SOUTH AFRICA: Rhinoster Hoek Safaris With My Son

dobber

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Going to try and put everything down here so please be patient with me, still need to load my pics to photo bucket but hoping to get it all done this weekend.

Many people say that making that first trip to Africa for a hunt starts the plan for the second. My name is Ian and i have a problem......

2 years ago i made my first trip, had an amazing time, met some wonderful people and had some life changing moments. Within weeks of my return the planning for my next trip started. A few people here have hunted the "Kudu camp" and know the quality of animals there, plus the type of hunting expected. That is what i wanted, some spot and stalk hunts, push my old "husky" body to the edge of exhaustion, to feel like i earned whatever i was able to take (made me wish a few times that i was sitting in my tower stand in NWO though lol)
A hunt was offered here on AH https://www.africahunting.com/threads/rhinoster-hoek-cull-hunt-special.24232/ and since i had spent some time here i knew the area and had met Warren and family i jumped at this offer. A few emails and chit chat the hunt was booked, once that was completed the news to my son was sent. My son has been in college the last 5 years so hasn't been able to go deer or moose hunting, have snuck him for bear hunts before school started though. So he has earned this hunt, doing us proud in school and almost finished. So the plan was a graduation present (thats how i sold it to the wife, she doesn't need to know anything different)
Not sure how many text's i sent my son with pictures of the countdown clock app on my phone, but each time i did it was less days waiting.
The drought in SA was bad and there was concern about this, but Warren kept me updated almost weekly, and when checking the weather network on my phone for his area and i saw rain we would talk.

The communication over the last year was truly amazing, and any concern about the condition of the animals was quickly removed

The closer the time came it was making sure all my stuff was good to go, had some major banking issues and at one point i thought i may have had to be forcably removed from one due to their inability to provide customer service. How a 10 day hold on a cheque turns into a 21 day hold still confuses me lol (work in the US but live in Canada, banking is occasionally a pain in the butt)

anyway more to come later, apparently i have a list of items to still complete, not sure why i ever bought the wife a lawn mower if she expects me to use it, should have bought one for myself instead

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CAustin

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Looking forward to this @dobber!
 

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Glad you got back over for another hunt. Looking forward to seeing some pictures and hearing more about the trip.
 

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Congrats! It will be a great hunt!
 

Royal27

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My name is Ian and i have a problem......

Be careful @dobber ...

The first step in quiting is admitting you have a problem. So in this case don't admit it to yourself, and certainly not to the wife. :E Nono: :V Make My Day: :V Hitting:

Can't wait to hear more. Warren is a great guy and his ranch is truly a special place.
 

BRICKBURN

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Looking forward to this one.
 

gillettehunter

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You have our complete atention. Waiting to hear the whole tale.... Bruce
 

dory

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an outfitter im keen to hear about !
Ive read some good things about them .
Im away fishing in the morning for a couple of weeks .
So you better have it finished when I get home with plenty of photos Ian !!!
Cheers Dory .
 

dobber

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The long flight, the stop overs, the bloated ankles and of course one item scratched off the kids bucket list - beer and a schnitzel in Germany- we finally planted feet outside of the airport in PE. Warren and his son were there to great us, quick hello's, stop off at the store and we were off to the rustic homestead. The camp is nice, clean and miles from anywhere, but had everything i needed, a bed and a roof. I had told everyone that i will not have internet access all week, more for myself to gain some sanity back. I did try letting the wife know we would be off the grid as well, but she seems a bit quicker than i give her credit, she asked how Warren posted on Facebook if no internet - Magic was my answer, not sure she bought it though
Quick coffee and bite to eat and we were off to the shooting range, few shots and both the kid and me were confident in the guns. I was to be hunting with Warren and the kid was hunting with Jeanne (pronounced John). Warrens other son was there as well Keegan who is also a PH but would only be staying a couple of days.
The choices of who was hunting with whom was done, i was going to hunt with Warren and Mike was hunting with Jeanne (Keegan as well while he was there)

Will take care of the food first, i sent a picture of my son having a meal to Warren a few months back to warn him and Belinda, the kid is a bit of a monster, so poor Belinda was worried lol. Normal questionnaire about what we liked or disliked for meals, was a simple list - tomatoes, cucumbers and celery was a no, everything else was fair game.
Pies, meat of many types, outside cooking on the grill, inside cooking on the grill, the Mandela microwave in action, desserts of many kinds. The kid didn't disappoint and was called upon many times to finish up what was left in the pots, think only once did he tap out. We aren't big drinkers, but a cold beer at the end of the day was always a welcome treat, wine with dinner and spirits if wanted while sitting by the fire at the end of a day of stalking

