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Hunt Dates: 6/21-6/28/13
Safari Operator: Kanana Safaris
Booking Agent: Tom Addleman, Hunting For Adventure
PHs: Jason Bridger, Joop Lewis, JP
Rob: Remington 673 350 Rem Mag shooting 225gr TSX handloads
Tikka T3 Laminated Stainless 30-06 shooting 180gr Partition handloads
Jared: Remington 673 350 Rem Mag shooting 225gr TSX handloads
Ruger 77 Mannlicher 308 shooting 180gr TTSX handloads
John: Bowtech archery, 100gr Muzzy 3-blade broadheads
Species seen: Gemsbok, Kudu, Eland, Impala, Red Hartebeest, Zebra, Warthog, Blue Wildebeest, Black Wildebeest, Springbok, Tsessebe, Ostrich, Jackal, Aardwolf, Cheetah, Waterbuck, Giraffe, Duiker, Steenbok
Species taken: Gemsbok, Kudu, Eland, Impala, Red Hartebeest, Zebra, Warthog, Blue Wildebeest, Ostrich, Jackal
A trip to Africa has been a dream for many years. After doing some research
and getting some helpful input from Justin (Littlejoe) I decided that Kanana
Safaris was the place for me. What's not to love about 100,000 acres of
property that hadn't been hunted for a decade. Jason Bridger and his wife
Claire were great at answering all our questions and helped us plan a trip
that really met all our needs. Our group consisted of myself, my
brother-in-law, Jared, my cousin, John, and my father-in-law, Darrell. Darrell would be coming as an observer and photographer. None
of us had ever visited Africa so this was set to be a life changing
experience. After 11 months of waiting we were ready to go.
Three of us live in Albuquerque, NM and we met John in Atlanta, his home town. Our
flight over on Delta ATL àJHB went great and I highly recommend Delta
Economy comfort as I'm 6'2" and Jared is 6'4". We were met in JHB by Bruce
and Lucky from Gracy Travel. We were excited to see our gun cases and the
SAPS process was super easy. From there we were off to the City Lodge for
overnight accommodations. We grabbed some dinner in the airport and managed
to get some sleep that night. After a great breakfast, Bruce and Lucky met
us again to get our guns (and John's bow) back on the plane.
We were met at the counter by a security guy who I think worked for Air Botswana. When he
found out John had a bow inside a large duffle bag, he objected and said the
bag couldn't go. There was much discussion between Bruce, Lucky, and Mr.
Grumpy, but in the end the bag made it on the plane. That was really our
only true scare of the trip.
We made it to Maun, Botswana and were met by Will Armitage, the apprentice
PH/intern from Kanana. Will is an Englishman studying wildlife/land
management and spent a year at Kanana. His time there ended just after our
hunt. We got our guns and ammo processed through customs after about 30
minutes. I'm pretty sure we were the first guys to ever bring rifles into
From there it was about a 3 hour trip out past Ghanzi to the Kanana camp
where we were met by our PHs and camp staff. I hunted with Jason Bridger,
Jared hunted with Joop Lewis, and John bowhunted with JP. Darrell wasn't
planning on hunting and was along as an observer/photographer. He spent 6
days hunting with me and hunted with Jared for 2 days. After dinner it was
off to our tents where a hot water bottle awaited us. Being in the Kalahari
desert meant cold nights and hot days.
The hunting style at Kanana is spot and stalk although John exclusively
bowhunted from blinds. The hunting vehicles are great and the trackers have
10 power vision built into their eyes and managed to see game that I had to
search for with my binoculars. On day 1, I headed over to the southern
portion of the property and hunted there. I was astounded at the quantity
of game. In the weeks prior to our visit, Jason had spent 31 hours flying
in a helicopter over the entire property doing game counts. They countered
over 10,000 animals in that time. As we approached a pan in the area, we
saw an impala off in the distance. We looked at them for a while and
decided he was worth a stalk. We pulled the cruiser forward out of sight
and circled back in on foot. Fortunately, he advanced in our direction
toward the water. I was able to get up on the sticks undetected at about
125 yards with the ram quartering away. This was my first shot at live game
off of the sticks and luckily I made a nice shot sliding the 180gr Partition
behind the left shoulder and out the neck. He dropped on the spot and the
ice was broken.
Later in the day we put some stalks on red hartebeest but kept getting busted.
Later, we were tracking a group of zebra. As happened on more than one occasion during the
hunt, our focus shifted from zebra when we saw a lone red hartebeest looking
back at us in an open flat. He had heavy bases and was obviously an old
bull. The sticks went up quickly and this time I was shooting the 350. I
made a shot before he turned to run. Fortunately, he only went about 50
yards and was done. I have to admit that the red hartebeest was the species
I was least excited about before arriving, but have to say now that they are
very cool. Here, I am pictured with my PH, Jason Bridger.
