SOUTH AFRICA: Two Weeks With Motshwere Safaris & Outfitters

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by chonk34, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    I should have kept a better journal of the hunt, but I have been piecing together my memories with the pictures and Facebook posts to build the timeline of our hunt. I think I have been pretty accurate as far as dates and event sequencing, but I could be off on some events by as much as a day or a half-day. The actual experiences, though, are described as accurately as I can manage.

    Day 6 of 13

    On the evening prior my dad had spotted some Aoudad / Barbary Sheep running around, and immediately had the PH call back for pricing on them. We have been talking about hunting sheep in Eastern Europe or Asia in the future, so that horn profile has been on his mind. They are native to northern Africa, but apparently are only huntable as introduced species elsewhere. After dinner he and Werner worked out a deal, trading out a couple of animals from my dad’s plains game package for a sheep. We spent the morning of Day 6 trying to scare them up, and even tried a game drive with beaters in the brush. It was a lot of fun to see the stampede of different animals coming out of the brush, with Gemsbok, Zebra, Springbok, Impala, Blue and Black Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, and Warthogs all running well ahead of the beaters. We also got to spend some time looking at some Lilac-breasted rollers, one of the most vibrant birds I have ever seen. The beaters were able to scare the Aoudad Sheep up during the drive, but they were much wilier than the other animals. All of the other herds ran straight out of the brush several minutes ahead of the beaters, while the Sheep stayed right in front of them and broke out of the brush to the side. The only decent look my dad had at them was as they ran across a road, and he couldn’t take the shot because the beaters were in his backdrop. We scared them up one other time, and weren’t able to get a good look at them. One of the other guys in camp got wind that my dad was trying for an Aoudad, so he wrangled a deal with Werner to try for one also.

    In the afternoon we hunted a different piece of land for whatever might pop up, but didn’t see anything until late in the day when we found a big herd of Blue Wildebeest. My dad’s uncle was up for one of them, but we lost the light and the brush was too dense to get a good feel for gender or quality. Another highlight of the evening was seeing an Aardvark out and about as we headed back into camp.

    Once we got to the lodge, we heard that the other hunter had shot his Aoudad Sheep during the afternoon, but after putting two shots in it and setting it up for pictures it had revived and run off. The radio traffic on that one was apparently pretty funny, as no one could understand what was going on and finally a tracker got on the radio and said, “They were petting it, and it ran away!” They had tried to track it all evening with no success, so the mood at dinner was kind of subdued. You don’t like to sit down for the evening knowing that there’s a wounded animal out there.

    Even though we didn’t take any trophies on this day, the hunting experience and being able to spot so many types of wildlife made it one of the better days of the trip.
     
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  2. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    Day 7 of 13

    I think this was the day that we switched PH’s. It might have been on Day 6, but it was right in the middle of our hunt. This is one thing that the staff were pretty evasive about. My impression was that you stayed with the same PH throughout your hunt, but during the second week of our hunt we spent time with several different PH/Tracker combinations. One part of it was that it looked like our original PH may have been promoted to some kind of management position to help Werner. The other part seemed to be that some of the other hunting parties went home, and they were replaced by a large family of hunters who seemed to require some babysitting. One thing about discount hunting packages is that they attract all types of people, and this group seemed like they weren’t really hunting folks, but instead were people who had attended the Hunt Expo and decided that hunting in Africa would be a fun lark to go on for their family reunion. They didn’t seem to have any respect for the animals or much marksmanship or hunting preparation, and it seemed like Werner had to move his more experienced PH/Tracker pairs to their group to keep from losing wounded animals. It was jarring to have to learn the style of each new PH, and I think we lost a couple of good shots as we got into the rhythm of working with the new guys. On the other hand, Werner expressed confidence in our abilities several times and I sensed that he was trying to ensure we had a good last week while he tried to manage this new group.

    The other hunter was able to find his wounded Aoudad Sheep in the morning of Day 7. It took three more rounds to put it down, and looking at the carcass in the skinning shed we don’t know how it could have run anywhere, let alone stayed alive overnight and continued running the next day.

