I am finally home after another successful hunting season. This morning I have time to sit on my veranda and look back over the events and adventures of 2017.
The individual that tells you that 2017 was an easy year for the hunting industry has probably been looking down the neck of a whisky bottle just a tad too much. It was a year full of challenges. Hunters are a hardy bunch though, and a lot of us have seen the challenges as adventures and opportunities to learn and grow. That is after all what life is all about, adapt or die.
It was however also a year of amazing adventures shared with good friends, new and old.
July saw me in the Southern Masailand, hunting my two favorite species, buffalo and leopard. In 9 days we managed to bag our 3 Duggy boys, a monster Masailand leopard and the whole range of Masailand plains game.
The next trip stands out as one of my most enjoyable hunts ever, I had the please of guiding two brothers in their mid twenties on their first African safari. To say that a lot of laughs was had by all would be a gross understatement. We started off in Western Tanzania, collecting roan, sable, some beautiful old buffalo and a whole range of other species, midway through we moved camp to the Southern Masailand and continued the adventure with a few more buffalo and a long list of Masailand species. We ended the trip on a high by connecting with the Patterson’s eland that gave us the runaround for days.
My third safari was with a very special group of people. Most clients become good friends of mine on safari, but every now and again one comes along where you become part of their family. And with this Texan family, after five years of guiding the mother and father all over Tanzania and numerous hunting trips as their guest in the United States, I can honestly say that I feel like part of the family. On this safari me and a fellow professional Hunter had the father his sons and son in law on a 10 day buffalo hunt in the Southern Masailand. We made short work of a few very nice buffalo and collected a some extraordinary plains game trophies along the way. But on this trip the real trophy for me was seeing a father share his love of the African bush with his sons.
Next I was off to South Africa, not to hunt with clients but to spend time in the bush with my brother and my 15 year old nephew. We had a fun filled week filling the larder with a few warthog, Impala and springbuck and I finally got my mountain reedbuck. Seeing this boy grow into a fine young man, seeing him enjoy himself in the outdoors and knowing I had just a little something to do with his love of hunting, stands out as as one of the greatest accomplishments of my career.
Namibia was next on the list. One of my favorite countries in Africa since childhood, Namibia is one of those destinations that should be on everyone’s bucket list. I have been sending clients there for years, but I was glad to be able to accompany an old friend there for a change.( Something I will be doing with all future hunters I book there!). We started off in North Western Namibia in search of Sable, Southern Greater Kudu and Oryx. As these things go, under the guiding hand of my friend and local profesional Hunter Schalk, the list quickly expanded and our final tally for the first leg of the safari included the three trophies above as well as springbuck, red hartebeest, Impala and a whopper of a 31″ nyala. We then took breather and spent a few days shooting sandgrouse and doves. I highly recommend you include this in your Namibian schedule! The last leg of our thrip was 400km west to the Khomas Highlands in search of Hartman’s Mountain Zebra. The rugged beauty of this mountainous area is breathtaking and hunting mountain zebra is an unforgettable experience!
A couple of days after saying goodbye to the lush savannah and rugged mountains of Namibia I was on my way to the mighty Zambezi Valley of Zimbabwe. Buffalo was once again on the menu. My client was another old friend who I shared a great many campfires with over the past 15 years, and Blake Wilhelmi who conducted the hunt is a good friend of mine and fellow Tanzanian profesional Hunter, so the stage was set for a fun safari with lots of laughter. Hunting was by no means easy but with hard work and perseverance on Blake’s side and patience and good shooting on my client’s side we managed to bag two superb Zambezi Valley bulls with time to spare.
The grand finale of the season was a hunt in Tanzania that I have put a tremendous amount of homework into over the past four years. I discovered Harvey’s red duiker and East African Suni almost by accident, in a little forested ravine on the edge of arid Masailand plains a few years ago, and have since spent countless hours studying these special little critters. Late November finally saw me and the client in a blind overlooking a wild fig tree. The first afternoon only produced a quick glimpse of the elusive red duiker. The next morning however, to our great joy and satisfaction we managed to collect an ancient Harvey’s red Duiker ram, and the very next day a beautiful East African Suni. That was the culmination of many hours spent over four years studying these unique little forest dwellers, and also the end of another successful hunting season.