ZAMBIA: Zambia With Balla Balla Safaris

Nyati

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You guys are having a great adventure, great trophies and lots of fun, enjoy :D Cheers:
 

gillettehunter

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At lunch, Mike and I were alone. He then proceeded to suggest that all 4 Hartebeests were in fact cows. Mike had a conversation with the assistant PH and he told Mike that he had told Dean that there was not a mature bull hartebeest on the place. Dean thought he could find one. After much thought I believe that Mike is correct and the group of 4 was all cows...... At around 2 Dean and the assistant PH come and pick us up. We head out of Bird estate and then out to the main road.
On the main road we pass a checkpoint that Dean tells us is to prevent the spread of hoof and mouth disease and that we will have to stop on our way back. We go to another town and meet Richard. Richard is a PH that is also a tobacco farmer. He loves to hunt and knows the farm we are going to. Off we go to the new farm. This is one actively being farmed. Tobacco is one of the main crops and is rotated some. There are big termite mounds with the associated trees scattered throughout. There is a good bushbuck population that lives in those trees. Then they have sections of bush.
We pull into the farm and wait for the ranch hand to join us. Then off we go. We eventually work our way into a pond and find a herd of hartebeest. There is a good bull in the group. We drive perhaps 1/2 mile around looking to see if there is another one close to compare him to. The we double back to check him out closer. We bail out of the truck and work our way back to where he had been. He has moved into the bush and we bump him out. Richard, Dean and I follow. Eventually Dean and Richard get a good look and tell me to take him. He is about 130 yds away quartering to us. I get on the sticks. I was so solid and had no doubt when I shot. He ran to the left. I got the inevitable question about how the shot felt. I said, " Dead hartebeest, heart shot". They didn't quite believe me till we found him 60 yds away all piled up. Right through the heart as I called it. He was a nice bull. 3 shots for 3 animals so far today. Had me feeling pretty good.
When Mike got to the dead bull he asked if we got a male this time. Dean joking said yes, I ran up to him and grabbed his balls to be sure. Laughs all around. Glad we found a bull.
So then Dean says let's hunt a bushbuck. We have already seen several females so that sounds good. We take the hartebeest back to the main shop to be caped and off we go. The worker with us says there is a big one by the
workers quarters. So off we go to see what we can find. Lots of females. No rams anywhere. We saw a couple dozen females as well as Eland, hartebeest and Impala.
Finally as the sun is going down we kick up a ram. He takes off across the field. Dean and I follow. He stops at the next termite mound and makes the fatal mistake of turning around to look at us. He is 200 yds away or a little more when I get on the sticks. He is in the shadows and hard to see, but my scope picks him out readily. I get on him and pull the trigger. We hear the thump and he takes off around the base of the termite mound. He made it about 30 yds and down for the count. Old ram. Missing hair over a bit of the neck and top of the head. Not particularly long, but heavy. His coat is the darkest Chobe one that I have seen. He looks like one from the Limpopo. 4 for 4 for my shooting today. 1 cartridge left.
Dean has offered Mike a free duiker so that cartridge is available for use. Back to the office and then back towards Bird estate.
We indeed stop at the hoof and mouth stop. We get out and wash our hands. We also wipe our shoes on a pad with Clorox on it. Then drive across another pad with disinfectant to clean the tires. Quite the day. Lots of shooting. Down to only 1 day left in Africa........
Bruce
 

gillettehunter

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Mort Hill

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I guess if you hunt long enough something bad happens, but it really bugs me to be the one to screw up.....
Bruce

No truer words are spoken. And knowing your mistake makes it that much worse. I have probably replayed my mistakes far more often in my mind than all my successes put together!
 

Ridgewalker

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I’m exhausted just reading this! What a grand time shared between two characters!:LOL::D:ROFLMAO:(y)
 

gillettehunter

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So the last day of hunting we focused on a duiker for Mike. It was...... interesting. I'll let him tell the tale. Perhaps he has some comments on the "shitshells".
Coming home SAA had someone steal my ammo box between Zambia and Jo-berg. Pisses me off to no end. Let me pack it in my suitcase like every other airline and then it's less likely to turn up missing. We all ought to write to SAA and collectively voice our displeasure. Grrrrrr.....
Other than that no major difficulties coming home. So to wrap up my hunt.. The question always needs to be asked, would you you hunt with them again. The answer is yes. Would I do anything different? Perhaps hunt earlier in the season, although we got some exceptional trophies at the end of season.
I'll have to say the 2X1 bugged me and seemed high handed. Now in the end looking back that is how I would plan the hunt. Mike and I really enjoyed watching each other hunt and shoot their animals. Essentially doubled our enjoyment. I'm sure that I could nitpick a few other minor issues, but really there is no need to. Would I recommend Balla Balla? Yes I would. They have some wonderful properties and good people to work with. Mike and I will be happy to answer any questions.
Bruce
 

LivingTheDream

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I have to apologize to the forum for taken so long to do my write up, but archery bow season has started and I am spending too much time in trees. Promise to finish it up tomorrow.
 

LivingTheDream

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Day of the Duiker

So we are up at 6 and all of the animals on our list are filled. There is really no pressure and we hunting Duiker today. The only pressure I have is that Bruce’s 7mm SAUM only has one bullet left…one shot and I have got to make it count. Well sort of, we also have the camp .223 and Bruce’s .375 Ruger. But in my mind I want to make the shot count. So off we go, and we are seeing some Duikers, either too small or female. I have seen a lot of Duikers while hunting, but I never paid too much attention to how antsy they are. They don’t hang around long and when trying to do trophy evaluation it makes it extremely tough. Bruce and I are on the back and trying to spot them before they take off but we are not having much luck with good males. After about an hour we are getting better at it but we are mostly spotting resting females. We finally get on a good one, he takes off but not too spooked and goes walking thru the brush. We tried to get back on him, but it was not to be. He was a good and I think one we had seen earlier in the week. I think knowing what I know now, we might have got him before he got spooked.

We then decide to take a walk and check Ant Hills, as apparently they love to sit in the shade during the heat of the day. We were walking right to within 20 or 30 yards before they would take off. But we still were having trouble finding a good male. After a mile and ½ walk, we have gotten close to many but hadn’t raised the gun. We then decide to go to another spot and go for a walk, we again are bumping females, bump a few small males but still not close. We come around a corner and there is one on the other side of fence to the game breeding operation. So I dial the scope up and I am getting myself mentally prepared to thread the needle. When we turns and ducks the fence and now is walking across the path (left to right). I am following him in the scope and trying to get him to stop but due to the wind direction, there was no way it could hear us. So as I go to squeeze trigger, I see the bush on the right side and stop moving and yank the trigger, shooting directly behind the Duiker. He is unhit and goes meandering through the brush and we are trying to get another shot now with Bruce’s .375. But it wasn’t going to be. I am pretty frustrated with myself as I made another rookie mistake of stopping my swing, and messed up the pretty awesome record that Bruce’s rifle had by finishing it with a miss. So in the truck going back to lunch Bruce becomes a spotting machine. To make a long frustrating story short, we (and by we I mean Bruce) spotted 3 decent males in 30 minutes but before we could even size them up they took off. It was now my mission to get a duiker

The afternoon came, and I said I have no problem shooting one from the truck. So we had a new plan, look at the Ant Hills, see if we can catch one resting and see if we can get a shot before they get out there. The new system was working immediately as I was able to get on females and small males and I was able to do some better trophy evaluation. We passed on a male that was a borderline shooter, he was pretty good but we have seen better. We keep going and looking over ant hill after ant hill, and I have to be honest Bruce and I were getting pretty good at seeing them. We come around a bend and jump one and he takes off, crosses the road and slows down, we are slowing moving forward and can see him slow making his way back to the road. A quick tap on the roof, the truck stops, turns off and I am on a bag steading for the shot. As he starts to cross, I see horns and they are about ear length, safety off and as he crosses the road, I am following the shoulder, breath and squeeze, solid shot and he flips over and down. My quest for a Duiker was over and I could not have been happier. From what I was told he on the better side for this farm but everyone was pretty happy.

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As far as the “shitshells” story, to make a mind numbing experience somewhat entertaining, we decide to shoot a few guineas for the camp staff. We had about an hour of hunting to go and both Bruce and I enjoy bird hunting so figured it would be a fun way to end it. Well we think the only way we got and guineas was from them laughing at us. We LITERALLY saw the shot bouncing off the birds. We got lucky a hit a few in the head but man with good shells we could have got a few more or at least been done a little sooner. I took a picture of the shells so I know to never buy them and Bruce said, shotshells…more like shitshells. I couldn’t agree more and that was a great and necessary laugh.
 

LivingTheDream

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A final point and review of Balla Balla

As mentioned this was dream hunt for me. The animals numbers and trophy quality were better than I expected. There is a few nitpicking things I could think of, but overall I am not sure I could of had a better trip. Bruce was awesome to have in camp and I can't imagine doing this trip without him and definitely doubt I would of had as much fun. Everyone we encountered was professional, personable and I was sad to go. If you wanted a Hyena, I hate to say it but I feel like this place is a slam dunk. Zambia is not for everyone, it is remote, and the logistics of things are no where near as good at South Africa. Everyone is friendly and I never felt in danger. I would recommend Balla Ball especially for those that are looking for something different.
 

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A final point and review of Balla Balla

As mentioned this was dream hunt for me. The animals numbers and trophy quality were better than I expected. There is a few nitpicking things I could think of, but overall I am not sure I could of had a better trip. Bruce was awesome to have in camp and I can't imagine doing this trip without him and definitely doubt I would of had as much fun. Everyone we encountered was professional, personable and I was sad to go. If you wanted a Hyena, I hate to say it but I feel like this place is a slam dunk. Zambia is not for everyone, it is remote, and the logistics of things are no where near as good at South Africa. Everyone is friendly and I never felt in danger. I would recommend Balla Ball especially for those that are looking for something different.

Can you tell me more about the hyenas?
 

LivingTheDream

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@BenKK They have a lot of them. They woke us up multiple times during the night during our time at Dendro and they had at least five on the one hyena bait they put out. I have no idea of the costs but they get two tags a year. Saw lots of tracks and just feel like a dedicated effort would get results.
 

gillettehunter

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Dean put out a couple of leg bones with a little meat on it. I think he was hoping that Mike or I would decide we wanted to use their last hyena permit. It was perhaps a half mile from the camp. So we could hear the hyenas at night. I suspect that it would be reasonably easy to get one, especially if they knew ahead of time and dropped a few bones out before a client arrived. At least a client would know they were in the area.
Bruce
 

jeff

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Congrats to both of you on a fantastic hunt and a great report !!!!
 

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