Jared started out day 1 with two great animals. He ate lunch in a blind
overlooking water and ended up shooting a great warthog with his 308.
Later, he shot a wide wildebeest with his 350. Jared is pictured with his PH, Joop Lewis, a native of Botswana.
John has bowhunted for years and killed more game than all of the rest of us combined, but his nerves
managed to get the best of him on day 1 and he came back emptyhanded.
On day 2 I again worked the southern half of the property. At one point, we
saw a group of wildebeest down the road ahead of us in the shade. One of
the bulls was quite impressive. I got down from the truck and up onto the
sticks and was preparing for the shot when he spun around. I then moved forward a bit and
watched an opening that they were slowly filing through. We saw what we
thought was the large bull in the opening and I fired. The tracker thought
I'd actually hit him in the front leg, but luckily the bull went down after
about 75 yards. As we approached, we realized he was a great animal, but
probably not the big guy we'd initially targeted. No big deal, he was
awesome with a beautiful skin.
Jared kept us his streak on day 2 and shot a super wide impala as well as a
nice kudu that taped out at just over 55".
On day 3, John broke the ice with his bow and shot a warthog. He moved to a
different blind where he felt very well concealed and much more comfortable.
Early on day 3 we stumbled onto another group of wildebeest and stalked in
to take a look. There was a nice bull that was facing us at about 100
yards, but he was only giving a frontal shot. I knew these guys have a
reputation for being incredibly tough and I was reluctant to take a frontal
shot, but I got up on the sticks and felt steady. At the shot, he humped up
and quickly separated himself from the rest of the group. He went about 75
yards and was down. Luckily, I'd made a nice center-chest shot.
Unfortunately, some of my shooting in the following days wouldn't be so
grand. I'm pictured with Jason and my trackers. Happy is a Bushman from Botswana and Morlen is from Zimbabwe. These two men were amazing with their tracking skills and eagle eyes and made the experience an amazing one.
Later that day I had a great experience that you don't see much outside of
Africa. The PH said, let's go find a zebra. We went to an area where we
knew some zebra had been seen and simply got down and started walking.
After about 10 minutes, the bushman tracker, Happy, spotted fresh zebra
tracks and the hunt was on. We followed tracks for about 30 minutes and
actually caught up with a large herd of at least 20 animals. We slowly
moved to within about 150 yards and I got up on the sticks. I felt like I
was very exposed, but in retrospect we were pretty well hidden. At any
rate, I lined up and pulled the trigger which led to zebras running in every
direction. We slowly approached the area only to search for about an hour
and never find blood. My conclusion is that I'd rushed and made a clean
miss. We followed that herd for an hour or so, but never caught them again.
Shortly thereafter, we crossed paths with Jared and Joop who informed us
they'd seen zebra in a neighboring area. We then moved to that area and
took a little walk again. After about 15 minutes, Happy saw zebra off to
our left at about 200 yards. It was a group of about 12 and they were
obviously a little spooked. I got up on the sticks as they slowed down. I
had a perfect broadside shot at the stallion and fired. He spun around and
went down. As we approached him, we realized he was a huge stallion with a
Jared also got into zebra on day 3. As he walked into an open flat, a group
of zebra was walking quartering away from them. This uniquely flat area
allowed him to lay down, sling up and shoot from prone. He made a great
shot and the zebra went down quickly. We've since decided that zebra are
among the hardest plains game to hunt. They're super spooky and run at the
slightest concern. But, they're gorgeous and may be my favorite trophy from
Jared shot his first of NINE gemsbok on day 3. There is a 9000 acre parcel of land on the property at Kanana that is being set up for cattle. They have designed this with much effort and want all game out of the area (at least the non-fence-jumping game). Once the fences were up, they flew that area with a helicopter to push game out. The vast majority of game was successfully driven out, but the gemsbok are especially stubborn I guess. On a few occasions, Jared and Joop drove out there to assist with the "cleanup" efforts. I think you'll agree it had to have been hard work. At least we had plenty of gemsbok meat. (Whatever doesn't get used in camp gets sold in nearby Ghanzi).
Day 4 for John was when he finally hit his stride and boy did he! He sat on
a waterhole called Sampson. A beautiful wildebeest came in and was rolling in the sand getting flies off of it in front of them before his shot. In response to the shot, the massive bull ran straight at the blind and nearly ran into the blind and made a loud roaring grunt as he ran 2 feet past them as John stood at the window. John is pictured with his trackers, Assi and Martin.
Not long after getting the wildebeest loaded up, the action heated up again as a kudu bull strolled in. John made a great shot and had his first kudu.
They stayed in that blind until about 90 minutes before sunset. The wind changed so they moved to a different blind closer to camp. Not long after arriving, a lovely gemsbok cow came in and again John made a great shot. She ran about 150 yards and tipped over as the sun was setting.
Jared spent day 4 hunting on the southern property. His trackers saw a
bunch of fresh bull eland tracks and set off through the brush after them.
