Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Hank2211, Jul 3, 2015.
He starts shooting with the wrong hand.........
That's a relief. I had visions of one of those wind-up toys from when I was a child . . . spinning everywhere, out of control . . . bumping into things, pets, sisters, . . . too awful to even contemplate.
May 19 – Day 2
While driving around Wintershoek on my first day, I couldn’t help but notice all of the sable on the property. Some looked pretty good, but I didn’t see any as good as the sable I shot some years ago in Zimbabwe (not saying they aren't there, just that I didn't see them!). I couldn’t help but notice though, that some of the sable had broken horns, or horns that were otherwise compromised . . . so an idea began to percolate.
I broached the idea of a “cull” sable with my PH and after some discussions with head office, they offered me the opportunity to take one at what I thought was a pretty fair price. So Day 2 found us looking for bad sable (seems harsh, but what should I call it – a poor sable? - who knows how much money a sable has?), and as expected, all we were seeing was great sable!
Eventually, we did manage to find an old guy who probably figured he hit the jackpot when he broke one of his horns. And stopped growing the other one too soon. Well, think again buddy.
He gave us the stink eye as we drove by, waiting until we’d passed before trotting off over a small hill, as if to say he wasn’t afraid of us. We stopped some few hundreds of yards further on, and got the sticks and the gun. I decided I had so much fun with Big Medicine (sorry, Teddy R, but mine is bigger), that I’d use the Rigby again.
We walked at a fairly quick pace until we reached the top of the hill the sable had gone over. We slowly peered over the top, and couldn’t find him. I assumed he’d run off as soon as he’d gotten over the hill (coward), but after a few minutes of serious glassing by PH John, he found the sable partially hidden by some trees sharply to our left, at a bit over 100 yards. Up went the sticks, up went the Rigby, and up went I, standing there, staring through the scope, waiting for him to show me a bit more shoulder . . . After some minutes, knowing I couldn’t keep this up too long – the longer I stare through a scope the worse I tend to shoot – I decided that a .416 bullet could likely find its way through the grass which was protecting his shoulder.
I told John if the sable moved back an inch or two, I’d take the shot. As if he’d heard me, the sable made a small move, and I squeezed the trigger. He immediately ran off, but didn’t make it more than ten or so yards before stopping. I was still on the sticks, and John said, “don’t shoot,” and sure enough, the sable started to lose his balance, and dropped down dead where he stood. So much for poor horn protection.
Here he is, in all his glory – but let’s not forget, this isn’t and wasn’t supposed to be, a traditional trophy. Still a trophy for me though.
On an interesting (to me, anyway), but potentially gory note, we gutted him on the spot. The bullet had gone through the guts on its way out, and this is what we saw when we opened him up:
Some of you will recognize the white-segmented bit, but for those of you who don’t, it’s a tapeworm. We took part of it out, but it seemed to be throughout his intestines. Having said that, he was in pretty good shape, even for a sable without a tapeworm.
After that it was back to the Ponderosa for a delicious lunch, though I took precautions with my food – didn’t let anyone near it and didn’t leave my plate unattended. While my wife would say I could use a tapeworm, I’ve always thought she wasn’t speaking literally . . . and with these guys around . . .
We headed back out for the afternoon, looking for a big impala. Didn’t find one, but did find this fine fellow. 260 yard shot, one and down.
It was a good thing that my son was arriving the next day – I found it very difficult to just go out and drive around and not shoot. This was black wildebeest no. 4 I think!
As we headed back to camp, I was thinking with what I should do with Hannes’ sock. Ever since our first time in camp together, he’s complained about how he loses a sock – never a pair – in the camp laundry. He also complains about how much he spends on socks, if you can believe it. So every time we are together in a camp, I speak to the laundry people and make sure that one sock from every third or fourth pair makes its way into my pile. But I’m getting worried that’s he’s on to me, so I’m going to have to sneak the one sock I have into someone else’s cupboard, and then tell Hannes I know who is taking his socks. All of this takes a great deal of planning and, as I say, is preoccupying me.
I like your sense of humour! My wife wants a wildebeest to use as a hat rack, looking at your black wildebeest, I think they would better than a blue.
Nice wildebeest Hank .
I turned one down at the start of my hunt last month , dont know why now ,
never saw another shooter all trip .
Another lesson learnt .
Sorry, couldn't help myself...
First White Mamba I've ever seen.
Damn,I am really enjoying this write up/report/book. I think nobody can argue that this is what dreams are made of.
I will force myself not to say that I cant wait for the next chapter, but you keep on writing and I will keep on reading.
Think I'd rather take my chances with a mamba of whatever colour than get too close to this thing!
May 20 – Day 3
We drove to Kimberly early to meet my son’s plane, which was arriving at 7.10 am. I hadn’t seen him since Christmas, so it was great to see him, and to congratulate him on his graduation. I filled him in on the plans going forward, which included, in the short term, a quick trip to a gun shop in Kimberly to pick up some ammo, just in case, and then head to Wintershoek and start hunting!
