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Father/Son Eland and Kudu Hunt – Namibia
Hunt Dates – May 8 - 18, 2015
Outfitter – Kowas Hunting Safaris – Danie and Ansie Strauss – owners- www.kowasadventure.com
Agent – None used – I normally work with Jeff Neal and Greg Brownlee but met with Ansie Strauss at DSC and made the arrangements
Game Sought – Livingston and Cape Eland, Greater Southern Kudu by tracking
Game Taken –- Livingston and Cape Eland (2x), Kudu (4x), Warthog, Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, Impala, Blue Wildebeest, Ostrich (2x)
Game and Animals Seen – Livingston and Cape Eland, Kudu, Springbok, Blue Wildebeest, Black Wildebeest, Giraffe, Red Hartebeest, Blesbok, Warthog, Steenbok (many), Impala, Waterbuck, Cheetah, Oryx (several over 40”), Common Grass Duiker, Jackals, Porcupine, Meer Kat, Golden Mongoose, Banded Mongoose, Bat-eared Fox, Aardwolf, Springhare, two types of rabbits, Whip Snake, Puff Adder (dead), a water turtle of some type that let out the smelliest liquid I have ever gotten on me, and 85 species of birds.
You cannot go to Africa and not take pictures of giraffes –
My son graduated medical school this year and starts a residency in July. He wanted to take on one more hunt before the grind of an orthopedic residency started. He chose a tracking eland hunt with kudu thrown in for good fun. We booked for two eland and two kudu each with any other plains game thrown in for good measure. We knew going in to this hunt that taking four eland in nine hunting days was a tough challenge. My son killed two very nice and very big eland after some serious tracking and stalking. I managed one nice eland after a long stalk. We each took two kudu as well and had time for other animals as the opportunities presented themselves. Kowas Hunting Safaris is a top notch and high quality outfit that is managed extremely well. This is my 10th hunt of this type and this was by far the best organized hunt I have been on. Every detail was handled and there were no “oops’s” on this hunt. The accommodations and food were excellent. The PH’s were top notch (more on them later). This was the most comfortable African hunt I have been on.
Background for this hunt
My son and I share a passion for hunting and for hunting on foot tracking and stalking. As most of the educated AR readers know, many hunts in South Africa or Namibia or some of the other areas are “diesel stalks”- drive around in the truck looking for animals, then a little tracking/stalking and then a shot. We intentionally wanted to hunt from the camp on foot or after a short drive to an area by stalking and tracking. We like the aspect of finding the game on foot or by climbing a hill/tree, spotting and stalking. Following this idea, we decided to target eland and kudu in Namibia as we had been to Namibia before, like the country (no hassles, no malaria, no long charters). Next, we wanted to hunt on a property owned by the outfit. We have learned that when the owners are onsite, we get a better hunt and the overall quality of the hunt is better. Lastly, I did a fairly extensive search for the “right” outfit using AR as a resource and visiting with outfits at DSC. Terry Blauwkamp (AR member and very good writer/supporter for DSC) was very helpful with his recommendations as well. I chose Kowas based on reputation and the level of professionalism shown by Ansie Strauss (wife and detail person) during the booking process.
Kowas Hunting Safaris is owned by Danie and Ansie Strauss. They are native to Namibia and South Africa. They purchased this property in about 1990 and opened for safaris in about 1997 or 1998. They spent the years before opening the property to hunting clearing fences, re-establishing certain animals, starting an ostrich ranching operation and building facilities. Danie is a veteran of the RSA military and served in the South Africa – Angola conflict back in the 1970’s. He has managed and owned several businesses hunting and non-hunting related in Namibia. He is well acquainted with the government and is a friend to the current President. He is the head of the Namibian Rugby Association and manages the efforts to raise the quality of rugby played in Namibia on a worldwide level. Their team is headed to the Rugby World Cup which starts later this year. I think it is toss up whether Danie is more passionate about rugby or hunting. Either way, he is a skilled businessman and runs a top flight operation.
Ansie is the organizer and booking agent as well as a mother and wife. Having been on several African, New Zealand and North American hunts, I found her to be the best organized and detail oriented person I have encountered. Everything from being picked up at the airport to laundry to meals to the accommodations was perfect. Even more importantly, the paperwork for the hunt was exact and precise. I really appreciate that after having been lied to and cheated by Hartley Combrink and Rasheed Rancine (Baobab Safaris or Nyampala Safaris or Leopard Ridge Safaris) in Zambia several years ago. Everything was clearly documented and explained before money changed hands.
Sundowner on Plains with the Strauss’s
Sidebar – If I can, I will always hunt with folks that own the property. Same for someone with a long term lease on a concession. If there are not a lot of years left on it, I am not hunting it.
The accommodations are top notch. The food is excellent and the variety was amazing. The head chef is Selma who happened to be the wife of the PH I hunted with. My wife is a gourmet cook and I know good food. Selma was in that class and did a super job.
