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Posts Tagged ‘Common Duiker’

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By: Paul A. Brisso

Daylight was fading fast and another fantastic day on safari was drawing to a close. Carl van Zyl, my professional hunter and owner of John X Safaris, and I sat side-by-side on the ground overlooking a small grassy valley just outside a heavy line of brush. Even thought I had taken a very nice Nyala two days before, we were hoping another would appear. My good friend, Steve Dahmer, wanted a beautiful Nyala in the worst way and in three days he had not come up with much. Carl and I had staked out an area known for good Nyala, hoping to spot one for him while Steve and his professional hunter searched elsewhere.

The day started with a bang for me – literally. Caracal was on our menu, and Carl induced me with tales of baying hounds, dumping off into steep ravines, crawling through nearly impenetrable brush in the heat, trying to catch up with one of the elusive little cats. The houndsmen were going to start at first light, and Carl and I would meet them a couple of hours later, hopefully with the hounds on the fresh track of a cat.

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Sometimes things work out too well. We were still on our way to meet them when we got a call that the hounds already had a Caracal treed. We arrived at their location on a pineapple plantation to find the cat treed about 20 yards off a road in a creek bottom that wasn’t all that steep. The setting looked much more like tropical Hawaii than South Africa. It wasn’t quite the experience I was expecting or hoping for, but if a hunt is going to be atypical, better an easy, successful hunt than a long, hot, difficult day that comes up empty.
On a plains game hunt in South Africa, it is not uncommon for some hunters to take three or four animals in a single day. I never have been a multiple-trophy day hunter, partly because I don’t have the budget for an unlimited number of trophies and I don’t want to end my hunting with several days left in my safari.

But another part of me thinks it is almost disrespectful of the trophy you have just taken to rush out and immediately shoot a couple more. I like to savor the trophy in the salt and wait another day to resume hunting in earnest. Thus, after my quick Caracal hunt, Carl and I decided to meet Steve and his professional hunter, see what their luck held, and maybe help them scout out a Nyala. As we were leaving the plantation, we met a truck over-loaded with fresh pineapple and several farm workers. After a brief conversation, Boy, our tracker, talked the laborers out of a few pineapples.

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Late morning we met Steve, his wife Lisa, his professional hunter, Juan McDonald, and their trackers on a ridge overlooking a wide area of brush and fields. We spent several hours enjoying the day, doing some glassing and eating lunch and bonus fresh pineapples. We spotted a Bushbuck and some Nyala that were not yet big enough, some Zebra, and a very respectable Waterbuck. The Waterbuck was lucky that Steve did not have one on his trophy list and that I had taken a magnificent Waterbuck in Namibia a couple years before that would be very difficult to better.

As the afternoon progressed, Carl, Boy and I left the other hunters and headed to the area Carl planned to watch for the last hours of the day. We left Boy with the truck, while Carl and I worked our way downhill and through brush until we arrived at the place we would sit until nightfall. We slipped just out of the heavy vegetation and sat with it to our backs, watching the little valley.
There were Zebra and impala in the valley that did not see us ease into position and the wind was perfect. We first had Zebra, and later Impala walk by us at less than 20 yards without a clue we were there. We enjoyed the scene and animals as the late afternoon transitioned into evening, although a Nyala for Steve never made an appearance. I knew it was about time to head back to the truck. It was an amazing experience even though I had not fired a shot.

Carl turned to me and whispered, “I think its time we head back.” However, looking past me, he added, “There’s a Duiker, right there. It looks like a pretty good one.” Looking to my left, I saw a Duiker that had come out of the brush, not more than 20 yards away. Carl raised his binoculars for a detailed examination. “That is a magnificent Duiker,” he said after a quick evaluation. “I don’t know what you think about these little antelope, but if I were you I would take him,” Carl said.

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In a couple of prior plains games safaris, I learned that often the key to taking exceptional trophies is to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. And within a few days hunting with Carl, I quickly learned to trust both his ability to judge trophies and his high standards for what he recommended to harvest.

