SOUTH AFRICA: Night Critters & Small Cats With Kemp African Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Mort Hill, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. Mort Hill

    Mort Hill GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2017
    Messages:
    650
    Video/Photo:
    68
    Likes Received:
    947
    Location:
    Brentwood, TN
    Member of:
    Life Member SCI, Director-Music City SCI Chapter, NWTF, NRA
    Hunted:
    SA, Zambia, Tanzania
    So after a great bush pig hunt, we awake rested and ready for more action. Marco comments on having 4 nights left and three very active blinds, although one is owned by the leopards.

    We decide we need to check baits to get a game plan. After a round of checking baits we decide on the first bait we had checked, the shooting range blind.

    However, on our way back from the leopard blind, as we reach the lodge property, a band of vervet monkeys scurry across the road, through the fence and congregate in a tree by an old empty reservoir. Bad move on their part. They had been raiding an orange orchard on the adjoining property.

    I quickly grab the .22 and we spot a big male holding an orange. It is thick cover, but the orange stands out like a bulls eye. I take careful aim, and fire. All I see is the orange drop. We drive to the other side of the reservoir, get out, and Marco has almost parked on top of this big blue balled vervet. I always wanted a life size mount of a monkey, and here he was. One shot, right through the chest.
    IMG_1080.JPG IMG_1083.JPG
    Now that was fun!

    We arrive at the shooting range blind, and get situated. We have Stitch with us for the night. He is very well behaved in our tent blind. Marco has warned me that our two targets are the civet, and our wily old friend the brown hyena. Since the hyena seems to have a 6th sense, and the civet are known for dashing in and out of the bait, Marco wants me to sit behind the gun, at the ready, all night. Yes, ALL night. You heard that right. I don’t know if I am up to the task, but I will do my best.

    I begin my vigil at 6:30. At around 9:30, just as I am contemplating that there must be a better way, the motion detector goes off. As I had practiced so many time in the dark, my right hand moves to the safety, two fingers to silently click off the safety, while my left hand turns on the IR. Shoulder to the gun, as everything comes into focus, there is a monster of a hyena on bait. I waste no time. He is facing the blind, and I center the crosshairs on his chest.

    His head is down, and at that moment Stitch walks behind me on the tent floor. That slight sound of dog nails on a tent floor cause the hyena to raise his head and look straight at the blind. Kapow. I hit him center mass. He bucks, spins, growls and bites at his chest and the collapses just out of the illuminated area. Silence. We hike down and find this beautiful, old dog of a hyena piled up in a heap. I am ecstatic. While I know I can import back to the states. We take enough pictures to fill an album. What a grand trophy.
    IMG_1088.JPG
    IMG_1093.JPG
     
    Ridgewalker, jeff, enysse and 4 others like this.

  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    21,739
    Video/Photo:
    411
    Likes Received:
    14,340
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Canada, USA, Mexico, England
    Very nice Hyena.
     
    Mort Hill likes this.

  3. Tra3

    Tra3 AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2019
    Messages:
    268
    Video/Photo:
    3
    Likes Received:
    252
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    Member of:
    SCI
    Hunted:
    Namibia
    Very nice hyena!!

    The zebra in the road is perfect shooting.
     
    Mort Hill likes this.

  4. Edge

    Edge AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2016
    Messages:
    755
    Video/Photo:
    446
    Likes Received:
    1,117
    Location:
    Between dreams and reality
    Hunted:
    PA, NM, ND, Al, FL, MD, Eastern Cape South Africa, Zimbabwe x 2
    That Hyena is awesome, congratulations!
     
    Mort Hill likes this.

  5. MarkB

    MarkB AH Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    BC Canada
    Member of:
    NFA, SCI, DU, NA Hunter, BCWF, African Gazete
    Hunted:
    Zimbabwe, SA, Namibia, BC, AB, Ont
    Awesome hyena Mort, importable into Canada? I need to find out, just in case. Story just keeps getting better and better.

    MB
     
    Mort Hill likes this.

  6. Mort Hill

    Mort Hill GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2017
    Messages:
    650
    Video/Photo:
    68
    Likes Received:
    947
    Location:
    Brentwood, TN
    Member of:
    Life Member SCI, Director-Music City SCI Chapter, NWTF, NRA
    Hunted:
    SA, Zambia, Tanzania
    Pretty sure it is importable anywhere except US, but I am sure there are folks on AH that are much more knowledgeable than me that would know.

    It is truly a beautiful trophy. I told Marco I would life size mount for the lodge as he is that inspiring an animal.
     
    Ridgewalker and Edge like this.

