SOUTH AFRICA: Management Hunt With Game 4 Africa Safaris

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Just a quick start on my first overseas trip and paid hunt (lunch break) where i hunted South Africa. I try hunt pigs and any pest animal where I can. i enjoy my firearms and shooting so managing pest suits me just fine.
I advertised here last year for a cull hunt and got many offers. I chose to hunt with the Coetzee family of @Game4Africa Safaris a family run business started by the father John and now managed by Colin and Wikus Coetzee. My primary contact was Wikus. All Sako enthusiasts.:), They also own Connocks butchery in Grahamstown. i think this may be where John and his late wife started before establishing a game ranch.
Wow, its all a blurr now. We arrived at Port Elizabeth airport on the 4 January travelling light with carry on as suggested here. our backpacks conformed to size and came in just under the allowed 7 kg . we were repeatedly asked is we had any other luggage as we made transfers. we walked through the PE airport quickly and I identified my PH Lionel Wicks who would guide us for the next week. He had their cool logo on his hat and shirt. i had it all worked out and he was looking into the crowd looking for his client. i walked straight up and greeted him, I think he was a little surprised as we were quick to transfer and again we were asked if we had luggage.
Then its off to Kudu Ridge maybe 2 hrs from PE and closer to Grahamstown. Lionel was very knowledgeable and spoke a bit about the history and settlement of South Africa as he drove.
We arrived at Beer O'Clock and were treated to beers and Biltong on arrival. I may have made it known i wanted to try the genuine stuff.
Next was supper (Tea or Dinner) Now a Lamb roast is always a favourite with Aussies and some roast chicken portions pleased my wife. A variety of veg and Milk Tarte for desert . It has the consistency of custard tart but a different flavour as it is based on plain milk reduced and set without custard as such. Nice. We ate with Lionel , Wikus and his Fiance Brittany. Colin and Claire were on a their honeymoon being their off season. Wik and Brittany's wedding is fast approaching. we discussed my hunt and they used they identified that I am not a collector. No im not a trophy collector but i was happy to take game animals that would be utilized as meat. This was about hunting Africa not collecting trophies.
The next morning I had coffee and tried Rusks (Home made biscuit of African origin ideal for dunking in coffee ). We went to the range and checked the Sako, I was impressed to be able to use a suppressor as they are heavily restricted in Australia with virtually no permits approved for hunting.
I fired 3 of Wik's hand-loads and Lionel was satisfied and we went hunting.
we started at the far end to start to scout Kudu and see where animals are running. I had 10 animals on my list.
My first animal in Africa was a female Impala View attachment 325450 I was doing the African thing hunting in shorts.
CBH
Chris glad to be finally reading your hunt report. I agree the food is great. I hope you enjoyed the biltong.
Where we hunted shorts were not advised because of the thorn bushes. I can assure you that hurt even thru long duds.
Glad you got to use your beloved SAKO.
Cheers mate Bob
 
