Member's Hunting Stories
Cathy Barron and her Wyoming Moose 2010
We were not seeing many moose. The days were over 75 degrees and the nights had a bright moon.
It was early afternoon. We fastened our seatbelts and turned on to the highway headed to town to buy some gas. We had not gone far when we spotted a bull in the willows on the left side of the road. It was not a huge bull, but it was over 43 inches wide and it was the biggest bull we had seen. We parked the pickup in a pullout and eased down to the creek and waited for the bull as he moved toward us through the willows. Cathy did not get a clear shot until he was past us and finally passed though some shorter willows.
The shot sounded like a solid hit, but later inspection revealed it was not good. It was below the spine and over the vitals, missed bones, missed organs. The bull ran a little ways, then returned to the steady walk he had before. We returned to the pickup and caught up with moose, and pulled over on the left shoulder ahead of the bull. Our being on the wrong side of the road and the bull being visible to the traffic attracted attention. Vehicles were stopping to get a better look. A crowd was gathering. Cathy went down to the creek bank, and when the bull stepped in a clearing, took care of the coup de grace with a shot through the lungs.
The crowd included an anti-hunter with a big mouth and a big butt, along with his wife with matching attributes. They shouted their disapproval for all to hear. "This is bullshit-Go back to Washington-I demand to see your permit"-and over and over and on and on, they said that Cathy had to be 500 feet off the road.
The bull was down and out of sight. The crowd began to disperse. The anti couple was not letting up. I finally strapped on a pistol, pulled it out, spun the cylinder to check if it was loaded. I did not look at the anti, but I knew he was looking at me. At that, the couple decided to leave, taking our license plate number and promising to get the sheriff. Cathy and I went to the moose. Everybody left.
I had started back to the vehicle to get the forgotten camera when the deputy sheriff drove up. He asked me to come up so he could talk to me. I said "sure", but the deputy became impatient and repeated his request a bit sternly, as I looked for a better way to cross the creek. I told him I was not going to swim, and was looking for a better way to cross the creek. I crossed the creek, and with a smile said "I see the idiot found you". The deputy did not return the smile.
The deputy bored right in. He asked what caliber the weapon was. I said it was a 300 magnum, and it is certainly legal. I asked him why he wanted to know. He said he was
starting an investigation, needed to find the spent cartridge to establish where Cathy fired the shot and confirm that she was not the required 500 feet off the road. I was already getting cranky. I told the deputy that finding the cartridge would be the location Cathy ejected the cartridge, not where she fired from and further more that if he was going to enforce the law, he should find out what the law is, as 500 feet was incorrect. The deputy said that I did not need to get "testy". I told him I would quit being testy if he would quit being stupid. The deputy then said that it was not his investigation and the game department was on the way to straighten things out. I returned to the moose. The deputy remained on the shoulder of the road. I was heading back from the moose to get a battery from the truck for the camera, when the game warden drove up. The warden, an athletic appearing Wyoming cowboy, complete with hat and buckle, had no trouble coming down the bank, and using a partially failed beaver dam, crossed the creek. The deputy followed as best he could.
Cathy produced the permit. The warden looked that over, noted that the animal was tagged, and made entries in his "incident report" pad. He then turned to Cathy and told her that it was fine that she had gotten well beyond the 30 feet from the road required by law for all, because of her disability, she could have shot from the road, or even fired from the vehicle. I think his explanation was more for the deputy, than for Cathy. The warden then told the deputy that if he needed to go, there were no irregularities here. The deputy departed, somehow forgetting to congratulate Cathy or even offer "good bye".
The warden then pointed to the moose and informed me that I had a problem, and asked how I was going to get the moose out of there. He then told us that he would like to help. Oh my gawd, there is a god! We started to field dress the beast when a second warden arrived. He had heard the chatter on the radio, and came to help.
We cut the hide back. I used my battery- powered chainsaw to split the ribcage and the pelvic. With one warden holding the leg, one slicing the insides loose, and me pulling on guts, the moose was field dressed faster than I could take care of a Whitetail. The warden then wanted to see if I had enough rope and if I could get the rope and my winch lined up on the narrow shoulder of the road. Another deputy showed up. This one came to help. The warden and deputy agreed that if I could not get my vehicle completely off the road, they would just turn on their flashing lights and direct traffic!
We rigged a sheave block to a tree, lined the pickup up, threaded the winch line, and tied the rope to the moose 124 yards away. We had to rig line several times, but the moose was winched out of the trees, across the grass, the willows, into the creek, out of the creek, and toward the road. The activity again drew a
crowd. The Forest Service showed up and they pitched in. Hunters gathered one with an unfilled moose tag and several deer hunters. With vehicles lined up on both sides, a crowd of people, lights flashing, the game dept, the sheriff deputy, the forest service, all helping, that moose was winched to the shoulder of the road.
The warden said he had a ramp, and maybe we could skid the moose into the pickup. Someone else thought with all these people, we could just pick it up, and with strong arms and willing minds, they wadded the moose up in the bed of the pickup. We finally took a picture. Remember the dead battery that I needed to replace when the warden arrived
That was how I spent my 68th birthday.
