SOUTH AFRICA: My October 2016 Hunt With AAA Africa Serapa Safaris

Aaron Nietfeld

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Soooooooooo you see a lioness, you tease us in the beginning that you are interested in taking a lioness, is @AAA Africa Serapa Safaris minus said lioness?
 

cpr0312

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Day 5 Sunday October 23rd..... A day I will never forget!!

After seeing the lion the previous evening, and lots of talks with Jacques about lion, the situation with the USFW, and the potential opportunity I had sitting in front of me,well I decided to hunt lioness!!
Now prior to this and probably up until a few months ago I was one who would not hunt a lion/lioness if I could not bring it back home. I still wrestled with this in my mind while there. But reading many posts over the past year or so from those of you who have hunted lion and either already have it home, or have recently hunted and don't know if you can get it home, I came to the conclusion that if the cost was reasonable, that I would do it for the experience.

I never in my lifetime would have thought I could pursue an African lion, but with all the things that have happened and with pricing coming down more in recent years, it was now a possibility. Again, I think to myself I really want to bring a cat home if I take one, but wow, I can hunt a African lion...what an experience. So, it is decided that we will pursue the lioness.

We finish breakfast and start out to look for the tracks from last night. Jacques says most likely she will be far from where we left her especially if she hunted through the night. By 8 am we pickup the tracks and follow, and follow, and follow all on the truck. She has traveled quite a way through the night! The tracker (Albert) is riding on the front of the truck studying tracks while the rest of us are on the back looking of the sides at tracks. Eventually we come to a junction of 2 roads where a few blocks come together. Albert is now having us slow down and eventually he puts up the stop sign!!! He looks over about 20 yards in a group of tress and points and says lion!!! Gulp, a rush of emotions is now instantly on me. We are hunting lion and now we are planning how to stalk her. It almost went silent and surreal for me at that point.

Drive 30 yards or so, load the guns, ease of the truck. Its Jacques, Albert, another PH Sokkie, and me. A quick talk and plan, some encouragement, and we are off. I am excited for sure, but somehow I am keeping it in and remaining mostly calm. making sure I am focused and present in order to give this my full attention, the lioness deserves it and all of us deserve that.

We stalk slowly and methodically around and into the area where Albert saw here. Even though it was windy and we were making noise walking on dry and crunchy ground, I could hear a pin drop. We got to where she was, and we don't see her. Where is she? Is she now stalking us? I have certainly heard stories on lioness' stalking the hunters. Well, the drive Docman whistles to us that she has slipped away and he can see here running down the road. Back to the truck quickly to pursue, we follow her tracks for it had to be 1 mile or more. Albert cuts her tracks and we turn down a road and about 50 yards Albert puts up the stop sign, she is about 25 yards off the road. We back out, go around the other side of the block, get off and begin the stalk. By this point it is about 10:30 and starting to get hot. Jacques says she most likely will stand her ground now. Ok, deep breaths, make sure gun is loaded and safe.

We stalk for about 5 minutes and see her about 50 yards away in some thick stuff. She is pacing back and forth, zig zagging as well. Jacques says she is definitely getting agitated and she will stand her ground. Heart beating through my chest now! We move around a bit and there is a small opening in the brush, "Can you see her?" Yes I reply. Which I can with the naked eye, but once I pull the scope up, I cant pick her out in all that thick brush with sandy background. I again look with just my eyes, "Can you see her?" Yes I can. Shoot behind the shoulder if you can. I again get her in the scope but cant be sure, and this is not a time to make a poor shot. She moves off. We pursue...

About 100 yards away we get back to her.We see her moving from bush to bush, zig zagging again... Jacques puts up the sticks...instinct kicks in and I get the gun up, get her in the scope, safety off, breathe, focus. CAn you see her? Yes. She was behind a bunch of brush and trees, but there was one maybe 3 ft opening where her body/vitals were. Jacques says just to the left of the tree, do you see her body? Yes I answer. Shoot 3 inches to the left of that tree, this time I clearly see my target, know where on her body I am shooting, she is slightly quartering away but I can picture where the shot needs to go in order to get the vitals and the far shoulder....

