Hunting in South Africa - James
James arrived from Canada for his third trip Hunting in South Africa, after unpacking and having some lunch we headed to the shooting range to sight in the 30-06, 243 and 222 rifles that he would using for the Sable, Cape Grysbok, Zebra, Klipspringer and Warthog.
Monday April 29
We headed out early and spent the morning glassing from the top of several hills we looked down in the valleys and spotted many Kudu, Impala, Red Hartebeest, Duiker and Steenbok feeding. After some time we spotted a small group of Zebra in the distance on the other side of the valley near the bottom. We slowly began to descend and get into a closer position; the Zebra were feeding and moving to our right. The Zebra moved in and out of the brush over the next 40 minutes and eventually began to move to our left and were about 200 yards from our position. Eventually the largest male moved to a small opening about 150 yards from us and offered a broad side shot. James was ready on the sticks in a shooting position and was able to take a shot and hit the Zebra on the shoulder; he ran a short distance and dropped. He was an outstanding trophy and had no scarring or damage to his hide.
We decided to head out for Grysbok this evening; the Cape Grysbok is a secretive shy antelope and is the smallest antelope species in the area. Due to the fact they are heavily preyed upon by jackals, caracals and other predators there numbers are low in areas without predator control. They spend most of the day hiding in thick thorn brush or even ant bear holes. They are mostly nocturnal and must be hunted at night. We spent several hours driving around and looking for them within a few minutes of the lodge, during this time we spotted many animals including, porcupine, rabbits, springhares, kudu, impala, steenbok, foxes and duiker. We managed to locate 2 Grysbok but after close examination they did not have horns and were females, it is very difficult to see the horns as they are such small antelope.
Tuesday April 30
We travelled to a nearby mountain range to look for Klipspringer, after driving close to the top of a mountain we slowly walked for several miles across the mountain ridge, we moved carefully, quietly and kept low looking over the edge to attempt to locate a ram. After about 40 minutes we spotted a ram and a female with a youngster, they were alert and nervous due to the very high winds which were gusting to 55km/hr. They dropped beneath us and offered a brief window to shoot, however due to the wind and uneven ground, James was not able to place the shot and the Klipspringer ran off.
After packing a lunch we decided to drive over to a nearby area to look for warthog, the weather for the past few days was very hot for this time of year reaching almost 35 degrees Celsius. We sat on a high ridge and spent a good portion of the day looking for Warthog and managed to see quite a few along with many other animals. Eventually we did spot a large male with a female and her young. The male had large tusks and a black mane and was moving in and out of cover in the bottom of the valley. Before we could plan a stalk somehow he moved off and we never did locate him again.
After returning to the lodge we once again headed out for Cape Grysbok and spent a few hours looking but only managed to see one smaller female, no luck today we would try again tomorrow. The weather was stormy and there was some lighting and thunder.
Wednesday May 1
After having an early breakfast we left for the nearby mountain to again look for Klipspringer. We walked along the ridge glassing and looking and after some time we heard the distinct whistle that signals an alarm by the Klipspringer from below us, all of a sudden a very good ram ran right past us and up the hill, he did not stop and offer any chance of a shot, we were never able to see him again that day. We hiked for several miles along the steep rocky terrain but did not spot any other rams.
We returned to the lodge and had some lunch then headed out to look for Warthog, during the afternoon we spotted about 20-25 Warthog and eventual did locate a large male far in the distance after watching him move alongside the kudu's feeding, we deceived to try to stalk closer, after about an hour of walking and waiting we did get within eyesight of them. However many kudu were in the area and the brush was thick. At one point a kudu bull walked within 3 feet of the bush we were hiding behind before realizing we were there. The Warthog moved off and we did not see the male again that day.
Thursday May 2
Today after breakfast we headed out to a mountainside area that had Sable within its range. We spent about an hour looking from various ridges and finally spotted about 6 bulls feeding on a ridge far in the distance, we had to look through a spotting scope to size up the different bulls. One did stand out and was a mature male, however after walking around and driving to several ridges we determined it would be almost impossible to safely get him out of the area due to the steep drop off to get down and over to him. We went back to have some lunch we packed and later in the day returned and the bulls were now even higher up and we decided it was simply impossible to get him out if we spent the 2 hours hiking over to him.
After returning to the lodge we regrouped and went out looking for Grysbok. We drove to another area and after only about 30 minutes we spotted a ram, after closely looking at him we could see his horns were about 2 inches. James got ready and managed to take a shot broadside and the ram dropped. An excellent trophy and a challenging animal to find, persistence paid off.
Friday May 3
We left early in the morning to look for Klipspringer but had no luck locating a ram so we headed back early and had a very quick lunch and decided to try another area for some Sable. Once we arrived we drove around for about 1 hour and were able to locate 3 bulls, although one had horns of about 38-40 inches it was clear these were not old mature bulls as they still has some brown colouring to their coats. We covered more ground and glassed the hills and valleys for about another hour and were finally able to locate a lone mature bull who was jet black and had good horns, it was clear he was a old bull his horns were high and the bases were thick with compressed ridges. We looked at him carefully and decided to stalk closer; as soon as he spotted us he took off and ran into thick brush about 200 yards from us. We could only see his white face and horns in thorn trees, once again he ran off and went up on to a hillside about 175-200 years from us, as soon as he turned broadside and stopped James was able to get on the sticks and place the shot right on his shoulder. You could see and hear he was hit hard, however he turned and ran straight down the hill at full-speed, we then heard a loud crash and he landed in the bottom of a dry creek bed. Once we walked up on him we could see he was an old battle scarred bull, he had scars on his face and all over his body. He had been hit right in the heart but still managed to run down to the creek bottom over 100 yards away. This was a really great bull to take and and certainly an exciting hunt.
Saturday May 4
Once again we left to the mountains to pursue the Klipspringer after spending most of the morning walking for several miles looking and glassing another ridge we didn’t manage to see any rams , we were busted several times by mountain reedbuck in the area which didn’t help our cause. We ended up walking down the steep mountains and returning to the lodge for lunch, we made a plan to try a different strategy and go out again for the late afternoon. We arrived about 3 pm and walked slowly to a position where we could sit and glass a rocky outcrop where we had spotted some animals before. After about one hour we saw a ram with a female, James was able to lay the rifle across a flat rock and get into a shooting position. We looked at the animals for about 35 minutes and the sun was in their eyes, however we decided that the ram was not what we were after. At this point just as we stood up, we looked to our right and noticed the same very good ram we spotted earlier in the week, once he spotted us he ran straight down and across the mountain and never stopped for even a brief moment to offer any kind of a shot.
Sunday May 5
One week travels fast whilst Hunting in South Africa and it’s time to head home, another great adventure and some very memorable hunting, as always the food, accommodation, hospitality and the scenic quiet location can’t be beaten and I will be returning soon to once again pursue the Klipspringer, Cape Buffalo and several other species.