SOUTH AFRICA: Two young Gun's!


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Jul 6, 2009
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South Africa and Zambia
As we all know the future of our hunting heritage depends very strongly on the youth of today. It is no big secret that promoting the outdoors to the younger generation is becoming increasingly more difficult.

This July I had the distinct pleasure of hunting with two of the finest youngsters that I have met in a long time, their father has been a very loyal client and friend of mine for many years. We started planning this hunt more than a year ago but the main idea behind it was to bring his boys to Africa.

Prentiss Jnr would be receiving this hunt as a 15th birthday gift and young Raybourne who turned 12 early this year would be joining us a few days later, with the rest of the family.

We would be spending a few days down in the Freestate were young Prentiss would be going after the four different colored Springbuck with his 270 and from there head back up to my ranch in the Limpopo province of South Africa to do some bow/rifle hunting.

As most of you experienced hunters know by now each area in Africa presents a different challenge due to vegetation and geography. We knew that one would have to take some long shots up in the Freestate. It is pretty open country and there is not much to hide behind.

Prentiss Jnr came well prepared he had practiced quite a bit and now it was time for the real thing.


The first animal taken was a beautiful Black Wildebeest bull on 220 yards


Prentiss Jnr impressed me greatly from the get go with his never say die attitude, we had to cross hill top after hill top trying to get close to these Springbuck, some of the shots were over 320 yards.

We got lucky on some and others made us work quite a bit but none the less we finally got all 4 colored Springbuck.


After finishing up with the Springbuck we thought that no visit to the Freestate would be complete without taking a Blesbuck.

These Blesbuck were also staying out of reach with average shots ranging from 200 to 300 yards. They were traveling in some pretty big herds and getting close to them would mean climbing hilltops and then ambushing them.

After a few hours of walking we finally got in to a position to hide behind a tree and have the herd move past us at about 200 yards, Prentiss put a great shot one this Common Blesbuck dropping him in his tracks!


Prentiss took this White Blesbuck as the sun was setting. It took us another hour to catch up to the herd and get into position for a shot.


We had some bad weather coming in from the South and had to head out early the next morning to go hunt Red Lechwe for Prentiss Snr.

It was early morning and we spotted 3 bulls walking trough an open wetland area with the sun rising and mist in the air it was quite the sight.

We walked a tree line to get in to position to take a shot we could see that there was one particularly wide bull and decided to take him.

Prentiss Snr took him on 165 yards with a well placed shot on the shoulder.


After taking the Lechwe to the skinning shed it was time to finnish up paperwork, pack and then fly out back to my place in the Limpopo province.

We arrived at Buffelsvlei at 3pm with just enough time to check the bow and drive around to show Prentiss Jnr how the geography as well as habitat differs from the Freestate.

We woke early the next morning to head to a blind. We had quite a bit of time in the blind to go over shot placement and the different shot angles.

I explained to Prentiss Jnr that we want either perfect broad side or quartering away angles when we take a shot he just nodded and patiently listened.

All of a sudden I heard the clicking noise of Eland coming in shortly after followed by the chirping of ox pecker birds.

It was clear that the eland were winding us. They just stayed out of bow range. We knew this was going to be a patience game and we would have to wait them out.

The Eland never did return that day.......

We returned to the blind the next morning not wanting to give up on the idea of taking Eland with bow, the wind changed around and I was fairly confident that we are in a good position to get a shot at a big Eland bull.

A few hours went by with not much happening but then there it was the distinct clicking noise of Eland hooves!

They came walking in as if they owned the place. I spotted an old bull and pointed him out to Prentiss Jnr, understandable he was surprised at the size of an big Eland bull and we took a few minutes to let them get settled in. The big bull turned perfectly quartering away and I told Prentiss Jnr to put it a half foot behind the shoulder.

He placed the arrow very well and we were both confident with the shot but gave things some time to settle back down again before getting out of the blind.

As we got on to the blood trail it was clear, it was indeed a perfectly placed shot with us following a constant line of blood.

The bull went about 60 yards and then expired.


After taking pictures the real job began. We had to load up this big boy. We had the winch wrapped around the hind legs but had to pick up the front end of the Eland to avoid it from dragging. Prentiss Jnr was eager to jump in and help with the heavy load, not being the kind of young man to stand around an look on, but instead get involved. I really appreciated that about him.

