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  • Preparing for Africa

    I put the money down for a trip to Africa just the week before Opal's cancer exploded (see hunting dogs blog). Looks like I will be going no matter what. Destination is South Africa and five plains game animals for sure: kudu, gemsbuck (oryx), impala, blesbuck, and springbuck. The outfitter has cheap management hunts for wildebeest and warthog too but I don't think anything can be brought back for those kills. Have to wait and see. So how did this suddenly happen? About a month ago I met a gunsmith at local gun show and we exchanged trophy photos: I showed him my daughter's work and he showed me his African trophies. We got to talking and I explained I'd kinda lost interest in going to the Dark Continent as it seemed most hunts were drive around and shoot or hang out at water holes/tanks, wait for something to show up, and shoot it point blank. I have never been a sit-around-and-wait kinda guy. Gary laughed. "Well, are you in good shape?" I replied that being in good shape was definitely a requisite for hunting birds in Montana the last two years. "Hunting with my guy is not easy. He will put you through the wringer and the country is very rough. He'll get you your animals but you'll work for them. Definitely stalking not waiting." That sounded VERY good to me so he dug out a brochure. Apparently kudu are abundant and that looked VERY good to me. I'll be staying in a lodge and we'll be driving to the various game preserves in the area. Strictly one-on-one with PH and tracker. I guess the safari tent gig might have been nice but I've had lots of experience hunting solo out of my wall tent in the remote wilderness of Montana and Ontario. Doing it with a bunch of pampered dudes while consuming gourmet meals really would be something of a step down. I was surprised at how affordable the trip will be. Okay, it's not cheap but much less than I anticipated.

    I may ship my old Springfield but probably just rent a 30-06 Weatherby from the outfitter ($100 for the trip). The gunsmith built a .416 Rigby for the outfitter as partial payment for his trip there next year and I have offered to ship it with me this summer. Still waiting to hear if the outfitter is agreeable. They will have to handle the paperwork but I must officially own the gun during transit. Then I could always tell my great grandkids (the first of whom arrived in N Carolina last week) that I once owned an elephant gun ... albeit momentarily. If the gun shipper has a two-for-one deal, I'll send my gun as well. In anticipation of taking it along (and to help take my mind off Opal's cancer issues), I dismantled the Springfield this past week and refinished the stock. No luck steaming out the deep gouges on both sides of the butt (I think those happened when I rode the bull elk down the hill in 1980) but I filled them and then stripped and re-oiled the stock (Linspeed). Some of the scars are still there but it looks a lot nicer. In the process I discovered that I hadn't fitted the magazine correctly when I restocked that rifle. No wonder it had some problems feeding shells! An hour's careful work with the Dremel tool got things in order with magazine box now fitting tightly against the receiver. She now wears the new Nikon 3x9 I bought on sale last fall. Hated to retire the old 3x Weaver but my eyes greatly appreciate the modern optics.

    Outfitter's site advises only 10x42 binocs, presumably to keep the weight down for hiking. Something that will fit in the pocket. Good! He also advises reading Kevin Robertson's Perfect Shot Placement for African Big Game. Not sure how important that would be for me given my extensive experience shooting similar size elk/moose (kudu, gemsbok, wildebeest), deer, and pronghorn (blesbok, springbok, impala). But if it's a good read, what the heck. Anybody picked up a copy? Oufitter advises 165 gr 30-06 with Barnes or Nosler Partition. In my reloading junk I just found the box of old 190 gr Hornady bullets (now no longer produced) and may load some of those up for the bigger animals. 165 just seems too light for a seven hundred pound animal. 190 gr should work well if we are stalking fairly close.

  • #2
    I often think of a Opal and will hope for the best.

    Borrowing a rifle once in South Africa is easier and will work fine. However, after returning and time goes by, I have a hunch you and your grandchildren will wish you had gone to the trouble of taking the old Springfield 06 along. It is a pain these days. When, where, and how long will you be there?

    Oh, I forgot. I have spoken several times with Kevin Robertson. He was a vet by trade. I do not think you will learn much from his book they suggested but will find interesting
    Last edited by Happy Myles; 04-13-2019, 06:34 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Congrats!

      You didnt ask for advice, but I'll give a few anyway.

      Book your flights with a hunting based travel agent. You need lots of time travelling with guns, esp on the port if entry visits.

      I know you dont like to practice shooting at the range much, but do it anyway You'll likely be shooting from the sticks, and even the nice tripod ones takes some practice.

      Buy a good gun case, and a good ammo case. You'll be checking the ammo case separately by itself on the trip back, and it needs to hold up.

      Consider 180 grain partitions as your ammo. Opens quickly for the small stuff, penetrates for the big stuff.

      Already offered too much free advice, but if you want some reccomendations for travel agents or other, let me know.

