SOUTH AFRICA: ZAMBIA: Back To RSA & Zambia

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by gillettehunter, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. spike.t

    spike.t AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Ambassador

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    Ok so not coming to Lusaka then?. Have a great hunt .are you hunting with Shawn?
     

  2. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Hi Spike. Yes hunting with Shawn and no not going to make it into Lusaka.
    Been a day of it. The eland hunt was interesting to say the least. We got to the property and its just me and Willie going hunting. We get to the proper part of the farm early and have a bit of fog. Stopped and verified zero with the rifle. As we enter the area where the eland are and I ask about size. Perhaps 3000 acres so a little bigger than 7 1/2 sq miles or 3X2 1/2 miles for an idea of size. The fog lifted some to allow us to see the top part of the property.
    We started at a rocky koppie to see if they were in the valley below. No go ,so we drove across it and down to the bottom. Saw 2 groups of Gemsbuck and some springbok as we drove across to top. We stopped and let the fog lift some and then started hiking. About 1/2 mile in we kicked up some Gemsbuck and they headed up the draw we were trying to get a look at. They found our eland for us and they moved out too. We didn't think that they had smelled or seen us so we were hopeful to catch them in the next canyon.
    Working into the next canyon we jumped a couple of groups of Springbok. Near the bottom we spotted a cow eland. 216 yds away. We sat down to see if we could get a shot. Willie gve me ranges and helped me set up. In retrospect I think that the eland heard us talking. They came out at a trot and there was no slowing down. They headed over towards the next canyon so off we went to try and head them off.
    We eventually found them moving on a sidehill across the draw. We worked in to try for a long shot. We eventually got to 476 yds. Now my rifle is quite accurate and I practice at long range shooting. I have an app downloaded in my phone that gives drops that I double checked the day before I left. So I dialed up and set up for a shot off of my bi-pod on my belly. I got on what I believed was the eland Willie was looking at and waited for it to stop walking. It stopped and I shot.
    I thought Will said he thought I hit it. What he actually said was he thought that I didn't hi it. I reloaded and he told me where the bull was. He trotted up the hill and turned broadside at just over 500 yds. I held 2/3 of the way up him and squeezed the trigger. Good hit! He staggered sideways and was starting to go down before I got my 3rd round in. I was rather excited. Willie was ecstatic.
    We walked across the hill and found a dead eland COW. What the heck......... Then Willie tells me to come look 80 yds away. There is the bull. Well crap. 2 shots and 2 eland. Guess I'm paying for my mistake. The cow is huge. Her horns appear to be over 40 inches. The bull perhaps 32-34. I'll get pics up later. The landowner is good about my mistake. I'll find out later for sure what the extra "trophy fee" will cost me. Willie suggested 8000 rand ( about $500) to the landowner and hopefully he is good for that amount.
    The landowner gets a tractor and trailer plus a loader out there to pick them up. Dang that makes a recovery easy. After the animals are picked up we head to town for a quick meal on the way to try for a Springbok. This is less hunting and more shooting IMHO. It is what it is. They have some imported genetics on this farm if I'm not mistaked. They have taken some up to about 16 inches.
    The long and short of it is I miss 2 relatively easy shots.... We drive around and shoot from the truck. We found a 6 ft Cape cobra which I killed. After the 2nd miss the ram trotted out to around 300 yds and stopped to see what had happened. So I managed to get him on the 2nd shot. Sheesh what a mess. I guess I got in a hurry and slapped the trigger. Back to basics. Squeeeeze the trigger.
    Tonight we'll go spotlight for 1 1/2 hrs or so. Fast start to this African trip for me. I'll try to get pics up later...
     
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  3. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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  4. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Cow perhaps 40 inches! 91B750EF-3802-4D37-AD5B-D6CE3BDDA072.jpeg
     
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  5. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    We've all had days like that shooting!

    Congrats on both eland !!!(y)
     
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  6. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    0B8EF31C-1C2D-4D22-8E41-49BBF69867BA.jpeg 167D372A-996E-4640-B9B2-FF5B514CA7A1.jpeg Willie with the cobra. Nice Springbok
     
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  7. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Congratulations. Great looking photos B.

