SOUTH AFRICA: Pawprint Safaris 2016 Father & Son First SA Hunting Trip Report


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This all started almost exactly 1 year ago. Oct 2015 I decided that I was ready to "pull the pin" and take my son Jacob with me on a hunting trip to South Africa. Mom would be staying home this time, it would be my first trip to South Africa, and Jacob's first trip out of the country. Jacob is 13 years old and does not have much hunting, or shooting experience. He has been shooting a .22 at the range, and a bow in the backyard, but had never fired a center fire rifle of any kind, let alone taken any large game animal.
After much research on AH, talking to everyone that would converse with me about hunting in Africa, I finally booked a 7 day hunt with Pieter Erasmus and Pawprint Safaris for Sept 2016. Pieter had offered the 7 day "Pick Your Own" special at Flintbeck Lodge on AH and I jumped on it. I really wanted an "ala cart" type of hunt, that was within easy driving distance of Joburg, would include some wing shooting, and a couple days of tourist/site seeing activities as time allowed, without all the pressure of a committed "hit-list" style of hunting package. The package that Pieter was offering seemed to fit what I was looking for. I explained Jacob's skill level to Pieter and and he was very accommodating. Pieter would provide a rifle for Jacob, allow Jacob to shoot animals at my package trophy rates, and Jacob could still remain on the daily rate as an observer. Also, Pieter would accommodate us on any site seeing activities in the area. My main goal really was that Jacob had a good time and Pieter assured me that it was important to him as well. Because I had kudu listed as a priority animal on my profile on AH, Pieter said he would give me smoking deal on my first kudu. I was sold!!

Sept 20-27, 2016 7 nights and 7 days hunting/site seeing

Outfitter- Pieter Erasmus Pawprint Safaris
PH- Ig Kritzinger (aka Proppy) and Pieter Erasmus
Trackers/Skinners- Max and Steve
Lodge- Flitbeck Game Reserve
Area hunted- Northwest Province
Rifle- Custom Winchester Model 70 .338 Federal
Scope- Leupold VX-II 3-9 with Leupolod Dot reticle
Ammo- 210g Nosler Partition bullets hand loaded with 45 grains of Varget
Binos- Nikon Prostaff 10x42
Rifle case- Tuffpak 1050 with TSA locking system.
Airline- Alaska Air and Emerites
Pre-approved SAPS 520- PHASA/Bangy Travel

Jacob's bloddy face 2016 SA.jpg

We began our journey on Sunday 9/19 at about 9:00pm...
We left home from Seward, Ak to make the 2hr drive to Anchorage and catch our 1:45 am Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage to Seattle. We checked into Anchorage with no problem. We would be transferring from Alaska Air to Emerites Air in Seattle to travel through Dubai and then on to Johannesburg. Alaska Air and Emerites are code share partners and Alaska tagged our luggage all the through to Johannesburg. The flight to Seattle was an easy 3 hrs and with the time change we arrived at about 6 am. Our flight from Seattle to Dubai is set to leave at 9:45 am, so we should have 3 hours to find our gate, have some breakfast, and a cup of coffee. We disembark the Alaska plane in Seattle and are looking at the flight reader board to find our Emerites gate when my cell phone rings. It's a customer service agent from Emerites who explains that I need to go to the Emerites counter OUTSIDE SECURITY to claim my luggage and recheck it in with them. (Insert Expletive Here) We do as instructed, and arrive at the Emerties counter where a very nice manager explains that Alaska Air should not have transferred the bags all the way through to Joburg because it is Emerites policy that all firearms need to be rechecked before any International Flight. I ask if they bothered to let Alaska Air know that policy? It didn't matter and the Emerites agent just shook his head. Emerites sent a representative to pick up our luggage from Alaska and personally delivered it to us at the Emerites counter where we waited. Then we rechecked the bags, Emerites weighed my ammo, (I had 2lbs of the 11lbs max), then an Emerites rep walked us to the TSA counter to drop off my rifle case and escorted us through to the front of the security line so we would not be late for our Emerites flight from Seattle to Dubai. So much more breakfast and coffee, oh well, we are off the Africa! And I am used to Murphy (Law) stopping by, he seems to visit me alot... But Emerites actually gets props for customer service. Their people worked really hard to make their silly rules work and to not make it all any more of a pain in my A** than it already was. They were all very professional and accommodating so I will give them that.

