Posts Tagged ‘Cape Grysbuck’

Johnny Posey, Eason Maykus, Todd Allen, Darren Vohs and Bruce Heikkinen joined us on safari during late June, right at the peak of the rut. It was great having Johnny back. He has become such a good friend and big supporter over the years, that hosting him with his friends at Woodlands during our opening season was a must for all of us at John X Safaris.

Our hunt would incorporate both our coastal region, hunting in and around Woodlands Safari Estate, as well as a trip to the Great Karoo, before joining the ladies down in Cape Town. Heather, Simone and Elise Allen, together with Sydney Posey, spent a few days with us on safari before heading down the Garden Route to Cape Town.

For first timer Darren Vohs, it would literally be a life-changing experience.

Darren teamed up with Professional Hunter, Lourens Lombard, and tracker Spinach, making for a formidable team. For a first timer Darren had set his sights on a number of “not so first timer” species, but we weren’t complaining. The rut was on and who doesn’t love a challenge when it comes to hunting?

A Kudu is always a top priority for any hunter to Africa, but apart from the elusive grey ghost the guys hunted hard for Gemsbuck, Impala, Nyala, Springbuck, Black Wildebeest, Mountain Reedbuck, Bushpig and Cape Bushbuck.

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The broad smiles and images pays tribute to what turned out to be an amazing first trip for Darren, very similar to that of Bruce Heikkinen.

Bruce was a late joiner to our hunt after overhearing Johnny tell a fellow hunting buddy about his upcoming safari to Africa. It kind of summed up Bruce in the way he did things. He goes big or goes home…. When he says he’s here for a good time and not a long time, you better know he means it!

Bruce joined PH, Ross “Stix” Hoole, and tracker, Thando Xolo, for the first half of his hunt before teaming up with Ed Wilson for his last leg of his safari up in the Great Karoo.

A Cape Buffalo, Sable, Eland, Lechwe, Nyala, Waterbuck, Blue and Black Wildebeest, Zebra, Gemsbuck, Kudu, Impala and Bushpig made for a massive hunt. Not knowing much about Bruce up until meeting him on the first day of the safari we all soon learned the man could shoot.

Bruce proved to be not only a great shot, but a lucky hunter too. He however was not the luckiest hunter of all. That tag belonged to none other than Johnny Posey.

If you’ve done your time in Africa, it is said that the rub of the green starts leaning your way more often than not, but on this particular hunt it was more evident than ever before.

If our Sable and Lechwe were the starts PH, Carl van Zyl, and tracker Oluwhethu, were hoping for, then hold your breath for our Tiny 10 quest.

We headed out early one morning from Woodlands, striking a bearing south-east towards the ocean and the coastal forests Blue Duiker inhabit in large numbers along our rugged coastline.

We typically hunt Blue Duiker over Jack Russel Terriers, or make use of blinds over waterholes in the forest. On this particular occasion we opted for the blind option as conditions were dry and the Duiker were drinking regularly.

At times blind hunting can be something of a boring affair, but one thing you can be assured of when it comes to forest blind hunts, is that the bird life is jaw-dropping. The Turacos are particularly striking in both sound and colour.

While peering out of our blind, day dreaming about the various hunts we had shared over the course of the first few days, we noticed through the only hole in the forest, a red coloured animal feeding on the opposite ridge. At first we brushed it aside as a young Bushbuck female, but then our boredom got the better of us and we turned the spotting scope in its direction. And to our amazement we saw it was a Cape Grysbuck feeding in the morning sun. A rare sighting to say the least.

It was too far to tell if it were a male or female, but the opportunity required a closer look. We gathered our gear and made a dash for it. Knowing the Grysbuck would not be feeding out for too much longer we pushed hard, making up the distance between it and us as fast as our legs would carry us. Reaching the pre-determined ridge, we had plotted out previously as a good place to get a shot from, we crested too fast, spooking the Grysbuck in the process. Carl was mad for his silly error, but he had luckily seen it was a fantastic ram before the sly old guy disappeared into the undergrowth. Feeling despondent and ready to give up, knowing our chances were no more than 1/100, Johnny urged us to go on and circle back around.

