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Namibia Hunt Report
This will be split into two parts with Part 1 being the Lion Hunt and Part 2 being the Plains Game Hunts. My final observations are at the end of Part 2.
Dates– June 1 to June 22, 2012
Outfitter – Jamy Traut Hunting Safaris – www.jamyhunt.com
We also hunted on property owned by African Twilight Safaris – www.africantwilightsafaris.com
Agent – Jack Atcheson and Sons, Inc. – Jack Atcheson, Jr. – www.atcheson.com
Travel Agent – Thomas Cook in Cairo
PH’s – Jamy Traut, Jaco van der Merwe (owner of African Twilight Safaris)
Area’s Hunted – Jamy Traut’s Panorama Game Reserve about 2 hours southeast of Windhoek
Jamy Traut’s concession at Kalahari Game Lodge on the border of South Africa and the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park
Jamy Traut’s Divus Hunting concession near the Panorama Game Reserve
Jaco van der Merwe’s family property, Twilight African Safaris, 2 hours west of Jamy’s Panorama Game Reserve
Rifles – Rented/borrowed rifles from Jamy and Jaco – I used a semi-custom (I use this term generously) 9.3 x 62 with a Mauser action made in Belgium, the barrel was added, the stock appeared to be a Winchester Featherweight design with a Schnabel fore-end, scoped with a Bushnell Elite 1.5x6x40 scope. Looking at the rifle from the barrel or through the scope, it appeared the scope was canted off center from the barrel. However, shooting/sighting it in showed it grouped 1” to 1½” at 100 meters. I used this on everything from steenbok to lion. I had the option of a new Blaser with a Leupold scope but opted not to use it as it appeared more complicated than any gun I have ever used. I cannot believe anyone would own one.
My son used an older FN-Sauer .270 Win with a fixed 6x Schmidt and Bender Scope, clip fed borrowed from Jaco.
My daughter and son-in-law used a Sako AV in 7mm Rem Mag, with a 3x9 Kahles scope and a .30-06 with a Khales scope as a backup.
Comment on Rifles – I live in Cairo and cannot keep rifles here. I have borrowed/rented guns on the last 3 trips. All have been “fine” but we went through the “getting used to” period with them. We were somewhat familiar with them when it came time to hunt but did have an issue or two with them. I do not regret the choice to rent/borrow the rifles.
Ammo – This was interesting. Ammo is very expensive in Namibia. I used South African made ammo called Highland AX in 9.3x62 and a 285 grain Soft Point bullet. I recovered 9 of these from gemsbok and lion. All mushroomed like a Remington Core Lokt. I had few pass through shots I usually get with Barnes bullets or Federal ammo. This bullet appeared to be slower than what I use in my .375 H&H, but killed everything I hit.
The .270 ammo were reloads using a 130 grain Barnes tipped TSX bullet. We had 2 head separations while firing this ammo. These bullets killed a Mountain Zebra at 304 yards and mushroomed as you would expect from Barnes.
The 7mm. Rem Mag ammo was Remington 175 grain Core Lokt ammo and performed as expected.
Game Sought – Kalahari Lion, Gemsbok, Kudu, Eland, Steenbok, Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Black Wildebeest, Klipspringer, Springbok, Duiker, Blesbok, Mountain Zebra, Baboons
Game Taken – All except baboons, duiker and eland. Took an ostrich as well (at the request of the PH)
Animals Seen – 33 species listed in the Appendix along with 101 birds
Executive Summary for the ADD members amongst us-
I killed a very large full maned lion after an unprovoked charge by a lioness. I am still replaying the slowest 5 second’s in my life. A detailed story follows. We took very nice Red Hartebeest, Kalahari Gemsbok and Steenbok taken as well as many other superb animals. My second biggest surprise was hunting Hartman’s Mountain Zebra. This zebra is tough to hunt and hard to approach (more on this later). Namibia and Jamy Traut are a super combination for a fun and exciting hunt. After trips to CAR and Cameroon, this was a much needed relaxing trip to a great place with no bugs, no bad water, no heat and very good accommodations.
Details and Animal Summaries
Where do you start on a lion hunt? First, you need a place to hunt a lion. I have been talking about a lion hunt for three years after I swore I would not hunt them based on what I saw in Zimbabwe in 2005. That year, we crossed paths with a lion hunter and his entourage that had been baiting/hunting/scouting for seventeen days and did not see a shoot-able lion. I decided then that baiting, sitting, being bored while hunting lions was not for me. I started looking for a tracking hunt – which led to Botswana at first. When I had the money to do it, Botswana closed lion hunting. So I started researching “lion hunting by tracking”. This led me to Jamy Traut in Namibia.
I met Jamy at the DSC show in 2010 while he worked at Eden Reserve in Namibia. I liked him and decided to keep up with him. He changed outfits and started his own in 2011 advertising lion hunts in the Kalahari Desert area in southeast Namibia. By then, Jack Atcheson and Sons were representing Jamy. I contacted Jack Jr. with my idea on lion hunting. He recommended Jamy and set things in motion in 2011.
I have learned a few hard lessons while arranging hunts and I will make a statement that I qualify as my strong opinion – when in doubt or when booking an expensive hunt – USE AN AGENT. Why? If things get complicated, he will be there to assist. This was my first experience with Atcheson’s as I usually use Jeff Neal. Atcheson’s has a great reputation and are a no “BS” outfit. Everything I was told by them has happened. Jeff Neal treats me the same way.
For a simple hunt somewhere, book direct but be sure what you are doing. It costs nothing to use an agent so use them.
I did not do anything to get in shape other lose a few pounds. This was supposed to be an easy walking hunt. Well, hunting the Mountain Zebra does not qualify as “easy walking”. I was fine and had no issues. The bright sunshine and colder than normal weather was a bit bothersome but we did fine.
My family travels very light. We each carried one bag with a light shoulder bag. This makes airline issues easy. The only three pieces of equipment you need to be sure about are you binoculars, boots and cameras. I took three types of Swarovski binos – 15x56, 10x30 and 8x30. All you need are 8x30’s. The others were nice to have but we could have done without them. I suggest using the best you can afford for optics. My wife and I wore boots while my son wore sneakers. I like boots for stability. I used Wolverine 8” Antelope boots that felt like sneakers. They were very lightweight and worked perfectly. For cameras, we used a variety of Canon’s that used AA batteries. My wife’s big T2 Canon had rechargeable batteries. I prefer a pocket camera with AA’s as I hate taking the charger everywhere then needing an adaptor.
We stayed in three camps – all were top quality with great food. Jamy’s camp at Panorama consisted of large tents on concrete floor with full bathroom and showers. We had plenty of hot water. The dining area was a typical safari dining area. At the Kalahari Game Lodge, we stayed in chalets with a central dining area. This lodge caters to tourists that need more comforts. At African Twilight Safaris area (Jaco’s family ranch), we stayed in a dedicated lodge with fine accommodations. None were heated other than by a fireplace. It was cold at times. Food in all places was excellent. The water was safe to drink as well.
The Hunting Areas
Panorama – this is Jamy’s home place with about 25,000 acres. Two sides are partially high fenced by his neighbors. He is taking down all of the interior fencing on his land. It is rolling dunes and hills with varied terrain. It is fairly open with patches of acacia and trees with a lot of grassy dunes. Our hunt method was spot, stalk, track and hopefully shoot. His lodge sits on a high hill overlooking his property. You can see about 50 miles in all directions. It is a stunning view and appropriately named “Panorama”. You will see game from the lodge. I did a great deal of birding from the lodge with Jamy’s sons, Junior and Nicky. We picked up about 100 different species. He has the usual Namibia plains game at Panorama- Bruchell’s and Hartman’s Mountain Zebra, Red Hartebeast, Bush Duiker, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest, Black Wildebeest, Ostrich, Steenbok, Springbok, Blesbok, Giraffe, Eland, Kudu, Impala and baboons.
