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Plains Game Buffet and Bunny Hugger Tour

Dates – May 26 – June 3, 2016 at Tholo, then June 3-6 at Shinde Camp in Okavango Delta

Hunt Area- Southwest Botswana near Ghanzi on 230,000 acres private ranch

Safari Operator and Owner – Tholo Safaris
Clive, Linda and Kim Eaton – owners
www.tholosafarisbotwana.com , +267 74 318 615 for Kim

Touring Operatorhttp://www.kerdowneybotswana.com/our-camps/shinde/ - - set up by Kim Eaton

Agent – Tim Herald working with Worldwide Trophy Adventures

Travel Agent - Falcon Travel, Stacey Gibson, 210-867-4783, email – sggibson@earthlink.com

Weapon Used – Blaser R8 in .300WM, Leupold 4.5x14 VX III scope, local ammo, equipped with an A-Tec Suppressor, rented from Tholo (best gun I have used on a safari including my own!)

Animals Seen at Tholo – White Rhino, Giraffe, Warthogs, Impala, Eland, Kudu, Waterbuck, Springbok, Red Hartebeest, Leopard, Honey Badger, Jackal, Sable, Hippo, Black Wildebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Gemsbok, Bush Duikers, Steenbok, Mongoose, Scrub Hare, Ground Squirrels, Burchell’s Zebra

Animals Taken at Tholo – Warthog, Kudu (3x), Impala (3x), Waterbuck, Eland, Jackal, Red Hartebeest, Springbok, Blue Wildebeest (2x), Gemsbok (2x), Burchell’s Zebra (sx)

Animals Seen in the Okavango Delta – Elephants, Lions, Leopard with cub, Cheetah, Red Lechwe, Squirrels, Warthogs, Tssessbe, Blue Wildebeest, Spotted Hyena, Impala, Kudu, Baboons, Burchell’s Zebra, Common Reedbuck (dead and alive, the dead one was being eaten by a leopard and then by a hyena)



Executive Summary

This is our tenth trip to Africa. So far, this is the first one my wife said she would go back to. We have been on several really nice adventures and hunted with some super people – all folks you likely have heard of or hunted with. All things considered – this was the smoothest, best run and best trip we have done. At the end of the hunt, my wife of 34 years said that we will come here for a family reunion when our grandkids get a bit older. That is high praise indeed. Not a single issue arose. Not a single problem occurred. Everything from the flights to the communications with Kim Eaton to the hunting and touring went perfect. The final billing was perfect with no issues. Overall, this is a first for us.

On the hunting, we saw more animals on this hunt than any previous hunt. We saw more kudu than anywhere we have been. I never expected to shoot as many animals as I did. However, the opportunity and quality of game was superb along with the PH, Jason Bridger, and the bushman trackers. The Eaton’s are gracious hosts and delightful to talk to. The staff was excellent along with the food and accommodations.

If you are in this business, I would suggest you go here to see how to run a top notch camp and area.

Armour-plated Miniature Rhino



Arranging the Trip

I was aware of Tholo and the Eaton’s from reports on AR over the years. Tim Herald took a group last year and made the same offer on AR this year. I decided to do a regular plains game hunt for fun and for eland, my favourite. I booked the trip via Worldwide Trophy Adventures but had nearly all of my contact with Kim Eaton at Tholo. Kim is the daughter of Clive and Linda. She lives in Maun, the jumping off point for hunting with Tholo. She handled every detail, recommended the outfit we used to tour in the Okavango Delta and kept me totally informed on all aspects of the trip. She is outstanding and did a superb job. Many agents could learn a lot from her.

This was a group hunt set to be 2x1. I chose to buy two hunts and have a PH solely for myself and wife. My wife is not a shooter, so I basically had a double bag to shoot. This was no problem due to the abundance of game at Tholo.

Tim arrived in camp a few days after we did and stayed for the second group he had arranged. Normally, I prefer not to hunt with others in the camp, but this set up was excellent and we had a good group. We did not see each other except at meals and it worked out well when one group spotted eland tracks and could relay that info to the other group.

Our camp companions were a couple from Montana and a single hunter from Connecticut. Both were wonderful and enjoyable to share a camp with.

For the “after hunt” trip to the Okavango Delta, I relied on Kim Eaton to recommend and set this up. She offered a couple of options and we took what looked good. It was beyond what we expected. There are about 50 photo/touring camps set up in the Okavango Delta and Chobe Reserve area. Each is different and accessible via small charters. I will add more on this experience later in this report.

Travel

No one I know relishes the long flights to Africa. It is a pain and no fun. This time, Stacey Gibson talked us into flying Emirates Airlines. What a nice airline! We flew Oklahoma City to Houston on United, then Emirates from Houston to Dubai, then to Jo-berg, then South African Airways to Maun. This takes a bit longer, but you do not overnight in Jo-berg. We flew business class on a special offer that cost the same as booking 3 coach seats (something I do to get more room). I highly recommend flying Emirates Business class vs Delta or others. It is a cut above and you are well treated from the time you get to the lounge to the plane. I have made about 200 long flights from the US to Asia, Europe or Africa. The only comparable is Singapore Airlines or some of the British Airways flights from the past. This is nice. Treat yourself.



At the Maun Airport – the TSA could learn from these folks



Botswana as a Destination

My wife and I have been a lot of places around the world. We have been to the really nice ones and the really bad ones (CAR comes to mind). Between us, we have been to over 50 countries and lived in a few of them. Botswana is in the top five we have visited. Why? Here are the reasons –

• Safe from any sort of military corruption or bad police
• We sensed no tension between the whites and blacks
• The airport is clean, efficient and no “facilitation payments” needed to get bags or whatever
• The country is clean. No piles of trash (like Egypt), no continuous fires burning.
• The main language is English (not a big deal but nice)
• The Bushmen are really congenial people as are the other local folks
• We saw no beggars – everyone seemed to be working
• Traffic moved and the streets were in good shape
• Friendly – we felt welcome from the minute we hit the ground and everywhere we went
• The electricity works, the cell phones work, we even drank the water
• Prices were reasonable
• The country felt organized

It is a bit like Namibia and Turkey. We love Turkey and the people there. The final comment was from my wife who said she would like to come back and see more of this country and the people. Enough said!

The Area

I have hunted in the Kalahari area in Namibia. In fact, we were about a five hour drive straight east from the areas we had hunted in Namibia previously. At Tholo, the Eaton’s have about 230,000 acres of unfenced range land. They run a cattle and goat operation as well as the hunting. They have 650 +/- local folks working and living on the ranch. Nearly all of them have been there for many years and are Bushmen. Our interaction with the Bushmen was really nice. In some other countries, the local men, due to custom and practice, really do not like women on a safari. We encountered this in Zambia and other places. The issue is just local custom. Some people groups have a different view of women than others. The Bushmen were extremely polite and very nice to my wife and the other lady in camp.