I slowly twisted to my left and rested my rifle on my knee. It was a bit of an awkward position, but the range was so close. I touched off my .300 Winchester Magnum, which was overkill for the tiny trophy. As we gathered up the little antelope and took some pictures in the fading light, Carl mentioned that it was the best common Duiker taken by a John X hunter in probably five or six years.

Every day on safari is a unique and precious experience. You quickly learn to expect the unexpected and realize that something wonderful can happen up to the last possible second of shooting light. I have the Caracal and Duiker mounted together in a chase scene, always bringing back fantastic memories of the start of a magnificent day and the last moment magic, plus everything in between.

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

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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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Bill Satterfield, Dave Kjelstrup, Alex Good and Paul Latchford were still on safari heading north hoping to carry on from where they left off in the south.

Arriving in the north, the guys settled into camp before the afternoon’s hunt was set to begin.

Professional Hunter, Juan MacDonald, together with his hunters, Alex and Paul, were after Gemsbuck and Springbuck. Dave was on the hunt for Cape Hartebeest, Gemsbuck, Eland, Mnt Reedbuck and Springbuck, while Bill would soon be joining the hunt with a day of upland birds over English Pointer.

Alex was the first to strike gold – A superb Gemsbuck.

Paul soon followed with a bull of his own.

Dave was finding the north slow at first, we were spotting game, but weren’t getting those lucky breaks we’d become accustomed to in the south.

We were forced to hit the mountains in search of game.

We finally spotted a heard of Gemsbuck across a small valley, feeding on the next plateau. We left Bill to shelter and made the final ascend. Dave was finding the terrain hard, as loose rocks were making conditions under foot extremely difficult to navigate in.

We finally got into position and Dave added to his tally of one shot kills.

Day 5 was capped off with a great late afternoon Impala.

The following morning was a slow one, the previous evenings party had been good, possibly too good. The mornings hunt saw us coming up empty-handed, so we decided to head back to camp for lunch. On the way back to camp Boy spotted a group of Mnt Reedbuck bedded down in a secluded valley. A closer inspection revealed a ram worth pursuing. We edged our way along a wooded area and came up and over, looking down for the hidden animals. Once we’d spotted them it was a matter of patience.

Boy and Dave with Dave’s old Mnt Reedbuck ram.

The bow hunters hadn’t run into any sort of luck during the course of the morning. The area was massive, making it difficult to locate the required game. Whenever we were after Eland, all we could find was Springbuck and tons of Gemsbuck, while the other crew was finding loads of Eland. We decided to join forces and plan our attack for the afternoon. If we could help each other by spotting game the other was after, we could cover double the distance in half the time. We headed out.

Within hours our plan worked! Dave coming away with a monster Cape Hartebeest.

Day seven saw us rising to a windless morning, the perfect start to a day of upland birds. Bill and Alex joined me, while Juan, Dave, and Paul were on the hunt for Cape Springbuck.

The bird hunters travelled 45 mins north to Niel’s place, ready for an enjoyable morning.

The bird hunters were after Grey Wing Partridge, a small covey bird living on the high ground at + – 5000 feet above sea level. These birds are wild and are hunted in their natural terrain, making for exciting shooting over trained English Pointer.

Our English Pointer, Bones, is a camp favorite and a great character to have around, the fact that he’s really good at what he does only adds to the excitement and the hunters’ entire experience.

Bones kept us going for 5 hours without a single break. Now that’s hunting by an old dog.

The terrain often tested us in various ways, Bill soon finding himself head high in brush with Bones on a point.

While our morning was a slow one, extremely strange for that particular area, we enjoyed a great laugh. During midmorning while flushing a covey of Grey Wing, Bill soon knocked down the lead bird, only to see Alex follow-up on the double with an escaping Jack Rabbit! Needless to say we were rolling with laughter after seeing the blank expression on Bones’ face!

On the other side of the mountain things were going pretty well. Dave had hunted a Cape Eland and both hunters had lucked into Springbuck.