Divus – this is a leased property about an hour from Panorama. This property is a cattle ranch that has not been hunted much. It is mostly flat with dense brush much like South Texas. Hunting was difficult and game was hard to spot in the thick brush. There are a few kopjes nearby that we climbed to glass for game. It was a tough area but there are plenty of animals, especially ostrich and Black Wildebeest.
Kalahari Game Lodge – this is a privately owned, 110,000 acre game reserve on the Namibia – South Africa border. The land borders the Kalahari Gemsbok Trans-frontier National Park in South Africa and Botswana. The area is high fenced with a Jurassic Park looking electrified fence. The electricity has been off for years but the fence is imposing for people but not the animals. At first I was put off by this then realized the fence was there to keep the lions out and the plains game in. It did not work as we were hunting lion on this property. The lions had no problem getting over the 10’ tall fence. Jamy had witnessed lions vaulting the fence on several occasions. The area was rolling high dunes with a lot of grass cover. The area was loaded with magnificent gemsbok, Red Hartebeest, steenbok, Giraffes and lions. We saw a few eland but learned that eland are the lion’s easiest dinner, hence not many are there. From a high vantage point, we could see to the horizon in all directions and never look off this property. For 40” gemsbok and 5”+ steenbok, this is heaven. Lions and cheetahs were reintroduced to this area in the mid-2000’s. The lions have made a real home of the area and are a bit acclimated to people as they were darted and moved here from the trans-frontier park and are accustomed to seeing people in trucks. They are less afraid of people than they should be. This caused us trouble later.
African Twilight Safari’s Lodge – this is the home place for Jaco van der Merwe and his brother Mare. It is 109,000 acres of unfenced cattle ranch loaded with kudu and mountain zebra. This is also an excellent leopard area. This area was very rocky, rough and mountainous. It is the escarpment on the east side of the Namib Desert. It looks like someone took massive shovels full of round boulders and dumped them here and there all over the property. There is water and hence a lot of game. We killed two nice kudu, red hartebeest, gemsbok and four Mountain Zebra’s here. Jamy and the van der Merwe brothers share clients and areas when someone is looking for a certain animal or needs a change of location.
Namibia in General – most of you know about Namibia. It is safe, slow paced, good roads, clean towns, friendly, dry climate and a generally great place to hunt or sight see. I witnessed no corruption from police or immigration people. They acted glad to see me (or my tourist money). Go there.
The Key PH’s
Jamy Traut is a long time PH in Namibia and is one of the best hunters I have ever hunted with. He spots, tracks and stalks extremely well. He is patient and gets you very close for a good shot. He is calm, as I would find out on the lion charge. I would hunt with him anywhere.
Jaco van der Merwe is a very energetic, enthusiastic PH and very good. He knows the animals and where to look for them. He is an excellent judge of horns and to shoot or not shoot. His favorite quarry is the Mountain Zebra. He is upbeat, gets you close, stalks very carefully and is patient. He put my daughter and her husband on several very nice animals for close shots. He is great with inexperienced hunters.
Junior Traut – PH in the making – this is Jamy’s fourteen year old son who helped out a great deal. He is an excellent birder and drove the hunt truck at Panorama.
I kept a diary but it would be too long and too boring to repeat here. In summary, I had planned the hunt two parts. The first being a ten day lion stalking/tracking hunt, then a family plains game hunt with my kids and son-in-law. It did not work out exactly that way as the lion permit was being held up for an unknown reason. We “made a plan” (as all PH’s like to say) and hunted around Panorama for a couple of days before heading to the Kalahari Desert for lion. That gave me time to get accustomed to the unique 9.3 x 62 Mauser I was to slay the lion with. I shot a gemsbok and springbok for meat and an exceptional Red Hartebeest while waiting on the permit. I missed my first shot on a real nice springbok with this gun but never really missed after that. I never took a real big springbok on this trip after looking at hundreds.
We shared the camp part of the time with Allen F. from Pennsylvania and his PH, Skulk. Allen was at African Twilight Safaris for his second leopard hunt. He took a nice tom last year on the first day of his hunt and was back for a repeat. As it turned out, he killed a second tom in the first minutes of his hunt. They had pre-baited and were checking the first bait when they spotted Mr. Spots sleeping on the rocks close to the bait. Skulk, the PH, brought up Allen and… Bang! Flop! That has to be a new record for the shortest leopard hunt ever. The area at African Twilight Safari (Jaco’s family place) has a great number of leopards but only gets a couple of permits each year. Due to the rocky hills, the abundance of game and cattle, the leopards die from old age in this place. Allen joined us at the Kalahari Game Lodge and took a 42” male and 39” female gemsbok, something he was very proud of.
I will get to the core of the hunt at this point – The Lion Hunt.
We travelled to the Kalahari Game Lodge and met up with Willem Myburgh, the lodge and reserve manager. He works with Jamy on taking out problem lions and helps with guiding on gemsbok in this massive area. He is very experienced and keeps close watch on lions. He is a sheep rancher in the area and has been fighting lions with a taste for mutton for many years. He filmed our hunt as well. I was very impressed with his knowledge of the movements of the lions in this reserve. He drove the roads checking on everything and always looked for lions or tracks.
Sunsets in Namibia are special
Lion Day 1 – Tracks and Spit
The lodge is a fifteen minute drive through a photo only area to hunting area. When we entered the gate to the 110,000 acre area, we spotted very fresh lion tracks, fresh saliva on the ground, fresh “spraying” by a male along with tracks of a female. In the first five minutes of the lion hunt, we were on smoking hot tracks heading up a sand road over a dune. Jamy and Willem both said to load the gun and let’s start tracking, which we did. After a couple hundred yards, Jamy relooked at the tracks and decided they were too small to be a big male so we quit and went back to the truck. I was surprised but he said that there were better lions around. Ok by me.
Tracks in the Sand with spit and spray…
Within a couple of hours, Allen and Skulk had found a fresh kill still occupied by a couple of lioness’s with ¾ grown cubs. They radioed the location to us. On the way, we crossed the tracks of two big males in the sand roads. We stopped to check the tracks and found them really fresh. Before we could get set to follow, Jamy and Willem spotted two full maned large (do they come in any other size?) lions walking across the top of dune 1500 meters from us. Those were the first wild lions I have ever seen. I was stunned that at that distance I could see the size, the outline and with binos, see the full manes. I was hooked at this point. “Let’s go get them”, I told Jamy. He said, “No, let’s wait, drive over and see where they are headed and make a plan.” He and Willem felt they were headed to the other group that had the kill about five miles away. I told Jamy that with the quarry in sight and with fresh tracks, I was very reluctant to break off the pursuit to do an end run on them. He said to trust him and all would be sorted out. I did, but did so reluctantly.
We found the lioness’s on the kill with the youngsters and watched as they lay around just loafing. We made a plan to place a bait between them and the males which required killing a gemsbok and dragging it along the roads the males had to cross to catch up to the females. We did this and left the bait that afternoon.
Meanwhile, on the trip in, we crossed a monster steenbok that I took and am extremely proud of. I managed to take pictures of the male and female, then, actually stalked the male. I like the “tiny ten” and hope to take them all someday.