Back to the area – this land flat, very flat. It is covered with thick “bush” of all types. Lots of grass, lots of bushes, lots of trees. You will not normally see game at long distances unless you are in the high seats on your truck. We spotted a lot of game from the truck but spent a lot of effort stalking in the thick stuff. This made the eland hunting very challenging as the eland is quick to run and tough to track.

The Eaton’s have cattle and other livestock. These animals need water, so there are numerous water wells on the property that create pans or small watering areas. This water attracts a lot of wildlife as well as cattle. We often checked the water holes for tracks and followed up those tracks. We set up on one water hole and had a parade of kudu bulls come by. I ended up shooting the last one as he was the oldest of the bunch and most wary. More on that later. If you are a bow hunter, you could do that here and enjoy it.

If I were comparing this area to somewhere else, South Texas comes to mind as does the antelope areas in Wyoming or the Kalahari areas in Namibia. It is flat country.

Hunt Details

Usually, I do not write a diary or a shot by shot account of the hunt. I think the best way to present this report is by event or the animal. As you know, each day you load up the truck and head out looking for whatever you find. We started out on day one looking for eland. We found tracks, caught up to the eland and made the shot. This however, is not the norm on eland. Anyway, most of the days we started out looking for whatever, then made a plan from there. Sometimes, we started by walking across a large area heading to salt licks or water holes hoping to find whatever. Due to the high number of animals and the large area to hunt, we never hunted the same spot twice and spent a lot of time just “hunting”.

The Gun (Prep yourself for some editorial comment here!)

I am not a gun nut. A gun is a tool. I do not get emotional about a gun any more than I get emotional about a hammer or a wrench. They are tools. They are objects that I use to hunt. That is all. I cannot fathom why a gun used by some famous person is worth more than a gun used by me or someone else. They are tools. To me, it is like buying autographs of famous athletes. Why do we value this? We have no connection to the athlete other than watching them perform. We do not know them, they are not our friends, they cannot or do not return our interest or affection. Why do you see people thronged around athletes or whoever to get a signature? I never get this. So why would I view a gun as something other than a tool? Same with a piece of paper signed by some overpaid over ego-ed athlete or actor or whatever.

Further I rarely take my guns anymore due to the added cost and hassle. The Eaton’s have plenty of guns and let me use them if I paid for the ammo. That is a good deal! I chose a Blaser R8 in .300 Win Mag, with a Leupold scope using local ammo. The gun had a suppressor on it. This was a first for me as I have never seen a suppressor nor used one. In the USA, suppressors are tightly regulated for stupid reasons so I just never checked them out. Well, after checking the rifle and the PH checking me out – I am sold on suppressors! The lack of noise and lack of recoil was totally unexpected. I did not use hearing protection of any type with this thing. Further, this gun did not recoil. I saw every shot hit the animal. Usually, the recoil masks the sound of the bullet impacting the animal and the jerk of the gun keeps you from seeing the impact.

With the suppressor, I saw every shot at impact and saw every shot through scope. I did not expect this at all. After getting home, I have ordered suppressors for my two favourite hunting rifles.




As far as the Blaser goes – I like this gun. I am a Winchester Model 70 controlled round feed fan. I have used this gun and action for many years. Well, the Blaser action is really cool and I had no previous bias as I know nothing about them. First, the bolt is a straight pull. I like that. Second, the safety is a tang type safety and easy to use. Third, the trigger is super crisp. No over-travel, no creep at all. It is well made and easy to use. I like it and am from now and forever, not getting in any discussions over controlled round feed or push feed. I could care less. The PH’s on this hunt like the Blaser for everything, including elephant and leopard. This action and gun are solid and well made.

As the hunt progressed and I made shot after shot after shot with no noise and no appreciable recoil, I am won over. In all of my trips, I would rate myself as an average shot with average skill. This gun, in my hands and in my way of shooting, elevated my confidence and accuracy. I shot 18 animals and made 17 kills. Every shot hit the target. I made three shots on a couple of animals but only due to the animal was standing after the first shot. I had numerous DRT’s (dead right there!) shots. My one loss was an eland that I shot in a tight opening hitting the eland in the meaty part of the neck but not hitting any bone or arteries. We tracked this eland two days and did not recover him. The PH and Bushman both felt it was a “flesh wound” only. Disappointing for sure, but the shot was where I aimed. I just aimed wrong.

On a trip earlier this year to Cameroon, I missed three shots that I normally make. I was using my own rifle on that hunt. Thierry Labat would tell you that my shooting was not good. On this hunt, I did not miss. Go figure. For now, I will credit the gun and not the shooter. However, the gun with the suppressor made a big difference.

This is a superb tool. I am ordering one now.

Eland

I like eland hunting. We have chased them in CAR, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and now Botswana. Each hunt has been a challenge and great fun. These Botswana eland are no different than any of the others. They all like to walk, they all run at a hint of danger and they don’t stop running for a bit. The challenge is to get up on them without them knowing it. On many animals, you can spook them and they run, then stop. Eland don’t do that. When they run, they go to the next country.

Our first day out, we cut eland tracks early, stalked for three hours and caught a big bull laying down in the shade. I made a tight neck shot and that was it. For me, that was the shortest eland hunt I have been on. My longest was 9 days tracking over 100 miles. Does this detract from eland hunting? Heck no! Take good fortune when it happens. We came on a lone bull, walking along grazing; then walked up on him as he was in the shade chewing his cud. The shot was anticlimactic as he died instantly. Here are pics.






The second eland encounter came later in the day, another first for me. We went to lunch after the first eland and started looking for whatever that afternoon. At 4pm, we cut tracks of a herd and walked them up. They were bunched up in some thick grass and brush just milling around eating. We got the wind right and slowly inched toward them. We set up on sticks in an “alley” through the grass waiting to see if the bull we saw in the group would show himself. After a bit, two bulls walked out and I set up on the first, then Jason said to wait as the second one was older and “bluer”. I quickly set up on him but could not get a perfect shot. He was angling away from me when we were spotted by some cows. He turned to look in our direction and I shot at what I thought was his neck and shoulder junction. We heard the shot hit, the bull jumped and ran amidst a bunch of other eland. We waited about twenty minutes to start following figuring that based on what we saw and what I saw in the scope, he would be lying dead somewhere close.

Well, that was not the case. The Bushmen had a little trouble sorting the tracks as there were about twenty in the group. We picked up a few small drops of blood but nothing to indicate a lung-shot or something worse/better. We tracked until dark, marked the trail and decided to go in. As we discussed what transpired, this bull was not in the back of the herd, he was in the front of it making the tracking slower.

Next day, we started where we left off and followed tracks for six hours with no sight of eland or the this bull. The blood stopped as well. We circled to catch tracks crossing a road with no luck, then went to close by water holes. We found tracks but no eland and no blood. We gave it up hoping to find vultures circling a dead eland later but never saw that or the eland.

