Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by wipartimer, Jun 4, 2019.
You have to look under Witch craft and Magic.
Very nice Eland, congrats !
Nice animals Mike! Glad you and Gina had a great trip.
Sorry for the delay for the rest of the hunting report. Between contractors being in the house during the day and working at night all week, I have been a little tired.
Today was planned to be working on Gina’s wish list, with the focus on red hartebeest and impala. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous for her. I know she can shoot extremely well, however, she has not had a lot of actual hunting experience, and shooting at paper is not the same as shooting a living thing. I had given her tons of advice and tried to give instructions on every possible scenario I could think of. Looking back, I imagine I may have made her more nervous and should have left it at “ follow Marius’s instructions.” We spotted a herd of hartebeest in the distance and while working towards them for a better look, when a nice impala ram was spotted closer. We began the stalk and as we got closer, the tracker and I dropped back while Gina and Marius closed the gap. It was really difficult for me as I really wanted to be right there for the whole thing and to watch her shoot, but 2 people can sneak so much better than 3 or 4, and I knew that she was in the best possible hands. I watched until they were out of sight as was really impressed watching her step when he stepped, stop when he stopped stay low when he did, etc. I said a quick prayer for her ( I have always started every hunt with a prayer.) The waiting after they were out of sight is always tough. Suddenly, a shot rang out and the tracker and I were heading towards them. I could tell by the demeanor and smiles that the shot must have been good, but I didn’t know where to look. As I scanned the distance looking to see which way the impala ran, Marius pointed out “it’s just right there.” It had dropped in its tracks only 70 yards away with a perfect heart shot. I could not have been happier, my girl can hunt! She even got the shakes a little, and you all know what an awesome feeling that is like! After congratulations and pictures, it was back to looking for hartebeest. There were a few cool stalks, but each time we were either busted by a herd or Marius thought we could do better. While the impala was getting skinned, we ate lunch and Marius showed us around the historic estate, it was really cool seeing the shooting slots built into the building, the old parade ground and the jail. After an enjoyable afternoon of hunting, including a fun stalk on a zebra that was staying with a herd of impala, with no morre animals taken, we returned to the lodge for a great meal with good friends, showers and bed.
When one thinks of KMG, one automatically thinks of bushbuck, or at least I do and that was the target animal for today. People that have never done it before may have a hard time understanding how enjoyable it can be just sitting on a hillside on a beautiful day with a pair of binoculars watching amazing animals can be. One thing about KMG that is difficult to for me to word properly, is their almost instinctive ability to understand what a client really wants/needs even when they don’t say it out loud well. We had a wonderful hot lunch at the lodge and then a couple of hours to relax before going back out in the late afternoon for bushbuck. I am here to say that naps are completely wasted on young children that don’t appreciate what a treasures a nap can be! I didn't realize how much I needed a little re-charge from a few days travel, a few days hunting hard and a still not being adjusted to new sleep patterns. That afternoon it was back out looking for bushbuck. We saw some beautiful country and many wonderful animals again, but not a bushbuck that we wanted to take. I can’t call a day that no animals were taken “unsuccessful” as this was another truly wonderful day of hunting.