After 2.5 miles of walking, a wide-eyed Joop looked at Jared and pointed to
a bull that was a mere 30 yards away in the shade of a black thorn. Jared
got down on one knee and squeezed one off with the 350. After a finishing
shot he had his eland that had a great pompom of fur on its face. This photo shows Jared and Joop as well as Jared's trackers and our father-in-law, Darrell.
On day 4, we drove to the northern portion of the property and found a
couple of nice gemsbok that seemed worthy of a stalk. We starting walking
up the road paralleling them and noticed a couple kudu cows that seemed to
be keeping a close eye on us. As fate would have it, they managed to blow
our stalk, but just a few seconds later we noticed a large group of about 15
eland bulls run across the road about 300 yards ahead of us. We shifted our
attention to them and followed their tracks which happened to lead through
some thick nasty thorns and briars. They stayed on the move for a little
while and the wind wasn't perfect, but we eventually got to where we had a
shot and a nice mature bull stood broadside about 200 yards out. I got up
on the sticks again, maybe a little cocky after my great zebra shot, and
squeezed the trigger on the 350. Lots of dust flew with the massive animals
scurrying and we actually thought we heard the old bull fall. The rest of
the group actually stood around for several minutes and then slowly walked
off. As we approached, we again found no dead eland and no blood. We
searched for about 5 minutes before I moved a little farther back near a
property fence line with a road. I looked down the road and saw a single
eland, maybe 500 yards out. I called to Jason who came to look and agreed
that was probably our guy. We found his tracks on the road and eventually
found blood. He was obviously hurt, but not down for the count. We veered
off the road and walked through the bush to conceal ourselves. Once we got
to about 200 yards, the sticks went up again offering me a quartering away
shot. Just as I was about to shoot, he looked back and prepared to move. I
fired again as did Jason who by this time was carrying his 416 Rigby just in
case. Well, the eland took off through the brush and we both thought we'd
missed. We followed him for another 200 yards or so and eventually saw him
again. Both of us fired again and this time he was down. He was a fine
old specimen. When we loaded him in the cruiser, his tail was against the
cab and his tongue on the ground. I can't believe how big these things are.
Days 5-8 to follow......
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Great reporting so far! I am really enjoying the pictures, especially the ones that haven't been posted on Facebook.
I will be at Kanana in 354 more days...not that I'm counting or anything.
Give me the simple life; an AK-47, a good guard dog and a nymphomaniac who owns a liquor store.
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Congrats on a great hunt with some fine trophies! Thanks for sharing, especially so since we don't seem to have many reports from Botswana concerning plains game.
"I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."
Tanzania 2012: http://forums.accuratereloadin...6321043/m/8331015971
Saskatoon, Canada 2013: http://forums.accuratereloadin...4121043/m/7171030391
Las Pampas, Argentina 2014: http://forums.accuratereloadin...4107165/m/1991059791
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Awesome. So excited to see and hear about it. Waiting for more. Reading this made me feel like I was back there. Awesome.
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Excellent report on a great hunt with good friends and family. Please keep it coming...and a 350 Rem Mag now there is a gun you don't see on safari often. It clearly performed for you with those TSX's. Thanks for sharing,
"Diligentia - Vis - Celeritas"
NRA Benefactor Member
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excellent - am there in less than 5 weeks
hope there is a kudu and eland left for me to shoot :-)
Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
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jjbull: 354 days....oh, I wish I was going with you!
Paul Reed: I'll try to comment on it a bit more at the end of my report, but we loved the 350RM. This can be true of almost any caliber, but that 350 did a slamming job on most game. 225gr at only about 2600fps, but it does the trick.
Beretta682E: You're in for a great time. If I had to do it all over again, I'd go when you are going. Temps are up and the game moves more. You'll see a ton of game and have an awesome time.
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Congrats on a great hunt, and some really nice trophies. Jason and Claire are super people!
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Fantastic report and pics!!!
I'm glued and can't wait to read about the remaining days of the hunt!!!
This is a place I'd like to hunt one day too... from the looks of it...just like Justin/"Little Joe" and his crew you guys are bustin' up this place!
Way to go
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You are killing me waiting to hear the rest of the report and nothing added for a couple of days.
Jason and Claire are great people. Highly recommend.
I was reading the report and it brought back all the memories of being there. A very special place indeed.
Looks like a black faced Impala.
Very nice trophies.
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Great pics, trophies and a nice hunt report.
