SOUTH AFRICA: RIFLE: BOWHUNT: Hunting KwaZulu Natal With A Good Friend Boela Bekker

huntinlabs

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We left Johannesburg Wednesday morning to head to natal to meet up with what I consider a great friend @Boela Bekker. Him and another friend jaco picked us up from the airport said we had about a 2 hour drive to the first camp where jaco's son and the tracker would meet us. Now this hunt has been planned for a year to take non trophy animals so the guys could process the meat and we would get the skins and horns. When we arrived at the hunting camp my wife spoke to me and said she loved my impala and wanted to kill a trophy one. I agreed talked to boela told him I would cover the cost and let's do it. That afternoon we met up with the farm tracker and was looking for kudu warthog and trophy impala. We spotted a nice ram and decided he would do so off we went. And this place is super thick. I'm talking in some spots the grass was taller than me. After 3 failed attempts at this ram we decided not to push them anymore and continue looking. About 1 hour later we spotted a big herd of impala. Boela looked as said there is a super nice ram so the hunt was on. We snuck in perfectly and this ram was busy fighting smaller rams and checking ewes. I can't describe in words how this hunt took place boela and my wife were about 5 yards in front of me and the tracker and we could see the ram running around but my wife couldn't. It seemed like it took 30 minutes for my wife to finally spot the ram. She placed a perfect shot and he ran maybe 15 yards and piled up in a Bush. Boela turned and looked at me and said he is a great ram but I didn't understand just how big he was until we walked up to him. Wow what a freaking ram! We took pictures loaded him up dropped him off at the skinners and were back off for kudu and warthog. We spotted a bunch of pigs but no boars worth going after and still no grey ghost. We decided to call it a day and go to camp. Throughout the night we could hear the hyenas yelling and a couple lions roaring. Wow you can not explain the sound a lion makes to anyone but it is amazing and eerie at the same time.

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Day 2
We woke up and the main focus is on kudu now. If we spot a warthog that will do we will take him but main focus is kudu. We searched and searched for kudu. We seen a ton of nyala impala and sow warthogs. We came across a small herd of buffalo and my wife wanted to take pictures since they were so close. The buffalo bull had a bit of an attitude and was knocking down bushes and jumping forwards and left and right so boela said let's go. Even though we were in the bakkie he didn't want to risk it so we were off again. Now it is about 1045 or 11 and we were tired so we talked and decided to drop the tracker off and head back to camp. The tracker said let's fo check this spot out where a big tusker hangs out. On the way boela spots a kudu! All you could see was his head. Boela told my wife to take the head shot as he was comfortable with her shooting after the range time we had. My wife made a perfect shot right in the eye no skin damage was done. The bull dropped in his tracks and it was all jumping and happiness. We walked up to him. And although he may not be the biggest bull he is a trophy to us. He is 51 and 1/2 on one side and 51 and 3/4 on the other. My wife kodi decided after that let's just go back to camp and enjoy each others company and relax.
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Day 3
We woke up and made the drive back to Richard's bay to just relax at boelas house and finally have our time to play with his 8 month old son which we have been watching grow over whatsapp. But on the way we made plans for me to hunt a narrow horned nyala with a bow. We arrived at the farm I shot a couple of arrows was pleased where they were hitting and we were off. We spotted one that I liked the shape of and the stalk was on. We finally caught up to th bull I drew back and boela told me to hold there were more bulls and the biggest one was in the back. He stepped out into the clearing and I released. I hit a limb I didn't see and it deflected my arrow down and I thought it was a clean miss. We walked to find the arrow and found blood which made my heart sink because i knew it wasn't a good shot. After about half a kilometer of tracking we bumped him and finished him off with the rifle. Turns out my arrow just cut the artery in the leg and that's why we could continue tracking and why we were finding such good blood the whole way. After the skinning and cleaning was done we loaded the meat back up and were off to boelas house. We had a nice relaxing afternoon and a drive to the ocean for cocktails but all in all not a busy but a great afternoon to spend time with his family.

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Day 4
We woke up and it was finally my turn to hunt. We were after zebra. It was a quick 45 minute drive to th farm from boelas house. We got to the farm talked to the tracker and were off. He said they spotted some zebra by some giraffe earlier that morning so off we went. We found the giraffe and spotted the zebra with them. Off the truck we go and the stalk is on. The tracker asked me if I would shoot a stallion and leave the mares. After looking the herd over boela found the stallion and asked if I liked the stripes if not we could keep looking. I told him I wanted thick stripes of possible and this one for the bill on shot with the 375 and it flipped the zebra he got up and made it 5 yards before crashing. Now the best part and most meaningful part of this trip was boela asked if I would mind if his wife and son came along which of course I did not. I actually felt honored to have been apart of his sons first ever hunt. That night we had the zebra at a nice restaurant that boela knows the chef of. After that meal and the way the chef prepared it I think it was the best meat I have tasted so far.