My room –
The evening campfire and the lounge area were perfect and we had a few drinks every night before dinner. I heard more stories about life in Namibia and Africa around that fire than on many other hunts. The reason was that we hunted close by and spent very little time in a truck getting to hunting areas. When the day was done, we drove to the lodge in a short time and then had a lot of time to relax and talk. This is a big positive for me. Further this was the most comfortable hunt I have been on. This is a hunt to bring your wife to.
These folks are serious fishermen as well. If you want a diversion, go fishing –
Getting there was no big deal. Fly to Johannesburg, spend the night, hop an SAA flight to Windhoek, drive 1 ½ hours to the property. Windhoek is a very hunter friendly airport and we no issues and spent no time clearing customs, getting our gun permit and out the door. The staff at the airport are used to hunters and are very welcoming. This is easier than South Africa. The roads are good and there are no hassles.
The Professional Hunters
Our PH’s were Jacques Strauss, son of the owners, and Mathews, a longtime employee on the property who passed the NAPHA PH exam several years ago becoming one of the first black PH’s in Namibia. My son hunted with Jacques and I hunted with Matthews. As it turned out, Jacques was basically trained by his father and by Matthews. Both are very good PH’s, keen to hunt, excellent trackers and skilled in stalking. Both held my son and I to a high ethical standard was we hunted. For instance, I wanted to hunt Mountain Zebra for the skin. We encountered several that would have been easy stalks but was held back as Matthews looked over the group of zebras and determined that the stallion I was after was a significant part of the group. Basically, I learned that the dominant mare in a zebra group determines if the stallion can breed. If a stallion is chosen and then subsequently shot, that group of zebras may not breed for several years until a suitable stallion works his way into the good graces of the matriarch leader of the group. I did not know this, hence Matthews let me know that we needed to look for a bachelor group and take only a male that was not breeding and that would not impact the overall well- being of the groups of zebras.
The same thing occurred when we stumbled onto a nice kudu while driving. We had been looking for kudu and eland and this particular bull was standing on a hillside not far from the road. We stopped, looked him over and decided he was a mature bull. I started to get off the truck and walk a little distance to get a shooting rest to take the shot. Jacques and Matthews both said that we should stalk closer and try for a better shot. At the time, I did not think anything of the idea and agreed. We stalked the kudu but did not get a shot. Afterward, Jacques asked if I was upset and not taking that kudu. I said that I was not upset and that was part of hunting. He said that he was not comfortable taking the shot I was setting up for as we had not “earned” or “properly” stalked that kudu. In other words, he felt it was a “drive by” killing rather than a properly hunted animal. When he explained it that way, I fully agreed and support that perspective.
It was very refreshing to see and hear a PH focused on ethical hunting rather than just piling up dead animals.
My son and Jacques were about the same age and hit it off very well. They hunted long and hard for the eland and kudu. It was great fun for both of them. Jacques is also a problem leopard problem solver. He has killed a number of problem leopards in the area and people come to him when they need a leopard dealt with. He has written an article for a Namibian hunting magazine about a pair of leopards he killed in the span of a few minutes that were killing local cattle. He “gets it” and knows how to go after leopards. If they had enough leopard tags, I suspect he would get a reputation for being a “cat man” very soon.
An article in the NAPHA magazine on the leopard double-
As I stated, I hunted with Matthews. This was my first experience with the black PH. I have been with many trackers, skinners and spotters who were local guys, but this was a first for me. After one day with him I realized I was with a special person – gifted observations skills, superb knowledge of the animals and his craft and a very cool character when it came to dealing with skittish animals and not so perfect hunters. I have hunted with about 20 PH’s or North American guides over the years. I would rank Matthews as number 2 or 3 in terms of skills- he was that good. The only one clearly better is Dean Kendall, a Zimbabwean PH I hunted with a few years ago.
Mongoose or mongeese – we saw a lot of them. They are cool.
Rifles – Winchester Model 70’s, my son used a .375 H&H topped with a Leupold 1.75x6 scope. I used the Extreme Weather model (stainless, fluted, plastic stock) in .300 Win Mag topped with a Swarovski Z6i 3x18x50 with adjustable turrets.
Ammo – I used Federal Premium .300 WM 180 grain Barnes TSX. My son used Nosler custom ammo in .375 H&H 300 grain Partition bullets. Both worked fine. The Barnes bullets tended to pass through the kudu and impala not leaving a big hole. The Partitions did what Partitions do – nice entry hole, big mess as they expand and usually no exit.
Optics – We used two pair of binos – I used a fairly new pair of Leica Geovid HD-R 10 x 42 range-finding binoculars. I like the ranging feature and used it a lot. My son used an older pair of Swarovski SLC 8 x 30’s that worked fine.
Boots – Anything lightweight with a non-Vibram sole that you have broken in are good. I would suggest a leather boot, mainly to deter thorns as well as a crepe or ‘not so noisy’ sole. I wore lightweight boot that was like a high top sneaker that worked fine. I would think Russell’s or a Browning upland hunting boot would be fine. My son wore sneakers and had a lot of trouble with seeds getting in his socks.