SQUEEZE................................................
 

kathy

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SQEEZE, Boom she is dead I hope .
Beautiful animals . Forrest
 

cpr0312

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Continued......

Squeeze... the .375 rings out. Its a solid hit, she buckles like its a vital and/or should hit. Growling and sandy dust from her running off. We can hear her, she isn't far. A few low pitched growl/groans, we proceed around the bush slowly,the 3 of us almost shoulder to shoulder. Again its like I am so focused I can hear a pin drop, but also hear everything that Jacques is telling me to do. Slowly, slowly, we don't hear her anymore. I think I see her, but cant be sure, once we round the last bush, she is laying there with her back to us not moving, we are now at 20 yards. I ask, should I put one in between her shoulders for insurance? Jacques says no, I think she is done. He goes up to her with his .470 NE and checks to make sure. He then says the words that immediately relieve the tensions...she is done.

I cant describe how I felt once we got to her. I respect and appreciate every animal I have ever taken, and have been emotional with a few of them. But when it comes to not only dangerous game but one that can easily hunt you is a different story. After smiles, relief, handshakes, and congratulations, everyone leaves Jacques and I alone. My nerves kick in and shaking begins. Excitement, joy, respect, AWE, all things rushing though me right now. I stand next to this beautiful beast, and kneel down the first time to touch her. I get chocked up and tear up and tell Jacques thank you and other than that I honestly don't know what to say.

He congratulates me and then gives me some time alone with the cat. Its pretty cool that he could read me and my emotions and walked away for a minute without me asking to be alone.

I am overcome and just sit there in amazement, awe, silent, thankful, happy. I cant believe I just had the opportunity to hunt the king of the jungle (in this case the queen but you know what I'm talking about). She is huge, majestic, and beautiful. I just cant describe it all here how I felt but so thankful and humbled for this opportunity.

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cpr0312

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After we load the cat it is 11 am, Jacques asks if we want to shoo the .470 before we head back for lunch. The driver Docman agrees, after some coaching from Jacques he shoots and it kicks pretty good. We all get a laugh, the other PH then shoots it. Then it was my turn, now the biggest thing I have ever shot is a .375, so I ask him exactly how to how the gun and stand. I fired it and honestly it was not that bad and nowhere near as bad as I thought. Pretty cool to get to fire something new like that.

Back at the lodge a family from France has arrived, and we have a very nice out door meal. It really wasn't until after lunch that I came back down from the whole lion hunting experience

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After a nap we head back out that afternoon looking for gemsbok or whatever else popped up.
At almost last light on on the way back to the lodge, we spot some blesbok. There were about 25 but this one group of three was in a stalkable position. Jacques id's one as a good ram, asks me what I think and I say lets go. ABout a 10 minute stalk and we get to them, luckily they stayed put and the ram we were after was standing slightly quartering to at 110 yards. I get him in the scope and pick the aim point, squeeze, it hits him hard and he goes about 10 yards and piles up. Smiles and handshakes, wow that happened quick. Very nice old ram

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To end the day we had a braai outside and before we ate, all the staff wanted to sing and play music for us. What a treat this was to hear them sing and play drums!!!
To top it off, little did I know that one of the songs was for me. I was actually recording and Jacques says this one is called the lion roars in the Kalahari, and then he said your getting in line and singing/dancing with them. He took my phone and recorded this for me. Folks I'm not a dancer or anything like that, but I just went with it and it was a experience I'll never forget. We went around i circles dancing while they sang!

Man that was a special blessing!
 

Neale

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Thanks for the report. There was certainly a lot of emotion in your lioness hunt. Congrats and thankyou for taking us for the adventure as well.
 

cpr0312

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jasyblood

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Congratulations on a beautiful lioness and what an awesome experience!!
 

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@reedy0312 congratulations on your lioness! your description brought back fond memories of my own lion hunt- it's such a humbling experience to hunt a lion.

Thank you for sharing your hunt with @AAA Africa Serapa Safaris. clearly a top notch operation!

Congrats again
 

BWH

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What an experience. Congratulations man..... Wish I would have been there!
 