    While they were out doing that, we were following Blue Wildebeest around without any luck. They were always in thick brush, and those that did present themselves were cows or very small. While we were doing that, my dad saw some Impala and shot one. He really wanted to get an impressive Impala, and on inspection this one didn’t quite live up to his expectation. It was big in the body but the horns were less impressive than they’d seemed on the hoof. He had the PH call back to base to get pricing on adding an Impala and a Warthog to his package, and again got an answer quickly so that if we saw a good opportunity we could take it. A good Warthog was one of my key remaining trophies, and thus far no one in camp had gotten many good looks at decent pigs. It seemed like the only time we saw good Warthogs standing still was while returning back to camp on the main roads, where they would stand inside the fences and look at us, knowing that we couldn’t do anything about it.

    Tom Impala.jpg

    After dropping the Impala off for another truck to pick up, we continued looking for Blue Wildebeest and Springbok. Something came over the radio, our PH yelled at the driver, and the driver took off like a bat out of hell through the scrub. We managed to stay in the truck during a crazy ride, and the PH eventually told us that the beaters had scared up those Aoudad Sheep again. Werner had them out there all morning trying to find them, so we were headed off to see if my dad could get a shot on one. Just like before, we set up ahead of the beaters and my dad set up with his line of sight more to the side, so that if they jumped out he could take a shot without people in the background. The Aoudad followed the same pattern as they had before, staying right in front of the beaters while the other animals all ran well ahead. They jumped out to the side and my dad was able to shoot one of them on the run. It dropped right there, and I think he got it in the spine. Because of the drama from the previous day, he ran up to it and covered it with his rifle just in case it resurrected itself. It was good and dead, and a beautiful animal with very nice horns and a long beard. While they were dealing with the logistics of taking pictures and returning the trophy to camp, I went with the PH to continue my pursuit of Springbok. We followed a herd of them up, down, and all around without ever getting a good bead on them. They went around behind some Black Wildebeest and circled into some deep thickets, but we spotted them passing through a gap in the brush quite a ways off. I got up on the sticks and took a look, but just as a decent-sized ram stopped there was a loud noise in the distance and the herd took off again, going deeper into the brush where it would have been a nightmare to follow.

    Tom Sheep.jpg

    Werner likes to take Sundays a little easy so that his staff has time to see their families and take care of stuff around camp. Only hunters who are close to going home or are off the pace for their packages go out after lunch, and dinner is served early. I am working on a degree, so I used the evening to catch up on my homework for the week.

    After dinner I approached Werner about trading out my Springbok and paying some cash to make up the difference on a Black Wildebeest. We didn’t come to an agreement, as his number was fair but didn’t match my budget. I did like that he explained the reasons behind his pricing, so I didn’t feel like he was trying to pull one over on me. In public Werner is a big talker and often gets people flustered, but I felt like he was pretty straight with me every time I engaged him one-on-one.
     
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  3. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    Day 8 of 13

    On Monday morning we went across the road to hunt on property owned by Rhinoland Safaris. It is a beautiful and huge piece of land. We saw some of their rhinos hanging out with some warthogs by a water hole. We saw a lot of Giraffes, some Vervet Monkeys, and plenty of Impala. We also heard but never got a good look at some Wildebeest who kept their distance and stayed in the dense thickets. There are also elephants on the property, but we didn’t see any sign of them. The reason we were there was to find a Waterbuck for my dad. We’d seen one or two Waterbuck during our hunt, but they were always in the distance. My dad had a good look at a nice one a couple of days prior, but it was a very long shot of 400 yards and he felt too shaky in the moment to feel good about taking that shot. He and the PH chased another Waterbuck for a while, but it kept circling out of their stalk and getting away.

