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Posts Tagged ‘Long Range Hunting’

As published in Gunwerks Long Range Magazine / Fall 2017 / Volume 3 / Issue 1

Over the past year I have come to notice a faction within our hunting community. It may be that it has always been there and that I have come to notice it even more so than before. Having purchased my very own Gunwerks 7 mm LRM it’s something I feel which needs tackling.

As an active African Professional Hunter/Outfitter I thought it fitting to share my view, in that matter my views, on the ethics around long-range hunting. It is and has become the Elephant in the room. Hunters are murmuring about it around camp fires, deer blinds, camp sites and safari lodges.

As a whole we have so many factors working against us as a collective hunting community that we cannot afford to ostracize hunters within our ranks. The very point of ethics is a hot topic of debate no matter where you find yourself around the world.  What is ethical for one may not be for another. Working out the exact science of ethics is something more personal than factual based, therein the reason for the debate.

Had you put me in the hot seat a mere five years ago and asked me for an opinion on the matter, I’m pretty sure my answer would have been something much different to what it is today. Back then I’m pretty certain it would have been something along the lines of what the greater community traditionally finds ethically acceptable. Will my opinion differ in ten years time?  Who knows? Time will tell.

At present I’m privileged to be guiding a number of long-range hunters each year, and one who has more than likely guided more than the average guide when it comes to long-range hunting.  With Africa’s unique specie options, lengthened hunting seasons, and varied terrains and countries on offer, I get around and have come to find an acceptable ethic within long-range hunting for myself, and it seems for many of the hunters I share a camp fire with.

Since getting my 7mm LRM I’ve spent more time at the range than the previous twenty years. I’m pretty certain I’ve shot out 600/700 rounds trying to prepare for that exact moment when everything stops and its only me, my rifle, and a certain Klipspringer I’ve dreamt about hunting for a long time. In all this time I’ve been trying to envisage the feeling my hunters experience when being guided onto a great trophy out on safari. How does the guy who comfortably shoots 250 or 500 yards feel before he breaks the shot? Let alone those who have mastered the 750 range and the true class acts who continuously exceed the 1000 yard mark. It’s not easy – That I can assure you.

These guys are practicing harder than ever before. They are mastering their skill and combining it with world-class technology pushing them to the next level. They are not pitching on a hunt and flinging lead across the country side at any given target – they’re calculated in their approach and tactic. I have seen those who refuse to use their Gunwerks rifle beyond the 300 yard mark as that is their comfortable ethical range. They don’t bend the rules just because their weapon is capable of performing beyond a 1000 yards. There are those who treat a 1000 yard shot as if it were a 200 yard setup. They continuously produce one shot kills year in and year out at those astounding ranges. That has become their ethical range.

What the Gunwerks long-range system has done for the trophy hunter is something quite unimaginable to describe, while it has opened the doors for many hunters at the twilight of their safari careers to continue traveling, hunting, and enjoying the great outdoors. It has often revived experiences that may not have been possible until now. Having personally witnessed the growth in Gunwerks as a company, a philosophy, and a people with ambitious developments, one can only imagine what more there is to come.

The exciting developments that Aaron and his team keep working on to enhance their product, and ultimately your experience, will see the boundaries being tested with a system that will only perform better and more efficiently going forward. What you choose to do with that technology will ultimately be up to you as an individual. Each and every one of us, who considers ourselves to be responsible hunters, will know and acknowledge our personal capabilities and choices to ensure an ethical kill is achieved at the end of the day. How you approach that journey and what you gain out of that experience will be up to you.

Is there a right or a wrong? An acceptable or unacceptable? My answer is a most definite no. Will I squeeze the trigger on that dream Klipspringer if the opportunity presents itself? I may or I may not. It won’t matter to me what a fellow hunter may think of my choice, it would ultimately all depend on the journey I personally took to arrive at that “right” setup. Would it matter to me at that moment if my Klipspringer was 50 or 500 yards out? Never! But that’s just me personally, and if you’re a hunter, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

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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Now in our fourth season of partnering with Gunwerks, the leader in long-range shooting, we at John X Safaris are looking forward to an exciting 10 days of hunting starting as of tomorrow. This year will be a great combination of father and sons, as well as excited first timers to Africa. Joining Gunwerks owner, Aaron Davidson, will be his boys, Danner and Derrec, some old friends and Gunwerks customers, Sultin Kawarit, Mark Simpson, Paul Baird, John Benbow, Bob Phillips, Todd Gardener with sons, John, James, and Todd Jr.

