SOUTH AFRICA: My Trip To Huntershill Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Chago, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. Chago

    Chago AH Veteran

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    I probably should have done this a long time ago. But I guess better late then never. I was there last year in August. It my first trip to Africa. To be honest I never even had Africa on my radar. I'm a avid deer, elk, moose and black bear hunter. Being in Canada these are our game animals and I hunt hard every single year. Growing up in a rural community some of these species were right in my backyard. But a group of friends had planned a group trip that was actually a great deal. I essentially went thinking for this price it will at least be a lot of fun. Why not. After the whole experience...... I was planning my next trip on the flight home. I loved it. Here was my experience.

    IMG_20180817_113841~2.jpg

    So first off the travel. I flew from Toronto on Air Canada to London Heathrow. Then from London down to Johan on South African Air. Then one more leg from Johan to east London. For those of you worrying about carrying guns through Europe etc. It's perfectly fine when flying with any star Alliance airline. So for Canadians that's Air Canada, Americans United. And Europe has many such has Lufthansa, lot, KLM, Swiss, Croatian, British Airways etc. All of them have baggage deals with each other. And South African is apart of that star Alliance as well. My ammo and rifle were all successful travelling both to and from. In London I didn't even have to answer a single question about the rifle. It just passed through with baggage. Now I do travel a lot for work. When I saw a lot. Add 90% to what your thinking lol. I fly 80-100 flights every single year. So with that comes a very angry wife. But a lot of travel points. So I used points and flew both ways business..... For free. Ate dinner, crushed a bottle of wine. And I was out like a light until landing.

    Me waking up after 10 hours of sleep. Lol
    IMG_20180816_041903.jpg

    My first view of Africa about 40 mins out from landing. Tell me this was not the opening to the Lion King movie. What a site to wake up to.

    IMG_20180816_050914.jpg


    And right after I landed in East London. Our chariot awaited. One thing I will say. Although we had a 3 hour drive from east London. It wasn't bad. I got to see a lot of the country side, some small towns etc. I got to soak in more of Africa. Now that being said I literally slept every flight the entire way. So I was well rested. I can only imagine how hard this would have been for someone who didn't sleep well on the flight. The extra few hours can be tough. Although again I enjoyed it.

    IMG_20180816_121247.jpg

    Now let's talk a bit about the outfitter. So I give HH a 9 out of 10. Now again to all of you guys out there. The guy typing this does not go on a lot of guided hunts. I normally hunt DIY, sleeping in a tent in Canadian cold is normal and eating out of a backpack for a week is standard. So my expectations would be different then yours if you normally hunt out of a Four Seasons Hotel. But that being said, in all my travels I can appreciate service, food quality, etc. HH had a warm welcome from the PH's, House staff, and kitchen staff when I arrived. I immediately was offered a cold beer which literally hit the spot. I was taken to my room, all my gear was already there. I had a chance to get situated. Then we went for a ride to sight in my rifle. Took a drive around the property a bit to just get a taste and make sure I don't sleep at all at night lol. Then came back to the main lodge for dinner. My room was clean, comfortable and everything I needed.

    IMG_20180817_182242.jpg

    I was there in August which is there winter. And HH is situated up in the mountains so expect cooler temps. We had nights get down to zero. They had a space heater which was plenty. Again keep in mind I sleep in tents with no heat so you Southerners might freeze your butts off.

    On many threads I have read people say just tell your PH the hunt you want. And they will provide. I immediately that first night at dinner told my PH that I don't want a truck hunt. I also told him I don't really eat breakfast but I do like a early heavier lunch. And that's exactly what I had. We got in the truck before sunrise. Drove out to the general area we would be hunting. Then got on foot while the sun was coming up everyday. We would go back to camp and eat around 11ish. Back out at noon. And hunt until about 5pm. My boots got a lot of miles put on them. My method was not the most efficient as we would burn a lot of time walking back to the truck to either go eat, or to scoop up one of the harvested animals. But it was the hunt I wanted. So for that I give them full points.

    Ok next post is each day of the hunt. Incoming.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2019
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  2. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Good first writeup and oh, yeah, stick a fork in you. You're done. :LOL:
     
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  3. Chago

    Chago AH Veteran

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    Day 1
    I was very particular with my list. And I was focusing on each animal per day. I didn't want to go off my list and shoot other animals we saw. Next time I probably will, but for my first trip I had a specific list of 7 animals I wanted to hunt. If I didn't get them no problem. But I wanted to stick to that list.