A happy Paul with a well-earned Common Springbuck.

Our time in the Karoo had come and gone so quickly, we had spent 3 enjoyable days hunting some of the biggest open country that Africa has to offer.

Before heading south we said our final farewells; it was truly a fantastic place to have hunted….

Day eight would still provide many adventures. The day was young and the Land Cruiser felt strong, eating away at the many miles south.

Arriving back south in time for the afternoon hunt, we got onto a roll like I haven’t seen in years.

Dave first dropped his Black Wildebeest with another well placed shot. A great bull to add to his growing trophy collection.

Having taken a liking to the bow hunters Blesbuck, he was keen on hunting a ram of his own.

And when we had all called it a day and were heading back to the skinning shed, that familiar whistle rang out from the back. Boy had spotted something. We dropped off the rest and headed out again.

Dave’s much wanted Warthog was what Boy had spotted.

Needless to say we were all worn out after such an eventful day.

That evening saw us enjoy a well-earned dinner back at base camp, reliving the stories of what had been thus far.

Day nine saw us rise at 4am, we were going waterfowl shooting.

Hides were in place.

Decoys were set.

The birds were coming.

The guys enjoyed a successful morning, with a personal highlight, seeing Dave use the callers with such skill. We were told he was the North Dakota champion; we now know he really is!

Apart from Dave’s great calling it seemed these guys could shoot just as well.

That afternoon we set out for the last time trying to find Alex a big Kudu bull. We had taken on so much, in the end we simply ran out of time. With the setting sun, Juan and I decided to introduce our new friends to an entire different world. We hooked up the spotlight and brought the night to life. We spotted Jackal, Springhare, Jack Rabbit, Aardwolf, Bushbuck, Kudu, Bat Eared Fox, Porcupine and a host of birds.

Dave bagged this beauty of a Common Duiker to end what had been an amazing hunt.

Our last day of our hunt was put aside for R&R. We headed down towards the coast on a meandering pub crawl, stopping in at the many water holes along the way.

Including the pub with the longest standing liquor license in South Africa.

We then capped it off with a seafood lunch on the ocean.

And finally a Big 5 Game Drive – Spotting Lion, Elephant, Hippo and Giraffe in the same afternoon.

So you cost me a buck and you never even knew it. Value for money, I’ve never had that much fun with any one group before. Both Juan and I still find ourselves laughing at the many crazy things you guys did. If Alex wasn’t inventing a new species on a daily basis, he was practicing trick shooting with his rifle and bow, how else could one explain the mayhem. If Dave wasn’t taking on every hunter and his mother, then Paul was there to edge him along even deeper into another bet. As for Bill, the elderly gentleman who came strolling down the aisle and cost me a buck. I’d gladly pay that buck again!

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

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The past 10 days saw Paul Brisso and good friends, Steve and Lisa Dahmer, on safari with John X Safaris in the Eastern Cape.

Both Steve and Paul had previously hunted in Namibia, but neither men had ever hunted in South Africa and had certainly never hunted any of the terrain or variety of species that the East Cape has to offer. For Lisa it was to be her first trip to Africa – and what a dream first trip it turned out to be.

Paul, Steve, and Lisa were joined by Professional Hunters, Carl van Zijl and Juan MacDonald, together with their trackers, Boy and Steven. The guys were set to do most of the hunting, while Lisa was along for the experience and would end up doing a bit of hunting herself too.

In fact it was Lisa who got us all off to a great start with a fantastic first day Impala!

Paul, together with Carl and Boy, were on the hunt for Nyala from our Coastal Area. Nyala and Lechwe were Paul’s priorities on his hunt and we were set to hunt hard in order to achieve above average trophies on both these species.