      Comment


      • #4
        Congrats, Honk!
        Good to see you get off your tookus and go on a grand adventure!
        I know you will have a blast!
        My only "experience" with Africa is vicariously through mostly Capstick with some Hemingway, O'Rouarke, Roosevelt and a few lesser knowns thrown in. (John Wayne? Stewart Granger? LOL!)

        If I could offer any "advice" (such as it is!), it would be:
        You often talk about hunting (both Canada and Montana) and not taking drinking water.
        Drink plenty water. I'm sure your outfitter would rather carry extra water that your dehydrated carcass.
        I'm certain H. Myles will confirm, trekking the African bush is vastly different than Montana.
        Heat is a scurrilous and unforgiving enemy.

        Comment


        • #5
          They will not take you anywhere in South Africa as tough as a back country Montana elk hunt. Someone will be pushing a water bottle at you to the point of distraction. Gone are the days when you kept your fingers crossed hoping someone had remembered to grab the dirty old canvas water bag hanging outside of the lorry. I would love to see the look on Ontario’s face when he sees the swanky Lodge, South Africans like their amenities, and also when someone suggests how he should approach some hunting situation.
          Last edited by Happy Myles; 04-14-2019, 01:53 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Remember one thing. Africa takes patience. Kindest Regards

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Happy Myles View Post
              They will not take you anywhere in South Africa as tough as a back country Montana elk hunt. Someone will be pushing a water bottle at you to the point of distraction. Gone are the days when you kept your fingers crossed hoping someone had remembered to grab the dirty old canvas water bag hanging outside of the lorry. I would love to see the look on Ontario’s face when he sees the swanky Lodge, South Africans like their amenities, and also when someone suggests how he should approach some hunting situation.
              H. Myles, I would not have thought that! Thank you.
              ...and glad to hear they push hydration. I have worked in high heat (110°F+) AND high heat and high humidity combined. (100°F+ and 100% humidity)
              Water is the nectar of the God's!
              Honk often spoke about grabbing a handful of snow if he got thirsty.
              I don't know for certain, but I'm not sure there is much snow in South Africa and I'm quite certain natural water sources (water holes, springs and streams) are quite questionable.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ontario Honker Hunter View Post
                I put the money down for a trip to Africa just the week before Opal's cancer exploded (see hunting dogs blog). Looks like I will be going no matter what. Destination is South Africa and five plains game animals for sure: kudu, gemsbuck (oryx), impala, blesbuck, and springbuck. The outfitter has cheap management hunts for wildebeest and warthog too but I don't think anything can be brought back for those kills. Have to wait and see. So how did this suddenly happen? About a month ago I met a gunsmith at local gun show and we exchanged trophy photos: I showed him my daughter's work and he showed me his African trophies. We got to talking and I explained I'd kinda lost interest in going to the Dark Continent as it seemed most hunts were drive around and shoot or hang out at water holes/tanks, wait for something to show up, and shoot it point blank. I have never been a sit-around-and-wait kinda guy. Gary laughed. "Well, are you in good shape?" I replied that being in good shape was definitely a requisite for hunting birds in Montana the last two years. "Hunting with my guy is not easy. He will put you through the wringer and the country is very rough. He'll get you your animals but you'll work for them. Definitely stalking not waiting." That sounded VERY good to me so he dug out a brochure. Apparently kudu are abundant and that looked VERY good to me. I'll be staying in a lodge and we'll be driving to the various game preserves in the area. Strictly one-on-one with PH and tracker. I guess the safari tent gig might have been nice but I've had lots of experience hunting solo out of my wall tent in the remote wilderness of Montana and Ontario. Doing it with a bunch of pampered dudes while consuming gourmet meals really would be something of a step down. I was surprised at how affordable the trip will be. Okay, it's not cheap but much less than I anticipated.

                I may ship my old Springfield but probably just rent a 30-06 Weatherby from the outfitter ($100 for the trip). The gunsmith built a .416 Rigby for the outfitter as partial payment for his trip there next year and I have offered to ship it with me this summer. Still waiting to hear if the outfitter is agreeable. They will have to handle the paperwork but I must officially own the gun during transit. Then I could always tell my great grandkids (the first of whom arrived in N Carolina last week) that I once owned an elephant gun ... albeit momentarily. If the gun shipper has a two-for-one deal, I'll send my gun as well. In anticipation of taking it along (and to help take my mind off Opal's cancer issues), I dismantled the Springfield this past week and refinished the stock. No luck steaming out the deep gouges on both sides of the butt (I think those happened when I rode the bull elk down the hill in 1980) but I filled them and then stripped and re-oiled the stock (Linspeed). Some of the scars are still there but it looks a lot nicer. In the process I discovered that I hadn't fitted the magazine correctly when I restocked that rifle. No wonder it had some problems feeding shells! An hour's careful work with the Dremel tool got things in order with magazine box now fitting tightly against the receiver. She now wears the new Nikon 3x9 I bought on sale last fall. Hated to retire the old 3x Weaver but my eyes greatly appreciate the modern optics.

