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July 2009 with Dries Visser
Well the long awaited day finaly arrived and i was on my way. The pumping adrenaline made all the travel pass with only aggravation, that it was taking too long. When we finaly arrived at the main camp we were informed we would be moving to a different property for 3 days to hunt Kudu and impala. I was not pleased. I ask the head guide about the size of the property etc. etc. and recieved satisfactory answers. I decided to wait and see. The new property was very thick in most areas and loaded with impala and kudu. On day one we met the guys removing the cows from the section I was going to hunt. I wondered how this activity would affect the kudu. Overall the day was pretty slow with only 1 immature kudu bull comming in. We did have 2 shooter impala come in. They were so nervous they would never stand still for more than a few seconds. They never did drink, the PH wanted me to shoot a couple of times but i was not comfortable with the angele or distance. We also saw warthogs, waterbuck and Vervet monkeys. So day one came to a close.
Tell Dries Bert says Hi--Listen to the man
Dawn breaks on day 2. Cool, crisp, air greets me. AHHHH it such a relief from the high temps and oppressive humidity of Georgia. Actually I am shivering in the 40 something air. I haven’t figured out what layers I need to wear yet. It gets warm realy fast in the fiberglass blinds they have here. We sit a different blind because of the wind. There is a big group of impalas at the water when we arrive. They stampede of a couple of hundred yards and stand there looking at us. After we settle in they gradually melt into the brush. There are several big rams in the group. Hopefully they will come back. With no animals at the water the birds just pour in. I am having a blast just checking out all the different specieces. Its about 2 hrs before I spot some monkeys, then a female warthog and here young show up. A little later the impalas start to show up. The big guys are not with them. They are trying to work up the nerve to drink when a small group of kudu bulls show up. They push the impala off and come to drink. There is one bull I would shoot. Nico says he is 49-50 inches but not old enough to take. Of course he comes in to drink and lick the salt offering multiple gimme shots in the process. I am amazed at the height of there bodies. They spend the next 30-40 minutes drinking, licking salt and shoving each other around. The kudu leave and we decide to have lunch. My release doesn’t hit the ground before Nico whispers there is a huge warthog right there. I put my release back on and pick up my bow. He has one 11-12” tusk. Nico says this is the biggest one we will see. I decide to shoot him. He is sniffing around the mineral lick. The shooting window is too high in this blind. I cannot shoot him sitting down and the blind is too short too stand up. Ever so slowly I put my bow down. I pick up my lunch cooler and place it in the seat. I get my bow and sit down very gently. He has switched sides and is quartering too me. I wait he shifts broadside at about 8 yards. I cant help but giggle. I absolutely smoke him with the shot. He almost runs into the blind on his way out. Nico has an 8 month old tracking dog. We release him on the spoor and he is gone. When we catch up all we can see is his tail sticking out of a warthog hole. The old man managed to crawl in a hole before giving up his long life. After the tracker drags him out we discover he has a broken upper tusk on one side, a broken lower on the other and is missing one of his eyes. What a fine old warrior. We get back in the blind and have lunch. The wind has picked up and the afternoon is very slow. About an hour before dark, 3 impala rams show up. The broken horn and an average ram come to the salt and stand around calmly. The big guy stands at the water and nervously prances around. I am waiting for him to come to the salt. After he drinks he walks right by the salt and keeps on going. Nico is silent. I know he is frustrated but I don’t feel comfortable shooting at the lightning fast impala when they are all jumpy. A few minutes later the rest of the boys show up. There are 2 rams nico says are 23-24” rams. Only one goes too the water. The only shot he offers is a steep quartering away. Nico now fusses at me about wasting opertunities. I stay silent. Nico is looking behind us when I see the reflection of a good ram in the shooting hole door. I pick up my bow and tap nico with it. The ram comes to the salt and stands broad side looking around. Nico nods for me too shoot. I have too lean back too make the shot. I check to make sure I will clear the window. Nicos sleeve is touching my lower cam. I tap him on the elbow and he leans out of the way. At the shot the impala runs about 30 yards and stops. He is bleeding heavly out of the entrance wound. He walks off hunched up like a gut shot. He disappears behind a bush. We look at the video and the shot is a little far back. He is bleeding good though and nico is confident we got liver or one lung. Its getting dark and we call for some help. All the worries are just that. He is dead at the base of the bush we last saw him at. He is not real long but has good mass and is mature. We take pictures in the twighlight of day 2.
Keep it coming. Great read.
Great photos, which broad head were you shooting? Keep it coming!!!
Great impala, nice mass,has character. Keep it coming!!
Glad you made it home safe and sound Steven. I had a hard time leaving....
