it off. The shot hit him on the shoulder as he was quartering towards slightly. He then ran towards us and at 10 yards I missed and he took off. I new he was hit hard and as we tracked him blood was everywhere. But after 100 yards and not seeing him Koosie said let’s wait for the dog as darkness was falling. He called Richard the tracker on the radio to let him out of truck, Koosie yelled the dogs name from some 500 yards away, he soon showed up. Within minutes he was on the blood trail and maybe 50 yards further we came upon the kudu and I put a finisher in him. How that kudu went that far is beyond me. Although he is not a monster he was hard earned and had a broken horn from fighting. Koosie has killed some big Kudu on this ranch during the rut. I would like to hunt it then for sure and smack some of the big warthogs we saw.
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On the last day in this area we went back to the ranch where I shot my bushbuck and looked for an old springbok as we were moving to a new area to look for a big kudu. We came across an old buck and I dropped him with one shot from Koosie’s gun at 200 yards or so.
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This springbok had really thick bases and was very old.
I really enjoyed this part of the trip despite the bad weather. Got 3 very good trophies and hunted hard. Sunup to sundown was the norm.
We left for the town of Hankey which was probably a 4 plus hour drive south of Grahamstown and an area I had never seen before. It is not far from Jeffrey Bay where I would spend a few nights after the conclusion of the hunt.
We stayed at a beautiful lodge where the owner raises breeding stock. By far the nicest hunting lodge I’ve stayed at during 4 trips to the East Cape. We hunted on a private reserve of some 8,000 acres owned by a citrus farmer. Here I met Nico Lauren and one night we had a big Braai with two former Captains of the Springbok rugby team and another former player who were hunting a few days while doing a speaking engagement in the area. It was a fantastic dinner and they brought some top notch wines along also.
Hunting once again was difficult for kudu as this property is mountainous and extremely thick vegetation. We saw lots of other game however. On the third day Koosie spotted a big kudu standing in the shade some 1000 yards away. He looked to be excellent so we drove around to as close as we could get. From their we stalked around a mountain until Koosie spotted him at 280 yards across the canyon. From here using Koosie’s gun off the sticks I made probably my best shot ever. Kudu was quartering towards rather hard. At the shot he staggered up the mountain maybe 5 yards and then fell backwards. Koosie said “ great shot”. I stayed in position while Koosie drove around and some 30 minutes later I saw his truck on the opposite side. I guided him down to the kudu with the walkie-talkie. He then went to get help as this was going to be a mission to recover it. By luck Nico and his group saw our truck and came over. Phone service not good here. We used their trackers to go down once again by radio to begin gutting the animal. It was some 300 yards down the ridge in extremely thick vegetation. Not gonna find it easily without a spotter. Some three hours later with six helpers we recover kudu. It’s a beautiful Cape kudu 47.5” and really thick bases.

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Heart shot for sure. Shot was from high up on ridge to the left of facing picture.
As this was my last animal Nico suggested I spend a few days at Jeffery’s Bay. Wow what a great idea. If I lived in Europe I would be down their every year. Great seafood and lots of seals, porpoises and great accommodations right on the water. You can walk around town and not worry about anything going wrong. Have a top notch tackle shop and restaurants.
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This is definitely a place for the wives. Nico has been hunting for 30 plus years and has numerous connections including elephants in Zimbabwe. Some of his references have been their multiple times and his oldest has been hunting almost every year for the last 29 years. Koosie is fun to hunt with and is a knowledgeable and as hardworking a PH as you’ll find. I would definitely like to return during the rut to hunt another free range property they have along the coast near Jeffery Bay as well as the property in the conservancy. If you really like free range kudu, bushbuck, Impala, warthogs, mountain reedbuck and others this is definitely a place for you. The fenced properties are very big and with thick vegetation definitely fair chase hunting. I totally enjoyed all aspects of the hunt and despite really terrible weather and hunting conditions was very tough. Nico’s wife (Leana) is great and I’m sure she will take great care of a non hunting wife or guest as well. I really enjoy hunting the East Cape with Stompiesland Safaris.
 

cls

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Well done, thanks for the report. Jeffreys Bay is a great place to cool down after a safari.
 
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gillettehunter

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I enjoyed reading your report. Thats a fine looking Kudu. Looks like a great area to hunt Kudu. Good job.
Bruce
 

Randy F

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Well done! Thanks for sharing
your story.
 

rinehart0050

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Congrats! Thanks for sharing!
 

buck wild

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Thanks for the report ! Great trip
 

Red Leg

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That is a very nice kudu. Thanks for sharing.
 

gesch

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Thank you for a great report. This sounds like a quality place to hunt. Really nice animals. Your friend, Brian
 

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