May 2017 – Hunt Report
Richard and Adrian are ex South Africans and moved abroad at different stages of their lives. Adrian now lives in Canada and Richard in Australia. This trip was a very sentimental and special trip for both Richard and Adrian as Richard’s father was a very well-known Professional Hunter in South Africa and Zambia. He told them many hunting stories while growing up, now they came on a trip together and wanted to have some of their own hunting stories.
We started the 8 day hunt in the Karoo, it is a spectacular area with flat plains and large tall mountain ranges. Animals found in the Karoo are endemic to dry a climate such as Gemsbuck, Springbuck, Mountain Reedbuck, etc. With most of the animals on the wishlist found in the Karoo, the hunt was on.
We arrived just before dark at the lodge and checked rifles in at the shooting range. The next morning was crispy cold and we started early to get a head start to be able to get on top of the mountain range in search of Blue Wildebeest.
We spotted two lonely bulls far off in the distance, so Adrian and Lauren started to stalk along a dry river bed. With a little help from Juan and Richard they led us into the right direction. The bulls walked into a thick Acacia river belt so Lauren and Adrian walked cautiously. Around a small clump of Acacias there stood one bull approximately 50ms from us. Quietly Adrian got onto the sticks, the only shot available was a front chest shot. Adrian made a perfect shot and the bull ran off. A few metres away, there he lay. What a great start to the hunt it was.
After passing a few good potential Black Wildebeest bulls, we found the one we wanted. This bull was not making it easy for us as he would not allow us to get closer than 250 metres and also facing us head on. He gave us a quartering away shot and again Adrian made a great shot.
With Adrian’s two Wildebeest in the salt, it was time to focus on Richard’s Blue Wildebeest. Richard has mobility problems and as this makes it a little more difficult hunting in the Karoo, we were up for the challenge. We stalked to the edge of a valley and to our luck a distance off below the edge were a group of Blue Wildebeest. The bull was just slightly out of range especially with a gust of wind that was blowing at that stage. After waiting patiently and a little help from one of our trackers moving far below the wildebeest, the bull moved into position and Richard made a perfect shot and the bull dropped dead on the spot. After a hard day’s work we headed back to the lodge to warm up around the fire.
The next morning started off slightly earlier as the next animal we were searching for is Eland. Eland are normally found on the big open plains or right on top of the Mountains. We bumped into a bachelor group of Eland, the stalk started shortly after. Staying a distance behind this bachelor herd we spotted another bachelor herd and the focus shifted. Adrian mentioned just before this that he wants to shoot a blue bull, blue bulls are normally darker and blue in colour with thick shorter horns. When Adrian was in shooting distance he had a choice between a blue bull or a longer horned bull, decision was made and the trigger was pulled. Adrian chose the longer horned bull and he ran 15 metres or so and dropped. Luckily for us he did not go too far up the rocky mountain and we were able to get the vehicle within a few metres from the Eland bull. The Mitsubishi Triton just proved to us once again how tough they are. We were now over an hour away from the lodge, we called in another vehicle to fetch the Eland so that we could carry on hunting.
On the route to drop the Eland off at a designated spot, we spotted a Kudu and once the Eland was on its way to get skinned, we started the stalk on this Grey Ghost. Adrian made a shot and spined the bull, a follow up shot soon did the job and the Grey Ghost was defeated.
Late afternoon on route back to the lodge we spotted an Impala Ram, after a short stalk he was in range. As the shot went off the ram moved causing a low leg shot. The hunt was on to find him, as was the rain and thunderstorm that was fast moving in. Unfortunately rain and time got the better of us and we had to call it. First thing the next morning we looked for the wounded Impala again, we bumped him in a river bed and a final shot was put in. Well done to all finding this ram with all odds against, mainly hard rain. Just before leaving the Karoo Concession it was a last morning hunt for a Common Springbuck and with luck on our side Adrian got his first Common Springbuck.
Down at the coast the landscape is more rolling hills and thick savannah bushveld. The coastal belt of the Eastern Cape is going through a bad drought, the last time the drought was this bad was in 2010. This did not stop us and we were soon out in the bush on the search for Red Hartebeest, Warthog and Blesbuck. On one of our stalks we were so well covered and the wind just perfect that we had a few female Blesbuck walk 20 yards past us and the whole heard about 100 yards to our left, none the wiser that we were there. With Adrian’s Red Hartebeest and Blesbuck in the salt it was time to focus on Richards Red Hartebeest and Adrian’s Warthogs.
Lauren and Richard sat in a thick line of bushes and waited for either a Red Hartebeest or Zebra to come their way. After a good and patient wait a herd of Red Hartebeest approached into shooting range. Richard made a perfect shot and this was his animal wish list complete.
We soon realised that Adrian’s nemesis is Warthog. These tough critters soon had the better of us. The most memorable memory of this hunt for me was Adrian finding the wounded Warthog in the thick valley and shouting “ Dead Pig, Dead Pig”. The hunt ended off with a Warthog that had a great big body on him.
We had a great time with Adrian and Richard, and we are thoroughly looking forward to hunting with Adrian and his wife in 2019 again.
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LJ Hunting Safaris
LJ Safaris is based in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. We pride ourselves in delivering outstanding hunts in wild places!
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