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Thread: My Africa safari

  1. #1
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    My Africa safari

    I had been wanting to go to South Africa to hunt for decades. I talked to several outfitters at the Denver Sportsman's show over the years, but didn't really want to go by myself halfway around the world. In 2019 my neighbor, Bob, asked me if I ever considered going to South Africa to hunt. He has been there before but only as a tourist, not to hunt. I told him I always wanted to go so we decided to look into it together.

    At the January 2019 Denver Sportsman's Expo we talked to 9 of 16 Africa outfitters. I decided I would like to try to go with one that I talked to almost every year since around 2008. I put together a list of animals we wanted to hunt, and chose a date in mid-2020 since none of us were really ready to go on short notice. I wanted to hunt in their late winter, in the dry season before it got too warm. After repeated attempts to book the hunt, I gave up on them because they kept pushing the date out later on me.

    I moved on to the second choice. We talked to this guy for over an hour at the show. Their standard hunt was for 5 animals they had on a list, and 7 days of hunting. I told him if I was going that far I wanted 6 animals and 10 days of hunting. My main target animal was a trophy Kudu but I picked 5 others I was interested in too.

    We booked for early July 2020 and they would be in the middle of winter. We both decided to take our wives along as "observers" so the cost was added to our total. Then my wife and I decided we wanted to spend 5 days in Capetown, SA before going to the lodge in Kimberly. So we had everything booked.

    As everyone knows, the world basically got shut down in 2020 due to COVID. So our hunt was canceled and we re-booked for July 2021. In the meantime, Bob's wife died of liver disease.

    Time went by and COVID was still raging in 2021. There were flights, but lots of restrictions. We had to have COVID shots and tests in order to go to South Africa, which we did. 3 days before we were supposed to leave, they basically shut down South Africa due to COVID, as well as rioting in the country. We didn't know what to do, because I didn't want to sit in a hotel room for 5 days with everything shut down. We contacted the outfitter and they offered to host us for an additional 5 days at the lodge, and we accepted.

    We left Denver 5 days before Bob's flight. We flew to Newark, then to Johannesburg where we spent the night, then got on an old plane to Kimberly. I think it was a Convair. We had to wear masks the entire 20 hour trip and it was a pain in the ass. Funny how you were allowed to take them off when eating, like it was no big deal. We were picked up by our host and driven an hour and a half to the lodge, on top of the escarpment at about 4000 feet elevation. The country is full of thick brush....olive trees and acacia with some more open country. Weather was mild and dry.

    We arrived on Saturday and I started hunting with my PH (Professional hunter or guide), Adam, on Monday, earlier than planned. The first morning of hunting we found a nice Springbok at about 150 yards in a small opening in the brush. We set up for a shot, but I asked Adam if it was a good trophy, telling him I didn't come there for an "average" animal. He replied "we can do better. So we left him alone and went looking for another animal. We found a couple of nice Impalas and started following them, and were led to a herd of 7 Golden Wildebeest. The Blue Wildebeest was on my list but Adam asked me if I wanted a golden one, because they were a color phase of a blue. He said one of the bulls was a real trophy if I wanted to try for him.

    We watched them and stalked to 160 yards. By then they had bedded down and we had to wait them out. Adam told me which one to shoot when they stood up and I kept my eyes on him. Over an hour later they started standing up but were mingling and milling around. I almost lost track of the biggest one, but they finally stood still after my PH made a noise and the .270 dropped him in his tracks. Adam said "that doesn't usually happen".

    Here's my first South African animal, a Golden Wildebeest:

    IMG_2954small60.jpg

    Once we had him taken care of and the helpers loaded him onto the truck and took him back to the lodge, we continued our hunt for the next animal. That afternoon we saw a lot of animals, but nothing I wanted to shoot.

    The next morning we headed out and found a dried pond with a few Springboks (SA national animal) grazing in it. There was one really nice buck and we set up for a shot at about 140 yards. I was a bit nervous about the shot because these are small animals that move around a lot. He finally turned broadside and presented a shot, and one squeeze of the trigger dropped him. Here's my rather heavy-horned Springbok:

    IMG_2971small60.jpg

    After going back to the lodge for lunch, we headed back out and about a mile or so out a nice Impala crossed the road in front of us. Adam stopped the vehicle and got out and I followed. We tested the wind and it was in our favor as we zig-zagged through the acacia and olive brush, moving slowly. A couple hundred yards in Adam set up the shooting sticks and told me to get ready. Only 60 yards away was the big Impala. I set up and waited for the shot, which I felt would be an easy one. When the shot presented itself, I dropped him. Here's my Impala:

    IMG_2987small60.jpg

    With three animals down in two days, I figured it was about time for us to see some Kudu. That afternoon we headed into some dense brush and the sun was getting low in the sky. We were walking along a 2-track when suddenly Adam stopped and said "get ready". We could see the tips of the horns of a Kudu coming to cross the trail. He set up the sticks and I readied for the shot. The bull stepped out and he said "shoot him in the shoulder". I took a shot and he dropped. I think he was around 100 yards away. We had our high-fives and I looked at my bull but I sensed something was wrong. Adam was on the phone talking to the owner and said "I f-d up". I was looking for a really nice trophy animal and somehow I knew this wasn't it. The gleaming of the sun off the horns fooled my PH and he thought it was a bigger animal than it was. Here's my first Kudu:

    IMG_3001small60.jpg

    We called for the crew to pick him up and we went back to the lodge. The owner told me I wasn't going to have to pay for the animal, since it was a mistake. I was relieved and knew my hunt would go on. We spent the next day looking all over for a trophy Kudu, and saw some that weren't quite big enough. We also saw lots of other animals but nothing I was set on shooting.

    The next day we went in search of a good Blesbok. Anytime we were hunting I could shoot anything I wanted to. My wife came along with us and we saw some Kudu, but again not big enough. We walked miles and drove around a lot and saw a lot of animals. Late that evening we found a nice Blesbok and got to about 200 yards. I looked him over and Adam said he was a nice trophy. We set up and I shot.....I didn't see where he went. Adam asked me if I though the shot was good and I said I though it was. We walked toward where he was, and there he laid. Adam saw him drop but he was just playing with me. Here's my first Blesbok with Adam and my wife:

    IMG_3018small60.jpg

    So with 5 animals under my belt so far, the next day I had to change PH's. I was assigned to Franz, who was supposed to guide Bob.
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension


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  2. #2
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    We found out that Bob wasn't coming to meet us. We had to get COVID tests within 72 hours of leaving Denver to enter South Africa. Bob was gone on another trip and it was the 4th of July weekend. He went in on Saturday and got his test. When he arrived at the Denver Airport (DIA) to check in, he was told that his COVID test expired 30 minutes ago and he couldn't board. He went back home and got another test and re-booked his flight. That time he got on the plane and flew to Newark, but they were unable to land because of the hurricane that was coming up the coast that flooded the Newark airport. So they landed in DC, re-fueled, and eventually were able to get to Newark. By that time Bob's plane to Johannesburg had left and he needed to re-book the flight. Unfortunately, his COVID test would expire again before he could get on that flight. I talked to him and told him to get the test and come on down! He was fed up and disgusted and decided to go home and forget about the trip. He ended up going in July 2022.

    Franz was a different kind of guide....he was very aggressive and being a bowhunter most of the time the past 30 years, I wasn't used to that. My wife came along with us a couple of times and even she got frustrated with his pace, and hand signals we didn't understand. I liked Adam a lot better and his hunting style was more compatible with mine. The problem was the owner had already hired Franz, a freelance PH, to guide Bob and he needed to honor that commitment.

    Franz and I hunted the next day, looking for Kudu, but we found three Gemsbok bulls. The cows actually have longer, thinner horns than the bulls but most of them were pregnant and they didn't want to shoot them. We bedded the bulls down around noon and sat in the shade watching them at around 190 yards. We were set up in some brush and had a good position to watch them and chose one bull to try for. After maybe 45 minutes they stood up and started meandering off. I wasn't sure I was going to get a shot because they started going straight away, but then he turned. I shot and I knew he was hit but he ran off into the brush. We looked for him and tried to track him, but had to call the professional trackers to help. It wasn't long and we found him maybe 100 yards away. The shot placement was about perfect but they're tough animals and a .270 might be a bit small for them.

    IMG_3030small60.jpg

    We spent the next 4 days scouring the countryside looking for my trophy Kudu. We walked miles and saw several, and even had one I wanted to shoot but Franz's aggressive style spooked him before I could get a shot. He kept standing out in the wide open when he should have been hiding and sneaking around.

    It was getting really cold at night, dropping to 23 degrees F one night and freezing all the pipes in the cabins. The cabins aren't heated except by small wood stoves and electric blankets on the beds. We actually had to move to a different room the second day we were there because the room we had was so cold. It's not what I expected so it was a surprise. By afternoon it was really nice and warm. My wife and I spend some time hiking around the ranch and down the roads.

    One morning we decided to hit a different area of the ranch. We were walking through some thick 12-15 foot high brush and saw a couple of Kudu. One was too small so we bumped him gently and kept moving. Finally Franz set up the shooting sticks and told me to get the rifle ready. He pointed and I couldn't see the Kudu. I looked through the scope and finally spotted him about 160 yards away. I put the crosshairs on his shoulder and shot.....he ran off. We took our gear to where he was standing and began the search. There were lots of tracks but they were from lots of animals. Franz followed some tracks looking for blood to no avail. We split up and he called the trackers. We all looked for an hour or so and found no blood. I worried that I wounded him and the rules are if you wound one you pay for it.