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Day 5, in Jared's own words:
Left camp at the normal time of about 7:3-am. The day started off very slow. We simply were not seeing as many animals as we had seen on previous days. At Kanana not seeing animals every 5-10 minutes is slow. But today we were seeing something every 30 minutes or so. We finally came into several gemsbok, got off the truck and tried stalking them. However, the wind wasn’t quite right and it seemed they were on to us and headed out of the area pretty quick. Last night’s full moon must have had an effect on the animals today because they were not moving around during the middle of the day like they had been during previous days. We finally came across a few eland (8-10) which included 1 or 2 bulls. The Eland didn’t seem nearly as skittish as they have been in the days previous. This must have had something to do with the fact that I had my eland and wasn’t looking for a nice eland anymore. Finally we came across some more gemsbok including one that looked really nice. We drove up the rode a little ways to find a good spot to get off the truck and start stalking them down and suddenly came across Rob and his team. Unfortunately they were in pursuit of the same gemsbok. So we abandoned that idea and went to another part of the property. It wasn’t long before we came across some more and found 1 that looked like a nice one. Unfortunately these guys were 200+ yards away. I was feeling pretty confident about my shooting so I took a shot from the sticks that clearly missed. After that shot they quickly left the area and we went after them in the truck. We pursued them for a couple of miles and I took another shot. A few minutes later we could see one off in the distance limping through the bushes. Unfortunately it wasn’t the one I wanted. They were so tight together that I mistakenly shot at the wrong one or missed the one I wanted all together and hit one of the others. It turned out to be a fairly nice Cow but not the big Bull I wanted. I was a bit disappointed but considering the opportunities that lied ahead it wasn’t something to get down about. Later in the day we went back up to the cattle ranch where I was able to take 5 more gemsbok. 1 of them jumped out just 30 yards ahead of us in the thick bush. I was slung up and ready because we knew they were in the area. My first snap shot didn’t bring him down but a quick second shot did.
Day 5 in John’s words: “Day 5 back to Sampson water hole, slow start early but then kudu with some bulls and a male and female ostrich came in to drink which JP said was very rare. I was not going to shoot but then decided it would be a feat with the bow. Made a nice shot on the male. Apparently they are tough because the arrow lodged into his vitals and was still stuck out a foot when we found him dead 150 yards away. When he ran off I was concerned because he just kind of trotted off with the arrow about 2 inches to the left of his wish bone but straight in to his chest cavity and seemed in no duress. He died very quickly which relieved me. I had no idea what to do with him but decided to tan his hide and hope to make some nice crafts, belts, and such. Also got some feathers for the girls. Here I am now 11:20 AM June 24 seeing what comes out of the bush next. It is very interesting here since one minute you are looking at one type of animal and next thing you know something very different and almost arbitrary comes seemingly from no where that you can put you finger on except to describe it as "the bush". Technically it is the Kalahari desert in what I think to be south central Africa. 1 o'clock now and just shot a small eland bull. Tons of game came to the water hole, one of which was this small bull that came to the water hole and had some sort of wound with a basketball side mass sticking out of the bottom of the belly, probably bowel. JP said he probably got in the way of a bull fight and that he got stabbed in the belly. Anyway we shot him to take him out of his misery. Hunted a long hunt to dark and saw several animals through out the day. An hour before dark I put my head out the window and could hear the rhythmic clicking of hooves from a large group of Eland. Within a short time they made it in front of us. I was nervous knowing of their wariness but shot one of the largest ones that was standing broadside to me at about 15 yards and in the middle of the water hole. He took off running and I hit him square in his shoulder bone JP said that it would break his leg but I questioned that and knew at that point that I had hit him 2 inches too low. We tracked slowly and called Assi and Martin to assist. Before long we caught up to the bull who thankfully did have a broken leg because running full speed through the brush. I could only gain modestly and every time I though I was gaining I would look up and he would be 100+ yards ahead. Finally he stopped and turned quartering away still and I got an arrow into his lungs from about 35 yards. He took off again and panting we all ran fast as we could. I looked up again and saw him swaying and he got into a low place that he could not get out of. I ran up and put the final shot on and he died quickly as we let him alone. Getting him propped for pictures was something as was loading him with the winch. He would not fit in the truck and JP, Martin, and Assi tied the tailgate shut to help keep him in.”
Now, John lives for beef jerky and he fell in love with biltong. He decided that he wanted those eland backstraps for biltong and he ran up the the skinning shed and collected them by himself at about 10:30 at night. He hung them in a tree to stay cool.
As for me, I got skunked on day 5.
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Talk about bringing back memories. I was at Water hole #1 with the crossbow when that bull with the basketball growth came in.
We watched that Eland and several Blue Wildebeest for a while and nothing of top notch quality came in so Jason gave me the go ahead to take the growth bull out of the herd.
It was just before the crack of dark and I got set up with the crossbow and kid you not. Had just released the safety. I was just settling the crosshair when every animal at the waterhole was gone in a cloud of dust and hooves.
We each looked at each other and then heard the faint noise of Morlen coming to get us for the evening.
Oh the memories.
I shot an ostrich as well. Going to make bookends out of the feet.
I have spent the last month working with the USDA to get the necessary permit to bring the ostrich home but the permit has been approved and it will be coming with everything else.
Cannot wait to hear more.
