South Africa May 2008

RACOX

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Outfitter: Jim Hackiewicz

PH: Pieter Kriel

Hunters: Roger and Sarena Cox

When: May 8 to May 21

Where: Limpopo Province near the town of Mokopane

Airline: South African Airlines IAD to JNB

Side Trip: 3 days in Kruger Park

Rifles:

Sarena: A Browning A-Bolt Micro Medellian 7mm-08 with 140 gr. Barnes TSX topped with a Leupold 1.75 x 6

Roger: A Mauser 98 in 9,3 x 62 with 250 gr. Swift A-Frame and Barnes 250 gr. TSX topped with a Leupold 2.5 x 8

Optics: Leica 8 x 30 Trinovid and a Zeiss Victory 8 x 20

Sarena practiced most every week for 2 years shooting freehand, off of sticks and using a natural rest. Her hunting experience consists of a whitetail deer shot several years ago out of a blind and a impala as an observer on our first hunt back in 05.

Animals killed:

Sarena-- kudu, klipspringer, warthog

Roger-- kudu, 2 warthogs, nyala, blue wildebeest

Animals seen...including the park, just about everything but a leopard.

Kudu:
The property we hunted on had terrain the ranged from open areas, to hills, rocks, and cliffs. There were open areas and dirt tracks we could ride the truck on but the kudu were especially wary. From the start if we saw them at all it was usually just a glimpse in the rock and bush. We were getting somewhat frustrated with not even having a successful stalk. Our PH, Pieter, even said he never had this much trouble getting his clients on a kudu. On the 5th day, our tracker, Norman, spied a nice kudu bull with some cows up in the rocks. It was Sarena’s turn and Pieter was able to get her within 25 yards of the bull. Unfortunately, Sarena could not see it. She went on this trip to hunt with me but does not have much experience as a hunter. And also kudu are not called the “grey ghost” for nothing. After a few seconds the big bull took a couple of steps and was gone. Not too long afterwards we saw some more kudu cows ahead of us. Pieter gunned the truck and we got ahead of them where he thought they might run through a clearing. Sarena got off the truck and Pieter positioned the shooting sticks so she could shoot. Now I had already filled him in on Sarena’s shooting abilities and had emphasized that while she had practiced with hundreds of shots from her 7mm-08, she was not an experienced hunter. The next thing you know, out comes 5 or 6 kudu cows and he is telling her the bull will be right behind. Sure enough, there he is and he is running. Pieter is telling her “Shoot! Shoot! Somebody Shoot!” but she is focused on the cows and from her angle she cannot see the bull. There is no way that I would ever want her to shoot at a running animal. I am standing there with my rifle in my hand watching this running bull. He is around 100 yards from me and I am thinking I am letting opportunity pass me by. I swung the crosshairs from my 9.3 x 62 in front of his chest and squeezed the trigger. At the shot he hits the ground. When Pieter saw what I had done I thought he was going to have a stroke. Needless to say he was very happy. And I was even happier. We walked up to the kudu bull which was starting to struggle a bit. Norman said to shoot him again but Pieter said he would be okay. Next thing you know he gets up and runs to the rocks. Unfortunately, I was unable to duplicate my previous effort and quickly fired 2 shots missing him both times. Just as soon as quit shooting we heard him hit the ground. Quickly reloading, Pieter and I walked up into the rocks where he had run about 50 yards and I put another 250 grain Swift A-Frame into his shoulder. The first bullet exited but the second one didn't.
On the 7th and last day, Sarena still had not had any luck. We had hunted on a different property the previous afternoon that had rhino and Cape buffalo. We did see a kudu bull but it was at an area that had about 7 rhino and the PH there would not let us get off the truck. There was one very mean buffalo bull that wouldn’t get out of the road and almost charged the truck. Luckily, we got invited back to hunt the next day. We were supposed to go hunting around 1000 but unexpectantly, the PH had to go with the owner of the property on an errand. Because of the buffalo and rhino, the owner wanted his own PH to drive Pieter’s truck. Pieter, Sarena, and I had a long lunch and visited with the owner’s wife. This place was really nice. Around 1400 the PH and owner showed up and we finally got to hunt. After about 30 minutes we see a nice bull that stops in the brush about 60 yards away. Sarena put a 140 grain Barnes TSX right through its heart. It ran about 100 yards and was stone dead when we found it.