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We headed back for Brunch and Siesta.By the end of day 1 I had my first Warthog, they look so cool, like my Game4Africa hat and shirt
View attachment 325671
Then it was beers back at camp and another well done meal with all the trimmings. Some beers before tea maybe wine at the table and some whisky after dinner. Never in excess except maybe the food. We always had generous portions for each meal and I had been eating everything on offer on the plane out of boredom.
The Warthog was shot from a Cliff overlooking the Lands. The Lands are like an improved pasture of Cooch Grass, thats what an Aussie would call it. Strangely they are in drought and the property is dry but there is plenty of water for irrigation so they water the Lands. The lands are situated around the property and were originally grazing pasture when the property ran livestock as opposed to running the native animals as stock managed as a hunting enterprise. Its then we learned that in SA the animals are owned by the farmer whereas any native in Australia is owned by the state. Kangaroos are abundant in Australia and may well outnumber what we saw as stock in our travels but In Australia all natives are protected and can be culled by permit or harvested professionally under licence paying a tag fee or royalty.
The Warthog was measured by Lionel as being 230m and thats a long shot in my books given different hunting situations back home. Lionel was just hold it on where you need to hit it. I used short sticks sitting on the edge of the cliff (Nothing like trying something new at this time) i aimed, I held, I squeezed and the shot rang out, I saw the swine buckle I heard the report and he made maybe 20m before stopping dead.
ive misplaced my notes due to work related travel I haven't stopped so I wont get the meals in order but i will try.
The next day would see me viewing some Kudu, Impala Wildebeeste, Buffalo, We looked far and wide. We saw Kudu but it was a management hunt and I just wanted to hunt Africa. I cant afford a Mained Lion or import it anyway so just hunting for meat was enough to satisfy me this time. and I think it was a Warthog in the morning as we travelled from the top surveying what was around and we stopped, got off the Bakkie and started to Stalk warthog. They kept walking slowly we tried to close the gap and get on the sticks. We moved up I was on one and he wanted to keep strolling away from me, i positioned myself waiting trying to keep on him but he wasnt playing ball. Lionel was can you take him? That was all the approval i needed, i fired and hit him behind the ribs dropping him (A bit far back) but he went down and was dead. Congratulations to me and Lionel went to bring the Bakkie up. I sat with Mike the tracker who would accompany us on all hunts. He looked younger than 37 but he was happy go lucky and seemed to enjoy the work and the gratitude we showed when he helped out or just done his job.
Another Impala in the afternnoon for the chiller and something to keep the skinners/farm staff busy.
Another hearty meal of Kebabs and some exotic animal backstrap, Kudu perhaps. I indulged and had desert as it was local I don't eat desert often but we did not pass up opportunity to try different things.
Day 3 , January 7th Well that was our 25th Wedding Anniversary so I generously decided to abstain from a days hunting as that's the sort of person I am. "Hey do you want to go to Africa for our Wedding Anniversary we've never been overseas, All my new friends on this forum tell me its great, Her OK" Giving up one day was part of the plan its only fair.
We went to Addo Elephant Park , Lionel took us in and was our PH/driver/guide on the day. We saw maybe 100 Elephants, The Lion were partly hidden by brush and the Baby Elephants entertained us. They just seem to play like infants do its good to see. It rained light showers on and off that day. We had a great meal at the Steak Baron inside Addo. We only went mains it was great steak,
We travelled back to our lodge taking some back roads. we saw various animals on farms including Golden Wildebeeste. We saw locals selling Prickly Pear fruit roadside. It appears they walk from town and harvest fruit and sit by the road selling what they can. It shows we are fortunate in our lives. In Australia the Prickly Pear is a noxious weed. I had heard some immigrants eat it but its never been that common.
Beers at the Lodge the wife took a liking to the local Apple Cider Savanna and Savanna light. The local beers were good and we had another meal prepared by the domestic staff . Now this I remember as we had a desert called Peppermint Crisp, It seemed to have a lot of fresh cream and a mild mint flavour with a Peppermint Crisp Chocalate bar broken over the top. Delicious. I don't eat dessert so much but i make up for it with a little chocolate. This dessert was nice i may have overindulged on this one.
Its 11:30pm more tomorrow
CBH
Happy wife happy life mate. You ought to give prickly pear a go mate it's delicious. I agree baby elephants are funny buggers. Congratulations on 25 years mate.
Cheers mate Bob
 
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Last chapter, i have been home travelling working and we are starting to get some much needed rains. Africa is in drought and so are we .

So 2 hunting days left @Game 4 Africa Safaris , 1 Warthog and 1 Kudu bull to go. John Coetzee (Coot-Zea) came across to wish us good-luck and say goodbye as he would depart in the morning, I was surprised but then this is the man who built this business and so i'm sure that is a part of his success is actively interacting with clients. he had been tracking my progress and congratulated me on my progress and success. that being that my track record as one shot kills other than the clear miss i have owned up to in an earlier installment. Now i liked the man and appreciate the fact he made a personal effort to come and meet with although he takes a back seat with the operations now. The only thing that concerned me was that John might show an interest in the one horn Kudu Bull that was recently discovered. Now that was a concern, imagine hunting hard on a management hunt and getting to take something that you truly worked for and that was unique and a trophy in its own right. A Unicorn and a challenge! With John out of the way maybe i had a chance.