    I was getting pretty bummed by now, shooting what I really came after and losing it. I saw Franz and the other guys about a hundred yards away talking and I headed over toward them. There was a thicket between me and them and as I approached it I was a curly "branch" sticking up. It looked strangely like a Kudu horn....and it WAS!!! I found my trophy. He didn't really go very far from where I shot him, perhaps 100 yards or less.

    Here's my hard-won South Africa trophy Cape Kudu:

    IMG_3053small60.jpg

    With my Kudu finally down, and plenty of time left to hunt, I decided I wanted to try for a white Blesbok. My wife decided to come along with us again so we all hopped into the vehicle. We spent all day looking for one and passed on several because either they weren't white enough, or they weren't big enough. We finally found one that fit the bill and he was moving through the brush pretty fast. We started following him and eventually caught up with him. I think I dropped him at maybe 80 yards. Here he is....

    IMG_3075small60.jpg

    They kept trying to get me to hunt some more, so I finally gave in and decided to try to get a trophy Red Hartebeest. We had seen a few early on, but no big ones. We hunted hard one day and saw some but I told Franz I didn't want to shoot just an average one. So that's one I didn't get.

    With 8 animals down I pretty much decided my hunt was over. I hunted 11 days solid, morning and evening....sometimes almost all day. We did other things at times, like having lunch out in the bush and just driving around looking at different sights in the area. We saw tons of animals including zebras, giraffes, rhinos, Roan antelope, Sable, hundreds of Springboks and Blesboks, Cape Buffalo, Lechwe, Steinbok, Klipspringer, Red Hartebeest, Kudu, Eland, and more. They have 43 different species of animals on the ranch. South Africa has over 70.

    This was an incredible trip of a lifetime and my wife and I really enjoyed it. Bob decided to go again in 2023, and he has his hunt booked for late June. He wanted me to go with him, and I really wanted to but I have so much going on trying to get moved to Montana and taking care of two properties, finishing my Nomad, along with scouting for hunts I plan to do with my son this fall. I will probably go back to South Africa once things settle down a little.


    IMG_3097small60.jpg
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension


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  3. #3
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    What a disgusting, cruel hobby. You should be ashamed, but you're not. Might as well be hunting at a petting zoo.

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    Registered Member busterwivell's Avatar
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    Amazing trip, nice write up and great pictures. Hope you get to go back again soon.

  5. #5
    Registered Member BamaNomad's Avatar
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    Beautiful animals, and I'm amazed at the variety of the horn shapes on them... causes me to wonder what causes the horns to be so different from one animal to another. Just tell RD that you were hungry and the only foods you could eat had to come from the animals you shot... (My personal philosophy is that I wouldn't shoot an animal that I didn't plan to eat, or that wasn't a danger to me..)

    Since you were interested in 'trophy sizes', I'm assuming you got all the heads mounted and shipped to you in Colorado? Photos?

    Gary

  6. #6
    Registered Member Troy's Avatar
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    Sweet!! man you've got a lot of taxidermy to have done!!! Do you get to keep the meat, and does it taste good?

  7. #7
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 55 Rescue Dog View Post
    What a disgusting, cruel hobby. You should be ashamed, but you're not. Might as well be hunting at a petting zoo.
    That comment was expected from a moron like you, RD. These animals all need to be culled. The money I spent and the meat went to benefit the local African population. What we didn't eat went to local markets and to feed other hunters at the lodge. We ate wild game every day. I told you to stop commenting on my posts, so go back in your hole asshole.
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension


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  8. #8
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BamaNomad View Post
    Just tell RD that you were hungry and the only foods you could eat had to come from the animals you shot... (My personal philosophy is that I wouldn't shoot an animal that I didn't plan to eat, or that wasn't a danger to me..)
    Hunting is a huge challenge and idiots like RD are too lazy and stupid to understand how hard it is. He lets others kill his animals so he can eat a hamburger on his couch. I hunt deer and elk every year and we eat all the meat from them and share it with friends and family. I spent 5 long days of hard hiking to find my Kudu. This ranch was 50,000 acres or 78 square miles. Yes, there are a lot of animals all over South Africa and that's why I'm picky and wanted nice trophies. These animals don't just stand there...they run when they see, smell, or hear you, often before you even see them. It takes a lot of skill just to find them, and my PHs were highly trained and experienced were amazing at spotting horns in the brush. They have to be licensed to be guides.