So there we were, first day, young guns vs the miserable old buggers lol, the smack talk had started and really didn't stop, all in good fun and didn't really finish until i reminded the kids PH that he didn't have any money and i controlled the $$ lol
This is how a hunt camp should be, lots of talking, reliving the days hunts, laughing together and at each other
 

dobber

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To say i was ready and in shape for this hunt would be a lie, but one i was willing to live through, but i wasn't pushed anymore than i was willing to push myself and Warren is able to put together a hunt for every physical ability. I did learn one trick though while on many stalks, if you throw small rocks in the PH's shoes they have to stop more frequently to empty them, some good sound advice right there.
First days stalking had us up and down valleys and ridges, saw kudu bulls, but no cull animals and no real brutes, but they were here and so was i. The duikers seemed to be a little quicker and didn't want to stand around to be looked at either. We were heading back to the truck (mind you i couldn't have told you where the truck was as we started on one valley, up and over, next valley, up and over around a ridge and finally onto one of the small roads) and Warren quickly sits down puts the sticks up and says "warthog", i sat down and crawled into position, gun on the sticks crosshairs on the pig, deep breath and a squeeze of the trigger
 

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dobber

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My days are mixed up, too much to remember and i even tried to write down what happened, but that didn't go to plan, so some of this may be accurate but i have also never let facts get in the way of a good story telling
One evening hunt had us watching a flat area, watching some kudu on the top of a ridge waiting for them or others to walk on down. A nice male impala graced us with his presence but not on the list.
With a bit of light left we decided to look on the other side of the ridge, so a quick walk up and saw a few cows off in the distance but too far for a stalk, so back to the vantage point, as we got near our spot off run a couple of nice kudu bulls.
The next morning we decided to walk the same area and do some spot and stalking. Nothing quite breaks the morning silence like the bark of a bull kudu. Up and over, toss in a few stones to the boots and we were back to the flat again. On our way in we did see some impala heading the similar direction, so we decided to go up and over to have a peak. In a patch of brush there were about 10 impala feeding away. I should note that when we decided to go up and over it was more a crawl on the knees and shuffle on the butt, my knees are not meant for this but i made it.
Up on the sticks but couldn't make them out, had to watch them for a bit, no pressure to shoot at any time during the entire hunt. Had a female impala in view but branches over the vitals, then facing me, then facing away then branches again, all the time the others were moving around. Finally she gave me the shot and the report of the rifle they all took off. The sound of the hit was certain, but watching them run over the next ridge with one slowly following i wasn't convinced until i put the bing's up and the slacker was a male. My female impala might have made it 20 yards

As you will see in the pics i will share and pointed out by my son, i seem to have many rather casual poses, not sure if it was casual poses or just glad to be not climbing them mountains

 

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dobber

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Trip to the skinning shed done we decided to take a peak close to there, on the way to the spot we noted a bull kudu running up and over the ridge followed by another, and another, and another, think there were 10 bulls in total. After watching them head up and over we devised a plan and set up in a different valley one or two ridges away. As we sat collecting our thoughts and me picturing them bulls running over that ridge i was quickly snapped to the moment as the hillside we were watching became alive and noisy.

Warren was glassing the "herd" of Kudu coming our way looking for a shooter (remember this was a cull hunt) all good looking animals with a few cows in the mix. Warren points out the cow he wants me to shoot and we watch her come down and with a whistle she stopped in her tracks.
Safety off, squeeze the trigger, mule kick and off she went, ran past us and dropped just the other side of a bush as the remaining animals scattered in every direction
 

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WRudman

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I did learn one trick though while on many stalks, if you throw small rocks in the PH's shoes they have to stop more frequently to empty them, some good sound advice right there.
Now I know why I had to empty my boots so often(n)
 

dobber

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Started off another day with uphill climbing, got about a half hour into the hike and here comes the rain, so we sat under some tree's while we waited for it to pass. After about 15 min we were off again and after a short spell the tracker pointed out a duiker walking at the top of a rocky opening heading our way. Up with the sticks and we had issues, up to this point we had been using short sticks, this was the first long stick attempt and the sticks didn't like me too much. Every time i set them they would drop my line of site to a bush, so a few quick adjustments and had it settled. Shot was about 100 yards, but later when i tell the story it will be more than likely 250.

Breathing settled and dialed in, that duiker didn't know what hit her. My son (who's pictures i will post whenever i figure out how to load them from the files he sent me) had taken a picture of his duiker with him sitting a bit behind it making it look much larger than it is. Well not to be outdone we took a couple of normal pics and then one of me sitting just behind my horned female duiker.


