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High Point of a Namibian Safari Gone Bad…

July 29, 2009 by  
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You never know what you will get when you book a hunt. That being said, using references and resources like Nexthunt.com are very valuable to ensure a good trip, but I just returned from a real “goat rope” in Africa. I hunted with a professional hunter (PH) that I had known via e-mail and one personal meeting for 2 years. I felt as if we were friends and I booked a leopard hunt. Normally the friend thing is part of a PH’s job, but we both had an interest in my hunt.

I was bringing a camera crew over from ESPN, so the PH was going to get a lot of TV exposure from my hunt, plus I had 2 big magazine article assignments from the trip, if successful. This could have been the trip that took his operation to the next level.

Anyway, he was stretched short on staff and had some high rollers in another camp from Russia. On day 3 of a 10 day hunt, my PH left me for the other group. He left me with a young guide, but it wasn’t who I booked the hunt with, and things didn’t work out at all. On top of that, my original PH increased the trophy fees we had in my contract on individual species by 25-300%. Wow, what a shock.

The one high point of the trip (before I got dumped) was a springbok hunt. I had been to Namibia before, but hadn’t seen a springbok that I wanted to shoot. I think these small antelope are just beautiful, and the best springbok in the world are the Kalahari springbok that live in Namibia. They remind me of our pronghorn, but they are smaller in body. My PH said there was a no fence ranch close to where we were staying that always had plenty of springbok and the quality was really good.

We drove to the ranch, and it looked like east Africa; long grass plains interspersed with flat topped acacia trees almost as far as you could see. There were plenty of springbok, blesbok and ostrich around, but I couldn’t figure how we were going to get a shot, with a cameraman in this open country (that wasn’t 450 yards!)

We made some stalks in the high grass, and I will admit, I missed a good 15-15.5” ram at a little over 200 yards. Shooting longer distances off shooting sticks standing up is tough for me. We messed around for another 2 hours and finally got close on another group.

There was a huge ram in the bunch, and he stood at 223 yards. We tried to roll some film, and the group began moving. I followed the big ram, and when he paused at 256 yards, I squeezed the trigger of my TC ICON. This time my shot was a little better, and as he was quartering away, I hit him a bit back. The .300 Win mag was a little overkill and the Winchester Accubond did its work well. He went about 25 yards and tipped over.

I am not a record book guy, but I do use them as a benchmark. The SCI book for springbok is about 12”, and Rowland Ward is 14”. This guy was 16” with nearly 7” bases. He was and is the true springbok of a lifetime.

Like I said, the PH left me the next day, and the whole trip went downhill. I am trying to concentrate on the one positive point of the trip- the monster Springbok.

Springbok reduced

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