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Posts Tagged ‘Gunwerks Videos’


Sustainable hunting is arguably the finest form of conservation in Africa today. Some species have been brought back from the brink of extinction while others have seen their numbers explode due to the demand created by hunters. Every single specie needs a sustainable value to thrive, but others are slighty more complicated when it comes their survival.

It goes without saying that our Rhino are in big trouble. With the ongoing poaching scourge leading to devastating losses throughout Southern Africa, and mostly South Africa, who boasts more than 80% of the Rhino population on the planet, we are sitting in a crisis unfathomable to the first world.

For our Rhino to survive we have created a value and means to protect their existence via the Vita Darting Experience, and that’s where our good friend Aaron Davidson came in adding his weight to the cause.  Aaron’s list of “don’t haves” has become smaller with each passing safari. Chasing the little guys can become somewhat frustrating at times, so when the vita dart idea came up we all jumped at it.

Electa had joined her Dad on her maiden hunt to Africa, following in the footsteps of her twin brothers, Danner and Derec, starting off with a few “first ups” to get into the swing of things.

Some of our “first ups” weren’t your traditional ones, but neither was Electa. Aaron has always expressed his desire to share Africa with his children, but he warned me that Electa would hunt us off our feet if given half a chance. And how right he was! She spotted the game and got set up faster than any other young girl her age that I’ve had the pleasure of guiding in the past. When tasked to make the shot, no matter how difficult it may have seemed, her response was always one of confidence and optimism, best summed up by her East Cape Kudu at over 700 yards. Don’t miss that show on Gunwerks Long Range Pursuit in the coming months.

Aaron added to our efforts with a pretty impressive Mountain Reedbuck while up in the north, before heading on to start our Vita Dart experience.

As to ensure the shooter would be familiar with the dart gun we setoff to get in some range time with the various scenarios and to prepare the shooter with what to expect. It’s an exhilarating means of hunting allowing the hunter to experience the thrill of stalking these pre-historic beasts to within thirty yards before letting a vitamin dart fly from a dart gun. Once the hunter has darted the Rhino with the prescribed vitamins, a licensed veterinarian immobilizes the animal from a helicopter, where after blood samples, micro-chipping, DNA ID’s, pregnancy tests and a number of check-ups, are administered as part of the management and well-being of the animal on an annual basis. This all sounds fairly straight forward in theory, but throw in a +-5000 LB animal and a game of cat-and-mouse and you’re dealing with an entirely different scenario, a challenging one at that.

Arriving at the range I noticed that mischief smile Aaron get’s when he’s up to something he hasn’t shared with me. I’ve come to notice over the years that he loves sending me a curve-ball from time to time. I was right. Alecta got out of the truck to see what her Dad was up to with the dart gun when Aaron handed her the gun. “You’re up young lady”; and that’s all it took to see a young girl live out a dream.

We spotted a crash of White Rhino off in the distance and started our stalk from about 800 yards out with the wind in our faces. During our stalk, as we approached cautiously, the feeding Rhino bedded down for their morning nap lapping up the sun’s rays on a chilly Karoo morning. With the Rhino fast asleep and a constant breeze in our faces we got to within 17 yards for Electa to make the shot.

At the last moment the Rhino sensed something was up and rose right in front of us. If the bull wasn’t already big enough, it now towered out above the dainty figure of Alecta whose heart could be heard thumping in her throat. She stood motionless for a second, took a deep breath to re-gather herself and yanked the trigger. I literally thought she’d pulled the trigger out of its casing as the bull took off in the opposite direction with two females in close pursuit. The vitamin dart was in and Alecta was smiling.

Next came the vet with our helicopter which was on standby, darting Alecta’s bull with the required M99 to put him down. From there it was time to step back and watch the experienced team go to work on the downed Rhino, finally giving Dad and daughter a few photo opportunities before waking the bull again. It was an experience I’m certain the two of them will never forget.

