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Африканская охота в надежных руках!

Новый сезон начался, когда новые молодые охотники тестировали свои новые навыки. Действие происходит в диких горах бухты Штормберг, провинция Восточная Капская провинция Южной Африки. Это традиционная охота в лучшем виде, все пешком в захватывающих дух пейзажах. Здесь нет ни заборов, ни линии электропередачи, ни каких-либо признаков цивилизации. Игра дикая и исключительно адаптирована к окружающей среде. Охота – это вызов снова, просто так, как и должно быть..

Наши два 11-летних мальчика помогут с нашим планом управления игрой и преуспеют, отбраковывая некоторые старые лани. A Sako .222 Remington Magnum идеально подходит для детей.

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Наша 14-летняя прелестная охотница соберет обычный блесбак высоко в горах после долгой и трудной ярмарки в этой открытой местности. Лишь через несколько часов ей удалось запечатлеть зрение на плече зверя, снимая 150-метровый с 0,300WM. Двойные легкие, молодец!
Великая охота, как в старые добрые времена, просто так, как нам нравится это делать, особенно с детьми, разделяющими нашу страсть и стремящимися изучить наши традиции.

Что касается Питера, он также очень хорошо себя чувствовал в первый раз, сначала добывая хорошую черную антилопу гну после длинного и сложного стебля. Нам потребовалось более 2 часов утра, чтобы подкрасться к стаду черных гну, используя небольшой ручей для прикрытия. Мы подошли к источнику ручья посреди нескольких аудадов (овец Барбари), оленей, горного хребта, какого-то могучего вааля ребок и широкого бодрствования. Наш охотник мог взять 70-миллиметровый удар по быку.
Чем больше вызов, тем больше награда, хорошо сделанный Питер!
На следующий день Питер соберет старую обыкновенную лепешку на глубине более 300 метров.

 

 

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Пикник в горах на высоте более 2000 м (6500 футов), где температура теперь начинает падать, когда мы попадаем в зимнее время. Эти горы всегда получают немного снега в сердце зимы … да, снег в Африке!

Увидимся!

Bushnews: сентябрь 2016

Мы только что завершили исключительное сафари в Танзании. Это имело место в центральном регионе (Kizigo), где Клод взял красивый дикий лев. Большая пятерка мы начали вместе несколько лет назад уже завершен, то, что достижение! Длинная статья в рамках подготовки к журналу африканское Outfitter, где будет представлена его 3 Танзанийский сафари для льва. Большое приключение, Гранд Сафари !!

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Кроме того, некоторые интересные буйвола

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и антилоп, включая старый Рузвельт Соболь антилопы

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Лагерь очень удобно и в центре действия

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Как всегда, пейзажи красивые и захватывающие

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Grand Safari Bush News July 2016

Hunting kept us busy since the last newsletter. First we did some great free roaming lions and got some very good cats.

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Then it was my very good friend Ken and his mates coming over for 2 weeks. What a safari with what I would call the MOA Rifles team. Always a big pleasure to have Ken and his mates visiting us in SA. Even better when they all use those amazing MOA rifles, same guns used by Bob & Chris Beck from Extreme Outer Limits. When it comes to ultimate long range rifles, an MOA gun topped with a nightforce scope shooting Berger bullets is hard to beat, especially when ranging with a ballistic rangefinder G7

Ken with some of the great trophies he took with a MOA .300 WSM

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Trev and some of his trophies taken with his MOA 6,5 x 284

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Dan also took some great animals with his MOA 7mm

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And Brian and Tyler used a 300 WSM and a big daddy .338 Lapua

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We have the perfect set up for some serious long range shooting here. In fact, we cater for bow hunters with some classic walk and stalk, and for long range enthusiast in big, very big country!

Then we went down to the Indian Ocean coast where we have a second operation, for some more plains game, caracal, bushbuck etc

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Look at the size of Tyler’s Nyala, and the beauty of our playground in the background!

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Guys wanted to do a bit of fishing, weather wasn’t quite playing the game, but it is always fun to be out there; Caught a few fish and the highlight was that big ragged tooth shark Trev caught on traditional SA rod and reel. Well done big boy, you did so well with that tricky reel!!

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Some good time shared…

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We will see you guys again next year!