My Kudu:


Sarena's Kudu:



Klipspringer and Nyala:
On the 4th day we hunted for nyala on another property. Since neither of us had by this time taken a kudu we were also looking for them. This was a very beautiful game ranch and the owner, Johan, utilized it primarily to entertain his children and grandchildren on weekends. In addition to kudu, nyala, and other assorted plains game, he also had sable, roan, and two rhinos.
After a long, long hike through the hills and mountains looking for kudu, we were very tired. We took one of his blacks as a guide that our PH, Pieter had trouble communicating with. I joked that he thought we wanted to go where the kudus were NOT! After a brief rest and refreshments, we drove to the other side of the property where there were nyala. One side was bordered by a small mountain/large hill with a stream running alongside. We hunted the upper part first along a steep hill without any luck. Sarena was not carrying her rifle at this time as she was tired from the previous hunt. Almost a big mistake! As we approached the stream, Norman, our tracker/skinner, spied 3 klipspringers including a nice ram on some boulders above us. Since her first trip to South Africa in 2005, Sarena has wanted to hunt one of the smaller African antelope. Klipspringer were her favorite. We had originally hoped that she might get a steenbok but we had not seen any since we had toured Kruger Park. Unfortunately, with her rifle back at the truck, the chances looked pretty slim to get the ram klipspringer.
Norman was sent back to get her rifle. This took around 10 to 15 minutes. We were told to stay as still as possible as these little antelope can see very well and will disappear if they see something out of the ordinary. Personally, I did not think our luck would hold out as they kept moving around above us. Presently, Norman came back with Sarena’s rifle. I stayed hidden by a big boulder while Pieter and Sarena stalked to within 150 yards. She had to sit down and used shooting sticks to hold her rifle steady. A minute or so later, I heard Pieter whistle and then Sarena fired her rifle. As I was looking through my binoculars, I could see that the ram had been hit in the shoulder and then he ran out of sight. For the next 5 minutes, Pieter and Sarena remained where they were with Sarena ready to shoot again. I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t get up but as Pieter was not looking through his binoculars; he thought that she had shot above it and they were waiting for the chance it might show itself again.
Finally, they got up and I told them I had seen a big patch of blood on the ram’s shoulder at the shot. We walked up to where they were and there was an easy to follow blood train. We put Sarena in the lead following the trail and as the ram had run uphill and then slid down she walked right by him without seeing him lying by the rocks. The little antelope really blend in quite well.
After pictures, we are heading back out. If front of us on the dirt track we are riding on is a bull nyala and ewe a little over 100 yards away. I jumped out of the truck and set up the shooting sticks. I had to wait until the ewe was out of the way. He was quartering well away from me and I shot extremely far back in order to drive the bullet towards the off side shoulder. At the shot he gave a mule kick and was gone. We walked to where they were and found no sign of blood. Around 5 minutes later, Pieter sees him and motions me forward. The nyala was very sick but still on his feet. As he was running away I threw a snap shot that hit him square in the middle. That puts him down for the count. Interestingly enough, neither shot had penetrated, thus no blood trail. The first shot was enough as it traversed the length of his body and stopped under the skin just right behind his off side shoulder. He would have laid down and died if we had given him more time. On the second shot I was probably 35 yards away but Pieter said the stomach contents probably stopped the bullet. I never found that one.

Sarena's Klipspringer:


My Nyala


Warthogs:
The warthogs were abundant at the game ranch we hunted on but there were not any monsters. We did see a very nice boar by the farmhouse the first day. The landowners did not want any shots fired near their house. There was a big shortgrass field just down from the farmhouse where they usually stayed; rooting the place up. On the second day we put Sarena on a hog stalk in the field. She was about 5 seconds from getting ready to shoot when they wised up and ran off. Usually, they would run across the field, cross under a fence, and go into the bush.
The second day after lunch we were going out to look for kudu. I spotted a nice boar and tapped on the truck cab to stop Pieter. I jumped out of the back and we walked up to where we could see him and a bunch of other hogs in the brush about 80 yards away. I had to wait until the hogs behind him were clear. At the shot he ran off towards some high grass in the open field. Of course, Pieter thinks the shot is high. I am a little apprehensive; as this is the first thing that I have shot this trip and don’t want to start out wrong with a wounded animal. Pieter got out his CZ 375 H&H ready in case he was wounded. (Normally he did not carry a rifle while we are hunting.) We walked to the edge of the high grass and immediately found a light blood trail. Again, Pieter points to the blood on the high grass and says you hit him high in the muscle. By this time I was freaking out as I know I put the crosshairs on his shoulder when I squeezed the trigger. Maybe I knocked the scope out of adjustment. But the blood looked more like a good hit to me. As we walked slowly forward Pieter and Norman stopped and told me to keep tracking. I was so focused on the blood that I do not see the hog about 15 feet away. Of course Norman sees everything first as he is about 6 and a half feet tall. Afterwards, I learned real quick to watch Norman if we had to blood trail anything. The warthog had been hit perfectly in the shoulder and the 250 grain Swift A-Frame had exited through his guts.
My second hog was killed in the shortgrass field. We were coming back about noon when we spotted several in the field. We had the landowner with us. He drove Pieter’s truck around the road while we waited by the fence where they crossed. Sure enough, here they come! The boar was running almost straight towards me at a fairly good trot. At about 100 yards I shot but managed to hit him in his hindquarters and broke him down. A second shot put him down for the count. This was the only time I used a 250 grain Barnes TSX. I was shooting the Swift A-Frame for the first shot but had the Barnes in the magazine. Both bullets performed perfectly with complete penetration.
Sarena’s hog was a little different. We spotted around 40 pigs a mile away in another field. Once we got closer we glassed them again. Pieter made a comment about a sow with really good tusks but I was unable to see it. As there were no good boars we continued on past them. Pieter decided to have another look and we got out of the truck and glassed them again. This time I saw the sow and asked him if there was a problem shooting the sow as I thought her tusks were rather unique. He said as long as the landowner didn’t mind and there were no young piglets then it would be okay. Sarena got out of the truck and I bought along my video camera for the stalk. We got to the edge of some trees and Pieter set up the shooting sticks. Once again, we have to wait until the other hogs were clear behind the sow. Sarena made a perfect one shot kill with her 7mm-08 shooting the Barnes 140 grain TSX and the sow ran about 100 yards or so. I was able to get the stalk and shot on video. The tusks on the sow have a very tight curl and make an unusual trophy.

My Warthogs:



Sarena's Warthog


Wildebeest:
We had been on this ranch for 7 days now hunting for kudu and other game. Along the way, we would usually see several herds of wildebeest daily. This property also had some unusual red wildebeest with the blues. They weren’t on my list but I always try and hunt like it is my last time to be in Africa. Having taken everything we came for after a long and hard hunt is fulfilling, but I can always find the time to hunt just a little more. It was the going away day and we had to get back to Jo’burg for our flight home. I asked Pieter if he thought we might have enough time to stalk and hunt a nice wildebeest and he said he didn’t see why not. We started at dawn and rode around in the bakkie for an hour. As luck would have it, we weren’t having any luck spotting any like on the other days. Finally, Pieter spies a herd around 300 yards away in the tall grass. We get out of the truck, I carry my rifle and Pieter carries my video camera and the spotting sticks. Carefully moving from bush to tree, we were able to get within 150 yards as they slowly grazed further away from us. We must have made at least 3 stalks where I had the crosshairs on a bull but couldn’t shoot. The grass was too high and I couldn’t see the lower half of the bull’s body. The closer we got the further they grazed way from us. Thirty minutes or so later I was able to get a clear shot from about 150 yards. Pieter, of course, is videotaping the whole thing. At the shot, I made a comment that he hit the ground DRT but this was not so. We starting walking where he had been when I shot but we both got a little confused because I had been looking through the scope and Pieter was looking through the viewfinder. Every tree and bush started to look alike and I am starting to get a little apprehensive because we have to make our flight home and don’t have time to look for wounded animals. I am thinking, “Why didn’t I just leave well enough alone? I didn’t have to go hunt today.” I rewinded the video to see if we can make out a familiar tree or bush. About that time as we are going back to where I stood when I shot, we literally walked on top of the wildebeest. He ran maybe 75 yards from where I shot.
My Wildebeest:
 



One Track

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Great photos. Thanks for sharing. I'm heading that way in 20 days.
 

DEERSLAM

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AWESOME!!
Great report and pics. Congrats to you and your wife!
 

foulshot

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That's an awesome post! Congrats on the hunt.


Brent, have fun. Can't wait to see your post hunt pics/post! What are you going to be targeting?
 

One Track

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I hope my report is half as good as RACOX's.

Same animals. Plains game. Would love a kudu like either of the ones above.
 


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