End of July

Back from Summer holidays in the USA with my family, I started out helping well-known outfitter Robin Hurt with a free-lance plains-game hunt. He runs a tight ship and a great hunting destination offering free-range hunting for plains-game in a semi-desert environment. We hunted a general bag with a very enthusiastic (self-proclaimed) “greenhorn” in the sense that it was his first hunting trip after getting his German hunting license less than 2 years prior. Although the weather was nasty cold, the mornings just above 0°C with rain and sleet, we had great fun exploring and stalking and ended the week with 5 critters in the bag – great memories.

I then had a couple that run a whitetail and turkey Outfit in Kansas and Nebraska, on a recommendation from a mutual friend. Trophy hippo and dikdik was on the main agenda with mostly birds for export as a secondary. We started off en-route to the Caprivi and on the way stopped off for 2 days on a ranch that had harvested about 300 hectares of maize crop 2 months prior. There were thousands of doves to shoot, with a few francolins and Guinea-fowl in-between, the comment being “just like Argentina”.

We pushed on up to the Caprivi for the hippo, and on day 2 found a suitable candidate but he kept going around the reeds whilst we were trying to stay silent wading through the water following him. We eventually drove around the channel of water he was in and snuck in from the other side, Karen anchored him with a perfect side-on brain shot, whilst half out the water. Back on the road across country we stopped off for some more wing-shooting at an agricultural farm, (geese & guineas) and then onto to a free-range property on the verge of Damaraland that I had hunted numerous times. A fun 4 days which included the Dikdik, baboons, a rock-hyrax or 2, and some more game birds for export.

Our next sortie was back to Botswana 🇧🇼 for 2 non-trophy elephants. The first hunt was with a great gentleman we hunted with last year, on invite of the outfitter. Difficult area, and the shot presented to us on the 3rd day of the hunt was a difficult one, and the result was a shot too high in the head. We tracked the bull the rest of that day and most of the following day to the concession boundary where we had to stop – pity. With a happy result though, we got word that the game scouts in the neighbouring area had spotted the bull about 4 days later and 50km further, ending it.

Tracking A Bull

Next up was a “swop-deal”, round-robin where non-trophy elephant and hippo, and a trophy Beceita Ibex (in Spain) are involved – crazy combo between myself, the Botswana outfitter and a Spanish client/outfitter.

We tried a new area in the concession and on day 2 of the hunt after a good 8km+ walk following promising tracks, connected with a nice bull that also gave us the run around after the initial shot. A few kilometers of tracking, we put him down and the celebrations began.

I had in the meantime organized a cull-hunt for the relative of a hunter who had joined me in 2022 in Caprivi. This was basically a meat hunt in the red-dunes of the Kalahari, where the hunter wanted to test his new rifle that he’d built. Most shots were in the region of 250-500 yards, from dune-crest to “middle street” or even the next dune-crest, and they managed to bag a good number of Springbok and Oryx “for the pot.”

Buffalo & Kudu in Caprivi

I continued onto Caprivi for a hunt with a long-time close friend, priority being buffalo and Kudu, and anything else that seemed fun, but not excluding a Chapmann’s zebra (endemic to Caprivi) and a possible lechwe if we saw a nice one. We got stuck into it quite quick, and saw many animals including lion, jumbo, reedbuck, and buffalo, but not the one we wanted till day 3, and it was an easy decision from afar. Using the islands as cover to cross the large open areas, we eventually ended up behind a large mound only about 30m from the bull we wanted, and waited for the best angle which didn’t present itself in time before the buffalo took off, probably hearing us. Quick on the sticks, the buffalo made the mistake of stopping momentarily to look back, and the shot was taken. The buffalo ran off and into the tall grass. The trackers up on the side of the island could see him go down about 130 yards away, giving it a few minutes to reload and check all our equipment before walking in. The bovine wasn’t quite dead when we got there and a couple of insurance shots anchored it. What a bull !! Width, curl, sweep, hard boss…

With the main priority in the salt, we had time now to play around and hunt other ‘priorities’, including a grand old red lechwe and a uniquely shaped impala.

We struggled with kudu till just after sunset on day last, a rushed shot at about 320 yards saw the kudu buck its back legs on impact and disappear into a thickly-vegetated island. As it was past sunset, we quickly got onto the track and found it still alive about 80 yards in, put in a shot or 2 and found it piled up within 40 yards.

The “islands” mentioned are either elevated vegetated mounds or just densely vegetated patches of varying sizes that during the flood/swamp season are above watermark, and in the dry season become prominent sanctuary areas for the wildlife.

~BH