The Journey

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by AustinL, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. AustinL

    AustinL AH Senior Member

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    This September myself and my dad will be headed down to South Africa for our first safari. This is a trip we have dreamed and talked about for the past 25 years. Many times I felt it was just that a dream one that would never materialize.

    College came and college went and so it was time to start my professional career and I was dedicated to jump starting my career. Next thing I know I am married a few short years after that a first kid.. then the second. Finally kids are growing and we are done. Life is good, in the meantime my dad has retired. Five months after retiring he has a massive heart attack in which he drove himself to the hospital. A week in the hospital and two stints later he is now on his way to recovery. Thank god he made it through with no permanent heart damage. This was certainly a wake up call and we decided then and there we were going to make our dream a reality before it was too late.

    Suffice to say I am going to use this thread to document our journey as we prepare for our adventure. The planning our preparations and finally with the story of the hunt. This site has been and will continue to be an instrumental resource for me in this endeavor. So in addition to my ramblings I will try to contain my questions to this thread. I hope that in addition to being an enjoyable way for me to document the undertakings it will also be a valuable resource for other first time hunters to Africa or those on the fence about it.

    That said the Journey begins now.
     

  2. Hunting Sailor

    Hunting Sailor SILVER SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Congratulations to your journey.

    Looking forward to read about it and follow along.

    Bon Voyage!

    //Gus
     

  3. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Looking forward to your h7nt report!
     

  4. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I am both so envious and happy for you both. My father was a college professor and his dream was to someday fish for a rainbow trout. He grew up in West Tennessee and following the war made his professional life in South Louisiana. We caught reds, specks, and bass, but he always spoke wistfully of a float trip for trout. With three kids, there was never any money to “waste” on something so frivolous. And he was gone long before I was in a position to make that a reality for him. I am so very happy for you both. Please do take us along.
     

  5. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    AustinL, good for you and your dad! I’m excited to read your journey!
    Also yikes! Your dad must be one tough old dog to drive himself to the hospital while having a heart attack!
    You two are going to have a grand experience!
     
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  6. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Good stuff! Look forward to the report!
     

  7. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I'm along for the ride!
    I hope you both enjoy yourselves and each others company.
     
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  8. cls

    cls AH Fanatic

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    I am looking forward to the hearing about the journey, enjoy.
     

  9. AustinL

    AustinL AH Senior Member

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    Thank you all for coming along.

    We spent some time at the DSC convention this past January and after talking to numerous outfitters about what we were looking for and what they could offer we had narrowed down our list to just a few outfitters a couple in South Africa and a couple in Namibia.

    We returned home with intentions of completing our due diligence and making a final selection on who we would be hunting with. It was at this time as I dug into the travel side of the trip that I quickly realized that with my schedule and allotted time that travel too Namibia would eat into and leave us with very limited hunting days. This realization narrowed down our prospective outfitter pool.

    What followed was several days of correspondence with multiple outfitters along with exhaustive internet research into reviews. It was in the course of this work that I discovered the African Hunting website. Between online hunting reports and reviews, conversations with multiple references, and of course gut instinct from our interactions with the outfitter who is also the owner and one of the PH’s who will be guiding us our decision was made. Once we made that decision we reviewed my schedule as well as my dad’s....Well who am I kidding he is retired my schedule is the only one that complicates matters and finally settled on our dates. We confirmed availability with the outfitter and sent in our deposits. Yes this is really going to happen. At this point the reality set in on just how much there is to do between now and our hunt.

    Brief to do list that I am sure will continue to evolve.
    Renew passports
    Doctors visit to update vaccines hepatitis a and b as well as tetanus. Probably pick up a prescription for malaria pills as a precaution although we are not hunting in a malaria zone.
    Book plane tickets- looks like it will be delta non-stop out of Atlanta
    Practice shooting off of sticks- I am well accustomed to shooting off of sticks from a sitting position as well as prone but need some time in on sticks standing
    Load development with 175 grain pills in my.280 rem
    New boots and break in
    Finalize packing list and purchase necessary new gear
    Finalize plans for rifle clearance service in SA
    Finalize selection of company to act as our agent for trophy importation
    Get and complete customs declaration forms
    Work out / get in better shape
    Look into medivac services / health /travel insurance


    As I said this will continue to evolve items will be scratched off as completed and new ones added as they come to light
     

  10. mdwest

    mdwest AH Fanatic

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    My grandfather did exactly the opposite.. he grew up in South Louisiana (a small town outside of Hammond), and after the war made his professional life in West TN (Memphis)..