We got back in time for Peter to have some breakfast, after which he changed into the all new safari clothes he bought for the adventure (thanks Cabelas!). We then headed to the range, where he put some shots through the .300, and was dead on the bull at 100 yards. It’s great to be young, have good eyes, and be steady! After that we had him practice on the sticks for a bit, but he’d already had some practice at his SAAM course, so in no time, John declared us good to go.
We headed out to an area where we were almost certain that smaller plains game or zebra could be found. This part of the property had a dry riverbed that provided ample cover from the grassland, which bordered one side. Shots tended to be longish – 150 + yards, and there was really no cover once you were out of the riverbed, but if you could get a shot from the river, you could take your time, because the animals were unlikely to see you. Perfect for a novice hunter.
I really wanted to be there when my son shot his first animal, but John and I agreed that it might be too much pressure, so I decided to stay on the vehicle while they stalked up the river.
As I waited on the truck, I was probably more nervous than my son. I really wanted this experience to be a positive one, and nothing is more negative than wounding and potentially losing an animal. So I sat, and waited, and walked and waited, and fidgeted and waited, and eventually, I heard a shot. No second shot. I expected a call on the radio to come and get them. But no call. No sound. Nothing. Something had clearly gone wrong, and I was hoping for a clean miss.
More fidgeting. More walking. More sitting. More waiting. Another hour passed. And then, another shot. I hate it when I don’t know what’s going on! Within a minute a second shot. That was three in a couple of hours. Surely something was happening!
And then Cephas, our tracker, showed up, and with a big smile said “impala”. I was as pumped as if it was my first impala – who’d have thought anyone could get so excited about an impala, especially one he didn’t shoot himself! Cephas drove us about a half mile, and there was my son, beside a beautiful impala, with a couple of big holes in him. He beamed, I beamed, and I gave him a hug that lasted long enough for him to get embarrassed.
John quickly filled me in. It turns out that Peter took a shot at a springbuck (the first shot) and missed it completely. John wasn’t worried about that – in fact, he felt (as I did) that a bit of humility was not a bad thing. The second shot was a reasonable shot on the impala, but didn’t immediately put it down. Apparently Peter hadn’t worked out the angles completely, so a second shot was taken which put the animal down immediately. Overall, a positive first experience, with the main lesson being that hitting where you intend to hit – the shoulder in this case – won’t do the job if the angle isn’t right. The transition from flat targets to three-dimensional ones isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
After we finished with the pictures, we went through the ceremony – blood on the face, gutting the animal by hand (that last may not be traditional, but I was all in favour!). Peter took it well.
One last tidbit from the first shot – Peter got a little too close to the scope on the springbuck miss, and had a nice half moon and a growing bruise when I caught up to him!
Later that afternoon, after chasing springbuck in what was a total exercise in futility, we were heading back to the lodge for a well-deserved beer, when we saw a nice – not huge, but nice – kudu bull staring at us from behind some bushes on a hillside. We quickly got the boy on the sticks, told him to take his time – this guy wasn’t going anywhere soon. The gun went off, and the kudu jumped up and ran about ten feet, and then dropped and tumbled down the hill until he was stopped by a thorn tree (what tree isn’t a thorn tree in Africa?). The grey ghost, on the first day of his hunt. It took me two safaris to get a kudu. Better karma I guess. Until it came to the recovery!
Epic hunting report again! Beautiful kudu, can't wait for the rest of the report.
congratulations to your son hank , a kudu and a luepold eyebrow to go with his impala, what first day for him ........
Thank you for sharing your hunt with us in such a delightful and entertaining manner. You really can consider quitting your day job whatever it is and taking up full time writing!
Thanks all. I enjoy reliving the hunt as I write it!
Congrats on your son's first blood Hank! Great report. Please keep it coming. R.
May 21 - Day 4
Day 4 of the hunt dawned cold and clear. We headed out early, with some interesting plans in mind.
The previous night at dinner the owner of Wintershoek had told me that a neighbour was having trouble with an old buffalo bull on his property. Apparently, he had decided to remove all of the buffalo from the property, and had managed to get them all off, except this one old bull. The bull was smart – whenever a helicopter came close, he headed for thick brush and couldn’t be darted from the air. Apparently, he was also cantankerous, and would chase anyone who came anywhere near him. He’d also managed to avoid the landowner who tried to chase him out of the thickets. So the neighbour had asked if there were any hunters who might want to help out.
Those of you who will have read my earlier reports will know that I am not one to shirk a civic duty, and clearly, while a buffalo is no ostrich, this was just such a duty. I might not want to take this old fellow out, I might not want to interrupt a springbuck stalk to track buffalo, but when someone calls for help, I am there. Must be my Boy Scout training.
The only problem with this brilliant idea was that I only had one day to get this task done. So we sent two trackers over to the neighbouring property to try to find this beast of myth and legend, while we continued to hunt with my son.
And hunt we did. We quickly found and brought down a nice springbuck, with my son making a very good shot from a fairly long distance (200 yards).
As we were heading back to the skinning shed with our trophy, we got a call. The buffalo had been spotted! Since I was relying on my Boy Scout training, I of course was prepared, and had my .416 on the truck, so off we went, filled with the conviction of the just. I just love doing good!