Packs – None needed. The PH’s or trackers carried water and essentials for the pack out.
Clothing – We wore light weight cotton shorts and shirts with a jacket for the early mornings and evenings. Temps were 50 to 75F everyday with clear skies. I wore light weight long pants due to thorns eating up my legs several days. We wore various shapes of green and tan. No camo is needed. Wear a hat due to the sun! I wore a wide brimmed Tilley hat and it worked great. My son wore a ball cap but really needed something with a wide brim.
Gaiters – Other than your boots, this is the most important piece of equipment you need. The grass was high and covered with seeds. There are also a lot of thorns you will encounter. I used some cheap Boyt gaiters made of canvas that were not good. I had seed issues every day. These seeds cover your boots and get in your socks making walking uncomfortable. My son used some leather gaiters, like most PH’s use, that we bought on our last trip to Namibia. He had seed issues but that was due to his choice to hunt in sneakers rather than boots. BUY and USE leather gaiters!
See how high the grass is and how loaded up with seeds –
The food was superb. Breakfast we great, made to order with fresh coffee. Lunch was a buffet. Dinner was usually meat from what we had killed. Sometimes we ate inside, other times we grilled and ate under the stars. Selma did most of the cooking with the Strauss men helping out at times. You will not lose weight on this trip.
Rather than do this as a diary, I will break this up by species so you can see we hunted each one.
Peter Flack published a book on eland recently, “Eland – Everyman’s Elephant”, that is the best work on eland and eland hunting ever published. He covers all of the species and why they are so fun to hunt. He solicited stories from PH’s and hunters for this book. In summary, eland hunting is not expensive but every bit as challenging as elephant or buffalo hunting. You track, you hike, you stalk, you get busted, you start again. It is a great animal to hunt as you must hunt this beast to take it.
This entire trip was set up to hunt eland by tracking and stalking. My son was a college football player and a serious Cross Fit aficionado right now, so he can manage the miles and the heat. I am a “has been” that is 60 and a bit out of shape, but I can keep up on flat ground. We spent about half our time on this trip chasing eland and were successful on three of them. What was really cool was my son took a Cape Eland and a Livingstone’s Eland on this trip which went with a Patterson’s Eland took a few years ago. Combined with a Lord Derby we took a few years ago, I think we have an eland “slam”, if there is such a slam. I would say that it is as tough as the North American Sheep Slam (Grand Slam) due to the logistics and walking involved. I have done the Grand Slam and I would say they are on par with each other.
Our hunt method was to go to an area that held eland, find a hill or tree, and glass.
We started early each morning as eland tend to be up and about early, then bed down around 10am until 3pm. We looked hard for them, would attempt a stalk but were unsuccessful on all of our morning hunts. We usually spotted them in time to mark the spot they bedded in. When three o’clock rolled around, we would stalk close the bedding area and hope they had not moved. When they got up, we followed hoping for a shot and to not be seen. Well, we got busted a few times and were seen a few times, but we persevered and closed the deal on my son’s first eland without too much trouble. He used a .375 H&H on it and that did the trick.
My son’s first eland bull –
On the eland I took, we spotted two bulls feeding on a low hill about a mile away, stalked to the hill, then lost them in the thick brush. They were with a kudu bull and a couple of Oryx which made the stalk tough with the extra eyes on the lookout. With patience, we managed to get within 150 yards when the younger of the two bulls winded or saw us. They got jumpy and started for the thick stuff when the older bull stopped to look back while standing in the open. I was able to make a decent shot and down he went.
You can see how flat the terrain is here –
On my son’s second bull, he and Jacques spotted them early in the day, stalked them and followed them to their beds, backed out and took a nap. At 3pm, they went back to the bedding area, found them up and milling around, made a stalk and dropped a super old bull. This sounds easy, but in the course of stalking this eland and the others noted above, we hiked anywhere from three to six miles through the thorn covered brush to close in. This was not easy and we were busted more times than we were successful. That is the joy in eland hunting – it is not a sure thing and you never know when you will be successful. My son and I both enjoy the “thrill of the chase” a lot; hence we have migrated over to eland hunting versus other animals. Honestly, we have taken a couple of buffalo each – but now we find eland hunting more challenging and more fun.
Kudu is everyone’s favorite, like the blond blue-eyed cheerleader in high school. I have yet to meet a hunter that did not want to hunt kudu. And, everyone seems to think they can find a sixty inch kudu or at least a 58” kudu. Well, I wish it was that easy, but the reality is that kudu are darn tough to find if you are looking for a mature bull with horns curved forward. On this trip, we saw more mature bulls and immature bulls than on all of our previous trips combined. On one day, when we were hunting eland, we spotted collectively nine bulls. This is not to say that there is a kudu bull behind every camelthorn tree, but this part of Namibia was somewhat spared in the rabies epidemic that has killed off a lot of kudu. Also, Danie and Jacques keep a close watch on their kudu and the kudu on surrounding hunting properties. If kudu are scarce, they do not hunt them. Even if that means not getting bookings from folks that are always after a big kudu.