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Day 5
We woke up and headed to a place they call darkest Africa. It's about a 4 hour drive and here jaco's son is after a Bush buck that he has encountered about 3 times and boela is after a nice waterbuck or kudu of we see them he will make the call then. The main reason for this trip to this farm is for us to just have fun relax enjoy the Bush and Tuesday I will be hunting a giraffe. We arrived around noon and this place is a tented like camp deep in the mountains and not fenced off so all the animals are completely free range. That afternoon we head out for an afternoon drive to see what we can find. We seen a troop of baboons but I wasn't fast enough and they never slowed down. We relaxed on the top of one of the mountains enjoyed the scenery for around an hour and half then decided to go by foot we jumped a waterbuck cow and seen some nyala but that was it for the afternoon. We headed back to camp for fallow deer chops and some cold refreshments.

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Day 6

Today was planned to be a lazy day so we hung around d camp and glassed a mountainside across a river for the bushbuck or waterbuck. We spotted a 50+ inch kudu with 11 cows and 2 smaller bulls. But they were headed up the mountain and it would have been a hell of a time to get to him or get him down so jaco decided he would pass on him. Jaco's dad did some fly fishing and we all just relaxed and enjoyed each others company. Jaco sr. Presented my wife and I with 2 knives he had made for us as a surprise from his giraffe he shot.


Day7

We woke up at around 530 had some coffee and a light breakfast then made the hour drive to meet the farm owner for my giraffe. When we met we talked about 2 bulls that were off limits and decided it would be best to go for a high neck shot. We first spotted a herd of cows and calfs that had a total of 12 giraffe in them but no bulls. After another hour or so of searching we finally found the herd of bulls. Boela and the farm owner glassed them decided that one of the giraffe in the herd fit what I was looking for which was a mature bull but didn't have to be super dark. We started the stalk. After what seemed like an eternity of waiting for the bull to present a good shot and my nerves to calm down he finally leaned over to eat and I shot. Instantly he hit the ground and I had my dream animal. The farm workers got busy with helping set up for the pictures and started to skin the animal. I asked if I could use the knife Jaco sr. Gave me the night before on the giraffe to make a cut. The owner let me then I decided to back away and let the experts do the work since I was slowing them down. The taxidermist met us at camp collected the skins and we all had a great last night in Africa planning our next trip over. This was a great trip with great friends.

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cpr0312

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Looks like yall had a great time!! Congrats on your hunt and thanks for sharing!
 

cpr0312

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huntinlabs

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A PH with a good sense of humor makes everything better during the hunt!

Oh yes it does. We laughed and made jokes at each other the whole time. I don't think I have ever laughed or smiled so much in my life.
 

BRICKBURN

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Thanks for sharing your hunt with us.
Congrats on some nice trophies.
 

jasyblood

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Congrats on a great hunt!

Thanks for sharing!!
 

billc

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glad to see you had a good second half of your trip to. I still need to get over to natal to see the area.

Hope you find out if your staying at the base your at so we can talk about a moose hunt one year.
 

huntinlabs

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glad to see you had a good second half of your trip to. I still need to get over to natal to see the area.

Hope you find out if your staying at the base your at so we can talk about a moose hunt one year.

I should find out soon have to do the paperwork when I get back in the office. And natal is beautiful the climate reminds me of Florida with the salt in the air where we were.
 

Ragman

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Those are non-trophy animals??? Look pretty good to me...especially that kudu! I'd give my left nut for him!Lol. Congrats on a great trip.
 

huntinlabs

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Those are non-trophy animals??? Look pretty good to me...especially that kudu! I'd give my left nut for him!Lol. Congrats on a great trip.

Well we got lucky lol we were after mature animals and a fun and relaxing hunt with friends not length lol
 
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Nyati

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Congrats for a great hunt !
 

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Congrats!! What a great hunt
 

Lee M

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That is a great two weeks! Congrats. I hope all is well with Pieter and crew at Pawprint. So what are you planning on bring back to the US in the future? I know you were doing your homework on the Taxidermy costs and shipments.
 

huntinlabs

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That is a great two weeks! Congrats. I hope all is well with Pieter and crew at Pawprint. So what are you planning on bring back to the US in the future? I know you were doing your homework on the Taxidermy costs and shipments.

Pieters taxidermist gave me a quote k couldnt say no to so here is the list.
The blue and black wildebeest will be a double pedestal, the two impalas will be shoulder mounted with slight turns towards each other, the giraffe will be a slight shoulder pedestal, kudu will be a side shoulder mount my wife found a picture of. Nyala will be close to the same, zebra is a rug with the head in it kinda like a bear or cat rug the springbuck will be a side mount going as far back as the skin let's him. The blesbuck will be a standard shoulder mount.
 

huntinlabs

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That is a great two weeks! Congrats. I hope all is well with Pieter and crew at Pawprint. So what are you planning on bring back to the US in the future? I know you were doing your homework on the Taxidermy costs and shipments.

Also backsins to everything and 2 pillows from one backskin on the impala giraffe leg bone carved and one for knife handles.
 

Nosler guy

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Great hunt - your wife's impala is an awesome trophy
Curious about the rifle she was using - looks like a classic custom Mauser - more info? caliber, etc? Beautiful rifle...
 

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