    Rhinoland.jpg

    Rhinoland has a really nice waterway with some dense, hilly scrub all along it, so we drove along both sides of it. We spotted one Waterbuck group in the brush early on, but the bull just wouldn’t come out of the heavy stuff and present a good shot. With all of the thick limbs in the way it was too risky to take the chance. After some more driving around we spotted another Waterbuck bull. He also stayed in the brush, but it was thinner stuff and my dad was able to estimate where his shoulder was based on his head position. After the shot the Waterbuck ran deeper into the brush and then everything went quiet. The PH and tracker weren’t sure if it had been a hit, but my dad felt confident that it was a good shot. They circled around and around the spot, but there wasn’t any blood trail and the brush was so dense that visibility was nearly nothing. Eventually the PH actually smelled the Waterbuck, and he was able to pinpoint it by following the scent. The shot had been true, and the Waterbuck had folded up in the brush 20 yards or so from the spot where he’d been hit. One lesson we learned on this trip was that while my dad’s 7mm Rem Mag was dead accurate and brought down everything shot with it including the Eland, even perfect shots did not leave much of a blood trail at all. My .338 Win Mag with 225-grain Barnes VOR-TX ammo was maybe overkill on some of the smaller plains game, but the bigger holes made tracking a lot easier when it came down to that.

    rhinoland waterbuck.jpg

    After gathering up the Waterbuck and returning to the lodge for lunch, we expected to go out and meet our PH for the afternoon hunt but during the noon hour Werner and every PH and tracker on the place disappeared. We later learned that the new hunting party had wounded a giraffe on someone else’s land and Werner had taken everyone out to find it and bring it down. Since we had come back for lunch, we kind of got hung out to dry for the afternoon without any communication from our PH. Things were pretty quiet at dinner because they were still out trying to bring the giraffe to ground, and it was kind of irritating to lose a half-day of hunting because of another hunter’s mistake. They finally brought the giraffe in well after dark. I think that the hunters had put something like 12 shots into it as they chased it, but Werner finally caught up to it and brought it down for good. I would have felt pretty embarrassed to be in the other group’s shoes, but they seemed to think that wounding and chasing an animal like that was all a bit of good sport. They laughed and joked about it and seemed more interested in taking pictures of their kill with their drone than in taking good shots and showing respect for the animals. I guess everyone has their own views on that, but we spent a lot of time in our mini-lodge reading books and talking during the second week, while the first week was largely spent around the fire-pit with the other more like-minded hunters.

    Werner did apologize to us for the wasted afternoon and the lack of communication. He felt that his hands were tied as he was responsible for a party of hunters wounding a giraffe multiple times on someone else’s property, there were women involved in the hunting, there has been some PR flack in the news recently about trophy hunters from the Idaho/Utah region, and they really needed to bring that animal in. Again, I think our hunt kind of got bumped around a little because of the new group’s attitude and lack of hunting aptitude. Werner also presented the three of us with carved bowls as another token for the inconvenience.

     
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  4. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    Day 9 of 13

    We spent the morning looking at Springbok in the distance and trying to get close enough to them for me to get a shot. For some reason I just could not get close enough to the Springbok to get any kind of look at them. Another hunter had the same problem, and instead of having him go home without one, Werner told his PH to let him shoot any Springbok he could find. He wound up having a nice Copper Springbok stop right in front of him, so he got a Copper Springbok for the price of his Common Springbok. Although the Copper Springbok are nice, I like the colors on the regular ones better.

    At some point in the morning Werner radioed our PH and told him that if I wanted a Black Wildebeest I could trade out the Springbok and Warthog from my package for a Black Wildebeest. We already knew the price of an additional Warthog, so I decided to accept the trade and add another Warthog to my package later. It was still a deal that felt favorable to me, and the trade would allow me to get a Black Wildebeest, which to me was much more desired than a Springbok.

    We had spotted a herd of Black Wildebeest throughout the morning. I was chasing the same Springbok I had been chasing a couple of days earlier, and both herds tended to hang out in the same area. Eventually we were able to get close enough to the Black Wildebeest herd for me to get a decent look at them on the sticks. The PH told me which one to shoot, a bull that was quartering away to the right. It had been five days since my last shot on an animal, and as I pulled the trigger I felt myself yank yet another shot to the right. There was no time for a follow-up shot, as my bull got right up against another bull and ran off with the herd. The PH thought I had missed, and I felt like I had pulled the shot but not by enough to miss. As the PH and Tracker looked at the trail I noticed a couple of very small blood droplets in the sand back where they had already been. They were ready to call it a miss, but I called their attention to the blood and we began a long walk to see if we could find my animal. I felt awful for wounding an animal, and I was beating myself up a lot for rushing the shot and putting myself and the animal in this position. There were only one or two drops of blood the rest of the way on the trail, but they could see that one of the Wildebeest was walking heavier than the others, suggesting that it was hurt.