    I spent a few weeks every summer most of my childhood fishing both fresh and salt water all over Southern LA with my grandfather when we’d all return “home” each year to visit family.

    Great memories..
     
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  11. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    There are alternatives for Malaria prevention check with your Dr. and the CDC. Other than that your list is a good start. Don't waste much time though. You might want to look into CDC recommendations for Hep. A & B shots for the area you will be hunting. You didn't mention anything heavier than a 280 w/ 175 Gr pills. Which IMHO is marginally adequate for some of the larger PG. Most PHs would recommend larger calibers and slower velocities.
     

  12. AustinL

    AustinL AH Senior Member

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    Velocities should be in the 2850 fps range, and it is a rifle that has been in my hands more often than not on 3 western big game hunt and my local hunts for the past 17 years. Would rather hunt with it than a rifle I was unfamiliar with. Gun will shoot sub-moa all day long.

    We have discussed our choice of calibers with the outfitter and he is ok with them. Don't see a lot of difference between my .280 and the esteemed 7x57.

    I thought about a larger caliber after all who doesn't need a excuse to buy a new rifle. Ultimately I decided I was better off with a rifle I was comfortable and confident in.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
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  13. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    You have made an excellent and often overlooked choice. Everything in Southern Africa has been taken with the 7mm - most often a 7x57. The 170-175 gr bullets are renowned for penetration in that caliber. Your .280 is the same 7mm with just a bit more speed. What is not to like. By the way, the 170gr Oryx is a fabulous deep penetrating bullet. As I am sure you are well aware there is zero practical difference between a 180 gr 30-06 (or .300 WM for that matter at your velocity) and your 175 gr 7mm - except the 7mm will penetrate a little better.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018

  14. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Red Leg has it right. My last several trips to Africa have been with a 7mm Mag and a 7 SAUM. Both time with 160 Gr Accubonds. I have taken around 23 plains game animals with it. I had a 9 DRT's and 6 total that required a 2nd bullet. At least 2 of the 2nd bullets really were not needed as the animal would of been dead without them. The others were my poor shooting..... With 175 gr Oryx you will be fine. In fact better than many. Perhaps borderline on Eland (as a result of me losing one...). Otherwise you should be in great shape. Practicing off the shooting sticks will be very helpful.
    You may also want to get your 4457's taken care of fairly soon. Didn't see that on your list. Have fun w/ your dad. I waited too long to try and take mine. He doesn't think he could make it over at this point..... Looking forward to your reports.
    Bruce
     

  15. AustinL

    AustinL AH Senior Member

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    Eland are not on the menu this trip our three biggest will be Kudu, Oryx and black wildebeest. My dad will be touting his Sako 7mm rem mag with similar 175gr pills.

    We will be setting up a couple 8” free standing gongs out in the pasture at the ranch grabbing the rifles and shooting sticks and doing some hiking and shooting at various distances elevations and angles three or 4 times before wheels up.

    Is the downloadable customs form 4457 the same as what you get from the airport?
     
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  16. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    If you download, watch the form date, and the print size. They are a recipe card size so print it that size or you may confuse the African officials. I had one heck of a time getting I to Zimbabwe with a full size printed out form.....
     
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  17. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    The smartest thing you can do is get comfortable off those sticks while standing on your hind legs.
     
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  18. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    One more along for the ride (y)
     

  19. AustinL

    AustinL AH Senior Member

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    Well I kind of put the cart before the horse when we selected dates and sent our deposit. Normally one would schedule their vacation then book the trip not the other way around.

    All is good though vacation is scheduled and approved. One more item off the list. This coming Monday is a holiday for me so I hope to make some more progress on my preparations.

    Have been watching flights is there a time better than others or when one would typically find the best fares?
     

  20. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    I see that you are just a little north of me. I am sending you a PM.

    I would consider driving to DFW or IAH and flying Emirates or Qatar, will be cheaper then leaving SAT or AUS to ATL on DL. If you catch a sale you might be able to get business class for not much more then coach on those airlines.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
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