  7. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    2,619
    Video/Photo:
    128
    Likes Received:
    5,294
    Member of:
    SCI, DU, Pheasants Forever
    Hunted:
    Canada, United States, Zimbabwe, South Africa (Eastern Cape; Northern Cape; North West Province, Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo), Namibia, Cameroon, Benin, Ethiopia, Argentina
    It is importable intomCanada. Brought one home a couple of years ago.
     

  8. MarkB

    MarkB AH Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    BC Canada
    Member of:
    NFA, SCI, DU, NA Hunter, BCWF, African Gazete
    Hunted:
    Zimbabwe, SA, Namibia, BC, AB, Ont
    One of those would look very good beside the spotted. Your a great story teller Mort. Thanks

    MB
     
    Mort Hill likes this.

  9. johanvw

    johanvw AH Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Video/Photo:
    19
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    Limpopo, South Africa
    Member of:
    PHASA, CHASA, North West Hunting Association, Brits Hunting Club
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Botswana, Namibia
    What a hunt ! Congratulations Mort
     
    Mort Hill likes this.

  10. Mort Hill

    Mort Hill GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2017
    Messages:
    650
    Video/Photo:
    68
    Likes Received:
    947
    Location:
    Brentwood, TN
    Member of:
    Life Member SCI, Director-Music City SCI Chapter, NWTF, NRA
    Hunted:
    SA, Zambia, Tanzania
    Thanks for all the posts. This is truly fun reliving this trip through the report.

    Well, my hyena night was not over. Marco, being one of my new bestest friends, and the professional that he is, sent me the attached pic, which he captured off of the IR screen.
    670bbbc7-2115-41d1-8585-20ef8649261b.jpg
    Just about the way I remember it!

    So pictures taken, even Fran, Marcos wife, who loves the brown hyena(as a trophy of course), came up to the blind for pictures. I guess that says a lot about the quality and size of this boy if the Mrs will drive out to put her hands on it.

    So off goes Stitch with Fran, and we head back to the blind for the rest of the evening. We celebrate with coffee(yes, coffee. I am 22 years sober, and while a Castle would have been fabulous, I did not want to throw away one of my best life’s achievements).

    Again, the agreement for the night was I was going to stay up in the ready position ALL night. It is around 11:00PM, so since I am in sales, I do my best pitch to get a few hours sleep. It works. Marco says he will wake me at 2:00AM for the bewitching hour of the civet.

    At 2:05AM, I hear the motion detector buzzer. Marco grabs me, holding me still, and says to slowly get behind the gun, there is a Civet feeding heavily. Oh baby, this is a done deal. A hyena and a Civet in a single night. I will receive a plaque and go down in the annals of night critter hunting. I may write a book.

    I ease behind the gun, glasses in place, target acquired, nothing left but the book signing. The civet turns broadside as if on cue. I slowly squeeze the trigger and the shot rings out. What the hell?!?
    The Civet spins, runs back in front of the bait and off into the dark. I put on my best “I think it was a good shot” act. Marco ain’t buying it, but as good PH’s do, he says we are probably sure to find blood, and not to worry;BUT, the shot did look a little low. Low? There was only about 1.5” between his belly and the ground. If I shot low, it would be truly the greatest possible miss in the history of night hunting. It would be a miss similar to the Red Sox Buckner missing that ground ball in the 1986 World Series to lose the title.

    After 2 hours of exhaustive searching, dog tracking, footprint following, NCIS detective type work, it was a clean miss.

    As Africa will do, she took me to the heights of Mt Kilimanjaro, then brought me down to grovel in the gut pile. I was sick. Other than a Civet beside the road on a drive back to the lodge one night(I did try to grab the HiLux steering wheel and hit it I am ashamed to say) I had never seen a living Civet. At this point, I figured I never would.

    So we get back in the blind to sleep from 4 to 6AM be cause we have a date with a big warthog that has been showing up regularly in the mornings at the bait. Well, not this morning. And as if to add insult to injury, 15 minutes after we returned to the blind at 4AM, and went to sleep, another smaller Civet strolls into the bait and hangs around for 10-15min.

    Africa. Blah!!
     
    jeff, Ridgewalker and Edge like this.

  11. huntermn15

    huntermn15 AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2013
    Messages:
    740
    Video/Photo:
    2
    Likes Received:
    428
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Member of:
    NRA, SCI, AK SCI
    Hunted:
    U.S.A. NJ, TX, AZ, AK. Limpopo and the Kalihari in South Africa. Eastern Cape RSA 2017.
    This is a great report. I am enjoying it thoroughly! Thank you Mort.
     