By this stage Alecta had pretty much achieved everything and anything she may have dreamt of in Africa, giving Aaron and Garrett the reins for the remainder of the trip. Aaron and I were still plugging away at our Cape Grysbuck, which by this stage was giving us a hiding second to none.

John Mercer had teamed up with Professional Hunter, Martin Neuper, hunting from both our southern and northern areas. These two got on like a house on fire, best summed up when one afternoon we met them on a blind bend down in a ravine, singing away to the chorus of some old country song from way back when.

The south treated them well with a number of memorable setups and long shots shared around the pub in the evenings. A broken horned Waterbuck was one of our favourites. Imagine the story behind the break? Looking at his sheer size and mass with the huge neck it left one wondering how old this bull truly was.

Up north they pursued Springbuck, coming away with the traditional Springbuck slam of Common, Black and White up in the Great Karoo.

John’s Cape Eland was however a highlight for all involved. It took a solid effort with a ton of luck and a superb shot when the opportunity finally presented itself. It summed up so much of how John’s hunt went… just superb in every sense of the word.

For Dennis Charleton it would be the hunt he had always dreamt of with his 7 mm LRM. Having met PH, Ross “Stix” Hoole, at the Houston Safari Club show during the previous January, the two hit it off from the word go. After their initial meeting, and having discussed Dennis’s priorities, Stix asked Dennis to consider hiring the crew from GTS Productions along on their safari. Dennis didn’t hesitate and GTS did not disappoint…

With each hunting party going about their business in what we like to refer to the “Gunwerked” way, we finally turned our attention to Garrett and what he was after during his 2018 safari.

Garrett like Aaron, is a man amongst men, always putting the needs of others ahead of himself. I’ve lost count of the amount of opportunities Garrett has given up for others to enjoy and therefore the reason for my gift to Garrett this year. I wanted to introduce him to the Tiny 10 and the wonders of hunting these unknown species. I dully took him Blue Duiker hunting with the terriers…

We had a blast coming away with a great Blue and a superb Gemsbuck bull up in the north, to go with his already impressive Gemsbuck female from some years ago.

Of course there’s very little this team doesn’t do together, with Garrett’s Lechwe being a highlight of our hunt towards the end of our safari.

Aaron and I FINALLY broke our vudu with a Cape Grysbuck just as the bell rang for the final round. And then to top it off we finally got our 6″ Steenbuck. The “unicorn” I had hoped for in our Tiny 10 collection.

It had been three fantastic weeks with Aaron and the many friends of Gunwerks. We had given it our all and hunted hard to walk away feeling boastfully proud of our hunters and their results. Frustrating at times and optimistically over-confident at others, which is largely the reason why we hunt, not so? There will always be those that got away… And then there’s those that didn’t.

It was a certain pig that just about broke us in more ways than one. Talk about playing with our emotions. The one minute you’re in and the next you’re out. Giving one hope and then dashing one into a state of hopelessness.


Garrett’s turning into quite the “pig whisperer”…. how else can one explain his luck on the big ones at such a regular rate. This one however will take some beating in adventure and size. But more about that pig, the dig and the comical moments for another day. That was Gunwerks in Africa 2018. We can’t wait to start the adventure all over again during May/June 2019.

Want to join John X Safaris & Gunwerks on safari with your Gunwerks rifle during 2019? Contact us today for all the info. It’s going to be a big one with watershed opportunities.

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube Channel and visit our Website.

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With the first group of Gunwerks gunners headed back across the ocean we were in full stride ready to pick up on the high standards they had set over the course of their eight days in Africa. The teams were now in full stride. Any refreshing with the system that may have been needed was now at match fitness. We weren’t going to sit back on our successes, a new group of hunters with even bigger expectations were on their way to camp.


Aaron and Carl were still out on the hunt for Cape Grysbuck, which was proving to be a tougher hunt than expected. We spent countless hours and many nights in pursuit of what was starting to become our “Achilles Heel”. We did however bag a huge Porcupine on one of our late nights out. An interesting trophy not often seen by hunters travelling to Africa.

