On September 11th Dad and I left Brisbane and arrived in Perth.
After a cancelled flight and delays, we finally touched down in Johannesburg on the 13th of September and arrived at Port Elizabeth a couple of hours later, where we were picked up by Kelvin Milsom from Induna Safaris.
After an hour’s drive, we arrived at the lodge, eager to do some hunting but first, we had to do some minor adjustments to our sights on our bows. Then we were ready for an afternoon hunt. I was so excited to start my first Plains Game South African hunt. We went out into the bush to glass for animals.
We spotted a lone kudu bull and Dad was up for the challenge. While Dad stalked closer, Kelvin and I sat back and watched the event unfold through our binoculars. Dad managed to get in closer, and with some skilful stalking, he was able to close the distance between him and the Kudu bull. While watching the events unfold of our first hunt, we noticed a jackal to Dad’s left. Dad pulled out his predator call and started calling the jackal in closer. Amazingly two more jackals appeared and they were all coming towards him fairly quickly. To our amazement a Duiker came into the whistle, which really puzzled me; why a prey animal would come to a distress call? The Duiker noticed the jackals and took off. The jackals must have sensed something and took off. The kudu bull got spooked by all the commotion, and he too took off, disappearing into the bush. So dad, unfortunately, didn’t get another opportunity to take a shot, but we both agreed the afternoon in the bush, had been very exciting and enjoyable. Having seen the different species reacting as they did, this really got our adventure juices flowing, and only made us more excited for what was to come.
Day 2 September 14th – we were up early ready for a long day of hunting. Dad and Kelvin went off hunting in one area of the concession, to look for another Kudu bull. I headed out with the tracker Ashley. It was great to be able to walk straight from the lodge into the bush. While we were walking through the rocky terrain, I couldn’t help but notice the open expanse of the land before us. At that moment I felt like I was finally hunting in the wild of Africa. We walked for some time before we noticed a sow warthog, on a hill opposite us about 150 yards away, she was feeding towards us. We got into a good position and had the wind right, I ranged her at 60 yards as she was half quartering away, half broadside. I was ready to shoot her and in a good position. My mind started racing, I knew that this was an easy shot for me on a target, but this was not a target at a range. While I was contemplating my options, which felt like hours but was only a few seconds, the wind swirled and she bolted off. My heart racing and excitement at its peak, I was ready to bag a South African plains game animal.
After about half an hour of walking, we spotted Impala feeding in the distance I was told back home that it would be very difficult to walk and stalk Impala as they were such weary animals from being hunted by lions for thousands of years, but I was up for the challenge. We closed the distance and got within 90 yards, we ran out of cover to get closer, I watched them for about half an hour then decided to abandon the stalk. We walked back to the lodge and had lunch.
We then headed out to the blind that afternoon we waited for half an hour then a troop of monkeys came in to feed on the oranges. It was very interesting to watch their interactions. They were chased off about 5 minutes later by a larger troop. I picked out the largest male with the bluest balls and shot it at 20 yards tight behind the shoulder and it ran about 15 yards and expired. I was happy to hunt my first animal but was now determined to bag a Plains game animal. Then about 45 minutes later, a group of Nyala’s appeared out of nowhere. Two bulls and three cows, they were quite alert and seemed very weary of their surroundings. They finally settled down to feed on the lucern. I patiently waited for the biggest one to present a shot, and finally, he did, a perfect, quartering away shot at 20 yards. I tucked it right behind the shoulder my arrow took out his heart and exited right on his opposite shoulder and out the other side. I was thrilled with my beautiful animal.
Day 3 September 15th – We were up early again and did some walking and stalking with no luck. Although Dad did manage to call in two Duikers with his predator whistle, we believe they came in because they thought it was another male in their area, but neither presented a shot so we retired back to the blind and had a delicious packed lunch while we waited for the game. After a while, a group of kudu came in they were even more skittish than the Nyala. We waited for a shot the biggest one, he finally turned broadside at 18 yards I put my 20-yard pin right behind his shoulder and he ran off into the thick brush. As we waited for him to expire we spotted two Nyala bulls and Kelvin excitedly whispered: “it's one horn, it is one horn!” We had seen a one-horned Nyala the day before, that Dad really wanted to get. Unbelievably this same Nyala presented himself at the blind. The two bulls slowly walked past each other as if they were about to fight and then they came into feed. Dad was up, he ranged it at 16 yards and took a semi-quartering away – semi broadside shot and it ran about 50 meters and fell over and expired. After a quick photo session we looked for my kudu but ran out of light so we headed back to the lodge.
Day 4 September 16th – once again we were up early, went straight out to look for my kudu, after about twenty minutes of searching we found my bull. I was over the moon with my kudu; unfortunately the crows had found him first and pecked his eye out.
After we got some photos of my kudu, we headed to a dam where we spotted 5 warthogs. Dad put in a good stalk and shot a big sow. So it was back to the drawing board, on the way back to the car we could smell something dead, we followed the scent and located a dead warthog sow with half her body out of her hole it appeared she had been there for about a week. Dad pulled her out to get a better look; don’t ask me why I wasn’t touching that thing! As he freed her two smaller pigs came screaming out of the hole! This made us all jump! We then noticed that they had started eating the back end of her to survive.
On the drive home, we spotted a duiker and Dad got into position he let out two calls and the duiker barreled towards him so quickly he couldn’t even draw his bow back in time and it ran straight passed him and off into some thick bush.
Day 5 September 17th – we headed out to call some Duiker and on the way we spotted a Steinbuck lying under a small shrubby tree. I got within thirty yards and hit it a bit far back on the angle he was on. I followed him up, cautious not to spook him and lose him forever and found him once again lying underneath a shrubby bush. I shot another arrow into him straight behind the shoulder and he died right there. After we took photos, drove him back to the lodge and put him in the cold room we went out chasing Duiker.
We split up again this time I was with Kelvin and dad was with Ashley. Kelvin and I spotted kudu and warthogs but had no luck calling in Duiker but dad and Ashley managed to call in five Duikers and Dad was lucky enough to get a shot on the 5th one and he hit it straight through the heart at 30 yards.
Day 6 September 18th – last full day of hunting- we did more spot and stalk on kudu and impala but had no luck. So we went to a different blind in the afternoon were we new springbuck were coming to feed and drink. As we waited two warthog sows came in to 20 yards from the blind to get a drink the biggest sow was directly broadside but I had to wait for the smaller one to move out of the way. As soon as it moved I took the shot and hit it straight behind the shoulder taking out the vitals, it ran about 40 meters and fell over and expired. We got some photos and hopped back in the blind and waited for the Springbuck. It wasn’t long before a couple came in we waited though for a darker coloured one, to cull it out of the herd. It finally came in and was directly broadside I shot it at 20 yards and punched straight through the heart once again it ran about 40 meters and died.
Day 7 September 19th– We had a quick morning stalk, we spotted a Steenbok ram, dad managed to stalk into 30 yards and put an arrow straight through the chest.
We flew out later that afternoon and had a long flight from Johannesburg back to Brisbane.
Once again I would like to thank my Dad for taking me on this trip of a lifetime and putting in so many long hours of work to get me there for my 17th birthday.
I also would like to thank Kelvin and Denise for looking after me, making it all possible. We made some awesome memories which I will never forget.
So, if you are looking for an African hunting trip I strongly recommend Induna Safaris- it has it all, luxury accommodation, excellent food and a great family atmosphere with a lot of beautiful game.
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