Well, we hunted them hard and had a great time doing it. Basically we would start a slow hike along the base of hills stopping to glass up as well as out in the brush to catch a glimpse of them feeding. The problem in hunting kudu bulls are not the bulls but the cows. The cows are on the alert all the time and have ears the size of tennis rackets that seem to hear every stick I break as I stalk along. We were busted almost hourly by the cows. One loud warning bark and all we would see were tails and backsides. We were there during the start of the kudu rut, so the bulls were just beginning to look for cows and to herd them up. We saw several bachelor groups of bulls, some of which were very nice. And we saw several bulls that had already started gathering cows. We spent our time looking for the lone bull or a lone bull with a small group of cows.
We ended up taking four bulls, as per our booking and hope. Each hunt was different but the same. On mine, the first bull was an accident. We had hiked a long ridge, glassing for kudu and saw none. We hiked down the hill and across a valley (500 yards across) to the next series of hills when a troupe or gang of baboons saw us and lit up the valley with hoots and squalls like you have never heard. We figured that every kudu in earshot was long gone. When we started up the next hill, my son looked back at the baboons and saw an old bull walking toward us not far from the path we took across the valley. Matthews looked him over and said to shoot him. I set up on the sticks, waited for him to get closer and go broadside and touched off a shot that landed somewhere on this planet but not on that kudu. He jumped and ran to a fence where he hesitated going over and I shot at him again this time hitting the right spot. He still jumped the fence and ran into some thick stuff. We hustled down there and found him standing under a camelthorn tree. I had no shot so my son drilled him with his .375 H&H but still not killing him. He went into thicker stuff where we found him laying down and I finished him. He had no teeth and was estimated at twelve plus years old. A great old bull ready to be taken.
Tip of the horns –
My second kudu died because he was dumb. After hiking the hills all morning, we spotted a group of cows bedding down and went for a closer look. We were busted and the cows ran in all directions. We did not know there was a bull in their midst but one showed up after the cows departed. He trotted over to a road, stopped and looked around, then walked in the thick stuff. We followed him and he had worked his way up a hill and was standing under a tree about 180 yards away. I settled on the sticks, and squeezed off a shot promptly missing him high. He took one step and looked back just in time to see me squeeze off another shot that got him in the shoulder. We followed up and made a finishing shot. This kudu was younger with nice horns but, according to Jacques and Matthews, would never make it to 55” or better due to the confirmation of the horns. I am not sure what they saw that I did not, but I was real happy with this one. He was elegant and a great looking bull.
My second bull –
Both of my son’s kudu’s were taken in a similar manner. On one, Jacques and my son had spotted a nice bull late in the day while stalking but could not get close. They came back the next day to the same area and were able to get on a nice bull, stalk and track him a good distance then close the issue with a good shot. On the other bull, again, a long stalk ensued and they took him. But not before a few blown stalks and a couple of missed shots. Overall, kudu hunting is a blast. I liken it to elk hunting in the rut, but more fun.
A late stalk and good shooting by my son –
Kudu deserve your best effort, as do eland, and really, as do all of the African game. But the kudu bull is the king, much like a great old sable bull. They just look cool. If I could only hunt one animal one last time in Africa, it would be the kudu bull….. or an eland bull!!!!
My son’s second kudu taken in a fairly open area.
Danie imported some impala from Zambia that were aware and knowledgeable of leopards. He has a large herd(s) on his property that are wary and tough to hunt. In Zimbabwe and other places I have hunted, impala were drive by killings – targets of opportunity that you picked up while hunting other stuff. Here, the mature male impalas are big – 23” to 25”- and tough to stalk. We intentionally stalked them over a three day period and had a lot of trouble even getting close for a shot. We could find them, but getting close and getting a big male in the cross hairs was tough.
My normal view of any impala-
After two hard days stalking them, Danie joined us to try and help with the spotting and stalking. We hiked out of the lodge and started a hard push to get to an area that we knew held a big male. We got busted and never really got a good look at the male we knew was in the area. Next we went to low set of hills on the property and found two groups of impala – one with a male and twenty females and a second group of bachelor males. Both groups held a large male that was worth stalking.
We settled on the bachelor group as there were fewer eyes to deal with and made the stalk. Matthews spotted them in the heavy stuff and all I we could see was a head and part of a neck looking around for us. We closed to 200 yards and I attempted a shot at the base of the neck off sticks and missed. The group scattered and I thought we were done for that time. Matthews felt the males split up and he “felt” the big one went to a hill nearby. We hiked over there and promptly spotted him easing his way up the through the brush and rocks. He spotted us, turned broadside and I was able to get off a good shot obviously hitting him. He bolted down the hill into the thick brush that surrounded us.
