SOUTH AFRICA: My Turn! Eastern Cape With Nick BOWKER HUNTING SOUTH AFRICA

Hornyman

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I'll try to make these short and sweet, I don't end up reading the real long post. If I don't post these daily I wont end up posting at all.

As a kid I dreamed of hunting Africa, never thought in a million years I'd be here.

I have a young family and to justify it feels selfish but I'm also getting older and can't put life experiences off any longer. I set some financial goals, and if I were to hit them I'd hunt Africa. By the grace of God and hard work I've been blessed in my endeavors.

Years ago I started narrowing down my search on who to hunt with and joined these forums back in 2014. I ended up choosing @Nick BOWKER HUNTING SOUTH AFRICA years ago and prior to his ongoing and strengthening reputation. I'm a western hunter of Elk and Mule Deer and free range is important to me. I thought, ignorantly, my trip had to be free range or nothing. This was prior to me learning how Africa is managed and have since changed my perspective. I tried making this trip happen in 2020 but Covid messed those plans up and here we are.

We took DAL200 from ATL to Joberg. My hunting partner and I decided to treat ourselves to their premium select. I've done a considerable amount of international travel and US carriers lack compared to the top international carriers. That being said I fly almost exclusively with Delta and they take good care of me.

Delta Premium Select is a good compromise between coach and first class. There was more leg room and I call it a half bed due to the reclining angle. I didn't feel there was any additional width to the seat. Food was standard airplane food. I slept great and woke up with 1-2 hours remining in the flight, perfect.



delta premium.jpg


( why does this thread use the first photo posted as the main thread photo, once I kill something Ill change it up so you dont have to stare at that ugly mug who is ready for sleep.)

Delta leg.jpg

food.jpg



We chose to spend our night in Joberg with Afton hunting lodge. Food was great, rooms and bed are what I'd expect, bathroom clean and hot water, and it was great sitting down for a real meal and discuss Africa and life in general with the owner.

Afton hunting lodge.jpg


Afton fire.jpg


Time to pop some nyquill and hope I can get some shut eye before we catch our Airlink connection to Port Elizabeth tomorrow.

The suspense is killing me.
 
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His operation was on my short list before I decided to go with Game 4 Africa Safaris. Wishing you the best good sir.
 
Let the good times roll. Tell Nick, Ben, Sloo get ready for some Okie fun. I am right behind you and am pumped following your report. Things I learned. Your plan to update every day is the way to go because things happy so fast they will run together if you don’t document and include photos. Naps are a good thing. Trust your PH without question they do this every day and are looking out for your best interest. Enjoy you earned this!
 
Breakfast is dang good there also. You may want to pop in the building right next door to check out some of the critters if you haven’t yet. Nick or Ben will be right outside baggage claim to greet you. Then just hang on and wait for the adventure to begin. If the new camp is operational please post some pics however the original at the family compound is a trip back in time and really cool.
 
Have a great trip! Look forward to reading your hunt reports.
 
Following along and looking forward to the updates. Good luck.
 
Horny...................a great start..............hope it all goes well for you..........looking forward to your post......and btw.....I DO read the long posts, so be sure to share with us..........FWB
 
Looking forward to following along!
 
Keep them coming !!! Enjoy it.
 
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Day 2

More Travel.
Left Afton, which was perfect for our needs and headed to the Eastern Cape.

Afton 2.jpg


Caught the Airlink Flight to Port Elizabeth. Not quite as much room as the previous flight, to be expected.

airlink.jpg


Was met by our PH Benjamin at the airport and off we went. He's easy to get on with and we share similar sense of humor which I'm sure will come into play for the next 8 days. We're going to have a great time.

We made a quick stop for some meat pies. Having lived in Australia for seveal years I fell in love with meat pies, man oh man. Why these aren't popular in US of A is beyond me...

meat pie.jpg


After loading up some supplies we headed to the Mtn House where we will stay for a couple nights. Its rustic and comfortable and I love the old architecture.

house 1.jpg


Being a big game hunter in the western part of the states I love glassing. I can't tell you how greedy I get behind my optics. The Eastern Cape will do me well and feed my appetite to glass.
landscape 1.jpg



Tomorrow the real hunting begins... so far so good and its still surreal to be here for the first time.
 
Benjamin and sloo will take good care of you. Enjoy
 
Great start. I also read the long reports. I guess that I write some too....... Good luck and have fun.
Bruce
 
Thanks to your love of meat pies and the rest of South Africa we get chances to cull and manage zebras and giraffe for cheap just saying !!! :LOL: (y)
That reminds me need to make plans for next year to do such a hunt.

Enjoy the glassing what do you use as optics?
 