Disappointing for sure and the Bushmen were upset they could not sort this one out. We checked the general every day for the rest of our hunt hoping for some luck, but never got back on that eland bull. Did I hit what I was aiming at? Yes. Did I aim at the wrong spot? Yes. Being the second day of the hunt, I doubted my shooting as I had some problems in Cameroon earlier this year with missing and thought I may have pulled the shot or did something else as stupid.

As the hunt progressed and I made shot after shot on 16 more animals, Jason and I concluded that I just aimed wrong and hit some muscle in the chest/neck area that was turned out to be a non-fatal shot. It happens but that does not make me feel better.

Birding in Botswana – I always take a field guide for birding wherever we go. I was especially interested in birds in the Okavango Delta area. I was not disappointed. We spotted 68 species in the Okavango Delta in three days and 75 at the Tholo Camp in eight days there. Many were new to me. I posted a list at the end of this report. I would encourage you to take up birding. It is fun and fills time while hunting. It broadens your experience as well. Most PH’s are avid birders as this is a requirement for them when sitting for the PH licencing exam.





Blue Wildebeest

I really am not a wildebeest hunter. I have shot several and struggle to judge them. Well, this time, we were after a pretty hide and a decent boss on the horns. At Tholo, it seemed we saw wildebeest every day and every hour. We saw big groups, small groups, singles and one that walked close to us, fell over and died! There are plenty here so we were mostly shopping for hides when we encountered a group in the open, unconcerned about us and set up for a shot. Ok, over confidence is often a problem when the shot is open and easy.

We set up the sticks, I got a perfect rest on a broadside beest and let fly! Heard the shot hit, saw the shot hit the shoulder, saw the wildebeest jump and shudder then run off in the thick stuff…. We expected him to be dead really close. As we were walking toward the “shot one”, another one walked into view that had a good coat and nice boss. So we set up and shot this one too. Same drill as before, saw the shot hit, heard the shot hit, saw the beest dance and jump, then run off.

While walking toward the second one, we went to the first one and found him dead about 20 yards from where he was shot. Good, one down one to go.

On this second one, my wife and the driver could see him disappear in the brush in front of us and not come out. We saw him run into the brush but then we saw another one running in the same direction as the second went. We thought, crap, he is running off! So we went to that spot and started tracking. As the Bushmen were tracking they found a set of tracks of two wildebeest we had not seen and were confused whey weren’t seeing blood or indications of the second one being hit. When we really got confused, my wife and driver walked up and said we were tracking the wrong one and that the second one was in the bush somewhere. Ok, with that info, we walked to the place he was shot, saw a bunch of tracks jumbled up and blood. This one jumped into the bush, but then turned in a different direction all the while, the ones we saw were spooked and ran out in the direction we assumed the shot one went. Wrong assumption. The Bushmen went right to the shot second one in a couple of minutes and were blushing (if they can blush) over making a bad assumption. I then appointed my wife and driver as our new trackers……

All in all, great fun with no pressure. We did a double on wildebeest and had fun sorting the tracks…



Impala

Most folks going to Africa for the second or third time are not really into hunting impala. They are pretty, they are usually everywhere, they are not that smart when it comes to running and hiding, they are noisy and the uncommonly common. I shot one in South Africa on my first trip to Africa. I shot several in Zimbabwe for fun. I waited ten years to shoot another one; this time in Namibia and it was a dandy. Well, this time, the PH said they had some really big ones at Tholo. I am not so sure what “really big” is as I am not much of a measurer of horns, but I took him at his word.



We saw several each day, usually with a group of females and sometimes in small bachelor groups. We looked them over each time and passed on ten or twenty before a couple caught our eye. These were “good” ones – long, heavy and rapidly putting distance between them and us. We tracked them and followed and lost them in the plethora of tracks all over Tholo. After several busted stalks and lost opportunities, we managed to track up one, which we promptly shot.



The same thing happened a few days later with this one.

Then on the last day on the drive into to camp, this one presented himself and was able to make a good shot.



I like impala. I do not get bored with them and will shot one nearly anytime I see a “good” one.


Warthogs

I like hunting and shooting warthogs. I do it every time they are on quota somewhere. The problem is that I am looking for the old, gnarly, worn down boar that is often alone and usually minding his own business when I accidently bump into him. He either runs and gets away or gets shot. This all happens pretty quick as I am usually as surprised as he is when I bump into him in the grass.

That is what happened this time. We were stalking gemsbok and literally walked right up on this old boar. He never heard us or saw us; which is unusual for me as I am a noisy walker and stand 6’ 4” tall. Easy shot at twenty paces and no running off.



At Tholo there are a lot of warthogs. We saw at least a hundred. That is the good news, The bad news is that we saw 90% mamas with babies. This place is loaded with a lot of females and footballs. They came into the camp every day and we saw a bunch every day. This is good news when Botswana re-opens leopard hunting. A juvenile warthog is a cheeseburger for a leopard according to the PH’s at Tholo. The other hunters took warthogs as well. Some were easy to find but one of the guys looked at over fifty and I am not sure he ever shot one. That is hunting.

Jackal

These are fox sized varmints that everyone everywhere seems to hate. The message was – “shoot on sight”- if you can. We spotted one in an open pan attempting a stalk on some springbok. The jackal was lying down in very grass and never saw us. We made a 150 yard shot that turned it inside out. No tears were lost on this one. I kind of like them for their coat. This was the first one I have ever taken or seen up close. I could do this again!



Burchell’s Zebra

If you have been to African more than once, you likely have a love/hate relationship with Burchell’s Zebras. They are beautiful but seemingly always alerting other game to your presence. They see well, smell well and are very alert. We were busted numerous times by zebras while stalking gemsbok and springbok. So when we happened up on a group that had not seen us, Jason suggested we make a stalk and see what we could see.

We followed several groups but got busted regularly. Finally, we spotted some that did not see us first. W very slowly tracked them in the thick stuff, could hear them “talking” to each other, then spotted a gap in the brush and just set up waiting for them to file past. They did and Jason picked a very nice one and I let the shot go. Bang flop, which was unusual for zebra. They usually run for a hundred yards and then drop. The suppressor on the rifle was so quiet that the others just walked around calling to each other and not at all disturbed. We waited on them to see if another one would walk out but none did. We followed this herd for about a mile before giving up and going back to the fallen one. This is it.



The second zebra was like the first, except we stalked and tracked for an hour or two before catching them. I had one very narrow corridor to shoot through when the right one stepped out. He did and I made the shot. This one staggered and dropped very close to the spot he was first hit. Again, the lack of noise from the gun kept them from running helter skelter off into the sunset. We watched the survivors as they looked back the dead one wondering what happened. They finally saw us and took off. It was another nice zebra.