Гранд Сафари Новости – Июнь 2016

Все началось очень хорошо в Конго, с первыми охотниками уборки некоторые бонго, желтоспинный дукер, речные свиньям, лесные водолазов, а также Sitatunga …

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Это был Петр Флэк и себя в свою очередь, чтобы хорошо провести время в дождевом лесу, ищет неуловимого леса Sitatunga.

Стивен Roux сидения слева или Питер Флэк и сам со своей командой voordat оставив лагерь

Стивен Roux сидения слева или Питер Флэк и сам со своей командой voordat оставив лагерь

Основной держатель кризис Туссен Намибийское концессии и его конголезский партнер изменил всю ситуацию. Если Питер Флэк и сам прибыл в лагерь, все SA PHS были кости приказано покинуть страну с немедленным вступлением в силу. Разрешение на охоту Петра не был в лагере, у нас не было ни одно транспортное средство, не больше управления персоналом и должны были оставить на 2-й день охоты. Чтобы вырезать длинную историю короткой, и после 15 часов езды на такси и 22 дорожных блоков, мы наконец достигли Браззавиль, где мы могли поймать обратный полет домой.

К сожалению, Гранд Сафари не остановил все Zijn деятельность в Конго До сферы компетенции уведомления.

Гранд Сафари Bushnews – май 2016

Показать сезон наконец-то закончилась для нас, еще в кустах, где мы смотрим на хорошей, но жесткой 2016 года сезон вперед.

Это должно быть хорошо, когда мы смотрим на отличные результаты уже получили с первого 2016 года сафари!
Тем не менее, кажется, что при разговоре с другими африканскими экипировщиков, меньше вы путешествуете в Африке матери в этом году. Плохая экономика? Терроризм? Испуганный бумажной работы для ваших орудий или репатриацией ваших трофеев? Что когда-либо это, пожалуйста, подумайте еще раз, это не так уж и плохо. Не один случай, когда-нибудь, где мы проводим наше сафари.
Помните, что все мы, африканские экипировщиков и профессиональных охотников, только здесь для вас. Если придет время, когда наши уступки в Танзании и в других местах не являются устойчивыми по причине отсутствия охотников, мы должны будем вернуть их обратно, а это означает браконьеры будут двигаться в, забоя скота, что они могут и резать эти красивые деревья для древесины. Не собирается тогда …

Во всяком случае, те из вас, которые уже были с нами в этом году, спасибо вам большое за вашу поддержку и для обмена некоторые большие времена.

Наш “Вид на море Охота Вариант” в Южной Африке идет сильный. Первое семейство сезона видел 9-летний маленький пижон взятия 8 различных видов и 12 животных в общей сложности. Это включает в себя каракал над гончих! Молодцы главу, он всегда чувствует себя хорошо, чтобы разделить нашу страсть с молодыми охотниками.

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Папа также взял несколько из его собственных, в том числе некоторые уникальные формы рога для своей коллекции

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Некоторые из наших молодых охотников обнаружили серфинг с нашим тренером. Это было очень весело!

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Некоторые большие воспоминания и хорошие трофеи, сделанные во время опции “Вид на море Охота Сафари”

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С выдающейся Waterbuck измерения почти 32 “!!!

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Различные мероприятия и экскурсии для всей семьи

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Тогда это был мой давний друг Филипп подходит для его ежегодного Гранд Сафари. Филипп и я охоты каждый год в различных африканских странах на протяжении более 13 лет. Это “наш” самый большой мыс буйвола на сегодняшний день принято на прошлой неделе на концессии, граничащей с Kruger Park. Сплошная 43 “…

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и, конечно, некоторые равнины игра для удовольствия …

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Мы начали на сезон в Конго по времени, с уже бонго и некоторых других видов, принятых на прошлой неделе. Некоторые фото в следующем информационном бюллетене …

Увидимся там!

Кристоф Beau

HuntEx шоу в Йоханнесбурге

Это было хорошо, чтобы видеть вас снова в этом году на HuntEx. Благодарим Вас за большой интерес в наших различных сафари вариантов из тропических лесов в Конго (Браззавиль), зеленые холмы Hemingways ‘в Танзании и саванн в Камеруне. Будет ли для Бонго, лорд Дерби Эланд или Меньшей Куду, мы Вас поддержим!
Спасибо NEELS и вашу команду в журнале африканское Outfitter за то, что нас на своем впечатляющем стенде.