And 1/100 is the only 1 we needed. This one belonged to Johnny. Through sheer determination we harvested the first ever Cape Grysbuck in daylight. An unheard of feat in the hunting world where Grysbuck are usually totally nocturnal.

With our Grysbuck in the salt and our attitudes in a festive mood we headed back to our Blue Duiker blind. The day was still young and we weren’t about to give up on our original mission.

We had barely sat down for twenty minutes when in wondered this monster from the undergrowth. The hunting gods were smiling on us as much as one could have ever hoped for.

By noon we were heading back to camp to celebrate two of the most difficult critters of the Tiny 10. It turned out to be one of the greatest days we’ve ever experienced in guiding the Tiny 10, and not to mention doing it with Johnny, a more deserving friend than him would be hard to find.

With Johnny smashing records left, right, and centre, Todd was turning his very first African safari into a huge success with PH, Martin Neuper, and tracker Oluwhethu.

Starting off his hunt with a 31’’ Waterbuck set the benchmark high for what was to come.

Todd’s Kudu was the pick of the bulls on the safari, a beautiful animal, hunted for over the course of four days. His Nyala, Cape Eland and Cape Bushbuck wrapped up a spiral slam reeking of quality, while his Sable gave you the feeling of an old warrior.

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Todd’s pigs were however the pick for all of us guides. While we all know PH, Martin Neuper, is one of the best guides around, he sure has a knack of pulling the rabbit out of the hat from time to time.

Finding a Bushpig in broad daylight takes luck, actually hunting it successfully takes skill. Then top that off with a boss Warthog in trying drought stricken circumstances, and you’ve got yourself a hunt like few have experienced.

Todd came out tops when it came to pigs on this particular safari!

For Eason Maykus, a fellow first timer from Dallas, Africa provided an experience like he could not have imagined.

The mountains of the north in particular captured his imagination and set the spirit of Africa alive with in him…

Sharing his hunt with Johnny and PH, Carl van Zyl, he thrived in the tough conditions. Loving every step of the way to the top of the mountains. We harvested Waterbuck, Hartebeest, Black Wildebeest and Springbuck. Coming away with bag to be proud of.

Eason’s Gemsbuck took more than your average Gemsbuck, giving us the run around up in the high country. We had spotted the group early on during the course of the morning and we decided to concentrate on two or three individuals that had stood out in the spotting scope at 1500 yards +.

We climbed higher and higher as the day grew on, hoping to surprise the feeding group by coming over at them from above.At one point we had found a second group we had not spotted originally, making for a tricky situation on an already bare mountain. We decided to back off and allow the lay of the land and the feeding Gemsbuck to give us the opportunity we were after.

With patience our opportunity came, and with that an opportunity at a Gemsbuck to remember. Hunted for the hard way, up where the air is thin and the eagles soar, where memories and friendships were made for life. It was an epic hunt.

From the Karoo we headed back south for one last evening of fun at Woodlands, before saying goodbye to Bruce and Darren, while the rest of us, including Trish, joined the girls down in the wine country of the Cape.

We started off our visit to the Cape in Franschoek, a beautiful little town right in the heart of the wine country.

The setting was spectacular…

We spent the next few days exploring some of the well-known wineries, but mostly concentrating on the boutique style smaller vineyards. Both Johnny and Todd enjoy their wine tremendously, which allowed us all to learn a great deal about the various wines with their aging and flavouring processes.

Before we knew it, two days were up and it was time to make the short journey over the Helderberg Mountains to Cape Town. We most certainly weren’t ready to leave the wine country, but the mother city was waiting in all her glory.

By the time our ten days were up we had hunted in some of the most breath-taking areas the East Cape has to offer, the girls had seen the Big 5 and travelled down the picturesque Garden Route, before we all wrapped up a memorable safari in the Cape of Good Hope. It was one of our many highlights from 2017, shared with friends old and new in beautiful sunny South Africa.

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On my previous trip with John X Safaris, I traveled to Mozambique.  It was full of adventure and excitement.

While I have been to South Africa many times, the adventure and excitement never stops.