This past November, Rick Ellingsen, Steve Belknap and I, traveled to South East Alaska in search of three Mountain Goats. We were hunting with Bruce Parker (Parker Guide Service) in Tracy Arm south of Juneau. We arrived in Juneau and transferred to our Beaver Taxi for a blue sky, warm ride to our floating lodge. From the time we arrived until the time we left we were stuck in a veritable ice box!
Our hunt was conducted out of a 20 foot aluminum ice breaker, and our job was to cruise to the back of Tracy Arm watching for goats on the vertical walls. Rick started out the hunt by shooting his goat early on day one. From what I understand, his goat fell straight down and expired in the ocean. Late on the first day I connected with my goat, but cold and darkness prevented us from retrieving him. The following morning our guides retrieved my goat, but not until after two bald eagles and six ravens had breakfast on my goats face. Steve finally connected with his goat on our fourth day with an incredible 550 yard shot. I actually ranged this goat for him so I know he’s not lying! We were all ecstatic he connected because the weather turned that night and made hunting impossible for the next three days.
This was an incredible hunt with top of the line accommodations and guides. The hunt is not physically demanding and is perfect for the folks that can’t go vertical anymore! If you go to this area to hunt goat, buy the Cabelas Insulated Guide Gear and put lots of heavy wool clothes on underneath!
Jim Parman and the Unlucky Coyote
About 6:30 the morning of August 15th found me lying abed while Ann was standing in the kitchen waiting for the coffee maker to provide its daily ration of caffeine. Three deer were standing in the front yard behaving strangely. They were stomping the ground and staring toward the brush and trees to the west. Soon the object of their stares came meandering into view and the deer ran. (One of the deer was a fat little 6 point, still in velvet, that may want to watch his step when its time for Jennifer to fill her buck tag)
I was jolted awake when Little Heifer came into the hallway and said something I didn't understand. She sounded excited so I got up and grabbed my glasses to see what was happening.
"Did you hear me say there's a coyote out front?" she asked as I came from the bedroom.
As I responded, "No," I tried to get my sleep fogged brain to remember where, or if, a gun was ready to go. Of course, there wasn't, so I went downstairs, punched in the combination to the safe, and retrieved the Ruger No. 1, .25-06. The next stop was a cabinet in the reloading room for some varmint ammo left over from a recent ‘sighting-in’ session with the Ruger. By the time I made it back upstairs, the coyote had disappeared.
Not to worry, I'll just dig the predator calls out of the drawer and see if I can entice another appearance. The next minute found me outside by a corner of the house, in pajamas and barefoot, sending dying rabbit screams into the peace and quiet of a still, sun drenched Saturday morning.
At this point I’ll turn the clock back a few years for a brief version of how our Granddaughter taught me to call coyotes!
Several years ago, at age 6, Jennifer was here when a lone coyote crossed the clearing by the shop building and headed into the woods. I loaded the .25-06 and stepped outside in case he decided to reverse course.
At that time I had an old predator call that I’d tried dozens of times over the years, and saw neither hide nor hair of a coyote! Jennifer brought out that old call, stood beside me, and started makin’ some of the most god awful screeches I’d ever heard! As I was tellin' her to quit before she scared the coyote, he came back into the clearing, saw us, and hightailed for the woods. He was gone before my surprise wore off enough to even shoulder the rifle.
A few weeks later I bought some new varmint calls. The package contained an instructional video. Early on in the video, the call maker demonstrates how NOT to blow a predator call! Yep, you guessed it; sounded just like I blew the old one for 35 years! When the "How to do it right" part came along, it sounded a lot like those screeches Jennifer was making. Finally, I knew why I'd been scarin’ coyotes away for years!
Back to my barefoot ground blind: After about 15 seconds of making loud, obnoxious, screeching sounds like Jennifer would do it, I paused, just in time to see Mr. Coyote trot into view west of the house. A high shoulder shot with an 85 grain Ballistic Silvertip from a Winchester Supreme factory load put him down immediately.
As a matter of note, I would not recommend this ammunition for anyone desiring to salvage marketable fur from a coyote. We won't picture the destruction, but I can tell you, there was considerable damage to the hide where the bullet exited.
Incidentally, Ann doesn't think this is the same coyote she saw a bit earlier. She told me, "The one I saw was bigger and darker colored than this one."
That’s OK. The .25-06 will be ready if and when the other one shows up!
| This guy and his kin may explain why some of neighbor Larry’s cats have recently gone missing
| I thought it appropriate to don some clothes for the obligatory trophy photo
After one intense week of hunter education, a long test, and a very early live fire test in Post Falls, we now have one more (very proud and excited) licensed hunter in the family! Nathan certainly earned his hunter education card thru his hard work and determination, but now the real work begins. How, as a parent, do you teach ethics, compassion, and gun safety? It takes many experiences in the field, and at home, to make the lessons permanent.
Since Nathan passed his test well into the spring turkey season, we did not have high hopes in finding a turkey, much less getting him close enough to take a shot at one. Kevin took him out twice, once up to Cathy and Jerry’s place, (my In-Law’s) the second time to Mica Peak. Both times they saw a lot of sign, but unfortunately no turkeys.
On the last day of the season the three of us went up Thompson Creek. This time there was not even any sign that turkeys had been there. We did see turkeys on the drive home, even a really nice tom that was strutting for a feeding hen. Unfortunately they were right in front of a house. Nathan complained most of the way home about not stopping and asking the homeowner if he could shoot it!