While the two of us kept plugging away at our Grysbuck, the rest of the crew welcomed Dennis Charleton, Richard & Beth Battaglia, John Mercer, Scott & Linda Marshall, T.K Ganesh and Garrett Wall. Traveling with Garrett was Aaron’s daughter, Alecta, who had come to link up with her dad to experience Africa for the very first time, like many of the group too.

Scott and Linda Marshall teamed up with Professional Hunter, Louwrence Lombard, for an experience they would never forget. Scott would do the hunting while Linda joined him out in the field daily taking in the sights and sounds of the Eastern Cape. Starting from our southern base, Woodlands Safari Estate, they went after a number of spirals and a select few plains game species up in the north. Scott’s Kudu in particular was one of the best of the season, and having witnessed the hard work that went into that bull, I can assure you Scott earned it.

Upon their return from the Great Karoo, Scott approached me one evening; “Carl”, Scott started at me, “Do you possibly have any Cape Buffalo quota available for the year?” There I was thinking Scott’s pulling my leg until Linda walked over and stared at me anxiously waiting for an answer. Turns out they were serious and before we knew it we were all on the hunt for a Cape Buffalo.

With time running out we pooled our efforts and threw men and binoculars at any known Cape Buffalo hideouts. Soon the spotters started calling in Buffalo sightings and the team had something to work on. From high up on a ridge one could see a beautiful bull feeding along with a group of cows going about their business unaware of the hunters viewing from above.

The guys snuck down to about 100 yards and then waited for the bull to feed out into a shooting position. Seconds soon turned into minutes and what felt like an eternity was amplified by the fact that this was a Cape Buffalo. One of Africa’s most dangerous. When the opportunity finally came Scott pulled the shot ever so slightly, sending the group of Buffalo crashing off into the undergrowth.

The bull was given some time to bleed out, giving the hunters a moment to clear their minds for the best possible follow-up in the situation they were in. Doing the wisest and safest thing, Louwrence called in PH’s, Ed Wilson, Ross “Stix” Hoole and Clayton Fletcher together with their trackers. Together they combined more than eighty years of hunting experience and dogs, setting off on a blood trail leading down into a nasty looking thicket.

Scott positioned himself with Ed up on the opposite ridge, where all felt the bull would break cover at, while the rest of the crew and trusty trackers got going on the track. Soon the dogs were into the bull, baying him at close quarters at the bottom of a ravine. Scott and Ed made their way down towards the commotion and got another shot into the bull. Taking off yet again the hunters set off after him with the dogs in hot pursuit, finally coming to a standoff with a charging bull at twenty yards.

It took a team to get it done, but you’d agree those smiles say it all – What a hunt and what a superb Cape Buffalo!

With the Marshall’s knocking it out of the park you’d be forgiven for wondering what the rest of the group could have been up to facing such stiff competition. They weren’t doing badly themselves, in fact everyone was keeping up and giving one another a good standoff in the salt shed each evening.

Richard and Beth Battaglia would team up with PH, Greg Hayes, and tracker, Bless, hunting hard, but making time for a sundowner or two along the way. Beth enjoyed the luxuries of the Manor at Woodlands Safaris Estate, while the men got after a few beauties.

What was not to like about Rich’s magnificent East Cape Kudu, Waterbuck and Cape Bushbuck. Talk about a solid neck on the Bushbuck. But few would argue with Rich’s Nyala. Sometimes words are not enough…

Rich’s Nyala proved to be a bull for the ages. The sheer beauty of an Nyala is a given, and when spotted at first will leave even the most experienced of hunters in awe, but the flare and the protruding ivory tips makes this bull a truly special one.

With such high quality Nyala making their way into the shed it was hard to think anyone could possibly match either Scott or Rich for quality. That was until T.K Ganesh joined PH, Ed Wilson, and tracker, Bongani.