                Outfitter's site advises only 10x42 binocs, presumably to keep the weight down for hiking. Something that will fit in the pocket. Good! He also advises reading Kevin Robertson's Perfect Shot Placement for African Big Game. Not sure how important that would be for me given my extensive experience shooting similar size elk/moose (kudu, gemsbok, wildebeest), deer, and pronghorn (blesbok, springbok, impala). But if it's a good read, what the heck. Anybody picked up a copy? Oufitter advises 165 gr 30-06 with Barnes or Nosler Partition. In my reloading junk I just found the box of old 190 gr Hornady bullets (now no longer produced) and may load some of those up for the bigger animals. 165 just seems too light for a seven hundred pound animal. 190 gr should work well if we are stalking fairly close.
                Rifle looks real good. I had an O3-A3 and it was a reak shooter. Cycle all your reloads through it before your trip. A friend went for plains and had to build an addition for all the mounts. He would go back in a heartbeat (archery)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Happy Myles View Post
                  They will not take you anywhere in South Africa as tough as a back country Montana elk hunt. Someone will be pushing a water bottle at you to the point of distraction. Gone are the days when you kept your fingers crossed hoping someone had remembered to grab the dirty old canvas water bag hanging outside of the lorry. I would love to see the look on Ontario’s face when he sees the swanky Lodge, South Africans like their amenities, and also when someone suggests how he should approach some hunting situation.
                  I have seen the lodge on the website. It is nice but not like the five-star joint on the Tanzania border a fella at the trap club recommended. Good grief! That place would give the Hanging Gardens of Babylon a run for its money in the Wonders of the World book! This place I'm going to has all the amenities and a comfortable lodge area but nothing grandiose. More like a fairly nice motel. Not sure if the pool out front in the areal photo is for clients since it's not mentioned in the literature. The outfitter and his family live at the place. Apparently I will be sharing a room with another client. Hope he doesn't fart much. I guess it would be okay if they're not smelly. Won't have to worry about his stinking socks since laundry is done for us daily. Never a problem for me since I don't stink. My new friend the gunsmith assured me the PH will work my butt off and that appealed to me ... a lot. The swanky place up north is all about lounging around a water hole and shooting animals that know you are about but don't care because they are dying of thirst. Oh whoopee. I want to go see as much of Africa as I can, not sit and watch a mud hole all day. Another fella at trap club who travels to South Africa quite a bit (he is in diamond geology business) gave me some good advice tonight. He says don't pass on the kudu steaks. They are excellent. I was kinda thinking about hanging out at Johannesburg airport during twelve hour layover waiting for my connecting flight. He said forget that!! Not very safe. So I'll have to find a motel I guess. Anybody have any advice on that? How far is it to Super 8?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Happy Myles View Post
                    I often think of a Opal and will hope for the best.

                    Borrowing a rifle once in South Africa is easier and will work fine. However, after returning and time goes by, I have a hunch you and your grandchildren will wish you had gone to the trouble of taking the old Springfield 06 along. It is a pain these days. When, where, and how long will you be there?

                    Oh, I forgot. I have spoken several times with Kevin Robertson. He was a vet by trade. I do not think you will learn much from his book they suggested but will find interesting
                    I will be about 1.5 hours NW of Port Elizabeth so WAY south for African hunting. 22-28 August. Yes, that is very late in the season and things may be picked over already but as you know, I'm more about experiences. If I have to work hard to get something decent (and something just "decent" is certainly good enough), then that's fine. I'm not much into the socializing or feasting around the fire stuff. Kinda strange for a guy who made his career as a ranger telling stories. And I was good at it too. And enjoyed it. But not when I'm hunting! I just bought new boots to replace the two pairs I've worn out completely over the last two years (my hikers were literally rags when threw them in the trash at the shoe store last week and though the Mucks are still on the back porch they look like they walked through a mine field ... a couple of times). I would be thrilled to wear these out in Africa before I go to Montana. Anyway, not likely to be much big game hunting back there this year (Yellowstone already lost 23% of its elk herd) so I may as well give em hell on the other side of the planet.

                    I think you are right about bringing Dad's old Springfield warhorse with me. That gun already has a pile of horns to carry on to the next generations. May as well complete the African chapter with it. May be my last, you never know. Anyway, though a classic, she's certainly not exceedingly valuable merchandise so I don't see much attraction for thieves. And it fits me like a glove. The gunsmith knows all the ins and outs of moving the guns through a transporter so I'll let him handle it.

                    I kinda wondered if the outfitter wasn't simply putting a plug in for Robertson (like he did for Barnes, Nosler, and Advantage camo). But then, maybe it's meant to help those who know absolutely nothing about hunting (South Africa does not require clients with a PH have any previous experience whatsoever with hunting or firearms).