We drove to Cathy and Jerry’s to pick up our youngest, Christopher, and to let them know that we had no luck. Once we arrived, I asked if they could call their distant neighbor, George. He has turkeys year-round on his property, so maybe he would have something that Nathan could hunt. After a phone call, (and waiting for him to come home and check his answering machine), we were granted permission to hunt in the evening. We prepared Nathan by telling him that we probably would see turkeys, but that did not guarantee that he would be able to shoot one. As luck would have it, Kevin spotted three jakes as soon as we got out of the van and got ready to hunt. Nathan was so excited! He wanted to go after them right away, but as we all know, patience really is a virtue, especially when it comes to hunting.
About 1 1/2 hours later, and many trips around George’s house and hay shed trying to keep tabs on where the jakes were, we were in a position that allowed Nathan to take a shot at one of the jakes. We were in the hay shed, hiding behind a large, round hay bale. Kevin set the gun up on top of a hay bale and then had Nathan slowly stand up and aim at the jake. We were all so thrilled when he took the shot and we saw that the turkey was on the ground! Jerry was even more surprised when we brought it back to their place to show them! We were all proud of Nathan for doing so well on his first real hunt!
The next week, I put Nathan in for several special hunts. Unfortunately he did not draw any of them, but he was ok with that. This fall we will concentrate on upland birds, Fall turkey, and deer, (he already has his eye on a little 3 point buck that is at Cathy and Jerry’s place). Kevin and I will take the opportunity this Fall to teach Nathan about gun safety, ethics, and sportsmanship.
As any good sportsman knows, it is not the size of the trophy, or the quantity of game in your bag, it is the experience of the hunt that truly matters. Being outdoors, enjoying and building friendships, and the memories that are created are what ends up being important. It is what we hope to teach him in the coming months.
Member Terry Wagner's Hunting Trips 2007 - 2008 Namibia Hunt
In mid November 2008 I hunted Namibia with Otjiruse Hunting owned and operated by Frank and Gudrun Heger. Otjiruse hunting is located 2 hours from the Windhoek airport and outside Okahandja. This was my eighth hunt to Namibia and Otjiruse Hunting. The hunting property is two separate properties totaling 56,000 acres within minutes of each other and in the same conservancy. All hunting is free range with no high fences and as a result they always have lots of new animals moving into the area. They also only have one party on the property at a time whether it is one person or up to five people. The main species hunted in the area are Kudu, Gemsbok, Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, Leopard, Duiker, Steenbuck and Warthog. They do have another hunting area located down in the Kalahari that is 35,000 acres as well. There they hunt Kalahari Springbok, Blesbuck, Black Wildebeest, Blue Wildebeest and Red Hartebeest.
I was accompanied on this hunt by a good friend Bob Shumway. Bob has accompanied me to Namibia on two other occasions and loves hunting the Gemsbok on Otjiruse. Upon our arrival we got settled and relaxed after the long flight. The following morning we were up bright and early to sight in guns and get ready for the hunt. The first day we were both successful in taking a Gemsbok. This would be a daily trend for the duration of our time hunting there this trip. We had decided to not go down to the Kalahari this trip and would concentrate on hunting Gemsbok, Kudu and Hartmann’s Mt Zebra. Bob was mostly there just to cull Gemsbok which is plentiful on the ranch. On the average day it’s not uncommon to see 200-300 Gemsboks.
As always the 10 days of hunting went by way to fast. When we left Bob had taken his normal 12-15 Gemsbok and I had taken my annual fantastic Kudu and couple of Gemsbok.
You will find Frank and Gudrun Heger great hosts who will tailor the hunt to your specific needs. Frank is the past 5 time president of the Namibia Professional Hunters Association and is well respected in the Namibian Hunting industry.
For more information on hunting with Otjiruse Hunting please take a look at their website at: www.otjirusehunting.com
At the end of November 2008 after visiting and hunting Namibia with Otjiruse Hunting I then travelled over to Zimbabwe to visit and hunt with Touch Africa Safaris. Touch Africa Safaris is located on Mjingwe Ranch in the Lowveld of Zimbabwe and are part of the Bubiana Conservancy. The Bubiana Conservancy is 480,000 acres in the south of the country, which boasts the most beautiful and dramatic scenic beauty in the Sub Saharan Africa. The vast landscape is littered with huge granite outcrops descriptively referred to in the native tongue as Gomos. The Gomos are home to some of the finest Leopard and plains game ever taken and a population density second to none. The deep valleys are home to large numbers of plains game in their different species from the majestic Kudu, to the nimble Impala. Zebra and Wildebeest are prolific as are Waterbuck and Livingston Eland, Warthog, Bushpig and the stately Giraffe. They all share the habitat with Elephant, Black Rhino and Cape Buffalo.
Your hosts the Collett’s offer you the best of wilderness areas in Zimbabwe with it’s wide-open spaces where you can become one with the animals that you hunt. Jonathan Collett is the manager of the company as well as the main Professional Hunter on Mjingwe and has hunted with many clients from the Pacific Northwest.
