ZAMBIA: Zambia With Balla Balla Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by gillettehunter, Sep 26, 2019.

  1. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    3,111
    Video/Photo:
    81
    Likes Received:
    2,610
    Hunted:
    Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(2) New Zealand
    So next up is day 5. Its the day of top trophies.
    We were up at 5 and ready to go by 6. Dean was a few minutes late. We had breakfast like normal and off we went. Mike was ready to kill the honeycomb lechwe. I'll leave that story to him. We drove back up to the meadow up on top. There was a beautiful lechwe grazing in it. Mike and Dean grabbed the 7mm and off they went on a stalk. Very straightforward. While sitting in the truck I could see both the hunters and the hunted at the same time. As I looked at the lechwe I could see that the horns were dark. It was hard to tell for sure but they didn't look as long as the honeycomb colored one. Mike and Dean stalked through the trees and eventually the sticks went up. I started to focus more on the lechwe. He seemed intent on keeping his rump towards the hunters. Eventually he turned broadside and no shot....
    He kept grazing and I wondered if Mike had decided to keep looking for the honeycomb colored lechwe. Then I noticed Mike and Dean motioning me to come out to them. I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out why he wanted me to come. Did Mike want me to film his shot at the lechwe? I tried to walk quietly and keep the lechwe unaware of my presence. Did Mike want another opinion of the size/length?
    When I got to them Mike told me to take the rifle and get on the sticks, that a big eland was coming!! I was like what? So as I grabbed the rifle I looked up and saw a cow stopped in front of us at maybe 75 yards. Then the bull stepped out from in back of a termite mound... He was big. I focused on his shoulder and to my dismay there was a snag right in front of his shoulder. Dean quietly told me to wait, that he would step out from behind the snag. The bull is looking straight at us. My instinct is to shoot him as he's RIGHT THERE in my lap so to speak.
    I waited for what seemed like forever for him to step forward. Then do I shoot him walking? He's only 75 yards or so. I can make that happen. Dean quietly says to wait. I follow instructions, like a good client should. The bull only goes 4 or so more steps and stops again for another gander at us. His last mistake ever. I squeeze the trigger and the bullet goes into his shoulder. In my mind I'm wondering will that Berger go through the shoulder into the chest? He staggers at the shot and turns and runs away. I chamber another round and try a running shot which apparently missed.
    I look and that is the last round in the rifle. I usually stalk with 2 in the magazine and 1 in the chamber. Mike just chambers a round and only has 2 shells in the rifle. More confident than me I guess. So I say Mike, give me a shell. He grabs one and hands it to me. I get back on the eland as he turns towards some trees. Is he starting to stagger? No matter I pull the trigger and hit him again. Down he goes at the shot.......
    Then it hits me I have my eland down. He went perhaps 75 yards. A huge bull eland! As we approach I just can't believe it. I'm normally fairly reserved. This one was different. I was rather emotional about it. Thrilled would be an understatement. Dean tells us he is the largest eland that has been killed at Bird estate this year. He is at the peak of maturity. The points have just barely started to recede. The ridges are very prominent. He is in great shape and I'm like a kid at Christmas that got everything he wanted and then some.
    Dean goes and comes back with a truck that has a winch on it along with some help. It takes some doing but we get him loaded up. Luckily the tailgate has a rollerbar on it to help. I'm on cloud 9. Top of the world. I don't know what he actually measures but likely close to 40 inches. All in all a great trophy. I'm not sure why I was so excited. I had wanted and trained for the Vaal Rhebuck for much longer and harder. Still puzzles me even now. But I got excited by this animal. This was the icing on the cake for my trip so to speak.
    His body size seemed a lot bigger than my Cape Buffalo. I still get excited when I talk about him. The rest of the day turned out rather nice too. Mike gets to tell his part.
    Bruce
     
    Trogon, Ridgewalker, BenKK and 2 others like this.

  2. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    3,111
    Video/Photo:
    81
    Likes Received:
    2,610
    Hunted:
    Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(2) New Zealand
  3. AZDAVE

    AZDAVE AH Elite

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2013
    Messages:
    1,356
    Video/Photo:
    130
    Likes Received:
    1,531
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Alaska,lower 48
    @LivingTheDream you need to have the fictitious buff story put into a adventurers comic book style illustrated story.

    Looks like you both are having the time of your life. Congratz on some special animals.
     

  4. WAB

    WAB AH Elite

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2015
    Messages:
    1,243
    Video/Photo:
    66
    Likes Received:
    2,022
    Location:
    Alabama
    Member of:
    DSC, NRA, SCI
    Hunted:
    Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Scotland, England, Canada, Alaska, Ireland
    Awesome bull!
     
    gillettehunter likes this.