Springbok

Ok, you experienced folks, skip this part. It is just about a springbok stalk. You have done it often and likely killed a 15” or better one. Well, I haven’t. I have hunted them some, but never intentionally and have never taken one that was of decent size. I have blown more shots on springbok than any other African animal. My last tally was four misses, one at thirty yards.

When I told Jason my tale of woe, he did not believe me as I have had some experience in Africa. I just never did well on springbok. He said we would fix that and we did!

This area, like most of the Kalahari has a lot of springbok. At Tholo, there are some open areas but not as many as a springbok would like. We saw them on open pans but more often in knee high grass areas close to thick cover. Each time we stopped to look a group over, they jumped into the thick stuff or took off for Namibia. Jason that not many are shot at Tholo as the biggest get to 14” or 15” but the cheetahs hammer them, hence their nervousness.

We finally spotted a group that did not see us and we spent thirty minutes looking over about twenty that were in some thick shade. We could see pieces and parts of them but not an entire animal with a clear look at the horns. As is normal with a good PH, they look and look and turn and squint until they see all they are going to see. Jason spotted a good male and set the sticks. He just said to wait until he meandered into an opening, then to shoot. Another ten minutes went by when the target walked into a tiny tunnel that I could shoot through. The Blaser was amazing and we made the shot at 125 yards. This was fun and he is a very good springbok for this area. I like him and will have him mounted.





Kudu

Kudu’s are my favourite. No, I said earlier that eland are my favourite. Well, I am lying I think. I really like hunting kudu…. But I really like hunting eland too. I think I like hunting whatever I am hunting at the moment.

Tholo (the Bushmen word for Kudu) is loaded with kudu’s. Jason told me that they had estimated 5000 kudu on this ranch. That is a bunch. He said that we would see kudu bulls daily and that taking one is not hard. Well, I have heard that before and spent a lot of time chasing kudu in Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. They are never easy and rarely abundant.

At Tholo, that is not the case. There are a lot of kudu, a lot of really nice bulls. I think we saw 30 or 40 mature, shootable bulls in the eight days we were there. I ended up shooting three – I could not control myself. I would have shot more if I hadn’t started to feel gluttonous. The other hunters shot nice bulls. Tim shot a really nice one.

We hunted each bull differently, which was fun. The first one was taken at a salt lick. Jason knew of an area with a bunch of stray bulls. The rut was ending and several of the losers were on their own and not with cows. He knew of a bull or two that used one area but did not have a harem. We went to the salt lick, built a boma (screen of brush) and sat still. Before long, a string of young bulls started wandering in and before long there were seven just milling around about eighty yards in front of us. They jousted with each other, chased each other and took turns at the salt. One even wandered up to within ten feet of us as he walked out of the area.

After thirty minutes of this and at dusk, three bigger bulls started easing into the clearing. All were shooters and I was about to bust one when Jason saw an even bigger show his head. Immediately, (and I mean immediately) he said, “shoot that bull!”. No discussion of size, no comment if it was mature, just - “Shoot!” So I did. What a bull. He was about eighty yards and coming straight to us. He spotted us but was unsure and I shot the middle of his chest. At the shot he lunged toward us and was barrelling full on toward us so I shot two more times quickly (easy to do with that Blaser) and he was done. Here is a pic. Easily this is the best kudu I have taken.



Number two was spotted in a group about 150 yards out in the bush. His width and mass said, “Shoot” to me before Jason did. We looked him over for about two seconds, set the sticks and let it go. He was with cows and was a bit marked up from fighting, however, still another super bull.





Number three was compulsion on my part. I has having an attack of the “I am seeing so many big kudu bulls that I have to shoot another one”. That is a serious disease unless you are in a place where you can shoot extra kudu and pay the trophy fee. Again, we spotted this one way out in the bush, just seeing the horns. That was enough as we could inches and mass. One shot and he was down. When we got to him, we saw he was very skinny. We could see his ribs and where he was worn out from the rut. We actually loaded him on the truck with three of us, something you normally cannot do with a big kudu bull. He was another good one and I thoroughly do not feel a single twinge of guilt for shooting a third kudu. I nearly shot a fourth a couple days later!! Ouch, I am a very sick person.



Waterbuck

I have seen waterbucks nearly everywhere I have hunted. For one reason or another, my sons shot the quota or I was after something, then the hunt was over and I never hunted or shot a waterbuck. I missed a nice on in Cameroon due to crappy shooting, but that was my only real attempt to take one. On this trip, I did not plan to hunt them. How can there be waterbucks in the desert? Well, there are and there are plenty of them. We saw bulls/bucks everyday and finally found a real dumb one that was old with heavy, worn horns, a bit like me. Anyway, we spotted him laying under some trees at midday while we were driving in for lunch. We made a short stalke and, as luck would have it, he spotted us, jumped up and ran about three steps then turned. Mistake. He got shot when he turned to look back.

He turned out to be a really cool one with character. I like him a lot.

While set up for pictures, Jason’s wife drove up as she was headed to camp to check on all of us. She had their three year old son with her, so we let him do the pictures. He actually did a pretty good job.





Red Hartebeest

The “Kalahari Ferrari”, the Red Hartebeest is fun to hunt. At Tholo there are not many of them and I am not sure why. I suspect it is the leopards and cheetahs that get a lot of them, but am not sure. The PH’s said they see fewer nowadays than in the past. Anyway, there is a decent population of them and we stopped and looked them over every time we bumped a group. After several “bumps”, we spotted a small herd with a nice male. We made a short stalk and he stopped to look at us one too many times and got shot. I really like these horse-faced Hillary Clinton lookalikes and enjoy hunting them wherever they can be hunted. I will I had a great tale of tracking and long shooting, but it was a typical spot and stalk encounter. We spotted the group, looked them over, decided this male was a good one and the end was next.



White Rhino

No, we did not hunt them but we did bump into several of them as we hunted other stuff. I marvel at rhinos. They are the quintessential African iconic old man animal. They look scary, they are big, they are fearless and they are dumb as posts. I am not sure how many the Eaton’s host on Tholo but we saw singles and groups nearly every day. On one of our forays, we tracked one that went through a cattle fence in search of something. He came back later but it was interesting to see how they just go on a walk-about to see what is out there. I hope that somehow some way, they can be hunted actively again.





Kalahari Gemsbok

Yes, I know you have shot them in Namibia and the ones in Namibia are a bit bigger in the horn than here. Yes, I know there are lot of them in most places. Yes, I know that sometimes they are not too tough to hunt. But, what I did not know is that they are seriously hard to get close to. I have shot several, most in Namibia. Most of those shots were two hundred yards or longer in the open. At Tholo, you will not see them in the wide open spaces. They will be in the openings but only a jump or two to get into the thick stuff. These gemsbok did not wait around to get shot. We spotted a bunch nearly every day. And nearly every day, they spotted us first as all we could see where their striped faces looking back us. You could count to three and off they go.