On my last trip, once again, we went fishing in the Indian Ocean.  Our party got into yellow tail tuna.  That fish fights like no other I have hooked.  No, they were not the largest tuna ever caught, but they were the first for me.  I was able to share this adventure with my PH, Carl van Zyl, his close friend, Jose H. Gomez, from Mexico, Rick, Carl’s father and a couple other new friends.  (more…)

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As we sit back and reflect on the year that has been, we feel confident in saying that 2011 has been one of our best seasons from the past 28 years in the safari industry.

A statement like the above is a bold one, considering the rich history of hunters, friends, professional hunters (PH), and safari staff from the past. But when one considers the quality of the safaris conducted, combined with the highest level in trophy standards and areas, it goes without saying that the proof lies in the pudding – ultimately this year’s results.

Our hunts started earlier than usual, running from mid February to the end of October. We welcomed back many old faces and walked away with a host of new friends. The United States once again lead the way with the most hunters, followed in close pursuit by Spain and Scandinavia.

While the previous six years has been ravaged by drought, this season started with floods. The East Cape had more rain during 2011 than in the past five years. That not only allowed our hunters to hunt in some of the very best conditions of recent times, it also saw a remarkable rebirth of our areas and landscape. Game thrived and many species have calved two months earlier than usual. One can only imagine what good tidings this holds for future hunting.

This season once again produced a number of world-class trophies. While the PH’s have selected a few favorites we apologize in advance if we missed one or two monsters. Join us and come along to meet the lucky hunters who found themselves in the right place at the right time.

East Cape Kudu

We’ll start with the all time favorite for all first time hunters to Africa – Ann Wilde’s 52’’ East Cape Kudu was our first bull of the season, it also turned out to be one of our best.


Dusty Phillips’s “Ghost of the Darkness” monster Bushpig was most certainly the beast of the season.


Jim Haselberger needed no second invitation when his Nyala stepped out within bow range.


The king of cats was hunted by Jeff Edland.


Big Waterbuck have become a tradition at John X Safaris; Dave Kjelstrup’s bull ensured our reputation was not going to be threatened during 2011.

Mountain Reedbuck

An often overlooked species, the Mountain Reedbuck, can be one of the most difficult species to achieve that unbelievable trophy quality. Professional Hunter, Greg Hayes, together with his tracker, Mtish, guided Norm Amstrup to achieve that magical 8’’ plus mark.

Common Blesbuck

Season 2011 saw the bow hunters often out doing the rifle men. Josh Wilde’s new SCI # 3 Common Blesbuck took care of any further contenders.


Lennart Packendorff’s Bontebuck was the biggest ever hunted at John X Safaris – we doubt another ram over 16’’ was hunted in South Africa during 2011.

White Blesbuck

Tony White’s White Blesbuck may have been hunted near the very end of the season, that didn’t mean Tony was going to let any challengers contend with his ram.

Common Lechwe

Paul Brisso’s Common Lechwe was without a doubt one of the most impressive bulls of the season. Combined with an amazing amount of patience he clearly highlighted himself as a favorite when it came to Lechwe during 2011.

Kalahari Springbuck

Dave Jensen’s Kalahari Springbuck had no challengers even coming near the quality of his ram. A truly amazing trophy!


Impala are considered the most common game in Africa, we’re not sure if that made any difference to Candice Phillips when it came to her monster ram.

“Tiny 10” collection

Mike Verlander was back with a bang during 2011 boasting with yet another great trophy to add to his “Tiny 10” collection.


Inigio Ruiz enjoyed an exhilarating Caracal hunt with the hounds and his father, Ignacio, on their safari to the East Cape during 2011. After a spell of bad weather, the hounds finally gave us the break we were after, earning the “tom” of the season.


Ask any Professional Hunter which trophy they feel can be the hardest to achieve that above average size, and most will confirm that it’s a big Warthog. While Warthog are plentiful, it takes a trophy boar an extremely long time to reach that magical 15” mark. There were a number of very good pigs during 2011, but two particular boars, both hunted within 500 yards of one another, no more than 12 hours apart, led the pack. What made it even greater is that they were hunted by brothers. The first – Tim Tyner’s awesome boar!


Brandon Graber’s boar was just as big! We leave the call up to you – either way we’re proud of hunting both.