I was there to hunt Plains Game and spend some time with clients Ken Yarbrough Jr. and Sr. who were there hunting Cape Buffalo and Plains Game. The weather was incredible for this time of year with early rains turning the bush into a lush green carpet in a matter of days. Upon arriving I spent the first week just riding on the back of the Toyota Land Cruiser watching my clients from Texas hunt. On the my first day there Ken Jr. was successful taking a 41” Cape Buffalo bull which was the main animal he had come to ZimbabweI spent the rest of the week just relaxing and enjoying watching the Yarbrough’s hunting Plains Game which included a Waterbuck, Impala, Zebra, Klipspringer and Giraffe. On their last day of hunting they were all done hunting and we were settling up their account when Jonathan received a call on the radio. The call came from Pete Brookman who lives on the other side of the conservancy and Pete was having a problem with a Leopard killing his cattle. Pete had asked if they had a client interested in hunting a problem Leopard. Jonathan told Pete that the clients were done hunting and leaving in the morning for home.
The following morning the Yarbrough’s departed for Bulawayo for their flight home. While sitting in the office checking e-mail’s Jonathan received another radio call from Pete Brookman asking if anyone was going to town and if they could call around for someone interested in hunting a problem Leopard. Jonathan told Pete to hang on and he cam e and asked if I wanted to go try for a Leopard? I quickly said yes and we were off packing for the hour drive over to Pete’s ranch with all of our blind materials.
I had first met Pete Brookman 11 year’s prior when I hunted with Touch Africa Safaris and Dion Collett for Leopard. On that trip I had taken a male Leopard off of Pete’s property. I had actually been thinking it was about time to hunt a leopard again when this opportunity came along. Upon arrival to Swallowfork Ranch owned by Pete Brookman we found Pete, his son and their foreman busy clearing a shooting lane. The Leopard was obviously a large male and had been taking calves right out of Pete’s corral and up into the rocks behind Pete’s house to feed on them. This was the forth calf taken in the past couple of weeks.
We quickly began building a blind and clearing the shooting lane which was 70 yards from the calf which had been hung in a tree and wired in to keep the cat from dragging it off any further. We then left the area and went up to Pete’s house for lunch and nap. We would then be getting into the blind about 3:00 pm in the afternoon. The blind was a pop-up blind with brush and grass set around it. About 20 yards away was a game trail frequented by Elephants that still reside on Pete’s property and we were hoping they wouldn’t make that night the night they used the trail. The afternoon started out hot with the bugs bothering us badly while sitting in the blind. Darkness came quickly and the temperatures didn’t drop. Around 7:00 pm the Elephants that we had hoped would not come walking through could be heard in the distance breaking limbs on the trees but they never did cross out shooting lane and disturb our sitting in the blind. Finally at 12 midnight Jonathan said that we should give it up for the night and that he didn’t think the cat would come back that night. We quickly gathered our things and walked back out to the road to radio Pete to pick us up and that we would try again the next night. That night we then drove back to Mjingwe and went to bed.
After sleeping in that morning we gathered our things and headed back over to Swallowfork to give it another try. Getting back into the blind again about 3:00 pm with the determination to sit all night if that was what it took. This night was much more bearable as it was cooler and the bugs didn’t seem to be out. I spent the night going over the shot. Eleven years before my leopard had come into the bait in the day light and when I shot it it ran off and we didn’t find it that night. The following day after following the blood trail the Leopard charged and my PH Dion Collett and another PH friend Kevin Thomas finished the job with a shotgun and buckshot. I didn’t want to go through that again and the possibility of a wounded leopard charging in the dark.
Finally at 9:00 pm Jonathan heard the leopard come into the bait. But it didn’t feed and things went quiet again. Then at 9:40 pm Jonathan tapped me on the knee and said that the Leopard was back and was feeding. He told me to get ready for the shot but do not shoot until he gets a chance to look at the cat and says to take it. They always try to take mature male Leopard and we didn’t want to shoot the wrong cat. While getting set I took the time to put my reading glasses on so that I could see the crosshairs through the scope. I had hunted in the night before and battled to see the crosshairs with the low light. Once I was set Jonathan turned on the light. The cat wasn’t there at the bait. A second later out stepped the cat from the left up to the bait to feed. Jonathan said “take him”. I cautiously placed the crosshairs on the cats shoulder and pulled the trigger. At the recoil I lost sight of the cat for a moment. When I got back onto the scope and looked I saw the Leopard’s head roll backwards and then there was no movement. I asked Jonathan if the cat was still laying there. He immediately flipped the red lens off the spotlight and you could see that the cat laying there motionless. We sat and watched for a couple of minutes with the light on the cat and there continued to be no movement. We then began congratulating each other. Jonathan had actually started to think the cat wasn’t going to return and was wondering how long I would want to sit that night.
We then exited the blind and went out into the darkness with our flashlights and started making our way up the rocks to where the leopard lay. Moving slowly and watching for movement we found the cat to be lying directly under the calf hanging in the tree. It basically died in its tracks. Again after more congratulating ourselves we went to work in taking pictures and admiring the size of the Leopard. It was much larger than the one I had taken 11 years ago on the vary property. This cat was 7’2” and weighted 155 lbs.
We then called Pete on the radio to tell him the dinner guest had arrived and that he should come meet him. Pete his son and Jonathan’s tracker all arrived shortly and were as impressed as we were with the size of the Leopard. Now came the tough part in getting it down off the rocks in the dark without killing ourselves. Once back at the truck more pictures were in order. We then returned to Pete’s house for a quick dinner and drive back to Mjingwe.