Chris the tracker packed up my duiker and headed to the truck, while Warren and myself went further up the hill.


Finally after some good hiking we came towards one of the roads in a valley and off runs another duiker but he only scoots behind some brush so i was able to move over and get a shot on him. Made for some good pictures with both animals.
I will say though that where we set the ram up i didn't realize the plan was for me to be somewhat submerged into a large hole in the ground, did joke about that snake noodling video posted a while back

 

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dobber

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Think i figured out how to load my kids pictures, no clue what program he used but think i got it. I didn't get to hunt along side him, something i would have liked to have done, but lets face it, he isn't a kid anymore and wanted him to experience it for himself as well

 

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rinehart0050

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Great report so far! looking forward to more
 

dobber

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Part of the joking with my son and Jeanne was about how much we walked and how many miles they drove around, now this isn't the case on their end but as i noted before i won't let facts get in the way my story. The kid had a great time, legs scratched up pretty good, not nearly as bad as mine were my first trip though. He thoroughly enjoyed the hunt and had that cocky look to him every time we pulled into camp and he had shot something. He did better than me on this hunt with harvests, but not for lack of opportunity on my end, he's just a lucky SOB





his couple of kudu cows

his springbok

Impala ewe
 

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dobber

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On one drive back to the camp i saw something quickly running away, saw 2 jackals and they were booking it. Stopped the truck and jumped out hoping for a shot, but they weren't slowing down for nothing, even gave them the ole whistle.
On one other venture we came across a porcupine and luckily enough he didn't run near as fast



so now i have a vase full of quills that i may eventually do something with (waiting on finishing the basement)

Other animals seen but not hunted were meerkats, spring hare, tortoise's (several of them along our travels) and an aardvark. some others that could have been put on the menu were black and blue wildebeest, saw one great looking bull during a stalk, zebra, steenbok and Gemsbok. The amount of Kudu seen though was just crazy, as i noted earlier the drought took its toll on the animals and we came across many bones.

Still more to come
 

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dobber

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The bad and the ugly about the hunt, i wounded a kudu cow.
We sat watching a group of cows for a while hoping a bull would show up on the other side of the valley, distance was 250 yards.
We sat, i was calm, rested and not out of breath, on the sticks, checked and rechecked several times, no rush no worry.
The moment i squeezed that trigger i new it and said so, that i pulled the shot to the right (in case any sensitive readers that wasn't exactly what i said)
We watched her and a small bull head off to the right but lost them in the thicker brush they went into. I was near sick to my stomach.

Tracker went over to where she was standing and there was blood, so we all went over and started the tracking job. Blood here and there but not a lot, fresh tacks going every direction so tough to follow.
We searched for several hours in this area and decided to walk the ridge following fresh tracks, went back after lunch to look again for a couple of hours. Even came back the next morning with the dog but to no avail, she was not on that ridge or in that valley.

While i spent over a day looking, i wouldn't have had it any other way, i owed it to the animal.
I wasn't sure how i would write this part of my trip up, or if i would mention it at all, but it remains part of the trip that i will likely remember the most. And from that i hope to prove myself better next time
 

dobber

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One evening hunt we decided to hunt a pre made blind made up of logs with a back rest of a couple of tree's. We parked the truck and walked up to the spot, eventually turned around to see where we parked, lets see if you can spot the truck

Up on the ridge several hundred yards away the cows and a few bulls started down to the flats, on the top was a slobber knocker of a Kudu, he had everything, tall tines, deep curls, wider as he grew taller. This was a bull dreams are made of, and i have dreamt of this bull for several nights and will continue to do so.
In front of us i saw a glimpse of a one horned bull, by the time he stopped all i had to look at was from his belly to his arse, no shot there.
Looking at the hill top at the monster i didn't see the one kudu jump the fence 150 yards from me, glassing him and looking around no fewer than 8 bulls jumped the fence at this spot. About 200 yards down the one horned bull jumped and we were busy watching them all as they fed down the hill.
That one horned bull just kept getting further away so we decided a stalk was in order. Looking like 2 guys in a horse suit Warren was leading the way, slow and steady, i just looked at his feet, bent over and step for step. Not much between us and the one horned bull but several other kudu bulls and one twig of a tree. We did this crawl/hunch/creep/stalk for about 400 yards till we got to the tree. Pulled the range finder out on the bulls who still fed peacefully and they were now within 150 yards, need to glass to find that one horned bull, well crap he was about 75 yards on the other side of these bulls.
We sat for a bit and decided to wait it out, but the wind must have picked up and they took off, jumped the fence and up the ridge.

That big bull wasn't to be seen, him and his herd of cows had already gone through into the brush in the lower flats
 

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