Cape Bushbuck

One of the all time favorite trophies hunted each season is the elusive Cape Bushbuck. Brad Bateman’s ram was just too good to leave out. What a trophy!

Cape Grysbuck

Ignacio Ruiz hunted what could be considered one of the trophies of the decade. A Cape Grysbuck that will be spoken about for many years to come.


Steve and Lisa Dahmer never imagined the Cape Eland they’d bump into on their hunt to John X Safaris during 2011. When asked what Lisa would like to hunt on their African safari, this 5 foot tall lady beamed out;” The biggest!” We couldn’t have written the script any better!

Every year there are a number of trophies that come within reach of that “trophy of the season” tag. At times it has not been the biggest, nor has it been the most elusive. It may have been the enjoyment of the hunt or what “that” particular hunt and trophy meant to a particular individual. This season was never going to be an average one, considering our “ridiculous” start in March.

Vaal Rhebuck

How else could one describe Brett Nelson’s Vaal Rhebuck? Surely it came as close to “ridiculous” if ever it could.

This year not only saw our PH’s do an outstanding job in the field by achieving another season of first class results, our marketing and communications team were hard at it too. After the amazing success of John X Safaris’ first Coffee Table Book during 2010, we backed it up with yet another publication for 2011.

John X Safaris Coffee Table Book 2011

For those who are yet to find that perfect Christmas gift for the hunter in your life, look no further. The Safari World of John X Safaris 2011 is currently on sale at http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2687344

Our John X Blog and Face Book Fan page have grown from strength to strength with over 2000 subscribers per month. A new John X Safaris brochure is the latest edition to our collection. Feel free to drop us a line or give us a call if you may require any brochures or further information for friends and interested future hunters. We’d gladly assist where ever possible.

Blue Bag

John X Safaris Humanitarian Initiative 2011.

John X Safaris Humanitarian Initiative came on with leaps and bounds during 2011. This year saw us adopting the Amasango Career School, a school catering for Aids Orphans living on the streets of Grahamstown. We would like to thank and commend the following people who’ve been a part of our Humanitarian Program during 2011 – Brett Nelson, Jim Haselberger, Dave Tyner, Tim Tyner, Mike Turnipseed, Brandon Graber, Roger & Peggy Christianson, and Robert & Shandra Olsen Christianson. Without your generosity and support we would not have been able to achieve the programs goals during 2011. Thank you.

On a sad note we regret to report the passing of Boy, our head tracker and friend, on 29/11/2011. Those who were fortunate to have shared as many hunts as we have shared with him will agree that Boy was one of the best. The complete optimist – always eager to hunt, with a smile not far below the surface. Boy will be sorely missed by his family, Carl, and his team of Jack Russel Terriers.


Boy – Thank you for the memories.

Looking towards the future and 2012, we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible during our upcoming travels. Below is a quick reminder of our 2012 Show and Travel Schedule. If you or any of your friends are interested in meeting with us, please drop us a line, we’d be glad to fit you or them into our schedule. 

USA / MEXICO – January/February 2012

Dallas Safari Club Show: 5-8 January 2012

Mexico City get-together: 9-11 January 2012

Omaha/Nebraska get-together: 16-19 January 2012 – COCKTAIL EVENING 18 January

Salt Lake City/ Eagle Mountain get-together: 24-26 January 2012

North Dakota Get-Together: VALLEY CITY COCKTAIL EVENING – 27 January  & GLENFIELD COCKTAIL EVENING – 28 January

Safari Club International – Las Vegas: 1-4 February 2012

SPAIN – March 2012

Venatoria Hunting Convention – Madrid: 1-3 March 2012

To each and everyone who joined us on safari this season, it has been a privilege having you hunt with us. To those who will be returning, or are embarking on their first hunt to John X Safaris during 2012, we look forward to the adventure and sharing our John X Safaris experience.


May the festive season be a blessed one...

Yours in hunting – John X Safaris

Please note – John X Safaris will be shutting down from 14 December 2011 until 2 January 2012. We will be checking mail on a weekly basis during this festive season.

For more information on our hunts and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook and visit our website!

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