T.K had purchased a number of Gunwerks rifles prior to his arrival with us in Africa and was excitedly sporting his Gunwerks 7 mm LRM on this maiden hunt to the dark continent. Having only spoken to T.K via telephone, never meeting him in person until his arrival, I knew we were in for a fun-filled eight days with this man and his sense of humour. Never a shy one to crack a joke, extremely polite, and above all a first class gentleman who appreciated every second out there. It was such a pleasure hosting him and having the crew from GTS Productions along was a bonus. Ozzy and his team captured the true essence of this wonderful experience hunting in South Africa.

As we reflect on the Marshall’s, Battaglia’s and T.K’s safari and the quality they were able to achieve one must make mention of the system that made it all possible. Very few of their shots were beyond 400 yards, and yet even if the gun was capable of that, it was seldom needed. But what the Gunwerks system did do was allow the hunters to enjoy the assurance of a 300-350 yard shot with the same confidence as a 80 yard shot under regular circumstances.  And if you’ve never experienced that feeling of confidence then you’re missing out on more than you should be.

Join us again next time as we continue on the hunt with the remainder of the group as well as getting up close and personal with a crash of White Rhino on a vita-darting experience closer than usual….

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube Channel and visit our Website.

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Back by Popular Demand – The most popular shots from last season…

With our travels across the US in full swing we have been blown away by the sheer popularity of the past season’s safari videos. The fine balance between the actual hunt and the overall safari experience is one that at times can be very hard to capture, as one cannot always predict the precise moment when something amazing is about to be witnessed. Wildlife has a way of surprising one when you least expect it. BUT in saying that, more often than not the unexpected just happens and those are the true moments that shout out AFRICA louder than any.

Our crew on the ground from Got The Shot Productions headed up by Ozzy filmed and produced some of the most amazing scenes during 2017, capturing the true essence of a hunt with John X Safaris. By popular demand here are a few of our most viewed safari videos from the past season.

Starting us off is Cable Smith on his first safari to the Dark Continent. Cable is the host of Lone Star Outdoor Radio and a guy we’ve come to know a whole lot better since his safari. Join him as he got to experience Africa from a first timers perspective, and don’t miss his Warthog “rodeo”. It’s been one of the most asked about hunts from 2017!

Or join the Smith family as they braved some extreme elements hunting plains game from both our southern and northern concessions. This father/son duo made the most of our youth hunting initiative and came away with a host of experiences hard to match anywhere else in the world.

Or jump on board with us as we leave the East Cape in South Africa and travel to West Africa. Cameroon and the Giant Eland has been a bucket list safari for many of us for as long as we can remember. Our old friends, Luther Dietrich and Jeff Edland, joined Professional Hunters, Mike Currie and Carl van Zyl, on this hunt of a lifetime. Hunting Lord Derby Eland is not for the faint hearted…

These are just a few from 2017, there are a whole bunch more on our YouTube Channel to enjoy over the coming weeks.

If any of our booked hunters for 2018 would like to have their safari filmed then don’t hesitate to reach us on hunting@johnxsafaris.co.za . GTS Productions are at your service every step of your hunt, shot for shot, sight for sight, and sound for sound. Take Africa home with you as you share your experience with family and friends.

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube Channel and visit our Website.

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We first met Sam Cunningham at the Dallas Safari Club Convention during January of 2014. Sam booked to join the Gunwerks crew on a hunt to John X Safaris that summer, where we got to know the man a bit better. Since then we have hosted Sam on four safaris spread across three different countries, coming away with a host of experiences and a bag of trophies ranging from plains game to big five.

Sam’s Zambian Leopard from 2016 being a certain highlight for both Sam and Stix.

What initially started as a client / PH relationship soon budded into an epic friendship between Sam and Stix, making for a formidable team out in the field. This year we welcomed Sam back to the East Cape, together with his wife, Tracey, and friends, the Smith’s.

For Tracey it would be her first trip to Africa…. and for that matter her very first hunt. She not only proved to be an excellent shot, but a really fun addition to have along on safari. When not behind the scope hunting personally, she turned out to be a trooper in supporting Sam as he came on a quest to continue his Tiny 10 collection, as well as going after the biggest too.