Lion Day 2 – Making a Plan
Next day, we went to check the bait and found no hits except by jackels and vultures. Time for a new plan. We decided to search out the females and see if the males joined them and missed out bait. We went to the old kill site and could not find the group. We hiked down a long sloping sand dune to see if we could track but lost the tracks several times and the brush and did not spot them. Willem knew where they would likely go for water, so we “made a plan” to shoot another gemsbok, drag a couple of roads between us and the water, and leave the cat food handy to the lions about a mile from the water hole. I was a bit discouraged at not finding the cats and losing contact with the males. Jamy said to trust him. I had no other choice.
There was no shortage of available bait…
The feet on this one were a bit worn, a very old gemsbok.
Lion Day 3 – Ready but Not Ready
Wham! The new offering was completely eaten with fresh scat, tracks and long mane hairs lying on the ground. We are back in business.
We drove slowly to the water hole which was next to an old house and game catch pens that were used years ago to catch, hold and transport game animals to other places. The area was sandy, treed and relatively open and we could get a view of the water hole from a good distance. Driving up, we spotted a couple of lions at the water and several laying around with large bellies. We backed off and peaked over the dunes to see who was about. We saw one large radio collared lioness, a second lioness and several large cubs. While watching them, out walked Mr. Big. He was a full maned male strutting his stuff up to the water hole. Our concern now was if he was radio collared or not as we were not permitted to shoot a lion with a collar. The best we could tell – no collar. We then backed off and “made a plan”. My plan was to stalk in there and shoot the male. Jamy said that was not the best plan as the females in this area are likely to charge if they have cubs of any age close by. They will false charge and “real” charge. Jamy has killed one or two over the years that would not break off the charge. He and Willem did not want that kind of confrontation if it could be avoided.
Hard to see, the but the female is just behind the forked tree…
We backed off and made a plan. We went back to the area they had come from to see if they were moving back and forth. Surprisingly, we found our tracks from Day 2 walking down the long dune and located theirs about 20 yards from where we had passed by earlier. The tall grass likely kept us from seeing them but we were likely very close to where they were laying down. What we did not know did not scare us.
Late in the day, we went back to the area we had seen them and they were gone. The tracks showed they moved into the dunes. We followed the tracks and bumped the large male laying in the grass at about 70 yards. I raised my gun and hoped Jamy would put up the sticks but he said to freeze. I asked why and he said the others may be nearby and he did not want to start a lion fight without knowing who was hiding where. The male saw us and slowly slinked away. We did not see the others and hoped he was alone now. I suggested we pursue him when he clears the next dune and Jamy said we did not need to push him as he may run for the next country. Jamy and Willem felt he would stay close by water and food, if we provided another meal.
This was the second time I was being called off the quarry when the quarry was very close. I had not done that before in my hunting career preferring to pursue it and make the shot. I deferred to Jamy but told him that leaving a big, shoot-able, male lion to wander about in 110,000 acres was not my idea of closing the deal. He said, “Trust me.” So I did.
We made a plan - shoot another gemsbok for bait, drag it around the water hole and around the roads nearby, then deposit it in a place where we can sneak in and look it over without being seen, then head for the lodge and have a beer, which is exactly what we did.
All the time we drove around, we stopped, took a lot of pictures, watched birds, looked at herds of gemsbok, springbok, and giraffes. We took some great giraffe pictures – not because we are good photographers but because giraffes stand still and pose perfectly.
Lion Day 4 – The Double Charge and Stand-off
We made the forty minute drive to the area we hoped to find the lions and stalked to our bait. All gone. All of it eaten. No lions on the bait. We scratched our heads and looked around. There were lots of tracks but no lions at the water hole. We then squatted to look below the limb line in the trees and there they were – sleeping on the porch of the old house used for the game capture operation. We could not see which ones, so we backed off and made a long circle around to some dunes overlooking the house. We had the wind perfect and the sun at our backs as we walked up and over several dunes closing in on the house.
At the next to last dune before being able to see the house, Jamy squatted like he was hit in the head and duck-walked backward to where I was squatted. He had seen the top of the head of a male lion on top of the next dune, about 110 yards away. We eased up slowly, looked through the binos and we could each see the mane moving in the wind as he looked the other direction. We did not see any other lions and hoped the others were still asleep on the porch about two hundred yards away. We slowly set up our sticks in a tripod so I could sit on the ground for this easy hundred yard shot, or so we thought.
The lion stood up, wind blowing the mane, stretched and promptly laid back down for a nap out of our sight. Jamy said to only shoot on his word and to wait until he stood again and gave a perfect broadside shot. I replayed the “Perfect Shot” DVD in my mind on where to shoot a lion, I practiced breathing slowly, I played with the scope until I figured this was one soon to be very dead lion. This went on for thirty minutes – no action, no movement, no nothing. Then the situation changed.
Enter stage right, the lioness with the radio collar. She casually strolled near the male I hoped to shoot, looked at him as he stood up, then walked over and laid done. He did the same, but out of my sight.
Jamy then said, “This is not a good situation. If she is the one with the cubs or if she has been accustomed to people, she will charge us if she sees us or she will run for her cubs. Either way, when she moves, the male will stand up and you need to shoot him and be ready.”
So far, she was just looking around admiring the sunrise and the early morning breeze. Me, I am sitting cross-legged on the ground behind a bush with a gun (that looks very small) on a tripod with my trusty PH beside me and the helper/cameraman next to him. Remember we are in a desert on a sand dune with thin grass and bushes for cover. While studying her, I looked to my right and see more mane blowing in the wind. I whisper to Jamy and he sees it. This mane is blacker than the blonde/black lion we hope to shoot. We quickly surmise that these two males are definitely the two we saw on Day 1 and they have joined with this female and the others for the gemsbok dinners we are providing.
I ask Jamy, “Mr. PH, now what?”
Jamy responds, “We have two guns and there are three lions we can see.”
Willem adds, “All I have is my Sony Handycam. I do not like lions.”
Jamy, “Well, time to make something happen. I will stand up and let the lioness see me. When she does, she will either charge or run. Either way, the male will get up and you can shoot him. Hopefully, the confusion will cause the other male to back off.”
Willem, “That is not much of a plan.”
Jamy, “Well, we can sit here and hope more do not show up or we can back off and come back later after feeding them again, or we can see what happens when I stand up. Anyone got a better idea?”
Nope. I could not think of any other than to shoot the big male. I agreed with Jamy but re-thought this as I am sitting on the ground with a very small looking gun remembering that a fairly normal lion can run one hundred yards in 4.5 seconds give or take a tenth.
Jamy, ”Too late, she sees us.”
This was evidenced by the lioness wiggling her body in a straight line with us, putting her head close to the ground with her ears back and her tail twitching back and forth. As she flattened herself to the ground, she got real big in my eyes.
Jamy, “I am standing up now. Willem, you stand up too and maybe she will back off if she sees who or what we are. Ross, you stay there and wait for the male to stand up. We will move back behind this bush slowly to show her we are backing off.”
I look up and Jamy, with Willem, stood there looking like Andre the Giant in his holocaust cloak (from the movie “The Princess Bride”) as they tried to look big to a very big lioness. She took immediate notice and flattened herself more as the tail turned into a fan.
Jamy, “I think she is going to come…. Here she comes!…… Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay!”
This was all said being accompanied by vigorous arm waving.
When she bolted, she growled. When she growled, the male I was watching jumped up and in one motion joined the charge.