  5. BenKK

    BenKK AH Elite

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Messages:
    1,050
    Video/Photo:
    146
    Likes Received:
    1,271
    Location:
    Northern Territory, Australia
    Congrats!
     
    gillettehunter likes this.

  6. Neale

    Neale AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
    Messages:
    431
    Video/Photo:
    100
    Likes Received:
    430
    Location:
    Cape York, Queensland Australia
    Member of:
    SSAA
    Hunted:
    Australia, South Africa ( Eastern Cape, Free State, Limpopo,KwaZulu Natal )
    Beautiful Eland.
     
    gillettehunter likes this.

  7. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    21,709
    Video/Photo:
    411
    Likes Received:
    14,299
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Canada, USA, Mexico, England
    Nice Eland.
    Congrats.
     
    gillettehunter likes this.

  8. cagkt3

    cagkt3 AH ENABLER PLATINUM SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2017
    Messages:
    2,633
    Video/Photo:
    85
    Likes Received:
    1,675
    Location:
    Texas
    Member of:
    DSC, SCI - West Texas Chapter, HSC, NRA Life Member, Ducks Unlimited
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Zimbabwe, OK, TX, UT
    Great looking eland!
     
    gillettehunter likes this.

  9. Smitty

    Smitty AH Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2018
    Messages:
    68
    Video/Photo:
    13
    Likes Received:
    83
    Location:
    Northern California
    Hunted:
    Plains Game
    Excellent Story! Beautiful job, and thank you.
     

  10. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    3,111
    Video/Photo:
    81
    Likes Received:
    2,610
    Hunted:
    Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(2) New Zealand
    Thanks for the congrats on the eland. He is a beautiful animal. I was blessed....
    Bruce
     
    Wheels likes this.

  11. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2015
    Messages:
    2,066
    Video/Photo:
    19
    Likes Received:
    2,679
    Lechwe - A stalk by stalk breakdown

    Day 5 - Is the day we were going to get a Lechwe. We have a plan and we are going to target Honeycomb. We take off to where we saw him yesterday. They had not feed down into the valley yet, but we saw some up a hill and figured that might be the same group. So we took off on foot to cut them off and circle downwind. The hill was pretty thick and ran the length of the valley, so we thought we would be in good shape to get to the grassy knoll where this group was located. After maybe a 1/4 mile we are starting to get within 100 yards of the herd and get the binos out and start to see if we can find the big ram. Of course in doing so we find out there is a cow not 40 yards from us, way off from the group and finally decides she can't take it anymore and spooks and runs. Others start to follow, and we realize we are not going to get on our ram on this stalk (assuming he was even there as we didn't see him)

    Back to the truck and start to see if they are headed to this grassy area to feed. We get there and in all of its glory is a ram out by himself, he only lifted his head for a minute and was facing away but he needed a closer look. We start to sneak in, and I thought for sure we were going to stop and get on the sticks, but he was completely unaware of our presence. We get to 150 and keep going, 100 keep going, we get to 75 and Dean asks if I want to get closer, I almost wanted to laugh. At this point there was much discussion around this lechwe as feeding without a care in the world and I am looking him over. I got fatigue and looked around and here came a herd of female lechwe feeding their way over. I didn't really like the extra eyes but the wind was perfect and we were standing still so I didn't think we had much to worried about. Dean and I are trying to guess size but this guy won't lift his head up and turn around for us to confirm. We are 95% sure it is not Honeycomb, but a smaller one. It was at this point we each caught movement to our left. We couldn't believe here came a group of Eland right into the open and the 3rd one in is a huge eland. Our reactions cannot be repeated on a family forum, but to keep it PG, we said forget the lechwe we need Bruce here and began to wave him up. The bull have conveniently moved between an anthill and us, while Bruce was sneaking up. Bruce got there and to see his eyes when I told him there is a huge eland bull about to walk out is forever priceless. I know Bruce told his story, but he is not giving himself enough credit on how good the first shot was, I actually thought he was going to drop right there. But when the bull tipped over, 3 grown men were jumping up and down and hugging in the middle of a field. It was a pretty epic moment. I am not sure if Bruce would want me to share this picture but it is one of my favorite from the trip. It is a candid photo of Bruce's reaction when we got to the bull. Like a kid at Christmas.

    20190915_075400.jpg

    So after that excitement...we decided to keep hunting. We found one of the four, but some impala sent him into a ticket. We played a little cat and mouse, but there were four lechwe and we could never get a feel for them. The one thing for sure, the original was 2nd biggest, 2 were non-shooters and the other one well I definitely would have wanted a closer look. We lost them or they lost us and we decided to go back from breakfast, it had been quite a morning.

