SOUTH AFRICA: Ten Days In June With KMG Hunting Safaris In The Eastern Cape

JOHN GRENZ

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This hunt was booked in 2019 for May of 2020. Was booked with Delta and planned on taking my own firearm. Being then booked with United through Newark decided to leave gun home and use PH’s rifle.
Left South Dakota early on June 5th for Chicago, then Newark for one of the first nonstop flights to Johannesburg. Was a bit of a cluster at the gate in Newark. They started checking peoples COVID paperwork and we were third in line for that. As we got to the counter they announced a change of gates a long way from the one we were at. Got to that gate and had ours approved, but most people just got to the gate and found a place to sit and wait for the flight time. There never was an announcement that they had to get their papers checked. Word of mouth was the only way people found out they needed to present them to the two guys checking for results of PCR tests. One poor guy was not allowed on the flight because of the 72 hour requirement.
Flight was close to fully booked. Sat on the tarmac for close to two hours before takeoff. Uneventful flight. I think some of the food may have been carried over from early 2020. Not very tasty. Landed and was kind of strange walking through a mostly empty airport. Stayed at the City Lodge and caught the East London flight the next morning. Met by Marius outside the front doors. No one allowed inside but travelers. When we got to the lodge we had some lunch and then Marius wanted to check some camera‘s so we took the rough, steep, and scenic drive down towards the river. Seen an assortment of animals on the drive, and it was dark before we got back to the lodge. In the headlights on the trail out was a very nice kudu bull, and an outstanding bushbuck. More about the bushbuck later.

Day one of the hunt.
Met Nick our PH for the next 10 days at breakfast, and after a quick trip to the range shooting his 308 we left camp for bushbuck and nyala. Both of these animals were for the old lady. From now on I’ll refer to her as Lucy because that’s her name. We went to some property’s close by that all were working farms that were low fenced. Seen a lot more bushbuck the next couple of days then I expected to see. Nick would glass them with his binos or spotting scope, judge them, give us the horn and age estimates and then say “we can do better”

Day two started as a nyala hunt and good one was spotted so Nick, tracker Temba, and Lucy went after him. He spotted them and stepped into the bush. Later in the morning a group of 6 nyala bulls were spotted, stalked. Nick said three were good bulls but “we can day better”

Day three is my day. Sable day. Being I only have one finger that still knows how to type I’m gonna break for a bit. Don’t wanna cramp up.
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Trogon

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Beautiful Sable! Looking forward to your story on this hunt. Congrats!
 

meigsbucks

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Hell of a sable. Congratulations. I look forward to hour account of the rest of the hunt.
 

JOHN GRENZ

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My son and I were on a 2014 hunt to Cruiser Safaris in Limpopo was when I saw my first sable. Pieter the owner had a sable breeding business with a lot of animals. Wanted one ever since. While not as hard to hunt as some animals this one was a challenge. Here’s a photo of the guys having the bull on a kind of sled or skid bringing him down the hill. Wish we could have put him on a scale. Teeth worn down to the gums.
Started out from the lodge for about an hour and a half drive to the concession. after glassing for some time we found this guy up on a hill where he could look down on all side. 430 yards away. We watched him and he watched us. After about an hour of this we tried to find a way to close the gap. At about 150 yards I had a chance where he was 95% clear quartering away. I was on and sure of my shot but that 5% not clear brush got me. He went up and over the top. I was sure he’d be piled up just out of sight. I was wrong and we found out later I’d missed clean. After a couple hours of cat and mouse with him and only seeing parts of him. He finally moved across an opening at about 150 or so at a walk. I hit him on the shoulder and he dropped, but he popped back up immediately and I gave him another. He backed up a couple steps and went down for good. Heres what they slid him down with. Boots the young dog in training who liked to pose for the camera giving it a try.
Horn length was 43 3/4” for those who think size matters.
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cpr0312

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Nice start to the report and great sable! Looking forward to more!
 

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One fine fine sable! You started your adventure with, to me, the most handsome of the plains game. Congratulations! Looking forward to the rest of it.
 

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Thank you for your report. I am enjoying your style of writing.
 

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Great bull and I am enjoying the photos too!
 

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@JOHN GRENZ, noticed you are from South Dakota. I visit your state almost every year, and hunt around Winner, in Tripp County. Beautiful country.
 

JOHN GRENZ

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@JOHN GRENZ, noticed you are from South Dakota. I visit your state almost every year, and hunt around Winner, in Tripp County. Beautiful country.
Lifelong SoDak resident. Pheasant capital of the world. Winner is near the top for bird numbers every year. My farm is about 175 miles north of Winner close to the North Dakota border. We have good numbers of pheasant although the winters can take their toll. I can’t plant corn for my food plots because as the plant emerges the birds go down the row pulling out the plant to eat the kernel attached to the root. We are mostly interested in hunting whitetails.
 