We saw a number of Nyala bulls that first day, but never spotted what we had set our goals on. Late that afternoon we spotted a good bull and the hunt was on. While the bull was rutting hard and seemed to be in a fairly good area to attempt a stalk, we never realized there’d be 200+ other eyes we’d have to avoid first to get within shooting range. First it was the Zebra, then some Impala, and when we thought the coast was clear, a very ambitious rutting Warthog decided that the 3 figures crawling through the tall grass looked very similar to 3 prime Warthog sows. To say the least, never doubt the instincts of nature! After ensuring our dignity was all kept intact and the Warthog had received a clear message, we were finally in range. Paul settled onto the sticks, but wait, another distraction. This time a super Kudu bull walked out a 100 yards ahead of us, and further up along the ridge a great Cape Bushbuck. Like the saying goes; when it rains, it pours! With so many options, we decided that Paul should make the call. A fantastic call it turned out to be!

The following day saw Steve and Lisa on the hunt for Nyala too. Nyala was a big priority for Steve, together with anything else outstanding. Paul and Carl headed out in search of Lechwe.

The morning was a misty one, making visibility near impossible. By midday the hunters had spotted a number of good Lechwe bulls. An old bull resting up in the shade of an Acacia Tree was spotted during the early afternoon. After a short debate between the hunters, it was decided that the lone bull in question was meeting the standards that the hunters were after. Boy was left on the adjoining hill to keep an eye on the bull while Carl and Paul got down into the valley. At first the hunters battled to find the bulls resting place, when they finally did, luck was at hand as the bull had not moved an inch. Paul got in position and the long wait began. At one stage another good bull came by and nearly had us taking a closer look at him. In the end patience prevailed and Paul bagged a truly massive Lechwe!

Juan, together with Steve and Lisa, spent most of that second day at this exact spot. The secret was to glass hard and be patient. The team spotted a number of Nyala and tons of Waterbuck during the course of the day. Early afternoon saw Bushbuck becoming active. It wasn’t long before the action kicked off with the spotting of a monster East Cape Kudu. The hunters made a dash for it, hoping to catch the bull feeding in a clearing before heading back into the Coastal Forest. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be, but from that moment on it was evident that Steve had lost his hart to a truly magnificent trophy that had gotten away.

That evening was spent around the bar sharing in the camaraderie and excitement of the many stories from the days adventures. The hunters were enjoying themselves and there was so much still to come…

Day three saw us rising to fantastic weather, and a day where Paul’s luck just continued where it had started off two days earlier.

The hunt was on for Caracal. We decided to head down towards the coast in order to find some much needed moisture for the hounds. The hounds were soon onto a track, clearly enjoying the favorable hunting conditions. Paul’s cat was treed and he obliged with a clean one shot kill.

Steve was still on the hunt for Nyala. They were spotting bulls, but nothing that took their fancy.

Carl and Paul decided to join the rest of the team for the remainder of the day, hopefully lending a hand in spotting a trophy Nyala bull. While on their quest to help with the Nyala hunt, the two of them together with Boy, decided to approach a quiet area where Nyala had been known to have been seen in the past. A few Nyala females were spotted immediately, but no bull. The hunters waited out the afternoon, hoping to find a bull for Steve. At dusk, just as the guys were calling it a day, this super Common Duiker stepped out no more than 25 yards away. Up until that stage, Paul hadn’t expressed any interest in the “Tiny 10”. With the bagging of this monster Common Duiker and Carl’s passion for hunting the “Tiny 10”, Paul was soon interested in these often overlooked little guys.

While Paul was enjoying the worlds luck, we knew it was only a matter of time before Steve got lucky.

And how lucky he got! The smile on the face was one of joy and sure relief. Keep in mind he’d been hunting Nyala for 3 days solid. He had been on the sticks twice previously during that period, always lucking out at the last minute. So when we rose to a rainy East Cape morning that 4th day, both Juan and Carl felt it was maybe just the thing we needed – let the bad luck rain out! The rain bucketed down for 3 hours without a break, and then suddenly stopped for 30mins. That’s all Steve needed!

That afternoon saw a happy crew heading north to our Northern Camp. They could look forward to an entire new challenge, with new species and terrain that stretched as far as the eye could see…..