The challenge with gemsbok is judging the horns. Females have long skinny horns while males have shorter thicker ones. We were committed to finding and old male with heavy horns regardless of length, then a long, dry, old female. We were successful on both accounts but it was not easy. We looked at gemsbok every day. Every day we stalked a few. Every day they got away, until the last two days of our trip. On each day, we spotted lone animals that were grazing. We made a couple of long, slow stalks and were in position to make the shots. Both shots were good and the only ones needed – which is not the norm for gemsbok. The male went about 35” and the female as 1/16” under forty on her longest side. Both were old and are good ones. I like them and will hunt them again when I go back.





Hippos

Hippos in the desert? Yep. Seems they wander about a lot. The Eaton’s have two males (father and son) in a small pond in the camp. And I mean “in the camp”. We had drinks each night before dinner around a campfire (see Tim Herald’s report and pics) when the staff would put out a bale of hay for the hungry hungry hippos. It was a little unnerving seeing them pull up out of the water, walk to the hay and start crunching away at it; while being 15 paces from us. The Eaton’s warned us that they are not pets and not really open to interaction with people. We watched them quietly and with an eye to run for the bar should one of the men get a bit grumpy. This was really cool.



As a point of information, these hippos go out each night to feed on grass. There are nights they go 10 miles or more looking for whatever hippos look for at night. There have even been hippos migrate to the area when the Okavango floods heavily and they can find water or love in the Tholo area. Again, I am amazed at Africa and animals there – especially some of the big ones.

Leopards and Honey Badgers

Yes, leopard hunting is closed in Botswana, but hopefully not for long. The three PH’s that work at Tholo are serious leopard hunters. They have taken 300+ from the area over the years. They had set up a bait in a tree just across the hippo pond and well in sight of the campfire. We witnessed two different leopards coming to the bait in the evening and staying for quite a while. They even came in one day in the day light. Quite a sight for sure. The leopards shared the bait with honey badgers. I had never seen my Bad Attitude in person, so it was fun to see them work the bait.

These folks hunt leopards using the Bushmen to track them for a long distance, then turn loose a dog or two to bay the leopard then follow up on the ground. It sounded a bit dangerous to me as the guys said the leopard will run for awhile as the Bushmen push it but sooner or later it will stop and decide enough is enough. When that happens, a dog or two are used to hold the leopard for time to get the hunter up for a shot. If the leopard sees the truck or the hunters, it usually comes for them. That’s when it gets exciting. I heard several stories of the leopards being shot at very close quarters and sometimes on the side of the truck. I want to do that when the season is opened again!!!

If you go…

You will see a lot of game. You will see a lot of big kudu bulls. You will a lot of wildebeest and zebra. Gemsbok are not far behind. You will be treated very well and have a lot of fun. This is a low stress hunt. You will get your animals and have fun doing it. I had one day where I shot six. Yes, that was a bit over the top, but heck, it was fun and that is why I go to Africa – to have fun and shoot and eat and drink and see things I won’t see in the USA. I have been on a lot of trips where I did not take six shots.

Next

When (I hope it happens) Botswana opens up elephant, leopard and lion hunting again, I am going here. The Eaton’s have extensive experience in the dangerous game arena, especially elephant and leopard. The PH’s in the camp had over 300 leopard hunts between them. They had a leopard bait set up in the camp, across a pond, that drew two leopards nearly every evening. I have not seen leopards this calm and this close without a gun in my hand. It was cool.

We will also do a family reunion hunt here in the future. I have a married daughter with kids – so they will come, and I have two sons that hunt. When and if they get married, we will bring the entire circus with us for a serious and fun adventure. This is the place!!!!!

See Part 2 for the rest of the story -
 
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Part 2 here

Part 2 Converting to a Bunny Hugger!

As I mentioned earlier in this report, we spent the last three days of the trip in the Okavango Delta area just as the flood waters were arriving in the area. We stayed at a camp, called Shinde, managed by Kerr and Downney, to do some game viewing. We learned a lot about the non-hunting part of African safaris. It gave me a new view of what the anti-hunting movement is about and why we are so polarized in our views.



The Setting

Photo/touring camps are set up differently from hunting camps. This camp was set up for about 20 guests at a time and the guests turn over daily. Most people stay in a camp three days and move to another one. I suspect the reason is that in three days, you tourists see about everything they care to see and are ready to move on. We felt that way too.

The cabins/chalets/tents are very, very nice. The only place I have been that compares is the Nchila Reserve run by Pete and Lynn Fisher in Zambia. Everything was top of the line. These places cater heavily to rather sedentary customers who are most comfortable riding around in the touring truck looking at stuff. You do very little walking and a lot of eating.






At our camp, about half of the people we photographers carrying cameras that are more expensive than my rifles. One of the photo guys was from Germany and he said he averaged 1000 pictures per day. My finger would get tired shooting that many. One guy was a free lancer trying to sell pictures to National Geographic and other magazines. All of these guys were there for pictures of semi-tame big animals and were very interested in getting close to lions, elephants and others. I can see why you hear about an occasional stomping or biting happening at these camps. They get really close to the animals.

Daily Drill

Up at 6:30 for breakfast buffet, then to the trucks to drive around looking for cats or elephants. When one truck finds something, he radios the others and soon, a wagon train of vehicles is surrounding a sleeping lion or leopard or elephant. We are not used to getting really close to cats and elephants but we did on this adventure.


We found a female leopard with an eight month old cub that had killed a common reedbuck. Our guide drove right up to them as they slept. We were within 15’ of the mom and cub. I was nervous but the guide said they are used to seeing trucks and hearing people. I was not convinced until the mother leopard got up and walked within two feet of our truck and my wife. (see the video) The same thing happened with a male lion and a cheetah that was stalking some red lechwe. The guide drove right up on them. On one male leopard, we drove around it to block its path and get close. That leopard just walked around the truck and keep going. It was cool but really weird. I am not sure what I was witnessing – a zoo without bars? Or some acclimatized animals that do not fear people?

Now I understand how photographers get all of those great pictures – they go to game reserves and shoot pics of animals that are not running off at the sight and smell of a man. It is odd to me and bit unnatural for me to get that close without a gun in my hand. I felt a bit exposed but nothing happened.



The best sighting was that same female momma leopard pushing her cub up a tree then retrieving a half eaten reedbok from a thieving hyena. We spotted the spotted hyena carrying the carcass, then saw the leopard following in the grass. The hyena kept looking back, then it dropped the meat and took off. The leopard trotted up, picked up the meat and started back to the tree with the cub stashed in it. Then, the hyena came running back and chased the leopard up a tree and took the meat again. This time, the leopard let it go and she went back to her cub. The guide said that a hyena is not afraid of a leopard and that he suspected the hyena thought a lion was following him, hence he took off. When looked back and saw a leopard, he went back to get his meat. This all happened right in front of us and we had a ball watching it play out.









