SOUTH AFRICA: Nocturnal Hunt With Wintershoek & Safari Afrika

Hank2211

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Day 8 (April 16)

Breakfast on day 8 involved a discussion of what we were going to do over the balance of the hunt. By now, I had all of the nocturnal animals I had been looking for except the African wild cat, and we would continue to spotlight for that, but we all knew that it was a low percentage animal. Small, in tall grass, it would be a stroke of luck to find one. It had not been a priority, but nonetheless it was still desirable, so we would keep at it, sort of.

I had a hankering for fallow deer. I don’t usually like hunting animals outside of their native habitat (although I’m not religious about that), but I was assured that fallow deer accompanied Jan Van Riebeek when he settled the first European colony in the Cape. So the fallow deer was as African as an Afrikaner, which was a subject I was perfectly willing to accept on faith, rather than delve further into. Richard had access to a nice, large property of highveld, which he said had nice fallow deer, so we agreed to do that.

I had also mentioned that I was having gun bags made from the skin of a giraffe I had shot the previous year. Richard mentioned that he knew of some very old, dark, stinky giraffe bulls in the vicinity, and if I was interested, we could add that to our list. I paused to consider this, and in less time than it takes to shoot at a civet, I agreed.

Lastly, there was the matter of zebra. I feel quite strongly that zebra is one of the iconic species of Africa, and no hunting trip to Africa is therefore complete without a zebra. So we added that to the list.

With that decided, we got ready to hunt zebra, which was the most straight-forward of the “less nocturnal” species. But if I thought this would be easy, I was to be sorely disappointed. We drove to another property, some half hour away, and began looking for zebra. We knew they were there – we saw them from time to time, but only to tantalize us. We tried driving, and we tried walking – and by now the weather was warming up, and it was pretty easy to build up a sweat in the bush. And a sweat invites the sweat flies (or whatever they were), and they descended on us like locusts on a wheat field. After some hours of this, it was time to head back to the house for lunch and hide from the sun, something the zebras were clearly already doing.

Later that afternoon, we headed of to another area, where Richard thought the odds of getting a zebra might be better. And better they were, if I’d been able to shoot properly. We had been in the area for about a half hour, when we spotted a group of zebra a few hundred yards away. We got within 175 yards of them, and I got ready to take the shot. I hit the zebra with the first shot, but it was clearly low. The stallion ran a distance, and I tried again – likely 250 yards this time. Doable, based on experience. But I rushed the shot, and missed completely. At that, he and his pals/harem took off, heading for mountainous hills some distance away.

We began walking, and John had an idea where they might have gone. Now John’s a pretty good tracker in his own right, and there was just the two of us now – Flippie stayed with the vehicle ready to come when we called him. I was impressed that out of the entire area I had seen the zebra run through, John managed to find blood within about 10 minutes. Once we had the blood, we managed to stay on the track for about an hour. I was starting to worry that we would lose the light, and just as I was about to convey my concern to John – for all of the good it would have done – a lone zebra began to run just ahead of us. This had to be our zebra, and when he stopped – likely 350 yards away at this point – John confirmed that he was bleeding and I took another shot. Which, naturally, turned out to be another miss. At this point my frustration was rising, but so was my sense that I had to end this for the sake of the zebra.

We kept on the tracks and within another 10 minutes, we saw him standing about 250 yards away. He had seen us, but wasn’t running, but neither was he falling over. John put the sticks up slowly, and told me to take my time, and to squeeze the trigger this time (instead of yanking it, as I’d done the last two times). Which is what I did, and of course, the zebra fell over when he was hit. Easy as that. Sort of.

Pictures taken, as the sun went down, and we headed off home for dinner, and an early night. Which I spent trying to figure out how, after a week of frankly excellent shooting, I could mess up like I did. No answers. But it could get worse . . .

P1000206.jpg
 

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Hank you are having a great trip. Congrats on getting some really unusual animals. Lots of hunters have one or two unusual ones that they just happened to get. Going full on for them has resulted in what I would consider to be a great trip. Thanks so much for taking the time to write it up for us. Well done! Bruce
 

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Your narrative continues to entertain- and what luck you've had so far on getting the fully variety of night creatures! Looking forward to see if you can get the last type...
 

