The first DG hunt of the year was scheduled for the 01-15 May with a long-time friend from New Zealand on his first trophy jumbo hunt. We’d planned this since last year and chose the area based on simplicity, price, and the option of a fly camp which is what Paul (n/c) wanted – nothing luxury. Just as we were leaving town, a message came through on the Nam-PH group of 2 short-notice meat-buffalo that were up for grabs for rations for the military anti-poaching teams that needed to be hunted from our “day-8” and then within a certain time frame – agreeing that if our jumbo hunt concluded, that we’d take them and made the necessary arrangements for after.
Late evening, we met up with the other outfitter in Kamanjab who had the adjacent concession, as we had permits for both my new area and his, to give more options. He uses a fly camp for most of his hunts which are in very remote free-range areas.
Both concessions have produced good bulls over the last few years, and I took a beaut of a bull here in 2021 that was 59 lbs on the larger tusk (vol 1-2021). Day 1 into the hunt looked very bleak as we found no sign fresher than about 3 weeks, and all the water pans close to the park boundary that I’d seen previously had dried up. The areas are exceptionally large and once we started checking the more permanent waterholes deeper in, we started seeing good tracks, and plenty of them. Wasn’t long before we found the “magic” track close to a watering hole and this great jumbo bull. The decision wasn’t difficult, and with a picture-perfect side-on brainshot from 27 yards, it was over even though it was still early in the hunt.
After cleaning up the mess and making the necessary arrangements to secure the ivory in quarantine, we had time on our hands. The outfitter who offered us the buffalo couldn’t accommodate us for another 3 days as he had clients in camp, so offered us to shoot meat rations for his staff back on his ranch for him, en route to Caprivi. A very relaxing time, we managed to bag 2 critters that would provide good protein.
We made our way up to the Caprivi to the Bwabwata National Park -west side. An absolute paradise for the game and free-range hunting along the Okavango River for the short 40-odd kilometers that it crosses the Caprivi strip. The variety of game is limited, as it is free-range and animals choose where they want to live, but the numbers, quality, and availability, because of the limited quota, are second to none!! This was evident in the variety that we bagged 2 old buffalo daggaboys before lunch and a kudu in the afternoon – the first buff and kudu spotted from the vehicle then stalked, the 2nd buff tracking him down, after finding fresh tracks crossing the road.
Initial shot was a bit off and we had an intense followup
for about an hour in some pretty dense vegetation.
We had succeeded in the meat supply for the government on the first day, so we spent the following day just driving around doing photographics and fishing, before heading off back to the capital via the Waterberg Plateau Park.
My next sortie was into Botswana 🇧🇼 for a jumbo hunt with a French hunter. The area we went into, on the fringes of the Kalahari, had loads of elephants and ostrich, and that was it, although we did see some Kudu tracks every now and then. Needless to say, we saw loads of elephants, only bulls (the area was too hard for cows with calves was the explanation), and passed up some good ones in those first days looking for ‘the one’. On day 3, we found the ‘magic track’ near the river and followed it for about 6 km into the bush, found a lonesome bull at the end of the track and made quick work of it – what a beaut.
With a few days to spare, we headed into the Moremi Game Reserve for some photographics and relaxation, and a chopper flight over the Okavango Delta.
Off on a double elephant/leopard hunt today, will keep you informed…