Upon arriving back at Mjingwe it was about 12 midnight and everyone was in bed. Dion who I shot my first Leopard with and was Jonathon’s brother had arrived for a weekend of fishing on the ranch. We quickly set the Leopard up in the back of the Toyota Land Cruiser so we could take pictures in the daylight the next day.
The next morning was clear and sunny with everyone gathering around to admire the Leopard. Again some more pictures were in order and then we were off to the skinning shed to get the trophy taken care of.
This was my 17th trip to Africa and was by far one of the best trips that I have ever had. I have been hunting with Touch Africa Safaris for the past 16 years and they continue to offer the finest in hunting.
For more information on hunting with Touch Africa Safaris please take a look at their website:
In June of 2008 my wife Lisa and I hunted Australia with Greg Pennicott Safaris. We were hunting Red Stag and Rusa Stag in south eastern Australia on a 300,00 acres property named Water Valley. When we arrive the lodging was a house that was located on the property with views of the hunting area. On the drive into the lodging from the main highway I can honestly say that I saw more deer than I had ever seen in my life. There were Red Deer, Fallow Deer and of course Kangaroos. Upon getting settled we got everything together and off we went to see the property and what type of animals were running around.
The following day we would start hunting. The number of trophy Red Stag’s was absolutely amazing to me. It was not only going to be tough to figure out which one I wanted to shoot but then to try and get that one out of the big herds. While it was the end of June I was amazed that the Red Stag’s were still in the roar and chasing the females of Hinds as they call them. The fist day of hunting was spent just trying to get in position for the one I wanted and as hunting goes it just didn’t happen that day. During that day we also saw a number of other species such as Sambar Deer, Axis Deer and Red Fox.
Day 2, we were off again to try for the Red Stag as well as go over into an area which had good Rusa Stag. On the way over we have a large herd of Rusa cross in front of us that had about a dozen decent Stags but not the one we were looking for. As we drove down into the are near a lake a very large Rusa stag ran across in front of us and into the same direction as the herd we had just seen minutes before. Once we go near the herd we parked and got out and made our way slowly into the bush looking for the Rusa Stag that we had just seen. As we came around the dense bush into the clearing out to our right and about 80 yars was another herd of Rusa Deer. The Stag we were looking for was laying in the middle of about 8 females roaring his head off. After watching and waiting for the Rusa Stag for about 20 minutes he finally gave me the opportunity for a shot. He stood up and as he stretched he once again made that final roar as the bullet struck him. The Rusa Stag immediately fell as the females ran for the cover.
The afternoon of Day 2 was spent looking for a Red Stag again. Greg Pennicott had been seeing a good Red Stag in an area that had a drop tine coming off the right hand horn and we decided to see if we could locate it and try and get onto it. After driving over an hour to the area this Stag had been hanging out we located him in a herd of 250 plus Red Deer of which probably 90% were stags. Now came the issues of getting him out of the herd where we could get a shoot and not end up hitting one of the others in the herd. That afternoon we spent about two hours working to get into the herd only to have them slip out without giving up the Drop Tine Stag we were after.
Day 3, we did the drive back to the area of the Drop Tine Stag only to find him standing clear of the rest of the herd with three other stags at about 100 yards. Now the only problem is that they were perfectly placed to prevent a shoot due to the sun coming up and I couldn’t see through the crosshairs of the scope due to the glare. Again the whole herd was off and the Drop Tine Stag was back in the middle of the herd running with 250 plus Stags. What a sight to see with all those horns clashing together as they ran. Thinking that there was no way this was going to work out I started thinking maybe I should just take one of the other big Stags running in the herd. This was not problem picking one out as there were lots of them that were much bigger than the one I was after. Just as I had decided to take one of the bigger ones and was in the middle of the stock to get a shot wouldn’t you know it the drop tine Stag walked out and stood broadside at about 120 yards. The game plan had just changed again and I was now setting my sights on the Drop Tine Stag again. With one shot he was down. After a few high fives we started walking toward the trophy only to watch him get up and take off running. Again he was back in the herd. The advantage we had was that he couldn’t keep up and he lagged behind the rest of the stags. Again he stood broadside and with one final shot he was down. After walking over to him he was just as beautiful as I expected.
After lots of pictures we loaded him up and got him back to the house where Lisa was waiting. Finally all caped and hung we took the rest of the afternoon to drive around the ranch and take pictures of all the deer species they have available on Water Valley. Greg Pennicott is a great host, great Professional Hunter and goes the extra mile to assure that you enjoy yourself and have a good hunt. Greg also hunts in the Northwest Territories of Australia for Water Buffalo and Bantang.
For more information on hunting with Greg Pennicott Safari please take a look at their website at: www. wagnerworldwidehunting.com or give Terry Wagner a call at (253) 279-8583.
Namibia July 2007
This trip to Namibia was to be my wife Lisa’s second trip to Africa and second trip to Namibia and along with us on this trip would be one of my best friend’s Steve Malick. This being Steve’s first trip to Africa it was going to be fun just riding along and watching Steve hunt. We were hunting with Frank and Gudrun Heger of Otjiruse Hunting. Otjiruse Hunting is located two hours from the Windhoek International Airport and north of Windhoek. They are part of the Okawi Conservancy which totals 300,000 acres. The property we would be hunting is called Otjiruse Farm. In the local Herero language Otjiruse means “Place of Trees” and they do have lots of big trees in the massive river beds on Otjiruse. Otjiruse hunting’s property is 21,000 acres of free range hunting along with 25 miles of river bottom on Otjiruse they have large Ana trees. The Ana tree is known for the pods that they grow and then drop in the months of September and October. The pods are similar to candy for the game and when they start to drop the game such as Greater Kudu and Gemsbok start to concentrate in the river bottoms.