Day 3 We are in a new blind today. The water has tons of kudu tracks around. We are there about an hour before we start seeing impala. Before its over we are surrounded. There must be a hundred of them. The heard ram is very busy today. He is chasing, grunting and fighting all the time. I see several rams with bloody spots on there necks. We see some kudu cows but the do not come in. Some warthogs stop by but don’t stay long. A lone kudu bull sneaks in from behind us. He has very tight curls. Nico says he will only measure 46” or so. He will probably never reach 50”. He wanders off. Not long after 4 kudu cows show up. The tight curled bull shows back up with 2 other bulls. All of them need another year or more. I am amazed at the calming effect the kudu seem to have on the impala. They are coming to drink on a regular basis and seem calm with the bigger animals around. The heard ram comes to drink, and is tempting. The kudus have been here for more than an hour. I catch movement out of the corner of my eye. A kudu bull is coming in from behind us. I whisper to Nico and grab my bow at the same time. Nico says this is the one we want. He marches right in and stops in front of the water. The shot is quartering away at maybe 12-14 yards. I drill the arrow into the far side shoulder. He takes off about 50 yards and stops. He starts backing up and crashes. Now the adrenaline starts coursing through my body. The whole thing lasted about 15 seconds. I am glad I did not have time to get nervous. My bull is very old. He has almost no hair on one side of his neck. (Later at the skinning shed I inspect his teeth some of his molars are worn smooth.) We move to another blind. We see baboons, zebra, gemsbok, kudu and lots of impala. A 23” impala comes to the water and stands around forever. Nico is working me like a used car salesman wanting me to shoot him. I can see zebra a couple of hundred yards out. There is no way I am shooting anything with them near by. The zebra or gemsbok do not come in. Another day in the books.
Great photos and congrats on the animals.HUNT
Day 4 moving day: We are headed back to the citidal today, but first we have a kudu to find. One of the guys shot a kudu late last night. They jumped him while tracking. From the video it looks like a liver shot. They expect to find him dead. We tag along. The guides ask us to hang back and let them and the trackers work it out. I am happy to just watch. I am truly amazed at how they can track on hoof prints alone. The trackers point at stuff all the time, that I don’t even see. It was a long sleepless night for Eric, but not to worry. His kudu is stone dead and stiff as a board. The jackels have been at his belly but did not bother the cape. We make it back before lunch and head to a blind. Nico says a good bull is visiting here every day or two. When we get there we run off kudu eland and gemsbok. Nico says this is bad. We have been here about an hour when I notice a tan shape back in the brush. It doesn’t register at first because it is so huge. It is my first eland. He is HUGE. Nico chuckles and says he is not a shooter and needs 2-3 more years. He hangs out in the brush just watching. A few kudu cows wonder by. Next a group of immature kudu bulls and an ancient wildebeest show up. The wildebeest has on horn broken off and the other tip broomed off. I consider shooting him just for his looks. 5 more eland bulls show up and this gives the big guy the confidence to come for a drink. I see something move back in the brush. I scan with my binoculars and find a set of gemsbok horns skylined in the brush. There are 4 cows and a bull. Nico says he is not that big but mature. I decide to take him if we can. They come in but hang back. There are now 9 eland bulls and they are playing a game of how big a boy are ya. The bull comes around to the near side and I draw on him. He moves away before I can shoot. A few minutes go by and he is standing perfectly broadside in the back ground. Nico ranges him at 26 yards. The other animals clear him and I draw. An eland walks in front of him. I wait for him to clear, I take a deep breath and he turns his butt to me. I let down again. He walks around to the other side and stops. I am completely blown up with the adrenaline coursing through me. Nico ranges him at 23 yards. He turns and is slightly quartering to me. I am shaking like a leaf. I take the shot. It is not one to be proud off. I would lay down and cry but I thought I saw a geyhser of blood coming from him as he round a bush out of sight. Nico saw the same thing. Nico calls for some help. When Dries arrives we go to the last place we saw him. There is arterial spray everywhere. Dries says look at all this blood, this bull must be dead. He takes off nearly jogging through the brush tracking as he goes. The bull only went 80 yards before he bled out. The shot went in front of the shoulder hitting the jugular vien. I don’t like it but the end result is the same. I have my gemsbok. Dries and Nico congradulate me. Dries says 4 animals in 4 days, are you in a hurry or something. No its just taking what comes. He ask me whats next? I say Zebra. He says you have 4 days left, you will probably need them all.
Love the stories and the photos, keep 'em coming. Congrats on some fine trophies so far.
You're making me jealous too, I am booked with Dries for next summer already. Don't think I can wait that long.
Great pics and commentary. 27 days until I'm there.
Day 5 Its Zebra time. We go to a water hole about an hour after daylight. There are zebra tracks. We sit all day and never see a single zebra. We see giraffe, waterbuck, kudu, impala, wildebeast, red hartebeast, gemsbok and a female steenbok.
this is great stuff. keep it coming and post every photo you have. thanks for sharing and congrats!
Thunder head, love the way your are painfully honest about your shot. Most folks would have sugar coated the shot or omitted it completely and just said it dropped 80 yards out. Congrats. Can't wait to read more!