We were both fairly hungry after this productive morning and headed back in for lunch.

Later that afternoon we went to another blind were Prentiss Jnr took this very nice Impala with another well places arrow.


With 3 days left Raybourne and the rest of the family joined us. They flew in to spend a few days hunting and then from there they would be traveling to Victoria Falls.

Rayborne was just as eager to get going since he only had 3 days hunting to look forward to.

Prentiss Snr asked me to take young Raybourne out and spend time out in the bush with him, whilst Prentiss Snr and Jnr would be bow hunting with my brother.

Rayborne and I got onto a very nice Gemsbuck bull and I told him to shoot it right on the shoulder, the bull went about 40 yards and then went down.

Not bad for a 12 year old!


Later that afternoon Prentiss Jnr and I went out to see if we can get something in the bushveld with rifle while Raybourne sat in a blind with his dad and my brother.

I spotted some Gemsbuck moving over a road and off we went they seemed to be grazing criss crossing the road.

Finally a very nice Gemsbuck stepped out and stood broad side and I told Prentiss Jnr to take the shot.

It was another well place shot with the Gemsbuck expiring after running about 50 yards.


Raybourne would end off the hunt by taking the biggest antelope in Africa with bow! We were waiting for a nice Impala to come in when all of a sudden a big Eland bull stepped in to the waterhole. We waited for him to turn quartering away, Raybourne let it rip and placed the arrow about halve a foot behind the shoulder.

This was the result!


Whether it was sitting patiently in a blind or walking for hours to get in to a position to get a shot these boys worked for their trophies and never once were they anything but eager and determined!

Both these young men did extremely well with both rifle and bow they exceeded my expectations but most importantly they were always eager to participate and learn.


I thought I would share this with all you guys out there since it gives me great hope for the future of hunting!

Best regards
Louis van Bergen
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Thats great Louis! Some awesome trophies taken by everyone! Love the springbuck grand slam especially!
Well done to all the hunters

I have tried over the last few years to really get some of my friends involved in hunting, and even though most aren't interested, some are, and each and every younger hunter is very important to continue the heritage. Thank you for sharing the story with us, it is great to see more of the younger generation getting involved.
Great Job Louis! They took some fine trophies give them all a Congrats from us.
Good looking kids. They will never forget that trip. Nice looking trophies. I'm sure that everyone was happy. Bruce
Some fine trophies! A lot of great memories generated! Lovely red lechwe.
Great safari, much better than Disneyland!
Way to go boys!
Just outstanding! My son has been a hunting companion since he could walk. Have a new granddaughter, and just hope I live long enough to show her a bit of Africa. Good on you.
Very well done, we have to pass on the tradition of our passion.
Glad Prentiss and the boys (man they are growing up fast--young men)had fun-- I know the family had a good time too...Awesome to see familes all go hunting. I know my wife enjoyed it last year!!!!View attachment 12500
Well done Louis.
The boys look like they had a lot of fun.
Thank guy's for all the nice comments it is also good to hear that there are a lot of hunters out there who are promoting the industry to the younger generation.

Ed will be seeing you in less than a months time looking forward to it!

Best Regards
Louis van Bergen
Congrats Louis, youï½´re helping to keep the hunting traditions.
Always a joy to see young people take up the hunt
Nothing, I mean nothing is more rewarding than hunting with children. To see and feel the excitement in their faces is precious.
Just to add guys Mary Helen did some bird hunting on my place she took these Francolin with a 410.

Just being out there with a young lady who is passionate about her bird hunting was a real pleasure.


Well done to the young bunch it was great fun!:thumb:

Best Regards
Louis van Bergen
Just to add guys Mary Helen did some bird hunting on my place she took these Francolin with a 410.

Just being out there with a young lady who is passionate about her bird hunting was a real pleasure.

View attachment 12568View attachment 12569

Well done to the young bunch it was great fun!:thumb:

Best Regards
Louis van Bergen

Looks like Three Young guns to me...

Way to go Mary Helen! Girl Power! :girl:

Good on you Louis,Pieter, and Parents!


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Bill J H wrote on gearguywb's profile.
Do you still have this rifle? I'm in the KC area on business and I'm very interested.
Safari Dave wrote on CoElkHunter's profile.
I didn't get drawn for Wyoming this year.

Are you planning to hunt Unit 4 this fall?

(Thinking about coming out)
another great review