Kentucky brothers on their bucket list African hunting trip
Saturday, 24th July 2021
Twin brothers, Jamie and Jason from Kentucky, joined us on their bucket list African hunt. We first met Jamie at the NWTF Convention in Nashville in February 2020 and have been planning their African hunting adventure since. Super excited to hunt with Jamie and Jason.
Day One - Arrival and Zebra Hunt Success
After lunch on the day of arrival we went to the shooting range to get Jamie and Jason familiarized with the rifles. All perfect! On the return to the lodge we were spotting game, leisurely type game viewing activity, when we saw a herd of burchells zebra ahead. The wind was blowing directly from behind us and we quickly realized that we'd have to get around them to have an opportunity to put in a stalk. We got ahead of them and a short stalk later, Jamie was able to take a beautiful burchells zebra.
Perfect stalk, perfect shot, perfect day. We had drinks around the campfire that evening and Lindsay spoilt us with a meal of springbuck shank, mash potato and vegetables.
Day Two - Hunting Day of all the Days
The following morning we were in for a pleasant surprise. We were making moves on a herd of burchells zebra along a ridgeline and Jason shot a beautiful mare. A herd of impala, completely unseen by us, busted out of the bush below. There was a nice ram among them. His horns flared beautifully at the tips. He was hiding behind a "koenie boom" bush, his harem of impala ewes in full view. Jamie indentified a small window of opportunity. His bullet finding it's way through the small gap in the bush to take a fine impala ram.
Our afternoon was equally eventful. We spotted a kudu bull along the edge of an acacia thicket. Jason's first shot missed but Mitchell was able to track the kudu to where he was bunkered down with another kudu bull in even thicker bush. The two bulls spooked and sprinted across an open plain towards the cover of a line of jacket plum trees. They paused briefly to look back at the danger, something kudu rarely do, and Jason made a remarkable 250 yard shot to get his kudu bull.
Shortly after photographing and loading Jason's kill we went in search of gemsbuck. We drove past a bachelor herd of impala, one good ram visible to us even from the moving vehicle. We hid the vehicle some way down the track, waited a few minutes and moved slowly closer. The herd hadn't moved off far and we were quickly able to identify the ram. Jason's shot hit perfectly on the shoulder and the impala ram went down instantly.
Day 3 - Gemsbuck Surprise
We were in search of a kudu for Jamie early in the morning. We passed on a few younger and marginal bulls. On the return to the lodge, we bumped two gemsbuck that disappeared over a steep ridge. We followed on foot and got close. A large herd of twenty plus springbuck threatened to blow our position but we expertly navigated our way around them. Jamie made a quick shot and had a beautiful gemsbuck bull.
Our hunting opportunities couldn't surely get better. At some point, it runs out or you hit a bump in the road. The afternoon was scarcely believable. We were planning on glassing a bushline. The meticulously crafted plan was to ambush kudu moving from the safety of the heavy bush to the plains area. This is normally a 3 hour lengthy hurry up and wait process - get there early enough to avoid detection, wait 3 hours and possibly get a large kudu bulls in the dying days light.
That day, it went something like this. We were driving from the lodge to the point where we would hide the vehicle and hike to a vantage point. Jamie excitedly points out three kudu bulls 150 yards to our right. Grazing peacefully in the open plains. I gave them a quick glance, my eyes barely leaving the road. I admit it took me a second longer to register because I was in a hurry to get to our vantage point. And also, I've never known a magnificent kudu bull to be so brave as to act in this manner. I hit the brake and we tumble out the vehicle. On the shooting sticks, and another bull moves directly behind the the big one.
The bulls separate, and turn to run - BOOM! Jamie drops him. Kudu show over.
I'm at a loss for words. I've been prepping the Coomes brothers all year via email on how tough Eastern Cape kudu hunting can be. Jamie gets it though...he knows he's a lucky guy.
Day Four-Bump in the Road
We travel north to our lodge in the Graaff Reinet area for two days of gemsbuck hunting. After breakfast, we amble out to hunt. It's too easy now and we're expecting all gods creatures to throw themselves at us. We see a ton of animals but get no chances. We've hit the bump in the road. That afternoon a huge cold front rolls in bringing with it icy polar winds.
We awake to find the mountains surrounding us dusted with snow. It's absolutely freezing - I'm like a duck in the desert. It's the coldest day in the Eastern Cape in a decade. We need a plan, we're in unchartered territory here. The trackers have a plan. We hike up a road, and there's gemsbuck appearing everywhere coming out to sun themselves.
Sneaking up on a herd now. Jason sends one off. The gemsbuck runs and later staggers, disappearing. We follow. She jumps up and runs away, ass facing directly to us. I tell Jason to just get lead in her anywhere, quick. His floors her with her head shot. She's beautiful.
We find a herd of elephants browsing in the snow, a very unique photo opportunity. Later we bump into two white rhinos.
We have Jason and Jamie Covid tested for their return trip. Get the results a couple of hours later, all negative. We relax at the lodge and relive our amazing hunt together.
We bid farewell to our new friends the next morning . It's been an African hunting trip to cherish for a lifetime.
Guest Comments -
Jamie and Jason, Kentucky USA
Met Victor and Lindsay at the 2020 NWTF show in Nashville TN. After speaking with them about their hunting operation we decided it was the perfect place to go for our first African safari hunt. A year and half later (thanks Covid) we were able to make our African hunt possible.
Victor met us at the Port Elizabeth airport, and we were off to camp. Upon arriving at camp, Lindsay showed us to our Chalet to unload our gear then we had a lunch before heading out to the range to test our shooting skills. Victor had previously offered for us to use his rifles vs having to bring our own. This is a great option which we highly recommend.
We scheduled a 6 day hunt and were successful in taking our target list of animals in 4.5 days. One day we took 4 trophy animals which may have been a record for Vic.
We were very impressed with Karoo Wild Safaris. Everything from the accommodations (4 Star!!), food, drinks, comradery, was first class and exceeded our expectations. Vic’s hunting areas have an enormous amount of wild game and many trophy caliber animals.
Thank you Vic and Lindsay, as well as your staff (Mitchell and Francis) for a great South African Safari adventure. We had a great hunting experience and would highly recommend Karoo Wild Safaris!