    The PH plan was we were going to hunt the lower altitude parts of the property. I know we had seen some nyala there the evening before when we went on our drive. I understood nyala to be a very evasive animal that is particularly active in the morning. Yet we saw them the night before for the PH said it was a no brainer to start with them. As there was a very good chance they were in the same area. So we drove to the general area then got on foot. We sat and glassed for a while, only seeing cows, and one young bull. We sat pretty still for a few hours and just waited hoping the bigger bull we saw the night before would show up. He did not so we head in for our 11am Lunch. Then came back to the same area. PH suspected the big bull must have moved on and maybe this is his evening feeding area. We came back but the wind has swapped on us so we switched sides of this clearing. Literally as we walked up just after lunch we spotted him. As if he knew we were there that morning and came out right when we left. We closed the distance quite a bit as he was over 800m away when we first spotted him. Fortunately for us there was a lot of cover to use to creep in closer. And eventually we knew we were not going to get any closer as he kept focusing in our direction. So I took the shot.

    IMG_20180817_113841~2.jpg

    By the time we got him back it was getting around 3pm. We went out for another scouting drive for the next morning before we ended out day.
     
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  4. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Glad you enjoyed your trip.
     
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  5. Chago

    Chago AH Veteran

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    Day 2

    Now I know people talk about SA as it's all fenced properties. And there right there are a lot. But coming from a guy who only hunts on public land back home. I did not feel I was in a fence at all. As a matter of fact I didn't even see any other then the day I arrived and came through the gate. HH is some ridiculous like 55,000 acres so you literally have mountains within this property. You couldn't possibly hike this in a month never mind a week.

    That being said. Day 2 started with a huge bittersweet moment for me. My most important trophies coming into this were a sable and a kudu. I fulfilled my dream of taking a sable. But it was not exactly how I wanted to. We drove to the general area as usual. We got out of the truck and we're still chit chatting. And one of the trackers spotted it literally a couple hundred meters away. The blood got pumping and we got fairly close. He had no idea we were there. I took the shot and he dirt napped. It was bittersweet as I envisioned my sable hunt to be a big part of the trip. And it literally happened while I was still clearing my throat and morning gas lol. So it wasn't as eventful. But hey that's hunting. Sometimes your just lucky I guess.

    IMG_20180817_095006~2.jpg IMG_20180817_095559~2.jpg

    So we took our photos and took him back to the meat shed. Speaking of the meat shed. This was one uneasy piece about Africa for me. I was raised eating EVERYTHING from a animal you harvest. And obviously I will eat some while in Africa, I couldn't possibly eat it all. So I was kinda uncomfortable with the idea of only trophy hunting. I assumed when I got there I would pay someone to help me bring the meat to donate etc. Little did I know. HH has a full blown skinning shed and what seemed like a meat business. A reefer truck showed up everyday take the skinned carcasses. Looked no different then cattle back home. So these were all headed to either donations or meat markets. That alleviated all my waste concerns. IMG_20180817_101457.jpg

    So since we were in early. We decided to eat now. Then go back out for the rest of the day. Zebra was the best target. My idea of zebra hunting was ok glass the field and pick the one you want. Hahahah boy was I wrong. Good thing we had the whole day left cause zebra was wayyyyyyyyy harder then I expected.

    Right after we ate we drove up the mountain. And then hiked from there. I right away was like my PH must be lost. All the planet earth movies I've ever seen zebras are in the tall grass in a open plain. Impala bouncing by while lions state from under a tree. Yup that's BS lol. These buggers love the mountain and can move up it really fast. And are skittish as hell. We must have spooked 4 or 5 groups from literally 600m away. It was wild. And to make matters worse. It was about at the freezing mark maybe just above. Wind was howling up here. And we even had some sleet. I'm like great. I left Canada in one of two months we actually have nice weather. And came to Africa and get sleet slapping me in the face. We finally had a group that was still a long ways out. But I am very well trained in marksmanship and was completely comfortable with the shot. One catch. We were shooting up the mountain and at that distance there was no way I was using sticks. So I opened the bipod and went prone. Those of you with some long range shooting experience. Laying prone angled upwards. Brings the top of the scope a lot closer to your face. I wanted to adjust myself but the zebra started to move, I've been chasing these guys for like 6 hours. I was like the hell with it. I know I'm gonna eat this scope but hey no pain no gain. Made a great shot. The zebra took one step and fell. But my eyebrow was bruised and bloody the rest of the week. The picture does not do the weather justice. It was miserable all afternoon. It's like the heavens opened up just for my photo. After this we climbed down the mountain. Got the truck, picked up the zebra and called it a day. IMG_20180817_160340~2.jpg
     
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  6. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Very interesting so far. What kind of rifle were you using?
     