Monday 9/20 9:45am...
We are on the 14 hr flight from Seattle to Dubai. Several movies, a couple of naps, and three airplane meals later we are in Dubai. The Dubai airport is pretty large and it took us a few minutes to get our bearings. I stopped and asked directions a couple of times and we got at our gate for our Johannesburg connection without any trouble. Another 8 hours from Dubai to Johannesburg, a couple more movies, two meals, and we are in Johannesburg right on time.

Tues 9/20 8:55pm...
We picked up our luggage from the Emerites baggage claim and headed over to pick up the rifle case from the SA Police Station (SAPS Office). A Bangy Travel Representative (I forgot his name) and our Pawprints PH Ig Kritzinger, aka Proppy, are both there to greet us. They escort us to the SAPS office where we were second in the line to clear fireams and all went extremely smooth. The Bangy rep worked his magic, they checked the serial number on my rifle to the serial number on the paperwork, and I don't think we were in the SAPS office 15 minutes total. We loaded up the bakkie, with Proppy driving, and were headed to Flintbeck. (Proppy would stay with us all week) Traffic was a breeze since it was so late in the evening and we rolled into Flintbeck shortly after 10pm. Pieter was there to greet us and he offered us a second room in the lodge if Jacob and I wanted to stay in separate rooms. We declined the second room, and found our room very comfortable and accommodating. I think we were asleep before our heads hit the pillows.

Wed 9/21/16 SA Day one...
0700 we are up showering and Proppy is making breakfast. We have a nice relaxing breakfast, visit with Pieter and meet the folks at Flintbeck. We are the only hunters in camp and no else expected for a couple of days. After breakfast we talk about the plan for the day over a cup of coffee outside on the veranda. It's a beautiful morning and couldn't ask for better weather. Pieter tells me that he has a .243 that Jacob may shoot this week, and if it's ok with me, he would like to get Jacob a Blesbuck for his first African animal. And Pieter would give it to him for FREE. No trophy fee! I was pretty excited! We would also start looking for Kudu since it's a priority for me.
0930 and we are all loaded up in the bakkie and driving through the Flintbeck ranch. Immediately we start seeing game, red hatesbeest, nayala, sable, guinea fowl. We get to a secluded part of the ranch and Proppy stops the bakkie and has the trackers put up a target in front of some brush about 50 yards away. We set up the shooting stick and adjust them for my height. I shoot my rifle and it's a little low and right of center but close enough for me. Proppy gives Jacob some basic instruction and coaching on the .243. Jacob shoots twice and it's perfect, just slightly high but right on the money. the trackers pick up the target and we are off to go hunting.

More to come.....

Gun check target.jpg
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Thanks for sharing the start of the journey and hunt! Look forward to more
Nothing like the airline policies not being in sync.

Looking forward to the rest of the tale.
Looks like the beginning of another great report!
Happy hunting!
After checking the rifles, we are hunting. We circle back around through the property. I am looking at some sable off in distance and talking to Proppy when Pieter stops the bakkie and about a hundred yards in front of us is 4 good Blesbuck. Pieter says to Jacob "your up Jacob". I thought Jacob's eyes were going pop out when Pieter said that. I don't think Jacob really believed that he was going to get to do much hunting on this trip, let alone shoot our first African animal. And I had not told him of Pieter's plan to him on a blesbuck right away. Which was perfect because he didn't have time to overthink it and get all nervous. Anyway, we worked our way closer to the Blesbuck and got within about 65 yards and got Jacob set up. It took a few minutes and a couple of blown opportunities but he finally drilled one right in the shoulder. A perfect shot and the Blesbuck hit the dirt like a sack of potatoes. One happy 13 year old and a very proud Dad right then. It was congratulations all around, set up for pictures and then the African traditional blood on the face from his first animal.
Jacob Blesbuck 2016 with Pieter.JPG

