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Africa... Round #2

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/11/2013 at 19:12
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Last year, Rancid Coolaid and I hit the Northwest Province of South Africa on an epic trip.  I've been hunting all my life, and it topped any hunting experience I've ever had.

Here's the thread that discussed our last trip:  http://opticstalk.com/first-african-safari_topic30139.html?KW=

Well, I leave in a week for my second trip.  Same guide.  Same truck.  Unfortunately... no Rancid.  I'll be joined by my dad, and I'm excited to be with him when he experiences his first African safari.

I'm targeting three species: 
1. Sable Antelope
2. Cape Eland
3. Bushbuck

Any last minute advice on hunting these three particular species in RSA?  I feel pretty comfortable with judging trophy quality and shot placement, but I was wondering if anyone had any stories to tell and experiences to share.  I'd rather learn now than after my bullet leaves the rifle!

FYI, my rig is a Sako 85 in 375 H&H wearing a Leica ER scope.  Barnes TSX in 300 grains.



Edited by REMF - May/11/2013 at 22:16
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/12/2013 at 02:21
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Eland often look like their vitals are futhur forward than they are, due to the dulap on a large animal. Look for the skeletal structure and make your shot accordingly. The buggas can move when they want to and it is often snap shooting.
 
.375 or 9.3. Both work very well.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/12/2013 at 17:52
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Sounds like you got it covered!  Man, oh man....a Sable!!!  The most gorgeous animal ever.  I would love to have the money to hunt one.  I got lots of photos of them, however.  I used to live in the Transvaal.....now called North West...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/12/2013 at 22:48
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I'm stoked about the Sable.  We saw many of them on our last trip, and they are absolutely beautiful on the hoof.  I was also hesitant about taking an Eland because of their size.  I'm going to have to stretch to put him on the wall!  I spent three days of my last trip looking specifically for a bushbuck, so that little critter and I have some unfinished business.

The money is certainly an issue.  Hunting in Africa is costly, and prices go up every year.  I wish discussions about the cost of hunting packages were more frank and transparent, so I'd have an idea of whether or not I'm getting a good deal.  When you first price a trip over there, it's hard to wrap your head around what exactly your total expenditures will be.  

For the uninitiated, here is a general idea of items you'll pay for (if you're having your taxidermy done here in the states):
Airfare
Postage to Mail Your Rifle Permit Application
Ammo
Travel Insurance
Daily Rate for Hunting (+ 14% VAT tax)
Trophy Fees
Gratuities
Gifts/Souvenirs
Dipping & Packaging (skulls and capes)
Tanning (backskins for area rugs, pillows, etc.)
Shipping
Importer
Taxidermy

Again, these costs are spread out over a two year period.

Rancid and I used Highveld Taxidermy in Johannesburg to dip and package our trophies last year.  They are almost ready to ship, but I won't see them before having to make a decision about who to use this time.  Anyone used a great shop in Johannesburg?  Any taxidermists to steer clear of there?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/13/2013 at 01:54
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It sounds like you have a great trip planned.
 
Your choice of caliber and bullet is good to go. I have never hunted eland, simply because it is too much meat for my needs.
 
Bushbuck are very shy animals and can pose a challenging hunt. I have been fortunate enough to live in bushbuck country and have shot / hunted quite a few over the years.
 
I have long ago stopped doing trophy mounts, so I cannot recommend anyone. Normally a good outfitter will have the right taxidermist lined up for you.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/13/2013 at 02:32
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Congratulations REMF I hope you have another fantastic trip in our beautiful country.

Like Wouter said Bushbuck can be extremely difficult to hunt, I know a few guys who are still looking for a nice trophy. And when Eland want to be, they can be just as difficult to hunt. Don't let their size fool you, they can be extremely agile and can run for miles. The meat is great to eat especicaly when you shoot a cow.

I've heard Highveld is a good taxidermy but haven't seen their work, Andre van Rooyen Taxidermy does great work as well. I've seen his work its really top notch. He is situated in Roodepoort which is in the Johanesburg area. If I had to use someone for my self I would use Life Form Taxidermy, but they are situated in White River near Nelspruit. Check their web page out and you can see some of their work, i'm just not sure how far they are situated from your hunting area.

We will expect some photos after the hunt
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/13/2013 at 13:04
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Thanks guys.

I actually had the rump of a nice Bushbuck ram in my crosshairs, but his head wasn't visible.  By the time I could judge him, he hauled ass.  My PH cussed non-stop for the next hour.  We hunted near a nice sized pond near sundown.  Saw lots of Reedbucks, but not another Bushbuck.  Looking for 16" or better.

Thanks for the tip on the taxidermists.  My outfitter specifically recommended Highveld because they seem to be faster at the permitting process to get the skins and skulls out of the country faster than most.

I'll check out the other operations as well.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/13/2013 at 21:30
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I used Derek Robinson.  In the eighties he was located in Krugersdorp ( Jo'burg area..) now I see that he has moved to Thabazimbi.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/14/2013 at 05:45
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ED I have seen Derek Robinson's work at one of our Shows, he does extremely nice work. If I remember right he trained Andre van Rooyen in his early years. I read the link about stuff going missing, I guess that can happen when shipping between countries. I still think you are beter to use a Taxidermy in South Africa, after all they specialize in African animals.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/14/2013 at 06:53
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The guy I use here is a fellow by the name of Mike Roberds.  He owns Fur and Feathers Taxidermy in Montgomery, Texas.  We have lots of African animals here in Texas on game ranches, so our shops do a lot of work on them as well.

Mike trained at Conroe Taxidermy, which some consider to be the top shop in America for African game: http://www.conroetaxidermy.com.

Of course, Mike charges a whole lot less for the same work.  He's done deer, turkey, hogs, javelina, coyotes and ducks for me.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/14/2013 at 08:37
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The local guy I used to use was very good, but since he started drinking things have gone a bit south. I would avoid him at all costs...
 
 
 
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/14/2013 at 10:25
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Taxidermy gone wild, looks more like he was smoking crack.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/29/2013 at 10:01
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I just got back from the NW Province myself, the first time for me.  What an experience is right.....if  a guy loves to hunt, and there's any possible way he can swing it, he needs to go.  It is something you'll never forget.  I stopped by Highveld and Kwik Tan, both in the J'burg are. Impressive places for sure.  I decided to do the dip/pack/ship back to me on the skulls and capes.  I am having the zebra rug made over there.  In case anyone cares about my hunt, you can see it here:

http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/topics/7761803/1/Well_Here_We_Go
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/02/2013 at 21:23
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Charlie Mike.  Fantastic experience.  I was there with my dad for my 40th birthday, and he and I came up with the fact that we hadn't spent 10 consecutive days together in over 20 years.  It was a real treat.

For the first three days, he was the designated shooter.  He harvested a Burchell's Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Southern Kudu, Black Wildebeest, Springbok and Impala - all in three days.  We hunted HARD.  It was his first trip to Africa, and I was proud of him.

Day 4 took us to the Kalahari to look for Sable.  They did not cooperate.  Finally, I spotted this beautiful 43" bull napping under a tree just after lunch.  He was very asymmetric, but he was a magnificent animal.  My heart was in my throat as I set up on the sticks three times before finally getting a shot.

Sako 85 in 375 H&H Magnum
Leica ER Riflescope 3.5-14x42 with Ballistic Reticle
Barnes VOR-TX 300 grain TSX

One shot through both lungs and this fellow still ran 130 yards.  The PHs grilled his backstraps medium rare in a Braai the next evening.  Absolutely delicious!


On day 6, we focused on Cape Eland.  Again, one shot with the 375 at about 50 yards was enough.  He ran only about 40 yards.  Although orange from the dirt, this old 33" Bull was faded blue jeans from the tip of his nose to his toenails.  His ridges were worn from age, so he didn't score as well as he would have last year, but I was very proud of him.

The chefs prepared him as a schnitzel that was fantastic.



Day 7 took us back to the plains where dad had harvested his Black Wildebeest, Springbok and Impala.  For the entire trip, my PH had given me hell about not shooting a Blesbok.  At this point, I had harvested 13 species in South Africa over the course of my two trips, and I had not taken one.  He said, "EVERYBODY shoots a Blesbok in their first four animals."  I told him that if he found me a stud, I'd shoot it at long distance.

On my trip last year, I shot my Springbok at 313 yards and was very proud of myself.  Dad took the long distance title from me with his Black Wildebeest at 326.  I was determined to beat him on the plains with my Blesbok.

I shot this 17" Ram at 430 yards.  It was a personal record for distance.  We didn't eat this specific animal, but we ate plenty of Blesbok.  Dry sausage is the way in which they are typically eaten, and the sausage was great.  It's sort of a cross between sausage and jerky - but certainly not as dry as jerky.  Pretty standard South African fare for meals and snacks.  I learned that Blesbok only occur in South Africa (as do Black Wildebeest who grace the 5 Rand coin).

GAP Non-Typical Hunter in 300 Win Mag
Swarovski Z6 2-12x50 with Christmas Tree Reticle
Barnes VOR-TX 180 grain Tipped TSX 



On the final day of our hunt, I shot two animals.  Early in the morning, I spotted this 24.25" Impala Ram with a large group of females.  Having shot an Impala last year, I wasn't planning on taking another one, but he was just enormous.  He didn't have a very deep saddle which makes him look even taller.  Since I was targeting Waterbuck, I was toting my 375.  He didn't move an inch after I shot him.