    Around 3pm we took off again to look for honeycomb. First group of lechwe, there was a good one, we think maybe the bull from the morning but not honeycomb. We keep going and right on the edge of the thick brush hill we stalked earlier in the day is a group. And in that group, is honeycomb standing there looking magnificent with the sun hitting his orange/red coat...the issue was there was a smaller honeycomb with him, just laying down right in front of him...the smaller one was still good, maybe 26 inches but not great. And with them was about 2o to 25 females. So thick spot, lots of leaves, look a like male...what could go wrong. We drive past a 1/4 of a mile and start our stalk in. And boy did we do a stalk. We got to within 20 yards of some of the females, I mean we got close and were able to really look them over. Well we are focused on a ram that is farther in the woods as we can see a ram laying down and figure that is the smaller one. So we are trying to get a lane, trying to see where he is moving and starting to evaluate how big he really is. After 5 minutes of this, we notice the other one stand up in a perfect opening and start to walk off, Dean and I each go wait, what, that is the big one...the big one was 50 yards away in a shooting lane and we didn't even know it. In retrospect, we should have known because the one laying down was behind an anthill, and we would have never been able to see it from the valley. So now we are trying to get into position and with cows 30 yards away, we just couldn't make it happen. The last image we saw were the two old rams walking towards the field where Bruce got his eland.

    Back in the truck to cut them off, well we really cut them off, because we couldn't find them. So we just needed to wait for them to feed out to the field or to the valley but they were going to go one way or the other. So we go to see if we can find "the four", we get there and there is the decent one from this morning and the old one I saw wanted a closer look at earlier is right on the edge of the field. He looks awesome, lots of mass, darker horns but he is looking good. He is very similar to Honeycomb in size. We have some cape buffalo milling about, so not an ideal spot to put in a stalk. He is 275 yards away, which getting prone would be a makable shot. We are thinking about where to get to and what we can do, and judging the wind. Dean goes there should be 4 big ones and there is only 2, lets go check one last place, we can come back and kill this guy if we want to. I have mixed feelings about shooting this guy due to my new found obsession with honeycomb, but then again do I want to pass another good lechwe. But we take off, we get to the other spot and start to glass, there is about 15 lechwe out and about...no, no, no, no, and then we see one in the corner near some brushes...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2019
    Ridgewalker and gillettehunter like this.

  12. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2015
    Messages:
    2,066
    Video/Photo:
    19
    Likes Received:
    2,679
    The one in the corner is not as wide as what we have been seeing but man is he long, he is really long and he has great hooks at the top of his horns. And he is turning is head and really showing off, and when he turns sideways and I see those hooks, I am in awe, and I could say was "wow" after about the third wow, I decide this is now my lechwe. There is a little hill not 25 yards from the truck, we put on the bipod and get in the prone position. Bruce is calling out ranges and we talk about the drop. 230 yards away, about a 4 to 5 inch drop. The lechwe has no clue and is feeding perfectly. I even do a dry run, dry fire, and the feeling you get when you pull the trigger and the crosshairs don't move...you know you are about to make a good shot. I chamber a round, get on him, wait for him to turn and squeeze the trigger. Due to the hill, I could only see the Lechwe from the knees up, at the shot, with the recoil I lost him...but I heard the most beautiful thhhhhhwaccckk. I know the shot had been true, I hear Dean go good shot, damn good shot, Bruce goes oh yeah he is down, he only kicked once. All of the other lechwe hadn't even stopped feeding. There was no ground shrinkage, and I was beyond ecstatic.

    20190915_174211.jpg 20190915_173843.jpg
     
    jeff, Trogon, Ridgewalker and 3 others like this.

  13. Neale

    Neale AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
    Messages:
    431
    Video/Photo:
    100
    Likes Received:
    430
    Location:
    Cape York, Queensland Australia
    Member of:
    SSAA
    Hunted:
    Australia, South Africa ( Eastern Cape, Free State, Limpopo,KwaZulu Natal )
    Beautiful Lechwe LTD
     

  14. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    21,709
    Video/Photo:
    411
    Likes Received:
    14,299
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Canada, USA, Mexico, England
    That's a beauty.
     

  15. BenKK

    BenKK AH Elite

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Messages:
    1,050
    Video/Photo:
    146
    Likes Received:
    1,271
    Location:
    Northern Territory, Australia
    Nice!

    What rifle is that? You probably already mentioned it, sorry, but I missed it.
     
    gillettehunter likes this.