Jacob and Pieter with Jacob's Blesbuck and our first African animal

Jacob's bloddy face 2016 SA.jpg

Jacob with his traditional bloody face (y)

We took the Blesbuck back to the lodge and dropped it off along with the skinners so they could do their thing. And we took off looking for Kudu. We traveled to the far end of the property and were making our way back when we bumped a bunch of Kudu. Off the bakkie we go and through the brush with Proppy in the lead. We went a couple hundred yards and the wind came up blowing at our back. So and it wasn't long and we bumped them again just to see the grey ghosts going the other direction. We did get a glimpse of a small group of bulls that Proppy said we needed to get another look at. Load back up on the Bakkie and see if we can get around them. We had gotten almost to the other end of the property without seeing another sign of the bulls and I had pretty much decided that we would likely be kudu hunting after lunch, when over the ridge comes the group of 5 bulls. They saw us and stopped about 120 yards away. Proppy looks a me and says "get your gun and shoot the second one from the left in the shoulder, NOW"!! I grabbed my rifle chambered a round, found the second one from the left, and shot it in the right shoulder. Back over the ridge out of sight they went... I knew I had hit it hard and Proppy said he saw good blood on its shoulder but it didn't look to me like it slowed it down much. We let them go and Pieter called the Max and Steve (the trackers), who were still at the lodge skinning Jacob's blesbuck, on the cell phone. They were immediately on their way and we had a cold drink while we waited for them. They arrived about 15 minutes after I had shot, which seemed like a lifetime, and they started tracking the Kudu. Max found blood right away and then nothing for about 100 yards. But as we came over the ridge we could see the Kudu piled up in the first brush he had come to about 300 yards from where I had shot it. :) What a stud kudu and I could not be happier! Day one and we already had two animals down! Lots of pictures and we loaded up, headed to the lodge to drop off the Kudu, have lunch and take a much needed afternoon siesta.
Kudu 2016.jpg
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Nice start to the report. Pieter is all about kids and it does not shock me at all he offered a free blesbuck for you son. That could be the best blooding I have ever seen that your son got.

You got yourself one heck of a kudu to. Sorry to hear you got stuck with prop. LOL:whistle:;)(y) I know he is just terrible to hunt with. I don't think you can get much better then hunting with Pieter and prop.
Look forward to hearing the rest! Just had my uncle in town from Homer, AK. I believe that's fairly close to Seward and visited AK when I was younger and went to the Seward Sea center (I think that was what it was called?) small world
Day one 9/21- After Lunch and afternoon Siesta...
We head over to a neighboring property a couple miles from Flitbeck. This property is about the same size as the Flintbeck property but with much heavier brush and less vehicle access. It was still very warm outthat afternoon and the animals were all hiding in the shade. We did see a really nice bunch of blesbuck that the landowner had not seen in several weeks and thought that they might have gotten out or a leopard gotten them. Anyway, we moved to another property directly across the highway and up on the ridge from the last property. As the day started to cool off we started seeing more game. Lots of impala, some red hartebeest and finally a couple groups of blue wildebeest. We looked the blue wildebeest over and pretty soon Pieter had found a couple of good ones in a herd at the top of the ridge. We got as close as we could with the bakkie, and Pieter and I took off on foot through the brush. Pretty soon we had found the heard. Pieter set up the sticks and I got on them. A few seconds went by and he said "the third one from the left, shoot it in the shoulder" It was quartering away from us but had stopped and was looking back at us about 60 yards away. I put the dot on its shoulder and squeezed. The blue wildebeest hit the dirt like it was hit with a hammer. We walked up to it and Pieter had me put a final shot into its chest as insurance. Day one and we had three animals the salt!

Blue Wildebeest 2016.jpg

That night back at the lodge we had our Alaska tradition of opening a jug of Jimmy Johnson's Apple Pie moonshine that I brought with us. And Proppy made braii out over the fire. It was a very good first day in Africa!!


Proppy, Jacob, myself and Pieter about to open the moonshine by the fire!
Thurs 9/22 Day 2...
We are up with breakfast at 0700 and out the door shortly after. We head back to the same property where I shot the Wildebeest the night before. Today we are going to look for Impala. We are on the property bright and early and the animals are out. We see lots of wildebeest, some giraffe and a few impala but no shooters right away. As we are working our way through the property a jackal jumps out of the brush and wasn't quick enough. One shot from my .338 and he was done. I was surprised how much the the jackal resembles our coyotes. Much like a cross between a fox and a coyote really.
Jackel 2016.jpg

Then we are off looking for a shooter Impala. Finally we find one standing on the hillside out in the morning sun. He was just over 150 yards away and a couple small branches in the way, but I put a shot in the bottom of his front shoulder and he jumped and took off. I wasn't sure about the shot when I saw him take off like that, but Max was on it and found him about 25 yards from where I had shot it, piled up in some brush.
Impala 2016.jpg

We spent the rest of the morning trying to get Jacob on another Impala, until the day started to warm up and the animals were bedding in the shade. By noon we headed back to the lodge for some lunch and a siesta.

That afternoon we headed back to the property where we had been the day before and seen the Blesbuck. At the ranch house they have a baby nayala that was picked up in the bush. They are bottle feeding and it, and sleeps in house at night to stay away from predators. Jacob really enjoyed this.
Jacob and Baby Nyala.jpg

We looked hard that afternoon for some Guinea Fowl. I learned that guinea fowl are everywhere when you are not hunting them, but as soon as you have a shotgun along they are no where to be seen... So we went back to the property across the highway where I shot the Impala in the morning, in hopes of getting Jacob on an impala before dark. As we were working through the property we came across a nice heard of blue wildebeest. Pieter asked Jacob would like to shoot one instead of an impala. The smile on Jacobs face pretty much said it all. It took about 20 minutes of messing around trying to get Jacob into a place where he was comfortable and could get a shot on a good bull. Jacob followed Proppy's instructions and made a perfect shoulder shot on a good bull with the .243 at about 60 yards. It hit the dirt like a sack of hammers. Done deal...
Jacob's Blue wildebeest 2016.jpg

After pictures we loaded up the wildebeest and headed up the to the top of the ridge for a sundowner. Pretty good second day in Africa!

One interesting thing we learned was at the top of the ridge by where we were having our sundowners, there was a lot of old animal carcasses. The ranch manager explained that when animals die of natural causes on the surrounding ranches that they bring the carcasses up to the of this ridge to feed the vultures that nest in the cliffs across the valley. It's part of the vulture restoration project. They said the vultures can travel as far as Mozambique and Kruger Park, but primarily nest in these cliffs. They figure there is approximately 90 breeding pairs. Pretty cool stuff.
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Nice trophies, congrats to you and your son! Nice memories made there!
Sounds like a great time Brother, keep it coming!
Friday 9/23 Day 3...
We are up early. Breakfast at 04:45am and out the door by 5:15. We are headed to a large savanna property about 1.5 hr drive from Flintbeck to look for black wildebeest and springbok. We were a little late getting there as we had a flat tire on the bakkie about half way there. Proppie and Max changed it like they had done it once or twice before. We arrived at the ranch just before 7:30 and checked in with the owner. All was good and we went to find a black wildebeest first. The property reminded me a lot of South Dakota with rolling open plains and small trees down in the valleys. We saw giraffe, impala, lots of springbok, ostrich and some eland. The black wildebeest were on the far end of the property and boy did I get a lessons in black wildebeest hunting. Those critters are crazy! Just as we thought we found a good one and would start making a stalk, one of them would get scared of its shadow and the whole heard was gone at mach 2. After a couple times of this we decided that it would better to just let them come to us. We set up under a tree at what looked to be a natural bottle neck in the ridges that run through the property with the idea that they should run by us sooner or later. As we stood there in the shade of the tree watching some eland and ostrich off in the distance, I happened to look behind us and there were two springbok walking about 50 yrds away, right where we thought the wildebeest should be coming from. I nudged Proppy and he immediately looked them over and said"the one in front is a good one. I think you should shoot it" So I did. And we had our first springbok.