From my studies of the Civil War and my hero, General Robert E. Lee, I learned it is always good to occupy the high ground and have your adversary charge uphill. We were situated on a dune exactly 104 yards from the crest of the other dune and the male lion. The lioness was about three steps in front of him on the slope facing us. They had to go down a gently slope, hit the bottom then come up to us on our dune. There was knee to thigh high brush and grass between us.
When Jamy yelled, “Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay!”, trying to turn the lioness. I think she thought it was dinner time and that meant “come and get it” as she did not slow down.
I waited for Jamy to yell “Shoot!”. He did not, so I interpreted his Afrikaans - “Ay! Ay! Ay!” - to mean- “shoot fast, shoot a lot and shoot straight”- so I shot.
The male was coming downhill but was not seeing us. He was looking about twenty yards to my left for some reason. He did not look at the lioness but just jumped and came running when she growled.
At seventy yards, my first shot hit him in the right shoulder spinning him around. He recovered and came on.
Jamy fired a split second before my second shot catching him in the mid-body as my second shot caught the top of his lungs. He was at forty yards and coming up our hill now. He dropped at my shot but was back up quickly and obscured by brush.
Jamy shouted if anyone could see the lioness. I glanced and never saw her. I saw her stop when the first shot hit the male. He had growled/groaned at the shot and she put on the brakes to look at him. I said I could not see her and looked back for the male. I was trying to walk backward to get around a bush and started to fall backwards. I yelled for Willem to push me in the back as he was right there as well. He put a hand on my back and I steadied in time to see the male appear at fifteen yards.
When he rose above the brush, Jamy fired again hitting his back hip knocking down again. He rose a last time dragging that hip and I shot him in the neck. He dropped for good at 12 steps.
From the charge to the final shot was about 5 seconds. Willem got most of it on camera when he wasn’t propping me up.
At this, Jamy said, “He’s down.” And we could hear the air leaking out of his lungs and gurgling. Where is the lioness? We did not see her again as we started backing down the dune or the “high ground” we had occupied. I told Jamy I was reloading as I had one round left and he had two in his Model 70 .458 Win Mag. Jamy was shooting solids and I was using softs.
As we slowly backed down the hill, the other male showed up on top of our dune looking right at us, then at his dead companion. We stopped and he stopped with forty yards between us. He backed off and went back over the dune. Thank the Lord for that.
We backed about two hundred yards to a sand road and called for the truck. My wife of thirty years was with us throughout the tracking, baiting, dragging and stalking but elected to stay in the truck on this stalk. She was glad she did. When the truck arrived, we all piled in and rolled up the windows trying to explain to the skinner and my wife what just happened.
We drove to the house where the lions had camped out on the porch to see who was still around and where they were. All of them were on the hill where the dead king lay. We counted 6 or 7 in total. At this, Jamy said the recovery would be interesting as they would not likely leave the dead king for some time. We started up the dune in the truck to push the lions back but they did not like being pushed. They stood their ground and we could see the surviving male in the grass close to us. We backed off and then fired a shot to scare them. No dice. We then drove right at them honking the horn. At that, they retreated a little bit, just far enough that Jamy and Willem got out and winched the lion onto the truck. While this is happening the skinner grabbed my wife’s camera and starting shooting pictures of something. It turned out to be the other big male as he sat 10 to 15 yards from the truck watching.
As we eased off the dune with the lion, we could see three or four females and the male milling around and watching us. Jamy said we were safe in the truck and that he had only seen lions bite the tires on a couple of trucks. Once while darting lions in the trans-frontier park, a friend of his had all four tires punctured by lion bites. We did not need this as were a long walk back to camp.
We off loaded the lion a mile away for pictures. I was stunned at what I saw. I have never been near a lion. I had no idea how big they are, how powerful they are, how majestic they look. I was speechless as we stretched him out and looked at what we had. He was all you want in a lion - full mane, prime condition, big teeth, big claws, massive shoulder and leg muscles. Jamy estimated the weight at 525 pounds and 6 to 8 years old. It took four of us to drag him while he was on a tarp. His belly was full of gemsbok. Even as I type this, I am still in awe.
We took lots of pictures; we retold the story, and realized that the entire five seconds from start to death was an hour long. The video was shaky but confirmed what we thought we saw. If that female had continued her charge, we do not know what the outcome would have been… Or if the other male had come into the battle – what would happen with two guns and three lions with one of the guns manned by a shaky client (me).
After a cool down, we took more pictures, then, skinned him. Again, I was awed by what I saw. That lion was the most “cut” physical specimen I have seen. He looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger under that skin. I was stunned at the size of the paws, the forearms, the chest, the back legs, the neck and the jaws on that lion. Unbelievable!
We recovered two of the softs – both on offside under the skin, both mushroomed perfectly. The 500 grain .458 solids passed through.
I remember a couple of things vividly. First is the way his mane flowed as he came down the dune. It moved like a wave as he ran. Second, he never saw us until the end. I do not know why, but we never made eye contact. Third, time slowed as this all happened. I would have said it lasted 5 minutes, not 5 seconds.
After we calmed down and the skinning was progressing, I told Jamy, “This is more excitement than I paid for. I recall that you said ‘we will make a plan’ and get him over bait away from other lions.” Jamy said, ”Well, we made a plan but she changed it a bit.”
I have come away from this entire adventure with a new perspective on lions, people that hunt them, and the impact they made on me. My respect for the King of Beasts has risen a bunch. They deserve it. This ain’t no plains game animal. This ain’t no herd animal. This is a Lion, the baddest cat of them all. They deserve to live and to be hunted and to be respected. Will I or would I hunt them again? Darn straight I would!!! This was a rush, but I think I will try something a little tamer for my next trip – leopards with dogs!!!
|one of us|
Plainsgame Family Hunt with Jamy Traut
I had the distinct joy of having my daughter and her husband along with one of my sons join us on this hunt. On top this, we were told we would become grandparents for the first time!
They came in after the lion hunt and we chased plains game at the three ranches noted early in this report. My daughter took an excellent springbok and red hartebeest with one shot and then a blesbok with a couple of extra shots. My son-in-law, who has not hunted, took kudu, gemsbok, blue wildebeest, and a Hartman’s Mountain Zebra.
We chased ostriches, took pictures of giraffes, watched great sunsets, ate like kings and laughed at everything for a week. It is refreshing and fun to see a first timer in Africa and how they react to all they see for the very first time.
We would have hunted this thing if it had horns instead of feet….
My son came in for the final week and we had a lot of fun as well. He took several nice animals – Hartman’s Mountain Zebra, springbok, red hartebeest, blue and black wildebeest. The weather turned cold and windy a couple of days and he missed out on kudu. On the next to last day, after two and half days of hard work, he wounded and lost an eland. That was his main quarry but it was not meant to be. He was using the 9.3x62 I had been using and shot a bit early on a slowly walking eland hitting the brisket or dew lap. There was little blood and no sign of him or his herd about five hours of tracking. It was likely a fleshy type wound. Next time, we will get him.
Of all the animals we have hunted in Africa, eland give us the hardest time. I have never taken a Cape or Livingston’s Eland, my son has taken one of each but only after tough stalks and a lot of walking. This lost eland was like the rest – hard to stalk, hard to get a shot on and hard to finish. I think eland are the toughest for most of us to hunt on purpose.
