With snow on the mountain peaks and the Coastal area a soggy mess after the first cold front this winter, it was a welcome relief to see the sun shining when David and Chris arrived at the airport for their second safari with us. This year they were joined by Jason and his son Garrit.
We could not have wished for better weather over the 9 days they were with us. We managed to fill the wish lists and some more.
Starting on the Coast: Bushbuck, Nyala and Impala were the species of choice. With these in the salt we headed for the mountains. Last year’s hunt with David and Chris in the mountains was bitterly cold with 30 mile winds and below freezing temperatures overnight. Shooting was almost impossible, so most of the time was spent in the foot hills or lower valleys, anything to get out of the wind. The Karoo, with its vast open spaces is spectacular, and hunting the mountain tops in the right weather is perfect for flatter shooting rifles. David’s 7mm WSM and Jason’s 300WSM worked well.
Blue Wildebeest, Black Wildebeest, Springbuck, Blesbuck and Gemsbuck are plentiful in the mountains and kept us busy. Garrit using his father’s 300WSM was shooting incredibly well. What a pleasure to hunt with this young man. He was definitely Top Gun on this trip.
Jason’s number one trophy was the Kudu. So after 3 days in the mountains we moved south to our Fish River area. The Rut is over and all the Big bulls, well they just seem to disappear. After the rut they go into the deepest and thickest valleys to slowly regain their body mass and condition. They lose about 25% of their body mass during the rut.
Garrit once again made a great shot on his kudu bull but it was Jason who took the shooting honours this time. Last afternoon, last hour, with another front moving in, left all of us in panic. So when we spotted a good wide bull in an unapproachable area, I knew it was going to be a long shot or go home without the Kudu. The closest we could get was 430 yards, without losing site of the bull in thick cover. All we could see were the head and horns. We knew he had to step into a gap to get a full body shot. Aim 20 inches high above his rump (we had a 15 mph cross wind) and get comfortable. Another 15 minutes passed before he moved forward and stopped showing his body. At the shot the bull disappeared. “I am sure you got him” I said to Jason but keep your rifle on the area. Zwakhe, my tracker covered the 430 yards in record time, while I directed him into the spot. With excitement overflowing I asked him if he could see anything. The report back over the radio was “No all I can find is tracks running away” Then a laugh, then “Perfect shot through the top of the shoulder”.
Great ending to a great hunt!