Very nice trophies Tracey, and one of the most enjoyable hunting reports I have read, you have an un-complicated way with words that reads well, thank you.
The good news for me is that before we went my wife had told me several times that this was a once in a lifetime trip, on the way home she told me WHEN we go back she wants to shoot a waterbuck. I think I may have a shot it down the road a waysNice report, thank you for taking the time to write up a report and post your photos! The real question, when are you going back?!?
Less than 30 days for the wife and I to return to Africa for our 4th Safari.
Day two started off with a great breakfast, yogurt, fruit, cereal, sausage bacon and eggs made to order.
After that it was back into the bush to see what we could find stirring around. My PH said that the kudu really liked the "mountains". I live near the Bighorn mountains in Wyoming and their definition of mountains and mine are a little different but it was some steeper hilly country. We parked the truck and headed up what looked to be a little swale in-between a couple of hills. My wife had decided to walk with us since we were going to pretty much just glass the hills and valley below and make a plan. The terrain quickly changed into some of the hardest walking I had ever done. Very rocky with grass growing up around the rocks so you had no idea what you were really putting your foot on. It is amazing to me that nobody broke and ankle walking through this stuff. My wife does not have the best ankles but she toughed it out.
After glassing for a while we did manage to find some impala and what appeared to be a nice kudu, but he was too far away to tell for sure. A plan was made to go back the bakki, drive back around the hill and walk down the next ridge to get on a point closer to his location. We put the plan into action and after walking back through the rock minefield to the truck and through a maybe worse minefield to get to the point we wanted to be on we could only find the impala. We searched for quite a while before I finally spotted the kudu bull. We began to judge the kudu and he looked really good until he turned his head and we could see that one horn was broke about 1/3 of the way up.
A new plan was made to see what if we could get closer to the impala and see what they were. After more rock minefields we got within about 100yds of a big impala ram, but once again we were pinned down behind a fall bush and just couldn't get out from behind if to take the shot. In the mean time a red hartebeest spotted us trying to get the shot and the gig was up in a hurry. The rest of the morning was spent looking for our next animal to stalk, but it quickly turned into a broken horn fest. I think we saw either two or three impala all with one broken horn. I was hoping this was not an omen for the rest of the hunt.
After a great lunch it was back out looking again. Later in the afternoon the PH said we were going to walk from here and we got off the truck. He told the driver to take my wife back to where we had seen some giraffe and she could take pictures while we hunted on foot. After stalking through the bush for a while we found a springbok ram that presented a good shot opportunity. The sticks went up and at about 100yds this time with my 375 Ruger mag the shot was true and after running a short distance the springbok was down. A gorgeous sunset ensued while we took pictures and celebrated.
After pictures it was back to the lodge for some time around the fire pit and they cooked the wildebeest loins from yesterday afternoon for evening meal. I have to say that it is my opinion that if North American game tasted like ANY of the game meat we had in Africa there would be a lot less of it roaming the countryside. We did not have anything that was not delicious.View attachment 400734View attachment 400735View attachment 400736View attachment 400737
The good news for me is that before we went my wife had told me several times that this was a once in a lifetime trip, on the way home she told me WHEN we go back she wants to shoot a waterbuck. I think I may have a shot it down the road a ways
Beautiful trophies and great photos!
Tell her the photos were very nice! I had a tough time taking time from hunting to try and get photos. It must have been nice to have someone helping out!The credit for a lot of the pictures goes to my wife and the PHs. My wife and her camera were pretty much inseparable during our hunt except for the time she was hunting, and the amount if work that Ruan, Okert and crew put into getting the trophy pictures shows in the results
Do you live in Sheridan. I lived there until I had to come to Florida to care for my Mom who has late stage dementia. I loved SheridanDay 7
While we were done hunting we still had some adventures left on our list. We had told Ruan that we would love to see some lions. The day began with a trip to a nearby farm that raised lions. While these lions were captive, they were far from and tame and one even charged us right up to the fence. I know there was a fence between us, but if it didn't make the hair on your neck stand up I really don't think you were alive. I was incredible to see the amount of work and expense that was put into raising these lions. View attachment 400979
The next stop of the day was at a diamond tender house for a quick tour. It was an impressive facility and was great to see the amount of passion that the owner had for diamonds, it went way beyond business. The picture is of my wife holding a 30ct and a 40ct raw diamond. No she did not get a new diamond out of the trip. lolView attachment 400980
One of my true loves is trapshooting, I spend most of my summers chasing clay targets around parts of Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and sometimes Nebraska. Ruan arranged with another property for us to use their clay target range for the afternoon. Fun was had by all, even Anna-Marie got in on the shotgun action. (she might have outshot all of us).
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I had some trouble hitting some of the targets. I blame it on being in the southern hemisphere and the targets spinning backwards but nobody believes me. lol
Today ended up being a fly by the seat of our pants day. It started out with a trip to Vryburg to get our COVID tests for the trip home, but when we got to the testing station we found out that it was a national holiday (freedom day) and that they were not doing COVID testing today. Don't get me started on why you would shut down testing for the deadliest thing on earth (JK), but that was the case.
Plan B was developed and while my number one summer love is trapshooting, my wife and I also spend a lot of our summers running a part time BBQ business, (Hence my profile picture) and Ruan asked if they found some ribs would I like to use the camps drum smoker and BBQ them. It sounded like a fun afternoon to this BBQ junkie so it was off to the meat market for ribs. I was a little out of my realm without my normal spices and equipment, but made do and the ribs came out pretty good. I also made some pork belly, but was not used to the smoker and it got a little charred. Okert made some pork cracklins with the skin and they were very good as well.View attachment 400984
The evening meal consisted of the BBQ, springbok tenderloins, springbok stew and all the fixings. I continue to be impressed by the taste of the game meat from Africa as all of it was very good.
Day 9 consisted of a trip back to Vryburg for our COVID tests and some shopping for stuff to bring home for the adult kids and grandbaby. I was amazed at the amount of bullets on the shelf at the gun shop we stopped at and told them they probably had more bullets there than the entire state of Wyoming right now.
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The day concluded with pictures of all the skulls and a ride out to the big open field to spend the last evening of our time in Africa watching yet again another beautiful sunset with a beer (wine for my wife) and all the animals just doing what they do.
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The day ended well with another great meal of lamb ribs, steak and fixings. It got even better when we received the emails that we had negative COVID tests. While we had the time of our lives being here it was time to get headed home.
This was the day that seemingly never ended. We left the ranch at 7am and after a little hiccup at the airport with my firearms we were on the airplane leaving Kimberly at 10:20. Our flight was quick and we arrived in Joberg a little early. Gilbert from Africa Sky was to meet us and help with the firearm process on our way home, but the early arrival caused some issues and somebody forgot to tell security at OR Tambo that there were firearms on the plane. It was a rat race trying to get my guns squared away and while waiting for Gilbert I was called back to the firearms desk to retrieve my gun and ammo cases, It all got accomplished and Gilbert got us on our return flights home with out much trouble.
We had a quick (42 minute) connection in Doha and then on to Seattle. The combination of a 9hr flight and a 14hr flight with no time in between was brutal but we survived.
Upon arrival at SeaTac, I discovered my gun case setting with the rest of the oversize baggage. Customs/Border Patrol did not like that and while they were very polite with me I think there was a baggage handler that had an educational moment. In case you ever wondered what kind of attention you get when this happens, here is one last picture for this report.View attachment 400991
A smooth flight on to Billings and we were home. Not sure how to end this except to say that if a trip like this is something you are considering, just do it, you will never regret it.