SOUTH AFRICA: Tootabi Hunting Safaris Ugly Hunting Report

billc

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Very good hunt report Bill. Lammie knows the animal and how that will act very well. Plus it seems he has loodt trade now for flushing game which is good to know. I know a few valleys I want to make loodt crawl through next trip. (y):whistle:;)
 

brushmore

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I can't wait to see that place! I was talking about it with Loodt today.

My wife has actually agreed to go there, even knowing that she won't have access to a hair dryer. That's a big step for her! Of course I don't know that she realizes there is no Internet. :A Banana Sad:

My daughter said that if her mother was there she would have stepped in the door, looked around, and left. :)

It was actually pretty nice. Here's a few pictures of the place.

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camp_5.jpg
 

Warbird782

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Of the thousands of photos I took, I did not take any of the old colonial home... aka Kudu Camp.
 

brushmore

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Day 3: The Hartebeest


After Lammie cooked us a great breakfast it was back the Tootabi main lodge. Along the way we stopped at the Daniell Cheetah Project near Kirkwood. This is a place where you get to see most of the African cats and the highlight is where you can pet a cheetah! This was a huge hit with my daughter. I think all of her classmates who were upset with her about the impala forgot all about it when they saw this:


cheetah.jpg



We made it back to the main lodge for lunch. Loodt’s father was giving Lammie and I a gentle ribbing for not seeing any hartebeest the day before. He even offered to hang a rope from the tree where he last saw them for us! Sarah stayed behind for this hunt and Stephen, one of Loodt’s other PH’s, joined Lammie, Attie, and I. We headed off to a new place on the farm where Loodt’s family raises cape buffalo for future Tootabi buffalo hunts. Before we went in Lammie loaded up his .30-06 letting me know he wasn’t going to shoot at my animal, he just wanted it ready in case he needed to persuade a buffalo from giving us the horns. Looking back I kind of think he was just trying to build the excitement for the hunt but I can tell you it certainly worked!


After driving through the gate we saw two male red hartebeest right by the road! Lammie drifted the bakkie past them so our exit was covered. I thought that this was going to be an easy hunt. But something I learned is that hartebeest have keen senses. We didn’t make it far before one of them let out a loud snort and they were gone. Now we started our stalk. There was plenty of rain the night before so the ground was soft and footprints were easy to spot. But this was offset because the bush we were in was incredibly thick. A few times we got close enough to hear the warning snort but only got split second views.


I also noticed the buffalo spoor. Attie said some of it was fresh which prompted Lammie to remind me to be on my guard. This was really getting exciting! My goal someday is to do a buffalo hunt and this felt like it was maybe a practice run for that day.


At one point I was following Lammie around a bush when he immediately stopped in his tracks. In front of him was the biggest spider web with the biggest black and yellow spider I have seen in my life! I learned yet another reason why PH’s carry shooting sticks because they make great tools for clearing out the webs. Sorry no picture, I didn’t get a chance before Lammie dispatched the spider’s web with extreme prejudice.


After what seemed like most of the afternoon we lost the tracks. We continued on in the direction we last saw the hartebeest heading. We ended up in a clearing at the top of a hill with a spectacular view. I couldn’t help but be surprised that even though I knew we were in a fenced in area and I couldn’t see a trace of a fence anywhere. Stephen spotted the hartebeest moving below us but the problem was where they headed was so thick and steep there was no way to follow them.


We got back in the bakkie and continued down the road. This is where I got my first view of a real life cape buffalo. They were off in the distance on the next hill. Right after that I just happen to spot some brown in the brush across a ravine to our left. I was pointing it out to Lammie when he said, “Look, a nyala.” I knew it was a hartebeest but before I could come up with a diplomatic was to correct him he figured it out it wasn’t a nyala but our hartebeests!