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Брюссель теракт

Никакие слова для нового теракта в Брюсселе … Наши мысли не идут к жертвам и их семьям

bruxelles

Охота Рыбалка съемки шоу в Берне Швейцария

Это было очень приятно встретиться с вами или увидеть Вас снова на выставке в Берне. Спасибо всем нашим друзьям и клиентам за посещение нашего стенда Гранд Сафари. Это был наш первый раз в качестве экспонентов в Берне, большое спасибо нашему местному другу оружейника и партнера Андре Дюбуа за помощь!
Если мы не видим вас под теплым африканским солнцем до этого, мы будем видеть Вас в Берне снова в 2018 году !! (Показ только каждый второй год).

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Grand Safari News – January 2016

GrandSafariDSC2016Already a month into the new year…and still hardly any rain in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Yes, I am now back home after a great show in Dallas. DSC knows how to put a show together, that is for sure. It was great seing all known faces at the show, pretty much the only place where I get to yearly meet some friends and colleagues from the international hunting fraternity.

Congratulations to Peter Flack for the Bateleur Award he received from SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SAHGCA) as well as for the Selous Award given to him by The African Professional Hunters Association. Well done Peter!
We will have the great pleasure to first meet up with Peter and his lovely wife Jane at Huntex  in Johannesburg in April where we will spend quality time on our friends’ booth Yolande and Neels from African Outfitter magazine. Peter and myself will then head up to the Congolese Rain Forest in May in search of an elusive Forest Sitatunga.

It was good catching up with some of you, and always nice to meet new dedicated hunters. Thanks for the big interest shown on our unique Sea View Hunting Safari options in South Africa, not to forget our 4 blocks in Tanzania, Congo, Cameroon, France…

Breaking news, as we speak, there is a zero quota on leopard in SA this year (2016). For those of you planning to chase Mister spotty in 2016 in SA, please contact your outfitter ASAP as there is no leopard tags available. We have some on quota on all our Tanzanian concessions. First come first serve, contact me for conditions and dates.

See you out there!

Christophe Beau

The tree climber, elephant hunter and man-eater Lions of Kizigo – Tanzania (August 2015)

It is the sixth time Swiss hunter Claude and myself are hunting together on the African continent. Lion is our top priority this time so to complete Claude’s Big Five we’ve started a few years ago. We have tried for lion in the Selous (Tanzania) before, and could have possibly harvested that big boy we saw then, if only the cubs of one of his females would have been older than 9 months… Pity but no disappointment as it only gave Claude a good excuse to come again with his wife Sonia.
For many years, too many young lions were harvested in Tanzania depleting the gene pool and affecting their population. Today, a lion has to be 6 years and older with cubs of 9 months or older to be hunted. Tough rules with teeth being X-rayed upon government official specs to verify cat’s age before export. It is always very challenging to age a wild lion in those harsh conditions, but this is the right and only thing to do if we want our kids to also hunt them one day.

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This time, we have decided to hunt in Central Tanzania, in the Kizigo Game Reserve situated between the Rungwa and Ruaha National Parks. It is said to be one of the best area (if not the best) to hunt one of those truly wild lion. We are about to find out…

It is overcast this morning when Claude, Sonia, their observer friend Michel and myself jump in the Cessna Caravan at Arusha airport. What a treat to see both Mount Meru and the Kilimanjaro above the clouds.

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One hour and 40 minutes of flying in a Southerly direction and we land on a good bush strip where Matt Lloyd-Sim and his team are waiting for us. Matt has over 20 years of experience in Tanzania and has been collecting fantastic data on the Kizigo lions for the last 3 years. He is a passionate expert when it comes to big cats and his team is of a high quality standard.

I jump in the first car with him while our guests will take a more leisured drive to camp in the second vehicle.

DSC07640On the way, Matt takes me to where he had a close encounter with lions a few days ago with his previous hunter from the US. They were tracking some buffaloes when a lioness charged, trying to push them to another 3 lions ambushed behind them. Their vehicle could get to them quick and thanks to an experienced team, it turned out to a memorable exciting experience. The kudu carcass they hanged in a nearby tree the next day was entirely eaten. In fact lions and sometimes lions and leopards took all the baits Matt hanged while hunting before our arrival…

While planning this hunt a year ago, Matt and myself spoke in length about the best possible option for Claude’s lion, and Kizigo seemed to offer the best chances to successfully hunt a matured wild lion, the harsh and old fashion way.