We were there to hunt Kudu, Gemsbok, Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra and Warthog. The first day started out as usual with the sighting in of the rifles. Frank Heger takes a lot of time to assure that the rifles are still zeroed in and ready for hunting. He then moves over under one of the many Ana trees into the shade and conducts a little seminar on shooting with shooting sticks, shot placement and gun safety.
Now were ready to start hunting. We headed off into the northern part of the property in the hope of finding that special trophy Kudu. While driving the herds of Gemsbok kept us occupied by running across the road in front of us and racing down the riverbeds parallel to the road. The first hour we must of saw a couple hundred Gemsbok but they were not the ones we were looking for today. We drove up over the hills and along the way checked waterholes to assure the lifeline to the game was still pumping water. As we approached the waterholes we would move in slowly looking for signs of the Kudu we were after. The first day did not produce the Kudu bull we were after but we did have an enjoyable day observing the abundance of game that we saw. We were also enjoying the abundance of blue sky and sunshine that Namibia is known for.
Day two, we would be heading south up over the hill and into the Grupert River which this time of year is always dry. We drove a ways into the river bed parked the Jeep and decide to take a short walk. Getting down to the end of the river bed just as we were going to call for the Jeep to move forward and pick us up Frank discovered a nice Warthog off to our right. After a short stalk Steve was on the shooting sticks for his trophy. The Warthog was feeding slowly at about 80 yards and Steve made the perfect shot with his 7MM Mag. The Warthog went down immediately and Steve had his first African Trophy.
Now that we had the first trophy in the salt it was back to hunting for Kudu after lunch and our daily siesta. The afternoon siesta is something most American hunters do not understand until they experience it but during the hottest part of the day the game isn’t moving anyway so we always take a hour or two siesta depending on the time of the year and temperatures.
Back in the Jeep looking for Kudu we again headed North up into the Kopjes to glass and see if could find one of the big Kudu bulls Frank had been seeing. Again we experienced the Gemsbok rally running down the riverbeds and across our tracks but this wasn’t what we were hunting right now. Throughout the afternoon we were seeing lots of Kudu cows and young bulls but not the trophy bull we were looking for. As the sun was starting to set we headed back for the house. The temperatures were dropping quickly and when we arrived we welcomed the warmth of the fire that was burning. After having a delicious dinner and visiting with our hosts it was time for bed and to dream of what tomorrow might bring.
Day three, we were heading over to another property inside the conservancy to hunt for Kudu and Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra. After a short 15 minute ride down the main road we arrived at Norbert’s house to meet him prior to heading out to hunt. This property is 35,000 acres and again has no high fences to hold the game. All game on the property is free to move on and off the property. Climbing into the back of Norbert’s Toyota Land Cruiser we headed off up and over the hills bouncing along over the rocky road. Heading back down the hills you descend back into the sandy river bottoms to wind your way back into the mountains and the rocky terrain. This area we call shake, rattle and roll due to the roughness of the road. The area is mountainous and is the home to herds of Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra. Due to the rough terrain with its riverbeds, large rock boulders, steep mountains and rolling hills the Zebra definitely have the advantage here. Immediately we started glassing and spotting herds of Zebra. Quickly we assessed the herds and decided which one Frank and Steve would go after first. As they headed off up and over the hills the sun was blazing. There were no trees to provide shade and at the end of the day we would all be sunburned tired and plain wore out. Frank and Steve made a couple of stalks on herds of Zebra only to walk into another herd of Zebra they did know was there. Off they went.
Now it was back down out of the mountains through shake, rattle and roll. Back through the river bottoms that wind back down to the main river. Down at the main river is where we always find good numbers of Kudu bulls in the trees. This would be no exception today, as we drove we kept seeing herd after herd of both Kudu cows and bulls but nothing that we wanted to shoot. Finally as we were coming to the end of the track down the riverbed there standing under the trees eating those Ana tree pods I had previously mentioned was a outstanding Kudu bull. He was totally oblivious to our presence and Steve got off the vehicle and got set on the shooting sticks. When the shoot rang out the bull never reacted at all other than to run out of the riverbed and up the hill crossing a barbwire fence. Needless to say Steve was a little concerned at the sight of his trophy Kudu bull running away but we assured him that we heard a good hit on the shot. The problem we had now was that it was getting toward the end of the day and light was fading fast. We immediately released Frank’s hunting dogs Cindy a Jack Russell Terrier and Rowdy a German Hunting Terrier. The search was on looking for blood after going some distance Frank finally caught up with the bull with the help of the dogs. The bull was standing his ground fighting the dogs when the final bullet was well placed and Steve had his number one trophy a Greater Kudu. The bull measured 54” with a very wide spread of 42” inches. After some quick photos in fading light we went to work in getting the land Cruiser to the Kudu and loaded it up whole. No easy job with an animal the size of a bull Elk.