We quickly got out of the bakkie and setup on the sticks. Before I got on the sticks I just had mere seconds to realize that I was only going to have one small window of opportunity as the big hartebeest passed a small opening. The shot ended up being 150 yards away. Without wasting anytime I took the shot and the red hartebeest dropped as if Thor himself struck it. After several congratulatory hand shakes for my snapshooting I heard the hartebeest roll down the hill crashing through the brush. Then we heard very loud snorts. Shortly after that we realized it was not down yet and still moving. Lammie told me to shoot again but all I could aim at through the brush was brown. I hit it again and we waited to see what it would do. The next thing I know it comes out of the brush just crawling along just using its front legs. It reminded me of the terminator and just wasn’t going to quit. One final shot to the shoulder ended the fight instantly. My first shot hit the spine and the second follow up shot was through the gut. This was one tough animal.


Now the problem was that the brush was very thick. How do we get to it? Attie managed to find a way through and confirmed it was down for good. I was so excited to get a closer look that I ran through the brush and up the hill like a madman with Stephen in tow. Lammie tried to follow but got stuck and said some loud words in Afrikaans. I can only assumed it was laced with profanity. So he decided to go back to the skinning shed to get help to carry out my prize.


Once I saw the red hartebeest up close I realized it was much bigger than I thought. While waiting for Lammie to return we took some pictures.


hartebeest.jpg



Lammie returned with help to carry the hartebeest across the ravine. As we drove back to the skinning shed Lammie complemented me on my shooting abilities. Hearing this from an experienced PH was probably one of the best compliments I received in my life! I guess the basement BB gun range paid off! Even though this was my last animal on my list Lammie reassured me the hunting was not over just yet! So stayed tuned!
 

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Awesome hunt! looking forward to the rest of it!
 

Warbird782

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I have had no interest at all in hunting either wildebeest or hartebeest. They just do not have the pizzaz that the spiral horns do although they are as much apart of Africa as the spirals. This hunt report may have changed my mind. Especially the hartebeest. Look at that picture! I might have to have an ugly but beautiful wall with blue and black wildebeest, red hartebeest, and warthog euros.
 

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I have had no interest at all in hunting either wildebeest or hartebeest. They just do not have the pizzaz that the spiral horns do although they are as much apart of Africa as the spirals. This hunt report may have changed my mind. Especially the hartebeest. Look at that picture! I might have to have an ugly but beautiful wall with blue and black wildebeest, red hartebeest, and warthog euros.
Go for it Warbird I think they would look great hanging all together.
 

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Day 4: Schools and Warthogs


With all of the animals on my list done, now Sarah and I had some time to do some other things on our list. One thing I really wanted to do was to get a close up view of the cape buffalo on Loodt’s family farm. Loodt’s father fed and checked on them every morning so we tagged along with him. However the herd was very skittish which was probably because of the gunfire from the previous day on my hartebeest hunt. They saw the bakkies and refused to come down into the open. But even at a distance I could see the bull and he looked massive.


That morning we went into town to visit some of the local schools. We brought over school supplies, clothing, and the big favorite, candy, for the children. Loodt has begun working to help improve these schools and give the children some hope in life. We heard about his efforts and wanted to help. I had seen pictures but nothing quite prepared me for this. This was an eye opening experience for Sarah and I. With out question, we plan on supporting Loodt in his future endeavors.

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So even though I had finished my hunting package my hunt wasn’t over. At lunch Loodt’s parents told me that they needed some meat for the staff and if I wanted I could cull some warthogs for them. I felt honored. I was also keen on taking a baboon if the opportunity came. By this time the weather turned cold and rainy. Lammie was also very sick with a cold. But I really could tell how Lammie enjoyed his job. Despite all of this he put the same effort and enthusiasm in this hunt as he did all of the others we did.


We didn’t have high expectations because of the weather and figured all of the warthogs would probably be in their holes with the cold weather. However, it didn’t take long before we saw some perfect eating size hogs in the tall grass. We made our stalk and set up on the sticks 75 yards away. Since this was a cull hunt for meat, headshots were preferred. But warthogs have a habit that made this easy. They like to take breaks from their feeding to pop their heads up to have a look around. So I just waited for that to happen and boom, a pig for the pot. Our quota was two so we pressed on but no more luck on warthogs but I saw some beautiful gemsbok and a real nice bull kudu. The kudu is definitely on the list for the next trip!