Today was a tough day for hunting. The wind was blowing hard and in all four directions. I honestly lost track of the number of times we would begin a stalk, only to stop halfway through because the wind that had been blowing in our face was now cooling the backs of our necks. I had told Marius of a very specific mount that I wanted to do with a Zebra, so we were not only hunting zebra, but one that would look good for what I wanted. After being frustrated by the swirling winds all day, we spotted 3 zebra in an open grassy area in the distance. This stalk was actually particularly enjoyable as I was able to do almost 3/4ths of it standing up. So we got closer, the wind was still cooperating and the zebra were quite happily feeding. Once we could check them out well through the binoculars one of them looked particularly beautiful to me and as I was thinking it Marius confirmed my thoughts by saying “ I like the one on the left”. We were able to use some old farm ruins as cover and stalked to within 150 yards. The zebra didn’t seem to know we were there, but I was convinced a bontebok was staring at us and going to tell them. After crawling through what I think may have been some type of old stone cattle shoot and actually leaning against it with the short shooting sticks, the pretty zebra gave me a broadside at 151 yards. At the shot , all three zebra took off running together, so no opportunity for a follow up, but within seconds it was apparent that a follow up shot was unnecessary as “ my zebra” curved slightly away from the other two and dropped in its tracks. I was in awe of how beautiful this stallion was , a great mane and bold stripes with very light, almost non- existent ghost stripes. He will make an awesome chess piece with a great back skin! One thing that I had forgotten to mention is the number of bontebok we saw in this area. I had never really been interested in one of those before I had the chance to watch the sun glow off the coats of these beautiful animals. We didn’t hunt one one this trip, but it was still a thrill to see them. We got back to the lodge in time for Gina to take Marius’s .375 HH to the range. This was the rifle she would be borrowing for her giraffe hunt.I should mention that Gina has shot “Fluffy” my CZ550 in .416 Rigby a few times- enough that she could handle and was not afraid of the recoil, so when we saw that Marius’s .375 was the same model, it was nice to have one she was somewhat familiar with. Her first shot she was a little nervous, but after realizing what it felt like, her next two shots were dead on. ( I am afraid there may be a .375 H&H appearing in our gun safe someday now.)
Today is to be Gina’s big day. Giraffe has always been number one on her wish list. She even did her nails in a giraffe pattern before we left with the help of her kind and understanding husband ( she even lets me take my testicles out of her purse once in a while. ) By this time a virus that Gina had been fighting was starting to take hold, she has fairly hoarse with a sore throat, also had a head and general body ache. Web drove to the top of a hill and could see several (10-12?) giraffes feeding in a valley below us. Off to the left was also a herd of cape buffalo that I was thrilled to see.The wind was right and so was the sun, so we began our stalk down the valley. The hillside we were on was fairly open, so it was a matter of waiting until all animals were feeding and then moving quickly and quietly as one unit from bush to bush. Marius and the landowner quickly picked out a bull with an amazing pattern that was to be our ( her) target animal. We all made it to the valley floor and were able to use the bank of a water hole as cover for a bit, but then we all got pinned down by various giraffes looking over the bush in our general direction for an hour or so. Isn’t it funny how a position that you freeze your body in can seem comfortable for 5 minutes and turn into medieval torture from 6 minutes on to infinity? Anyway, after 3 or four days, the giraffes moved away enough for us to resume stalking. Marius, then Gina, then me, then the landowner. It is kind of neat to notice how the level of intensity and proximity of a stalk is just communicated to all parties without words. It was getting close/ intense so the landowner and I just naturally held back. The last sight we had of Marius of Gina, they were creeping up a slight embankment. My heart skipped a beat as I saw Gina take a step and heard a twig snap. We could see Marius glance back over his shoulder with a “ let’s try to avoid that” look. But I was relieved to watch them resume the stalk so we could tell they were still in the game. After two or three eternities a shot rang out, followed quickly by another. We had talked about how important it was to concentrate on making a good first shot, and then reloading and making a good follow up shot, and hearing the second shot confirmed in my mind that she had made a good first shot! We were all up and running and caught up to the giraffe l in less than 100 yards. The bull was wobbling and obviously dead on its feet but I gave it an insurance shot with my .300 win mag and down he toppled. I was thrilled, and by this point Gina was so excited that she too was a little wobbly on her feet! The pattern on her giraffe was so unique and amazing, some spots looked like maple leaves! I can’t give the right words to my pride and emotions for her and won’t even attempt to describe what she was feeling, but it was all great. Pictures and skinning were quite the ordeals but we were really impressed with the way everyone worked together. Marius had called the taxidermist and arranged for him to meet us so that his team could begin work on the hide as soon a possible. After dropping off the entire hide and head into the taxidermist’s truck, it was time to go back to the lodge.