Day Four, and time to start looking for a Gemsbok for Steve. Finding a Gemsbok would be no problem but we were looking for a good Bull. Again we headed north and towards one of the windmills to see if any Gemsbok were around. When we arrived to our surprise there was not a single Gemsbok at the water. After looking around a while we moved past the waterhole and the elevated blind that is there looking for Gemsbok heading toward the water. Within minutes we started seeing bodies moving through the bush. Frank spotted a good Gemsbok bull and got Steve on the shooting sticks again. Once he had the bull in the crosshairs the shot rang out and off to the races all the Gemsbok went including Steve’s bull. Not sure if it was hit we moved forward slowly with the dogs still on the leash. Blood!! Martin the tracker exclaimed. Now we were off tracking, an hour later we were still tracking the blood trail. An hour later still the same story. The dogs were tired and hot as was all of us. The sun was starting to go down now so we abandoned the trail and headed back to the Jeep. We’ll pickup the blood trail and start over in the morning.
Day Five, Back out into the bush to pickup the blood trail. With all of us rested we figured this would be a short walk and recovery. Wrong!! After a couple more hours of following the blood trail the dogs suddenly had the gemsbok bull cornered and were barking. Chasing the bull round and round the little dogs had their hands full keeping him there without running off. Once we all caught up and moved in the final shot was made and Steve had another fine trophy. Again we took the usual pictures and waited for the Jeep to work it’s way back into the bush far from the road. Once loaded it was back to the house for skinning, something cool, lunch and the most popular siesta.
In the afternoon we would hunt with Gudrun Heger, Frank’s wife to go out and see if I could get a Gemsbok bull. Gudrun is also a licensed Professional Hunter as well as their son Nikolai. This time we headed south down into the riverbed along the Ana trees. While there were lots of Gemsbok in the river bottom they seemed to sense it was time to run well before we got anywhere near them. Herd after herd they ran and ran ahead of us. Finally we spotted a herd that headed out of the open and into area that had some thorn bush we could possibly use for cover. After a short stalk the bull gave me the shot I was looking for. With one shot the bull ran about 40 yards and died in the middle of the riverbed. Again we took the customary pictures and loaded the bull and headed back to the house.
Day Six, We decided to head back over to Norbert’s to see if we could find me a Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra. The weather was a little cool this early morning. As we made our way through the river bottoms heading for the Zebra hills we spotted a good Kudu bull. With a short stalk Frank and I headed after the bull. At 60 yards and one shot from my 375 H&H the Kudu bull was down. This bull was 54” inches and the same length as Steve’s but not as wide. Again pictures, load and return to Norbert’s skinning area. Once we dropped the bull off for skinning we headed right back out to look for Zebra. Winding through the river bottoms we were seeing lots of Kudu both bulls and cows. Back up shake, rattle and roll we stopped to glass for Zebra. Locating a herd close by Frank and I took off walking to try and see if we could get a shot. Five miles later and up and over the mountainous terrain these creatures thrive in we finally gave up the chase. As Steve and Norbert drove up Steve tells me that he had one standing just a few yards from the Land Cruiser as they came down one of the hills. Of course he wasn’t carrying his gun and could only watch it walk away and join up with the others in the herd. What a day of hunting!!
The final day of hunting was spent looking for Gemsbok. Again in just about the same area as a couple days before we found the Gemsbok in the river bottom running. And again I was able to get a nice bull using the same tactics as before to take a nice bull.
Upon finishing up our hunt with Otjiruse Hunting my wife Lisa and I were heading to Zimbabwe to hunt with Touch Africa Safaris. Steve he would be heading home one happy hunter with dreams of returning to Africa one day soon.
For more information on hunting Namibia with Frank and Gudrun Heger of Otjiruse Hunting please visit their website at: www.otjirusehunting.com
Zimbabwe July 2007
This would be my wife Lisa’ first trip to Zimbabwe and my seventh. We would be visiting Dion and Lynn Collett friends in Bulawayo and then be going down to the southern Lowveld to hunt with Touch Africa Safaris in the Bubiana Conservancy. Lisa was very apprehensive while in Namibia to go to Zimbabwe due to the political and economic situation the country has been dealing with since 1999. I assured her she will be safe and not see anything that would concern her while visiting the country. Upon our arrival the entry into Zimbabwe was just as orderly and easy as it always had been. We were greeted by our friends and off we went to their house for the night. When we got to the house that evening we decide to head up to Victoria Falls for couple of days since Lisa had never seen the falls. Arrangements were made with a good friend of mine Russell Caldecott who owns the Ultimate Safari Lodge bat Victoria Falls. We would head north in the morning. That night we made a quick plan to go out and visit a good friend Rolf and see if we could find a Serval that night. Once we got there we quickly loaded up and headed out into the paprika fields with the spotlight shining. In a matter of minutes there in the middle of the paprika field was the Serval we were looking for. With one shot from the shotgun the Serval was mine and we were heading for the house as the temperatures were extremely cold being that it was their winter.
While the drive was about 8 hours it was very scenic, the people very friendly but the roads were quiet and few cars on the road. This due mainly to the limited amount of fuel that was available in the country at the time. Upon our arrival we were greeted by Russell and his staff. The Ultimate Safari Lodge was awesome with it’s large thatch main building, clean and clear pool and then 18 rooms. It was very comfortable and Russell made you feel like you were home. I have been sending clients to Russell’s lodge for a number of years and everyone always comes back raving about his service and accommodations.