A half hour later saw us driving up a very steep and rocky mountain to a large plateau area. I was glad we could drive most of the way because walking would have been hugely difficult in this rocky terrain, especially in the mid-day heat. We finally stopped, assuming we were where we needed to be, but unable to spot our spotters! We also couldn’t raise them on the radio. I will admit to a bit of frustration building (in others, not me, I was quite serene!). Finally, we spotted one of the trackers coming towards us. He told us quietly that we had to hurry, but not to make any noise – the bull seemed uncomfortable where he was. He was close, and might not stay put very long.
The buffalo was in the hills behind the sable . . .
So off we went. For probably a thousand yards, much of it uphill. In fact, we climbed a fairly steep hill, and found the other tracker, who told us the buffalo was still there, just beyond the hill, close. As we slowly crawled up to the top of the hill, I was looking through my binos into the distance, when my PH grabbed my sleeve. “What?” I whispered. “Not over there”, he said, “down there.” “Down where?” “About 40 yards in front of you, you bozo” says he. Why is it that some people can’t ever tell you what they really mean when they talk about distance? First, they say he’s close, and we walk a thousand yards. Then they say he’s close, and he’s 40 yards away.
I slowly looked down, and there he was, the brute, under a tree, turning and looking around constantly. Fortunately, he wasn’t looking up, and unless we made some noise, it wasn’t likely that he would. I had some time. We put the sticks up, and I got up, praying he wouldn’t hear the creaking of my old knees. I put the gun up, and waited for the right shot – since he was pivoting in a circle, more or less, I was confident he would quickly give me the shot I needed, and sure enough, within less than a minute, he did.
I took the shot, and he immediately reacted, and began to run uphill, towards even thicker brush and even taller, rockier hills. Why can’t they ever run towards the vehicle?
I quickly reloaded and took a second shot, just as he went behind a tree, hitting him, but a bit far back. Reloaded again, and took a third shot offhand as he came out from behind the tree. This shot took him in the neck, and he fell down as if struck by lightening. Clearly, a spine shot. We watched for a few minutes, and the first shot, which was good, killed him, while the third shot kept him pinned.
When we got down to him, we were all amazed – PH included – with the size and type of boss. No one had ever seen this headgear before. It looked as if the boss, which was very hard and "layered", was lifting his horns to the back of his head, and frankly almost off of his skull. This created a “pocket” or ledge behind his boss, above his neck, which was full of dirt, twigs and some thorns. These likely caused him some pain, because there were sores there as well. It appeared that every time he moved his head, this would have caused him some annoyance, which might just explain why he wasn’t in any mood to entertain visitors when they came by.
Given where he fell, we had to call for some help to get him down the mountain to the truck. That work took some time, which gave the landowner time to come up to see how this had played out. I, of course, was quite humble as the accolades were showered upon me (Ok, well, he did say thanks, even thanks very much). All in a days work, sir, I said, happy to help the hardworking farmers of the Northern Cape. Feel free to call when problem animals need to be taken care of.
This old guy won't have to share his wallow with the buffalo any more. You're welcome.
I thought that after this public service, we’d be done, particularly since this was our last day at Wintershoek, but Peter suggested a drive in the afternoon. With the sun going down, John spotted an old warthog along a ridgeline, and decided to go after it. Once again, I stayed on the truck, and once again, I waited. Eventually, we did hear a shot, and the phone call came. Cephas drove us a quarter mile or so back the way we’d come, and stopped. “No one here”, I said. “Up there”, he said. So up we went.
Peter had shot the warthog in a saddle between some hills, which was completely inaccessible to vehicles. The sun was going down, and there wasn’t a lot of time to take pictures, but we managed to get a few in before John called it, and we started to plan a way to get out. John had cut a stout tree, and, using some wire he’d asked Cephas to bring, he began to tie the pig’s feet around the tree. I offered to help carry the thing, but to my lasting relief, everyone seemed to think that was a terrible idea. Fortunately John had had the foresight to ask us to bring flashlights, and with those, we began the climb down the hill – not an easy task, given the rocks, brush and thorns. However, John and Hannes carried the beast, and within about 20 minutes we arrived at the truck. I’d say just in time, except that the light had given up about 10 minutes before, and the last half of the journey had been in the dark by flashlight.
Job done, no one seemed to suffer any lasting effects, and I told Peter he needed to be particularly grateful to the team for carrying the warthog out for him. After effusive thanks all around, we put on warm clothes, got back in the truck, and headed back to camp for a hot shower and a cold beer.
even in death that buffalo ,resembles a cantankerous old prick. jee your lad has had a great first couple of days
your writing style is like an itch ,l just want to keep scratching ........
looking foreward to the rest
That is one unique Buffalo trophy.
It will be interesting to see it when it is boiled off.
Great to have Civic minded hunters. It always seems to be the cantankerous ones that need sorting out when you arrive. At least you did not have to talk him down in Afrikaans.
Nice buff! He does looks like one of those mean ol'fellas that's mad at the world.
Have to agree with Bluey about your writing style. I'll just keep scratching that itch!Keep it coming
I think if I'd tried to speak to him, in whatever language, my PH would have spoken to me!
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