The Kalahari Ferrari aka Red Hartebeest – NASCAR Here We Come
I have never hunted these guys on purpose. I had never shot one. They look so dumb to me that I felt bad shooting one. For one thing, they have a long face, like a horse, no backside and they are all muscled up in the front – like a kid that forgot to do any weight lifting with his legs. Jamy asked if I was interested in hunting them and I said I would as a sideshow to gemsbok or kudu. He said we would be lucky to get one by accident as they are spooky and tough to get close to. I doubted him but said I would give them a try.
Second day at Panorama while waiting for the lion permit, we saw a couple of groups. We made a long stalk and promptly got busted by the wind. Off they went, running for the next dune. We followed and never closed the distance. Jamy called them the “Kalahari Ferrari” for their tendency to run and run a long way in a hurry when spooked. We finally pulled a good sneak on one and I took him, but not without significant effort and crawling in the dunes to get within 175 yards for the shot with the 9.3 x 62. When we got to him, I was a little more impressed by the horns and the color. They really look good and I have since changed my mind about them. They moved my “Animals I will always take” list.
My son took a nice one at Jamy’s other property, Divus, after spotting a group from a hill and making a 300 yard stalk. Conor put a nice shot on him. Jaco was the guide on this one.
A kiss from mom seals the deal…
My daughter took one at Jaco’s home property after a long stalk as well. We re-named her “Lauren One shot” after taking a springbok and this nice Kalahari Ferrari with one well-placed shot.
Kudu – Easy but Hard
We struggled at Panorama finding a kudu bull that was fully mature. We saw several smaller bulls that needed a few more years, so we went to Jaco’s place where the kudu bulls nearly commit suicide by jumping in the truck. We drove several well-known areas where kudu bulls hang out and saw many. The problem was that the cows they were with saw us just as quickly. We made several stalks on nice bulls only to get busted by cows or wind. The weather challenged us as well being windy and unseasonably cold.
My son-in-law bumped 14 several nice bulls in one day and made a good shot on this one. On his kudu, they were cruising a property line when they spotted a group with several good bulls. Hoping they would cross the fence, they waited for them. With a good set up, patience prevailed and the bull crossed the fence giving a good shot and down he went.
While I chased a really nice bull, we couldn’t catch him. I settled (if you can call it that) for this nice bull. The bulls were still hanging with cows as this was the end of the rut. My son did not get a good chance at a kudu as he was after eland most of the time.
Steenbok and Klipspringer – The Fun Hunts
They are each on my “favorites” list. We saw a lot of steenbok in the Kalahari area where we hunted lion. Jamy had said the biggest ones were in the desert and he was right. We passed on a real nice one at Panorama waiting for a bigger one at the Kalahari area. It was the right decision. After seeing several, this one stood still long enough for a picture then I was able to stalk and take him. His partner hung around as steenbok are normally found in pairs. Jaco had a mounted one at his lodge that was little over 6” which placed it as number two in all of Namibia. If you like big steenbok, Namibia is a good place to look.
At Jaco’s place, we had one tag for a klipspringer that I decided to take. They are not scarce or rare on his place or in Namibia but for some reason the annual harvest is controlled by a permit system. I had never taken a klipspringer before but had seen a bunch of them in Zimbabwe. The rocky hills at Jaco’s was perfect habitat for them. We saw several, took pictures of most of them and settled on an older male with thick horns. At the shot, the hollow hair on these little guys literally goes “poof” in a cloud of dandelion fluff. I had not seen that before and thought I had shot the rock he was one. He was a good one and enjoyed spotting and taking him.
Hartman’s Mountain Zebra – Success and Embarrassment
What I did not know about zebra hunting, I learned on this trip. There are three species – Burchell’s, Hartman’s and Grevy’s. Namibia is the only place to hunt the Hartman’s Mountain Zebra. They have two unique features – a brown stripped face and they go up in the steep rocks and mountains to get away from everything. The Burchell’s zebra is pretty common and was on Jamy’s place. He also had a few Mountain Zebra, but suggested for a real test of hunting, go after them at Jaco’s ranch where they are completely free to wander over places that people can’t get to.
Myself, son and son-in-law all hunted them. The drill went like this – head to the rockiest part of the ranch, glass a lot, hope to see a group moving around, plan a stalk, then decide if you can make the recovery or not, then try to sneak up on them. The driving around and glassing was the easy part. We each spotted several groups during out stalks. They are very difficult to see and blend in well with their surroundings. Most of the groups were 4 to 10 animals with one dominant stallion. In all, we say about fifty to seventy animals.
On my first zebra, we spotted them about a mile away on the very top of some rugged hills. Jamy suggested a long hike up, over and around the hills to check them out. As we stalked they slowly fed around the hill they were originally on. We worked sidehill to about forty yards from the group we found taking about an hour or two to get there. As we stalked, they turned and actually started feeding toward us. At thirty yards, I got on the sticks for a shot but they spooked and ran down the mountain. Jamy said they would stop and look, which is exactly what they did. When the stallion stopped broadside, I shot taking him in the shoulder. The others ran about a hundred yards and stopped while he dropped about five steps from where he was hit.
Now the work began. We took a lot of pics, some are below, then had to sort out a recovery. We finally decided on using horses to come in and get the hide and meat. The local guys love zebra meat and were not going to leave any of it behind. Jaco’s cowboys spent most of the day on the recovery. It was a solid mile walk over the mountains to get to a road.
The area they live in…
My son-in-law was guided by Jaco on his zebra and it was a classic stalk. It was his most fun stalk. They spotted a large herd (50-60 animals) of zebras, made the stalk quietly and slowly getting close via a dry creek bed without spooking them. A perfect rest and set up led to a perfect shot. At the shot, they were made aware they were “had”. The zebra went down.
My son and I were with Jaco on the hunt for his zebra. The plan was always the same – find them, stalk them, make a perfect shot, make a recovery. Well, dear old dad goofed this one up big time. We spotted the zebras in a light fog – it had rained the night before leaving perfect tracking conditions but overcast skies that made seeing the zebra difficult. The fog lifted slowly as we drove around looking for zebra or kudu. The zebras saw us but were not spooked as they meandered around the side of hill into a steep canyon. We let them settle down for an hour or so then slowly made our way to the canyon they entered. We spotted them on the far side of a deep draw. They did not see us. Jaco and my son looked over the group of seven for the stallion. I saw what I thought was the stallion and settled in to watch the shot. On the sticks, a perfect rest and a broadside shot. My son fired and we heard the .270 TSX hit the mark.
The zebra I was watching lurched up the hillside and appeared to be dragging a rear leg. My son fired again and Jaco said, “Great shot.” I then continued to see the zebra I was watching lurch up the hill. I quickly loaded the 9.3 x 62 and fired at the zebra. Both Jaco and my son were caught off guard at my shot and looked at me like I was nuts.
They yelled, “What are you doing??!!” I replied, “Shooting the wounded the zebra that is running over the hill.” They replied, “The zebra is down and dead!!! What are you shooting at?” At that, I pointed at the one that was obviously limping as it followed the group over the hill.
I made a very big mistake and compounded it by firing. Obviously, I was looking at the wrong zebra. They had spotted the stallion that was standing ten to twenty yards left of the group. I was looking at the group and at a big mare. At my son’s shot, all of the zebra’s flinched and jumped. I assumed the one I was looking was hit in the leg as it lurched up the steep hill. My wrong assumption led to a quick off hand shot that hit the mare in the back leg.
After I explained what I thought I saw, we had no choice but to follow up the wounded mare. We did this as she was moving very slowly but still covered a mile or so of up and down terrain before my son put in the finisher. Now we had two zebras.