In total, hunters will have the opportunity to hunt over 25 species, ranging from the tiny Blue Duiker to the giant Cape Eland. Long range enthusiasts can expect various challenges from each area, with exciting setups and even greater shots on a daily basis. The hunt will once again be filmed for Gunwerks Long Range Pursuit on the Sportsman Channel.

This year we will be combining our renowned trophy hunting with a large cull quota, giving the guys some serious shooting time on the guns. For those interested in daily updates can feel free to join us on our John X Safaris Facebook page. We will be posting news and pictures of our safari as often as possible.

Opportunities in Africa are like nowhere else on earth – get ready to be amazed by the sheer number of animals, size of the hunting areas, and beauty of Africa.

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We’re off on safari – Catch you in a couple of weeks time!

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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Over the course of the past 12 years I have seen the likes of many great hunts enjoyed by numerous lucky hunters. Hunts that carried the camaraderie so familiar to those who choose to share a camp fire in a distant land on a grand adventure. Where trophies abound and the journey that is a safari, is cherished by not the weight of the bag, but more so the greater part that is the experience.

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Gunwerks owner, Aaron Davidson, with his East Cape Kudu from our 2015 hunt.

On this particular hunt it was not only the enormity of the experience, but the added bonus of world-class trophies hitting the salt at a regular basis. It does however go without saying, if it weren’t for the Gunwerks rifles and the technology behind the system, we would not have enjoyed the success we did.

In our growing partnership, together with Gunwerks, it has been rewarding to see the expertise the PH’s have developed under the guidance of the Gunwerks pros. Today we look back at those initial hunts as our first “lessons” in long-range shooting. As each group came and passed the guys have mastered new facets in the requirements of long-range safaris.

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Together with Aaron, Mike, Garrett, and Kregg, we have developed the ultimate long-range safari, giving long-range enthusiast the opportunity to test and improve their long-range shooting expertise. In one safari, you can get a lifetime of long-range hunting experience.

This year saw first timers Jesse Stout, aka “Super Hunter Rule Maker”, and “Long Shot” Trevor Kruger, join us on their first safaris to Africa, while second time returnee and old friend, Peter Corrado, invited his son, Dominic along for an epic father/son battle for long-range supremacy. As for the Gunwerks crew we once again enjoyed the company of owner, Aaron Davidson, and our good friend, Garrett Wall.

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All in all the guys impressed us to no end. The shooting ability of both the pros and what I like to refer to “the up and coming pros” was outstanding, without a doubt the highest standard to date by any group. There were a number of memorable shots over the 700 yard mark, then there were some in that 750-1000 yard range, and of course we once again witnessed a couple of freak shots over a 1000 yards. But for that and much, much more, you will have to wait for our upcoming shows during 2016 on Gunwerks Long Range Pursuit on the Sportsman Channel. For now… Without giving away too much, join us for some of the epic setups and a sneak preview of a couple of fantastic shots.

Be warned – the trophy quality, challenging shots, and all the drama in between is something not to be missed…..

Want to be a part of the Gunwerks 2016 group to John X Safaris?

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Still not sure? Maybe this may help your decision! Eat your heart out and enjoy the quality these hunters came away with during our 2015 safari.

From Mike Davidson

Looking over the guys trophy pictures from this last safari, having sat on the sidelines, totally envious, I can’t wait for our 2016 hunt with John X Safaris.

The funny thing is, I was never interested in hunting Africa until I had the opportunity to do so in 2014. That experience saw me enjoy one of the most amazing places in the world to hunt.

I would like to personally invite you to travel with myself and others from the Gunwerks crew to experience South African hunting at its finest. We will once again be heading back to the East Cape with John X Safaris.

