As mentioned in a previous post, i've just returned from a trip to South Africa.
Luckily i managed to squeeze in a few days hunting whilst home. I usually try to hunt at least one trophy on my trips but as my family home has been sold, i now have nowhere to store my trophies. I therefore changed the focus of my hunt to concentrate more on the experience (the way it should be) rather than focusing on a specific species.
We visited an area about 1.5 hours from Durban and close to where we have hunted the past few years. The camp was lovely and situated right on the banks of the Umkomaas River. As it was still the rainy season the river was in high flood and made for a spectacular sight and sound.
Our camp for the week
The farm was a mix of deep valleys with thick valley bushveld and open grassland areas. It supported a good number and variety of game which included impala, kudu, warthog, duiker, blesbuck, blue wildebeest, zebra, bushbuck and nyala. I had no specific species in mind was there purely to enjoy the environment. At first and last light we glassed the deep valley for bushbuck and on the first morning spotted a stunning bushbuck ram. We put in a stalk but failed after getting within 200m. We tried to stalk impala but a heavy downpour put end to hunting for the day.
The following morning we stalked some impala but the long grass always blocked a shot. Eventually, we stalked in on a batchelor herd and got within 40m. A young ram finally stepped clear of the grass and a 180gr Winchester super X from my .308 put him down on the spot. He was in excellent condition and would make a perfect eating animal.
My mate Rory was looking for a blue wildebeest but they were not playing ball and we couldn't get close to them. The farm owner said to me that he is looking for a blue wildebeest for his freezer so asked if we could shoot one for him and wouldn't have to pay. We split up and stalked the wildebeest up this valley. Rory spooked them after a long stalk and pushed them within 50m of me. However, the long grass meant i couldn't get a clear shot. They got nervous and ran off again. Eventually we caught up again and a clear, broadside shot presented itself which i took off my knees. The 180gr hit the cow perfectly and after a short run, she expired in the long grass. The superX took out the top of the heart and both lungs before ending up under the skin on the far side. The bullet retained 86% of its weight. Recovery of the animal proved tough due to it's location and the abscence of a 4x4. We ended up using a tractor with a gras cutter as a trailer. The wet weather made it even more difficult.
Recovery of the Blue
That afternoon Rory managed to stalk a blue but his died in a place which doesn't happen very often (especially when hunting large game). See below:
This is where it died
On the final morning i headed up to glass for bushbuck on my own. I took my rifle but knew i would not need it. I just wanted to sit in the bush and take in the sights and sounds of Africa for the last time on this trip.
So, it was a great trip and i enjoyed changing my focus to enjoy the experience rather than having the hunting as the main focus. The impala will feed my retired mother for months to come but the memories will remain forever.
PS if you visit Durban, go to Kings Sports gunshop and you can see my trophies on display.