This was an embarrassing situation and one that has no excuse or reasonable explanation. The shot by son was 307 yards from a perfect rest. He hit the zebra in the shoulder and his second shot hit the spine killing it cleanly. My shot was the same distance but offhand at a moving target. My mistakes were numerous and evident. First, I was looking at the wrong animal.
Second, I assumed the shot was a miss or miss hit even though I heard it hit the zebra and Jaco had confirmed the hit. Third, I loaded and shot without instruction from the PH. Bad mistake there. I fired without telling either my son or PH I was firing and they took the full muzzle blast at close range. Fourth, I fired at a moving target offhand at 300+ yards. Not a good shot nor a chance of successfully killing anything. Fifth, as a relatively experience hunter, I knew better.
The follow up went as well as possible but took time that could have been spent on the recovery of the first zebra and given us time to hunt kudu that day. Instead, we spent an hour or more following the wounded mare, then, had to spend a couple of hours recovering her. The first recovery was very difficult as we could not get horses in so we skinned and hauled out the 600 pound animal on our collective shoulders. This was tough and all hands pitched in. My wife helped, I packed, my son carried out a hind quarter, the two tracker/skinners packed the heaviest and Jaco carried a load as well.
It was fun but embarrassing conclusion to a Mountain Zebra hunt that should have been more fun and less embarrassing for dear old dad.
5 shots and 2 zebra – my bad!!!
All of us pitched on the recovery.
Blesbok – You Would Think Boring and Easy – NOT!
Everyone shoots blesbok. Everyone shoots a nice one of about 15” in South Africa on their first African hunt, right? Yes, I know, they are dumb, they stand there looking at you waiting to get shot at a hundred yards. Not so. The blesbok we encountered in Namibia at Panorama and at African Twilight Safaris were well schooled on how close to let someone approach and how to warn every other living thing within a half mile that danger is near – then run like crazy taking everyone with them.
At each place we saw plenty of blesbok. Jamy and Jaco suggested we hunt them. I said I preferred not to as they were no real challenge based on my vast experience in African hunting. They said these blesbok may surprise us. I said that I doubted it but would shoot one from the truck when we saw a big one just standing around looking dumb.
We had been seeing them with groups of gemsbok, blue and black wildebeest, and springbok. We even saw one group with eland. What I came to learn was that these idiots were lookouts. On a stalk on a really nice black wildebeest, a blesbok blew out stalk. On several stalks on nice springbok, blesbok saw us and ran, taking the springbok with them. On eland, they were insufferable. They spotted us several times, took off running taking the eland with them. If you know eland, you know they run a mile before slowing down. On gemsbok, the blesbok just milled around looking for us – then ran taking the gemsbok on a nice run as well.
My opinion of them changed after the fifth or sixth busted stalk. Jamy suggested we hike the dunes, peaking over the top to see if any were on the far side, then plan a seriously slow and quiet stalk to take one. I never imagined I would get excited about a stalk on a blesbok, but I did. We spotted a group in a bigger group of gemsbok and springbok in the middle of a grassy/brushy area between two dunes. We got the wind right, got the stalk right and started an hour long crawl and duck walk approach. We used grass, brush, acacia trees and anything we could to move closer to the constantly watching blesbok. We spooked some springbok but they ran the other direction and did not take the blesbok with them. At 175 yards, we took the shot on an old, saggy bellied male and he dropped. The rest looked around trying to see who did what to whom before running. When they took off, they had the look of, “What the heck, who did that, where did that come from, I can’t believe old Ed is dead,” in their big blesbok eyes.
Change your opinion on blesbok, they are a worthy trophy.
My daughter chased them as well, using the same technique we employed but found them lying down. She took an ill-advised shot at 175 yards encouraged by a back-up novice PH that was with us and wounded the blesbok requiring a serious follow up before closing the deal. She had taken her other animals with one shot because Jaco and other PH’s worked very hard to get her close and in perfect position to make a successful shot.
Lesson to all- know your PH, know your limitations, know your abilities. If a shot is not a perfect set up, wait until it is. I blame the inexperienced PH we used for putting her in a position to attempt a tough shot. Jaco and Jamy were with me and my son on other animals when this occurred. I had serious doubts about this PH earlier and shared that with Jamy before we hunted with him, but did not press the matter. After this mess, I pressed the matter and Jamy and Jaco dealt with it properly. We had changed the dates of the hunt a couple of times and this led to a conflict with the original third PH we were to use. Sometimes this happens. Lesson to all – if you are concerned about a PH or a situation, sort it out quickly. It is your hunt and you are paying for it.
However, it ended well. Here is the result.
Springbok – The Ever Present Trophy
These guys are usually a drive by killing. You see one, you shoot. If he is small, you shoot another. We chose a different approach – scout, glass, judge, stalk, maybe shoot. We looked at hundreds of males. We did not see any monsters on any of the areas. Jamy said the big springbok in these parts would be 13” to 14” with mass and a backward turn at the tips. That is what we looked for. I missed a nice one early in the hunt. My daughter took the only real big one of the group. I finally took an old one with very worn horns and my son took a couple for meat that were fine. We are not “inch” hunters and enjoyed looking at a lot of springbok. If you really have to have a 16” springbok, go to South Africa or hunt with Kai Ewe Denker in the northern parts of Namibia. Expect a lot of work for your inch fetish.
Ostrich – Big Bird that should be a Trophy
I never considered an ostrich a trophy or a target, until this hunt. Every place we hunted, ostriches were present and were a pain. Jamy and Jaco prefer they be shot on sight taking no prisoners. Apparently, they drive off other game, harass younger game and are prone to spook other game if they see you. We saw them daily – running flat out in the opposite direction taking other animals with them. The problem is that they see you before you see them with their periscope neck and head rising about brush or dunes. We saw them in groups of fifteen, we saw them in groups of two to five – but we always saw them running. We fired a couple of Hail Mary shots at them when they spooked other game but never connected.
On the next to last day of the hunt, we bumped an old male by himself in the open before he saw us. We stopped and I fired a 225 yard from the truck when he started trotting straight away from us. I hit him in the back and he dropped like a big turkey. We approached and found him still kicking, literally, with those massive drumsticks. The tracker, Pete, clocked him on the head with a stick and he was done. I was amazed at the feet – one big, heavy toe with a nail that would rip a hole in you. They are bigger than I thought and had less feathers than I thought. We plucked him and skinned him. His skull will get added to my collection.
I never would have shot one on purpose until this hunt. Now, I see them differently and they are not easy to get up on. Hunt one on your next trip, you will be surprised.
The tracker, Pete, clobbered the ostrich on the head to finish him.
Serious damage could come from these feet.
Black and Blue Wildebeest – Clown Princes and the Poor Man’s Buff
Like springbok, everyone shoots one or both of these on their early safaris. We are no different, however, I had never really hunted them. For me, they were drive by shootings, targets of opportunity taken when hunting other stuff.
For me, I hunted them both intentionally and hunted them poorly. We had plenty to choose from looking for old bulls with big bosses. I hunted both with an apprentice PH and with a skilled tracker/spotter rather than occupy the services of one of the PH’s who were hunting other stuff with my family. Based on seeing a lot of wildebeest, I figured this would be easy – not so. We ended up crawling a couple of hundred yards in short grass, sitting uncomfortably in sand and thorns trying to maneuver into position for a shot. For me, my first was a black wildebeest that was in a group of twenty covered by a couple of wary blesbok. I took the 170 yard shot for granted and hit him a bit high but not cutting a lung or spine. Pete the Tracker looked at me like I was a fool (which is how I felt) and shook his head. Naturally the wildebeest took off and I fired one gut shot and two misses at him. We watched as he trotted about a mile with a large group before slowing down behind them. We then stalked/walked to within three hundred yards where I missed again. This time he ran to an open area and was well behind a couple of other bulls. We had cover and I was able to close the distance and take him with a quartering away shot at a hundred yards in the lungs. He got going and went into thick brush with me running behinds. Finally he stopped and lay down. One more shot in the neck finished what should have been finished with the first shot. The worst part of this was that I had taken a couple of other animals at the same distance with the same gun. The next worst part was that my wife witnessed all of this and she had to make the long hike and trot as we followed this mess to the finish.