We started the day with Brekkie then into the Bakkie heading out to look where the Kudu. we drove we looked we scoured the hills. we tried we glassed and then we passed, we tried we looked and could not see Ole' "One Horn". we think it gave us the slip the previous day. Plan B we chase a Warthog. One left on the list and i like hunting Feral Pig back home and these just look Cooler anyway. we went where we would find a nice Warthog, many of the animals were somewhat predictable but i find our pigs are creatures of habit. we had various places and while some Warthog were transient and moving between properties there was good amounts of game and Baby Warthog to be seen at different times. its good to see the numbers and good game management. if that were Australia and those were feral pigs i would have different views and they would be pest management not game management.

We drove to some vantage points, glassed some pigs and looked for a suitable cull. we finally found an opportunity and then it was time to stalk in a little closer. we went for a short walk stalked in a little closer viewed some pig and found our position. Lionel put up the sticks, we followed that process of "get on the sticks" aim. Wait, wait, ( i'm holding out on you intentionally here) I had the rifle loaded and safety off, i had my finger running on the side of the stock above the trigger guard. Then the words take it! i done my part I aimed, squeezed the trigger and watched the impact. A hit, pig buckles and runs. What? it seems maybe the shot was a little high and it ran, like a bastard. We saw where it ran and it was right into the thorns. Cuss, No this was my last warthog. How could i mess this one up. i want that pig.

Mike and Lionel speaking in Xhosi and using that palatal click thing in the conversation. Lionel explains Mike will call the boys and they will bring Rocky. It wasnt long and he skinners were out on location and Rocky was keen to help. They put Rocky on the scent where we he went in the thorns. like the dog had that pig in no time down and dead. The only problem it was maybe 5 metres in and someone had to bring it out. So without hesitation the skinners crawled in with their 10 foot of nylon rope and tied it onto a leg and started to pull it out. i cant stand by and watch but i wasn't keen on the thorns so i grabbed the rope and tried to pull it out. im not sure what the boys made of this the client trying to do their job but its my trophy and i want it out.
We got the warthog out and i was happy to be sure i done my part. Yes the shot was a little higher than "ideal" but still fatal and quick. it really didnt run that far but out of sight was farther than i expected.
I thanked the boys and took pics, some of which were downloaded in any order as my wife posted them to me and they are not in order.

Next the usual stuff we went for brunch proudly serve by the domestic staff. my notes also are missing in action so it was nice i would remember if I complained. Somehow i never forget a bad experience and the good ones are just hey yeah that was good but nothing to report.

That afternoon we could chase Kudu again. No [pigs left on the list so i may as well see why everyone gets all excitable over Kudu. Actually i recall its tastes OK. Now if i can get the One Horn its means Ive had a "Fair crack at it" just like any Aussie would. we done the Kudu thing we looked for it around Kudu Kluif (Kudu Valley) and we did not see him, we saw other Kudu ( Game4Africa Safaris "Your best shot at Kudu in South Africa) We found other opportunity and decided to do a short stalk on a nice animal. yep, you know the drill we went through the motions and i got the approval to take it. i fired and saw it take a hard hit going down but back up without hesitation. Really not again i stuffed up my last shot in Africa. we all lost sight but believed it moved forward of its position. Lionel made a plan to try view it around the corner, we were waiting and ready but there was no show of the Grey Ghost. Rocky and Mike were in the hills looking hard but needed to get on the spore to track. We were all getting twitchy and radios were not behaving and we cant see it. that was a pretty intense 10 minutes.
Finally Mike signals he has it. Dead in a bush. Much relief for me even though I am not a trophy collector. I ws always happy to see the meat utilized and i did not want to waste a thing.
We called for back up and Mike called his mates speaking his lingo. When they arrived they moved it to a position to get a nice picture

View attachment 329155 although we already had a nice picture of Mike standing behind it in the bush. Only problem its not his but they are all part of my trip.
After the photo opportunity the boys gutted the animal preserving any parts that are eaten. (Not by me . Meat eater). They secured the animal to a pole and carried it out.

We returned home and the honeymooners were packing an esky for a picnic. They went to the hills with wine and Biltong. Some call it Sundowners in Africa, But hey if that's what they call it these days, In Australia we would just smile.

