just returned from my first hunting trip to eastern cape south africa. i had booked a week with andrew renton at kei river safaris through roo ellis at the hunting agency. Roo kindly done all the leg work for me as i have been deployed in afghanistan all i pretty much done was turn up at the airport.
my girlfriend decided to tag along and see why every spare second is spent shooting. we arrived at the lodge after 30 hours of travelling and i imediatly fell in love with the place the lodge is traditional and homely and you want for nothing from the second you arrive.
after meeting andrew and sharon i was put at ease as andrew is a down to earth guy and has a keen passion for hunting.
we went out the first evening to try for a impala ram and to get a feel for the place we saw literly hundreds of impala and passed on quite a few good rams. The scenery and wildlife is stunning we saw everything from baboons to kudu and various bird life and all to happy to shoot with camera that evening.
next morning we set off early to try for the impala ram. Again we stalked and passed on alot of rams and i was having the time of my life stalking into impalla glassing and moving on. We eventually found a shootable ram and put in a fantastic stalk to within 40 yards. The fine looking ram fell to the 7mm and i was amazed at just how gorgeous these animals are he was truly stunning. After some photos we retired to the lodge for some much needed breakfast.
we tried in the afternoon for a warthog but he remained elusive till just on dark and there was no light for a shot. I however was more than happy watching the kudu and nyala and numerous game species in the area and got some really good photos. Back at the lodge we enjoyed the exellent home cooked food and swapped tales around a open fire with the ph's and the 2 other hunters in the lodge.
Next day saw us set off for an attempt to try and find some kudu bulls we arrived at the area and glassed as the sun came up and kudu began to move into the warm rays. We saw plenty of kudu, i was enjoying listening to andrew's vast knowledge on wildlife as we moved to various points to glass for a shootable bull. We were caught by surprise by a bull and cow in an unlikely place and after a bit of manuvering we eventuall y got the wind right to attempt a stalk. We made a unforgetable stalk, i was very exited as the bull got bigger and bigger in the binos as we crept from cover to cover. Andrew was just as exited and kept turning to say "This guy is a giant". We eventually got within range and after a shot with the 7mm the bull ran 50 yards before falling dead.
After a 10 min wait to settle nerves and check he was dead we went to him and i nearly wet my pants. He was truly huge a beautiful animal i got a mix of feelings as i stroked his hide, this is somthing ive dreamed of since i was 10 years old. After photos and a tricky extraction we set off for the lodge for a well earned coffee.
next day we went to hunt a blessbok ram we saw hundreds of these amazing animals as we drove around the area and spotted a exeptional ram pretty quickly. we set off and after a tough stalk due to open ground and thousands of eyes we closed the gap to 140 yards and set the 7mm off to work again, the ram fell dead on the shot and never even twitched. the blessbok is a fine looking animal very clean looking with lovely head gear and will make a lovely trophy.After lunch we went to try for the warthog that eluded us over 3 days and after sitting and glassing all afternoon we eventually spied him and set off on a stalk. we got to within 65 yards and the 7mm done its job perfectly and the old chap fell at the shot. He was a old pig sporting impressive dentures and had plenty of character.
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We had a crack at the baboons the next day and took large male baboon i can only imagine what the tracker was calling me in his local language as he carried it out of the very steep valley. The girlfriend had a good laugh comparing his member to mine and he also had a pretty impressive set of dentures and was perfectly adapted to survive in this terrain. On last light we went to an area were andrew had seen a good bushbuck i love these little spiral horns and very challenging to hunt. We moved quitly to an area overlooking a popular spot and quietly sat and glassed, He moved out just before dark and presented a challening shot at 240 yards,i feel confident at this range and wanted to make a clean shot as these animals are fierce when wounded. He collapsed 10 yards from a perfect heart shot just gravity carried him downhill. A wonderfull animal very pretty, he was old his teeth worn and full of scars from fighting and worthy end to the old warrior. We returned to the lodge for more delicous cooking and tales around the fire .
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I was sad to leave it has been the trip of a lifetime and a boyhood dream even my missus loved it and now understands why im possessed by stalking.Andrew is a great guy really down to earth full of knowledge. He didnt even complain from all my questions on game birds and plants of africa.The hospitality from all the staff is second to none. im already planning next year the feo has been and the 300 win mag should be here shortly.
not that we ever hunt with a tape measure but for those intersested the measurements were
eastern cape kudu 54.5"
thanks for andrew and sharon for making a dream come true and thanks to roo for arranging it.