    We ate wild game every day and it was delicious. The chef was amazing. They had a crew of workers who took care of skinning and processing the meat and hides. That alone provides constant jobs for the local population in the tiny village not far from the lodge. The excess meat that we and others at the lodge didn't eat went to the local markets to feed them. We were the only ones there much of the time. There was a family there from Texas the first week of our 16 days at the lodge, and they all hunted....the father/grandfather was terminally ill and wanted to spend his money to take his family on an amazing trip before he died. He ended up shooting a lion and a cape buffalo which I'm sure was the thrill of a lifetime. A lion hunt in the Kalihari is $50K and they are over-populated and need to be culled. The money supports the locals in a big way. Since the Cecil fiasco a few years ago, lion hunting declined and the government has to shoot several every year with no money for them. One guy from Belguim came the last few days of our stay and it was his second trip to the lodge.

    I'm glad not everyone is a hunter. There wouldn't be enough animals to go around and it's tough already with the demand for game animals. This is my 25th year of applying for a moose license in Colorado, and I've never drawn one. I apply for several species in 7 western states. I've been applying for Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat, and moose in Colorado, Montana, Arizona, and Nevada for 15-20 years. Since I mostly bowhunt, years go by and I end up eating my elk tags when I don't get one. Non-hunters wouldn't understand and couldn't even find an animal much less shoot one.

    Since you were interested in 'trophy sizes', I'm assuming you got all the heads mounted and shipped to you in Colorado? Photos? Gary
    It took me almost a year to get the capes and horns sent back to Montana from Africa, partly due to COVID issues. And it was very expensive. If they were mounted in Africa I could have had them shipped to my home in Colorado directly. I wanted them mounted in the US so I had some kind of confidence in the results. So they shipped raw hides and horns after they were treated in Africa. Everything has to be treated to avoid bringing diseases to the US. They had to go through US customs and USDA inspection with all the associated fees, then they had to be shipped to a taxidermist. My brother worked with a guy in western Montana that does amazing work on African animals, so I had them shipped there. Five of the 8 animals are finished and will be in my house in Montana when I pick them up on the next trip. I still need to tell him what "pose" I want for the remaining two. Yes, they are beautiful animals. I already have several mounts in Colorado that I will be moving to Montana. Here's a Colorado mountain goat that I shot after 6 days of solo hunting with my bow at 13,000-14000 feet that will be on the rock fireplace. It was one of the hardest hunts I've ever done.

    IMG_0113.JPG
    Last edited by chevynut; 05-10-2023 at 11:13 AM.
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  9. #9
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    Sweet!! man you've got a lot of taxidermy to have done!!! Do you get to keep the meat, and does it taste good?
    The US government won't allow meat to be imported from other countries. You can't even bring it in from Mexico, but for some reason I think you can from Canada. We ate it every day and most of it was awesome....some better than others. We had Wildebeest t-bones one night that were as good as the best prime beef, imo. All the meat is pretty lean like deer and elk and the preparation has a lot to do with it. I think the trophies are beautiful and we have a lot of room in the log home for them. Here's a kudu mount similar to what I'm having done. I'll post some pics when I get them.

    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension


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    56 Chevy 2-door BelAir sedan
    56 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    57 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
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    1961 Willys CJ3B Jeep
    2001 Porsche Boxster S
    2003 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax
    2019 GMC Sierra Denali Duramax

  10. #10
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Hey RD, notice that this post is in the "Hunting Related" forum? Sid created it for a reason, just like Chit-chat and the other forums. I find that many, if not the majority, of car guys also like to hunt and fish. Some of the girly-guy Bud Light drinkers like you may not, and prefer to attend neighborhood barbecues where they let others kill their meat for them but cry about the poor animals being killed by the meat industry for their consumption.

    Maybe you should just not read things posted here and/or keep your mouth shut and your ignorant opinions to yourself. Hunting provides income to help conserve animals via anti-poaching initiatives, and gives animals significant value and thereby makes them worth protecting. Hunters have done more for conservation of wildlife than any other group, including so-called "animal rights" morons. South Africa is a very poor country and tourism, including hunting, is a big part of their rural economy. I guess people like you would rather tax the rich and send money to them instead of letting them earn it via their natural resources. I always figured you for a pos liberal who can't mind his own business and you're proving it to be true.

    This might help address your ignorance:

    Abstract

    The aim of this research was to determine the economic impact of trophy hunting in the wildlife industry of South Africa. The link to the questionnaire was distributed electronically by the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) as well as by SCI (Safari Club International) to the 7600 hunters who engaged in hunting activities in South Africa during 2015/16 and 362 responses were recorded. The annual amount spend by trophy hunters in this country is US$250 million. Using multiplier analysis based on the Social Account Matrix (SAM) of South Africa, the research revealed that trophy hunting annually contributes more than US$341 million to the South African economy and that it supports more than 17 000 employment opportunities. The agricultural sector benefits the most, holding important implications for rural development and poverty alleviation in the country.
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension


    Other vehicles:

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    56 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    57 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
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    2001 Porsche Boxster S
    2003 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax
    2019 GMC Sierra Denali Duramax

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