A rejuvenated Steve and Lisa, still living on the memory of the previous day’s excitement got us off to a flying start with this super Common Springbuck.

Paul’s newly found interest in the “Tiny 10” seemed to grow from strength to strength. His first trophy in the North – A world class Steenbuck.

When Steve first told Lisa about their hunt to John X Safaris, he had asked her what the one trophy was that she wanted to hunt most of all. Without hesitation she said the biggest one possible! It was therefore agreed at the outset, that if we could find a really good Cape Eland, Lisa would be the first to give it a go.

Lisa in the meantime was patiently waiting in the wings. This point of the safari had been something that all of us were working towards. Everyday saw us concentrating a bit harder, looking for that extra special Eland. After all, we weren’t about to shatter a little ladies dreams. When we finally found a bull we all felt met the ultimate Eland criteria, it was as if destiny was bestowed upon Lisa and her little gun. The stalk was intense – through valleys and across gorges- the first look on her face as we put her on the sticks and showed her the big old blue bull feeding in the shade of a Wild Olive tree. The perfect shot and the excitement of her joy. The smiles tell a story of a day of success, but the feeling of knowing that we were part of a dream come true is something that will stay with all of us for a very long time.

Paul having enjoyed the pleasure of joining Lisa on her Eland hunt was ready to get back out hunting himself. The excitement was literally infectious.

While Lisa really worked hard for her Eland, it was as if it was a sign of things to come. We first spotted a lone Cape Hartebeest bull on a particular mountain slope the very first afternoon in the north, but never took serious notice of him. There was so much to look at and even more to see much closer, we never bothered to follow up. A few days later while glassing the same hill, our tracker, Boy, noticed the same bull resting in a sunny secluded valley. At a distance he looked good, a closer inspection with the spotting scope confirmed he was a beauty. We started our climb at 9am and unfortunately spooked the bull at about noon. We decided to head back for lunch and let the Hartebeest settle down during the midday heat. We were back out at 2pm and on the trail of our bull once again. By late afternoon, we were yet to catch up to him when help came out of nowhere. Juan, together with Paul and Lisa, were on the opposite ridge to us, looking for Black Wildebeest. They could see the Hartebeest was a mere 200 yards below us, just out of our sight. Paul and Carl made the final stalk and finally earned a fantastic Cape Hartebeest right at sunset. What a day it turned out to be.

Both Lisa and Paul were enjoying their share of the action; Steve in the meantime wasn’t going to be left behind. He bagged this beauty of a Black Wildebeest, but not before earning a few blisters on his hands and knees leopard crawling over some rough terrain.

While hunting in the north, and Paul having discovered a new interest in the “Tiny 10”, the suggestion was made that why doesn’t he pursue Klipspringer? Paul really enjoyed the mountains; with this we could think of no better species to compliment his love for mountains and hunting. It set of a 3 day glassing and hunting marathon…..

Our first few days in the north saw us spotting Klipspringer on a regular basis. As “Murphy’s Law” would have it, the minute we started hunting for them, the weather blew in some rain, and the Klippies were nowhere to be found.

Day 4 on the hunt for Klipspringer – The weather and our luck finally turned. Paul made a fantastic shot at 250 yards to bag the 3rd species in his “Tiny 10” collection. It ended our hunt in the north and we headed back south for the last few remaining days hunting from our Coastal Area.

Back south saw Steve pushing hard at trying to find the Kudu that had gotten away, and Paul was pretty much done hunting for this trip.

Steve having hunted hard for 3 days in search of that 2nd day monster Kudu, couldn’t find anything similar to the one that had stolen his hart. In the end he decided on a great Cape Bushbuck to complete his and Lisa’s spiral slam.

Paul, Steve, and Lisa, it was a pleasure having you. From days out in the field to chilly evenings around a crackling campfire, every minute was as enjoyable as the last. Who knows when or where we’ll meet again? We’ll be sure to be on the lookout for a certain Kudu and Bushbuck that may have you day dreaming more than usual…..

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

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