First trip finished

ciller160

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51
We’re back from South Africa. It seemed as tho everyday we were there something incredible happened. We definitely are planning on going back before too long, and taking the kids along. Our original package had 8 animals. 2 kudu, 2 impala, 2 blesbuck, and 2 springbok. I knew I also wanted to add a black wildebeest so 9 animals were on the list.
The trip actually started off a little sour as my wife wounded a blesbuck that we weren’t able to recover on the first morning. After lunch we went back out to find a blesbuck for me and after a 1/2 mile of walking we spotted a small herd and started working our way towards them. About halfway there one that had been bedded in the thick brush stood up and the PH noticed it was the one my wife had wounded earlier. So we switched gears, gave her the gun and she was able to drop him in his tracks. Using the suppressor on a .308 Win makes a rifle with no kick and no boom. I loved it every time I shot it. We finished the stalk and I was able to also put my first African animal “in the salt”. It was a great first day.
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The next morning we left early and headed to a large property looking for kudu. This was the one animal my wife went to Africa for. So I wanted more than anything for her to get a quality trophy. First thing in the morning we were driving on the sunny side of a long ridge looking for kudu on the hillside. Lots were spotted but nothing big enough to hunt. Eventually we got to a point where the road wrapped around the point of the ridge and moved up a valley on the shady side. At this point We started walking. Doing the same thing. Stopping occasionally to look at the kudu on the hillside. Finally a bull big enough was spotted about 6-700 yards in front of us. As we moved closer and closer reassessing the bull and his location we bumped a herd of giraffe that we couldn’t see until we were 100 yards from them. They spooked and thundered their way up the valley. Scattering the target bull and any remaining kudu. We turned around, and headed up another road that went to the top of the ridge, making our way back to the Bucky. 5 miles, a busted stalk, and no kudu. Pretty good for high fenced hunting. That night we sat in blinds on the same property, I had nonstop action, monkeys, baboons, impalas, nyala, and kudu. A nice old bull came in that was short but looked big enough to me, but the tracker said to hold off for something bigger. Right at last light we heard a shot come from the blind my wife was sitting at. They had 3 hours of nothing, until a lone bull walked in after the sun had set. After a minute or two he turned broadside and she put one perfect bullet through his lungs. 100 yards later and he was down.
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The next day we went to another property about 90 minutes north looking for black wildebeest. When we arrived there were 6 white rhinos hanging around in what essentially looked like a feeding pasture. We had to sign some paperwork stating that we wouldn’t hold the owners accountable if we got charged by a Buffalo, trampled by a Rhino, or ripped in half by a hippo before we could actually start hunting. While completing our signatures an old man in a little Bucky pulled up with a small round bale of hay talking about going to feed the rhinos. We were excited to watch and then He asked “would you like to jump on and come along?” Before he had even finished the question we were climbing onto the truck. We pulled into the pasture and the rhinos scattered. He and his helper jumped out and I helped push the bale out, they cut the strings and we started to unroll the bale. In no time the rhinos had gathered around and were beginning to eat. Having a full grown bull rhino eating less than 3 feet from me was.....intense to say the least.
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Soon enough we were moving on with the hunt. We found a small herd of black wildebeest pretty quick and made a plan to move in on them. Part way there a good impala fed through an opening on the edge of some brush and the PH decided we should try for a 2 for 1 deal. I set up in the bipod waiting for him to step back out. After a long 3 minutes we decided to continue moving and try to create an angle on the impala. By the time we got the angle we were too close to try for the 2 for 1 so we let the impala go and focused on the wildebeest. Out of the 5 we could see 1 seemed to have heavier bosses and a better shape and as soon as he turned broadside I sent one through his ribs, he did a quick 100 yard death run in a circle and stopped broadside again and I put another one in his shoulder to finish the job. I don’t know exactly what it is about the black wildebeest I like so much. The blonde tail and main, the forward pushing shape, the heavy bosses, the dark hide.
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We spent the remainder of the morning driving the property mostly looking at animals. Giraffes, hippos, ostriches, Cape buffalo, more rhinos, more wildebeest. More animals than I could count.
We went back the next morning. Looking for Impala this time. This time there were no rhinos at the pasture, when we asked the PH about the day before he informed us that he had never had anyone get “lucky” enough to feed the rhinos, and that he thought that old man was crazy to be hanging out that close to wild rhinos. Every time he told any other locals about what happened the consensus was....don’t get close to rhinos, no matter how calm they seem. Can’t say I would do it any different though.
After a couple quick stalks we had two impalas on the ground and headed back to the main lodge. The amount of game on the property was something else. It seemed everywhere we looked there were lechwe, rhinos, giraffes, Cape buffalo, impala, water bucks, anything we could think of.
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After we lunch that afternoon my wife decided that after going hard for 4 days an afternoon off was in order. So I went out on the lodge property looking for springbok. We got dropped off at one end of the property and started a slow walk back towards the lodge. 2 miles later we had a herd of springbok less than 300 yards away. Working into the wind and moving from bush to bush we closed the distance to 200 yards. But they kept moving and were just over a little ridge out of sight. We kept following little by little and finally had a chance across a dry creek bed. But a small herd of blesbuck spotted us and spooked and everything started running. The springbok were confused though and didn’t know which way to run. First they ran away. Out to 600 yard or so, then they started moving back. The herd got to about 300 yards and spooked again. We followed and before long I had a shot at one. He ran about 60 yards after the shot and ended up dying within 300 yard of the back fence of the lodge. 3+ miles of walking and I could have shot him from the the back porch of my cabin.
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4 days into our 10 day trip and we only had 2 animals left on the list.
The next morning, Springbok was the target again. We drove the property until we found a good herd and made a plan to move in on them. As we went to park the truck and walk in we ran into 4 Cape buffalo between us and them. So we rushed back to the lodge grabbed the .375 and returned to the spot. My wife and I were a little nervous. After all the stories you hear about buffalo in Africa your first face to face encounter is a little intimidating. But we made a quick stalk and after another perfect shot my wife had a springbok that was easily twice as big as the one I got the night before.
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I’ll do another post for the second half of the trip.
 

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