We had our own generous nibble trays each day with various local beverages so we were set. beers and Biltong with my PH and later Colin and Claire joined us for supper and a few beers on the patio. For the record i never mentioned their romantic escape or asked where they were.

The next morning we had plans to visit Lionels farm we discussed just filling in the day and he said we might be able to get a baboon from the hide. i had never considered these as a hunted animal but learned here after joining just 10 months ago that they are destructive and need some control measures limiting numbers.

We looked around Lionels farm and saw some different game , we did not see Baboon but he says they can be seen on the Lucerne. Driving back we saw Baboon' on he Cliff or Kranz. Lionel asked if i would like to shoot one I said can we? he said its my mates property we are passing through i will ring and get permission. Done! they are tricky little buggers and were quick to shift or hide when i was aiming. I got 2 and wanted to get one off the cliff . i started my ascent and thought I was doing Ok and Lionel is calling out to come down and im kind of determined to get this thing even if i had to throw it down.
Lionel was always looking out for us in town and on tour clearly he could see we would talk to anyone and he wanted to keep us out of trouble. He was most relaxed when when we were hunting at least and that made me feel like i was doing OK as a client i just dont make a good tourist as i was scammed for a 20 rand by a porter at Tambo Airport.

Anyway i had told Lionel @Kawshik Rahman story about an Indian Shikari who was hanged after his clients death from his own poor choices getting him killed. Lionel is reminding me of this as Im climbing but I just said no its OK i don't think they do that here. The climb got the better of me so I came down and we returned to Kudu Ridge.

We had Tea/Dinner/Supper with Wikus and Brittanny , Colin and Claire, Lionel and were joined by Lionel wife and Im sorry but her name does escape me (But she did share a Buttermilk rusk recipe). We all talked for a bit had my last local beer and tried to encourage them to partake in the Great Aussie Spirit Bundaberg Rum. We discussed maybe even returning in a couple of years when i turn 50 about 2 years and some days from now. Wik' did offer to leave the One Horn for me if i was going to book again. Hmm, tempting.... Me i would maybe shoot the horn off one if a client was chasing one. its not hard to find a Kudu at Kudu Ridge but the one horn eluded me but Im sure there are some nice trophies available for those who want to choose.

We slept well got up early had Breakfast and one last Rusk. We said goodbye to Lionel's wife and started toward the Port Elizabeth Airport where we fare-welled Lionel and thanked him for our trip. and went to check in.

I believe Wikus and Brittany's marriage is fast approaching , this month i believe.

I mentioned that I know at least one of the wives hunt (maybe both) but one proudly has her Kudu on display. She was smiling but i'm not sure if its a sore point with the other half who's trophies were not on display. Yet?

If you want to know who has their TROPHY KUDU on display you might have to go and meet the Coot-Zeas yourself............ Maybe John will be in camp too.

Game4Africa your best shot at Kudu in South Africa!

The end.
CBH
Chris that Kudu you got looks good mate you should have bought it home. Photos are good but I do like the idea of having it mounted. I will only have 2 mounted in my life time but every time I look at them I can remember my trip.
It's unfortunate you got crook but good to see you still hunted. One member of our group Shane put in a 30km stalk for his kudu. They can be hard to get mate you did well.
How bout you get the wife to write up her experience, that would make a great read.
Cheers mate Bob
 

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Congrats on the hunt, looks like you had a great time!
 

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Thanks. I think Springbok was the most tender.
I generally shoot pests so i dont eat a lot of game.
I only eat ham or bacon pork so we did not eat Warthog.
Great report! Thank you for posting.

What was your favorite game meat?

I was happy with the Lamb roast on arrival.
An Aussie favourite
 

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CBH, it sounds like you and the Mrs. had a great time. Thanks for taking us along.
 

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Thanks for your report. As Mr. Zorg has commented you have an interesting writing style. Do you have any regrets not taking home some trophies? I’m hunting in Namibia in April and am not planning on taking much if anything home with me as I already have a number of mounts. What is your opinion now that you are home? Thanks again for the report.
 

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