    After about an hour we caught up to the herd, and we were able to get into binocular range by stalking behind a dirt mound and some shrubs. There were a couple of downed trees that made a decent bench for glassing, and we sat on them and looked at the herd for another thirty minutes or so. None of the animals were limping or stumbling, and we couldn’t see any blood on their shoulders or necks. After a long while the PH pointed one of the bulls out and asked me if I saw blood on it. I couldn’t be sure, even after we watched the herd for several more minutes. He eventually decided that he’d seen blood on that bull and told me that it was on him if I took the shot and we discovered that it wasn’t my original animal. I used the tree trunk as a rest and took some time to get my breathing and sight picture right, and took the shot. The bull jumped, ran in a 20-foot semicircle, and fell over dead. As we rushed up to look at it I felt sick because we couldn’t see a mark on it other than the shot I’d just taken. Even though my PH had accepted the blame if it wasn’t my original animal, it was also on me because I’d taken a bad shot in the first place. As I lifted up the bull’s head to turn it I noticed a little blood in his beard, and on looking closer I saw that he had a hole through his bottom lip where my initial shot had grazed his chin. It was the right animal after all. It was such a relief that my PH and Tracker had made up for my bad shot, tracking the animal across the property, identifying him in the herd, and putting me in position to successfully complete my hunt. And what a beautiful animal! My bull had perfect polished horn tips and amazing rough bosses, as well as the characterful beard and mane and eyelashes that are characteristic of the species. In just a couple of hours I had experienced all of the highs and lows that hunting can offer.


    At this point we were getting pretty short on our game list, so we spent a lot of time over the next few days looking at a lot of animals without doing a lot of shooting. I imagine this is fairly typical of the end of a package hunt like this. My dad still needed a Kudu, a Blue Wildebeest, and an Impala if he could find a really good one. I was down to just needing a Warthog.
     

  5. Smitty

    Smitty AH Senior Member

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    Congratulations! I am very much enjoying your report. Good job.
     
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  6. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    Day 10 of 13

    Since I just needed a Warthog, I sat in a ‘blind’ for the morning of Day 10. Again, I think Werner had found himself a little overbooked, whether it was due to staff issues or managing the large group of new arrivals. We went out to a new piece of property, a tribal concession that had previously been a hunting ranch owned by a rich Italian guy. The rich guy was evicted, the property was taken over, and my blind was the back porch of a magnificent abandoned hunting lodge. Werner told me that he trusted me, so he was putting me in the blind alone and that if I saw a big Warthog I should shoot it and then radio back to base. I saw a lot of neat wildlife during my morning alone, but no good pigs. It was interesting to me to see the different ways that herds approached the water, usually sending one very nervous-looking individual to scout it out before sending a couple more animals in, and finally the herd ram or bull would approach. I’d read about it in the hunting books, but it was neat to see in person.


    My dad and his uncle went up a large hill with the PH and tracker to look for Kudu. They saw a very impressive bull, but in trying to work their way back down the hill to him they scared up a group of Impala that in turn spooked the Kudu. My dad wanted to come back every day for the rest of our trip to hunt that particular Kudu bull, but I think politics back at the camp played a role in preventing that. More on that during Day 11.

    on the hill.jpg

    During the lunch break we had some fun on the Motshwere compound. There was a female Ostrich that spent a lot of time hanging out by the gate, trying to get inside for reasons known only to her. The camp staff said she might be senile or something. Well, she finally followed a truck through the gate and showed up on my room’s porch. I took a couple of pictures of her, and then we had an ugly face contest, which I used my unibrow to win. We sat in a couple of separate blinds for the afternoon and my dad got another Impala. Again, it wasn’t quite what he was looking for, but it was a fairly typical example like all the other Impala skulls in the horn room. I think maybe we had expectations based on another region’s typical Impala, and that particular region just doesn’t have the genes for the Impala horn shape my dad was after.

    ugly face contest.jpg

    tom impala 2.jpg
     
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  7. Neale

    Neale AH Enthusiast

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    Thankyou for writing a great story and detailing your experience.
     