  16. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    3,111
    Video/Photo:
    81
    Likes Received:
    2,610
    Hunted:
    Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(2) New Zealand
    Mike is using my custom 7MM SAUM (short action ultra mag). 180 gr berger bullets at 2900 fps. Something like 16 animals with it on this trip between us.
    Bruce
     
    BenKK likes this.

  17. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    3,111
    Video/Photo:
    81
    Likes Received:
    2,610
    Hunted:
    Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(2) New Zealand
    This picture from a day after the lechwe/eland hunt shows my rifle pretty well. Spiral fluted bartlien barrel. Manners stock. Rifle is capable of 1/4 MOA accuracy. A76A32E7-B0D8-4904-8850-9D1B5E825B9F.jpeg
     
    Ridgewalker and BenKK like this.

  18. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    3,111
    Video/Photo:
    81
    Likes Received:
    2,610
    Hunted:
    Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(2) New Zealand
    So next up is the day of the hartebeest.
    I do need to mention that Mike made a beautiful shot on his lechwe. It also was the biggest taken at Bird estate this year. A real stud!
    After the Eland, Dean suggested a plan to me. He said , how about a hartebeest? I'll swap the bushbuck for a hartebeest. I'll get you a cape for your bushbuck that you need. A lot are shot by the neighbors for rations. My cape wasn't useable when it got back to the states. I thought, well I'd rather shoot a new species. So I agreed to the plan.
    So day 6 Dean arrives late to get us. I have 5 shells left for the SAUM. Need to be a little careful. There is a small herd of hartebeest at water. Young bull in the group so off we go. We see a couple and then a group of 4. Dean says that they are bulls and we drive around to get ahead of them. We leave the truck and I pick up up my bipod. We walk a ways and then Dean spots them standing in some shade. I range it at 200 yds. Easy distance for me. I install the bipod and find a place to lay down.
    I turn the magnification up a bit as Dean looks them over. He tells me the one facing to the right is nice, but the one back furthest in the shade is the best. No shot on the one in the back. They have not settled for the day yet so after a couple of minutes they shuffle around some. The one facing right turns and faces left. Then the one in back turns to its right and is quartering towards us. Its shoulder becomes exposed to me at my angle. I tell Dean I have a shot. The hole in the bush and between animals is about the size of a basketball.
    Dean says if I have a shot then to take it. I want to be sure we are looking at the same animal. I ask him, "the one with its head behind the tree"? Dean replies yes. Then it shakes its head [flies?] and I say the one shaking its head? Dean says yes. So I shoot it. I am stable and am sure of the shot. The hartebeest drops at the shot and then gets up and runs away. Dean calls Mike and an assistant PH to come help. We walk over and the hartebeest has only gone about 40 yds. As we reach it Dean says, "Its a female....." I'll admit I got a bit defensive. I had verified 2 times that were looking at the same animal. Dean suggests that a female must of slipped in that we missed seeing. As a part owner of the place and on private land, he shrugs it off and says no problem. A couple of pics and we load the hartebeest and head for the house to get it taken care of. We go less than 1/2 mile and see 3 hartebeest in the brush. Dean is sure its the group that we just shot the cow out of and they are all bulls. So we jump off the truck and grab the sticks. A short walk and we can see a hartebeest in the brush. We adjust slightly to have a clear shooting lane. Dean says to shoot so I do. The wildebeest goes maybe 30 yds and is done. When we walk up its another cow...............
    There is no possibility of confusion. It was the only one with any chance of a shot. Deans mistake for sure. So we load her up and head to the house. We see another herd of hartebeest and I can clearly see a bull in the group. Dean keeps on going. Dean has other plans made.
    When we drop off the cows to be gutted and skinned he suggests going to a another place for a bull after lunch. We agree to be ready at 2. Out of power. More later.
     
    Ridgewalker likes this.

  19. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    3,111
    Video/Photo:
    81
    Likes Received:
    2,610
    Hunted:
    Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(2) New Zealand
    6FBD0856-13DC-4671-BBAA-382243485327.jpeg D647B5ED-D651-4C4A-81DF-D9A1AE2CE8B9.jpeg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2019
    Ridgewalker likes this.

  20. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2015
    Messages:
    2,066
    Video/Photo:
    19
    Likes Received:
    2,679
    So after Bruce shot the second cow, Dean goes to get the truck and comes back and goes there was a hartebeest in the road not 100 yards away. We all ask, Bull or Cow, Dean busts up laughing and goes, "hell if I know". It was a pretty funny moment. Dean was also making a lot of jokes about him being a biltong hunter, which were also pretty funny. I will say it was a bit of a bizarre moment, but both Bruce and Dean took it in stride and made the most of it.
     
    Ridgewalker and BenKK like this.

Share This Page

 
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice