thanks for a great report and especially the pictures.
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Tue, 2013-07-23 20:31#21
thanks for a great report and
Thu, 2013-08-22 19:31#22
Sorry the long time between posts. Enjoy
I stayed at the lodge this morning instead of hunting. Slept in with my wife till about 8:30am. We got up and had coffee and biscotti on the porch and just took in the views. The surrounding mountains are just breathtaking. There were some small chicken looking critters feeding near the lodge, and the horses were grazing free in the distance. My son Josh woke up a little later and then we went and layed by the pool till we heard my buddy Joe and his PH Gram pull up. Joe broke the ice and had taken a beautiful Impala, just over 20” and wide. A celebration was in order. Brunch was being served and we toasted with orange and mango juice to Joe’s first Africa kill. Warthog sausage, omlets, bacon and roasted tomatoes. Delicious!
After brunch Frans brought me, Sherry and Josh to town to visit the local taxidermist. I was excited to see some of the animals I had taken mounted, especially the Kudu. The taxidermist’s name was Rudy and what a great guy he was. He was expecting us and had coffee perking when we arrived.
The first animal we saw was a full mount Lord Derby Eland. Wow! He was huge. He was in the show room along with a 21” cape Bushbuck that was once the world record according to Rudy. There was also a 50” Cape Kudu there. I was in sensory overload to say the least. Rudy then showed me and my family the whole facility. A Giraffe was in progress in the back room along with a Sable and a Cape buffalo. We went back to the showroom and sat down and drank some coffee and visited a while. After getting to know Rudy a bit we left to go back to the lodge and get ready for the afternoon hunt.
Josh decided to come with us hunting this afternoon and I really enjoyed his presence. He would be fulltime cameraman. We hopped into Frans’ Land Cruiser and drove to his home and headed to the valley out back about 4 or 5 miles from the house. We didn’t get far maybe a mile or so when we spotted 2 Zebra feeding on the far hillside. We got out of the truck and parallel to them. They were about 400 yards away. Then 2 more emerged from the acaia thicket. We looked them over and decided a stalk was not possible. We hopped back in the truck and drove no more than ¼ mile and there was a beautiful Zebra standing only 150 yards off the roadside. I told Frans I wanted to take him so we very slowly got out of the truck. Frans told me to get my rifle while he and Mongazi glassed him. I really wanted him but after some studying they said he was a teenage stallion. He looked good to me but I trusted their judgment. They explained he looked big all by himself but if there was another one near him I could see he was not the mature stallion I wanted.
We got back into the truck and continued driving down to the valley. There were Blesbok everywhere along with a few Impala. We aw a couple rams but thay were young. We drove a couple more miles and then parked the truck. We geared up and Josh and I started walking behind Frans and Mongazi. We covered only a few hundred yards and Mongazi stopped and put up the sticks. Just as I put the gun up the Impala ram Mongazi spotted, moved. We picked up and followed very,very slowly. He wasn’t spooked and the wind was in our face. I guess we are after Impala now. Funny how we started out this afternoon looking for a Zebra and now our sights are on an Impala. I love this Africa stuff!! Where else can you see so much game and it’s all fair game!
Well back to the Impala. We caught up to him and he was in the thick acacia bushes about 50 yards away. Mongazi put the sticks up and I was on him. Frans said “no shot”. He didn’t know I had a very small opening , but I didn’t shoot because he made the call. The Impala also made the decision for us, as he bolted a second later.
We all headed down a dirt road about a couple hundred yards and finally were able to see the valley we were originally heading to. There was a green pasture like area on the valley floor and there was a small group of Impala feeding there about a half mile away. Frans was glassing while Josh took photos and I was just taking everything in. We then heard Frans say “good ram”. Mongazi our tracker then took over and we followed him moving towards the group. We climbed down a hillside and got opposite herd. There were actually 3 rams in the bunch and one was very nice. I set the bipod down on my rifle and Frans whispered 183 yards. When the biggest of the three rams stepped into view I took a couple deep breaths to relax and calm down. I took the safe off and said “I’m gonna shoot”. The ram dropped at the shot. I racked another round in the 300 ultra and stayed on him about a couple minutes or so. After we observed no movement we made our way down to him. Upon getting to him we saw the hit and it was in the center of his shoulder. We flipped him over and the bullet exited out the other shoulder. Both holes where about the size of a pencil eraser. He was a mature ram with about 19” horns that were turned out and kinda heavy. Frans and Josh took some great photos while Mongazi went for the truck. We got back to the lodge to the smell of pork chops on the grill. Dinner then time around the fire then bed. 4 days, 4 shots 4 animals. God is good.
Fri, 2013-09-13 18:52#23
Day 5, Blesbok. Today we drove to Frans’s “urban concession”. This is 2000 acres of Blesbok and Springbok heaven. When Frans purchased this “small farm” on the outskirts of Grahmstown, aka “urban” there were 3 pairs of Springbok on the property and no Blesbok. A friend brought 4 orphan Blesbok to the property of which 1 perished the first week there. This was 10 years ago, and now there are over 400 Springbok and over 100 Blesbok of which some are truly “world class”. Upon entering the property, we spotted the first of many good Springbok rams. I was there looking for a “great” Blesbok though. We crossed a couple cattle fences and started to make our way to the back side of the property. This was the highest part of the property. Where the habitat was marginal at best according to Frans. He said we would start there and work our way down. I noticed right off that the topography was very different here than that of which we have been hunting. This was a very flat and rolling. Once we parked the truck and walked to the top of a rise about 200 yards away, we were able to glass at least 1000 yards all around. This was great, since I wanted to try a “far” (around 300 yds.) shot and this would be the place I could do it. We were in a clump of acacia bushes and some very large boulders and we were very well hidden.
Frans immediately spotted some “good” Blesbok in the distance. In just a few minutes we were looking at a couple dozen “good” (16”-17”) ones and a “great” one in the words of Frans. I could see the one he was looking at was taller and wider than the ones around it. Also it’s hornes seemed to be lighter in color than the rest. We ranged him at 267 yards and I started to put my bipod down and get ready for the shot when he just walked behind a knob and disappeared. Frans said he would make his way either up the knob or out the other side so we waited. And waited. And waited. After about fifteen or so minutes Mongazi signaled he could see him on the other side and walking. We had to make a move and get to where Icould get a shot but by this time there were about 10 or 15 Springbok that were looking our way. We had to move very slowly and it took about 5 minutes to go about 50 yards to a spot we could see three Blesbok and one was the wide shooter. I put my bipod down and laid prone. Frans ranged him at 290 yards and there was a very stiff crosswind. I leveled my bipod and put the 200 yd. reticule about 4’’ on him and aimed about 10” into the wind. The great Blesbok dropped at the shot. I don’t know why I didn’t use the 300 reticule and aimed dead on?? But it worked. We waited about 10 minutes and then walked down to him. There was no ground shrinkage, he just kept getting bigger and bigger! He was Magnificent. Frans said “I have to do this” and put a quick tape on him and he was alittle under 18”! Then he said wait a minute and measured it again but this time pulling down the hair and exposing another ½”! Frans said Roland Ward minimum was 16 ½”. I don’t know anything about these animals but he looked big to me and I was very happy to say the least. Frans said it was one of the best ones he has ever taken there. A photo session ensued and we loaded him onto the truck. We then had coffee and breakfast sandwiches on the tailgate.
After breakfast Frans gave me a tour of the property and we spotted some nice Warthogs and a beautiful Kudu bull. I didn’t hunt the afternoon and stayed back at the lodge with Sherry and Josh. We had Sirloin steaks on an open fire and baked potatoes with antipasta salad for dinner. Pecan pie and ice cream for desert. Day five complete with five trophy animals. Thank you Lord.
Sun, 2013-09-29 18:02#24
Today is Sunday and I decided to take the morning off and spend it with the family. I woke up around 8 am. Josh and I spent a beautiful morning talking and taking in the surroundings. I had some coffee while Josh caught up on some homework. He took of the better part of two weeks off school to be here. Sherry woke up and we just relaxed on the covered porch. The sun came over the mountain and it got very hot very fast so we relaxed at the pool and got some rays. We sat around and about an hour later, Gram and Joe came up the driveway. We greeted them but no Kudu again. Joe did get a Jackel yesterday but we were hoping for a Kudu today. We had a wonderful brunch with eggs, Warthog sausage, bacon, toast and assorted juices. We went out to the pool after and waited for Frans to arrive so we could make a plan for Zebra this afternoon. There has been two small groups hanging out in the same valley the lodge is in about 2 miles away. One group has 4 and the other has 3. We were hoping a stallion is in the bigger group. Frans came by and picked me ,Sherry and Josh, We took the “scenic route” to try get above where the Zebra were. We drove to the top of the valley and then drove to where we have been seeing the Zebra. We got out and started glassing. We spotted the group of three. They were about a mile away on the other side and about 2/3 the ways up the valley wall. We then spotted the other group about 500 yards from that group on the same side. We got back in the truck and drove to the bottom. We parked and planned the stalk. They were about a half mile away and a steep climb to get to them. Mongazi was in front followed by Frans then me, Sherry and Josh. We went about 300 yards when Mongazi spotted the first Zebra. I tried to set up for a shot but the grass was very high. It was a long shot close over two hundred yards and I wanted to sit and use my bipod but the grass was just too high for that. The zebra moved out of sight so Me and Frans moved up about a hundred yards and then Frans said he heard them run. Frans went ahead and I stayed behind to try to catch my breath. It was a steep climb and Frans is in much better shape than I. A few minutes passed and Mongazi came up behind me and said he saw the three so we went after them. We made our way about a hundred yards or so to an opening and we could see one of the Zebra feeding across from us about 200 yards away. It was a young one so we watched and I tried to find a spot I could sit and use the bipod but it just wasn’t happening in this high grass. While trying to get a steady rest, 2 more Zebras stepped into view a Mongazi thought one was a stallion, judging by it’s size and look. But I still could not get out of the grass. We kept crawling closer and trying to get to a spot where the grass was not chest high. We made it to a spot where I could see above the grass while sitting, using the bipod. I got ready for the shot. At this time they were around 150 yards, but the stallion walked behind some acacia and I couldn’t get a clear shot. We waited for quite a while and then we heard Frans yelling for me. That was all she wrote. The Zebra spooked and we made our way down to Frans. Frans had been looking for me where he left me and was frightened I had gotten hurt or something of that nature. Also all this time Sherry and Josh were sitting where we spotted the first Zebra. Anyway, no Zebra for me today. But it was a great hunt and mountain hiking experience. We made our way back to the truck and then to the lodge. Springbok roast for dinner. Then to bed early. Nothing for Joe again today.
Mon, 2013-09-23 10:02#25
sounds like a great
sounds like a great morning!!!