We watched elephants up close and listened to the odd noises they make. We followed a large troop or gang of baboons as they made a mess of everything they came in contact with. We sat watching sleeping lions at a very close distance. We saw a lot of birds. We got to see the slowly moving Okavango River slowly flooding the plains were driving on. All in all, I recommend it. I would like to go back and see the area when it is flooded.

The downside to all the water was the mosquitoes. We dealt with those daily. Not as bad as tsetse flies but annoying for sure.



Dinners and Debates

In this type of camp, people come and go daily via the charters. Each day we met new people from various places. The bulk of the folks were from the UK and US. When we started talking at dinner, the discussion revolved around, “Oh, where have been, what have you seen?” When I answered that we had been in the Kalahari, they asked what was down there. I replied, “We were on a hunting safari and came here to see the Okavango Delta and the animals here”. At the word “hunting”, eyebrows went up and some people were visibly irritated. One couple, some Brits we ended up riding in touring trucks with for several of the drives, were seriously anti-hunting. The husband told that he was adamantly opposed to hunting and nothing I could say would change his mind. I said, “No problem”. I then suggested we discuss religion. He then said he was a “confirmed and committed atheist”. I said, “No problem.” Then I suggested we talk about politics. He said he was a confirmed liberal and that Hillary Clinton is a saint. Well, that ran me out of things to talk about without starting a war, so I suggested he tell me about his career. This kept him going for a few hours and me out of a fight.

We also talked with several others that had the view that elephants are endangered species and that there are no lions in the wild just in parks and that Cecil was an icon. I asked them each how much money that contributed to African conservation causes. The answer was “none”. I asked what they thought an elephant hunt or a lion hunt would cost compared to a photo safari. They were shocked at the numbers and did not believe me until I was able to show them on AR. One of them concluded that it takes 10 to 15 photo safari customers to spend what one hunter spends. Bingo! Anyway, I had a rapt audience each time the word got out that I actually shot animals. I was asked if I wanted to hunt in the reserve, to which I answered, “No, not at all, this is not hunting. These animals are not behaving naturally and there is not hunting of relatively tame animals by ethical hunters”. This then led to discussions about Cecil and that fiasco. I had the facts and may have got them to think about what really happened rather than what CNN said happened.

I came away from those discussions thinking that there are a lot of people out there with no idea what Africa is really like and what the role of hunting plays in the economies in these countries. The concepts of sustainable yield and habitat management are not understood by most. I am not sure what the answer is but the gap between hunters and anti-hunters is wide – much like between believing Christians and athiests. We cannot win them over with anger or name calling. All we can do is talk and tell them the facts. Most will listen but I doubt that even facts will change their view. The same thing happened to Jesus after he raised Lazurus from the dead or healed lepers. You would think that would get people’s attention, but it didn’t and doesn’t.





Overall, the Okavango Delta is really something to see. It is massive and has many faces. I would like to go back someday and see the more swampy areas. The camp was like living in the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House at Disneyland. It was elegant, very well run and very relaxing. Every detail I could imagine was handled. We were pampered and overfed. This was our first trip to a game viewing area or game park and we had not expectations. We saw elephants (a few), a couple of lions, a couple of leopards (a female with a cub), spotted hyenas, and a cheetah. All of this was viewed at very close range. The leopards and lion were viewed at distances of less than ten feet! It was fun and interesting but very “protected and controlled”.



Flying in to the Okavango Delta






Overall Observations

1. Botwana is a really nice place with really nice people. Easily on par with Namibia, Turkey and Oklahoma.
2. Hunting and tourism in Botswana is still a big business.
3. Tholo Safaris is a top notch outfit in all aspects – PH’s are excellent, Clive and Linda Eaton know how run a big operation and Kim Eaton is excellent in getting you information and setting up the adventure. You can trust these folks.
4. Our trip went off without a single problem. A first for us.
5. My wife and I will go back with our family in the future. This place is that good.
6. We saw more animals here than in the game parks or any other safari we have been on.
7. The kudu are super here.
8. The eland are very good here and fun to hunt.
9. The Bushmen are very solid people and fun to hunt with.
10. Emirates Air is one of the best airlines out there.
11. The Blaser rifle is really a good piece of engineering and quality.
12. A suppressor on the Blaser rifle changed the quality of my shooting. I am ordering them for my guns.
13. You really should try a photo safari destination. We had a great time with the Kerr and Downey folks at the Shinde Camp. Quality, relaxing and fun. The discussions with anti’s was interesting as well.

Conclusions

1. This was the best trip of the ten previous trips we have made to Africa. The only place that compares is boutique destination in New Zealand called Kuranui that we truly loved. Tholo and the Eaton’s are special and worth your time and money to go to.

2. We will go back. I am hoping cat hunting opens in Botswana. I want to be first on the list.

3. I am weary of the expense of some dangerous game or unique animal hunts. Right now, just getting to hunt kudu and eland and the rest is relaxing and great fun. There is no pressure to perform.

4. I would suggest that anyone who hunts in Africa should go to a game park to get a feel for what the average tourist is all about. It is not something I will do a lot of, but I will go to Kruger or the Ongorogoro Crater area sometime in the future.

5. I am getting a Blaser with a suppressor.



Appendix – Bird List



]b]At Tholo[/b]

Rock Dove (common pigeon)
Fork Tailed Drongo
Common Scimitar Bill
White-browed Sparrow Weaver
Emerald Spotted Wood Dove
Ring-necked Dove
Maribou Stork
Lapet-faced Vulture
White-backed Vulture
Grey Heron
European Roller
Lilac-breasted Roller
Namaqua Dove
Ostrich
Helmeted Guinea fowl
Red-billed Spurfowl
Blacksmith Lapwing
Laughing Dove
Purple Roller
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Crimson-breasted Shrike
Southern Pied Babler
Burchell’s Starling
Shaft-tailed Whydah
Red-billed Quelea
Little Grebe
African Red-eyed Bulbul
Pale Chanting Goshawk
Secretary Bird
Burchell’s Sandgrouse
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater
Marico Flycatcher
Kalahari Scrub Robin
Red-faced Mousebird
Ant-eating Chat
Marico Sunbird
Green-winged Pytila
Black-faced Waxbill
Blue Waxbill
Long-tailed Paradise Whydah
Cape Crow
African Hoopoe
Crested Francolin
Kori Bustard
Ovambo Sparrowhawk
Brown-crowned Tchagra
Cape Penduline Tit
Violet-eared Waxbill
Green Wood Hoopoe
Northern Black Korhan
Red Backed Korhan
Crowned Lapwing
Southern White-crowned Shrike
African Pipit
African Fish Eagle
African Goshawk
Gabar Goshawk
Greater Kestrel
Chinspot Batis
Yellow-bellied Eremomela
Yellow Canary
Olive Tree Warbler
Scaly Feathered Finch
African Sacred Ibis
Little Sparrowhawk
Black Crake
Common Moorhen
Greater Painted Snipe
African Jacana
Double-banded Sandgrouse
Three Banded Plover
Brown Snake Eagle
Pied Crow