Day 5: The last warthog and Scotia


We tried again before breakfast to see the buffalo but they were still in hiding. I figured I would have to settle for the view from a distance from the day before.


That morning was another cull warthog hunt. Again it was cold and raining. On our first stalk, way off in a distance, at least 600 yards away we could see a troop (or is that a congress?) of baboons headed for the cover. I learned just how good there vision is because they spotted our movement way before we spotted them. I may have had shot with a 60mm mortar but with my .308 and 180gr bullets it wasn’t going to happen.


At one point we crested a hill to get to a better vantage point. While were glassing the area and what walks in front of us but a warthog! The sticks went up, the gun goes up, and the pig goes down.


warthog.jpg



That afternoon we had scheduled a game drive at the Schotia game reserve. We were concerned it would be canceled because of the weather but we were assured it was warm and sunny there so not to worry. Well that was only half true because it rained on and off. Now I can say I felt the rain down in Africa, and it was really cold! But nonetheless, the experience we had at Schotia was fantastic! If you are in the Eastern Cape you have to visit this place. Ask for a ranger named Gregg. First he’s fellow hunter and always got us the best views of animals. While the other vehicles were scooting off trying to find a sighting he’d park us at prime spot letting the animals come to us. Being surrounded by a family of elephants was most certainly the high point but the young male lion eying up Lammie for a potential meal was a close second. Another highlight was the brown hyena that wasn’t even supposed to be there. I had never even knew such a thing existed!

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That’s it for the hunting part of my report but I do have one more installment that will show why Tootabi is such a great place to stay.
 

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Congrats for a great hunt, you sure did enjoy it !
 

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Day 6: Family Outing


On our last full day in Africa we headed to the lodge for breakfast. We were talking with Loodt when he got cell phone call. It was his father, the buffalo were out this morning! I guess they finally calmed down from the hartebeest hunt. We hurried down with hopes catching a glimpse. We got there just in time. Seeing these animals up close only confirmed what I was already thinking, I must do a buffalo hunt some day!


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At this point with just one day left we had accomplished all that we wanted, and then some on our Safari. Loodt suggested that Sarah and I come along with him and his father to a local game auction. Surprisingly, my daughter was very excited at the prospect of going to the auction and really enjoyed it. I even think she dreaming about a career in the safari industry now! We first started off with a visit to a boma on the famous Shamwari game reserve.


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The boma was located near an animal hospital for the reserve. Loodt has many connections and seems to know everyone in the area. So he was able to take us around for a mini tour. A couple highlights were black rino that was recuperating with her baby and a newborn bleesbok.


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Loodt took a few notes on some animals he might be interested in the boma (he needed some hartebeest, I wonder why?) and it was off to the auction. This auction seemed to be a big deal in the community with many local families in attendance. It reminded me of the farm shows my grandparents took me to as a kid. The only thing missing was the funnel cakes. But they did have some great burgers! For me it was an eye opening experience of the game industry in South Africa. I still can’t believe what some of those color variations went for!


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On the way back to the lodge we once again got to take advantage of Loodt’s extensive network and got to see some white lions.


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Loodt’s father suggested we take the long way home through the Shamwari game reserve and had a fun little mini game drive. As the sun was setting, it was a great way to end a fantastic Safari. The whole day it didn’t feel as if we were Loodt’s clients driving us around but as if we were just part of the family on an outing.



The next morning at the lodge greeted us with this beautiful sunrise.


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We couldn’t have asked for a more picturesque ending to such a wonderful trip.
 

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What a great hunt report @brushmore

Thanks for your time compiling this great report, it must have taken lots of your time for sure.

Talk soon.
 

enysse

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Congrats, thanks for the great write up. I really think the red hartebeest is one of the prettiest animals in Africa. I admire when a nice one is taken.
 

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