SOUTH AFRICA: Somerby Safaris 10 Animals & 10 Days

BeeMaa

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Hunt Report from South Africa with Somerby Safaris for BeeMaa and his Bride on a 10-day plains game hunt. I will limit this to the hunting aspect alone, because I could easily write a book on the accommodations, people, food and scenery at each location. For this I’ll stick to facts. Besides no one wants to hear about an airplane ride and security checks.

Kudu taken with Savage Lady Hunter in 270WIN shooting Swift 150 grain A-Frames with a Trijicon AccuPoint 4-16x50 30mm (was set on 8x for the entire trip). All other animals were taken with CZ550 375H&H shooting Swift 300 grain A-Frames with a Leupold VX3i 1.5-5x20.

The Professional Hunter for the trip was TJ and his tracker/skinner was Norman. They were present all the time, except when Norman was skinning while we were still out hunting. Our guide changed depending on the area we hunted in. They were the experts on the local terrain and where to find the game on the Nature Reserve or Game Farm.

27-30 May we have quota to hunt Blue Wildebeest, Oryx, Waterbuck and Kudu at Sandveld Nature Reserve. There were other animals on quota that we could have taken, but my wife and I decided to stick with our list, despite seeing several incredible Warthogs and one particularly amazing Impala ram.

27 May 2019
Hunting Area: Sandveld Nature Reserve (with Guide Kabah), Free State, South Africa.
We only hunted half the day due to travel. PH was determined to get at least one of the animals on our list for my birthday. We drove up on a mixed bag herd of Blue Wildebeest, Oryx, Tsessebe, Kudu and Impala. We stalked using trees and shrubs for cover while watching two large Blue Wildebeest bulls fight. Then from the left we hear the old bull that has been kicked out of the herd and TJ points him out. He’s looking almost directly at us 150 yards away, but I can see some of his left side. I settle into the scope and get final instructions from TJ. The shot breaks and hits the point of his front left shoulder, moving through his body to the right hip. We run and I follow up with a shot into the left ribs to the right shoulder from 100 yards (pass through) and he’s down. A finishing shot to the back of the spine completes my first harvest in Africa. Norman said the first bullet was lodged in his right hip bone, but he didn’t bother pulling it out.

full


28 May 2019
Hunting Area: Sandveld Nature Reserve (with Guide Kabah), Free State, South Africa.
It was morning when we made first contact with a herd of Oryx to our left. There was a good sized bull leading the herd. We chased in the Cruiser and then followed up on foot, but had no luck. They had our wind, the sun was in our eyes and they were faster on foot than we could drive in the Cruiser. Later in the afternoon we came upon another herd, unaware of our presence at a distance of about 500 yards. TJ, Kabah and I dismount for a stalk. We are able to close the distance to 160 yards when TJ steps from behind a bush and sets up the sticks on a monster bull Oryx facing dead away from us. I calm myself on the sticks as the bull turns with his head to the left, slightly quartering towards me. TJ gives the order to send it and the first shot breaks the front left shoulder and lodges just below the skin on the opposite side ribs. He runs to my left and away from us then falls. I reload and stay on him. As he starts to get up, I place a follow shot to the left ribs that stops just below the hide on the right shoulder. We cautiously approach and he’s still alive. TJ asks for a spine shot and I do so. The first two shots have the bullets recovered and they are perfect mushrooms.


29 May 2019
Hunting Area: Sandveld Nature Reserve (with Guide Kabah), Free State, South Africa.
It’s morning and we spot a beautiful Waterbuck in the brush. We all dismount and stalk. TJ is tracking him on the grass and sand, which is truly amazing to watch. TJ stops and looks to his left, the Waterbuck springs up and runs from our left to right at about 25 yards. I shoot a shoulder shot that drops him over onto his left side and quick follow up with a shot to the spine. Both shots are pass through, I’m guessing due to the close range. TJ is happy with the outcome and confident in my abilities. All the range time on the sticks and off-hand is paying off.


Later in the afternoon we have a chance at a Kudu that we’ve seen a few times, but has given us the slip until now. My bride worked the bolt and settled in on the sticks for a frontal shot as TJ whispers some final instructions. Click – the hammer falls on an empty chamber. Flustered, pissed and worried she had missed her only opportunity, she rushes her second attempt and misses low. I saw the shot hit the dirt. The bull spooks and runs. We track and there is no blood. My wife is clearly upset and I vow to get her a CRF .30 caliber rifle for our next safari.

30 May 2019
Hunting Area: Sandveld Nature Reserve (with Guide Kabah), Free State, South Africa.
We return in the morning to the same area we saw the Kudu in the previous afternoon. He’s there with several cows, and runs to the top of a hill 100 yards away as my wife (with a loaded rifle this time) is on top of the cruiser waiting for him to stop. As soon as he does, the shot breaks and the Kudu never takes another step. She took a neck shot and did it right. He flops down on his left side, kicks his back legs twice and it’s over. The bullet entered the left side, broke the neck and exited the top of the right side. I’ve never seen an animal drop like that in my life, and not one drop of blood. That’s my girl. It’s a beautiful bull and she could not be happier.


31 May 2019
Hunting Area: Koppie Dam Nature Reserve (with guide Max), Free State, South Africa.
This is a travel, hunt and travel even more day. We leave our previous lodge at 4am to arrive at Koppie Dam Nature Reserve at 7am. We have only a few hours to hunt because it is a holiday and everyone will be leaving at 2pm. We are looking for Eland, Red Hartebeest and if time permits Blesbuck. We complete the necessary paperwork with a test fire of my rifle and we are off hunting by 7:30am. TJ is very familiar with this property and just before 8am spots three old Eland bulls right where he expects to see them. I take a full broadside shot at the one in the middle at a range of 100 yards and put it directly on the right shoulder. The bull stumbles and I follow up with another shot as he runs away to his left side. The bull drops and we finish with a heart shot on the left side. By the time pictures are done, the Koppie staff are there to pick up the Eland. We press on for Red Hartebeest.


We find a huge herd of about 150 Red Hartebeest with a mature bull at the lead. We slow then stop the truck. I have a quartering away shot on his right side at 200 yards. The shot breaks just as he moves, it becomes a “Texas heart shot” into the right hip/spine and paralyzing his back legs. We start the truck, drive up and I take an off-hand shot into the left ribs toward the right shoulder and he’s done. We radio the location of the animal to have it picked up and continue on for Blesbuck.


The Blesbuck are wary animals. TJ and I spend a long time identifying a mature ram and agreeing that we are both looking at the same one. It's another 200 yard quartering away shot. It enters just in front of the back right leg and exits the front left shoulder. It drops immediately. As we drive up, it springs to life catching me off guard, with my scope dialed up to 5x. I shoot off-hand down through the top of the left side of the torso, the bullet exiting the opposite shoulder. I look at my watch as we finish pictures, it’s 10 o’clock and I can’t believe I have three animals in the salt in a single day, let alone just a few hours. We return to skinning shed with the Blesbuck and one of the guys hands me two more recovered bullets from the Eland. Both are perfect mushroom shaped killing machines. We load the trophies and skins to travel on to our next lodge.


1 Jun 2019
Hunting Area: Tilodi Game Reserve, Limpopo, South Africa.
This was a combination travel day and let my wife fulfill a lifetime dream of petting lion cubs day. We visited Ukutula Lodge and Conservation Center (aka Lion Sanctuary) for a few hours then drove to our final lodge in Limpopo Provence called Tilodi Game Reserve. TJ was the manager of this property prior to becoming a PH, so a guide was not necessary. We scouted that afternoon and evening seeing several animals, but these are not the open plains of the last two hunting areas. This is the bushveld and it’s thick. Line of sight from the side of the Cruiser less than 10-15 yards in many places. Buffalo are everywhere, giving me second thoughts about stalking too far from the relative protection of the truck.

2 Jun 2019
Hunting Area: Tilodi Game Reserve, Limpopo, South Africa.
We are on the hunt for Nyala, which are proving to be elusive, but the manager here (Louie) has said that there is a nice bull showing up around the lodge in the afternoons. His words do little to help our luck away from the lodge with Nyala. However Norman our tracker spots Zebra in the road ahead about 500 yards away. We slowly drive up to 250 yards and TJ asks if I can make the shot, I’m not completely happy with it, but I could probably do it. The Zebra make the decision for me and disappear into the bush to the left. We drive past where we saw them and parallel to them trotting in the bush. TJ pulls onto a road in front of their path and I set up to wait for them crossing the road. There they are, 150 yards out with a beautiful black with white striped one at the right side of the road. TJ and I have a quick word to confirm that we are looking at the same animal and I shoot a broadside/slight quartering toward me shot. The rifle barks and the Zebra drops the back legs down, then kicks them up and runs into the bush. Norman gets down, sees a bit of rumen on the grass near the road and points to his gut – meaning I may have gut shot this extremely tough animal. My heart drops. 10 yards into the bush it is apparent that I hit both lungs and maybe just a touch of the rumen. There is blood on trees and bushes 5 yards away from the path it ran. Total distance was about 100 yards, even with both lungs blown out. My shot was about 3 inches behind the “triangle” on the right shoulder, which ended up about 12 inches behind the “triangle” on the opposite shoulder. This was my only “one shot kill” of the trip. The Zebra has only a few shadow stripes and has stripes right down to the hoof. TJ and I both comment that this one looks more like a Hartman than a Burchells.


After dropping Norman and the Zebra off at the skinning shed, we continue to look for Nyala into the darkness with no sightings.

3 Jun 2019
Hunting Area: Tilodi Game Reserve, Limpopo, South Africa.
Hunting Area: Meletsi Game Reserve (Guide name unknown), Limpopo, South Africa.
This is to be a day for my bride to go hunt Sable on a nearby property, but she’s taken a spill re-injuring her back and unable to tolerate even the road conditions to the property. She agrees, with tears in her eyes, to let me harvest the Sable. TJ grabs his dog (not exactly a hunting dog) and we pick up Norman. A couple of minutes after picking up Norman the dog gets sick, motion sickness which the dog has suffered from since we picked him up. TJ asks is it’s OK to drop him back off at the lodge before we leave. I don’t want the dog to be miserable or the Cruiser a mess, so we head back. As we pull into the Tilodi Lodge, the Nyala that the manager has been talking about is strolling through camp. TJ and I look at each other in disbelief and quickly get on the sticks to take what Africa is giving us. I shoot at 75 yards broadside through both lungs and it runs to a low bush. I couldn’t tell you exactly where the second shot went, I was listening to TJ and I shot to an area he said the animal was in. It was another hit and the Nyala is on the way to the skinning shed with Norman.


TJ and I head out to a nearby ranch called Meletsi Game Reserve for Sable, the last of our safari animals. We arrive about 40 minutes later and at least an hour later than we had planned. As we drive on the property we see several shooter Sable, but the guide we have says there are bigger ones to be had on the other side of the property. There is one monster bull that we are NOT allowed to shoot that is the breeding bull who had a distinctive flare at the top of his 45 inch + horns. We did run into this bull and he was indeed impressive, but I don’t make that kind of money to afford the extra few inches of horn that almost no one will ever notice. We come up on a 42/43 inch bull laying down and resting near a watering hole less than 50 yards away. TJ asks what am I waiting for…an invitation? He’s quartering away pretty badly, but I take a shot at the right side ribs toward the left side shoulder. He starts to get up, but by then I’ve reloaded and shoot again off-hand to the high right shoulder. He’s anchored and I take a finishing shot to the heart from the left side. No bullets are recovered, all passed through and our safari animal list is complete with a beautiful Sable.


We spent a few more days at the Tilodi Game Reserve, driving around and looking at the Buffalo I want to take on our next trip. We also had a little celebration for taking 10 animals in 8 days, and some of those were half days for travel reasons. It was nice to relax a bit. Our next safari, we will arrange for a little more down time.

What have my wife and learned from our safari? (Condensed version)
Trust your PH and listen to him…you are paying for his council, use it.
Be patient but take what Africa gives you…I should have taken that Impala.
Stop and smell the roses…we planned too many animals for a first safari.
Everything in Africa has horns, thorns or teeth, be prepared or suffer in silence.
Don’t over think it, keep it simple…we over packed by a good bit.
10-day safari is a minimum for us, we couldn’t imagine only being in country for 7 days.
Don’t buy a rifle for your wife…that you wouldn’t buy for yourself.
We can’t wait to go back.

Hope you enjoyed the report.
 
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Shootist43

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BeeMaa, you guys took lots of critters in a short time i.e. 10/10. I have been led to believe that the Savage Lady Hunter was an excellent choice for women. Why do you think otherwise?
 

BeeMaa

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BeeMaa, you guys took lots of critters in a short time i.e. 10/10. I have been led to believe that the Savage Lady Hunter was an excellent choice for women. Why do you think otherwise?
The Savage Lady Hunter in 270WIN is an excellent rifle for my wife and she loves it.
My problem with it was it failed to pick up a fresh cartridge from the magazine on more than one occasion.
This could be an issue with the action or just the magazine...regardless, I also don't like push-feed actions or detachable magazines.
She's ready to upgrade to a 300WM, maybe a Legendary Arms Professional II with a custom stock...but I'm not sure yet.
 

cagkt3

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Congrats on a great hunt! My wife also shoots a Lady Hunter in 270 and loves it. Never had an issue picking up a round from the mag though.
 

cpr0312

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Wow! Looks like a great time! Congrats and thanks for sharing!
 

Nyati

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Congrats, great hunt !

I knew a PH called TJ in the Northern Cape.
 

BeeMaa

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Congrats on a great hunt! My wife also shoots a Lady Hunter in 270 and loves it. Never had an issue picking up a round from the mag though.
It failed to pick up a round for her two separate times and three more times for me.
Testing it back at the lodge and it works fine, then the following day it does it again.
I asked my wife to work the bolt hard and we didn't have any further issues, but she only chambered a round once or twice after that.
Maybe she was short stroking the bolt, but I know I wasn't.

How many rounds do you (or your wife) load in the magazine?
We were loading 4, and it's supposed to hold 4...not sure if I only loaded 3 if it would change the outcome.
 

Sand Rat

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Congrats on a great safari! My wife shoots a Savage Lady Hunter in 7-08. Never had any feed issues, maybe due to the short action? She’s quite deadly with it.......
 

cagkt3

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It failed to pick up a round for her two separate times and three more times for me.
Testing it back at the lodge and it works fine, then the following day it does it again.
I asked my wife to work the bolt hard and we didn't have any further issues, but she only chambered a round once or twice after that.
Maybe she was short stroking the bolt, but I know I wasn't.

How many rounds do you (or your wife) load in the magazine?
We were loading 4, and it's supposed to hold 4...not sure if I only loaded 3 if it would change the outcome.
Always had 4 in there from what I remember
 

BeeMaa

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The Lady Hunter is a great rifle, I'm just frustrated with it.
Murphy's Law - It never happened at the range, only when it counted.
If the damn thing wasn't so accurate, the decision would be easy.
After all, she was able to take a neck shot at 100 yards with confidence and dropped that Kudu like nothing I've ever seen.
 

flatwater bill

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Congrats..............some very nice trophies there.........thanks for the excellent report...............FWB
 

gesch

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What a great hunt. Thanks for sharing.
 

CAustin

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Looks like you guys had a great hunt. Congrats
 

jeff

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Great hunt !! thanks for the report. I'm heading to the Free State in Sep.
 

BeeMaa

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Great hunt !! thanks for the report. I'm heading to the Free State in Sep.
One thing I really liked about the area we hunted in Free State was the variety of terrain.
Open plains, dense bushveld, rocky hills and grassy lowlands.

Enjoy your hunt and let us know how it goes.
 

sierraone

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Great hunt....Congratulations!
 

gillettehunter

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Some nice trophies. Congrats on a great trip.
Bruce
 

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What a grand first Africa adventure! You had it planned well! All excellent trophies! So sorry the little lady didn’t get to take that beautiful sable! Next time!
I hate rifle issues on a hunt. It can be very frustrating. That said, it can happen to any brand, model or type.
Glad you two got your first trip behind you. Now, when are you returning?:D:LOL::ROFLMAO::rolleyes:
 

cls

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Congrats on a very successful safari, thanks for the report.
 

BeeMaa

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What a grand first Africa adventure! You had it planned well! All excellent trophies! So sorry the little lady didn’t get to take that beautiful sable! Next time!
I hate rifle issues on a hunt. It can be very frustrating. That said, it can happen to any brand, model or type.
Glad you two got your first trip behind you. Now, when are you returning?:D:LOL::ROFLMAO::rolleyes:
We are already talking about it.
As a matter of fact we were discussing it with our PH before we even left.
Looking at 2022 for Buffalo and a-la-carte with a little more relaxing time/sight seeing stuff.
Wife should be up on the 300WM by then with no problem. (y)
 

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