In the Okavango Delta

Dark Capped Bulbul
Lesser Striped Swallow
Arrow Marked Babler
Blue Waxbill
Cape Starling
Kurrichane Thrush
Swamp Boubou
Meve’s Starling
Common Scimitarbill
African Hoopoe
Grey Lourie
Lilac-breasted Roller
White-browed Robin Chat
Bennet’s Woodpecker
African Fish Eagle
Spurwinged Goose
Saddle-bill Stork
African Spoonbill
Bateluer
African Marsh Harrier
Collared Praticolo
African Green Pigeon
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater
African Grey Hornbill
Bearded Woodpecker
Meyer’s Parrot
Zitting Cisticola
Yellow-billed Ox-pecker
Marico Sunbird
Red-billed Spurfowl
Maribou Stork
Hammerkop
White-backed Vulture
Wattled Crane
Blacksmith Lapwing
Kittlite’s Plover
Three Banded Plover
Red-eyed Dove
Emerald Spotted Wood Dove
African Palm Swift
Striped Kingfisher
Southern Red-billed Hornbill
Southern Ground Hornbill
Crested Barbet
Black Crowned Tchagra
Wire-tailed Swallow
Lesser Striped Swallow
Greater Blue-eared Starling
African Stone Chat
Southern Masked Weaver
African Pipit
Egyptian Goose
Yellow-billed Duck
Cattle Egret
Brown Snake Eagle
African Reed Warbler
Hadida Ibis
Magpie Shrike
Slatey Egret
Copper-tailed Coucal
Green Wood Hoopoe
Fork Tailed Drongo
Pearl-breasted Swallow
White-throated Swallow
Harlaub’s Babler
Little Bee-eater
Plain-backed Pipit
White Pelican

THE END

 
Posts: 8735 | Location: Denver - Go Rockies!! | Registered: 12 February 2004Reply With Quote
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That last Kudu was simply fantastic. Everything you want in a Kudu there and it will make the most incredible mount.

Tholo consistently produces top quality hunting and trophies. Well done.


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Posts: 8162 | Location: Zambia | Registered: 10 April 2009Reply With Quote
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a very entertaining report , thank you. Sounds like you had an absolute super time there. I specifically like the Eland . Fantastic specimen. Thanks for sharing


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Posts: 766 | Location: Greater Kruger - South Africa | Registered: 10 August 2013Reply With Quote
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as expected- a fantastic report. Really enjoyed getting to know you guys. I really like how all 3 of your kudu are great old animals with completely different shapes, and of course that eland was incredible. Hope we get to share camp again one day!


Good Hunting,

Tim Herald
Worldwide Trophy Adventures
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Posts: 2871 | Location: Lexington, KY | Registered: 13 January 2005Reply With Quote
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Ross,

Everything you said about Tholo is spot on and I think it is even better than when I was there with Clive and Linda's daughter handling the bookings. Great report and some excellent trophies. Congrats!

Mark


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Posts: 11577 | Location: LAS VEGAS, NV USA | Registered: 04 August 2002Reply With Quote
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That is the way a hunt is supposed to be done and how a hunt report is supposed to be done. Truly remarkable animals, I definitely shot my best kudu there as well and agree that eland hunting is as good as it gets. Being in the second group, I think you captured the country and the camp and the people perfectly. I agree with the birding comments and saw most of what you did plus a few that you didn't. (That probably means I misidentified them.) The bird book you recommended was well-illustrated but the maps seemed out of date. I wonder if that is because there are so few birders in Botswana. I really enjoyed your pro-hunting preaching; hope you converted a few. The only disagreement I would have would be that I probably wouldn't have gone without my own rifle. However, I was almost converted on the way home, as we had to show our rifles 6 times on the way back. At that point renting sounded good. Great report.


Dick Gunn

“You must always stop and roll in the good stuff;
it may not smell this way tomorrow.”

Lucy, a long deceased Basset Hound

"
 
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...and rifle "rent" was comped. Just had to buy the ammo. Tholo is a class act.


Good Hunting,

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Posts: 2871 | Location: Lexington, KY | Registered: 13 January 2005Reply With Quote
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Ross;

As usual, your report and pictures were fantastic. I was fighting to get to an appointment, but couldn't stop reading it.

I am so happy you had the opportunity to enjoy the magic of the Okavango Delta. I began my hunting career there, deep in the delta. We hunted out of mocuros. I managed to hunt in the Delta (or the edge) four times before hunting closed. My husband and I always remark about being so lucky. (Now it seems like we might say that about a lot of other countries too!)

I have never been to Tholo, but have heard how wonderful it is. You definitely confirmed that. Your trophies are superb! What fun it is to be a huntaholic!

As far as the photo safari "glamping", we visited a lodge on the edge of Kruger after a hunt in Mozambique. Your description of the animals was right on. They are not remotely like wild animals. I was embarrassed for them. I just couldn't overcome the make believe feeling I had. I don't believe I will never go back to one. The radio calling of truck loads of viewers was just not my cup of tea. The camps however are luxurious.

So glad you had a great time and did so well!

Best to you and your wife! D. Nelson
 
Posts: 2261 | Registered: 17 July 2003Reply With Quote
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Wonderful...
Three great Kudu bulls and all three different
Superb eland...
Great everything !
I like the fact you were able to layer in a nice trip to the Delta for a few days as well.
 
Posts: 931 | Location: Music City USA | Registered: 09 April 2013Reply With Quote
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Your hunt report was what I expected. Just the best. I felt like I was right there with you while you were describing it. Thanks again.


I hunt, not to kill, but in order not to have played golf....

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Posts: 800 | Location: LA | Registered: 28 May 2002Reply With Quote
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That was a great read, fantastic trophies and I'll echo the comment about that last kudu, he's exceptional.

Thanks for posting the report.


Frank



"I don't know what there is about buffalo that frightens me so.....He looks like he hates you personally. He looks like you owe him money."
- Robert Ruark, Horn of the Hunter, 1953

NRA Life, SAF Life, CRPA Life, DRSS lite

 
Posts: 11724 | Location: Bakersfield CA. USA | Registered: 30 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Fantastic report. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

Just one question .. How many elephants did you see in the Okavango.. Dozens, hundreds...?
 
Posts: 1521 | Location: St. Charles, MO | Registered: 02 August 2012Reply With Quote
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I see this excellent hunting adventure and get a whatsapp message from Jason that there is a plot of land next to his home for sale.