Sam’s Blue Duiker hunted from a blind, and his Oribi pursued along the dunes of the Indian Ocean, were great additions to his ever-growing pygmy antelope collection. It seems he has truly taken a liking to these elusive critters with plans for more in the future.

While up in the Karoo he completed his Springbuck slam from his previous East Cape safari, hunting a fantastic Copper Springbuck with our buddy Niel.

With the tiniest of the tiny in the salt the guys turned their attention to the largest plains game specie of all, the Cape Eland. With the acquisition of Woodlands at the end of 2016, unbeknown to us we had bought into an unbelievable gene pool of Cape Eland, with the population exceeding 150 animals on the greater property. This allowed us the opportunity to harvest a quota of six bulls for the season, with our ever conservative quota approach opting for no more than three bulls for the year.

Having looked at more than forty different bulls over the course of the hunt, with many world-class bulls being turned down, they finally settled on this monster. His dewlap hung at belly height, while his mop on the forehead gave away his age at over ten years. But what was the most amazing of all was his horns that boasted both length and shape. A rare combination for old Eland.

Joining Sam and Tracey were fellow Texans, the Smith’s, out on their first African safari.

Aubrey and Robin, together with their son, Tyler Smith.

For the Smith’s it would be a hunt of the ages. They joined professional Hunter, Carl van Zyl, tracker, Oluwhetu, and Jack Russel Terrier, Bongo. Pursuing a number of plains game species including; Wildebeest, Sable, Kudu, Zebra, Gemsbuck, Eland, Nyala, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Lechwe, and a host of others, making for an exhilarating first experience on the Dark Continent.

GTS Productions videographer, Ozzy, proved to be a great addition to the safari, not only capturing the entire hunt on film, but enhancing Aubrey’s experience through their common interest and passion in photography.

All in all we enjoyed a great week together, with the smiles and many trophy pictures, the result of hard yards under challenging wind conditions. The Gunwerks system once again came out on top, giving both the Cunningham’s and Smith’s, reason to smile not only about the quality of their game, but even more so the rewards of great shots.

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

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As what has become something of a tradition over the past five years, we welcomed back Aaron Davidson and a number of Gunwerks customers during early June.

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Mike Kaelin and Murphy McHugh teamed up with PH, Greg Hayes, with the Enlow’s joining, Ross “Stix” Hoole. Maurice Nasr from Australia joined Michael LaBazzo forming a formidable team with PH, Martin Neuper. As per usual Aaron teamed up with PH, Carl van Zyl, but this time around we had our old hunting partner, Garrett Wall, back again after having missed our 2016 hunt.

From that first afternoon on the range the entire group made the most of not only the hunting, but the day-to-day experiences with their Gunwerks rifles. It has been said that a day in Africa with your long-range rifle acutes to a year anywhere else around the world. One just doesn’t get that amount of setups, glassing  vistas, and shooting platforms to gain invaluable experience. Combine these attributes with the fact that opportunities are unlimited, allowing the hunters to make the right decisions on what game to pursue in order to make an ethical kill, or to pass – it makes for an experience second to none.

Having checked all the rifles on the range, happy with the way they had traveled, we decided to introduce the guys to Woodlands Safari Estate. For myself personally it was an opportunity to share our new base with Aaron and Garrett. I wanted to climb the escarpment, to a certain viewpoint that provides a view of the greater property.What unfolded in a matter of mere minutes before sundown set us, and the entire group, up for a great eight days of hunting.

It was the kind of start that dreams are made of…

The crew from Got The Shot Productions have selected a few of the highlights to share with all you fellow long-range enthusiasts. Enjoy the action – it was non-stop!

Another memorable safari it turned out to be with new friends joining the Gunwerks and John X families.  So many great days were shared out in the field, with the common denominator being the smiles on the guys faces giving a good account of how much they enjoyed themselves.

We’ll be doing it again next year! Join the Gunwerks crew to Africa, the first date is already sold out and there’s only a last few remaining slots left in our second group for 2018.

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube Channel and visit our Website.

 

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