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  8. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    Day 11 of 13

    At this point in our hunt there were four hunters who just hadn’t been able to bag a Kudu yet, and several of their groups were down to their last 2-3 days in the country. My dad wanted to go out and hunt that Kudu he’d seen on the mountain the morning prior, but there were rumblings from some of the other hunters that some groups were getting preferential treatment when it came to trophy access. During dinner of Day 10 Werner promised that all four hunters would have their Kudu by the end of Day 11.

    We were split out our area for the morning, and after digging through some very dense brush we spotted a Kudu bull, who began running for all he was worth. Over the next couple of hours we spotted him a few times and my dad and the PH would follow his tracks for a while and lose his trail. In our hunting prior to this day we would stalk once or twice and move on, but our PH seemed determined that we were going to find this particular bull and bring him down. He was as elusive as any other Kudu, disappearing into the brush even when you knew exactly where he was standing, and it was a challenging hunt. After circling back around to the place we’d originally spotted him, we saw him again. This time my dad was able to get into position and take a good shot on him. He ran off and died not far away. Again, we noted that while the 7mm Rem Mag had put the bull down, there was an extremely small amount of blood present, and any tracking attempt would have been a nightmare. He had decent horns and a lot of weird wounds on his body, like a couple of gouges on his butt and chewed-up legs.

    dad kudu.jpg

    Returning back to camp, we found that all the other hunters had experienced similar hunts in their areas, and strongly suspected that Motshwere had rigged the game by buying four Kudu bulls of similar trophy quality and placing them in the four areas. We had hunted all of those areas pretty extensively and never seen any Kudu bulls there. Some of the other trophies had some broken tips and what looked like paint marks from a loading chute or trailer on their horns. My dad’s Kudu had still put on a heck of a chase and there was nothing easy or guaranteed about the tracking, stalking, and the difficulty of the shot, but it did feel a little like the bickering in camp about preferential treatment and trophy size meant we’d had to settle on a canned hunt rather than chasing the bull my dad wanted to hunt on the mountain.

    I’m going off on a sidebar here, but this is something we discussed in the evenings and during our downtime throughout the trip. I think there is some expectation management that you need to have when booking a hunt. We had purchased discount hunting packages with a fairly high-volume outfitter. In general we were pretty happy with the facilities, the hunting, and the trophies we brought in. Most of the game was active and elusive and challenging, especially the more common species that are 1) cheaper and 2) seemingly easier to keep and sustain in a breeding herd. Even the Eland and Nyala seemed to be moving around in family groups that were wild. It was on the Kudu and the Sable and some of the other high-end stuff that things got a little weird at times and the business angle showed through.

    My own theory is that the packages are discounted so heavily that package hunters might get the short straw when it comes to the really nice trophy animals. The package price on a Kudu is more than half-off the list price, even less when you consider that room and board and a free observer are also included in the package. Someone who buys a Kudu at list price is probably going to be able to go up on the mountain and hunt that magnificent Kudu bull that they spotted, but someone who bought their Kudu as part of a package is either going to luck into a nice bull like the one I got back on Day 2 or get to the end of their hunt and get whatever they can get. We talked it out in our group and accepted that for the price we paid we were having a good time, and the quality of animals and hunting that we got were in line with what we ought to expect. If we want a world-class Kudu bull we ought to book with someone who specializes in Kudu hunts, pay the trophy fee and the daily fees that they ask, and expect to crawl around mountains on our bellies until we find that perfect animal. If we want decent representatives of a wide swath of plains game species with a small chance of something exceptional from time to time, then a discount package hunt is a good place for that.

    One of the other hunters in particular had an absolutely miserable time during his hunt because he was unable to bridge the gap between his expectations and the hunt that Motshwere offered. My dad and I had our moments of disappointment, but in talking through it we were able to adjust our expectations based on looking at other operations’ price lists, hunt reports, our own priorities, and observing the day-to-day business on the ranch. I wish that our Sable hunt had been challenging and I wish that my dad had been able to chase that Kudu all over the mountain, but I think I understand the business reasons behind it, and that an entry-level package outfitter might not be the place to go for those particular hunts. Enough of my preaching, but I think a lot of hunt reports on this site and others display some gap between the hunter’s expectation and the outfitter’s product, and depending on the size and direction of that gap a hunter can feel like they got a great deal or that they’ve been swindled. We ended up shooting 22 animals between the three of us, and there were really only two that felt less-than-authentic. Even the Kudu was a challenging hunt, and the lack of authenticity had more to do with the situation back at camp.
     