We waited the obligatory fifteen minutes and went to look for tracks and blood. Well, no blood was seen at all. That was hard to figure since we each saw the bullet hit, heard the bullet hit and saw the reaction to the hit. We spent the next two hours combing the area for the “dead” impala. We sent a man up the hill to look over the brush to see if the impala was lying down or somewhere. We finally found him in a perfect photo position where he laid down and died. We had walked within a few steps of him on a couple of occasions but never saw him in the thick brush.
He was an old impala and upon inspection, never bled outwardly until he was a few paces from his final resting place. The bullet passed through and hit the lungs but no blood was spilled outside his body until he lay down. He was a super impala being 24” and old. Never let anyone tell you impala are easy. The big ones are not!
This place is warthog heaven---except for hunters. I saw more warthogs here than on any previous trip anywhere- but only for a glance. The issue this trip was the long grass. Kowas had a lot of rain early this season which has allowed the grass to grow about one meter high. We saw a lot of glimpses of warthogs. We saw a lot at waterholes. We saw a lot late in the day and early out in the open areas grazing. However, one trot and they are in the grass not to be seen again. It was a game of cat and mouse each time we spotted a nice male. I never succeeded in taking one as I made three or four stalks but could not get off a shot in time. My son was a bit luckier. He had an old male spotted from a half mile and they carefully got up on him without issue and shot him, but it was tough.
Usually warthogs are incidentally taken while chasing something else. Not so here. There are plenty of them. I saw moms with babies on several occasions. I saw old males rooting around doing what warthogs do. But was a victim of my own lack of skills trying to sneak one in the high grass. Another thing I learned is that they have a very good sense of smell. I was in a blind watching birds over a waterhole when a group started in. At about 40 yards, they winded me and were gone. I had never had the chance to watch them up close before and this was a treat and a lesson.
This is a bush duiker and you can see how high the grass is and how hard it is to stalk warthogs -
Laugh if you want but my son and I are confirmed ostrich killers. We have chased them on a couple of occasions and actually shot a couple. This time, we decided to be intentional about ostrich and take one when we had the chance. Ostrich are dumb and smart, skittish and calm, easy and hard. We have encountered the ones that run when you get within 500 yards of them and others that stand around waiting to be shot at 100 yards.
Danie raised ostriches on this ranch for several years shipping live animals to the USA on a monthly basis for the meat market. He told us several stories about them and how he really does not care for them at this point in his life. He has been kicked, cut and stomped by them. He even had one get on top of him as he hunted other critters that a client had to shoot. One of the stories he told was about a pair that raised a clutch of 20 babies only to lose all of them over a month period of time to leopards, foxes and eagles. He told us about a Marshall Eagle that hung around the area when the ostriches were nesting that dined on baby ostrich regularly. He even witnessed the eagle taking a chick on occasion. When you get one down and look at the feet, you will be impressed with the toes, claws and the musculature of the legs. I want no part of one that is alive and close to me.
As we hunted kudu and zebra we bumped a pair. My son and Jacques decided to take one out. We tried following them but had little luck as the can see us too easily with that long neck. Finally, on one stalk, a big male/rooster/bull/buck/whatever stopped long enough to get a shot. My son took my .300WM, dialed up the scope and let’r go dropping the bird at 250 yards.
I did not know but ostrich have claws on their wings. I am not sure if they use the claws or not.
Later in the hunt, we missed one at 200 yards but came around and caught him again later when he stopped to look at us from 100 yards. We had cut him off as he ran off then startled him when he saw us giving me enough time to get him killed.
In all, I would recommend you try hunting them. They are fun, you don’t feel bad shooting them, and usually the owner of the area has no love for them.
A nice sidebar on ostriches is that you can eat them and they taste pretty good. We even had “ostrich neck stew” made of slices of the neck and neck bones, stewed with other good things. Amazingly, it did not taste like chicken!
The various wildebeest species seem to be everywhere I hunt in Africa. I see them in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, CAR, and Namibia. Usually we see the Blue or Black Wildebeest. I truly love the Black one. He is funny looking, runs funny, looks at you funny and seems to just jump around enjoying life. We have shot several and I really do not hunt them anymore but watch them and take pictures. At Kowas, there are a lot of them as well as Blues. My son decided he would like a rug from a Blue for his new quarters in Pittsburgh, so we made a plan to hunt them on foot.
This is an old Black Wildebeest that someone will shoot soon. He was a nice one –
Usually wildebeest are not stalked often. Again, they are targets of opportunity on most hunts. However, at Kowas, we had the chance to stalk them and really try to hunt an old male with great horns as well as hide. We all were together on this stalk so being quiet was hard. The advantage for us though was that the wildebeest were in the thick stuff so they could not see us easily. We managed to get up on some only to bump them and lose them. However, they are noisy and grunt a lot. We heard them often before we saw them, and this was the case on this stalk. We thought we lost them, but they grunted enough to tell us where they were.
