SOUTH AFRICA: Sable Hunt With Diekie Muller Hunting Safaris In Limpopo

Mtn_Infantry

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Just got back from my first and an amazing hunt with Diekie Muller Hunting Safaris. All the booking/planning started in 2019. This trip was to be a friend/co-worker, his father, my father, and I over Father's Day 2020, but like most people it was postponed a year. Diekie ensured the trip would still happen over Father's Day so myself an my co-worker could both make it memorable for our father's (both of whom had ZERO intentions of hunting). I will say going into this, I never imagined I would hunt Africa. I always thought it would be too expensive, too time consuming, and that I'd be too preoccupied chasing North American Game, and boy was I wrong. To say I've been bitten by the bug was an understatement. I hadn't even gotten to Africa and was already planning trip #2. This post will be mainly my experiences and pictures since I can't speak for my friend and his father, but I know he enjoyed it enough he plans on going back to hunt with Diekie and Dawie after he pays for a diamond.

Had a little snafu the night before getting our Covid Test results. My father who's from the Northeast and vaccinated was in town all week visiting. We both took our tests together but he didn't get his covid test results with mine. Turned out, it was because his was positive. Couple phone calls later including to my neighbor (administrator of the hospital) and calling the lab to get them to rush retest of the original sample and we're told midday it was a false positive test, possibly because he was vaccinated. We board our Qatar Airlines flight from Houston late on 14-June and arrive at 0400 on 16-June at OR Tambo. My father and I went a little earlier than my buddy and were greeted by a driver from Afton Guest House who also did all of our gun permits. We drove back to Afton took a quick shower and were fed some breakfast. Ms. Elize at Afton had arranged a tour for us at my request which gave my dad about 4.5 hours to sleep, while I tried to do a little work from my laptop. Took our tour, relaxed around the fire at which time Dawie (Diekie's son) showed up. We enjoyed a great meal, several drinks, some talking around the fire before retiring around 2300. Dawie and I got up around 0300 to go meet my co-worker and his father, letting my dad get some extra beauty sleep. Get to the airport, greet each other, only to learn my co-worker's firearm somehow didn't make the transfer from DOHA to JNB. Decision is made, we're heading to the lodge and will figure out the gun once it actually arrives in country. Afton handled the Import and their person will call once it's secured, no sense waiting or worrying when we had no timeline.

Drive the 4ish hours north, stop and hour out from the lodge to enjoy a Black Label and take in some scenery before continuing onto the lodge. Arrive meet Diekie and the rest of the staff. Settle into our rooms, and grab a quick bite before heading out to the range to confirm zero on my rifle and let my co-worker get familiarized with the .375 he'll be borrowing for the time being. First shot is dead on, take another 3 or 4 after to confirm, head back to our rooms and take about a 2 hour nap (or work in my case, as I had a fire at work arise). By the time I shut the laptop we've got about 45 minutes before we head out and I decide to sling a few arrows out of my bow and Diekie joins me. First night out and my dad (health challenged), myself and Diekie are hunting 1 portion of the property. My co-worker, his father (in his late 70's and had a stroke several years ago) are hunting with Dawie on another side. Both my father and I are taking in all the sights, sounds, and variety of animals. As we're driving along both Diekie and I are spotting animals left and right while my dad is struggling to see them. We decide we're going to get off the truck and stretch our legs a bit, since I'm not one for hunting from trucks (but acknowledged I would be this hunt, or in a blind so my dad could accompany me). We stretch our legs, tire my dad out after about a 1/2 mile, bump a couple different herds of zebras and gemsbok with the wind swirling or get busted by the rutting impalas. We get back in the truck and are talking when I point out a couple sables to which I'm told they're young bulls. We take a turn and about 3/4 of a mile down see something's hind quarters in the road. We stop, look and Diekie says it's a sable bull, and from the color probably a mature one but we need to get a better look. I'm told that there's 1 really good one (42-43") and a couple in the 38-41" range. Get up closer and realize it's him, right about the time we hear a gunshot and the twack of the round impacting. We play cat and mouse for the next 2.5 hours, never able to get a real clean shot on him. Head back for some dinner and see my co-worker killed a Kudu (his #1 hitlist animal). We all congratulate him, hear the stories over a few beers/drinks, head to the fire to start grilling and share more stories.