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Congratulations on such a truly spectacular experience!!!! Serapa is beyond expectations. I was there last July-August- the trip of a lifetime!!!! Can't wait to see Jacques and Yolande in January- will see them at an annual dinner in Nevada, MO at my good friend's home before they head to SCI convention.
 

cpr0312

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Thanks for the nice comments guys, I will do my best to finish the report in the next day or two!
 

BWH

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BTW..... That's a pretty good looking shirt you are wearing. Customized & all. :whistle:
 

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Day 6 Monday October 24th:

We again start off looking for gemsbok as there are some big ones here and I cant get them out of my mind. Problem is we are seeing lots of groups of cows, or singular cows with young or brand new babies. With the calving season, we are not going to shoot a cow. Also, we set out looking for Rhino (not for me to pursue) by to have a look at. Also on my list is baboon. I have asked Jacques about them and he said normally there are lots of them but since the drought has got so bad, they have disappeared from the property and he hasn't seen any in 3 or 4 months. Ok, but I have my hopes up that we will come across some.

We find tracks of a lone Rhino bull and follow them for a few hours. I really hope to get to see him. While on the tracks, I look down the road about 2000 yards and say whats that, a herd or animals, black looking, I assume wildebeest of blesbok something like that. Jacques figures the same, well the binos go up, Jacques says baboons! He immediately tells Docman to step on it and get down the road as fast as possible. Once we get to where they crossed, we drive around to try to get a decent wind to make a stalk. We get out, circle around and make about a 20 minute stalk. The wind shifts and that is it. We can still track the however, and get back in the truck to try to cut them off. Well after 2 or 3 times circling the block and spotting them, then chasing them back to the other side a few times, we finally come across them at a water hole. They scatter, all except a big male, he goes the opposite way, I get a quick chance but he starts moving behind the brush and I give him a good scare with a 165 grain from the 30-06. So we keep on him, he gives us the slip. We circle the block a few times with hopes of flushing him out. Luckily we do come up on him again, give chase with the truck, then we have another quick opportunity. This the time shot was true and he stopped in his tracks, another shot for insurance. We cautiously approach him as Jacques says they are very dangerous when injured. But, he is finished when we get there. I'm not sure whats big or not for a baboon, but he was clearly bigger than the rest of the troop.

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That afternoon we go out to help the French clients locate buffalo. Jacques and I spot a group of 4 bulls in some thick stuff. They were just feeding and really didn't care we were 40 yards from them. They slip into the blackthorn, and Jacques and I go around the other side on foot to see if we can find them in there. We ease through the brush and locate them without disturbing them, then back out and radio to CJ (the other PH) to come this way. They get there and then pursue the buff. The rest of the afternoon was spent helping them follow up after they shot the buff.

On the ride back to the lodge it was well after dark, and this night all the stars were out and it was crystal clear. What an amazing ride back seeing all the stars, constellations, and the milky way!
 

billc

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Great job on the lioness. I am sure it is a hunt you will relive for the rest of your days. I hope the rules may change back soon and I may just chase one with Pieter if I can bring it back home with me.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Great job on the lioness. I am sure it is a hunt you will relive for the rest of your days. I hope the rules may change back soon and I may just chase one with Pieter if I can bring it back home with me.

You have enough taxidermy Bill, save yourself that bill and go hunt!
 

billc

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You have enough taxidermy Bill, save yourself that bill and go hunt!

Phil after reading about your hunt and now reedys I have thought more about it. To me the taxidermy is just what finishes the hunt. I may just get lucky with trump taking office now and some laws may go back to being good for us hunters. I am trying to get pass it and may just do it either way but just not there yet. But I do hear what your saying and just a few month ago I would never have even thought of it.
 

cpr0312

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Great job on the lioness. I am sure it is a hunt you will relive for the rest of your days.

Thank you, it certainly will be a memory I will never forget!
 

Ridgewalker

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Great trip Reedy! It makes me ready to go!
Thanks for the wonderful report!
 

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Nice black wildebeest...wish I had taken one back in 2010....will make a nice mount! Has my Africa itch coming back...
 

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