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Day 9 (April 17)

This was fallow deer day, so we were up early, quick breakfast, and on the road by 5.30. It was a long drive south to a large farm near Dullstroom, in the highveld of Mpumalanga.

Some three hours later, after driving through some beautiful country and some awful roads, we arrived at a farm owned by Kobus Davel. We stopped at the farmhouse to announce our arrival, and Kobus came out, to join us for the hunt. I don’t know about others, but I don’t really enjoy adding people to our little team, and particularly not a landowner, who may have his own views on what we can or should shoot. And my fears seemed to be confirmed, when some time later, as we were driving through the farm, Kobus pointed out a fallow deer ram, probably some 500 yards away. “That’s a good one,” he said. John and Flippie looked through the binos for a bit, and John said, “You’re right, that right antler is impressive, but we’re looking for one with both antlers – his left one is broken off.” Oh. Kobus looked some more, and agreed.

Having said that, I will say that as it turned out, I was wrong, and Kobus proved to be a most congenial and friendly host. He knew his property, and told us that the rutting season had just gotten underway, and that it might be easier to approach the rams than it would be otherwise. We found a small herd of fallow deer, with a ram already there. However, we spotted another, somewhat smaller, ram some distance away, who seemed to have spotted the females and had decided to give it a try, as it were.

John and I got out with the sticks, and began what proved to be an interesting stalk. There was almost no cover between us and the small herd, but there was some dead ground caused by the rolling hills. We walked diagonally, as if walking away from the herd, while moving towards the larger ram, which seemed to have lost the immediate battle for the females, oddly enough. He was now a hundred yards from the herd, but was watching them so intently that I don’t know if he even saw us.

At a distance of about 150 yards, John whispered we likely couldn’t get any closer without risking spooking all of them and losing our shot at the ram, who seemed to have gotten bigger as we’d gotten closer. John put up the sticks, and all I could think of was yesterday’s zebra. Please, not a rerun!

I aimed for the shoulder, and slowly let out my breath. I had told John to say, “squeeze” when it came time to shoot, just to remind me, and he did. I squeezed, and the ram immediately fell on his front. He tried to get up, but each time that he tried, his back legs just plowed his front end into the dirt. Clearly, both shoulders were broken, and this couldn’t go on for long. And it didn’t. After three or so tries to get up, he just lay down and died. Not only both shoulders, but the lungs as well. A good shot. And a great ram!

P1000217.jpg


We went to Kobus’ barn, and began to skin the ram. As that was going on, Kobus was helping, and we had a great conversation about politics, sheep farming, living in such a beautiful place, and just about every other topic under the sun, including a novel way to get brown hyena when they are eating your sheep!

By the time we left, I was quite happy that we’d come here to hunt, and that Kobus had come with us. We’d had a wonderful time. As it turns out, Kobus runs both sheep and cattle, and maintains two hiking trails on his property – one 13 kms long and the other 6. He has three dams, each with abundant trout, and accommodation for rent. I was happy to have seen the place – it would be a wonderful place for a holiday, and I would certainly consider brining my wife here. Even if I don’t fish.

On our return to Richard’s house, we stopped in a town so that I could use the bank machine. Needed to get some rand for tips – funny how you start thinking about the end of the safari even when you have some days left. But once you’re on the back half, the days start to go by faster and faster.

At dinner that night Richard had a proposition for me. Apparently there was to be a contest at some local fair or other, and he thought it would be useful to have someone represent Canada in this contest. He guaranteed me it involved no particular risk of harm, or required any particular talent. What kind of contest is that, I asked? Something called bokdrol spoeg kompetisi. I said I would give the matter some thought.

Perhaps Richard had forgotten that he had wireless internet, or he assumed I wouldn’t look it up. For those of you who know what this is, I can only say I was surprised to hear such a thing existed, and having ascertained that it did, I mulled it over for about, I think, a tenth of a second, and declined to participate! Ruth told me she and Richard met at just such a competition, where I believe Richard was the winner. I can only hope she didn’t let him kiss her!
 

buck wild

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Jolly good report-heck of a trip!! Looked up the "sport" myself and I also would have passed :)
 

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At dinner that night Richard had a proposition for me. Apparently there was to be a contest at some local fair or other, and he thought it would be useful to have someone represent Canada in this contest. He guaranteed me it involved no particular risk of harm, or required any particular talent. What kind of contest is that, I asked? Something called bokdrol spoeg kompetisi. I said I would give the matter some thought.
!

