SOUTH AFRICA: Update Hunt Report On Lion Hunt In South Africa With Umlilo Safaris

George2014

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Update with lion hunt report....

In May I hunted in the Kalahari with Umlilo Safaris and PH/owner Johan Dorfling. I have been intending to write a trip report on the lion hunt, but I am not very creative so I asked my wife to write one. She wrote it from her perspective….

“Shoot him between the eyes”….. “I can’t see his eyes”

Earlier that morning in the Kalahari, we had gone to the firing range to sight in my husband’s rifle. It was in the same area that we were hunting the Lion. He had fired off two shots from his CZ 550 carbine in a 9.3x62 using Hornady 286 grain bullets. He called his rifle the ‘black mamba’ owing to its black stock and success record, regardless, he was right on target. We had left the range and jumped onto the truck to scan for lion tracks. We found many, some were from early morning. Each time the trackers found a print, we jumped out to take took a look. Sometimes we stalked in a bit, but never too far. Everyone carried a rifle on this day, after all, we were not hunting plains game! The Kalahari sun was impressive and the early morning coffee and ‘rusk’ wasn’t going to sustain us much longer. We decided to break for a quick lunch, but not too long…. our PH was eager to get back on the tracks. We had no sight of the lion yet but “he only has to make a mistake once” – he declared.

By early afternoon we were back out driving, tracking, driving and tracking. My husband, our PH and I were enjoying a brief moment of conversational levity when we suddenly stopped short of our chatter. We were passing the firing range area when we saw him, in all his valor. He was under a tree and stood up just as we passed. On seeing us he promptly turned and sat back down under the tree thinking we wouldn’t see him. That was his mistake. He seemed massive to me. He stood tall, his body long, his vast dense mane was wild and black. We all looked at each other with zealous awe but managed to hush our words and kept on driving. We drove a short distance away and stopped the truck. Everyone organized without a sound. Brief comments, mostly profanities were exchanged in whisper. My husband grabbed his black mamba, chambered a round and stood ready with determination and focus.

Our PH had instructed us to keep together in one group so as not to single one body from the mass. There was some serious firepower in the mix, including my trusty .308, which was jested to have as much impact as a bee sting to this Lion. All the same, it gave me some solace to carry it.

We stalked back towards him, as much as you can actually stalk a Lion. He could see us coming. He could smell us coming. We came within 30 yards. He was lying under the same tree, crouched down. The tall swaying grass and his mane were now one.

“shoot him between the eyes… I can’t see his eyes”. My husband was on the sticks, but low to the ground parallel with the lion. The PH, standing about a foot higher could see his eyes. That 8 to 12 inches of vantage makes a world of difference to the man on the sticks. He asked the PH to use his viewpoint to guide him, down the tree, stop at the small branch, left how many inches. My husband was calm, listening intently to his directions. I found myself briefly wondering how he could acutely follow such instructions whispered in this moment of anxiety, but continuously failed to heed my weekly bellows to put the trash out. Such a phenomena. I made a mental note to discuss said ‘marvel’ with him at a later date.

My husband was now eagerly in position. He knew where he was, he could see his tail. It twitched once. A moment, no a second passed, then it lifted again and flipped back and forward twice. The lion was ready to charge. He steadied his rifle and took the shot. It hit! The lion roared and sprung back not forward (to my relief). He roared again and again and again. That unforgettable harrowing roar that will humble any man to the core. If it was exciting before, it just got very real! We now had the colossal undertaking of stalking into the thick bush, after this pissed off beast.

My husband eagerly urged forward with the PH and I was close behind. My husband was sure it was a good shot. We went in 20 paces, 50 paces, I can’t recall. Every progression forward spun my head as my anxiety levels grew. He could have gone anywhere. Tall yellow grass was not my friend today! Finally, the tracker could see him. We couldn’t see him – glassing through our overpriced binoculars – but the tracker spotted him with ease. We looked to him again for confirmation when our bino’s failed, he continued to nod indicating the direction.

We started to meander forward. I remembered the PH’s statement that the lion singles one person out. I scanned around at my company. I was faster on my feet than any of them for that I’m sure, but running may be ill-advised. I decided to tuck myself closely behind my husband, safely raising the barrel of my rifle to the sky. There was enough firepower without need of my .308.

We had meandered our way behind a bush and we were back on the glass. We were looking to where the tracker had last sighted him, but to our surprise, he had advanced back towards us - towards the direction of the bullet. Startled, we moved back slightly to give room. We were moving as one now. My heart was pounding at an excessive pace, my clothes were soaked through. How the human body jolts to life when all senses are simultaneously alive. To say I was fevered with excitement would be a vast understatement. “Where is he?” I quietly asked. He was right there, not 10 yards from us but lying down. That bloody yellow grass!

The initial shot was good! His breath had now slowed as he surrendered to his fate. My husband calmly gave a final shot.

We approached the lion – I still maintained a cloaked posture behind whatever body I could find. He was impressive and my husband was truly delighted. The first shot had penetrated his left fang and continued through causing fatal damage. Since my husband officially knocked his tooth out – I proceeded to call him ‘the dentist’… too soon maybe, too soon J

It took the strength of 5 men to carry him to the truck, and they struggled, resting several times. He was indeed a magnificent beast.

We later realised that he had just killed a Blue Wildebeest that morning, and had dragged it to a bush about 20 yards from the tree where we first saw him. We were not sure if the lion was at the range that morning when we freely sighted in the rifle, walking back and forth to the target, oblivious to any threat… but I suspect he was.

The next night we tried some of the lion meat, as we like to do for everything we hunt. My husband was filled with pride with such a fantastic hunt and for such a magnificent animal. He asked me what I thought it tasted like, and my response…. “well,… it tastes like Blue Wildebeest”.

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Blue Wildebeest lion kill
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We had travelled from the Kalahari to the Eastern Cape to Umlilo Safaris main camp for some more plains game hunting. The lodge was beautiful, the food was fantastic and the hunting was great. Each day posed a different hunt, a different strategy and different animals. We were able to add to our list; a Black Springbuck, Zebra, Nyala and a Waterbuck (which scored SCI gold). Some pics below...

Johan was a fantastic PH and a wonderful host. He captivated us with his honesty, his sincerity, his patience, his respect for the animals we hunted and even his sense of humor (though I’d not admit it). He delivered in everything he promised and more. When you hunt with Umlilo, you quickly come to appreciate the generations of experience and knowledge of African hunting that has been passed on. Difficult to describe, but it is just a knowing… there is no boasting, no embellishing and there is no mistakes.
upload_2017-6-24_16-16-57-png.191940


upload_2017-6-24_16-15-58-png.191939


upload_2017-6-24_16-17-58-png.191941


upload_2017-6-24_16-29-22-png.191943
 
Congrats and thanks for sharing!
 
Almost ghost writing.... :)

Thanks for the hunt report. Congratulations all round!
 
Great job Mrs. George2014 (y) Thanks for posting the report.
 
VERY nice report! Oh to be able to have the opportunity!
Thanks for sharing!
 
Congrats for a great hunt, very nice trophies.

Excellent writing madam !
 
I very much enjoyed your report and pictures. Thank you for sharing with us!
 
Very nice cat and report. Ah maybe one day...
 

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