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Day 6: When I went to Kanana, I was probably the most excited about hunting gemsbok and kudu. We saw boatloads of gemsbok every day, most of them measuring within a 2” length window. They all looked big to me. This particular day was one of the slowest overall for us. I don’t know why, but it seemed like the game was all hiding. We approached a known water hole with plans to slowly walk in on it. As we did so, we were still about 150 yards out from the pan when we saw a nice warthog in the distance, about 100 yards out. I quickly got up on the sticks, but in my few seconds of fidgeting he crossed the road and I quickly shot, only to see a huge puff of sand well below my target. We walked up a few meters more and glassed into the pan and saw a group of gemsbok that somehow didn’t blow out at my shot. Jason saw one that he thought was nice and I got up on the sticks again. As occurred too frequently, I hesitated for just a second too long and they moved before I could get a shot off. They moved to my right where there was a brief opening. As my animal passed through the opening at a fast walk I squeezed the trigger on the 30-06. We all thought we saw the animal respond at the shot, but I was concerned that the animal was moving quickly through and small opening and thought my shot may have hit well back. As we approached the water, we heard a loud bellow and thought for sure we were in business. Instead, we found scant blood that we followed. Unfortunately, we tracked for a while, maybe 2 miles…… Fortunately, we had Happy and Morlen on our team. We jumped the bull up on a couple occasions and took quick shots. On the third occasion, I hit him in the back and he went down allowing for a finishing shot. It turns out my initial shot had indeed hit very far back – the hind leg. We were lucky to stay with him and I give the credit to my trackers. He ended up being a beautiful bull with tremendous deep rings in his bases. In the late afternoon, we headed out of camp in search of kudu. As we drove north, Happy noticed a few zebra off in some brush. We got out and walked for a few minutes and Jason noticed a zebra facing us head on at about 175 yards through some brush. I got up on the sticks and could see the chest, but there was some brush there as well. I really wanted a second zebra and felt I could make the shot although I was concerned about the brush. Truthfully, several shots throughout the safari required a bit of brush-busting, but I never felt like I missed because of it. I was using the 30-06 this time and squeezed a shot off. At the shot I was concerned I hadn’t hit him dead center, but we went off after him. We immediately found great blood, but no zebra. We followed tracks and blood for a while. The shot was at 4:30 and I knew we had until 6:30 before we were out of light. Well, we used every ounce of that daylight and walked and walked. By 6:30 we were still seeing good blood, but no zebra. We figured we’d walked for about 3 miles. We marked the spot where he’d crossed the road and left him till morning.
Day 6 in Jared's words: "Today’s primary target was Hartebeest. Today we hunted the southern property. As soon as we got through the gate we saw one just off the road. We looked at him for a little while and determined he wasn’t big enough to shoot so we moved on. After driving the property for 2-3 hours we came into a large group of about 20-25 hartebeests. That was very unusual. All the hartebeests we had seen up to this point were usually by themselves or with 1 or 2 others. So it was exciting to finally come into such a large group of them. We observed 1 nice looking one in the group so I took a long 200+ yard shot from the sticks. He was in pretty good cover and I didn’t have a nice clear view for proper shot placement. Since we hadn’t seen too many hartebeests up to this point I really wanted to take the shot hoping to bring him down. Well, as you might have guessed, I learned that important lesson once again. Be patient! Taking a shot like that had about as much chance of hitting him as if I just lobbed one up in the air. We combed the area for blood but could find nothing and decided I missed him “pretty good”.
We finished off the morning sitting in a blind by some water. There wasn’t much that came in to the water while we were there. We left the blind and drove around again in search of hartebeest. It wasn’t long before we saw a nice one off in the brush but not too far away. I was able to take a careful shot from the sticks at about 100 yards away. This opportunity was much better than the one I had had in the morning. The first shot was obviously a direct hit because we could plainly hear the “Thunk” or “Thud”. I thought for sure he would be lying on the ground when we approached the area he was at but when we got there we were only able to find a little blood. We tracked the blood for about 300 yards and saw him jump up and start bounding off in the distance. Not wanting to chase this guy forever I took a quick second shot through thick brush that didn’t seem to do anything. A third and final shot brought him down. When we approached the hartebeest and turned him over on his side we quickly noticed a bullet hanging from his side. There was a bullet that had only penetrated about ¼” into his side. We determined this must have been my second shot as that is the shot that didn’t do much to him. That shot must have been slowed down by the thick brush and then had just enough energy to barely penetrate. My first shot was a pretty good shot but just a little high and a little too far forward. I was quickly learning that often times the difference between a great shot and a bad or not so great shot can be just a few inches. This was a beautiful animal. He turned out to be a pretty nice one and I was very happy with the whole experience.
John saw some game on day 6 including cow eland and a large group of about 40 wildebeest. He took a shot at a jackal and passed the arrow just over its back. Later in the afternoon, he and JP set up on a large gut pile hoping to take a jackal with the bow, but none showed up.