I really like black wildebeest but botched this hunt with poor shooting. He deserved better from me.
My son took a nice one as well at the Divus property Jamy had leased. We bumped a nice group out in the open and decided to make a direct, straight at them stalk. There was no cover and nothing to do but get in a single file line and go straight to them. Jaco led the event and we got within 250 yards before they spooked. If you have hunted black wildebeest, you know they are called the Clown Prince of Africa for the way they run and dance around with the blond tail swishing as the go. When spooked, they will run in circles, jump around, and then stop to look back. We took advantage of this as they did this a couple of times before we could stalk close enough. Jaco picked a real old bull with a nice boss for the target. Conor made a low shot that did not put him down but slowed him a bit. We followed up with a couple of long shots, not hitting then followed him and finished at close range. He was fun and a great animal to take.
My son-in-law took a blue wildebeest as well. He spotted this one from the truck and made a low first shot. Jamy and he worked about twenty minutes to close the deal with a perfect finishing shot.
I hunted the blue wildebeest with Jamy. He spotted a nice group, we made a relatively easy stalk in good cover and I promptly miss shot him behind the front shoulder at 241 yards. I pulled the shot into the lungs and he ran about fifty yards, stopped and I shot again at 175 yards in a non-vital part of the front half. This did slow him down to the point where I managed a neck shot at a hundred yards. His coat was super, brindled and striped. He had a great boss and it was a fun hunt.
My son took a nice one as well at Panorama also. We had seen a nice lone bull hanging in an open. Each time we stopped to glass, he took off across the dunes. We caught up with him while he was feeding with some horses (this is a cattle ranch that is being converted to all hunting and still has a few horses and cattle around waiting to be caught and sold). The horses gave him a false sense of security as they saw us and started walking toward us. The wildebeest just kept his head down feeding along. My son and the inexperienced PH mentioned early eased up through the bushes and made a one shot kill at about two hundred yards. It was easy, looking back, but we had looked a number of other wildebeest bulls and this was the best one.
Having a little fun with trophy pics…
My son also had the opportunity to shoot a “meat” blue wildebeest cow as part of the hunting at Panorama. He made a 343 yard shot dropping the old cow in her tracks. That was the best shot of the safari. As it turned out, he had brained her. She was broadside with her face turned toward us. If you know wildebeest anatomy, when they turn their heads, the neck is obscured and the face is close to the shoulder. He pulled the shot slightly and drilled her in the head. No meat was lost!
Kalahari Gemsbok – Star of the Plains Game Show
Namibia and gemsbok are like “peas and carrots” to borrow from Forrest Gump. They go together very well. Namibia is the perfect place for the gemsbok – open, dry, room to run. I had hunted gemsbok in the US at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in country very similar to Namibia. In the Kalahari however, the gemsbok have the perfect habitat and nutrition to grow very long horns. Of all the animals we saw in Namibia, we saw more gemsbok than anything except springbok. At the Kalahari Game Lodge, while on the lion hunt, we saw hundreds each day with many carrying horns longer than the 40” mark inch hunters are looking for. In the Kalahari Desert, you will find males with horns beyond forty inches, something you will not likely see anywhere else in Africa. Allen, mentioned earlier in this report, took a 42” male he was excited about. It was a super gemsbok but we saw many like it as we hunted lion.
I shot five gemsbok in total, one for meat at Panorama, three for lion bait and one for a trophy. Jamy, Jaco and others take the gemsbok for meat regularly as they are prolific and good to eat. A gemsbok cow comes in season every thirty days and is rarely not pregnant. They calve every month of the year. Lions like to eat them as well. They are tough animals requiring excellent shot placement to bring down. My son shot one trophy gemsbok at Panorama and one for meat. My son-in-law shot a very nice trophy at Jaco’s ranch as well. The trophies were all taken after good stalks, lots of crawling and a very carefully placed shot. Mine was the only misfire as I shot mine in the shoulder quartering away knocking him down at 174 yards, then taking a couple of follow up shots to finish. We recovered the 9.3 x62 soft points and all mushroomed properly. The gemsbok is just tough and does not go down easily.
With our funny hats –
Greg, my son-in-law, took this great gemsbok at African Twilight Safaris area. He and Jaco made a great stalk and a couple of shots put him down.
My son’s gemsbok at Jamy’s Panorama ranch. Again, a stalk over the dunes and a good shot..
Eland – The True Grey Ghost
There are no picture because there were not eland taken. Darn these are tough to hunt! This was the primary quarry of my son and I hoped to take one. We stalked several and only a realistic chance at two. I did not get in position for a good shot on a good one with an odd horn. He was about a hundred yards in heavy brush while we were deciding if we wanted one with non-symetrical horns when they winded us for the third time and ran for Botswana. We never saw them again. We checked several groups of females including one group that had two females with broken horns. One had a horn dangling while she ran.
At the Divus area, my son tracked and stalked and looked for two days before getting close for a shot. He shot a bit early with an unfamiliar gun hitting the dew lap or creasing the brisket. We found blood but never caught up with them again. We tracked and searched for several hours with no success. Eland are tough to find and we did not have any success on them. We want a rematch.
Birds and Bird Hunting
I am an avid birder taking a field guide on every trip. Namibia is home to a bunch of birds not seen in other places. In the appendix is a list of the birds I found.
On a couple of mornings, we went to a water hole to hunt sand grouse. There are two types that we took – the Namaqua Sand Grouse and the Burchell’s Sand Grouse. They are a big larger than a dove or a quail but smaller than a pheasant. They fly straight and fast. We shot about twenty or so and had a good time with them.
Sociable Weaver colony of nests
Yellow Billed Hornbill
Timon the Meerkat
Just before we arrived in Namibia, Jamy caught a baby meerkat that was a survivor of a hit and run driver. The mom meerkat did not survive so Jamy rescued “Timon”, named from the Disney character. We had a the distinct pleasure of handling Timon and watching her explore her surroundings acting much like you would expect a meerkat to act. She followed Luan (an apprentice PH who took responsibility for the orphan) everywhere he went, she slept with him, she snuggled in his sweatshirt to stay warm and napped in his pocket. Below are a few pictures.
Alas, Timon did not survive an encounter with a puppy owned by Jamy’s boys. Timon bit the puppy on the lip resulting in getting tossed in the air and ending with a broken neck.
On each trip, we like to bring something “fun”. This time, we brought hats and scarves with “hair”. I am sure you have seen Bubba Hats with a mullet hanging out the back or a headscarf with fake hair on top. I brought a selection for everyone to wear. Here are some pics of those hats.
Normally, we bring slingshots as well. These are for the trackers and skinners. We hold a contest at the end of the safari then give out prizes. We did not get to hold the contest this time, but Jamy’s son’s took possession of the sling shots to hunt birds and lizards.