Sad how some people won't step up to the plate for their country.:oops::eek::D

Really enjoying your report Hank.(y)
 

Hank2211

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Sad how some people won't step up to the plate for their country.:oops::eek::D

Really enjoying your report Hank.(y)

Oh Canada, I stand on guard for thee . . . or so the anthem goes . . . but nowhere does it mention entering into sh*t spitting contests . . .
 

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geen kak spoeg vir my.

Nice ram.
Glad you stopped yanking the trigger.
It can become a bad habit.
 

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I am loving this report...what an incredible bunch of trophies! Shoot a kudu for me!
 

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Cracker fallow stag , henk
Kicking some goals again on this trip bloke
Dullstrom is a great place to holiday
Keep up the great reading material, as always you spin a great yarn
 

Hank2211

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geen kak spoeg vir my.

Nice ram.
Glad you stopped yanking the trigger.
It can become a bad habit.

It's going to get worse.

No Hannes Pienaar on this trip to point out my faults. Guess I've gotten used to it!
 

Hank2211

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I am loving this report...what an incredible bunch of trophies! Shoot a kudu for me!

Kudu? In the Limpopo? Some people are very hard to satisfy!!! I've decided - after a reasonable number of kudu - that I won't shoot another one unless it's 60 inches or more. And in this area, the farms which have kudu charge graduated fees - not something I'm interested in anyway.
 

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Excellent report. I am sure if it was Zebra or Fallow Deer dung you would have joined the competition!
 

Hank2211

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Excellent report. I am sure if it was Zebra or Fallow Deer dung you would have joined the competition!
I will not claim to be an expert in these matters, but it occurs to me, based solely on observation, that zebra dung might just take more mouth than I have. Hard to believe, perhaps, but I believe it to be so. As for fallow deer, I can not claim any special experience - I can't even be sure if what I saw was from fallow deer, or from sheep. Perhaps those with more experience in matters scatological could assist?
 

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I have a few newbies coming with me to Africa this year. I think I will ask them to follow this first year tradition of trying this competition. I'll tell them it has to be the dung of the first animal they shoot. And of course I will have good stories of how I did this with my Gemsbuck and I was able to send my sample over 2.5 meters.
 

Hank2211

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We're getting close to the end now . . .

Day 10 Part 1 (April 18)

Three days left. This is the endgame, but the animals I need are only available at night, so we need something else to do during the day. Hence today is Giraffe day.

Richard drove us to a nearby property. He had told me that the place – which is enormous – had over 100 giraffe on it, many of which were old, dark, stinky, males. I don’t know if his number is correct (way too many to count!), but I do know there are a lot of giraffe here – more than I have ever seen. And dark, chocolate bulls – again, more than I have ever seen.

We drove around for a short time, enjoying the beautiful scenery, and the animals. We saw a reasonable number of giraffe that on other days I would have happily taken, but we were holding out. Finally, we saw a really dark male, hiding in the tall trees and letting the females and the younger ones greet us. Sheer cowardice, I’m thinking. Not manly behavior at all. This thing could be an ostrich, that’s how distasteful the conduct was. And then John noticed he was missing a horn. Well that did it. Old, cowardly, and now decrepit. The time had come (I know that’s a quote from a walrus, but it came into my head, unbidden. Thanks, Lewis Carroll).

John and I got out of the truck, and planned our attack. We would walk diagonally again (animals really do need a course in trigonometry), and try to get close without being seen, or at least without spooking the giraffe. At this point, the giraffe came into the open – likely because he thought we’d left. But oh no, we were still there. We began our slow, diagonal march, and when we were about 100 – 125 yards away, John put up the sticks.