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Day 7: As you can imagine, by this time I’m feeling horrible about my shooting. I started off so good but then had 3 poor shot placements in a row. We immediately found our blood trail/track around 7:45 and continued on. That dang zebra weaved around and back and forth. Around 9:30am, Jason motioned me forward, pointed to the right and said, “Shoot that warthog.” I couldn’t immediately see the boar, but he was actually only about 50 yards out and unaware of our presence. I got down on one knee and fired with the 350. Fortunately, he went straight down and I felt quite relieved. We propped the old boy up in the shade in a “trophy pose” and headed off after the zebra. We jumped him up on at least 4 occasions. Sadly, Jason and I both missed a few quick shots that would have ended our trek. After about 4 hours, we called someone from camp to bring us our truck and we ate lunch in the shade of a black thorn. After that stop we continued on. Around 1:30 we finally caught up to the stallion and I was able to make a quick shot that dropped him. What an adventure. In the end, we figure we tracked this stallion a total of about 12 miles. We walked for 6-7 hours at a pretty good clip. I now hold the dubious title of “longest and most miserable track” of 2013. But, you can bet I’ll never forget that experience. Watching Happy and Morlen track that animal was a work of art and an amazing display of talent. Tremendous.
Day 7 in Jared's words: "Since I had taken all of the animals that were in my contract we headed up to the cattle ranch again to see if we could find any more gemsbok. Once again, we saw several gemsbok in the area and I was able to take a 100 yard shot from the sticks on a very nice cow. The shot was perfect and she went down fast. This would end up being the largest gemsbok I would take. We were able to get several out of the cattle area but there are still many more. During the afternoon we drove to another part of Kanana that I had not been to yet looking for the rhinos. We found several tracks but never got to see the actual rhinos. It was nice to drive around all afternoon and just observe the wildlife and the beautiful scenery. As always, we saw a lot of animals."
Day 7 for John in his own words: “Day 7 drive around for a bit because wind was wrong as there was a non predominant wind blowing which all of the blinds are set to accommodate. Saw probably a couple hundred animals in a couple of hours from the cruiser. Spotted a nice Kudu bull after we went by Sampson blind to pick up some forgotten bird arrows. Went back to the blind to hunt and about an hour later the bull came in with one other and some cows. Somewhat relaxed made a perfect pass through shot. That is my second and last Kudu bull. He is more narrow but longer and bigger overall than the first. Both are serious trophies in my mind. The perfect arrow placement was most important of all. We came to camp to let Martin and Assi skin the Kudu, since apparently the skinner cut himself and had to see a doctor, ate lunch, and saw a bunch of Springbok and some warthogs and some impala across from the lodge. Very special to see, as they were from the cruiser, with their quick little behavior and movements. Left there and passed a bunch of animals on the way out to this new tall blind over a big water hole which must only be 600 or 700 yards out the back side of the lodge also. Eland and waterbok were here when we arrived and quickly came back after we settled in. We ended up seeing the waterbuck come back and mill through the water for a while. Saw an impala, several gemsbok, and a wildebeest cow with 2 calves that came directly into the water.”
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That bullet thing is very weird to me. No penetration, nothing. I would love to get some input or opinions of others on that. Weird!!!
Some great trophies. You should all be proud.
I noticed a shooting range. Where is that at? I never saw one when I was there.
Happy and Morlen are awesome. I had a Zebra stalk just like yours as well. They could track on asphalt if they had too. They are going at full speed and don't miss a step. Quite amazing.
Great report. Waiting to see more.
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Day 8 for me was kudu day. We’d been watching these things all week with the, “let’s keep looking,” mentality. Early, around 8:30, we saw a nice bull off to our right that was walking toward us. We got down from the truck and started walking up the road. In the back of my mind, I thought, “He’s gonna cross the road, I should get ready.” Well, I wasn’t quite ready enough because sure enough he did cross the road about 100 yards out ahead of us. He hadn’t seen us and didn’t break his stride. The sticks were quickly thrown up and I got set. I was convinced that I wasn’t going to miss back again on this moving animal and held very forward……..too forward. The shot had to be quick and I was out in front. No dice. Dang!
We kept driving and around 11:30 saw another nice bull with several cows. We were actually able to drive past them as they were only about 80 yards off the road. We then circled back on foot and maneuvered for a shot. We got to where we could see them but the bull was in some brush and was strongly quartering away. It was now or never and I knew the animal’s position was less than ideal. I lined up with plans to rake on through the side and up into the chest. We heard a resounding thump and knew he’d been hit, but he was able to run off. We approached the area only to find a million tracks. Happy and Morlen surveyed the area and pointed us off in one direction. About 40 yards later, we found blood. Magic. We crept through the bush for a couple hundred yards and saw the bull walking very slowly to my left. We repositioned to that side as he walked into an opening. After a couple follow up shots he was down and I had my kudu.