My Waterbuck was where my rig let me down.  The target turrets on Leica's ER scopes are WAY TOO LOOSE and easy to turn.  At some point, the windage knob on the scope was rubbed and caused me to misplace the shot.  Rather than hit him in the wheelhouse quartering away, I hit him in the ass and up into the stomach.  Fortunately, the round went all the way through, and he bled enough to track him.  

Waterbuck meat is not very good.  Some folks eat it, but I'm told it's an acquired taste.  You also must skin the animal very carefully and make sure their hair does not come into contact with the meat. 



I was again after Buckbuck.  Not successful.  Perhaps on my third trip.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/03/2013 at 09:11
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The stuff dreams are made of. Congratulations!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/03/2013 at 10:38
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Great to get to enjoy that with dad!  Congrats and thanks for the great pics. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/03/2013 at 10:53
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Excellent
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/03/2013 at 12:50
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Originally posted by 8shots 8shots wrote:

It sounds like you have a great trip planned.
 
Your choice of caliber and bullet is good to go. I have never hunted eland, simply because it is too much meat for my needs.
 
Bushbuck are very shy animals and can pose a challenging hunt. I have been fortunate enough to live in bushbuck country and have shot / hunted quite a few over the years.
 
I have long ago stopped doing trophy mounts, so I cannot recommend anyone. Normally a good outfitter will have the right taxidermist lined up for you.


Ahhh, question, what happens to the meat for all these trophy hunts that seem to be basically for pictures and mounts?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/03/2013 at 13:25
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With the operation REMF hunted this year (and we both hunted last year), some meat feeds the camp, some is donated, and some is sold to locals, NONE goes to waste.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/03/2013 at 18:55
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Excellent REMF stunning animals, man I'm jealous of that Sable. They are trully majestic animals wish I could afford one.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/03/2013 at 19:09
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Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

With the operation REMF hunted this year (and we both hunted last year), some meat feeds the camp, some is donated, and some is sold to locals, NONE goes to waste.


Cool, thanks RC.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/04/2013 at 03:41
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Originally posted by mike650 mike650 wrote:

Originally posted by 8shots 8shots wrote:

It sounds like you have a great trip planned.
 
Your choice of caliber and bullet is good to go. I have never hunted eland, simply because it is too much meat for my needs.
 
Bushbuck are very shy animals and can pose a challenging hunt. I have been fortunate enough to live in bushbuck country and have shot / hunted quite a few over the years.
 
I have long ago stopped doing trophy mounts, so I cannot recommend anyone. Normally a good outfitter will have the right taxidermist lined up for you.


Ahhh, question, what happens to the meat for all these trophy hunts that seem to be basically for pictures and mounts?
 
Well yes, no fine....essentially the bulk of this meat is sold to local butchers, pet food manufactures etc. So the outfitter gets a good fee for his trophies...throphy price + meat sales.
Unfortunately this meat is sold off cheaply because the outfitter has allready got his returns from the trophy. The meat sales are thus a bonus to him.
 
This in turn stuffs up the market for us week-end hunters. We pay the farmer on average around $3-5 per kg for a non trophy animal. The butchers in turn will only pay $2-$2-50 per kg because that is what they pay for unwanted trophy meat. So we cannot go for a week-end and hunt, then offset our expense by selling the meat. The books will not balance.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/04/2013 at 11:58
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Yes, the carcass is sold in its entirety by the outfitter.

The entrails, however, are usually collected by the spotter/tracker/driver.  The PH usually removes the kidneys, liver, heart and lungs (what's left of them) and places them in a sack.

I've often seen the tracker empty the stomach contents onto the ground (a big pile of grass and browse) and wash the inner lining of the stomach until it's white before also placing it into the sack.

When we leave the field, all that is left of the animal is usually intestines and a pile of grass.

Even the bones in the gut pile feed jackals, warthogs, various cats and honey badgers.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/04/2013 at 12:04
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Originally posted by REMF REMF wrote:

Yes, the carcass is sold in its entirety by the outfitter.

The entrails, however, are usually collected by the spotter/tracker/driver.  The PH usually removes the kidneys, liver, heart and lungs (what's left of them) and places them in a sack.

I've often seen the tracker empty the stomach contents onto the ground (a big pile of grass and browse) and wash the inner lining of the stomach until it's white before also placing it into the sack.

When we leave the field, all that is left of the animal is usually intestines and a pile of grass.

Even the bones in the gut pile feed jackals, warthogs, various cats and honey badgers.  


Exactly the way it worked on my hunt as well.  I'd pay a pretty penny to get some of that meat home too.  I did not connect on an eland, but the oryx I had was by far the best venison I've ever tasted, and rivaled the best meat I've tasted anywhere, anytime.  The wildebeest, hartebeest, kudu, and impala were great too, though. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/04/2013 at 15:48
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Congrats REMF    Great pictures and thanks for sharing...
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