    If there is potential confusion in the animal you are aiming at and the PH is talking about, the PH has an obligation to glance over your shoulder to make sure you are lined up on the right animal. $500 for the cow doesn't sound to bad, but if you feel like the invoice is being jacked up, you might want to bring that up.
     
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  8. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats on the springbok also!!
     
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  9. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I'm good with the $500. The cow turned out to not be pregnant and the farmer accepted the offer of $500. So its not the end of the world. I accept that I pulled the trigger and I accept the responsibility. Just one of those things.
    On a better note I had some good luck spotlighting tonight. I'll try to get that posted later....
    Bruce
     
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  10. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    We went to spotlight back at the same farm where I killed the Eland. Turns out one of Willies high school friends works there. Got a bakkie and spotlight hooked up to the battery and off we go. We are in the grape vineyards tonight. Pest control as well as visibility. The light lasts about 15 min and then off/on. So we stop for repairs. No go so after 10 min we switch to a smaller, but bright backup light. We see one animal in the vineyards 2 times. Spooky and we never get a look at what it is. So up the hill we go into the pastures.
    We spotted a couple of Steenbucks and a oryx. Then a Duiker. Probably 80 yds out. I get on him and try a shot. He was lying down and body behind him. I shoot too low and miss. Willie tells be he was huge. Probably close to 5 inches..... At that point I'm pretty low. Kinda like whale crap, right on the bottom... I missed what should of been a chip shot at a great trophy.
    Its better to be lucky than good I guess. 20 min later we find another duiker. Willie verifies its a duiker so I hand the light back to him and set up to potentially shoot. He says I can't tell on the horns. In the scope the head comes up and I see a horn about as long as the ears. I tell Willie and he says shoot!! Its a monster. So I do. Right on the shoulder. Down and dead instantly. Ancient duiker. Part of one horn gone. Missing one of his teeth. The longer horn is just over 6 inches long.
    To help me understand how big he is Willie tells me he has perhaps 20 sets of horns at home and the very biggest is maybe 5 inches at best. We call it a night and head back. I've had a great 1st day of hunting in Africa.
     
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  11. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Elite

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    Those are some pretty nice eland, Bruce........................and a hog of a springbok............once the fatigue and jet lag fade a bit, the shooting will get easier I think...........looking fwd to more.................best of luck..................Bill
     
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  12. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats on the old Duiker! Looking forward to the pic and more of the story!
     
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  13. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    So day 2 was a travel day.We packed up and moved 180 miles to Rhebuck country. Hunted the evening for Klippies. We saw 11 of them. 1 was a shooter, but we saw him too late to make a play on him. Saw 6 Vaalies driving into our lodgings. More later.
    Bruce
     
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  14. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Hope you mount or at least euro both bull and cow eland. That would be an interesting comparison!
    Unbelievable duiker!
    What a fun whirlwind hunt so far!
     