My turn again. Bushbuck is the main focus today. Again a lot of watching and glassing. We saw a few, one in particular that I thought looked good, but after looking through the spotting scope, Marius thought he was still a little young. While walking to another hillside to glass another valley, Lloyd and Marius spotted a ram bedded down in the open grassy bottom. I thought it looked good through my binos, but I am definitely not the expert. Marius got out his spotting scope and pointed out how old the ram was ( we could see gray, almost bald behind his horns.) We decided to try for him. Gina, by this time was feeling even worse so she elected to stay with the bakki. Lloyd and another tracker stayed on the hillside watching the bushbuck while Marius and I started a long walk up the hill, around the valley and across to the otherside. When we judged we were above where the bushbuck had been, we started slowly, stalking our way down for a look, he was still there! We started quietly walking along the meadow, staying in the shadows, and stopping every time the bushbuck lifted his head or stood up to change positions. Finally we stopped in the shadow of a bush background and Marius set up the sticks. We could see the top of his head and horns through the grass, around 120 yards away, and now it was a waiting game for him to stand up. Sometimes it’s almost easier to set up and take a good shot quickly than to spend too much time worrying about blowing a chip shot, and the longer we were waiting, the more things like “ did I really put a round in the chamber?” ( I had promised Marius that I did), and “ the shot will be fairly close, wide open and Marius and two trackers watching with plenty of time to prepare, God I hope I don’t blow this” started running through my head. Finally the ram stood up, gave just enough of a turn for my shot and Boom. Through the scope I saw the ram zip through and opening in the brush along the meadow and the last sight I saw of him, he appeared to be falling to his right side before disappearing from view. I knew the shot was good, but I also had read enough about them and petted Rigby’s scar enough to know that these smallish animals deserved respect when tracking them. Marius called for Lloyd to bring the bakki and everyone down, and we cautiously started approaching the brushline that the bushbuck ran into. Marius had not seen the bushbuck leaning/ falling after it ran as I did, and I have seen plenty of “dead” animals get up in my life, so we were going slow and looking under, around and through every bush as we approached. There was a six foot drop off right behind the brush the ram had run into, and at the bottom of it lay my beautiful old bushbuck ram, stone dead. What a relief! By this time it was congratulations and a bit of a hurry to get pictures before we lost the sun on another beautiful day in South Africa.
Gina’s number 2 desire for her hunt was a red hartebeest. She and I have had plenty of lively discussions as to whether these animals are pretty ( her opinion) or ugly ( my opinion). As I’m sure everyone knows, my opinion is incorrect, they actually are quite interesting looking animals. So off we go in search of hartebeest. We did start off after a couple of different herds but didn’t see any bulls worth pursuing. Finally we spotted a nice bull bedded down on a hillside. Marius, Gina and I made a long circle to come in behind and uphill from the bull. As we got nearer the area where we expected the hartebeest to be, the groundcover became very dry and crunchy. Marius asked us to remove our boots and so I stayed behind to minimize noise as Marius and Gina went off in there stocking feet. Although I stayed seated in the shadow of a bush, a young giraffe kept checking me out from 150 yards away. All I could do was sit still, hope for the best for Gina, and be ready to move and support if I heard a shot. Suddenly I heard Marius make a noise with his mouth , followed almost immediately by a gunshot. I sprang to my feet and ran to a small termite mound in an open area in the direction the shot came from. A red hartebeest came running from their direction and stopped, giving me a perfect broadside shot. I had the scope centered on his chest and somehow I noticed Gina still had he gun up on the shooting sticks so I waited for her to take a follow up shot. As I was waiting, I could not see any blood on the hartebeest in my sights. The hartebeest ran a little ways and I moved enough to get my rifle back on him, but still could not see any sign of injury, so I watched where the hartebeest ran off to and walked to where Marius and Gina where standing. I had been looking at the wrong hartebeest as Gina’s was down not far from where they were standing. Gina gave it an anchor to the chest and she had herself a beautiful red hartebeest bull, in her stocking feet! Later that afternoon, Marius and Gina ended the day stalking some huge gembuck in their stocking feet, but a herd of blesbuck decided to feed right up to them before busting everyone out.