Next morning 18-June, we wake up, have a light breakfast and head out. Driving around again and spot some golden wildebeest, tons of impala, several nice Kudu, Nyala, get into a lone buffalo bull that Diekie refers to as the trouble maker. Find the sable again, this time he's with 3 other younger bulls. Play cat and mouse with him/them for a couple hours dealing with the swirling wind. Around 8:30 we hear a shot which turns out they've got a Red Hartebeest down. Keep chasing the sable and come across a couple nice Gemsbok we decide to go after only to get busted by some go-away birds. Around 10:30 we head back to camp for brunch. We get back at camp, congratulate my buddy on another nice kill, crack a few beers open and let them harass me for being down 0:2. We nap for several hours (I'm on my computer working, and sling a few arrows with Diekie and Dawie) before we all head back out. Diekie is giving me a little crap about needing to get the money off my back when we spot the same Sable. We hop off the truck and start stalking him only for some young wildebeest to bust us. Get back to the truck make it about a 1/2 mile to an open area where we see a bunch of blesbok. I ask Diekie to walk me through judging them, and what to look for, as well as to relate it to some other animals. We're discussing the white and common blesbok when Diekie says there's a really good white one off to the side. I look at it, he explains what makes it better then some of the others, and for Limpopo thats a good animal. I'm looking them all over and notice in the bushes there are a few more. I mention there's another one that looks pretty similar to the white one, Diekie looks and agrees saying he's a touch heavier and longer. Decision is made, we're going going after one. Start stalking, sticks up (no shot), reposition (no shot). I think we repeated this 3 or 4 times before finally I'm presented with an real hard quartering away shot. I line up on the offside shoulder and send it. .375 hits home, sounds great, he runs off lagging behind the herd into the thick stuff. Walk up to where he was standing, can see where he jumped, but zero blood and zero hair. Diekie says he knows I hit him, he saw the dust come off his coat on impact. We grab stripe the dog who runs straight to the thick stuff and comes back. Diekie says go find it and and he takes off same direction he just came. We all head that way and he's piled up in some real tall grass below a knob-thorn tree. We get him out and start taking pictures and enjoy a cold celebratory beer.
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We head back to the skinning shed to drop him off but not before encountering a couple of other buffalo on the property and a couple young Duiker and Steenbuck. After unloading the blesbok we head back out. Once again we find the younger Sable bulls and after another 30 minutes find the older bull we're looking for. We chase him the rest of the night for maybe an hour and a half getting busted by a nice nyala. We head back to the lodge for some Eland Tenderloins over the fire that from an old cow his daughter killed the weekend before. As we get back we learn my co-worker killed a nice Impala and I'm again reminded the score is 1:3. That night they get the call his gun had arrived. The talk it over and when his dad says the only way he'll shoot something is if its with that rifle since he's practiced with it, they decide to go get it first thing the following morning. As we get back we also meet Diekie's wife and daughter, and Dawie's girlfriend who've all come to join us in camp for Father's Day weekend.

19-June, Second full day of hunting. Typical morning; wake; light breakfast/coffee, and head out. Cruising around this morning we see a bunch of female warthogs with little ones, several young nyala, another really Kudu with several cows before we get on a bunch of impala in the area the sable have been frequenting. We chase the impala for some time, calling it quits without ever getting a decent shot at one of the rams. Head back to the truck where we're told my dad saw a sable cross the road. Diekie checks with the driver who says he didn't see it, only a black impala ram. We decided we'll still check the area incase it was a sable (my dad is blind in 1 eye and doesn't have the greatest vision in the other). You already know how this is going .... turns out the black thing he thought was a sable was the black impala. We get a good look at young black impala that will be really nice in another year or two and head back to the truck. We keep hunting, looking for the sable. Once again coming across the younger sable bulls and now spotting one of the other shooters. We keep looking eventually finding the other bull right around 10:30, in a totally different area of the property while looking for a Kudu. He's super skittish (probably from being chased for 2 full days at this point), and we opt to give him a break and go eat. Decision is made to come back to and try to find him that evening. Eat lunch, again take some shot with the bow. Diekie takes out a crossbow after I tell him my dad likes his crossbow and after sending a few my dad decides he'll hunt with the crossbow for something. That afternoon we find a couple of gemsbok bulls and decide to chase them around to no avail but make a stalk within 7-8 yards of 2 female warthogs with 6 little ones between them. It's cooled down enough now and we decide we're going to try and find the sable since I've now made-up my mind it's only going to be him. We get to about 200 yards, wind shifts and he books it almost across the property. We hurry back to the truck and head in that direction. Keep searching and searching travelling further and further away. At some point we decide to call it off and head to another portion of the property and look for some Kudu. We see several, but I'm looking for one with deep curls and a lot of ivory on the tips, or something with a lot of character. We again find some gemsbok, and decide we're going to move the truck around to get the wind in our favor and cut them off. As we're driving we catch the horn of a sable running. Diekie has the driver stop the truck, climbs onto the top of the cab to get a little higher and says that's him. We take the truck down a different road hoping to get infront of him and again use the wind. Lights fading fast, and the opportunity ends up presenting itself just as fast. He busts out of some thick bush about 60 yards from us. Sticks aren't even opened, Diekie says its him, I quickly grab the sticks, drop the model 70 into the rest using it as a monopod and place a frontal shot on him. He jumps, wheels, and takes off at a sprint 90 degrees from where he was facing into more thick crap and where the trouble buffalo likes to hangout. I some-how caught his horn as he button hooked and ran 140 degrees opposite where he was originally headed, almost circling back around to where we shot him. Again got zero blood or hair using the TBBC (kinda expected on a frontal shot), so we grabbed Stripe. Sunlight is fading fast, but Diekie trusted me when I said I saw a horn running in the bush and we don't bother following his tracks. We set the dog out were I last saw him (maybe 70 yards on and arc from the shot). Stripes runs over and starts growling about 30 yards away in some thick brush. He crashed about 35-40 yards from where I shot him, but had covered a couple hundred. We again crack open a couple Black Labels, head to the skinning shed, and meet-up with my co-worker and his dad who are just getting back from the range. They went through almost an entire box getting his Ruger No. 1 in .270 zeroed again. Everyone still gives me a hard time for being down 2:3 and them having taken a full day off. The next morning is Father's Day, so the plan is to head out in the morning then sit a waterhole starting around 9:30/10 and try to get my dad an impala, or warthog with his bow. More posts to follow.
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Jörg Krüger

