SOUTH AFRICA: Lion Hunt With DE KLERK SAFARIS September 24 To 28, 2021

Frederik

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Finally part 1 is here sorry work got in the way. Enjoy

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Part 1 Below

Outfitter: De Klerk Safaris
Date: 24-28 September 2021
PH: Frikkie Nieuwoudt and Hans de Klerk
Rifles used: 458 Lott CZ550 topped with Trijicon SRO reflex sight 1 MOA, 6.5 x 55 Carl Gustav sporterized rifle topped with Nikon Monarch 4-16 x 40 Mildot scope.
Ammunition: 458 Lott, 480gr Woodleigh RSNP handloaded to run at 2180 fps, 6.5 x 55 160gr, Hornady Interlock RN handloaded to run at just over 2400fps

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My CZ550 in 458 Lott and Loaded 480gr Woodleigh rounds. Topped with my Trijicon SRO 1 MOA.

The story all began in March 2020 when it was announced that there is voice that wanted to stop CBL lions in it's tracks. Captive Bred Lion have been under the greenies radar since someone shouted on a video in a canned lion hunt "Bring my meer patrone!"/'Bring me more ammo!" in English. Before a pre-approved permit system was around tales would be told of lions eating and marauding famers cattle and would you as a hunter be interested in cleaning up the mess.

A few good men would keep the hunting of lions real giving lions freedom on a large track of land to roam and do what lions do best, but the news and journalist were enjoying the words Canned, Drugged and small enclosure. It made big sensation for NGO's and a lot of money for those who run them sadly not even 10% of money raised for the causes even saw Africa. Paper trails have been followed and Cecil's money raised is comfortbly sitting in a Caribean bank acc. Anyway enough of this negativity as this story is about a lifetime achievement for myself.

I am a hunter humans are actually hunters deep down without hunting we would have never survived it is in our genes and heritage. No one close in my family hunts but growing up in a small town when it was still small in Limpopo province, I picked up a rifle and hunted warthog's from the age of 14. I have never stopped hunting and even became a PH and Ouftitter and did that for 6 years permanently. Now, I hunt mostly for myself and have a healthy big boy who is 16 now and I love to see him grow as a hunter and pass on the heritage. So with hearing the news of lions maybe closing down in South Africa I had a long chat to my wife as a CBL lion hunt is expensive, but it is nowhere near a true wild lion hunt. I am not going to match or even attempt to explain the pro's and cons of each. So with my wife's consent I made plans to scrape together the funds and started to look for outfitter that would suit my needs.

Phoning and shopping around asking relevant questions I found De Klerk Safaris advertisement on lion hunts on the forum and contacted Hans. Quickly all the tick boxes on the questions I had was ticked and we briefly met at Africa Sky Lodge close to the airport and I booked my hunt and set out the dates. My hunt was on and preparations for it started although there was a few month still ahead and a lot of work to be done to take care of.

When I finally got my License for the 458 Lott I could not find any Woodleigh bullets in 500gr and then settled on the 480gr softs actually made for the 450 NE. Recommended on the box was the max impact speed of 2200fps and I got a nice load with good accuracy running at 2180fps. Shot a blue wildebeest, red hartebeest and a zebra with it and was happy with the results of the bullet opening up nicely and this would be perfect for the lion. With the 6.5 which I mostly use for bushveld hunting at closer range I double checked the Mildot and verified the second mildot to be dead on at 200 meters so was going to use the slower moving bullets on this hunt.

So with rifles and gear sorted out and in place I spend time reading a book “Some lions I have met!” by Gordon Cundill. This book was given to me by a very good friend also on the forum Deon. Excellent read on how lions were hunted in Botswana as baiting was not allowed. In actual fact the hunt that I was going to do was going to be done in the same way. Moving in the hunting area and looking for fresh tracks and signs of lions and then tracking them.

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I also trained and worked on my cardio as I know the walks could get long on the red Kalahari sands when I had time. I kept in contact with Hans on my permit application for the lion and general well being and Hans was and always responded in time sometimes a bit slower as he was hunting but always cordial and to the point. I kept very busy at work and enjoying the forum while doing admin and found fellow hunters who would also be hunting with Hans on the forum. I googled and watched all lion hunting videos I could find on the net and practised shooting.

I always enjoy having friends or family along on a big hunt to share the experience and Boela Bekker and his partner in crime Francois Marais aka Swys would join me on this hunt and Swys would be filming the hunt as a bonus.

Finally 24 September 2021 and I left home around 7 am to take on the 7 hour drive to the middle of nowhere in the Kalahari. Boela and Swys was from the North East Coast of KZN and they had to endure a gruelling 13 hour drive and they still ended up in camp well before me. I blame it on the late breakfast I enjoyed in the town of Vryburg. About half past one in the afternoon I opened the gate to De Klerk safaris and got greeted by all at the Camp. Heidi who does the camp management and excellent non diet cooking. Frikkie Nieuwoudt my PH who would guide on then hunt and Adam the tracker. Then of course my two friends after their long drive Boela and Swys.