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Day 3
Hunt day 1

Finally!!! After all the travel, planning and dreaming of hunting Africa the day arrived, and it didn't disappoint.

In the past I haven't posted my hunts or successes on other forums. Usually I'm hunting public land and don't want people to know or it becomes a massive D comparison / competition. There have been so many people on this forum that have helped by taking calls or answering emails and messages, all of them asking me to send reports. The easiest way to share in the success is to post here.

Massive shout out to Ben Pringle, he's an absolute legend and a true professional. I'll come back to this point shortly.

Started the day out early as you do with the goal of kudu. Kudu is my number 1 and probably always will be.

We saw several cows and 3-4 year bull first thing in the morning. Nothing worth pursuing but they appear to be pre rut / rut with the bull pushing a cow around. Also lots of mtn reedbuk, blesbok, warthog and even a couple of red heartbeast which I thought was a little out of place and several other species.

As we came to the top of the mtn we located several blesbok, one of which Ben said its go time. My hunting buddy Ty was up.

Ty made a 330 yard shot but hit the blesbok a bit back and the animal continued to cover decent ground surprisingly. That's a long shot on sticks and first animal jitters, whatever you want to call it. The way Ben helped Ty get resituated and back in the game was notable and true professionalism. Ty shortly was able to harvest his first African species.

Blesbok.jpg


We loaded up and continued looking for kudu as the sun and temps rose. After a solid effort we headed back and had brunch and caught up on emails etc. We were highly encouraged to not take any naps so we can acclimate quicker. The temptation was too much and I crashed face down on my bed. Luckily I set an alarm before hand just in case this very thing happened.

Me looking sleepy, I promise I'm having a good time.

sleepy.jpg


After mid day break we headed out to check on an area that usually holds warthog. From quite a distance we located one that you could see the tusk. From that distance I was surprised you could see the tusk. We stalked in after a good walk and had to relocate the pig. There were several pigs that were moving right around us and a loner springbok. We finally located the shooter. I got on the sticks and made a 100 yard shot. As soon as I shot I could hear the bullet ricochet off a large rock behind the warthog. I thought what the hell! How could I miss a 100 yard chip shot?! That's Karma for teasing Ty about his shot earlier. I was really down on myself and disbelieved what just happened. As we were about to leave Ben spots blood, then more blood, and more blood. It was good lung blood I was temporarily relieved until the blood stopped and we didn't find the hog. Ben had the boys bring ole sloo in and the dog did his work. It was quite fun to watch. Shortly after letting the dog lose we found the animal. I had made a double lung shot, a tad back, but still good shot but the warthog just ran. The body on it was larger than I had anticipated and I was stoked to have my first African animal.

Warthog.jpg



Loaded up and back on the pursuit for Kudu.

Keep in mind kudu was my number 1, I wasn't expecting to have the afternoon I did on the first day.

After some time and as the sun was starting to get close to setting we spotted a couple cows and then a bull. Ben said its a good animal, one that we should take any day of the week. I looked it over and said, " don't have to tell me twice." The bull was a mature representation of the area and his cape was beautiful. Nice dark mane and the hide wasn't rubbed out. Bright white markings. The part that stood out to me was his mass at the bases. I was ready.

We moved and got into position. Closest we could get was 400 yards. I'm real comfortable with 400 yard shots. After waiting for some time and for the animal to move and present us with a good shot it was finally time. I squeezed the trigger and thud, solid hit. Smoked his ass as we say. Perfect hit. The bull bucked up and ran to the left. I reloaded out of habit and the bull turned straight on towards us at the same distance. Ben said he's going down but I sent another one down range. THUD! another solid shot straight on. In my world of elk hunting we shoot until the animal is down, no exceptions. My kudu was done. We had a solid hike up gaining elevation and reminding us that we are still hunters and its good for our lungs to burn.

I was speechless and needed a minute. I've wanted to hunt Africa since I was a kid, I'm now a middle aged man. This animal represented many many years of hard work and sacrifice to get to the point where I could hunt it. I needed another minute. I assure you there weren't any tears but I stood there in disbelief. We took photos and got the animal off the mtn. I was more quiet than normal on the ride back to camp, absorbing it all in and falling in love with this place.



kudu 2.jpg
kudu.jpg


When I have more time I'll post the video Ty took of the kill shots.
 
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Great style to your writing. Enjoying the read and the pictures!
 
Stunning. What a first day! I know that feeling of accomplishing the lifelong Kudu dream...it's impossible to appropriately put into words.

Congratulations.
 
Trust me the fun is only starting. Benjamin and Sloo make a hell of a team, especially when the hunter shooters straight. Good job and enjoy. Thanks for mentioning the rut as I am the group after you. Please keep posting.
 

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