HHI Africa Handgun Hunt 2022

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bearskinner

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
300
Location
N. Pole Idaho
Waited for the SIXGUNNER to put the HHI stories out first, here’s a quick version of last months hunt. We were at the same camp that Sixshot was at last year. A wonderful experience was had by all…..
Might have to break it up to get it to transfer.
 

bearskinner

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
300
Location
N. Pole Idaho
When I read about the First Africa HHI hunt, I was intrigued to say the least. One of the packages offered was for a Cape Buffalo, Sable Antelope and Nile Crocodile, and at a very reasonable price. The Limpopo region is fairly thick, so I was hoping to complete the hunt with a revolver only. I planned on taking my two go to hunting guns, a FA83 in 454, and a 375 caliber Contender G2 single shot, 378GNR. Both sport Leupold 2.5x8 scopes.

Arriving in Africa, we were met by PH Joe, and gathered up our luggage, proceeding to the SAPS counter to claim out guns. Here's where my gun started. No gun case……… got all the appropriate paperwork filled out, hoping they arrive quickly ( if at all) and off to the lodge.
About a 5 hour drive, we arrived at a wonderful resort type location, tired and a little depressed, ( no firearms situation) it was wonderful to stretch out in air conditioned, freshly showered bliss.
Skip to Friday morning ( we arrived Monday) my gun case arrives!! I had a great time riding with Mike and Sue, who graciously invited me with them. Now my hunt started!
First on the list was Sable. To me the most beautiful animal in Africa, there just majestic. Also known as the kings Antelope, has been on my list since my first dreams of the Dark Continent.
Riding in the High seats, in the back of a Safari Land cruiser Pickup, is energizing, as we drove slowly thru the heavily choked thorn and acacia trees. Joe, my PH spotted two black spots off in the distance, we bailed out, and the driver drove off slowly the other way, as we approached thru the thick stuff for a better view. One of the two sable was quite a bit larger, and glassing him, we worked our way to a small opening to get in position for a shot. As my chosen Sable was clearing the incredibly dense thicket about 75 yards out, I got on the sticks, and squeezed off my shot as he stepped into the 24" tunnel. I heard the thump, and he stumbled, but dove forward into more heavy brush. There was blood at the spot of the shot, but we couldn't get thru the brush where he ran, so back to where I took the shot, and worked our way thru the brush.

IMG_7563.jpg


"There he goes" my PH pointed at the sable trotting off to our left. Over the next hour, we got to where we could just see black a couple times, but couldn't get close. This area was just SO VERY thick. Finally an area we got a view, as Joe threw up the sticks, wait……. That's the wrong Sable, it was the secondary one, we got behind! It took some time to get back and on the correct tracks, and the PH and Tracker we're masterful in getting back to the area of the shot, and following the actual tracks, to get back to where my sable went. On examination, I had shot too high, as the 24x24 opening was above the tall grass, but still blew one lung. He got up, from laying down, and took off, so we slowed up to let him lay again, and expire. I wanted an instant drop at the shot, but by the muscular size of these majestic beasts, anything but a perfect shot. May lead to a follow up.
In any case, I was very pleased while walking up to him. A bucket list animal for sure.
 

bearskinner

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
300
Location
N. Pole Idaho
Wonderful meals, evening campfires, and thoughts of Cape Buffalo, I slept well.
Driving around in the high seats, viewing game running everywhere, is something every hunter needs to experience. No good Buffs all morning, so after lunch, we drove out over an hour to glass a couple watering holes, to attempt an intercept. We could see a small group of a dozen or so Buffalo, working thru the brush, and set up my small daypack on the sticks, to nestle my gun into. I was using a Sierra 300gn bullets, behind a full case of 2400, a very accurate load in my FA. The group was pretty bunched up, but one big old boy, hustled yo the front, and got to the water first. He was magnificent, and 20% larger than any of the others. At about 55 yards, I looked him over for what seemed like forever, waiting for the one behind him to clear. My breathing perfect, I eased the shot, the huge puff of the impact, he bucked up hard, then landed, with his R/F shoulder clearly blown, he almost went down, but instantly got obscured buy others in the group. My PH Christo, quickly said "don't Shoot there bunched up." They trotted into some very thick thorn, with his leg dragging.
Now the Scene is started. It was maybe 1/2 hour till dark, and as this area has a high population of leopard, unless the herd left him, and he was clearly dead. So, we left him where he was, to return early AM with a drone and a jack Russell, to find him from the back side, as they watch and wait, on their back trail. Back in camp, we had video footage of the shot, clearly showing the blown shoulder. I still had a restless night.
Back in the truck early, an hour and a half around the back side of the watering hole. He was a couple hundred yards from the shot, but fortunately laying full on his side, and the herds was on where in sight. With the drone hovering over the heavy brush, we circled the area twice, trying to get thru the thorn, to no avail.
As quietly as possible, picking thru the thorn, getting tore up, at 20 yards, still no shot thru the thorn, we couldn't get closer. Back out slowly, and picked thru another spot to where I was able to get two more shots in his other shoulder and right behind. With both sides of his front end blown, and unable to move, Christi said " step over here and get a couple more in him" a few feet over, I put the three in the revolver in the heart lung area, and watched sticks and twigs fall in between us in that 15 yards, it was so thick. He never got up, or made a charge at us, ( I'm thankful for that) but as my two PH's said, " I got the full Cape Buffalo Experience" there's always a back up PH on the big 5 hunts.