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  7. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    You had a heck of a start to the hunt!! Congrats, look forward to more!
     
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  8. Chago

    Chago AH Veteran

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    Day 3

    HH owns other properties and I could have stayed at the main camp to complete my list. But my PH had told me he had better kudu at another property. And he also wanted to take me to a third property and lodge that they call rocklands. The choice was mine but he had bigger kudu at Craddock so I was in. And rocklands being further north, warmer, more arid. I was like awesome that's like two totally different environments in one trip. I was in. I know some want to stay in one camp the entire trip. Again I was all in to be moved and see more of the country. You'll be able to tell in later days reviews my gear was very different those days. I could retire the kuiu gear etc cause it wasn't cold. Any how back to day 3.
    We were headed to Craddock to go after the highlight of the trip... Kudu. Our drive was about 1.5 hours to the other property in Craddock. My fear was were were pull up and shoot like we did at the sable ..... Nope. We spent the entire day climbing to the top of mountains glassing. Seeing a group. Going over there. Just to find nothing but ghosts when we arrived. Rinse, repeat. Hell of a day. Spent miles on my boots. We had a field lunch that day as we wanted as much time as possible out there. Saw some monster bulls but just couldn't get close. Day 3 ended with nice hot shower, beers and a great dinner. Some great views in Craddock. My suunto was telling me we were 8000' above sea level here.

    PANO_20180818_084546.jpg

    See if you can spot Waldo. Tell me kuiu pattern doesn't work in Africa..... IMG_20180817_121403.jpg


    Day 4

    Back to the same mountains in Craddock. Basically deja vu of day before. Get to the top of another mountain side. See nice bulls. Go after them. They gone. I'm telling you I was glassing at over 1km. And could see the kudu staring into my eyes from that distance lol. They spotted us at ranges I could hardly see them with my bimos. Incredible eye sight. Well around 1 pm we spotted a nice group but this time they were up top and we were down below. We had a nice crevice we could hike up where we would have great cover. We got up there about 650m away. And just sat and watched them. We knew we were pinned down here. We watched for hours to see if they would make there way down. And see if we had any nice bulls in the group. Literally at 5pm. We decided the hell with it. We will come back tomorrow as the ones showing themselves were not old enough. Right as stood up. They spotted us. And all shuffled around. A new guy popped out of the cover. My PH spotted and basically gave me the green light. He wanted to get closer but I knew these guys are about to run. I had a bush in front of me that had a nice V. I rested the rifle in the V. Adjusted my elevation and took the shot. Eld X 212 grain out of a 300 win mag at that distance just dirt napped. My PH was almost let down that he didn't run first. Cause he was hoping he would have ran down and helped us with the work lol

    He wasn't the biggest kudu, but man what a experience he gave me. You can see the elevation we were at and had to hike. IMG_20180818_175834~2.jpg

    We made our way to the Rockland camp that night so we could hunt it first thing in the morning.

    Some treats around the fire that night. Fried kudu liver. And my 190th Amstel light lol IMG_20180819_194142.jpg
     
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  9. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Good report and some fine animals!
     
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  10. Chago

    Chago AH Veteran

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    My favorite hunting rifle. Fierce Firearms Edge in 300 win mag. I have many custom built competition and tactical bolt actions. But of course heavier barrels are typically used which make them a little cumbersome to carry on a hunt. Fierce has incredibly accuracy out of a 7lb rifle. Comes pre installed with a brake. And the entire rifle is ceraktoed. I use this rifle on Canadian moose and anything in Africa. I would gladly shoot a hippo with that rifle. Glass is a vortex PST gen 2 First focal plane. 5x25 Mrad reticle.
     
