SOUTH AFRICA: Nick Bowker Hunting East Cape South Africa

gesch

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Congratulations on a great experience. Your shooting skills are obviously top notch. As a person trying to improve my skills I would be interested in how you learned your “craft” of marksmanship? Also in view of the positive experience with Nick I would like to hear how you decided on going to hunt with Nick originally. Great report. This was a great start for my day.
 

FightingSioux

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Congratulations on a great experience. Your shooting skills are obviously top notch. As a person trying to improve my skills I would be interested in how you learned your “craft” of marksmanship? Also in view of the positive experience with Nick I would like to hear how you decided on going to hunt with Nick originally. Great report. This was a great start for my day.
Thank you!!

I grew up shooting a lot and always thought I was a decent shot. Things changed after my 1st trip to South Africa. I didn't realize how much shooting would take place off of sticks and really didn't practice that prior to my 1st trip. I was very disappointed in my marksmanship in 2012 (even though I did get everything I went after)! After that, I upgraded to a high-end custom build 300 Win Mag from Long Range Rifles. Topped it off with a Nightforce NSX 5.5 x 22 x 56. Hand load bullets to ensure the best chance at consistency. Accompany this setup with a G7BR2 Rangefinder that calculates the appropriate MOA in milliseconds. This gun shoots much better than what I am capable of, but a lot of practice has made me even better. If I miss, I know it is me, not the rifle. Also, I did a lot of shooting off of sticks prior to this trip. Only a few with my 300 Win Mag, but several hundred with one of my AR's and many more than that with a .22LR. This practice off the sticks was this biggest game changer for me between 2012 and 2019. Still, not my preferred method of shooting but at least I'm not shaking in fear of missing as I'm looking through the scope due to the practice. IMO, shooting and practice is the only way you become more comfortable and I did it enough prior to this trip to ensure I was comfortable placing a solid shot off the sticks when that type of shot presented itself.

In regards to how I got hooked up with Nick Bowker Hunting: One of my elk hunting buddies met Nick at an SCI event in 2001. He went on a trip in 2002 with Nick and had a phenomenal experience. During several elk hunts, he would always say "We should go to South Africa were we could shoot 6-8 trophies for the cost of one of these elk hunts" (minus airfare). It was tough to believe that was true as I always heard how expensive SA hunting is. Because I trusted his judgement and his one-time experience, three of us gave it a try in 2012 (two of us for the first time, one person went for the second time). Shortly into this 2012 trip I knew I would be returning. Honestly, due to our experience we didn't even look at or consider going with a different outfitter. I am sure there are several great PH's, but what Nick provides is exactly what I want. No high-fenced hunting, all fair chase with the ability to see thousands of animals a day. Nick's knowledge and skills allow us to identify shooters and position us for ethical shots. His accommodations are perfect for what I want. Not a 5-star lodge with 6, 8 or 12 other hunters, but just our group. Extremely comfortable accommodations, top notch staff and fantastic food and drink! Not once in my two trips with Nick have we seen another hunter in the field. His access to free-range hunting is amazing. I guess you could say I was lucky to know the right person that happened to meet and go on a Safari with Nick!
 

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Well done and thanks for the trip report!
 

flatwater bill

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Well done.............love the trophies..........speaks well for you and your guide.......................FWB
 

gesch

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Thank you!!

I grew up shooting a lot and always thought I was a decent shot. Things changed after my 1st trip to South Africa. I didn't realize how much shooting would take place off of sticks and really didn't practice that prior to my 1st trip. I was very disappointed in my marksmanship in 2012 (even though I did get everything I went after)! After that, I upgraded to a high-end custom build 300 Win Mag from Long Range Rifles. Topped it off with a Nightforce NSX 5.5 x 22 x 56. Hand load bullets to ensure the best chance at consistency. Accompany this setup with a G7BR2 Rangefinder that calculates the appropriate MOA in milliseconds. This gun shoots much better than what I am capable of, but a lot of practice has made me even better. If I miss, I know it is me, not the rifle. Also, I did a lot of shooting off of sticks prior to this trip. Only a few with my 300 Win Mag, but several hundred with one of my AR's and many more than that with a .22LR. This practice off the sticks was this biggest game changer for me between 2012 and 2019. Still, not my preferred method of shooting but at least I'm not shaking in fear of missing as I'm looking through the scope due to the practice. IMO, shooting and practice is the only way you become more comfortable and I did it enough prior to this trip to ensure I was comfortable placing a solid shot off the sticks when that type of shot presented itself.

In regards to how I got hooked up with Nick Bowker Hunting: One of my elk hunting buddies met Nick at an SCI event in 2001. He went on a trip in 2002 with Nick and had a phenomenal experience. During several elk hunts, he would always say "We should go to South Africa were we could shoot 6-8 trophies for the cost of one of these elk hunts" (minus airfare). It was tough to believe that was true as I always heard how expensive SA hunting is. Because I trusted his judgement and his one-time experience, three of us gave it a try in 2012 (two of us for the first time, one person went for the second time). Shortly into this 2012 trip I knew I would be returning. Honestly, due to our experience we didn't even look at or consider going with a different outfitter. I am sure there are several great PH's, but what Nick provides is exactly what I want. No high-fenced hunting, all fair chase with the ability to see thousands of animals a day. Nick's knowledge and skills allow us to identify shooters and position us for ethical shots. His accommodations are perfect for what I want. Not a 5-star lodge with 6, 8 or 12 other hunters, but just our group. Extremely comfortable accommodations, top notch staff and fantastic food and drink! Not once in my two trips with Nick have we seen another hunter in the field. His access to free-range hunting is amazing. I guess you could say I was lucky to know the right person that happened to meet and go on a Safari with Nick!
Thanks for the information. I have tried to practice a lot also. I shoot with my .223 Remington 700 and .22 for practice (much less expensive ammo!) I am from a frugal german/dutch ethnic background! I have also been trying to dry fire more. I think this helps as well from several perspectives--working the action and focusing on the basics of marksmanship. Thanks again.
 

Dave0712

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Finally, a few recommendations I would highly suggest to anyone:

- Give yourself a MINIMUM of 3-4 hours for a layover between Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. We were delayed out of PLZ and barely made the plane back to the States. You will need all of that time for gun transfer, International check-in, etc….

- Follow the recommended packing list Nick provides. Both trips I have overpacked. You only need two sets of hunting stuff as they will wash and clean your clothes each day used the previous day.

- Bring a very good set of optics! The eyesight of Nick and his crew is astonishing. They see stuff with their naked eye that are difficult to pick up with good bino’s. Great bino’s will make your experience much better with the amount of glassing you will be doing.

- The majority of your shooting will be standing off of sticks. The first time I went over I didn’t realize how much shooting would be done this way. Practice, A LOT, and be prepared to get a quality shot off in the standing position off sticks quickly. When you anchor an animal with one good shot it makes everything so much better. You don’t want to spend a half-day or more tracking a trophy.

- Bring quality bullets and know your ballistics…this will be important in preventing frustrating circumstances.

- Listen to your PH. Nick has the ability to quickly judge a good African animal from a great one. After two trips, every decent Kudu bull still looks huge to me...he will quickly be able to tell you what is a shooter and what isn’t...trust their judgement

- Start planning your next trip after you experience your first trip as this is such an addicting experience.

Hope you enjoy the recap of another fantastic hunting experience with http://www.nickbowkerhunting.com We have already started planning our 3rd trip over there and we cannot wait for the next experience to happen!

Happy hunting!!!
Your hunt sounds much like ours we just returned from. Ironically, my last target was a Warthog as well. It doesn't get any better than hunting with NickBowkerHunting.
 

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