  12. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    11,259
    Video/Photo:
    136
    Likes Received:
    3,594
    Member of:
    Northeast Wisconsin SCI chapter, Lifetime member of NRA,RMEF
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa (East Cape, Guateng and Limpopo)
    The “black leopard” is giving you a run for your money. I love hunting the civet cat!
     

  13. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Messages:
    4,894
    Video/Photo:
    196
    Likes Received:
    4,655
    Location:
    Colorado
    Hunted:
    South Africa: Limpopo, Northwest; USA: Ak, Mt, Wy, Co, Ne, Ks, Nv, NM, Tx
    :A Big Hello:What a fun hunt!
     
    Mort Hill likes this.

  14. Mort Hill

    Mort Hill GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2017
    Messages:
    650
    Video/Photo:
    68
    Likes Received:
    947
    Location:
    Brentwood, TN
    Member of:
    Life Member SCI, Director-Music City SCI Chapter, NWTF, NRA
    Hunted:
    SA, Zambia, Tanzania
    Yes, yes he is!
     
    Edge likes this.

  15. Mort Hill

    Mort Hill GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2017
    Messages:
    650
    Video/Photo:
    68
    Likes Received:
    947
    Location:
    Brentwood, TN
    Member of:
    Life Member SCI, Director-Music City SCI Chapter, NWTF, NRA
    Hunted:
    SA, Zambia, Tanzania
    I am guessing we are around day 8, or should I say night, of hunting. The anticipation never grows old as we decide on our blind for the night. After checking the trail cam at the tree blind, there is good news and bad news. The good news is there are lots of tracks, civet, water mongoose, bush pig, genet. The bad news is the trail cam was low on batteries so there are no night pictures.

    But we decide to hunt here and mobilize about 6:00 into the blind. Of any of the crazy places, and blinds I have hunted anywhere, this could be my favorite.
    IMG_1104.JPG IMG_1102.JPG
    There is just something about being in the treetops at night under the stars.

    Marco is exhausted and is fast asleep at 6:30. He says wake me if I snore. He does. I don’t. Sometimes a man just needs a good rest. Besides, Marco said the Civet would probably not come in until the crescent moon had set.

    As usual, Marco was spot on. I hear the motion detector buzz and glance over To Marco. He is already looking through his thermal device trying to find the source. These night animals are so quick at darting into the bait, grabbing a bite, then running back off.

    Marco indicates there is a big civet circling the bait to our left. The way I had been resting, I was almost in the prone ready position anyway. I simply turned on the IR, scanned the bait site, then got ready. Sure enough, as Marco followed the civet toward the bait, I could pick up a growing intensity from his IR device. I was ready.

    The Civet approached the bait, made a couple of moves, then turned to walk back off, still not totally comfortable.

    I was not going to let the 1000lb Civet continue to jump up and down on my back from the other night. This time, I was calculated. No ego, just business. As he turned to leave, I was already adjusting from a going away to a quartering away shot. Aimed a little high to compensate for the almost straight down shot, and squeezed off the shot the moment he stopped to look one more time at the bait. Kufa. He dropped where he stood. Redemption! Ahhhhh!
    IMG_1121.JPG IMG_1122.JPG f6ea7808-525d-4a0b-8bb3-9004056ebe0b.jpg
    Boy that felt good. It was about 11:00PM, so we decided to do a light pack up job, and come back for rest of stuff in the morning. We took pictures, shared congratulations, and headed for a shower and bed at the lodge.

    This would end our all night sits in the blind. The last two nights would be spent spotlighting for Serval and Caracal.
     
    Edge, enysse, jasyblood and 5 others like this.

  16. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Messages:
    4,894
    Video/Photo:
    196
    Likes Received:
    4,655
    Location:
    Colorado
    Hunted:
    South Africa: Limpopo, Northwest; USA: Ak, Mt, Wy, Co, Ne, Ks, Nv, NM, Tx
    That is one big looking civet! Very nice! You and Marco are definitely tenacious! Congratulations on a fine civet!
     
    Mort Hill likes this.

  17. Edge

    Edge AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2016
    Messages:
    755
    Video/Photo:
    446
    Likes Received:
    1,117
    Location:
    Between dreams and reality
    Hunted:
    PA, NM, ND, Al, FL, MD, Eastern Cape South Africa, Zimbabwe x 2
    Awesome, that Civet looks like it’s been fed well! Hard to miss the shot on that 1000 lb’er, just kidding!

    Well done Mort!
     
    Mort Hill likes this.

  18. Mort Hill

    Mort Hill GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2017
    Messages:
    650
    Video/Photo:
    68
    Likes Received:
    947
    Location:
    Brentwood, TN
    Member of:
    Life Member SCI, Director-Music City SCI Chapter, NWTF, NRA
    Hunted:
    SA, Zambia, Tanzania
    I know at one time or another we have all experienced that feeling of getting the monkey off our back. When I saw that Civet laying there dead, I just collapsed on the rifle stock and thanked the Lord. At that point I felt Marco slap my shoulder in congratulations, and that was the best feeling in the world.
     