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  11. Chago

    Chago AH Veteran

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    Day 5

    So we woke up to a beautiful sunrise. We were now at rocklands and I am glad we came here. It was more of a rolling hills type landscape. Lots of dry, arid red sand. You can see for miles. Temps were much warmer which was a complete contrast from the main camp and Craddock. I only had today and tomorrow left. Today was going to be here. Then tonight we needed to go back to the main camp. Because I wanted to get to the top of the mountain to chase there blesbuck. But today we had gemsbuck on the list. And impala if it comes up. But gemsbuck was the priority. Another animal that I envisioned like zebra. Would just be waiting in a open field. Nope. And you think the white would stand out like a sore thumb. Nope. Amazing how there colour patterns actually make amazing camouflage. We were hiking all morning. Saw a lot of amazing animals like giraffe, Hartebeast, wildebeest, all sorts of the tiny ten. But no gemsbuck. On our way back to lunch we were making our way to truck. And as we crested over a hill. We were surprised by a lone gemsbuck grazing. He was equally surprised by us. We quickly hit the deck. I immediately got the bipod open and was preparing for the shot. He took a couple steps as if he was going to bolt. But paused again to see what we were. That was a deadly mistake. I took the shot. I was amazed at the size of these guys. And those antlers..... I can't wait for them to come back from the taxidermist. This animal was by far the most beautiful animal on this trip. The colours and antlers are just amazing.

    IMG_20180819_111050~2.jpg

    We went in for lunch. Actually took our time a bit because it got really hot. We went back out in the evening to see if we can find some impala before we made our drive back to the main camp. It actually didn't take too long. We spotted a large group and just sat and wait to see who would be at the party. And eventually a nice male stood out from the group. Impala was a "we will see" on my list. Like didn't have to happen. But honestly was really glad I took one. Amazing trophy. I didn't realize how big those antlers grow. Very impressive. IMG-20180819-WA0099~2.jpg
     
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  12. Chago

    Chago AH Veteran

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    Day 6

    We were in no hurry to go this morning. We hunted hard and partied equally as hard. So we were all prepared to get to the main camp whenever we do and end the hunt with a final afternoon. I was hell bent on getting to the top of the mountain back at main camp where I had previously spotted some nice blesbuck. They reminded me of hunting pronghorns because of their speed. But like ibex at the top of the mountains. We took some team pics before we drove back to main camp.

    IMG_20180819_174040.jpg

    When we got back to HH main camp. We had a quick lunch and went up the mountain. Saw some amazing black wildebeest which are now on my list for my next trip for sure. We spent a lot of time trying to find the herd. They apparently were ghosts. When literally about 45 mins before we needed to head back we spotted a massive herd of them. So big I was wondering how the hell we didn't see these guys earlier. Another super spooky animal. We could not get close at all and needed another long shot. But I was comfortable in my prone position again. And was confident in the shot.

    IMG_20180820_173138~2.jpg

    The sun setting behind me. At the top of the mountain. What felt like the top of the world. Was such an amazing ending to a amazing trip.

    Folks at HH did a phenomenal job. My PH Boyce and his crew were all work horses who wanted nothing more than to make sure I was enjoying myself, was safe, and harvesting great quality animals. I would strongly recommend them to anyone.

    A final pic we took after we drove the Jeep up to pick up the blesbuck. The picture doesn't do the beauty of South Africa any justice. The elevation, the views. Omg. Amazing. IMG_20180820_173415.jpg

    Day 7

    Go back to work to pay all of this off lol
     
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  13. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Looks like you had a great time! Congrats on the hunt and thanks for sharing!
     
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  14. Chago

    Chago AH Veteran

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    Re reading it all. And noticed a million auto corrects, spelling errors, typos. Please ignore. This production was brought to you on a Google pixel xl 2. Ie a cell phone.
     
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  15. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Chago, there might be an English Professor or two on AH, but I haven't seen one challenge word choice or spelling. I thought your report and your shooting was great. Your rifle isn't any slouch either.
     
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  16. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Elite

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    Fine report...............no probs with autocorrect.....usually.....(.unless it buys you a car or gets you a date you didn't want) A nice read.............After the jealousy faded, I loved that amazing Nyala. !!And like me, you have a favorite animal........Oryx.......so beautiful......thanks for posting .FWB
     
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  17. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Very nice! Looks like a great hunt!
     
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  18. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Great writeup! Africa is a magical land for sure.
     
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  19. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa AH Elite

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    Excellent report.
    You were busy while you were there.
    7 animals in 6 days, well done.

    Might have to take your wife next time to prevent her from being pissed and missing you.
     
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  20. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Good shooting and some fine animals. Looks like you had a great time. I like being able to hunt a couple of different properties with different bio zones. Variety. I also like Oryx. Cool animals. I was impressed on my first hunt about how spooky they can be on a property where they get a bit of hunting pressure. Great eyes. Congrats on your hunt.
    Bruce
     
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