Day 6 We switch to a blind on the far end of the property. The bush is thick here. You can only see 30-40 yards in any direction. The air has a bite to it this morning. Im loving it. We get in the blind and start or vigil. The wind picks up and is blowing hard. This dosent bode well for our hunting. Nico says he can feel a draft. The zebra always come from behind this blind. That’s exactly where the wind is blowing. Nico lights a small piece of zebra dung. Air is pulling out the door. Nico pulls out a roll of duct tape and seals the door all the way around. The smoke is choking and stinks to high heaven. The morning is very slow with the high winds. A lone wildebeest comes in. He is nervous and runs around bucking and kicking. It is very entertaining. He finaly grabs a quick drink and takes off at a gallop. A kudu bull and some cows circle the water hole but do not come in. They stand out in the brush and watch for 45 minutes. Graduly, one by one the melt into the bush without coming to drink. The sun has started its downward trek and the wind has died. Four warthogs come to drink. Its like letting down the flood gates. Within a hour there are kudu, wildebeest, waterbuck, gemsbok and eland standing around within sight of the water. Nico says this is good, if the zebra come with all these animals here they will drink. This waterhole is good for bird watching. I am looking up a new bird in my bird book when, the Zebra stampede the waterhole. I grab my bow. They are shuffeling for position at the water. Nico is trying to tell me which one is the stallion but with all the movement I don’t know. Finaly he says there, the one one the far left with its butt facing you. Two of the mares bite and kick at each other. This causes the stallion to turn away from the hole. He is quartering away at 18 yards. I draw my bow but have to wait for the mare behind him to move. She starts walking and the shot opens up. I line up on the far side shoulder and send the arrow on its way. It smacks home with that hollow thump you want to hear. In an instant the little hole in the brush is empty. Nico calls the trackers in. There is almost no blood. The tracks separate 3 ways. The trackers split off and I follow nico on the third set. I am starting to get worried. The shot looked right on target. John radios in he has found him. He was quatering harder than I remember. The shot entered far back in the rib cage and traveled up to the front side of the opposite shoulder, stooping with the tip barley breaking the skin. A wad of grass plugged the entrance hole. I have my zebra, the ole lady is going to be pissed. hE hE hE !!!!!
Awesome zebra Thunder Head! Congrats. Keep the stories coming.
beautiful zebra! must have been a nice mature one with that tall mane.
Day 7 I am about out of money. I tell nico let spend the last 2 days trying to improve my impala or get another big pig. He knows of the where abouts of a big pig on another property, He sees impala there too. The day is pretty slow. The highlights are an old red heartebeast and a couple of Tessebe. We dont see the big pig or a single impala.
That's awesome. Great story and pics.
Sounded like you were miffed on Day One. How did you feel by the end of you trip?
Day 8 Nico is puzzled why we did not see any impala yesterday. We stop and talk to one of the ranch hands. He says he has been seeing lepoard tracks in the area and the impala have been scarce the last week or so. Nico ask him if he has been seeing any large Warthogs. He tells nico about one he has been seeing at a new blind they are building. He hunt up the foreman to see if ite okay for us to hunt the new blind. He says it not finished but go ahead if you want. When we get there the blind has no door or hole to shoot through. The camera/viewing hole has not been put in and is open to the air. We cut a shooting hole with Nicos multi-tool. The tracker and ranch hand cut grass to seal the camera hole and we hang camo netting over the door to block out light. When were done we kinda of laugh and say, we will see. Our first visitor is a big male giraffe. He is standing within 5 yards of the blind before i hear him walking. How a 3,000 lb. animal can sneak up on you i will never know. We see wildebeast but they dont come in. We have been here a couple of hours now. We are concerend about the wind it is swirling some. I hear something coming from the right. Nico points and says there are warthogs coming. I pick up my bow and stand up. Nico says the big on is 10" or better. I finaly see him. The tips of his tusk are broken off but they are plenty long and thick. I am going to take him. I try to ease into postion to shoot. He bolts before i can get there. The smaller boar did not leave. The big guy stands in the brush watching. after the smalller one drinks the big guy comes in. I am already in postion. As soon as he stops broad side i draw my bow. I make the best shoot i have made on the whole trip. We hear him pile up within 50 yards. My arrow is completly soaked in bubbely blood, perfect lung shot. So ends my first trip to africa.
Trip notes: I did an 8 day package hunt with Dries Visser safaris. I did not hunt the blesbok that was on the package but recieved a 80% credit against my zebra. I used a matthews switchback set at 58 pounds. Beman arrows tipped with G5 montac broadheads. Total arrow wieght 445 grains. I blew right through every broadside animal. Most peoples whitetail rigs will work just fine on african animals.
One track, I was upset upon hearing we were headed to a property i had not been told about. I was unsure about hunting a high fenced property in the first place. I had asked specific question about property size, external fencing only etc. etc. I did not want to end up in a 1,000 acre fence with only one water hole. I was satified with the answers i got and asked my PH to describe the property and layout in depth.
If i learned anything from this trip, it was that i did not ask enough question on the front end.
You shot some fine animals and I like the way you put your storys together it makes for a great read. If you have anymore photos please post them.
You shot some fine animals and I like the way you put your storys together it makes for a great read. If you have anymore photos please post them.
Great hunt, thanks for sharing. I can't wait for some of these other guys to get back from their African adventures.