JOHN GRENZ

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Day 3 continued. After we got the sable taken care of we left the Cathcart area and continued on to the Stormberg Mtns. We stayed at the farm of Armand and Lorraine who are as nice a folks as you’ll ever meet. Here in the Stormbergs I was hoping for a Vaalie, mtn reedbuck, and a lechwe. Armand has done a lot of PHing in the Limpopo and Karoo over the years and he knows his home area very well. He mentioned that his son will be the 8th generation on their farm.
With not much daylight left Armand said he knew where some good lechwe would likely be. Let’s go! When we got there it was dark enough that the animals think we can’t see them and we’re less wary. At least it seemed that way to me. PH Nick Neuper has one of those new fangled scopes that he can dial in a range for a dead on hold. He dialed in 370 yards. He had his Leica spotting scope set up and watching. The shot was quartering away and we heard a loud plop of a hit. The lechwe was slowly walking away and wobbling. Nick ranged him at 390 dialed the scope and got back on the spotter. Facing straight away I took the shot and a broken neck dropped him. I’m not that good but I seem to get lucky once in awhile when I’m hunting in that country. I’ll take it.
Nick kept his spotter set up on the spot the lechwe dropped in some fairly tall yellow grass. Armand sent his tracker out to find him but he was always to far right. Armand walked out there and with it fully dark now he turned the light on his phone on and Nick having not touched his spotting scope could direct his light to the animal. Whew! We got the truck and in a round about way got close to where the lechwe fell. A long but eventful day!
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Randy F

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Well You had one heck of a great day! Congratulations!
 

Nyati

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Sable and Red Lechwe so far, good...keep it coming :A Popcorn:
 

Ridgewalker

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I’m not that good but I seem to get lucky once in awhile when I’m hunting in that country. I’ll take it.
Too funny! I’d take luck any day to skill myself!
Another fine trophy! Never hunted lechwe, but that one might change my want list!
 

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Two dandy trophies in the salt - well done!! That sable made my heart skip a beat.
 

JOHN GRENZ

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Day four. Also known as Vaal rhebok are one of the easiest animals to hunt. You start off doing a lot of glassing until your PH/landowner spots a ram and his ewes a long ways out in a well grazed sheep pasture. There should be a shallow gully below the face of a very small stock dam. Crawl up the face of the dam, maybe 5-6’. Peek over the top and at 140 yards will be a couple females grazing beside a sleeping ram. There should be a small bush maybe 3’ high that covers the back half of his body. His head was laid out on the ground with horns laid out to the side =
PH Nick gave 3 options, wait for him to wake up and stand, make noise and get him to stand up, or take him sleeping. I could see the first option taking a long time. The second option could easily go sideways. I’ll try the sleeping shot. It worked just great. Of the five animals I took this was the closest other then a caracal treed by hounds. Vaalies are easy in my limited experience.
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After taking care of this guy we started looking for a mtn reedbuck. After seeing several animals that wanted to be someplace else we spotted a small group bedded almost on the top of a hill. Nick and Armand didn’t think we could get closer without spooking them. 349 ranged yards with a strong cross wind that Nick estimated at 6 meters per second, whatever that means. I guessed about 25 mph. Nick checked his phone scope dialing info. Turned the dials on his scope and said that should do it. Color me doubtful. Got steady with the bipod while my 2 PH’s starting whooping and hollering to get the ram to stand. After his girl friends all stood up he did too. Held the crosshairs on his chest, slowly squeezed the trigger and he went down hard with a broken neck. I’m still counting it as a good shot. Not as easy as Vaal rhebok hunting but not bad.
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We weren’t done yet. Lucy wanted a springbok. We found a group in a pasture that had two males but they would not stop running. One was trying to get to the girls and the other kept trying to run him off. The ewes just watched the show. Lucy is very new to shooting and hunting not having taken any animal ever until after she applied for Medicare. Not saying her age but explaining that it takes some time for her to find an animal in the scope and squeeze the trigger. Especially with Nick being tall, long necked, and long armed. His scope was as far forward as his rings would allow. Being Lucy and I are both shorter armed and necked we both had trouble at times getting good sight picture. After a couple misses the big guy ran off his competition and Lucy had good chance at about 100 yards. The ram ran over a ridge and went down. She was worried because he dropped out of sight. Found him right away and Lucy was posing with her ram.
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It was a good day! We took care of the animals and Nick wanted to back to the lodge so we could harass bushbuck the next morning.
 

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What a day on the mountain! Congrats on the Rhebok and Mtn Reedbuck! Also nice lechwe the prior day!
 

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