Day 8, in Jared's words: "Today we decided to sit at hippo pool and just observe all of the animals coming in. I decided that if I saw a nice springbuck or impala I would consider taking one last shot. As it turned out, after sitting in the blind for about 3 hours a nice springbuck and impala showed up to tempt me one last time. I opted to shoot the impala. 1 shot with the .308 from about 40 yards had him bolting to the other side of the water where he quickly went down. He was a nice one. He was a couple inches taller than my first impala but a couple inches narrower."
During our time in the blind there was one particular jackal that kept coming in to drink water. He was very sickly looking and appeared to have something wrong with his mouth. It looked as if he could not fully close his mouth. His condition was such that he warranted the final shot that I would take at Kanana. After shooting the impala we decided to wait a few minutes to see if he would come back in and sure enough, to his demise, he did. All of the jackals I saw at Kanana were beautiful but this guy was the mangiest looking thing I had ever seen.
Day 8 in John's words: "Day 8, the last day of our hunt, I wanted to come back to our original day 1 blind. We retrofitted the blind for archery and are here now. Okay, 940 AM about 15 wildebeests cows and calves came in and 2 ostriches. Now it is nearly 11 AM and about 10 young ostriches and 5 warthogs and a bunch of guineas that have been around all morning. Seems to be a large amount of game using this hole today. It's around noon we just had about 20 wildebeest and 5 kudu come through but there was nothing big enough to shoot. I just shot another ostrich as I have been thing more about neat ostrich hand crafts. It is 2:47 PM and Martin and Assi have him loaded in the truck and headed to the skinning shed. 3 more hours to hunt and this part of the Africa safari is over. Okay what a perfect ending... Within minutes of the cruiser pulling away I looked out the side window and saw another nice male ostrich and then a giraffe. He was on top of the blind quickly and silently as I never heard anything. He came out and drank and stared at things for a while and then he just eased into the bush and disappeared. Then a gemsbok and some other small animals, birds and so forth. I saw a ewe impala and then a couple more further beyond. Shortly after a ram impala came in to the water and gave me what was the last perfect hit. He fell 40 yards to the side of the blind and leaping high into the air. It was the best finale that I could have hoped for and what a beautiful animal. On the way to camp from the cruiser I shot a jackel at 125 yards with a .223. Small by coyote standards but a beautiful pelt to be tanned also."
More to come.....
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Great report. Thanks for sharing it with us!
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Interesting how the Jackals were in such better shape, except for one, than when I was there. Our group shot around 10 and only 2 of them did not have the mange.
Great stories and great trophies.
The hippo pool is probably my favorite place.
Sat there and took some amazing trophies and hundreds of live photos of the various species. One of my favorite parts of the trip. It was awesome to watch that entire pond be filled up with Eland cows and baby calves. One day there were 7 Waterbuck bulls in there and I had shot a huge one so the only thing I did was shoot some pictures. Oh the memories.
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Watching the video as I write this.
Oh the memories.
When I was there; Waterbuck always came in from the left, same as you. Impala from the right; same as you.
Other species head on and from both sides.
I am shocked that Jackal was alive as bad a condition as he was in. He was definitley sick. Could not get enough to drink; his guts must have been killing him.
I am only at the 18 minute mark.
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I watched it all. I just kept waiting for something to hit the ground.
I love that spot. Oh the memories. Makes me smile nonstop.
Thanks for sharing.
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Watched the Blue Wildebeest video. They are such an interesting animal. Very curious. Very skittish. Very colorful. I did not appreciate them much on my first safari but definitely think they are truly a poor mans buffalo. Thanks for sharing.
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Congratulations to you all
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Great report. Congratulations to all involved. Kanana does it again
hahahah. I wanted to film that happening but didn't get around to it. I handed my video camera to my bushman tracker once and asked him to film a little and it was quite funny. He couldn't quite figure out how to aim the camera and not just film the sky. We all got a good chuckle out of that - Even him.
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This is such a great report...I'm definitely enjoying it!
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Just watched the giraffe video.
I don't know if there is a more unnatural run in the world but they sure can cover the ground.
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Zebra are such an awesome animal. I have a totally new appreciation for them after hunting them. Truly a wary quarry. They are so so smart and so aware of their surroundings. Love hunting them!!!!
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To get to the shooting range, you leave camp and immediately drive across the pond towards the water pump/well and then turn right. It is just beyond the old photo safari campsite. I think that was on the way to hippo pool. Right? Anyway, it's a a nice setup. A group of springbok like to feed at the end of the shooting range. Sadly, we never saw a mature springbok ram the entire time. None of us did. The cheetah are hammering them like crazy.
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Thanks for sharing that info. It is new since I was there.
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Congratulations on a great safari. Very good animals; love the big zebra... beautiful.
... and WAR EAGLE !
National Rifle Association - Life Member
National Wild Turkey Federation - Diamond Life Sponsor
Pope & Young Club - Associate Member
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War damn Eagle!