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Boela on the left and Swys on the right sent me this photo 9pm on the 23rd before embarking on their all night drive.

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Had some cool water in camp it was hot 34C, and unpacked in my very comfortable room large bed, aircon and ensuite with large walk in shower. I got all my gear together got dressed for the hunt and headed out to the shooting range which was neatly set out just outside the camp. Few shots later an everyone was happy you can throw lead out to 600 meter on the range if you would like.

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Signs all around on the fence to warn that there is lions roaming.

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Camp and rooms very comfortable and spacious with a neat en suite bathroom and walkin shower.

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Common area where everyone met for coffee or drinks.

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Cozy dinning table where we had Breakfast and lunch, Dinners were enjoyed around the fire.

We got on to the cruiser and Frikkie tells me they are low on staff rations so all non trophy warthogs are on the menu. That was quite a bonus and I really didn’t need too much motivation to help out. We were not out for more than 30 minutes when 3 warties were spotted, they had a good idea of our plan and ran off. With one of them stopping at a range of 156 meters ranged by Boela and one 160gr bullet ended the mistake and the 1st blood was spilled for the hunt. Quick photos and loading the pig we headed off further to see the lay of the land and maybe spot some lion signs. We saw almost all the game on the property except for lion, sable and roan and ended up the day with a picture perfect sunset literally as can be seen here. Oh and I missed an easy shot on another warthog as the warthogs are wary shots must be taken quickly and with that I was not standing comfortably and botched up the shot. Back at camp Heidi was busy getting everything ready for a feast and on the menu was impala backstraps/loins with mutton sausage and fresh bread and other sides. After the long drive of the day we all felt like lions after the meal and slept it off.

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Ice is broken staff rations down on the first afternoon.

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A sunset to be imprinted in my mind forever.
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Camelthorn tree makes brilliant campfires.

Day Saturday the 25th September 2021

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Sunrise in the Kalahari.

I woke up early and sat outside to hopefully hear lions roaring listened to the Kalahari sounds as it got lighter and just enjoyed some quiet time. There is a waterhole just behind the camp and some red hartebeest came to drink and could just barely be made out in the dim light. BTW there is a special self-sliding gate as you walk into camp that is kept close all the time as you never know might animals might walk in and since there bare lions that might give someone a very nasty surprise. Breakfast was all set and ready at 7 am and Boela and Swys looked like new person after their looong drive form the east coast. We enjoyed the company and breakfast so much that morning that we only got on to the cruiser at 8am with Frikkie telling us today will be getting hot with a prediction of 36C. The morning run on the roads to find tracks didn’t bring up any warthogs but we did get to see Roan and Sable.

Spotting a herd of 8 buffalo bulls that decided to head away and we also headed in the same general direction. The bulls were about 500 meters from us when we heard a huge commotion coming from their side. We decided to drive closer somehow between us spotting the first time and them heading off one of the older bulls decided he had enough of another bull 2-3 years younger. The older bull was really going at the younger one trying to gore and maim him and was even lifting him off the ground. This was a sight and sound to behold, and we decided to move in closer and with that the fight broke off and 5 of the bulls including the older one that was doing the fighting headed off. The younger bull was exhausted with nasty scratches all over him especially on his backend from the older bull. Two of the other bulls stayed with the injured bull and licked the blood from the wounds.

I have read and even heard buffalo fight before but to see it first-hand was a neat experience although we were all worried about the bull that got the beating. You could see the nasty scratches would heal but you could not know or see what internal damage the two huge bodies caused.

The rest of the morning was quite uneventful with still no sign of the lions. Back for lunch it was decided to head out earlier in the afternoon to make more time and ground in search of the lions. Consensus was that lions must have caught some prey and laying low at their kill but we haven’t gone through the whole property yet and to take on that area this afternoon. We were not even halfway through the shooting range just outside camp when we spotted a springbuck feeding on it’s own. With it’s head down we could not clearly make out the shape of his horns but that he has seen better days seeing his body was a fact. When he eventually picked up his head, he showed of his nice set of horns he has being carrying all his years and they turned back exactly like I wanted. We got off and started the stalk with my 6.5 x 55 Carl Gustav that also has a silencer on it. We didn’t go far on that stalk when the ram spotted us and bolted off and joined two impala and a springbuck ewe more eyes and the wind was swirling in all directions. We kept after them and eventually the impala moved off, but the ewe and ram joined a bigger herd if springbuck. The stalk took longer than expected and I was wondering if we would ever catch up with the ram which kept busting us as soon as we got into range. Frikkie kept at it and said they will make a mistake soon and eventually 2km later the ram stood at a range of around 200 meter or bit more.