Springbok 2016.jpg

Then it was time to get serious about the black wildebeest. We set up again under another tree in a spot that looked like it might be in a better place to ambush them as they come by. After about an hour here they come, and a small group spotted us and put on the brakes about 100 yrds to see what we were doing. Proppy said shoot the second one from the left. So I did. And off they went. All of them at mach two. There was a small ridge behind them so we couldn't see what happened to the one I shot, but I was confident that it was a good shot. Proppy called Max on cell phone to bring the bakkie and come help us track it. We found the tracks where it had bolted when I shot it but no blood. We waited about 5 minutes for Max. As he drove up Proppy asked him if he had seen the herd when they took and if there was a sick one lagging behind? Max said no sick one...but... he almost ran over a dead one back about two hundred yards. We had my first Black Wildebeest. A really good old bull with lots of character in his cracked old horns.
Black Wildebeest 2016.jpg

We went back to the ranch house and dropped off the springbok and black wildebeest so Max could field dress them and he could hang them out of the sun before the drive home. Then the land owner took us to an area behind the ranch house to try and get Jacob a springbok. We found a huge heard of springbok and we found that they are almost as hard to hunt as black wildebeest. Seemingly never standing still and bolting at the drop of a hat. We worked the herd until Jacob finally got into position and was comfortable with a shot on a good ram. He pulled the trigger and the one he shot went about 12 feet in the air took of like a bullet with the rest of the herd right behind. Dangit... now we had a wounded springbok. We followed the herd for a ways and they finally stopped. This is where Proppy gets huge kudos. He was fixated on that springbok and determined not to loose sight of it in the crowd. If Proppy hadn't been there we would have either lost it or shot the wrong one by mistake. Danke Proppy! Anyway, the one that Jacob had shot got out in the open and I took about 250 yard shot with Proppy's rifle to try and put it down. The shot hit it in the back just in front of the hind quarter.... so we were off the races again, but now our wounded springbok had a big white mark on it back where I had shot it. We let the herd slow down a little and I finally got a quartering away shot with my 338 and it was done. Jacob was pretty bummed that he had wounded it the first shot. But he learned a valuable lesson that day about the importance of shot placement and got to see first hand how it goes when things can get messy. Turned out that he had just grazed the back of the upper front leg. Two inches up and two inches over and would have been a perfect shot. But, at the end of the day he had a nice springbok.
Jacob Springbok 2016.jpg

We loaded up the bakkie and headed back to Flintbeck. We rolled in just in time to drop of the animals at the skinning shed and start some dinner. Another hunter had come into camp today. Super nice guy from Kentucky that was there on some r and r from Afghanistan. We visited about the days events over a couple of beers and dinner was kudu ala Proppy over the fire. The kudu was tenderloin from the one I had shot on the first day and it was excellent. We were all tired from the long day and were all turned into bed by 9:30pm.
Nice springbucks and a great black wildebeest. Tell your son we all have dealt with a bad shot and we even had someone do that to a black wildebeest when there. Glad it all worked out in the end for you both.
Saturday 9/24 Day 4...
Today we are going to the Cradle of Humankind and the Rhino & Lion Park. Proppy was a very gracious and patient tour guide. We started at the museum at the Cradle of Humankind. The museum is much larger than I expected and they had an educational conference in progress. There were many interactive exhibits that Jacob enjoyed. Lots of really cool artifacts and history, including the skeleton of "Lucy".

Cradle of Humankind 2016.jpg

Lucy at the Cradle of humankind.jpg

The we took the tour of the caves at Cradle of Human kind where the skeleton of Mrs. Ples and Little foot were found. The cave tour was extremely interesting. there was one place where I was actually on my hand and knees to get through, but the majority of it was easy walking and the tour was very informative. The cave tour took just over an hour.