The bush camp is more than what I expected, PH Fred did a very good job setting it up in June. Not only it is very comfortable but it also has a Victorian touch with nice and large beige tents offering en suite shower and flushing toilets, solid wood furniture and leather camp chairs. Storm lanterns shows the way to your tent at night while a solar system allows 24/7 energy supply for both lights and charging cameras. Hot shower, daily laundry, gourmet meals, everything seems to make you forget that you are in the middle of no way.

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Day one of the hunt, we decide to check the carcass of a young elephant bull that has been taken down by lions a week ago.

I guess we need to mention here that the Kizigo lions have a few characteristics that make them unique. They hunt elephant, they climb trees and they occasionally eat people.

How well can a lion climb tree? Usually not very well, often young lions climbing easy trees. Here is different, and we have had lions on leopard bait a few time. I am talking some 5 m (15’) straight up trees to climb onto a modest branch where bait is hanged.

08130362One of the big leopard we had feeding during the safari was eating way too much each day, and Matt suspected having some lions on that same bait. Experienced trackers themselves struggled to believe that some lions could have climbed that specific tree, until the trail cam confirmed otherwise when we got footage of a big male leopard defending his meat against a lioness and then 2 minutes later against a fully grown 4 year old male lion!! All of this on a modest branch hanging about 15 meters (50’) over a sandy riverbed…

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Although the concession is far from any civilization, honey collectors may harvest the precious sugar up until June. They are also wood poachers and illegal gold miners doing the 3-day bicycle ride to illegally fall and plank big trees and extract rocks from an old informal gold mine. They will cart twenty 6m planks or up to 200 kg of rocks per bicycle through lion country. Lions have killed and eaten some of them before…

Those are the lions we are dealing with at Kizigo. All males are great hunters and do not count on their females to provide them with food. They are extremely wild and we came across a few of them with attitudes!

Getting back to day 1, we check some baits (all eaten) and get a feel for the place. Early afternoon, we find a big troop of Olive baboons and Claude pull a great shot on a beautiful male.

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Also stalked a big warthog but with only one tusk, then some buffaloes.
Later that day, we spotted an elusive and very nice East African Greater Kudu bull. If you remember Hemingway’s stories, he shot 20 rhinos with his son Kermit while on safari for a year, and only 2 East African Kudu! (African Game Trail). Pretty rare specie is the least we can say. The bull sees us and run, we track him for about 4 or 5 km and could never get a shot. While walking back to the vehicle, tracker Julius spots a lone Patterson Eland bull. Those are also not too common, Claude does not have any eland yet and we could not hope for better timing to harvest such a big beast the first day. It will put us in business with our lion by hanging baits early. The 300gr Barnes TSX bullet from the .375 H&H Magnum goes in the shoulder at about 170 m. The bull run straight towards us in the long grass. Second shot is a miss as he is getting closer. Third shot is frontal and goes deep in the chest, dropping him in his tracks.

DSC07543Day 2 is spent hanging fresh baits, tracking some buffaloes and stalking Lichtenstein Hartebeest. Matt is also a fine cook and will treat us with superb flame grilled Eland fillet with a wine reduction and parmesan topping that night…to die for…

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We will track a good size herd of buffaloes on Day 3, caught up with them and could not get a shot at one of the monster bull we spotted between them. Then we find a bushbuck as well as some more Patterson Elands. We also have a lion on one of our bait, already! Trail cam pictures don’t give the needed clue to determine an age, so we will have to check him out.

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The following day, we build a blind where the bait was taken the day before and decide to seat and wait for our boy that same afternoon.

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Some jackals arrive just after 06:00 pm, they behavior clearly indicate that they are not alone. Quietness and slow movements are key while seating in a blind, it pays off with the lion arriving at 07:05 pm It is a bit late and we will soon run out of lights. It is a male but we have to make sure it is old enough. Hopefully the photos taken in that low light will give us some clue this time. Tracker Julius soon calls the car on the radio and we get back to camp without disturbing that lion too much, he should be back for some more of that delicious Patterson Eland.