We continued the cat and mouse stalk, finally catching up to them. My son made a perfect 200 yard shot with his .375 dropping him instantly. It was fun, no stress and a great stalk. I may rethink how I hunt wildebeest in the future!
Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra
I like hunting zebras. They are smart, wary and tough. Tracking them is not too hard but getting close on foot is. Our first day there, Matthews (who was not sure of me and I not sure of him) suggested we hunt Mountain Zebra. I was after one anyway so off we went. What I learned was that he was really checking me out to see if I could keep up with him in the hills. So, we made about a two mile hike up and over and around the rocks and hills to look for a stallion. No problem as I was in some manner of decent hiking shape. What I wasn’t ready for were the black thorn bushes that shredded my legs and arms. These are a bit like the “wait-a-bit” thorns in South Africa and Zimbabwe but a little nastier. The grab and tear your skin something fierce. Anyway, I made the hike ok and Matthews spotted three lone stallions headed for the thick brush early in the day.
We stalked close and you can see how well they blend in –
We stalked them, got busted a couple of times, then one made the mistake of standing a bit too long at 150 yards whereby I promptly gut shot him. Way to go meathead. I had not practiced at all getting ready for this hunt and it showed on this shot. Right in the lower stomach and we were off to the races chasing a gut shot zebra. To Matthews credit, he did not laugh nor make any snide comments, however much I deserved them. He tracked the zebra about a mile and we found him in his death throes with no extra shot needed. What a mess….
Anyway, Kowas has plenty of Burchell’s and Hartmann’s zebras. We saw a lot of groups and several new babies. If you want to add a zebra here, it is not too tough – as long as you shoot well.
We did not hunt cats here but saw evidence of a lot of cheetah’s and leopards. I do not understand the politics in the USA of not letting us hunt cheetahs as there seem to be plenty in Namibia. My son saw one cheetah in the daylight and our hosts told us of hunters previous to us taking a couple. Danie and Jacques have a love/hate affair with cheetahs. The cheetahs take a lot of springbok and other game which puts a dent in their hunting operation. On the other hand, they are superb killers and a joy to watch. They do not persecute the cheetahs at Kowas but hope a non-US hunter or two will deplete the abundant population.
On leopards, there are again plenty to go around. Jacques was called while we were there to come remove a leopard that had killed a calf one night. He wasn’t able to go as we were still hunting. Jacques had taken two leopards over one bait in a 5 minute time period that made the local news and was written up in the NAPHA magazine. He has taken other problem leopards as well recently. If they could get the tags to justify spending a lot of time on leopard, I would go here. There sure seemed to be a bunch of them.
We spent one morning hunting sand grouse over a large pan of water near Kowas property. We had brought our shotguns and they supplied the ammo. We shot up five boxes of shells for about 35 birds and had a great time. We shot two types of sand grouse (Burchells and Banded), three kinds of doves (Namaqua, Cape and Turtle) and one duck (Red-billed Teal). The sand grouse fly to water early and late, so we just set up in the cover of some bushes and pass shot them until we ran out of ammo. Great fun!
A complete whiff on Springbok on this trip. There was no shortage of them. Danie had about 800 on his place and we routinely saw a bunch. I was after an old one with the turned back horns which are not that common. We chased them off and on as we were hunting other critters, but never could catch one. We made one really good stalk on a big one that was camped out on bare ground, but could not get closer than 450 yards where I subsequently missed the shot. That is the edge of my range as a shooter and I could not get the bullet into the 8” target that was the springbok.
“Wool Bush” - this is a plant that puts of a very soft flower/seed much like cotton –
I really like hunting them, not just shooting them. I have never taken one bigger than about 12” and a decent looking horn configuration. I want to focus on them on my next trip. There a lot of them in Namibia and I will go back and see if I can find that big, old, heavy, turned back horn springbok.
There are plenty of Springbok here –
Observations and Perceived Realities
1. This is not a hard hunt physically. The stalking and tracking are time consuming but you do not have to be marathon shape to do this hunt. This is not a hard hunt mentally as you will get multiple chances at your quarry should you blow a stalk or get outed. It is just a plain old fun hunt.
2. I really like Namibia. The people are like me and the terrain is unintimidating. The people are friendly; they are pro hunting and are extremely hospitable. In the long term future, I think that Namibia will be a better destination for various plains and dangerous than any other African country. Namibia will not have the numbers of buff, elephant or cats on quota that Zimbabwe or other countries have, but the hunts are affordable and accessible.
3. As always, be able to shoot. Learn how to shoot at distances beyond what you are used to.
4. African animals are no tougher than what you see in North America. A good shot anchors them and a bad shot creates a long follow up. Get a copy of “The Perfect Shot” and look over the kill zones in pictured in that book. Most of the time a shoulder shot works fine, but you need to know for sure.
5. Listen to your PH. He knows a trophy from an average animal. Be clear with him what you are after and let him find it for you. You cannot judge Oryx, trust me. I have shot a dozen in my life and I cannot tell a big female from a big male without serious looking or if it is truly 40” or better. Trust you PH.