I need to clean up my messes here and buy the land and build my summer hunting cabin there.

Maybe spend 3 months out of the year in Botswana.

Excellent report and pictures.

Mike


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Bernard Baruch
 
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Does anyone know whatever happened with Kanana? Did it go back to cattle?
 
Posts: 1521 | Location: St. Charles, MO | Registered: 02 August 2012Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Safari2:
Does anyone know whatever happened with Kanana? Did it go back to cattle?


For sale

Mike


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Posts: 9894 | Location: Cocoa Beach, Florida | Registered: 22 July 2010Reply With Quote
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Fantastic hunt report. Incredible area and great trophies!
 
Posts: 52 | Location: Big Sky Country | Registered: 13 January 2012Reply With Quote
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Thank you for an outstanding hunt report. Congratulations on a fantastic safari.
 
Posts: 2936 | Location: California | Registered: 01 January 2009Reply With Quote
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Wow! What an amazing experience! Great to see Jason and his family, too!
 
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Posts: 8735 | Location: Denver - Go Rockies!! | Registered: 12 February 2004Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by dogcat:
quote:
Originally posted by Safari2:
Fantastic report. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

Just one question .. How many elephants did you see in the Okavango.. Dozens, hundreds...?


WE saw less than 10, that was a bit disappointing. I think overall, there are a lot there but not where we were.


Wow did not expect that.. I think you have to go to Chobe to see them in their hundreds/thousands.
 
Posts: 1521 | Location: St. Charles, MO | Registered: 02 August 2012Reply With Quote
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Some of the other tourists told us that. Apparently there is a regular tour type format for the photo people and the casual tourists - they spend 3 days in one camp, then fly to another for 3 days then to the next to see whatever they are interested in.

In Botswana, we tried to time our visit to coincide with the flooding of the delta area. We arrived right when the floodwaters arrived. I do not know for sure what animals follow the waters, maybe elephants do and others. Also, at this camp there are rarely ever any buffalo.
 
Posts: 8735 | Location: Denver - Go Rockies!! | Registered: 12 February 2004Reply With Quote
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Fantastically detailed report and photos are awesome. Thanks for sharing your trip with us in such a grand fashion.

Cheers
Jim & Joyce


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Posts: 6859 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 05 February 2008Reply With Quote
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great report thanks so much for sharing and your right people in oklahoma are nice
 
Posts: 87 | Location: oklahoma | Registered: 27 December 2010Reply With Quote
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First class report in every respect on a first class adventure.
Wonderful reading. Thank you both for taking the time to put this together.
 
Posts: 412 | Location: New Zealand, Australia, Zambia | Registered: 25 May 2009Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Poyntman:
Wonderful...
Three great Kudu bulls and all three different
Superb eland...
Great everything !
I like the fact you were able to layer in a nice trip to the Delta for a few days as well.

+1 tu2
 
Posts: 695 | Location: Australia  | Registered: 31 October 2012Reply With Quote
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Looks like you pretty much did and saw everything in Botswana that you could now!

Glad you had a chance to change some attitudes in the photo camp.

Congrats on a fine safari!
 
Posts: 5091 | Location: Minnesota USA | Registered: 15 June 2007Reply With Quote
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Great report Ross
It was a pleasure to share camp with you


" Until the day breaks and the nights shadows flee away " Big ivory for my pillow and 2.5% of Neanderthal DNA flowing thru my veins.
When I'm ready to go, pack a bag of gunpowder up my ass and strike a fire to my pecker, until I squeal like a boar.
Yours truly , Milan The Boarkiller - World according to Milan
PS I have big boar on my floor...but it ain't dead, just scared to move...
 
Posts: 10551 | Location: In mountains behind my house hunting or drinking beer in Blacksmith Brewery in Stevensville MT | Registered: 27 December 2012Reply With Quote
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Posts: 8735 | Location: Denver - Go Rockies!! | Registered: 12 February 2004Reply With Quote
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Another excellent report. Thanks for sharing and setting the benchmark for hunt reports once again.

JCHB
 
Posts: 346 | Location: KZN province South Africa | Registered: 24 July 2009Reply With Quote
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I really enjoy reading your reports. Except that I now have another destination I simply have to visit.


_________________________________

AR, where the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history become the nattering nabobs of negativisim.
 
Posts: 6960 | Location: Rambouillet, France | Registered: 25 June 2004Reply With Quote
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That was a great report and you took some fantastic trophies, especially the last Kudu which is magnificent! Well done!

My wife and I managed Shinde for 3 years and left 2 years ago to start our hunting business. Happy to hear you had a good time. If you don't mind me asking who was your guide?
I can however assure you that those animals are extremely wild, the guides especially at Shinde have done a great job ensuring they never create a stressful situation for the animals which in turn allows them to relax around the vehicles. With that being said...there is a very high turn over of guests going through those camps that it gets to the point where the animals actually don't care about the vehicles and hence you get that "Zoo" feeling. If you had gone the other side of the river to a camp called Footsteps, it would be a very different story. A stunning place none the less.

Thanks again for the great report and maybe you can imagine what it was like for myself sitting at the table at Shinde being a fully qualified PH and pro-hunting supporter....for 3 years! shame


Jono and Justine McHugh

info@kingsviewsafaris.co.za
www.kingsviewsafaris.co.za
HC50/2015EC
 
Posts: 51 | Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa | Registered: 29 June 2015Reply With Quote
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A typical fantastic report from Ross, always enjoy reading your writing.

Great hunt and some really nice animals.

Sounds like a heckuva place, congrats.

I even enjoyed the bunny hugger portion. Smiler
 
Posts: 729 | Location: Helena, Montana | Registered: 28 October 2009Reply With Quote
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Posts: 8735 | Location: Denver - Go Rockies!! | Registered: 12 February 2004Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by FishN4Eyes:
A typical fantastic report from Ross, always enjoy reading your writing.

Great hunt and some really nice animals.

Sounds like a heckuva place, congrats.

I even enjoyed the bunny hugger portion. Smiler


Boy you can say that again! Fantastic report.
 
Posts: 2200 | Location: West Texas | Registered: 07 December 2011Reply With Quote
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Curious if they have any of the property dedicated solely to bowhunting or if they get many bowhunters?
 
Posts: 729 | Location: Helena, Montana | Registered: 28 October 2009Reply With Quote
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Posts: 8735 | Location: Denver - Go Rockies!! | Registered: 12 February 2004Reply With Quote
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Great report. I just don't think it was nice to insult that poor hartebeest the way you did. Wink


DRSS
Chapuis 9.3x74R
Searcy 470 NE
 
Posts: 1250 | Location: San Diego | Registered: 02 July 2005Reply With Quote
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I love your reports, and I am glad you had a wonderful time.
 
Posts: 5864 | Location: Southern New Mexico, land of Green Chilie  | Registered: 10 October 2012Reply With Quote
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