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  9. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    Day 11 of 13, continued

    During the afternoon of Day 11 we went to another off-site property to look for the last animal on my dad’s package, hopefully a nice Blue Wildebeest for his uncle to shoot. There were rumored to be some good ones on this land, which turned out to be the property where the giraffe had been wounded by the other party a few days prior. We sat in a blind near a nice big water hole the Blue Wildebeest were known to frequent. We saw plenty of giraffes, a Waterbuck bull, a single female Warthog, and a herd of female Blue Wildebeest.


    As the light started to fade another herd of Blue Wildebeest moved through the area, and this time they had some bulls in the mix. The PH pointed out the nicest one of the bunch, and my dad’s uncle took a long look at him while waiting for him to step out from the herd. He eventually got clear and put a shot in the right place, dropping the bull right where he stood. This bull had a beautiful coat, with nice stripes that changed color in the sunset.

    uncle bull.jpg
     
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  10. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    Day 12 of 13

    At this point we had filled all of the animals in our packages aside from my Warthog. Most of the people in camp thought it was silly that a Warthog was so high on my list, but the Warthog was one of the top animals I wanted to get in Africa. Everyone’s bucket list of game animals looks a little bit different.

    Because we’d filled out our lists and were not planning on buying any more animals, Werner put us to work. He told us that the tribe who owned one of the concessions wanted some meat, so we were going to go sit in blinds and see if we could bring down some Impala to give to them. I was instructed not to shoot Impala until I got my Warthog, but my dad and uncle were supposed to have free rein to shoot Impala. If we got any impressive Impala, he would arrange for us to take the horns. I sat in my blind and saw just about everything including some pretty nice Impala rams, a bunch of juvenile Kudu, some monkeys and baboons, and a group of Nyala with a very tempting ram in their midst. There were a couple of small Warthogs, but nothing I felt good about. Halfway through the morning I heard a shot, but I wasn’t sure exactly where my dad and his uncle were set up.

    kudu impala.jpg

    As lunchtime came around, the PH told me that we were headed back in, so I needed to shoot the first Impala I could spot so we’d have something to give to the tribe. A relatively delicate female came through and I put her down with one good shot. I’d read in my book that for meat hunting you need to aim a little further back in order to avoid ruining the front quarters, and I was able to place the shot in the right spot, far enough back to avoid ruining the meat but not so far back that I hit the guts.

    When the truck came around to collect us and my Impala I saw that it was empty. My dad and his uncle explained that my uncle had shot an Impala, but they hadn’t been able to locate it. My dad was holding out on shooting the Impala because he had gotten a price on a Kudu from Werner and hoped that a good bull would stop by the blind during the day. As we drove back through the property, the Tracker stopped and pointed out at a speck in the brush. It turned out to be the Impala my dad’s uncle had shot. They had missed finding it during their tracking by just a few yards, but the Tracker was able to see it from the road. That doubled the number of animals we were able to deliver to the tribe members.

    beware of snakes.jpg

    In the evening we drove around looking for Warthogs, but I just couldn’t get a good look at any of them. Most of the Warthogs we saw were just tails in the bushes as they ran away. I was down to my last day of hunting and I was starting to worry that I would be going home without getting a Warthog. They offered me a couple of potential exchanges for other animals, but a Warthog was what I wanted.
     