6. Take only the equipment the outfitter recommends. He has the experience, so buy what he suggests. This is not a hard hunt so you do not need a duffle bag full of stuff you “might” need.
After the hunt thoughts –
1. I am finally learning to enjoy a hunt rather than “push” to get the animal. I have never been an “inch” guy but I always want to succeed. The atmosphere and type of people in Namibia make the hunt “the actual experience”. I like that and will try to be more oriented that way in the future.
2. You can find world class/top Rowland and Ward trophies in Namibia. We saw but did not shoot several gemsbok and a couple of steenbok that were “record book class” animals. We were just hunting other stuff at the time.
3. There are no canned lion hunts in Namibia. Hunting is a big business there but not as much as South Africa. Not sure if this is totally accurate, but I felt like ethics are more important in Namibia than in RSA – at least I hear more about it there than other places.
4. The ultimate question is – would I do this hunt again? Absolutely! Namibia is a super hunting destination. The Namibia Professional Hunter’s Association is actually viable and does a great job. The country is very hunter friendly. KOWAS was a super place to hunt the way we like to hunt. Danie Strauss is a former president of NAPHA and knows nearly all of the outfits and can advise who to avoid as well as whom to hunt with. We will go back for sure. This is the place to go.
5. I am not really a “list” guy – the hunter with the list of animals and sizes I am looking for. You know this guy, he is the one trying to shoot a 40” Oryx, a 40” cape buff, a 40” Stone’s sheep, and on and on. You can do this in Namibia, but I think you will have more fun just looking for a fine old animal and chase that one. I would like to spend an entire hunt looking for a great springbok and a great old male Oryx. Oh well, next time. Come to think of it, I would like to spend a hunt chasing kudu as well…. and eland…and impala…..
6. Will I hunt eland again? Yep, for sure. Eland are more fun (to me) than Cape buffalo and are more challenging (at least for me). My son and I have together taken all of the species of eland and we want to do this again.
I do not know what this plant is, but it grows flat to the ground and has this purple flower. It was way cool.
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Here is the bird list for those interested.
I am an avid birder and added several to my life list on this hunt.
Namaqua Dove nest
1. Secretary Bird
2. Kori Bustard
3. Burchell’s Starling
4. Social Weaver
5. Montagu’s Harrier
6. Yellow Hornbill
7. Red-billed Francolin
8. Southern Ant-eating Chat
9. Shaft-tailed Whydah
10. Pale Chanting Goshawk
11. Namaqua Dove
12. Marabou Stork
13. Helmeted Guinea Fowl
14. Green (red-billed) Wood Hoopoe
15. Greater Kestrel
16. Laughing Dove
17. Fork-tailed Drongo
18. Ashy Tit
19. White Browed Sparrow Weaver
21. Lappet-faced Vulture
22. Crowned Lapwing Plover
23. Cape Turtle Dove
24. Grey Lourie or Go-away Bird
25. White-backed Mousebird
26. Lilac Breasted Roller
27. European Roller
28. African Hoopoe
29. Common Scimitarbill
30. Stark’s Lark
31. Familiar Chat
32. African Grey Hornbill
33. Crimson-breasted Shrike
34. Cape Glossy Starling
35. Long-tailed Paradise Whydah
36. Martial Eagle
37. Common Quail
38. Violet-eared Waxbill
39. Willow Warbler
40. Burchell’s Sand Grouse
41. Capped Wheatear
42. Northern Black Korhan
43. Rosy-faced Lovebirds
44. Swallow-tailed Bee-eater
45. Cape Penduline Tit
46. Black Crested Prinia
47. Spotted Flycatcher
48. Southern Masked Weaver
49. Red-billed Quelia
50. Black-faced Waxbill
51. Yellow Canary
52. Scaly Faced Finch
53. Common Waxbill
54. Melba Finch
55. African Pipit
56. African Red-eyed Bulbol
57. Great Sparrow
58. Southern Grey-headed Sparrow
59. White Throated Canary
60. Verreaux (Giant) Eagle Owl
61. Barn Owl
62. Eastern Clapper Lark
63. Rock Martin
64. Ground Scrapper Thrush
65. Cape Sparrow
66. White-tailed Shrike
67. White-backed Vulture
68. Southern Pied Babbler
69. Larklike Bunting
70. Gray-backed Finchlark
71. Fairy Flycatcher
72. Pearl Spotted Owlet
73. Blacksmith Plover
74. Steppe Buzzard
75. Pririt Batis
76. Orange River Francolin
77. Double –banded Sand Grouse
78. Black Throated Canary
79. Wattled Starling
80. Desert Cisticula
81. Egyptian Goose
82. South African Shellduck
83. Red-billed Teal
84. Black Winged Stilt
85. Kittlitz’s Plover
Did I mention they have excellent equipment?
