A Safari for the Average Guy, Part 1
My Safari Experience
Many hunters dream of bucket list hunts they never think they could afford. You watch the hunting shows with envy wishing that could be you one day. Some hunters dream of going to Alaska, others dream of dove hunting in Argentina, others Stag or Tarr Hunting in New Zealand. For me, that dream hunt has always been plains game in Africa.
“Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same. But how do you begin to describe its magic to someone who has never felt it? How can you explain the fascination of this vast, dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephant paths?” -Brain Jackman
In May, 2018 I was lucky enough to go on a Mission Trip to South Africa, and for 2 days we got to go on a mini safari at Shikwaru Lodge in the Limpopo Provence of South Africa. My group had 3 hunters. Both of the other hunters were after Ostrich. After one half day of hunting they both had taken very nice large Ostriches. My goal was to hunt a Kudu bull. The Professional Hunter (PH would compare to a guide on a US hunt) and I hunted several hours, stocking 2 different very large Kudu Bulls. The first we got about 120 yards from him. He was walking straight away from where we were and never turned his body enough to present a shot opportunity. He was a huge, beautiful bull. The second was just a little while later. We drove on top of a hill side and saw him on a ridge about 200 yards away, so we parked the truck and began to stalk him. We got to about 140 yards from him when the wind changed and he ran away.
Shortly after that we drove around and found a Baboon on a hill side running away. I was able to shoot him and bring him down. Baboons are terrible predators that kill many young animals. They also damage buildings. The shot was about 100 yards up a fairly steep hill.
After that, we headed back to the main hunting area to look for more Kudu. After driving around for a bit, we saw tons of Ostrich, Warthogs, a few Waterbucks, several Zebras, a large group of Giraffes, Blue Wildebeests, Black Wildebeests, Golden Wildebeests, a pair of Cape Buffalo, a pair of Common Duiker, a Steenbok, and some Elands. We found a herd of Impalas with a huge Ram and decided that would be animal we would try for next. We parked the truck and snuck up about 70 yards on them to a clearing. I had a nice open view of the Ram. He had 13 females with him that were all around him, so I had to wait for them to clear before I could take the shot. Finally, when he was clear I took the safety of and squeezed the trigger. As I did that a female ran up from behind the Ram and took the bullet in the neck. It passed through her and went high and hit the Spine of the Ram. The Ram needed a second shot to finish him off. The female ran about 30 yards and died.
The meat went to local schools and day cares to feed the children, while the hides came home with me. I had the Ram shoulder mounted and he is a great trophy and story piece at my house.
In part 2 of this series I will cover how to choose a Safari company and how to get the best deal possible.
-Tim Berges, Fall Obsession Field Staff