I could have taken the tried and true heart-lung shot, but I’d tried the high neck shot last year in Namibia, and it was quite spectacular, as well as being entirely humane. I love it when those things come together. I was going to try this shot again, with my .375 H&H, loaded with a 250 grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claw. Subsequent rounds were 300 grain solids. Because the shot is entirely unforgiving – you know immediately if you’ve missed, because the animal doesn’t drop to the shot – I had asked John to back me up if, but only if, the animal was wounded. If I shot properly, the chances of wounding the giraffe without killing it instantly should be virtually nil, but it did exist. A flesh wound to the neck wouldn’t kill it, and likely we’d never see it again. So John was ready with his new .450 Rigby, shooting a new 500 grain Rhino bullet he wanted to test out.

I lifted my rifle to the sticks, and illuminated the reticle. The giraffe was cooperating by standing still, looking back at us. I placed the dot where the shot needed to go – around 6 inches below the head on the middle of the neck, and slowly squeezed the trigger. I needn’t have worried – he dropped as if hit by a ton of bricks! I was thrilled that I’d upheld my side of the matter, and that he was down and out without ever knowing what hit him, or in fact that he’d been hit at all. When it’s my time (that’s not an invitation), that’s how I’d like to go.

Richard captured the shot in his phone, and with any luck (never done this before!), you’ll be able to see it here.


P1000253.jpg



When we got to the giraffe, I was really surprised to see blood on its head. John looked the head over, and said it looked like I had shot him in the head, rather than in the neck. That conclusion was reinforced because we couldn’t see any wound in the neck. How could I have missed my target by a foot? The animal was dead, but I would rather that it was as a result of skill rather than luck. Imagine my relief when a closer examination showed that there was in fact an entrance wound in the neck, exactly where there should have been, although there was no exit wound, strange as that seemed (to us, anyway). Surely a .375 – even a 250 grain one – should exit 6 inches of animal, even if it did go through spine on the way? But we would try to recover the bullet and see where it was and what it looked like.

We also had another bullet to recover. I mentioned that John wanted to see how his .450 Rhino bullet performed. We had everyone stand back from the downed and dead giraffe, and John put one squarely into the middle of the chest. It didn’t exit either, so we would be able to compare it to the TBBC. I didn’t watch the giraffe when John shot – I watched him. John’s a big guy, and that shot pushed him back and caused the gun to lift a fair amount. I politely declined his offer to try it myself.

We quickly got the team together and began the process of skinning. Because I only wanted the skin, we could save a lot of time and not worry about skinning the head. But the temperature was soaring, and the forecast was for over 85 degrees by noon, so we wanted this done before it got too hot. We had four or more skinners working at the same time, with John and Flippie, and we had the skin off in what was likely record time. We put a half-bag of salt on the inside of the skin, folded it up as best we could, and took it with the head attached (five people to carry it, and it was still heavy) to the truck. John, Richard and I then headed off to Polokwane to drop the skin off at the taxidermist’s.

We had a very nice visit with the taxidermist staff, who gave me a tour of their operation. I won’t say it was the lovely ladies who gave me the tour who convinced me to use this taxidermist – that was a combination of Richard and the clean (almost antiseptic) well-run appearance of the place – but it didn’t hurt!

We had a leisurely drive back toward home, stopping in Mokopane for a nice lunch at a pub while Richard had four new tires put on the truck. A nice burger, but not up to Ruth’s standard.

We met Flippie back at the house, and he had both bullets that he’d recovered. My shot had lodged itself in the off side of the neck – that is, it had gone through the spine, but had failed to exit the giraffe’s neck. Here are the bullets (the bottom one is mine - the TBBC):

IMG-20160418-WA0005.jpg


IMG-20160418-WA0006.jpg


I was surprised to get this performance from a trophy bonded bear claw. That bullet should have gone through the spine and exited the giraffe. I realize the bone is dense, but the bullet should, in my opinion, have penetrated more deeply. The reason it didn’t, I think, is because it over-expanded, and there wasn’t enough shank left to drive the bullet forward. Unless someone has a better explanation for what happened, I think I’m going to have to cross TBBCs off my list – which is unfortunate – they, along with A-Frames, and of course the triple shocks, were my go-to bullets for tough performance in large calibers. For what it’s worth, the expended bullet weighed 220 grains, which is pretty reasonable. So it should have exited!