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Sounds like a great hunt, and to get to go with your son has to have made it even better!
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Brilliant report as always.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. -Henry David Thoreau, Walden
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Fine animals and report.
ROYAL KAFUE LTD
Email - email@example.com
Tel/Whatsapp (00260) 975315144
Instagram - kafueroyal
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Very nice! Thanks for posting.
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Brilliant report is right! Wow! I am not nearly as seasoned on African hunting as dogcat is, but I have been to Kowas twice now. Everything he says about the hunting, PH's, Danie and Ansie, Selma, camp, etc is right on the money. They are a fantastic outfit in every possible way.
Dogcat, congrats on a great adventure with your son. Doesn't get much better than that in my book. Also, thanks for posting the fantastic pictures...made me homesick already and I've only been back for a month. Upon leaving Kowas in late April, I left them a deposit for 2016. I've been wanting to hunt an eland, and your adventure really solidified that for me. As you said, gotta hunt kudu too.
Thanks for posting. Best hunting report I've ever read.
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Dani and Ansie run a great outfit, and the accommodations are without peer.
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An extremely detailed, excellent report as usual.
Always enjoy them so thx for the great summary and pics.
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Congrats on a great hunt with your son.
Only one question that I have.. How big was the property?
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The property owned by the Strauss' was about 17000 acres. The neighboring and bordering properties were about 400,000 acres. This is part of a large Dordabis Conservancy. We hunted out of the lodge on foot and made a few short drives to other properties, none more than 20 minutes away.
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Great report and good animals. Thanks for sharing.
Kowas is indeed a great farm and well managed by Danie and Ansie.
I guess the Toyota "Kowas 1" is Jacques - or have Danie's Mahindras finally packed up and been replaced by a decent Toyota ??
Sandgrouse over at 'Neue Heimat' is a blast !
"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
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Very nice report and we thought of you and your bird lists when we hunted with Derek in Niassa. He was very much into the bird life and kept pointing out birds that birders would be excited to see.
Somewhat lost on us.
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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i was thinking about talking to them about my next hunt to africa
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Great report and wonderful experience with your Son!
What lens do you use or prefer for the birds Dogcat? Some of you are able to get good zoomed in photos of Beecatchers etc.
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I just use a point and shoot Canon sureshot. It takes great pictures. Jacques used a fancy Nikon SLR for his pics.
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Fantastic report and great photography. Thanks for posting it.
"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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Great report and excellent pictures
Congratulations to you and your son !
Way to hunt on foot , makes for well deserved trophies
DRSS Chapuis 9.3 x 74 R
RSM. 416 Rigby
RSM 375 H&H
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Great, well organized report.
And those eland and your son's second kudu were beauties!
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Great report. Where is your Son doing his Residency? Mine has one more year in Oklahoma.
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They still have at least one Mahindra because that's the vehicle I hunted out of with Mathews. They seem to be pretty tough.
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Amazing report. Best I've read in a while. Thanks for sharing and congratulations.
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He just graduated OU and is headed to Pittsburgh for ortho.
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As always nice report!
Namibia is just wonderful.
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Very well done! Looks like everyone had a great time. Nice report too. Your son looks a lot like you.
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You must hunt more and more often so we can enjoy more of your excellent reports!
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Congrats to your son for completing med school!
Congrats to you both for sharing such a memorable time in the bush. I have never hunted in Namibia and you make it sound great.
Loved the report and pics.
Best regards, D. Nelson
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Nicely done report. I leave in four weeks for my third Namibian trip and I'm already packed! Did you and your son make it to Joe's Beer House in Windhoek??? It ain't a complete Namibian hunting trip without stopping at Joe's.
Jesus saves, but Moses invests
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Great report and photos - congrats and thanks for sharing.
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Thanks for a great report. Lovely time you all have had.
DRSS: HQ Scandinavia. Chapters in Sweden & Norway
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We did not get to Joe's on this trip. Kowas is in a different direction from the town when leaving the airport. Next time....
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Excellent report. Thanks for sharing.
Searcy 470 NE
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My wife and a couple of friends and i went to Kowas a couple years ago and had a similar great time. Good hosts and nice animals. Ansie, Jacques and Danie run a good operation. And Jacques is getting a lot of articles written; I'd like to read the newest one.
“You must always stop and roll in the good stuff;
it may not smell this way tomorrow.”
Lucy, a long deceased Basset Hound
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Dogcat, as usual a very good report. Being a fellow avid birder I really enjoy your bird list
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Thanks for the report, Dogcat! Looks great for multiple kudu, which is a big draw for me. Can you tell me the distances your son shot his game at, seeing as he uses a .375H&H as I do? Kind regards, Ben
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Also, what would it be like to hunt baboons there? Good chances? Approximate shooting distances? Cheers, Ben
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From what I could tell, baboons are a bit smarter there than other places. We saw them but for a short time. If you can shoot at 500 yards, you have a chance.
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Congrats on a great safari with your son. Very well written report as usual.
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