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  11. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    Location:
    Idaho
    Hunted:
    South Africa
    Day 13 of 13

    It was the last day of hunting for me, and I still didn’t have my Warthog. Not only that, I hadn’t so much as seen a decent Warthog during the time I’d been in South Africa aside from times when I wasn’t in a position to hunt one. I was in a little bit of a bad mood because I felt like they weren’t taking my Warthog seriously. My dad and his uncle went off to sit in a blind and see what they could see, and Werner sent me out with a PH intern who was working there to gain experience during his school’s winter holiday. So I was out there with a young kid who wasn’t even on the payroll and we were sitting in an area we’d hunted before without seeing any decent Warthogs. Even with my nearly two weeks of hunting experience I could see that this was a joke. After sitting there for a while, the PH intern fell asleep. Then a herd of domesticated cattle moved into the clearing and grazed around. Finally the cattle laid down and fell asleep, blocking pretty much the entire field of view from the blind. After the cows had been there for three hours I made up my mind that at noon I was calling the exercise off and demanding a different arrangement. That gave the pigs about 30 minutes to show up.

    cow herd.jpg

    Well, at about 11:45 three little Warthogs popped out of the brush to the left of me. They didn’t look like anything special, but I purposely made some noise getting my binoculars out so that the PH intern would wake up. Once he was awake I pointed at the pigs, and about that time several more Warthogs came out of the weeds. The most impressive one of the bunch was a female, so the PH put me on her and asked if I would be okay shooting a sow instead of the boar I really wanted. I didn’t want to shoot her, but I thought that this might be my only chance to shoot a Warthog on this trip. While I mulled it over, three smaller pigs (probably her kids) kept blocking the shot anyway. Just as she broke clear of them, the PH intern said, “Wait! Here’s the boar you want!” and told me to go left until I saw him. After all of the other Warthogs had come out, a nice boar had stepped out into the open and was standing still. I got the sight picture I had practiced by going up the centerline of the front leg and fired. It was a perfect shot, and the boar fell right where he stood. I was a little confused at the shot because I saw a big splash of water in my scope after I fired. The boar had been standing in a mudhole that I couldn’t see, and when he fell over it kicked up the water.

    big pig.jpg

    As we ran up to the Warthog to take a look at him, we saw that his hide was heavily scarred from fighting. He doesn’t have the longest tusks in the world, but they are impressive and perfectly shaped. He’s everything I wanted in a trophy Warthog, and I couldn’t be happier that I was able to get him with a great shot as the last animal of my hunt. He was truly a fighter, too, as the skinners found the end of another Warthog’s tusk embedded in his skull when they were working on him.

    I shouldn’t have been so mad about the PH intern, either. After we’d looked over my Warthog and taken pictures, he showed me a ton of his pig-hunting pictures on his phone. That kid’s killed as many Warthogs and Bushpigs in his life as any other PH in the outfit, intern or not. He told me that the Warthogs will often come out at noon and that the dominant boars are usually the last ones to emerge. I had to swallow my pride and admit that the kid knew what he was doing, and I was grateful that he had guided me onto the exact trophy I was looking for.
     

  12. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    Location:
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    Hunted:
    South Africa
    Conclusion

    The evening of Day 13 and morning of our travel day were devoted to finishing up paperwork and getting ready to leave. We got copies of the documentation, as well as some information about the Dip & Pack service that Motshwere uses. During our travel to the airport we hoped to do some gift shopping. We were able to do some of that, but a lot of the gift shops were closed as it was a Sunday. Depending on where you are hunting, it might be good to arrange a shopping expedition on a non-Sunday, as it was Sunday when we arrived and it was a Sunday when we left and on both of those days we were unable to visit many of the shops. Werner was already in Johannesburg on personal business, but he arranged to meet up with us at the Cabela’s store in the city to thank us for coming out and make sure we’d been able to resolve any outstanding questions or issues. Checking in at the airport was relatively smooth. The guy who checked our rifle cases in Johannesburg did not actually check them, telling us that he trusted us and that he wanted the process to be fast for us. He also implied that we were now entrusting our guns to him and that the care he gave them would be proportionate to the tip/bribe he received. I know you’re not supposed to give in to those tricks, but we gave him a few dollars. It’s better than the guy in the airport restroom who expected a tip for pointing out where the urinals were located. Once we got into Atlanta our guns and paperwork were checked thoroughly once in the international terminal and once as we checked them in for our connecting flights. They also had us remove our hunting boots from our bags, and they sprayed them with cleaner and put them in plastic baggies.