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And in the blink of an eye all the pictures were gone.
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Couple of JAWS kudu there toward the end. Nice oryx as well.
And, War Eagle.
Will J. Parks, III
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The next day was Saturday and sadly it was time to leave Kanana. We had initially planned to hunt for 10 days, but then changed to 8 days to allow for us to spend some time in the Okavango Delta. We awoke, shared our last breakfast and said our goodbyes to Jason, Claire, their daughters and the whole gang. We loaded back up and Will drove us back to Maun. Once in Maun, we stopped at Mochaba taxidermy to see their operation and to chat with Debbie. We couldn’t believe how many skulls and skins they were processing. We visited the elephant bone yard and got photos of some of the skulls and jawbones in process.
From there, it was off to the airport. John was headed home to Atlanta. While he checked in, Darrell, Jared and I had lunch across the street at Bon Arrivee. I’m 95% sure we saw Johan Calitz there so I thought that was cool. We said our goodbyes to Will and then boarded a 5 seater single-prop plane headed out to Kwara Camp. The 30 minute flight was great because we could see the dramatic transition between dry Maun into the Okavango Delta. We landed and were met by Tom and Leopard. (Still not sure if his real name is Leopard or Nkwe or something that sounds like Leopard). They took us to the Little Kwara camp which was super nice. We participated in several game drives and a mokoro tour where we mingled with a pod of hippos. We saw lots of elephants.
On our second day at Little Kwara, we stopped to look at about 20 elephants (cows and calves) that were spread over a couple hundred yards. They slowly grouped up in a straight line facing us, like soldiers on a civil war battlefield. They were about 50 yards away and slowly marched forward. The lead cow and her neighbors sharply wagged their ears forward and back. I couldn’t believe how loud and intimidating it was, like snapping a sheet of canvas. They approached to about 35 yards and the driver started the cruiser. That brought them to a stop. They then walked behind us, single file with the lead cow trumpeting at us once. It was super cool.
We spent some time with a trio of cheetahs on both nights, often from distances as close as 10 yards. On our last day, we really wanted to see lions and we’d actually heard some the night before. Tracks had been spotted on the road so we were off to the races. We looked for an hour or so and finally got a call on the radio that they’d been spotted. We hustled over to see an isolated male and female. Our guide explained that they were a breeding pair and would mate every 15 minutes for 2-3 days. Wow!..... If we stayed there for 20 minutes or so we’d get our very own show. Sure enough, after about 15 minutes, the lioness looked over her shoulder at the male and gave him “the look.” He responded immediately and went to work for all of about 30 seconds. He gave us this great shot in the middle of the action.
When I let my wife back home know that we’d seen lions, she told the kids. My 7 yr-old asked her if the lions were fighting. She replied in the negative. When he again asked what they were doing, she said, “They were mating.” His response: “Oh, falling in love.”
From the lions we were swept off to the airfield where our little plane soon descended. We loaded up and were off to Kasane for our trip to Victoria Falls. The flight was a little over an hour and we were met at the airplane by a young man who led us out of the airport to a waiting truck. From there, it was off to the Zimbabwe border where we paid our $30 visa fee. We were then met on the Zim side by another man who drove us to Vic Falls. Our first stop was at the flea market where we bargained and worked the crowd for some cool gifts. Dang, those guys sure know how to put on the pressure. But, we came away with some cool things. I’m still not sure if it was all made in Africa or in Hong Kong.
We stayed at the Ilala Lodge in Vic Falls and immediately headed from the hotel to the falls. It was incredible and was a great addition to our visit to Africa. We got some great pictures, got very wet, and put ourselves in a few precarious positions near the cliff.
As we now look back and reflect on the trip, we are all blown away with how it has affected us. Our wives laugh at us when we describe raw emotions and sometimes get a little “choked up” as we talk about it all. All those cliché phrases like, “take half the clothes and twice the money,” and “you’ll plan your next trip before you even get on the plane to come home,” are all true. I want to go back so bad that it hurts. I haven’t quite worked up the courage to mention that to my wife yet…..but I will. I find myself checking AR many times a day and try to justify going on some of those “last minute” hunt offers which of course I can’t do. The bug has bitten me in a bad, bad way.
I just want to go back.
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Pics are back. Sweet. Now onto reading your last post!
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Outstanding! As to the falls they have an occasional unfortunate tourist slip on the rocks, go over and die.
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I am glad you were able to make the trip to the Delta and to Vic Falls. I just cannot take myself away from the hunting long enough to do those things.
My wife shakes her head everyday when I say something like a Lesser Kudu would look great on this wall, a Bushpig over there. She just says I have a sickness that cannot be cured and I smile and keep doing what I am doing.
Several people ask me all the time why I work several different jobs or projects. At the end of the day it is so I can get the $$$$ to get back to Africa sooner than later.
Great report. Would be cool to see more pics if you have some and are willing to share.
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