We decided to spend the day sightseeing and going on the tour of the falls. The rains had been good this year and the falls were spectacular. From there we moved over to the town and went from shop to shop for the women to do a little shopping. Again due to the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe the shops were virtually empty. The people all seemed very friendly and the prices were definitely in our favor with our US dollars. We had made arrangements with Russell to spend the next day on the river with a couple of his guides and try fishing for Tiger Fish.
The next morning we were up early and off to the river. It was incredible to be on the Zambezi river. As we moved upstream we were seeing lots of animals such as Hippo, Elephant, Impala. The fishing was a little slow as the water was still pretty cold from the winter months making the fish not willing to bite. We did manage to catch a few fish but again the day on the river was spectacular with it ending as the sun went
That night Russell had made arrangements for native dancing and a barbeque. The food and entertainment was great and Lisa really enjoyed the cultural experience.
The next morning we were off heading south back to Bulawayo to get ready for the trip down to Mjingwe the home of Touch Africa Safaris. I had first met Dion on my first safari to Africa in 1994. Dion is a Professional Hunter and his family owns Touch Africa Safaris. Touch Africa Safaris operates out of the Bubiana Conservancy which is 480,000 acres. Their property is called Mjingwe named after the Mjingwe River which runs through it and is 30,000 acres. The lodge at Mjingwe is located on a ridge overlooking a waterhole. The lodge itself is constructed of rock, thatch and pole. The chalets are all tented with permanent thatch roofs and bathroom ensuite. They have four chalets which can comfortably sleep four couples. They also can setup additional tented lodging if required on the grounds on the ridge.
On Mjingwe they have four of the big five on the property with Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Black Rhino, and the elusive Leopard. In addition they also have outstanding numbers of plains game. Which include Eland, Greater Kudu, Waterbuck, Sable, Bushbuck, Blue Wildebeest, Impala, Giraffe, Duiker, Steenbuck, Grysbuck, Warthog and Bushpig. Mjingwe is also a destination for those looking for adventure with four wheeling up the granite rock mountains and fishing for large Mouth bass and Brim on the Mjingwe dam. Something for every member of the family.
I was looking forward to hunting with Dion again as it was two years since the last time we hunted together. This time Lisa was seeing Mjingwe for the first time with its spectacular views and I would be hunting for Bushbuck, Giraffe, Impala and the small cats. The afternoon we arrived we spent driving around looking for a big bull Giraffe. Funny how something so big can be so elusive but we actually could not find a Giraffe that afternoon when they probably have 150 of them on the property.
That night after dinner we loaded up and went out looking for the small cats and maybe a Bushbuck. Hunting at night with a spotlight is legal in Zimbabwe. While I had night hunted before many time I had never even pulled the trigger once. I was hoping tonight wouldn’t be a repeat of the past. Well nothing to worry about that night. In a couple of hours I was successful in taking a beautiful Bushbuck and a Spotted Genet. We also saw plenty of other game but never could get the shot so we would have to wait another night.
The next morning we were up early to head out looking for the bull Giraffe. Hard to believe something so big can be so hard to find. But again we battled only seeing cows and calves. Finally at 4:00 pm we found the bull we had been looking for. When we stopped the land Cruiser to get off to make the stalk the Giraffe was looking directly at us and off it went running as soon as our feet hit the ground. We got back on the vehicle and started to drive away and the Giraffe came walking back to where it had been standing and stood broadside. I told Dion to stop the vehicle and I climbed off to take the shot. When I shot the Giraffe ran as if I had thrown a rock at not showing any sign that I had shot it. It ran with Dion and I in pursuit and as it got to about 100 yards you could see it was feeling the effect of the bullet as it ran. While still running forward it started to go down finally falling backwards to the ground with a load thump. By the time Dion and I had reached the Giraffe it had died and their was no reason for follow up shot.
Now the work was to begin with caping the trophy. I had my heart set on having a shoulder mount of a Giraffe so after instructions were given the skinners went to work of taking care of my trophy. We had three skinners with us on the vehicle and Dion radioed for the rest of the crew that was standing by to come. They arrived an hour later with a tractor and six more people to help tackle the big job. We then left them to tend to the business of skinning. Taking a drive we went to see what else we might find returning at dark. When we arrived back they were just about done skinning and had begun cutting the Giraffe up and loading the meat onto the trailer. In two hours they had skinned, quartered, and loaded the whole Giraffe on the trailer for transport to the skinning shed. When they were done nothing but the stomach contents and the blood spot on the ground remained. Every part of the Giraffe would be used. Once back at he skinning shed the job of cleaning the skin and salting it began. With the thick skin of the Giraffe you have to slice squares in the skin to get the salt to penetrate the thick skin. We got everything all organized and then headed back to camp late for dinner. After dinner about 10:00 o’clock we were heading back up to the skinning shed to see how work was progressing and along the way two Honey Badgers ran down the road just below camp. We hurriedly ran up the road and I was able to get one of the Honey badgers before they disappeared in the grass.
After a day of relaxing and climbing the rock hills we decided to head back to Bulawayo. Dion’s kids had a school production to attend which turned out to be the most amazing school production I have ever seen at any grade level.
For more information on hunting Zimbabwe with Touch Africa Safaris please take a look at their website at: www.touchafricasafaris.com