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We need more bait now and the day 5 will be spent behind buffalo herds and hartebeest. There are a lot of buffaloes in the area, but the pressure they get from lions make them move away from water quite quickly. No shot opportunities this morning, and where are the zebras when we need them!? We decide to seat for our lion until dark, but he will not come back.

buffDay 6 is an exploration day to a very remote valley with a spring that should still produce some water. It is very remote from our usual routes and should be very quite. If we can be there by sunrise, chances to catch some dagga boys (lone buffalo bulls) are good. Early start at 04:30 am, we find the first herd of buffaloes half way to where we wanted to go. We follow them and can soon have a good look, there is no shooters in the herd. Later, we will come across some giraffe, impala and East African Roan in a distance. Those are also high on Claude’s list, we try to catch up with them but once they start running, they usually keep on going for a long way.

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It is still early hours but too late for the surprise effect at the spring. We need to cover more ground with our vehicle. A bit further, we find some zebras! At last! The small herd is very chilled and relaxed, this is our chance for an easy stalk. Soon the .375 goes on the shooting stick, the stallion is identified on the left and Claude gets ready. He takes his time knowing how important it is for his lion safari to get some bait right now, squeezes the trigger … and the bullet hit the ground about 20 meters in front of it! What happen? Too much pressure on our hunter’s shoulders?! I don’t think so, and after missing an impala a few days ago, we need to check this rifle. A close look shows a fine crack in the synthetic reinforced stock of my old faithful gun. It must have been pushed hard against the car’s gun holder somehow. Schmit & Bender scope is totally out of sight, which is very unusual. Quick adjustment and the problem is fixed. No more excuses missing anything now.

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We are now getting to one of our leopard bait. Matt took a very nice cat out of that same tree last year, and he had a good male feeding last week on that same branch. Talking about tree climbing lions, one of Matt’s trail-cam took the most unreal photo of not one, but 4 lions up on that tiny branch polishing his leopard bait!
This is unreal, 4 lions together feeding on a leopard bait, what is this place!?!

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We can now see the bait from the vehicle, it has clearly been taken by a big leopard. Some movement on the hill behind the bait, lots of dust, can only be a buffalo herd. There is enough light to try following them, so we jump out of the car and are soon on their tracks. We will have the whole herd walking pass us at less than 60 meters a few times, but our light is now running out for Claude to take a good shot. What a sight…

Day 7, All our lion baits have been taken and it is crucial today to get a buffalo or a zebra if we want to keep them interested. It is just getting light when we are driving in that beautiful valley. PH Fred and his team have burned some of the long grass in June, opening up the thick Mopani forest on the slope of the hills.

DSC07608We stop at a little spring to check for tracks. A knock on the roof, trackers have spotted some buffaloes on the left hand side. They soon see more buffaloes on the right, this is a large herd of 180 strong. They were heading to the spring. Half of them run back in the hills and the other half in the nearby Mopani forest. We could see some massive bulls in there, as well as exceptional cows. The genetic of these buffaloes is very good and we will spot some cows during this safari with over 48” spray on their horns.
Julius, Edu and Wilfred are already checking the wind and lead the way into the forest. They are first class trackers with a very good understanding of our western way of hunting those animals. It is a real pleasure to see them leading us to the herd. The forest is quite thick but the grass being burnt allows us to see the buffalo movement in the distance. They did not run very far, feeling safe in the forest. It is about 80 of them in front of us, the other half went the other way. The area has big herd of buffaloes and we have often seen 150 to 250 animals walking together.
Very tricky to stalk those buffaloes in the now fairly open forest, we need to get in front of them, anticipate their route and try to ambush them. Julius takes us on a wide loop and we soon can hear the herd feeding towards us. It is a mixed group of females with black heifers from last year and brown calves from this year, together with a couple of very nice bulls. We are now behind a big termite mount waiting in anticipation. The herd is approaching slowly, with some animals bugling softly. If they keep walking and feeding at that angle, we might not get a shot between the trees. We have to get to a new location. Back on our knees to get away before anyone of them sees us. Julius leads the way again, and find a great spot behind another termite hill with a few trees growing on top of it. Our new ambush spot feels good. The 3 trackers, Matt, Claude and myself are now hiding behind the small brushes growing on top of the mount. Buffaloes are coming. Wind is perfect and the beasts are now totally relaxed, feeding slowly towards us. We can see 2 or 3 females at 25 meters on our left, others are merely 6 meters from us on the other side of the termite hill. We spot a very large bull right on the back of the herd, but waiting for him is risky and getting some bait is our main priority right now. We won’t be looking for the biggest this time, any nice hard boss bull will do. Two bulls are on our right with a few cows, one is a taker. Shooting sticks are up, adjusted to avoid branches, all of this with the buffaloes at less than 25 meters away. The female in front of the desired bull looks at us, all confused not to have seen, heard or smelled us earlier. She might run away taking the whole herd with her, but I’ve noticed than once in their comfort zone, buffaloes are behaving differently towards us, as if they struggle to believe what they see. Then, they often giving a good chance for a shot. And that is exactly what happens, with the cow turning around and walking away, leaving a perfect broadside-positioned bull. It is 11 am when the 300 gr Barnes TSX nips the top of the heart going trough both lungs. We find the bull 50 meters away. It is a good 40” buffalo…so we are starting to wonder how big was that very large one we spotted in that herd!!?!!