There are very few outfitters who understand long-range shooting and even fewer who will actually let you hunt long-range. Carl and his crew are aware and understand that being able to shoot at further distances only increases the potential of harvesting the biggest and most elusive of trophies. In fact, they are so tuned into long-range shooting and hunting, that they will be able to put you in the perfect position to take the shot. They put the wind, terrain and every other factor in your favor, giving you the time and opportunity you need to make the shot count. You will be amazed by the sheer number of trophy quality animals, size of the hunting areas, and beauty of Africa.

This is one long-range hunting trip you do not want to miss.

Join the Gunwerks team in July 2016 for an action packed safari experience. Call 877.486.9375 or e-mail Mike on mike@gunwerks.com , alternatively feel free to reach Carl on hunting@johnxsafaris.co.za for more details.

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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Lion

Mention the word Africa, and most drift off in thought with visions of Lions and Elephants roaming the vast plains of Africa. Zebra dotting the savannah in their thousands, and Africans drumming in chorus long into the night. That is Africa, but not all of Africa is the same.

There are most certainly endless savannahs stretching for as far as the eye can see, but then there are the forests, mountains, and deserts. The same can be said about rifles.

Over the past thirty years John X Safaris has seen the likes of numerous great rifles from various makers in a large variety of calibers. With each new rifle entering the market so the norm gets challenged – boundaries are pushed far and beyond what was thought possible before, and each gun maker stakes claim to the next best thing. Stick around for long enough in any industry and you’ll meet them, see their new product, and most certainly hear it all.

So you could imagine my interest and skepticism when I passed the Gunwerks booth at a trade show the very first time. With a slogan like theirs, who could not stop to wonder for a minute before continuing on in the maze that is a safari trade show today? And so I stood there day dreaming about, “ 1000 Yards out of the box” , thinking of the many older clients I’ve had to guide over the years, knowing that even 500 yards out of the box would have helped on the side of a mountain when one step further was not an option anymore.

With the imagination running wild I stepped into the Gunwerks booth and picked up a brochure. I realized everybody was extremely busy attending to customers, so I strolled over to the nearest display and picked up the 300 Win Mag. I’m a 300 man – eat, sleep, and preach it. I have come to believe it’s the most versatile caliber for any hunter after plains game in Africa. With various loads you’ll bring down the tiny Steenbuck on the plains of the Great Karoo, to a sneaky Kudu along the edge of a coastal forest, and even an old gun steel-blue Eland bull strutting his stuff on the open savannah. My belief is not one based around theory of what I’ve heard, but more of what I’ve seen proven in the field.

“I bet you could do with one of those in camp”, beamed a familiar voice over my shoulder. It was an old friend of mine and John X Safaris’, Kregg Thomassen. Kregg had been on safari with us to the East Cape, South Africa, on two previous occasions and now had teamed up with Gunwerks.

With one thing leading to another, there we were eight months down the line awaiting our first group of Gunwerks hunters. I’m still not certain who was more excited – The professional hunters or the hunters? Having arrived back home from the US I had broken the news to the guys that Gunwerks would be joining us on safari later that year. The hunt would be televised and the guides would be able to try out the guns themselves too.

From Gunwerks we had Kregg Thomassen and Garret Wall, getting myself and my guides up to speed with the rifles and their capabilities. You must realize, none of us had ever seen anything like this in Africa before – let alone imagined shooting anything like it. The various variables of gauging wind, shoot to distance, temperatures, and height above sea level was discussed in-depth.

Both Kregg and Garret’s shooting school expertise came through strongly here as all of us were up to speed with our hunters by the end of day one. Being up to speed with the system and the theory behind it was one thing, but seeing our hunters use the guns was a completely different story.

Chad and Jennifer Fraughton, from Utah, and Peter Corrado, from Canada, together with the professionals from Gunwerks made up the hunting party.

In all we hunted for eight days, and in those eight days we not only had the privilege seeing what the Gunwerks rifles were capable of, which was impressive to say the least, but more so the capabilities of our hunters.

Not all the shots were long, this in itself proved how versatile the rifles were. This may sound simple and obvious, but not all rifles built for long-range shooting handle targets at close quarters to well. Africa threw the hunters a number of curve balls too, with a couple of days of gale force winds, a rainy day or two, but luckily for the most part the weather was as spectacular as ever.