    done with the trip.jpg

    Overall I had a great experience on this trip. There were ups and downs, but I feel like I got more than I paid for in most cases and I was glad to spend time with my dad on a trip that most people only dream about taking. I didn’t measure my trophies and I imagine that none of them are exceptional as far as scoring goes, but they were all beautiful animals and my hunting experiences were everything I could have hoped for. I was able to test my abilities in a way that only hunting can test you, and I was able to see a lot of great landscape and many amazing creatures, whether I was hunting them or not. I was especially happy to see my dad’s expectations met on his Cape Buffalo hunt, as that was the real focus of the trip. As far as an introductory hunting experience, I think Motshwere offers a great experience at an accessible price. Most of their clients come from the Utah and Idaho area, as that is where they advertise and that is where many of their ambassadors and references hail from. Just about everyone we met in camp during our trip came there from Utah. If you are looking for particularly big trophies, specific qualities on an animal, or a more specialized type of hunt, you might want to look at a different outfitter. If you want good representations of most common game species in an affordable and friendly package it would be hard to beat this outfit. I’ve got a list of animals written up for my next trip, and someday I need to get a Cape Buffalo of my own.

    done with the trip 2.jpg
     

  13. meigsbucks

    meigsbucks AH Fanatic

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    Location:
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    Member of:
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    Hunted:
    Zimbabwe and Namibia
    First of all, thank you both for your service.
    What a fantastic recounting of what sounds like the trip of a lifetime. The fact that you and your father were able to share this experience had to be something special. What a way to start your hunting career.
     
    chonk34 likes this.

  14. buck wild

    buck wild SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Location:
    Texas
    Member of:
    SCI Brush Country Chapter
    Hunted:
    Kalahari; Limpopo; Mexico; Texas
    I appreciate the honest write up- sounds like de ja vu to my first trip in 2007. I decided I'd never go the route of being in camp with other large groups again and have taken great care to find outfitters that would ensure that I'm either solo or with no more than one small group in camp at a time.
     
    chonk34 likes this.

  15. cagkt3

    cagkt3 AH ENABLER PLATINUM SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Texas
    Member of:
    DSC, SCI - West Texas Chapter, HSC, NRA Life Member, Ducks Unlimited
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Zimbabwe, OK, TX, UT
    Really good report, and congrats to you and your family!
     
    chonk34 likes this.

  16. Beretta391

    Beretta391 AH Veteran

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Marshall, tx
    Member of:
    Dsc,nsca
    Hunted:
    Namibia, USA , Argentina
    Great report!! May I ask what brand of ammunition and weight of bullet your Dad was using in his 7mm mag???
     
    chonk34 likes this.

  17. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    Location:
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    He used Barnes VOR-TX, I believe they were the 160-grain variety.

    I had planned on bringing 225 grain Hornady SST for my .338 Win Mag and my dad planned on bringing 162 grain Hornady ELD-X for his 7mm Rem Mag, but at the Expo Werner told us he preferred the Barnes ammo and we both went with his recommendation. I was pretty happy with the Barnes, but my dad thought he might have had better blood trails with the ELD-X, even though there wasn't a lot of tracking on his animals. I think practicing shot placement and sight picture was a lot more important than bullet selection on everything we hunted. Animals that were hit in the right spot dropped pretty quickly, and animals that weren't hit well tended to run for a while.
     
    Ridgewalker likes this.

  18. Lbarr265

    Lbarr265 AH Veteran

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    Congrats on a great looking hunt
     

  19. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Colorado
    Hunted:
    South Africa: Limpopo, Northwest; USA: Ak, Mt, Wy, Co, Ne, Ks, Nv, NM, Tx
    Excellent adventure for a father, son and uncle! I believe you did great especially for your first hunt! Yep, I’m not much into a lot of others in camp. I tend to be a solo hunter even here in the states.
    Thanks for sharing such a grand time!
     

  20. shootist~

    shootist~ AH Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Member of:
    NRA Life Member, USPSA Certified Range Officer (inactive), NRA Certified Instructor (inactive)
    Hunted:
    USA, Mexico
    Thanks for posting and writing a great (no fluff) story. It was both a good read and very informational. And thanks for your service!
     

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