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It is now mid-day and being close to the leopard bait where we also had the 4 tree-climbing lions, we hang a fresh buffalo shoulder there. The cat was there when we arrived. We did not see him but the bait was freshly eaten. I mention to Claude that this big leopard is close by, probably watching us right now. I can see that Claude is trying hard to believe me, but a leopard watching us? Really?
We also decide to finish the blind we started earlier on and wait for our leopard that very same afternoon.
It is just before 6pm and everything is ready. We will behave as if we were leaving and the car will quietly drop us off on its way out. Claude is still trying very hard to believe that a big leopard has been watching us for over 2 hours, waiting for us to leave before climbing on that fresh bait…

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Tracker Edu switch on the trail-cam secured on a branch overlooking the bait and does the usual scent covering exercise by spraying and rubbing guts and blood everywhere. Big cat hunting is a bit messy…

Less than 5 minutes later, Claude, Matt, Julius and myself are seating tight and quite in the blind. It is made out of grass walls with very small openings. We can hear the car slowly driving away for a few minutes, Claude opens his book and start reading when Julius and myself, seating on the back row, happen to both look at the bait at the same time when the leopard appears. He goes straight for the new piece of meat. What a great feeling when a plan comes together, a knock on Claude’s shoulder, this is our tom…Claude is behind the .375, my video camera is recording, we are just waiting for a broadside shot. The leopard is pulling on the bait, facing us at 50 meters. A few times, he will hold his position while pulling to listen and check that new blind. Small noise from one of us, cat looks again, then carry on his own business. We gave him a few days to feed and take ownership of that bait, reason why he feels confident to come in full daylight. He would also rather come during the day when there will be less chances to bump into some lions on his bait, but it is clear by his behavior that he is not 100% happy with the whole set up. He will probably leave soon and come back in the dark. That is exactly what happens when he stops trying to pull the hanging meat onto the branch, and turn to leave. He is now on a perfect broadside position, heading down the tree. This is what we all waited for and Claude will place a perfect shot behind his shoulder. We have been seating in the blind for 6 minutes exactly!!!

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Traditional photos in the riverbed where our tomcat landed, the sunset makes a nice background. Our trackers will decorate our vehicle and hunter with green branches and white toilet paper singing “Kabubi a Chui” all the way back to camp. On arrival, the whole staff is waiting for us with improvised drums, singing and shouting. This is a traditional way to celebrate when a leopard, lion or elephant is harvested in the Tanzanian bush.

This is a day Claude will remember for a long time. He first got a nice buffalo bull and then a great leopard eating that same buffalo shoulder 4 hours later!

Day 8: We hang new lion bait and refresh the others with buffalo meat. We have a new lion on camera from last night and decide to wait for him at one of our already build blind. The boy doesn’t come but a large lioness pays us a visit and feed for more than an hour right in front of us. Jackals are also around but no signs of what looked like a big male on the camera.

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That night in camp, we will be treated with exquisite buffalo tail soup and filet for dinner.

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Day 9: After checking all our baits, we decide to seat again in the same blind late afternoon. We have a third male lion eating on another bait, as well as 2 big leopards. There are a lot of predators in the area.
While crossing a river, we spot some very fresh barefoot prints. Poachers? This is unlikely but not impossible. Soon, we find that little man waving at us on the side of the road. He only has a Maasai Shuka (traditional fabric used as blanket), no machete, no water, no food, nothing … He is just skin and bones and hasn’t been eating or drinking for days. He says being lost and got chased by lions a few times. 2 nights ago, it was 3 big cats that followed him up in a tree. He managed to escape climbing as high as he could balancing on small branches. That guy has been through hell! He doesn’t seem to have his entire mind and we will ask Nyaki our camp manager, to take him back to the nearest village when he goes for some supplies tomorrow. How did that guy get here? It is a few days of walking at a very good pace to get to our area. He was maybe planning to collect honey, lost everything while being chased by lions and managed to survive until we found him. We have just saved that poor bugger’s life.