The hunters had to deal with various difficult set ups, this was not the range anymore, the game was unpredictable and we had now entered their territory on their terms. And then of course there were the long shots, many that left us astounded. As good as the guns were, they still needed the operators, and this is where our belief of the Gunwerks rifles grew substantially.

The system could be the best in the world, but if it proves too complicated to operate and enjoy using, then what would be the point at all? In this regard the four hunters sporting various Gunwerks calibers proved how enjoyable these rifles truly are.

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For Peter Corrado and professional hunter, Rusty, there were numerous memorable hunts and shots. A Blue Wildebeest across a canyon at 798 yards was a certain highlight for all, but Peter’s Gemsbuck was just magnificent in every sense of the word.

: Gunwerks professional, Garret Wall, experienced Africa for the very first time with head Professional Hunter, Greg “Roy boy” Hayes. Garret proved to be a wealth of knowledge on the shooting system and watching him operate was a privilege in itself.

Gunwerks professional, Garret Wall, experienced Africa for the very first time with head Professional Hunter, Greg “Roy boy” Hayes. Garret proved to be a wealth of knowledge on the shooting system and watching him operate was a privilege in itself.

Chad and Jennifer Fraughton teamed up with Juan MacDonald for their first taste of Africa too. Chad proved to be a wealth of knowledge on the system, and could be mistaken for a professional shot from Gunwerks. The man was a master and one of the most important team players in the group.

Chad and Jennifer Fraughton teamed up with Juan MacDonald for their first taste of Africa too. Chad proved to be a wealth of knowledge on the system, and could be mistaken for a professional shot from Gunwerks. The man was a master and one of the most important team players in the group.

And our old friend, Kregg Thomassen, joined me for his third trip back at John X Safaris. He had made a true “hog” of himself when it comes to big East Cape Kudu on both his previous hunts, scoring with a top 5 Kudu of a lifetime on his second hunt. That bull was a particularly narrow bull; this time around he lucked into another monster at 450 yards. The trackers now refer to him as; “Kudu King”, and his rifle as “The magic stick”!

And our old friend, Kregg Thomassen, joined me for his third trip back at John X Safaris. He had made a true “hog” of himself when it comes to big East Cape Kudu on both his previous hunts, scoring with a top 5 Kudu of a lifetime on his second hunt. That bull was a particularly narrow bull; this time around he lucked into another monster at 450 yards. The trackers now refer to him as; “Kudu King”, and his rifle as “The magic stick”!

In all more than twenty trophies were hunted by the four hunters at varying variables and distances – all a challenge in their own right. But that was not as impressive as the fact that not one single animal had been wounded and needed tracking down. This not only proved that the Gunwerks system was one which could be mastered by anyone, but that the system had covered all the bases from the caliber, to the optics, and the ammunition. It had without a doubt proven itself in Africa.

Many months later, after the dust had settled and the Gunwerks group had departed the African continent, I revisiting our experiences and got thinking about long-range shooting in the hunting world, and particularly in Africa, as that is where I’ve gained my experience. It was at a time when I was writing about my experiences with a dear friend of mine, Lee Friend, whom had first told me about Gunwerks.

Lee Friend with a superb Vaal Rhebuck taken at 400 yards with his Gunwerks 6.5×284.

Lee Friend with a superb Vaal Rhebuck taken at 400 yards with his Gunwerks 6.5×284.

I started off that particular article questioning long-range shooting and the ethics surrounding it. And as the story unfolded and I relived those adventures through the words flowing freely with excitement on the screen in front of me, it is then that I realized I had answered my concern and put any doubt to rest.

In saying that if any reader would like to read about that particular experience with Gunwerks rifles, feel free to visit; “Against all odds – the man without hips….” @ http://johnxsafaris.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/against-all-odds-the-man-without-hips/ Upon reading the story of that safari I’d like to leave it up to each individual to decide, I know I’ve certainly made up my mind on the matter.

Gunwerks taking Africa by storm.

Looking back on my experiences over the past 18 months, one thing is for certain and that is that Gunwerks has pioneered us into virgin territory when it comes to long-range calibers and hunting. Who knows what the boundaries may be? As long as those boundaries are ethical and both hunter and guide understand their equipment’s’ capabilities, then I predict exciting times ahead. Gunwerks has most certainly taken the African continent by storm…

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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