Even with my "Delayed" start, I was making up for lost time. Tomorrow starts searching for Nile Crocodile.
 
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bearskinner

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
300
Location
N. Pole Idaho
by Michael Mendes HHI007

The mornings and evenings around camp are peaceful and quiet, enjoying great food and a beverage around the camp fire. There is a huge dining room, but we enjoyed the outdoor tables, company, campfire and sunrises and sunsets. Purples and reds across the horizon as far as you can see.


The next critter on my list was a Nile Crocodile. Hunting them consists of running down the swampy areas that spread out like fingers, along the rivers low areas. Slowly walking in to glass for crocs on the sandy banks, sunning themselves. We were driving in the oldest Classic from the fleet, a beast of a Toyota FJ45 Diesel long bed land cruiser pickup, affectionately named "Rusty".
After a couple non productive sneaks, the third stop produced two crocs, laying in the middle of a 40 yard wide slimy stretch of swamp, just under the surface. We backed out as quiet as possible. The other side bank high spot, was about 3 feet higher, 20 yards from the water, so we worked over to that side, slowly creeping to the edge, to look over the water. With my jacket in my daypack , I had a perfect rest laying prone, with my FA83 nestled into the pack. Apparently a crock will lay submerged for 40 min to an hour, surface get a breath, and go back down. So we wait.
Wait some more, repeat. This is giving me WAY too much time to play out the shot in my mind.
 

bearskinner

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
300
Location
N. Pole Idaho
We ranged the big croc ( estimated at 11+ feel long) at 32 yards, If he would ever surface. So after a good 40 minutes, Christo whispers, " let's go, and come back after lunch, he might be sleeping on the shore" uncocking my FA, crawling back and just as I put my pack over my shoulder…. "STOP" "he's surfacing!" Oh crap…… backpack down quietly, cock hammer, rest gun, breathe! "BOOM"
The target on a croc in the water is a walnut shell sized brain. Miss it, and your in deep doodoo, in muddy, green slimy water. Fortunately the Swift 300 grain Hollow Point A frame, from the .454, separated that little brain from his body, and with two little tail flips, rolled sideways and lay still.
 

bearskinner

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
300
Location
N. Pole Idaho
A sigh of relief, and a slap on the back from Christo, we hoofed it back to the truck and drove to the waters edge. My PH jumps out, strips to his shorts and says "let go get him"
"I hope you have a grapple or rope, cause there's NO WAY I'm getting in that slimy friggin water!" Was my response. So after he pulled the primeval lizard from the primordial oooze, we had to call a loading crew with a trailer.
What a heavy monster. Time for a cool beverage, in the shade at camp.
 

bearskinner

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
300
Location
N. Pole Idaho
So after a rough start not knowing if my guns would ever join me, I successfully acquired 3 fantastic critters, with 4 days left to hunt.
 

bearskinner

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
300
Location
N. Pole Idaho
I knew if I had the opportunity, enough time, and could find a great Nyala, I wanted to add one to my trophy list. So tomorrow, the search begins.
The second day of searching, we got into a gnarled thicket, at the base of a mountainside. We had glassed s large group of impala and what looked to be 3 Nyala, quickly cross a pathway a couple hundred yard ahead. We slowly started into the thick stuff, once again nice and close for revolvers, but too thick to take a shot. We were able to get a very look at the Nyala, there was 2 very nice ones, and two juveniles, hanging out with a skiddish group of Impala. We backed out, back to camp, to let them settle down. Back that afternoon, entering the thick thorn, from the opposite direction, and were able to sneak right in on the 2 juveniles, and the one I really liked the looks of, with the wider, symmetrical horns, with perfect white turned tips. I slipped a Swift HP directly thru the shoulder at 25 yards, with him looking away. He took one hunching jump, and did a semi summersault, ending up with his back end in a tree. ( behind, in the picture) What an absolutely beautiful animal.
 

bearskinner

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
300
Location
N. Pole Idaho
I throughly enjoyed this location, the PH's, and all the staff. Meeting new friends on the hunt, and just getting away from the norm, and enjoying a hunt. Being successful with my "Go To" FA83, in .454 made it a fantastic experience. Until the next trip…….
 

tarbe

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 31, 2014
Messages
28
Location
Romance, MO
The folks over there know how to make an enjoyable hunt, don't they?

Glad your buff did not turn into a rodeo, with you being the clown! You just never know when one decides he is going to make history.

How long did it take for you to start thinking about the next trip over? :)
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,761
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!!! Loved it all!
Thanks for taking us along for the ride.

I doubt seriously I'll ever go to Africa to hunt. So, these stories just allow me to enjoy a small piece of it.

Congrats on a fine hunt!
 

bearskinner

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
300
Location
N. Pole Idaho
How long did it take for you to start thinking about the next trip over? :)

At the end and after this Covid crap, we have been on 4 African Safari’s (since 4/2021)
I will ONLY hunt with a handgun, which to me is the most gratifying part of the hunt. It would certainly be easier with a good long range rifle, and MUCH easier to use shooting sticks. I primarily hunt for the hunt, and just the shear joy of being in wild places, seeing critters in their habitat. I’ve had to pass on more than I have been able to successfully hunt, but that’s part of Handgun Hunting.
 
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