Caves at Cradle of humankind 2016.jpg

When we left home Jacob had a sinus cold and we used all of his sinus and cough medicine. So during the cave tour Proppy took off and went to the pharmacy and picked up sinus and cough medicine for us.

Then we traveled up to the Lion and Rhino Park. Its a self drive park. They feed the lions once a week and we happened to be there on feeding day so there was lots of animal activity.

Rhino at the lion & Rino park SA 2016.JPG

Lion Park 2016.JPG

We had a late lunch at the Lion Park and rolled back into Flintbeck just in time for some evening Guinea Fowl hunting. Like I said before, Guinea seem to be everywhere when you are not hunting them. But as soon as a shotgun is involved they become scarce. But, Proppy managed to find us a flock. And I missed...a complete whiff...embarrassingly missed... when the shooting was over and we were standing there looking at each other trying to figure out what just happened, Proppy looked at me and "you are pouring drinks tonite". I like Proppy... :)
When we got back to the lodge Proppy introduced me to a Beer Shandy. I had never heard of a beer shandy, but now I think its my new go-to drink on a hot afternoon.:D Beers:
Beer Shandy.jpg

Dinner was blesbuck schnitzel from Jacob's blesbuck and prepared by the folks at Flitbeck. It was excellent. Then drinks around the fire telling the days stories of the day. Good times.
Sunday 9/25 Day 5...
After breakfast we are off for a little morning Guinea fowl hunting . We found a flock first thing and I managed to get two with one shot in order help redeem myself after last night. Then I picked up a third one a little while later. I like guinea fowl. They are really beautiful with their blue heads and diamond in the feathers. They make an awful squawk when they jump up to fly. Pieter says they make that noise because they are afraid of heights.:E Happy:

Guniea Fowl 2016.jpg

Then we are off to Hatebeespoort Dam and the Snake and Animal Park with Proppy as tour guide again.

Snake and Animal Park SA 2016.jpg

Afterwards we stop at a curio shop and do some shopping for the family back home. And Proppy takes us through a flea market to look for more curios. We stopped for lunch outside the mall next to the flea market. And Proppy recommended the Eisbein for lunch. I had never heard of it before... Turns out it's a whole deep fried ham hock, and it was REALLY good. I gotta find it in the States or get my favorite local watering hole to get it on the menu.

Eisbein Lunch 9-25-2016.jpg

And we had a couple drinks to wash it down with of course :D Beers:

Jam Jar.jpg

We got back to Flintbeck that evening and went to the neighbors property to try and call jackal. We didn't have any luck but we sure got them stirred up for a couple hours.:E Dancing:

For dinner Proppy cooked wildebeest skewers over the fire from Jacob's wildebeest. They were amazing!

Blue Wildebeest Kabobs Flintbeck 2016.jpg
You can tell when prop cooks no one goes hungry. LOL I miss the food almost as much as the hunting. Glad you found some of those funny birds to chase after. They do make a racket when they fly off.
Looks like this was another great hunt with Pawprint Safaris at Flintbeck Lodge. Congrats to the father and son.

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BLAAUWKRANTZ safaris wrote on gpiccs94's profile.
You are welcome to join our family at Blaauwkrantz in February. We have been hosting international hunters since 1978 and known to be the best kudu hunting in the world! we are based on our 100 000 acre ranch, an hours drive from the Port Elizabeth airport. Please email me on
CrippledEagle wrote on 7MAG's profile.
Good morning 7MAG. I have a NEW, never mounted, Leupold M8-4X Extended Eye Relief scope that I will sell you for $325 shipped to you. I was a Leupold rep for 12 years and this was always our preferred mounting for a lever gun, scout rifle style.
DLSJR wrote on Will Clark's profile.
You’ve got an interesting screen name. Will the Thrill provided lots of great times for me as a lifelong Giants fan. Even though I never met him, a number of buddies either duck hunted or shared a dugout with him. He’s a great guy according to those guys. Cool screen name and if that’s your real name, it’s a great one.
in-between all the bush fire, hunting and work on the hunting area its hard to find time for fishing as well
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is the 505 gibbs still for sell? Thanks!