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Awesome report. Glad you guys had a great time. Beautiful animals taken so far. Congrats
 

Beretta391

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Great report so far, keep it coming!! That really surprises me about firearm not showing up. When I flew Qatar to Namibia gate agent in Doha would not let me
Board the plane till firearms were loaded onto the plane. I had also downloaded the Qatar app
And luggage tracker showed bags on plane. Just shows in Africa you always can make a plan!! Lol
 

Mtn_Infantry

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Great report so far, keep it coming!! That really surprises me about firearm not showing up. When I flew Qatar to Namibia gate agent in Doha would not let me
Board the plane till firearms were loaded onto the plane. I had also downloaded the Qatar app
And luggage tracker showed bags on plane. Just shows in Africa you always can make a plan!! Lol
I was surprised as well. I had zero issues despite our plane departing Houston for DOHA being delayed several hours reducing our layover window being less than 45 minutes in DOHA. My co-worker flew from Atlanta, it was on time but he said upon arrival there was someone waiting at the gate with a sign, he had to go with them do some paperwork (same form he did in Atlanta). Not sure if he also had to open the gun case for them or not. I believe all told his layover was 4.5 hours. I checked his bags multiple times on the Qatar App/Tracker and it showed scanned and loaded on the plane to JNB. His other checked back and his father's made it, it was only his gun case that didn't arrive.
 

Mtn_Infantry

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20-June, It's Father's Day. Plan was to go out at first light and drive around spot some animals then slip into the blind around 8:30 so my dad could try and shoot something with the crossbow. I had a blue wildebeest on my list, wasn't looking for something big wanted something old with a lot of brindle coloring. First thing in the morning maybe 15 minutes into the drive an ostrich busts out of the brush 150 yards in front of the truck followed by 2 bull wildebeest. 1 Blue and 1 Golden. We pull the binos up, I'm told the Golden is a very good bull but the blue is an old bull. I look them over and see the coat on the blue and decide we're going after him. Diekie and myself both bail off the truck as its still moving and tuck right into the edge of the brush. Both bulls are at around 200 yards and now feeding towards us. Wind is perfect in our faces, Diekie sets the sticks up and recommends we wait to see if they come closer. My dad, still on the truck keeps going down the road a little ways and they make a slight left turn so they can get a better look across the more open area the bulls are in. This pushes the bulls towards us a little more and they stop. I've got my range finder on my bino harness, hit him quick getting 145 yards, range a few things in front where he's headed to get a rough 120, 100. Wind shifts, blows right to them and the 2 bulls lock up and blow a few times. He's quartering to me. I'm on the sticks and Diekie says if it feels good put it right on the point of his shoulder. Safety flips off the model 70, a second later it barks and he does a nose dive, bull dozes his way forward, regains his footing making it about 20 yards before we see him crash. The Golden goes maybe 50 yards and hangs up. Diekie pushes me a little about how nice the photo would look with both them in it together but I pass. Range the shot and get 131. We walk up to him and start prepping for photos while the golden is still 60-70 yards away. Diekie points out the features you look for to tell it's an old animal, opens the mouth and I see the teeth are worn clean down to the gums.
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We bring my wildebeest back to the skinning shed, recover a perfectly mushroomed TBBC just under the skin tucked neatly just behind the back shoulder. Eat real quick, grab some snacks/lunch and head to a water hole blind. We see a big group of Impala and Blesbok close to the blind, slip in and sit from about 7:30/8 until 4 and nothing comes in. My dad sleeps almost the entire time except when I wake him every 30-40 minutes because his snoring is so loud. About this time we hear a shot and my dad suggests we get down to figure out what they shot and maybe drive around. We find my co-worker's father killed a blue wildebeest on Father's Day (There's a little inside story here of him always talking about wildebeest and calling my co-worker one when he was younger). BUT we learn the shot was actually my co-worker clean missing a Zebra at 60 yards (Twice I believe). We then head out on the trucks see a bunch of Eland, Giraffes, Blesbok, Wildebeest, Gemsbok, Sable, Kudu, couple small warthogs, and another good Sable bull. We decide to let my co-worker know where a Sable is located that we think is the one they've been chasing every mornig and afternoon. I offer to put one in it's rear-end and anchor it so he can finally catch up to it. They start making their way over, we head to another end of the property and find some impala. We decide to chase a group of 3 good rams. Get the sticks up several times, but never having a good shot. After about an 45 minutes we cross paths with a lone golden gemsbok bull, but opt to stay on the Impala since color morphs aren't really of big interest to me (especially for a 1st trip). Little while later we cross 2 lone gemsbok bulls and run them around for several miles. Have to call the truck in to pick-up my dad since he's exhausted at this point. We're driving see a couple kudu and again come across the 2 lone bulls. Bail off the truck (again while its moving), have them around 100 yards, sticks up, wind in our favor, waiting for them to come into the only real shooting lane, and a young impala ram steps out 20 yards away, roars and everything takes off. We get back on the gemsbok, crossing a couple young kudu bulls and cows, have them dead to rights at 100 yards, I'm on the sticks and guinea fowl start going crazy, spooking the 2 bulls which clear the area this time. We've got about 45 minutes left and decide we'll head somewhere else. About 5 minutes into drive we hear a shot near where we saw the sable bull an hour earlier. We decide to forgo hunting and head over just in case to help them look. My buddy is shooting a No 1 in .270 launching 130gr fusions which Diekie isn't to familiar with and felt might be a little light, coupled by a miss, and them taking a box of ammo to re-zero we're thinking the worst. Dawie (Diekie's son) and my Co-workers PH isn't responding on the radio either. We get there and learn the sable went 40 yards only to pile up in the road. Dawie just wanted to rub that in his dad's face about how a hunt/recovery is made to be done. We're now congratulating my co-worker on his sable, all enjoying a beer, and I'm again reminded (by my dad this time) that puts me again down 1 animal. We let them take some pictures and go get some nice sunset pictures before heading back to camp a little early so Diekie can spend some time with his entire family on Father's Day. My dad had great things to say about the family dynamic and impact of having Diekie's entire family visiting in camp, especially with us being a father/son group. Around the fire we all make plans for tomorrow, and I'm harassing my co-worker a bunch about his misses.. A Bushbuck is at the top of my list and Diekie tells me he has a surprise Honey Hole for them. Only caveat is we need to Ass in the Seat before 0330. My dad tells me he wants to hang out at camp tomorrow, he's exhausted from all the walking and knows we're going to put some miles on and he won't be able to hang.

More to follow
 

Mtn_Infantry

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21-June This was probably my favorite day. Diekie and I get on the road bright and early. Diekie knows, Bushbuck is my number 1 hit list animal but I told him it needs to be daylight and on foot, I don't want to spotlight hunt one. 3:30 am and we're off the property headed to his Bushbuck honey hole. While we're driving he tells me this is a family friend's place and that he hunted here with his grandfather and father as a kid and where be really learned to hunt. We pull up and I'm greeted by a set of tusks well over 100lbs on the lodge. I learn that the entire border along 1 side of this ranch is the Limpopo River and it has all of the Big 5. I'm told there's also been a hippo that's been giving them a hard time and is overly aggressive so Diekie is toting along his rifle. The land owners son got back the night before from guiding an Elephant Hunt and will be the one taking us around the property. Before we leave we're also told that there's been a huge Kudu pushing 60 as well as a once in a lifetime waterbuck down by the river. Landowner jokes I might need to be quicker than Diekie once we see him. Entire time, I haven't seen any waterbuck aside from a few cows and really young bulls. It wasn't really on my list for this trip but I tell Diekie if he's that good he'll get added.

We start walking down to the river just before sunrise. It's super thick under the cannopy with a little light coming in along the river, but this is one of the more narrow parts I'm told. We start walking and about 400 yards in jump a female bushbuck. Keep looking for the male for 10-15 minutes without moving (unsuccessfully), start walking and we go maybe 5 yards. We hear a bark and see him running. Sticks go up, I'm on him, he stops and Diekie says we can do better. We go another couple hundred yards and this same scenario repeats except be find the male in a sunny patch. I'm told he's really young. Keep walking, and this time its 600ish yards down and we bust 4 or 5 females with 1 male. Sticks up, I'm on him, He pauses for a second but as Diekie is saying he's a shooter BUT he's already gone. We try to get on him again but no dice. I notice they always seem to be in the sunny spots, bring it up and both PH's smile. I've found their trick to keep glassing all the sunny spots along the bank a head of us. Now I'm spotting just as many as them. I see a really good one on the opposite bank. I'm told he's a shooter BUT that's Botswana, so we need to keep walking and hope he crosses the river on the way back. I also notice all the monkeys are now out to play. We repeat this game of for several miles. At a few points we go up further off the river where we find some Waterbuck. We find a group of about 15 cows with a bull in some thick stuff. The sticks go up, I get on him waiting for him to step out and for the 2 PH's to agree it's the buck we're after. Takes about 20 minutes before they get a good look. I'm told he's good, but not the big one. Diekie has be pass, and we back out quietly.

At some point around 7:30/8 I look at my phones step counter and notice we've already done over 8000 steps and aren't to the end. We round a turn and there 60 yards in front of us is one with his head in the bushes feeding. We all back pedal a little, Diekie edges up to glass him says he looks pretty good but can't fully be sure since most of his head is obscured he's going off length alone. The land owners son edges up to look, comes back grabs the sticks and says he's definitely a shooter. We edge up, set the sticks up, I get on them, he's quartering towards me, safety off, boom .... he's still standing there and didn't even react to the shot. I'm already working the bolt as I hear them hiss shoooottt agaiinn. Squeeze the shot of connecting a little far forward and he jumps into the thicket. It's so thick he basically gets bounced off it like a trampoline and vaults 180 degrees back across the road to the river. We hear some rustling, which stops but wait 5 minutes. Walk over and find good arterial blood. Follow it and he's laid up 30 yards from the shot, in a huge bush only yards from the bank of the river. We call the driver, who's at camp, and the landowner. We clear a little area, get him set-up and go to pose when the driver points out a croc not too far from us. It isn't a big big one and he heads out deep. I'm told because this is a territorial boundary, crocs and hippos are off limits on either bank as a joint agreement between Botswana and South Africa. Only exception is a nuisance one or a charge and that because of this protection you'll see some big ones on occasion. We start taking pictures (feet away from the river).
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Limpopo River.jpg


After the pictures are done we load him up and drive about a mile back the way we came, and jump out. We decide we're going to hunt back how we came looking for that waterbuck. We see a few cows but no shooter's. Its about 10:30 now and we decide we're going to come up out of the river bottom and head to some of the more hilly areas and see if we can find a big Kudu. We get to an area where one of their fences has been pushed down by some elephants that came across the river at one of the big crossings. We also end-up finding some leopard tracks which gets both PH's on a rant because of RSA's protection of them. I learn that they've had all of the Big 5 on their property in the last year because of their ability to freely cross the river in several areas. After seeing some warthogs including a decent one we couldn't get a shot at in the tall grass we decide to call for a lift. We've logged a little over 18,000 steps and it's about 12:30

Diekie and I grab my bow, the cooler, and head for one of the blinds they sometimes see that big kudu bull at. We sit until 4ish seeing several female Steenbuck, Warthogs, and all sorts of birds. The Kudu never appears. Around 4 the truck comes to get us and we're going to drive around the property to see if we can find the kudu, before heading back to the river bottom to look for the waterbuck again. We start driving and keep seeing a bunch of Steenbuck and Duiker but none sticking around long enough for a shot. A few miles from the blind we pass a Steenbuck and Diekie starts banging on the roof. The landowner is driving and isn't used to a gas Land Cruiser and stalls it out. Diekie tells me to grab my rifle and says once you see him shoot him back in the guts that's a really good steenbuck. Trucks in reverse creeping back, im offhand in the back, face not down on the stock so I can see. I'm shooting across Diekie out the ladder opening. As soon as we see him Diekie snaps his fingers to signal the landowner to plug his ears, we're still rolling back, im on the gun and the second the shoulder comes into view I touch it off dropping the steenbuck on the spot. Turn the truck off, get out take some pictures where everyone says nice quick/fast shooting, followed by 1 down 9 to go and talk of the Tiny 10.

Steenbuck.jpg


We load-up and continue driving still searching for the Kudu. We see Tsessebe, Roan, all sorts of Wildebeest, more Steenbuck, Eland, Nyala, Waterbuck, Zebras, Sable, Duiker, Gemsbok, Blesbok, Impala, Ostrich, Giraffes, Hartebeest, Warthog, couple Kudu cows, young bulls, a decent low 50's bull but I'm told he's still young. We see everything BUT a shooter Kudu bull which is the last thing really on my hit list aside from and Impala and Warthog. Diekie knows on both of those, I want to shoot them with my bow and if it doesn't work out I'm OK with it I'm definitely planning on coming back to Africa. It's now an hour and a half before sunset and we decide to loop down along the river and see if the Waterbuck has come to join the party. We decide instead of walking we'll all cruise in the truck. We see several but not the one I'm looking for and I'm completely blown away by the number of Bushbuck we see, including one really good one that they almost got me to shoot but I tell them I'd rather find another species than double up on one.

We take that as a sign and quickly head up one of the hills to see if we can find a Kudu. I get an amazing sunset picture (below) and as we're leaving sport a Duiker 75 yards away. The grass is tall, it's standing in a bush so none of us can get a good view of it. We watch for 10 minutes, it's pretty much dark and decide to move on. Start the truck which made it's ears twitch and I hear "kill that bastard he's huge". Grab the gun, quickly rack it, again try a off hand shot but miss. I rack and try a second shot as it's moving away and hes gone. We get out, bust out the lights looking for a sign I caught him and the landowner, tracker, and both PH's look at me and say they're almost certain I missed. If my 375 got him we'd have found blood/hair/it by now. Diekie looks at me and jokes about how I shouldn't have given my co-worker so much crap about missing this is karma to which we all laugh. He then says what happens here, stays here it's pretty funny how bad yall are busting on him. It's now pitch black, we head back to the cooler, wrap the bushbuck and steenbuck in a tarp for the drive and head home. We pull in around 9:30 to find my co-worker got redemption on his Zebra.

Sunset Limpopo River.jpg
 
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Mtn_Infantry

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22 - June Today we head-out in the morning and go straight to a bow blind with the intention of my dad shooting something. We go to another ranch where Diekie likes to take bow hunters. They have a few other species he doesn't have and it's much larger with a couple big herds of buffalo. We get set-up in the blind and immediately start seeing all sorts of animals coming into the waterhole. Lots of warthogs but all sows with little ones or young males. My father who the entire time leading up to the hunt and first couple of days had zero desire to shoot anything, was finally convinced/told (by me) you can't come all the way to Africa and not shoot anything as a hunter. After seeing several Impalas over the course of the last couple days, a picture of a REALLY nice black one a buddy shot in Natal area a few days before, plus my co-worker's he'd pretty much decided on an Impala or Warthog.

About 9:30 a really nice lone ram comes into the water. the sticks are set-up, my dad gets the crossbow on them, I take out the camera, Diekie has his camera, ram steps right infront of the blind at 20 yards, my dad lets it fly, and the ram just walks off. We replay the videos, and I'm able to slow it down enough to see and somehow pulled the shot and shot a full 18-24" in front of the ram spooking it. He's been shooting coke caps at 30 yards the last 3 days with it, and took 1 shot before leaving. He gets harassed a bit, plays the whiff over about 30 times while we're still in the blind. Rest of the day we see wildebeest, zebras, waterbuck, more warthogs, female impala and around 3:30 another lone ram comes trotting in. He's not as big as the first ram he shot at but Diekie says he's mature and a decent representative of the species. Again get my dad up on the sticks, get the cameras out, he steps into the shooting lane and he double lungs him. We replay the video a couple times just to make sure, settle back down and wait to see what else comes in, hoping for a decent waterbuck that's been frequenting this waterhole or another. About 45 minutes before sunset we've only seen more wildebeest and waterbuck cows/calves, we decide to pack it in. We head out find blood right away and trail it 40 yards where the blood just disappears. Takes a little while but we find it laid up 10 yards from the last blood, under some thick grass that's laid across it.

P1010452.JPG


Back at the camp we learn my co-worker who also went to another ranch shot a warthog. We're hearing the story about how he's up on the sticks, Dawie (Diekie's son) tells him once you have a shot take it. Only issue is he just keeps coming, and coming, head down straight at them - never presenting a shot. At around 30 yards Dawie hears my coworker mutter something and squeeze the trigger only do see the warthog drop stone dead in his tracks. Dawie looks at my coworker and asks him where he shot him and gets this long southern, south Alabama (Forest Gump like) reply "Right in the fucking Nog". Dawie says ok, what'd you say right before you shot and gets a "F*ck-it". Later that evening we run over to the skinning shed and see the Warhog's skull. My coworker says "looks like my f*ck-it means I can't euro mount him, and f*ck-it I'm doing a shoulder mount"
 

Mtn_Infantry

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Man, you sure can write a hunting report. You sure are setting the bar high:LOL:
Thank you .... I kinda cheated and took notes while I was over there. Much easier to recollect. If my handwriting was legible I'd just scan and upload that to save some typing.
 

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23- June Diekie and I had talked the night before about possibly running back up to the property I killed the bushbuck on to try for the waterbuck, the big kudu they had, and try for a Duiker. Land owner recommended we give it a day or 2 of rest and we decided to give it the second day of rest. Diekie mentioned there are a bunch of waterbuck where my dad killed his Impala and that we should try there with my bow. He says, fo some reason they seem to have some more shooter Warthogs there even though its only a couple miles down the road. We decide we're going to sit a different waterhole which is much larger than the one my dad hunted over. We get there and I'm astounded at the size. A shot straight across the waterhole is 42 yards, if they're at the water. Diagonally well over 80 at some points. We had several wildebeest enter, a lone female impala, some waterbuck cows, couple young warthogs.

Around 1030 I can see a waterbuck coming through the brush. My dad and Diekie struggle to see if for at least 5 minutes. Diekie has a bad angle and my dad tries to use the excuse of only having 1 eye. Eventually he steps out and Diekie says he's old with a lot of character. Not as big as the other place but he's got 1 horn that goes to the side and the other forward. Issue is he's hung-up at around 50-55 yards, but keeps presenting broadside shots. After about 5 minutes and him showing no signs of coming closer, I decide I'm going to sling an arrow. I have Diekie uncase my rifle just incase I need need to take a quick insurance shot. Clip my release onto the bow, draw back, anchor, let her fly. I see the shot hit and feel it's a little low. I also see the arrow doesn't pass through and is sticking out, leading me to believe it hit the shoulder bone. The waterbuck runs off, I'm telling Diekie to give me my rifle because he's 100+ yards away. He steps out of sight before I can squeeze an insurance shot off and into him. The he's yards infront of the blind. I've got the rifle in hand, don't even think about putting another arrow in him and decide to try and quickly dispatch him. Not sure how it unfolded but he was hard quartering, I shoot on the shoulder and he stumbles in front of the blind and lays down back to us, almost in the water. We could've reached out the shooting window, and touched him. He's like that for a minute, head still up and I decide I'm putting another round in him, straight through the spine into the heart which causes him to go stiff then roll into the water. We drag him out and you can see how close he is to the blind now from the first picture.
P1010468.JPG


Waterbuck.jpg

Take our pictures, head back for some lunch. I also tell my co-worker I'm finally up. Head out mid day to try my luck on some gemsbok again. Doesn't work in our favor and around 2 we decide we're going to slip into an elevated bow blind and try for an impala or warthog. Have a pile of Kudu, some Nyala, and Blesbok all come into the water hole. One Kudu is looking pretty good but not exactly what I'm looking for. Diekie knows Kudu and Bushbuck were my top targets. He also knows I'm going to be picky on the Kudu and am ok going home without one because I don't plan on this being my only trip to Africa. Finally about 45 minutes before last light I think I see a decent warthog coming in. Diekie is lying on the floor, looks quick and says he's good but young, we can do better. We watch him for a bit finally asking Diekie why he keeps dunking his head and blowing bubbles. Diekie says he's not sure that's like asking why someone does something a certain way. The I notice it seems like he has his tusk wrapped around the water float. Diekie gets up at this picks up his binos, notices the same thing and see the pig back up real hard almost pulling. Diekie gets a good look and says kill him he has a snare around his snout. I get up, scramble for my bow, clip the release on draw back, anchor and right as I get on him he starts running off. I let down go to uncase my rifle and Diekie tells me no, he'll be back tomorrow.

Around that time we hear a shot. My co-worker had been out for a ride taking pictures and found the same 2 gemsbok bulls we'd been chasing earlier and a few days prior. He decided he wasn't going to let me be up. On the sticks he went, shot goes off and one of the bulls drops stone dead in its tracks. Only issue is they didn't see the shot impact, and it's not the one he was aiming at. Get up and they realize he clipped a branch they didn't see, it ricocheted the round straight into the other bulls throat. Dawie walks over and cuts the branch, which is about the diameter of a 20oz soda bottle cap and hands it to him.
 

Mtn_Infantry

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24 - June My co-worker and his dad both have to head into town to go get covid tests. My father and I a couple days before departing, decided to extend our tip so we've got some time. My dad however wants to go with them and do a little shopping in town. Plus my co-worker and Dawie stopped at a pizza place after killing his warthog. They decide the Hot Hyena pizza (Dawie's favorite) was so good, they need to go again after getting their brains poked.

Diekie and I decide we're going to ride around and try to find a good impala ram. We're riding and talking, see a really good Kudu (54-55") but Diekie says he's on the young side and needs at least 1 more year preferably 2 and he'll be a toad. We then see a couple more kudu around 50. We also see a really old Nyala bull. I have no intention of shooting one this trip. We drive around a bit more, and Diekie tells me they've got a bunch of Nyala, so far no one has really hunted them this year, and there are a couple real old ones. He offers a deal on one if I'd like, especially since he wants the Leupold on my rifle. I mention I'm not willing to let that scope go, but we negotiate a little before striking a deal. Only condition is I at least want to try and spot/stalk the Nyala with my bow. Diekie is a big bow hunter and tells me it'll be tough, but sure we can give it a try. We run back to the lodge, grab my bow, take a drive around trying to get a better look at a few Nyala we saw earlier in the morning and decide of the 5 we'd seen so far, that one with the Kudu is by far the oldest. We get back to that corner of the property, quickly find him again but now he's lined up with 2 other nyala bulls, and a herd of gemsbok. We spend the next 3 hours playing cat and mouse with them, always losing them in the thick stuff and never get somewhere that we'll have a clear shot. It's almost lunch time, we decide we're going to get Pizza as well and grab some feed for the hogs on the ranch.

Before we leave I tell Diekie we should take a short walk with the rifle and see if we can find him. 30 minutes in we bust him at 15 yards. Neither of us saw him in some real thick brush. Circle around a bit and see him run out around 30 yards. I get on the sticks, I'm following him, find an opening, get down on the gun to keep following him and once he steps into the opening send the lead downrange. We hear the round hit but he's now running full steam . Shot was pretty hard and quartering away. We find zero blood, but can see his tracks. We follow them for 30 yards and lose them. Decide we might as well grab Stripe the dog. Radio Andres the driver to bring the truck and the dog. I walk back to the spot where I shot to wait while Diekie goes and grabs the dog. Stripe gets on the trail, beelines it and runs to a laydown about 10 yards from where we lost the trail. Sure enough, he's laid up in the shade and thick stuff behind it. Looks like he tripped and crashed going over it. His tips are broomed off almost rounded, and again teeth heavily worn down.
Nyala.jpg


Diekie's father calls so we send him some photos of everything we've been shooting. He keys in on the Waterbuck saying that's his favorite. He's so old, full of character. We're also talking about how the underside of his groin is almost ripped entirely open with a 10" gash and full of puss. How he's got puncture wounds in his neck, side, and other ham, covered in scars, plus how his teeth are worn pretty much right to the gums. We hop in the truck head to town to grab some pig feed and enjoy a celebratory Pizza and try to prank Dawie, my co-worker and our fathers by getting them to cook some cardboard into the pizza under the cheese.
 
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24 - June Cont. After everyone is back to camp we take a long rest and Diekie and I decide to go after the warthog with the snare on it's snout. We head to the blind around 3:30. Around 4:30/5 the animals start piling in ostrick, eland, gemsbok (all pregnant cows and a younger bull), female warthog, nyala, young Kudu, wildebeest, blesbok, and a large group of impala come in. I'm waiting on the warthog, kinda spacing out after taking a bunch of pictures and watching for over an out, and Diekie says kill that Impala. I didn't even notice a good ram slipped into the waterhole right around sunset and send it.

Impala.jpg
 

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25 - June Last day for our group at Diekie Muller Hunting Safaris. Short breakfast, couple last minute pictures of all the animals we've killed then loading up in the truck and headed back to Afton Guest House to relax for a bit before a late flight (1/2 our party) and meet our next set of guides (other 1/2).

All Skulls.jpg


Can't say enough things about how good of a 1st African Hunting Experience it was. Diekie and Dawie were excellent, very knowledgeable of the area, flora, and fauna. We learned so much about Africa, the history and culture. My co-worker, his father, and my father got to see a couple local villages/schools and donate a truckload of meat. The camp itself and the entire staff are extremely welcoming and friendly. Great camp atmosphere and extremely family friendly. The dynamic of a father and son as the PH's together fit excellently our party as we were a group of fathers/sons and hunting over Father's Day. Food was amazing, Dawie grilled tenderloins every night over an open fire and we got to taste/enjoy almost everything we hunted/killed and then some we didn't like Eland.

Hunting itself was very different than the western spot and stalk, or stand deer hunting that I'm used to but was just as enjoyable. Never before have I hunted and seen the number of game animals we'd see daily or variety of species. Terrain wise Diekie's Hunting Ranch was extremely thick which made stalks and shots up close and personal. He had access to a variety of other properties and species to give anyone the ability to hunt what they want and how they want. Diekie himself was very knowlegeable, and professional. An excellent hunter and PH. While stalking on foot I found myself always learning, trying to walk as silent as him, and take in as much as I could. From showing me the difference in tracks, ways to tell an animals age, estimate size/score. Learned a little about farming (you can see the sheep pen in the background). Truly an amazing hunt and I'd recommend someone hunt with him, without any reservation.
 

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Congrats on the hunt and thanks for sharing!
 

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Congrats on your hunt, nice trophies !
 

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