As you know, the bush in most places in Africa is full of thorny trees and brush. They are mostly a type of acacia bush or tree and have a variety of thorns. They are Camel Thorn, What-a-bit Thorn, Giraffe Thorn, and about forty others in Namibia. One I have not heard of was the notorious Sponge Thorn. This “thorn”, when stepped on causes you to limp and hop around looking for a place to wipe it off. It is most often found near cattle but is most vicious when there are numerous dogs around. Jamy’s family has a new puppy and one of the PH’s had a dog that left several “sponge thorns” on the grass that we blundered into.
1. Namibia is a great destination for all kinds of hunting. Price, diversity, gracious hosts, lots to do – are all reasons to go.
2. Lion hunting is not for the timid. Be ready for the king of beasts. It can turn interesting very quickly.
3. Do not underestimate the blesbok and other non-glamour antelope. They are all fun and should be hunted tenaciously.
4. Kalahari Gemsbok are a magnificent quarry and trophy. Make the effort to go to the desert to hunt them and do not settle for taking one on a game ranch in South Africa.
5. Learn how to be a bird watcher and identifier. It adds to your hunt and is fun. It gives a great deal of satisfaction to say, “Hey, that is a Crimson-breasted Shrike, wow!”
6. Take your family or friends. They will be there when you die. Hunting alone is like playing solitaire by yourself. Who knows or cares if you win? Who do you share the experience with? Namibia is perfect for families.
7. Buy the best optics available. Spend a few extra dollars on Swarovski, Leica or Zeiss binoculars. They are worth every penny.
8. I am having tanning of skins done in Namibia. This is my first time to try that.
|one of us|
A couple more bird pics
Appendix – Bird and Mammal List
Birds and Mammals Sighted in Namibia
Rock Dove – common pigeon
Burchell’s Sand Grouse
Namaqua Sand Grouse
Cape Turtle Dove
Black Faced Waxbill
Short-toed Rock Thrush
White Browed Sparrow
Northern Black Korhaan
Pale Chanting Goshawk
Spotted Eagle Owl
Southern Masked Weaver
Ant Eating Chat
Chestnut-vented Tit Babbler
Black Crested Prinia
Helmeted Guinea Fowl
Crimson Breasted Shrike
Cape Glossy Starling
Eastern Clapper Lark
Scaly Feathered Finch
Lilac Breasted Roller
Common Fiscal Shrike
Kalahari Scrub Robin
African Palm Swift
Black Shouldered Kite
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Cape Penduline tit
Gray-backed Sparrow Lark
Mountain Wheatear (Chat)
Southern African Shellduck
Blacksmith Lapwing Plover
Three Banded Plover
Green-winged Pytilia (Melba Finch)
Cape Eagle Owl
Mammals Sighted in Namibia
Brown Hyena (dead)
Hyrax – Rock Dassie
Southern African Ground Squirrel
Hartman’s Mountain Zebra
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Great report. Jamy told me about the double charge. He followed that up with a cow elephant charge and self defense shot a few days later in the Caprivi. I am now planning a lioness hunt with Jamy for 13'.
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Nice report - thanks for sharing.
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Great hunt; great writing; great photos; and, great family.
Very well done.
"There are worse memorials to a life well-lived than a pair of elephant tusks." Robert Ruark
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WOW and Congrats!
Worldwide Trophy Adventures
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Seems like a family safari of a lifetime. Great report - makes me want to get back to the bush!
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WOW!! Very nice report of an epic adventure,and with your family.WOW again
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"You only gotta do one thing well to make it in this world" - J Joplin
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All I can say is "WOW! Congratulations to you and your family!
30+ years experience tells me that perfection hit at .264. Others are adequate but anything before or after is wishful thinking.
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Excellent! Great report and adventure.
MARK H. YOUNG
MARK'S EXCLUSIVE ADVENTURES
7215 GREAT DOVER ST.
LAS VEGAS, NV 89166
Cell, Whats App, Signal 307-250-1156
Check us out on https://www.facebook.com/pages...ures/627027353990716
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NRA LIFE MEMBER
DU DIAMOND SPONSOR IN PERPETUITY
DALLAS SAFARI CLUB LIFE MEMBER
SCI FOUNDATION MEMBER
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Congrats on an awesome family Safari and great report.
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Thoroughly enjoyed that report - thanks for posting!
Global Hunting Resources
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Great report You sure get around to some interesting places.
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Cool hunt and a great trophy. Well done!
On the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones of ten thousand, who on the dawn of victory lay down their weary heads resting, and there resting, died.
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch...
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
- Rudyard Kipling
Life grows grim without senseless indulgence.
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Great report. I have to agree on the Blesbok. I had no intention of taking one in RSA and ended up spending quite a bit of time and several stalks before I sealed the deal.
Awesome story and thoughts regarding the Lion.
Well written. Great photos.
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Great report! That no hooting sign doesn't happen to be the one at Ongonga does it?
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Wow! that's a heck of a report. Great pictures and quite the pucker factor on the lion charge.
"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
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Fantastic hunt reports. It just doesn't get any better than a good hunt with friends and family to enjoy it.
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Thank you for the effort of sharing your entire hunt.
That picture of you sitting beside your lion has to be hands down one of the best trophy pictures I have ever seen.
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Wow - taking on two charging lions at the same time with a scoped rifle and solid ammo is not to be recommended.
Well done for being successful.
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PH 47/2015 EC
HC 16/2015 EC
Nature at your doorstep
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Exciting report. Great hunt!
NRA Benefactor Member
GOA Life Member
Westley Richards 450 NE 3 1/4"
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Another exciting report, as usual.
I haven't really been too interested in going to Namibia until reading your report.
Congratulations to you and your family for sharing your experience.
Best regards, D. Nelson
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Danged if that wasn't fun just reading about this safari.
You tell a good story sir.
LORD, let my bullets go where my crosshairs show.
Not all who wander are lost.
NEVER TRUST A FART!!!
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Certainly a dream hunt of a lifetime...Thank you for sharing
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Excellent all round, well done Dogcat! Fine trophies and a gripping tale, especially the lion charge! I can still hear the sound of a lioness mock charging from years ago, just the thought makes my hair stand on end...
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Dogcat what a wonderful report and great pictures.
Michael Podwika... DRSS bigbores and hunting www.pvt.co.za " MAKE THE SHOT " 450#2 Famars
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Very nice report.
Trophy Collectors Consultants
Po Box 3908
Oxford, AL. 36203
All of your desires can be found on the other side of your fears.
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After 3 straight years (98-99-2000) I decided I'd had enough of Africa. Now this report. You're a bugger, dogcat.
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ROYAL KAFUE LTD
Email - email@example.com
Tel/Whatsapp (00260) 975315144
Instagram - kafueroyal
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Very nicely done Ross.
Rest assured, I gave Thierry some grief about your bestowing "rock star" status on him. He remembered your meeting at the airstrip in CAR. Small world.
Your lion is a beauty and a trophy that anyone would be proud of.
Will J. Parks, III
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Excellent report and congrats on the fine trip and beautiful cat.
2015 His & Her Leopards with Derek Littleton of Luwire Safaris - http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/2971090112
2015 Trophy Bull Elephant with CMS http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/1651069012
DIY Brooks Range Sheep Hunt 2013 - http://forums.accuratereloadin...901038191#9901038191
Zambia June/July 2012 with Andrew Baldry - Royal Kafue http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/7971064771
Zambia Sept 2010- Muchinga Safaris http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/4211096141
Namibia Sept 2010 - ARUB Safaris http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/6781076141
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Congratulations on an awesome hunt! Thanks for sharing - felt like we were there with you on the lions!
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