                    Another interesting item on the outfitter's list of stuff to bring is "300 rounds of ammunition." Really? Teddy Roosevelt was a crap shot by all accounts and I doubt he used that much ammo to bring back his humongous stuffed African menagerie. I'm only going after five antelope, not starting a war. MAYBE I'll bring along two boxes of ammo. Outside of sighting in, I'm sure I haven't shot two boxes through that 30-06 in the last twenty years.
                    Edit: I was wrong. My outfitter only recommends sixty rounds of ammo which is about what I figured I'd be bringing. It was the other swanky joint up north that had 300 rounds on their list. Pfft! Their trophy fees were pretty ridiculous too. Four times as much for kudu and my outfitter isn't bargain basement for sure. As I understand it, kudu are almost a pest where I'll be hunting. They have acquired a taste for citrus and cause havoc on many of the large fruit operations. For $475 apiece I can shoot more if I want but probably only cows. I suspect those management (culling) tickets are essentially expensive target practice.
                    Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 04-15-2019, 09:31 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Amflyer View Post
                      Congrats!

                      You didnt ask for advice, but I'll give a few anyway.

                      Book your flights with a hunting based travel agent. You need lots of time travelling with guns, esp on the port if entry visits.

                      I know you dont like to practice shooting at the range much, but do it anyway You'll likely be shooting from the sticks, and even the nice tripod ones takes some practice.

                      Buy a good gun case, and a good ammo case. You'll be checking the ammo case separately by itself on the trip back, and it needs to hold up.

                      Consider 180 grain partitions as your ammo. Opens quickly for the small stuff, penetrates for the big stuff.

                      Already offered too much free advice, but if you want some reccomendations for travel agents or other, let me know.
                      Thanks so much. You know I NEVER give out unsolicited advice. No, not ME!

                      I kinda thought 165 grains was a bit light, especially for oryx and kudu. The kudu especially I don't expect to be long shots. I never got much kick out of distance shooting anyway. I'm told this outfit prefers stalking for fairly close shots, which is a big reason I chose them. Personally, I never loaded partition bullets as they were too pricey. But I never talked to anyone who used them who didn't have great things to say. I will take your advice.

                      Several guys at the club have good quality aircraft gun cases they have offered to loan. Makes more sense than buying a new one that I'll have to mess with storing later. Something I'll likely never (or almost never) use again. I'll make a deal in exchange for a flat of shells or maybe refinish a stock. They like my woodwork too. I know nothing about aircraft ammo cases. Didn't know there was such a thing. Thanks for the tip. I will pick your brain more about travel via PM if you don't mind.
                      Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 04-15-2019, 04:14 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Honker - I see you have kudu on your list.
                        My advice is to take a greater kudu that looks something like this.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Happy Myles View Post
                          They will not take you anywhere in South Africa as tough as a back country Montana elk hunt. Someone will be pushing a water bottle at you to the point of distraction. Gone are the days when you kept your fingers crossed hoping someone had remembered to grab the dirty old canvas water bag hanging outside of the lorry. I would love to see the look on Ontario’s face when he sees the swanky Lodge, South Africans like their amenities, and also when someone suggests how he should approach some hunting situation.
                          I can respect that the PH does not know me personally but the outfitter already has seen plenty of photos so they know I am not a novice hunter. Nevertheless, I acknowledge I know nothing about African hunting environment and therefore I will do what I'm told. These people have a business to run that is inherently dangerous. Like it or not, everyone must be on the same page and I understand that. Being told how to hunt will be a new experience for me but it is what it must be. I also know from my friend that these guys are very sharp and that is reassuring because the source is very credible. I don't think it will be difficult for us to be on the same page. However, having said that, I can also assure you no PH will make me take a butt shot or lob a round at some antelope 700 yards out. Seems that is not this outfit's style anyway.
                          Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 04-15-2019, 04:10 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 99explorer View Post
                            Honker - I see you have kudu on your list.
                            My advice is to take a greater kudu that looks something like this.
                            It will be "Cape Kudu" which I think is about the same thing. It's what's available.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post

                              Rifle looks real good. I had an O3-A3 and it was a real shooter. Cycle all your reloads through it before your trip. A friend went for plains and had to build an addition for all the mounts. He would go back in a heartbeat (archery)
                              I will be bringing back Euro mounts only and maybe one cape for my daughter to work with. Probably springbok as it's small enough to fit in my modest trophy room. They are also quite colourful. Mounting a kudu would be quite an asset for her business but we simply don't have any place for it at this point. Once (if) her business finally takes off and she gets a real shop/showroom, she/we can always buy capes later and mount the horns. Euro mounts fit my lifestyle better anyway.

                              Comment

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