Lloyd and Marius had been setting out bait for baboon for me for a couple of days, and we were not sure that anything had been hitting it yet but this morning Marius and I were going to try for a baboon. Gina elected to stay at the lodge today as she was feeling worse and it would be quite crowded with three of us hiding under the bush we were using for a blind. Marius and I crawled under a bush that was maybe 75 yards from the bait pile and there was little, if any other cover around. Marius set up the short sticks and I settled my rifle on them, pointed at the bait pile. Marius explained that we needed to remain absolutely still and quite as we were close to the bait and baboons would be especially wary. Within 5 minutes I started to notice that I hadn’t positioned my leg well and so I asked Marius to keep an eye out while I re-positioned it. A bit later I was again amazed at how animals came suddenly just appear as a male baboon strolled by grabbed an orange and sat down to eat. I could make out his head and brown where the body was through the tall grass but he was sitting sideways to us and I couldn't make out enough body to know if I was actually aiming at body or arm, so we waited. Finally he re-positioned a little to where he was facing us and I could clearly make out his chest. I gave Marius a quiet warning that I was going to shoot and boom, the baboon disappeared. Marius sprang up, I got up and promptly fell back down, got up again , fell down again and realized that only one of my legs was still awake. I handed Marius my rifle and said I’ll catch up in a minute. The baboon was dead right there , although I guess he may have had his head down when I shot because the bullet clipped his bottom jaw slightly before blowing out his chest. I was quite pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this hunt as I think I was expecting to just spend a nice morning sitting under a bush in South Africa and nothing to come in, but it was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. We took some picture and loaded the baboon up and went back to the lodge for a nice lunch. This was the last animal on my wish list and we still had a couple of days left. I think Marius could tell that I didn’t want to be done hunting and he asked me what else I would like to do. I mentioned that I wouldn’t mind a warthog as the one I shot hunting with him in 2017 had gotten ruined by the tannery. So after lunch and a bit of rest, Marius, Lloyd and I went back out and did some glassing from a hillside. Although we saw a lot of animals no warthog worth pursuing. I did spot a Jackyl on the opposite hillside ( approximately 540 yards away) and by the time I got my rifle out of the bakki, a second one joined it, but before I could get settled and find them in the scope, they had disappeared. Back to the lodge for Castles, a great meal and good conversations with good friends.
The last animal that we had on our wishlist was a gemsbok for Gina. I could tell that she was feeling quite miserable and dearly hoped that she would be able to fight through it enough to hunt, I didn’t want her to feel the regret in a few weeks of missing an opportunity in South Africa because she was sick. She did and we were off stalking a herd of gemsbok. We had to take a bit of a detour backing out of a brushy area because a herd of cape buffalo seemed to think the area was theirs. Later as we were approaching a hillside, Marius and a tracker crept up to peer over the edge. I could tell by their body language that there was gemsbok just below them. They motioned Gina slowly, quietly up and I held back a little. The tracker motioned for me to leave my rifle and crawl up as I saw the sticks go up and Gina getting onto them. I could now see gemsbok horns over the edge but that was it until I heard the boom of Gina’s .308. I got up and saw a herd of gemsbok running left and then saw one laying down. She had gotten a great bull! We went down to admire it and Marius found her bullet just under the hide of the off side shoulder. She was thrilled, and so was I. After the admiration and pictures and loading the gemsbok into the bakki, Gina looked kind of slumped and mentioned that she was feeling terrible and was done hunting. I am so proud of the way that she shot, walked, stalked and hunted on this, her third time hunting in her life, despite having had a major surgery a couple months prior and being sick during our trip! At the skinning shed, the tracker mentioned that he knew a good spot for warthogs close by, so made a quick trip to look. We jumped a small one almost immediately but kept slow walking the area. Suddenly Marius and the tracker stopped and put the sticks up,I got the rifle on them as a boar disappeared from an opening. We kept walking and looking and then Marius put up the sticks again. Marius said “he’s going to come out through that opening.” I got on the sticks and could see two warthogs, one was a lot bigger than the other. I confirmed that the one walking from right to left, coming out now was the right one, and Marius said yes. I got him in the scope, squeezed the trigger and down he went. As we were walking up to the warthog, Marius asked me where I thought I hit it. I told him that I shot him in the neck. It wasn’t even a conscious decision at the time, but I am so used to shooting feral hogs in Texas like that so the meat isn’t ruined and we don’t have to track them, that I just automatically shot the warthog the same way. As we got to him I was amazed at the size of the body and the massive head on him, he will make a wonderful mount. Two animals down before 1:00 pm, a great day.