I have a Nikon Monarch mildot scope on the rifle and the mistake I made is to have it on x 7 and not on x 12 where the Mildot is perfectly aligned. Sticks went up and Frikkie moved in closer so that I could rest my elbow on him, and I squeezed the shot. Missed, looked like I went over the ram. Luckily with the silencer the ram only went 10 meters or so and stood again as he had no clue where the shot came from. I decided to aim lower this time and again I could rest my elbow on Frikkie and he went down this time.

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After we loaded the springbuck we kept hunting and looking for fresh kion signs but to no avail. I did however shoot another warthog for staff rations a good sow with nice set of teeth.

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2nd Warthog down for staff rations.

While seeing the 6.5x55 in the photo with the warthog I do have to tell another small story were I screwed up. With being so busy at work before the hunt I always had in my head there is at least 20 rounds or so loaded and ready for the 6.5. Thursday night after work when I started getting my gear together I open the safe check the 6.5 ammo box and to my surprize there was only 11 rounds. :eek:
I checked the other ammo box that has the 140gr rounds and that was even worse only 7 rounds. So that would be it and since I was only going to shoot 1 maybe two extra animals no issue.

Well after the range session to double check 100 meter and then double checking the the Mildot at 200 meters. Shooting the 1st pig mising one, 3 shots on the springbuck and now the second pig I was down to only 2 rounds with the Carl Gustav 6.5x55 Swedish.

Part 2 to follow.
 
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cpr0312

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Looks like a great start! Look forward to more
 

Novice Huntress

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Hi Frederik, enjoying the write up, looking forward to further details, we were hoping to do SA this year, perhaps next year now!! Keep the photos flowing
 

VertigoBE

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Congratulations on the hunt so far @Frederik ! Can't wait for the next installment! Thanks a lot for sharing. I also very much liked the intro you provided. I appreciate you giving a look into your motives and reflections.
 

degoins

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Hi Frederick,
I just got back from my hunt with Deklerk yesterday. What a wonderful time with with some great people!!
Thank you the Striped Horse!! Very nice!! I hope I can return the kindness to you one day soon.
Frikkie showed me the video of your lion hunt. Man if I hadn't seen it I'd have sworn you were shooting a double or a semi auto the way you got your follow up shot off. Some fine and fast shooting my friend.
 

rinehart0050

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Great start to your report! Love your story telling style! Your 458 looks like it could tell some stories!

Lion was my first animal hunted in Africa- what an adventure. Can't wait to hear how your hunt goes!
 

MarkB

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Great read so far. Keep it coming.

MB
 

Frederik

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Hi Frederick,
I just got back from my hunt with Deklerk yesterday. What a wonderful time with with some great people!!
Thank you the Striped Horse!! Very nice!! I hope I can return the kindness to you one day soon.
Frikkie showed me the video of your lion hunt. Man if I hadn't seen it I'd have sworn you were shooting a double or a semi auto the way you got your follow up shot off. Some fine and fast shooting my friend.
Degoins, my guess is that you and your wife are also forcing yourself with a quick Diet after the wonderful food that was put before you from Heidi and Marie.
Kalahari hospitality at it's best!!!

Yes, there should be a full bigger short movie coming up after all the editing is done and I will post it here if I may.
I hear from Frikkie you have also done some fine shooting yourself with your double smokepipe. (y)
 

Boela

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Well written report Frederik, keep it up!
Thank you for the opportunity to have been on this very memorable hunt with you, it is appreciated.
We now need to plan our next adventure...
 

Frederik

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Really nicely written report. Love the detail of the report. WELL DONE and thank you

Thank you, if you only look at the big picture life is boring the detail always tells a story.
 

Frederik

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Well written report Frederik, keep it up!
Thank you for the opportunity to have been on this very memorable hunt with you, it is appreciated.
We now need to plan our next adventure...
Next time take an extra day off cause Friday when I arrived especially the evening you were just a zombie after your all nighter on the road.

Always a big pleasure to spend time with you my friend.
 

degoins

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Oh man diet indeed!!! Heidi and Marie can flat cook some delicious meals and Frikkie is a BBQ master himself. They feed you very well there and treated us like family. Hey did Frikkie tell you about the warthog he exploded with my double? That was epic!!!
What a great time we had there!!
 

PARA45

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What a great start! This report is getting me super excited, I'll be following you gents steps real soon. :)

@degoins, have you started your report yet?
 

Frederik

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Oh man diet indeed!!! Heidi and Marie can flat cook some delicious meals and Frikkie is a BBQ master himself. They feed you very well there and treated us like family. Hey did Frikkie tell you about the warthog he exploded with my double? That was epic!!!
What a great time we had there!!
Yes, he did tell me your 450 did a number on him with meat flying everywhere.
 

Catchaser

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Hunted with them in 2018. Some of the nicest people I have ever met in the hunting industry. Congratulations on your hunt.
 

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