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  15. jeff

    jeff AH Legend

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    Bruce that eland bull has a great ruff ! And that cow is awesome , worth $500 any day ! You have taken some excellent trophies and a great start to your trip. I've been wondering how your hunt was going, congrats!
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2019
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  16. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    So day 3 was our start to hunting Vaalies. For those that are unfamiliar with Vaal Rhebuck they are quite shy by nature. They have big eyes, big ears and big noses (kinda like the big bad wolf in Red Riding Hood) and they know how to use them. Some believe that Vaalies are the hardest to hunt of the african antelope. Between their love of rough rugged terrain and their senses they can be difficult to hunt. They are a very "turned on" animal. I have wanted one for 2 plus years. This is the animal that brought me back to RSA. The main reason for this hunt and I have 4 days to get one.
    I worked hard for 2 months conditioning my knees for a mountain hunt. Now it was here. As we drove from the lodging to where we would hunt we started seeing Vaalies along the road. Several groups including a couple of pretty good rams. We made a quick try for one but they easily left us behind.
    After all my dreams and hoping I was really humbled today. I saw probably 35 Vaalies and 11 or so rams (6 in a bachelor herd of youngsters) and I couldn't hit worth a darn. I fired 4 shots and got nothing....... I had practised and carefully reloaded for this hunt. I Thought I was in good shape. Not so much......
    My closest shot was 369 and I slapped the trigger instead of squeezing. Amature mistake that I do too often. They simply humiliated me. We walked perhaps 5 miles Total. I just flat out couldn't do anything right. On the way back a nice Vaalie ram of perhaps 8 1/2 inches stood by the road and all but begged to go home with me. I thought about it, but had 2 thoughts.
    1) I really was hoping for something exceptional.
    2) It almost seemed like it would be cheating to kill such a magnificent animal from the road.
    So I went to bed feeling pretty sorry for myself. My wife gave me a bit of a pep talk. In her blunt practical way she asked, Why are you missing? I looked at my scope carefully and had discovered it was 1 MOA to the left. Doesn't help at 400 plus yards. Then the trigger slapping. Then I took my short bi-pod and couldn't get over the grass in some cases. Then when I could I wasn't loading up the bipod before shooting. Her advice was now you know what not to do.
    Day 4.
    So the wind was up today. Vaalies hate wind. Messes with their hearing. Always listening for approaching predators. We Saw our bachelor herd of 6 young males and then 2 females. Nothing else. So we stopped to look for a herd near a lucern field (alfalfa). A few tracks and droppings, but no Vaalies. Then up a valley as far as we could drive. Willie says lets just walk up around the corner and see if we can find some out of the wind. So up we we go. Then up some more to peer into a draw with a pocket at the top out of the wind.. Then Willie asks can you make it to the top. Yes I told him so up we went. Notice a pattern here? Then we worked along near the top looking for Vaalies. None to be found until after 12.
    We spotted a troup of baboons up where Willie usually see Vaalies. They appeared to see us at over 1/2 mile and moved off. We kept working toward the head of the valley expecting to see Vaalies at any moment. Then we heard the warning coughs from below us. First glimpse was at close to 400 yds. They went across the canyon and paused. They got to over 600 yds before they stopped. Never did get a look at a ram, just 5 females. Had to of been one there, but he disappeared. Too far across the valley for me to be comfortable shooting anyway.
    It got to 1:30 and we had gotten close enough to the head of the valley that we should of been able to see if there were any Vaalies there. So up we go some more. By this time I'm getting tired. I have a blister developing and my attitude has declined with my enthusiasm. I even quit glassing for a while, letting Willie do the looking. Then as I realized we were in some of the most lush areas I had seen I started looking again in earnest.
    As we worked our way up to a drop off I spotted 3 Vaalies! Just barely in sight. One was up feeding and 2 bedded. I showed Willie and we started our approach. We duck walked 30 feet and then on our butts we slid further forward. Thorns in hands and behinds but we're getting into shooting position. I got my bipod opened and set up. Then the range. 313 yds. I checked my turret and tried to get solid. Just couldn't do it 10-12 MPH wind kept me moving. By now they were all up and feeding and moving out of sight up the draw! Time to put up or shut up as they say. I got on the ram and pulled the trigger. He dropped like a sack of potatoes. Not even a twitch! As we're walking up to him Willie is saying I hope he's big enough for you. Kinda in reference to the passed up 8 1/2 incher of the night before.
    Anything over 8 inches is a good Vaalie. Over 9 is excellent and getting rare. Maybe only a couple of 10 inchers a year are taken in RSA. We walked up and there was this beautiful ram. Taken the hard way. When Willie saw him he shouts we got a monster! Willie felt like he was over 9 inches. Back to the lodgings Willie got 9 3/4 roughly. An exact measurement will have to wait. Thats good enough for me regardless of the inches. The trophy is in the hunt. He's a great animal and fulfills a dream I've had for a long time. Tomorrow we'll try for a Klippy. We'll see how that goes. I'm going to also post a few flower pics. Some are just beautiful up in the mtns.
    Bruce
     
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  17. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Willie where he caped out the Vaalie.

    FE7AA657-C980-4619-B492-3F03FF637CF9.jpeg 30514B11-30D0-4266-B2B0-4E24F1A46639.jpeg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2019
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  18. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Slow wi go. Maybe more later 9DE667B6-158B-4D99-950A-E7B4F847929D.jpeg
     
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  19. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Amazing hunt! For such knee problems, you sure toughed it out! Great!
     
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  20. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Great looking VR. Congratulations.
     
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