The last day of hunting. Our wish lists were complete plus a warthog. Gina was still sick, and I would have been content watching animals through my binoculars from the lodge, but Marius had better ideas. In the morning Marius grabbed his bow and he, Flex, Rigby and I set off to go spend the morning in a bow blind. I brought our video camera along in case a duiker or baboon came in and Marius got a shot. The first blind we were going to, we discovered that the waterhole had dried up, so on we walked to another one. After we had settled in for a bit, on nice relaxing day, Rigby put his front paws on my leg so I lifted him onto my lap. He showed his gratitude with a loud, smelly fart as he sat down. Marius chuckled a little and Rigby had kind of a look on his face as if to say “What?” We didn’t see anything from the blind and so went back to the lodge for lunch. I was amazed at how much cooler it was inside the blind than outside. That afternoon, Marius had asked if I wanted to try his caller out for jackal? Of course! We went back to the area we had seen the two jackals a couple days ago. We set his caller down in a bush and were about to enter another bush where we intended to set up, me with my rifle and Marius with his shotgun, similar to coyote calling here in the U.S. Marius was ducking under a branch when he stopped and said there is a puff adder! It didn’t register with me what he had said so I asked him to repeat. I got it the second time and looked in time to see the snake slither through a sunbeam. My how that sunlight made the yellows and markings on that snake almost glow! Marius stooped to pick up a large rock and said “ do you mind?” I do not like snakes and that is putting it very mildly, of course I didn’t mind! I set my rifle and his shotgun down as the snake went into a root tangle right where we had intended to set up and call from. There was a brief discussion between us, the snake, and a couple of rocks and sticks as to who would stay in that bush. It was decided that we all would stay but the snake far less animated. It always amazes me how much snakes move after death. We had decapitated the snake and disposed of the head, yet it would still twist and roll randomly the whole time we were jackal hunting. Its body was still squirming and curling as I carried it too the bakki a couple hours later. Although we tried several calls for a bit, we didn’t see any jackal, but this last night was still one of the most thrilling of the hunt. This was my third trip hunting in South Africa, and this was the first and only snake I have ever seen there. I have friends at home with rattlesnake hat bands, but I will be the only one with a puff adder hat band!
The next morning, Marius, Gina and I left for Port Elizabeth at 08:00. We stopped to dropped the dogs and some of his things at Marius’s house and then brought all of the trophies for the week to Hunters and Collectors taxidermist. I made arrangements for kevin to do the full euro on my baboon and a shoulder mount on my warthog, the rest to be dipped and packed and shipped to my taxidermist in the U.S. through Trophy Shippers. We all met up with Trap123 and his group for a final meal together in the airport, and Marius did not leave until he saw all of us safely through security.
This was my second time hunting with KMG Safaris, and I pray it won’t be my last. I have heard the saying “come as a client, leave as a friend,” but Marius and his staff at KMG have a way of making you feel like a friend as soon as you arrive. The expert attention to detail they possess on everything from how you would like to hunt, what kind of animals you are looking for, what kind of food do you want, how are you feeling and on and on. They have the ability to almost know what you want without having to ask. I cannot recommend KMG Safaris highly enough, no matter what you are after, you won’t be disappointed.
Marius, my friend, thank you again for another truly amazing experience!
A fine adventure! And may you both have many more together!
Thank you my friend. It was just a general statement of frustration/ jealousy from someone who is not as limber as I was 20 years ago.
Great hunt report and even better memories, I'm sure. I really enjoyed the read.
Thank you, it was number 1 on my wish list this trip, and even still, I don't think I truly appreciated it's mass until the time came to load him in the bakki
Thank you Ragman. It almost makes one wonder how he can keep focused on the animals and where he is stepping at the same time. It also makes the in between times, when you can take in all the scenery that much more enjoyable.
Thanks Brickburn. I am extremely proud of the way she handled herself during the entire hunt.
Thank you Craig. We really enjoyed meeting and sharing camp with you and your group.
Thank you very much.
I used to love listening to Paul Harvey! Sorry for the long wait but it's there now
Patience patience patience
Thank you Kevin. I finally got it written
Thank you, it was an awesome experience
I do not like that word!
Separate names with a comma.