    Ridgewalker likes this.

  19. Mort Hill

    Mort Hill GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2017
    Messages:
    650
    Video/Photo:
    68
    Likes Received:
    947
    Location:
    Brentwood, TN
    Member of:
    Life Member SCI, Director-Music City SCI Chapter, NWTF, NRA
    Hunted:
    SA, Zambia, Tanzania
    Our final two days and nights were more relaxed and low pressure than our previous eight days and nights of specific, dedicated, night critter hunting.

    I passed on the pursuit of a water mongoose as this was not truly on my hit list.

    The serval, as others night critter hunters, as well as a caracal, were going to be critters of opportunity. We would spot light at night, frequenting areas where these cats frequent for birds and rodents. We spent a total of 15 hours driving different properties, with Simone, a wanna-be PH, law student, and “cowboy” acting as our driver. But alas, we did not find a serval willing to play the role of victim. We did finally on the first night find a great male diker, after no less than 20 “oike diker”(small ewe diker in Afrikaan) called out by Marco. I put the cross hairs on the diker at about 50 yds as he turned broadside, threading the needle between two pieces of brush which he thought hid him, and putting the small diker down. I asked if it was a male after I shot as I still had not seen horns. As we found the small guys laying in the grass, Marco said “your first female diker”. I said “what?” only to see the enormous diker size horns. A real trophy.
    IMG_1168.JPG 86d7960b-d1f5-4ce6-8526-37c7f96ed3e1.jpg
    On the second night, I was introduced to the Spring Hare. A rabbit right? Nope. This miniature kangaroo can make you look silly. I was using a .22 with a fixed scope. Find the eyes, watch them start bouncing. Hope they stop. They stop. Aim. Shoot. Nope. They start bouncing just as the finger starts to depress the trigger. Do this about a dozen times and you are ready to grab a shotgun, go all Road Warrior on the these little £#%!}¥ varmint and run them down and blast them point blank. I think this really would be sporting. But no, I persist with the currently insane plan and finally connect with a big Spring Hare as he stops momentarily under a low silver bush canopy. I am elated. Actually thrilled!
    IMG_1175.JPG IMG_1181.JPG
     
    Edge and Ridgewalker like this.

  20. Mort Hill

    Mort Hill GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2017
    Messages:
    650
    Video/Photo:
    68
    Likes Received:
    947
    Location:
    Brentwood, TN
    Member of:
    Life Member SCI, Director-Music City SCI Chapter, NWTF, NRA
    Hunted:
    SA, Zambia, Tanzania
    The only other hunt I would like to relive was an impromptu hunt on the last afternoon. At around 5:00, Marco joins me for one of my wonderful late afternoon cigar breaks. He ask if there is anything I wanted to go for in the last hours of day light. I tell him maybe we could go find one of the red hartebeest I had seen will looking for culls. Off we go. I have taken several nice Lichtenstein Hartebeest in Tanzania, but never a red.

    We drives around the two track for about 15 minutes through the silver brush when we stop with a herd of impala in front of us. Marco gets out. He looks up at me and ask”did you see him?” I say “see what?” Marco then ask who I have made a deal with. Apparently we had passed a lone hartebeest in the brush about a couple of hundred yards off heading our way. I quickly dismount and we head back down the sand road. After a large circle to avoid spooking some more impala, we are slowly stalking back down the same road towards where we parked the truck.

    Marco is glassing constantly, and we are moving only a step at a time. We move behind a big bush, and Marco slides slowly out to the side. While still glassing, he spreads the shooting sticks. Without words, I slide up onto the sticks. All I can see is head and horns, looking at me over the grass. He is about 70 yards. I think he is hidden by a berm of grass, only to see him stand up from where he was bedded down. As soon as he stands, I move up the front leg to where the heart should be and let my shot fly. Down he goes, struggles shortly, then is down for good. He is an old, old hartebeest. His spine is pronounced and his horns are gorgeous. Marco says he is a true old trophy, and would not have seen the end of the year due to his age. What a blessed hunt. Just what I wanted to finish my trip.
    IMG_1143.JPG IMG_1155.JPG IMG_1140.JPG IMG_1158.JPG
    I take a couple of pictures of the inspiring sunset as all seems absolutely right in the world. No reason to argue with the Creator about the end to this day. It is magical!
     
    AZDAVE, Edge, enysse and 8 others like this.

Share This Page

 
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice