SOUTH AFRICA: SS Pro Safaris

lcq

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I just returned from a successful hunt with Scott Van Zyl SS Pro Safaris. To say that this was the best hunt and experience of my life is an understatement. Scott runs a very professional operation and you are not treated as only a client but like family. Scott has his own farm but hunts multiple concessions depending on what you are looking for.

I arrived May 1 knackered after the trip from Montreal and was promptly met by my PH Marcel Van Heerden. I didn't use a permitting service (read bribery for SAP) and Marcel helped me through the process of collecting my gun. Five people sitting around looking important and doing little, TIA. After clearing the gun we set off on the 4hr trip to the farm and the F250 felt like a Rolls compared to the sardine can I just got off. We had some excellent biltong and snacks on the drive and we discussed my expectations for the hunt. Arriving at around 10pm I just went to bed, slept in a bit late then after breakfast we check sighted the rifle and made plans for the first day.

Marcel is a young PH but experienced and a very enthusiastic rifle and bowhunter and produced a shot placement guide before we set off (very professional). He suggested that we try for the bushbuck first but they would be very difficult to get during the day and are generally hunted at night. I have issues with night hunting so off we went trying to stalk the skittish little bushbuck. We saw two that morning but never got a shot through the thick stuff they inhabit so we decided to try and hunt them like whitetails from a blind in the afternoon. While waiting for the bushbuck a solitary and very large old zebra stallion came out of the brush. Marcel whispered he is a monster and take him if I got a shot. The remington barked, he reared and bolted into the brush. After about 25 yds of good blood trail there lay the beast. The 160gr remington A-Frame a complete passthrough. His teeth were extremely worn but the hide almost perfect, very unusual for an animal his age. Thank god for a winch and four helpers getting him into the truck.

That afternoon we went out to try another bushbuck stalk and were rewarded by being busted by the local grouse, crap. At about 5:00pm while crossing a field Marcel spotted a very good impala so we stalked within 175M and put the binos to him. Another solitary male with an enormous set of horns and a truly unique shape. It goes without saying I was going for it. At the shot he bolted for the brush and was gone. We called for the dog and Sokkie hit the ground running and within 5min had the impala. What a great start to my hunt.

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ICQ sounds like everything got started with at least two BANGS!
 
ICQ, looks like a great start to your hunt, awesome impala ... looking forward to the rest!
 
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Nice job! Spent three days hunting the little bushy a few weeks ago before scoring (see Avatar). Tough animals to hunt for sure.
 
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Monster Impala! Can't wait to here the rest of the story.
 
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"Knackered..." AH always expands my vocabulary:A Thumbs Up:

Wonderful impala! I have come to the opinion that every safari I take must include an impala and a kudu.

Great Report.:D Cheers:
 
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Impala was 25 3/8" , bushbuck 12.5 but large bodied and the wildebeest I just eyeballed but horns are way past the ears My PH will send me the measures. He says the impala and wildebeest will make Rowland Ward.

I took an afternoon to take part in a Kudu roundup and what an experience. Large tarps were setup and the kudu chased in with a helicopter. We pulled the tarps shut and the big ones were darted, small ones wrestled to the ground and carried out. I am very grateful Scott allowed me to witness and take a small part in the operation. This is Scott with one of the males, give him a few years and he will be a monster.

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"Knackered..." AH always expands my vocabulary:A Thumbs Up:

Wonderful impala! I have come to the opinion that every safari I take must include an impala and a kudu.

Great Report.:D Cheers:

There are some really big Kudu in Limpopo.
 
The next couple of days were devoted to scouring the brush for the elusive bushbuck. They are almost always located in the thick stuff where clear shots are rare and must be taken quickly. We were busted by grouse, impala, the go away bird (their blue jay), I'll bring a 22 next time and shoot them. We must have walked and crept 25km without getting a shot. Down by the river we could hear the hippo and Marcel said if one charges get to a tree he would be peppering the ground with the 9mm to distract it. No joy so we decided to setup a ground blind at another location but never got a shot. Next day we staked out a waterhole and out came a lone male at close to noon. Marcel took one look and said he is a real shooter. 12.5” horns but a bulky body and that dark leather like band around the neck the old ones get. The big 7 barked, he reared up and headed for the brush but piled up after 20 yds. I had decided to use 150 cor-lokt for bushbuck feeling the a-frames were not required, mistake. While he was deader than a door knob there was no exit wound and no blood, not good so I stuck with the A-Frames.

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I just returned from a successful hunt with Scott Van Zyl SS Pro Safaris. To say that this was the best hunt and experience of my life is an understatement. Scott runs a very professional operation and you are not treated as only a client but like family. Scott has his own farm but hunts multiple concessions depending on what you are looking for.

I arrived May 1 knackered after the trip from Montreal and was promptly met by my PH Marcel Van Heerden. I didn't use a permitting service (read bribery for SAP) and Marcel helped me through the process of collecting my gun. Five people sitting around looking important and doing little, TIA. After clearing the gun we set off on the 4hr trip to the farm and the F250 felt like a Rolls compared to the sardine can I just got off. We had some excellent biltong and snacks on the drive and we discussed my expectations for the hunt. Arriving at around 10pm I just went to bed, slept in a bit late then after breakfast we check sighted the rifle and made plans for the first day.

Marcel is a young PH but experienced and a very enthusiastic rifle and bowhunter and produced a shot placement guide before we set off (very professional). He suggested that we try for the bushbuck first but they would be very difficult to get during the day and are generally hunted at night. I have issues with night hunting so off we went trying to stalk the skittish little bushbuck. We saw two that morning but never got a shot through the thick stuff they inhabit so we decided to try and hunt them like whitetails from a blind in the afternoon. While waiting for the bushbuck a solitary and very large old zebra stallion came out of the brush. Marcel whispered he is a monster and take him if I got a shot. The remington barked, he reared and bolted into the brush. After about 25 yds of good blood trail there lay the beast. The 160gr remington A-Frame a complete passthrough. His teeth were extremely worn but the hide almost perfect, very unusual for an animal his age. Thank god for a winch and four helpers getting him into the truck.

That afternoon we went out to try another bushbuck stalk and were rewarded by being busted by the local grouse, crap. At about 5:00pm while crossing a field Marcel spotted a very good impala so we stalked within 175M and put the binos to him. Another solitary male with an enormous set of horns and a truly unique shape. It goes without saying I was going for it. At the shot he bolted for the brush and was gone. We called for the dog and Sokkie hit the ground running and within 5min had the impala. What a great start to my hunt.

View attachment 41759 View attachment 41760
Two great trophies and priceless memories.
 
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This concession has some large boars but they are not plentiful. During our hunts for other game we came across plenty of pigs but none had tusks large enough to be what I considered a shooter. I decided to try a ground blind by a water hole with the hope of getting a shootable pig. Cutting a nice hide in some brush we settled in and waited. Unfortunately the sun kept forcing us to move deeper and deeper into the brush to avoid getting cooked reducing our field of fire. It was hotter than the halls of hell with minimal breeze. My black Remington was getting uncomfortable to hold and we were sweating buckets. I was ready to call it Miller time when two sows and a piglet showed up. The largest was a real old girl with a healthy set of tusks so I waited for a clean shot. After an eternity of wallowing she finally gave me a steep quartering away shot and the 160gr a-frame dropped her like a sack of grain. Boy did we sweat for this one, literally. Note to self, paint that rifle.

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I agree that "knackered" just about covers my experience getting to South Africa. starting the day hunting bushbuck is a pretty good way to start your day ... nice animals and experiences all around.
 
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Congrats! Sorry about being away from AH, but I told you would have a hunt of a lifetime with Scott and SS Pro Safaris
 
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Congrats! Sorry about being away from AH, but I told you would have a hunt of a lifetime with Scott and SS Pro Safaris
you certainly did and were you ever right. thanks again.
 
On to the wildebeest. Marcel spotted a monster old bull that had been pushed from the herd and said we have to get this guy he is huge. So the stalk was on as we struggled to avoid being busted by impala, blesbuck, kudu and warthogs that were in the field for the evening graze. Every time we stalked within range and put up the sticks he would move off, not far just far enough to be behind brush. This dance was repeated till we lost the light. He didn't get that big by being stupid but Marcel called him arrogant and said we are going to get him. The next day he had moved off into the scrub at the base of the mountain. We started our slow decent through a small creek bed (snake and bushbuck territory) then started to climb up to where Marcel had spotted him. We spotted him through some brush at about 60yds but the same old dance from the previous day was repeated so no shot. The following evening we found the herd in the field again. This was going to be a very difficult stalk because we also had some hartebeest watching along with the rest of the gang, eyes everywhere. So we crawled, scooted on our arses, knees ducked behind every bit of cover we could find when Marcel said the bull is with the herd on the other side of that bush. I couldn't see a thing (typical) as we stalked single file to get into position. I was looking left and right to make sure we were not going to be busted by other animals when the arrogant old bull stepped out from behind a bush off to the side of us. Dropping slowly to the ground I got into a comfortable seated position and when he offered a broadside the big 7 barked. Marcel said put another round in him as he bolted off so I hit him with a very steep quartering shot, too far back. The bull ran about 50yds and piled up with the bullet showing under the skin on the opposite side, first shot was fatal, second insurance. His luck finally ran out.

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That impala of yours is just amazing, I saw some giants there too. They can be hard to hunt at times.
 
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This was the only bullet I recovered (wildebeest) the rest were through and through. Remington 160gr A-Frames now discontinued go figure. My disposable Rem 783 7mm mag worked like a charm the only down side it got scorching hot in the sun.

I can't say enough about my experience at SS Pro. My PH Marcel put me on some great animals and spent a great deal of time teaching me the finer points of tracking and hunting that region. He had a wicked sense of humor and was just fun to be around, like the rest of the crew at SS Pro. There is a lot of friendly competition between the PH's as to whose client will get the biggest trophy. Scotts brother Abel jokingly accused Marcel of allowing his client to shoot the Breeding Male Impala and cutting the tag out of his ear. The owner Scott is a great person and works very hard to make sure clients have the best possible hunting experience. I'm already planning to return just haven't told my wife yet.
 
That impala of yours is just amazing, I saw some giants there too. They can be hard to hunt at times.

The wildebeest is a brute as well, bigger than the one Scott has hanging in the bar and the zebra was huge. Three old males pushed from the herd and the warthog had teeth that were reduced to rivets. Can't get better than that.
 
It's been 6 years since I've been there, it's a fantastic property, run by a true hunter.
 
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It's been 6 years since I've been there, it's a fantastic property, run by a true hunter.

Scott loves to hunt, particularly leopard. I saw a video of a leopard charge, the shot broke with the cat touching the barrel. I don't hunt cats.
 

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