I also have to say I wasn’t that impressed with the performance of John’s bullet. This bullet is supposed to open up – it has an extra-deep hole in the center – and create four petals, like a triple shock. All of the petals broke off. We can’t say where they broke off – early or late – but if the performance is meant to be like a solid, then it should have penetrated completely and exited. If it’s supposed to be an expanding bullet – which it is - then it should have expanded and stayed expanded. Just my opinion, of course.

Then it was back home for a nap before going out to spotlight.
 

Hank2211

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I have a few newbies coming with me to Africa this year. I think I will ask them to follow this first year tradition of trying this competition. I'll tell them it has to be the dung of the first animal they shoot. And of course I will have good stories of how I did this with my Gemsbuck and I was able to send my sample over 2.5 meters.
Based on a youtube video I saw, I think 2.5 meters is the children's class! But good luck!
 

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I'll bet if you were back another hundred yards you might have had a pass through.

Another Cheeky trophy in the salt. :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 

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Another great write up and now with not only pics but a video. Hank you are setting a high bar.

Interesting info on the trophy bonded. I had a similar experience on an elk with a 160 grain 7mm mag trophy bonded. I hit it in the shoulder at approx. 80-100 yards. Bull dropped in his tracks and was kicking slightly . I high fived my friend who was standing next to me, took my camera out and starting walking towards the bull. It got up and was in the aspens in two leaps. We tracked and found only a few drops of blood within 50 yards. Spent the next 1.5 days looking with no sign. Then the next day I did a circle thru a valley and my friend was on a ridge 1/4 mile away. The bull with a broken left shoulder moved by him on three good legs. He dropped it. We recovered my bullet. It looked just like yours. It broke the shoulder but did not penetrate further into the heart/lungs. I have the bullet and my friend has the 6x6 mounted in his house. He is my next door neighbor and rubs it in often. I'm just glad we got the bull.
.
 

Hank2211

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I'll bet if you were back another hundred yards you might have had a pass through.

Why would you think that? Velocity and energy only decrease with distance?

Another great write up and now with not only pics but a video. Hank you are setting a high bar.

Interesting info on the trophy bonded. I had a similar experience on an elk with a 160 grain 7mm mag trophy bonded. I hit it in the shoulder at approx. 80-100 yards. Bull dropped in his tracks and was kicking slightly . I high fived my friend who was standing next to me, took my camera out and starting walking towards the bull. It got up and was in the aspens in two leaps. We tracked and found only a few drops of blood within 50 yards. Spent the next 1.5 days looking with no sign. Then the next day I did a circle thru a valley and my friend was on a ridge 1/4 mile away. The bull with a broken left shoulder moved by him on three good legs. He dropped it. We recovered my bullet. It looked just like yours. It broke the shoulder but did not penetrate further into the heart/lungs. I have the bullet and my friend has the 6x6 mounted in his house. He is my next door neighbor and rubs it in often. I'm just glad we got the bull.
.

Especially given Lee M's experience? if it had just been a broken leg and brisket, for example, he wouldn't have recovered the bullet. So it most have been a decent shot.

I was wondering if the light for caliber bullet might have had something to do with it. .375 would usually be 300 grains, and this one was 250, so velocity was much higher. Perhaps it just mushroomed early (though skin on a giraffe neck isn't all that thick that high up) and that prevented the penetration.

Having said all that, this is my first bad experience with a TBBC, and I will give them another try.
 

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Tally-Ho Hunting Safaris wrote on jfowler812's profile.
hi Mr fowler

im happy to do these deals for 2021

i will knock off 10% off each deal if you take 2 so $18000 per package

look forward to your response

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Mule deer and Colorado elk seasons almost done! Hunters driving farm roads, looking for racks, their PH driving them along, I ask that you not pull into my drive. The buck behind me, on the boundary line of the GMU somehow knows. The hunter laughs, I would invite you in to see my Searcy rifles but social distancing prevails, darkness arrives and the buck slides away into secret tree grove...
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Ellwood Epps has 1 box of 25-20 in stock. Look them up on the web. They are located in Orilla Ontario.
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On the vx6 2-12 what does the zl2 stand for?

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bowjijohn wrote on AfricaHunting.com's profile.
Many thanks for re formatting my article for the forum

I served my time in both the bush and during the bush war

I hope it did it justice

Education is where it is at - without it the wild places are history

You - sir - are well placed to make a difference

J
 
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