DSC0773316:00, now seating in the same blind as yesterday waiting for that big lion, no luck…

05:00 am the next morning, we are back in the blind. The lion comes just before it gets light, we can hear him being around and chasing hyenas but he is gone before there is enough light to see him properly. There are strange noises on our right hand side, almost like an agonizing elephant. It could also be lion mating, but we can’t make it up. It is now 07:30 and chances to see a lion coming to bait are getting slim. We call the car and investigate what the noises where from. We find lots of fresh lion tracks leading to the remains of a big kudu bull, freshly eaten by them. That could be the reason for our lion not to feed on the bait last night. As mentioned before, those Kizigo lions are super predators and would rather go for their own kill before settling for our bait.
Back to camp for lunch, I will quickly go back to that bait with the trackers to hang a new buffalo shoulder, and murphy’s law, as we get there, Julius and Edu spot the lion lying 25 meters away from the bait tree with a female. They are very relaxed. We quickly hang the meat, I take a few pics and we get back to camp. While checking the pics on Matt’s computer, we all agree to his suggestion that this lion might not be old enough, but we will seat again late afternoon to make sure.
It is early and we decide to check some bait near a big Tamarind tree. No taker last night, but while driving further, we bump into a lioness, her cub, and a young male. They are hunting buffaloes.
Late afternoon, the lion spotted with the trackers this morning is back with his girlfriend, he is probably between 5 and 6 year old and will be good next year only, no go. Wise and only decision to take, they are actually mating and that explains those strange noises heard yesterday. Mating noises are usually a lot rougher and louder.

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Day 11. We have clearly identified 3 different lion males on that same bait over the last week. First one was an old slimmer male over 6 years old, second was a dark mane boy of maybe 6 years of age, and now our honeymoon couple. Let’s try to keep the couple busy on that bait so they don’t interfere with our other feeding stations. We hang a new bait close by, hoping to get back any of the other 2 big boys, One is a shooter and the other a maybe.
We are driving the “middle road” for the first time, crossing beautiful grasslands, all with good oribi. Claude will harvest an old big ram after a very slow stalk. Great hunting, excellent shot.

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There are fresh lion tracks on the road where we set up our new bait, and we should have some action going within 2 or 3 days. So far, it did not take more than 3 to 4 days to get lions on any of our baits.
On the way back, we climb a small rocky hill so to glass the surrounding area from an advantage point. Some klipspringers whistle in front of us. Matt spot a very large elephant herd quite far away. They seem to be coming from the valley system where we have been seating for lions. In fact, we have often spotted elephant tracks in what seems to be a corridor close to our bait. They could also be the reason why the older lions did not stick around for too long.
Last night while checking on that male lion, we had 3 silver back jackals and Claude wouldn’t mind trying to get one, so all of us will seat in the blind this afternoon, giving first hand experience to Sonia and Michel to spend time in a traditional lion blind.

Here we are, all seating for a jackal at 17:00 Not even 5mn later, there is that big jackal male coming to sniff the bait. It is almost too easy too quick and Claude wishes to wait a bit, maybe a lion will come and if not, jackals should still be around later in any case. Half an hour later, jackals are starting to behave very differently, some lions must be around… a huge lioness walk straight to the bait and start feeding. She is enormous and Matt recognizes her straight away. She was part of the 4 lions hunting him and his previous clients 3 weeks ago. She is well aware of our presence, but does not seem to mind. Some noises behind the blind, birds maybe? A soft growl indicates a cat, we are now surrounded by lions. It is 15 minutes before dark and we need to get out of here quick before their behavior goes into full hunting mode. This is where one realizes not being on top of the food chain no more…

Soon, our vehicle is here and I press our guests to embark as quickly as possible. Matt has the lioness in his sight, it is now getting dark and he has pulled a powerful light that he points on her. “She is coming” he says, “hurry up”. I force Claude to seat down as he clearly does not see the now dangerous situation. Our game scout has loaded his AK 47 and we are in full alert. Matt is now behind the wheel and drives us away while Edu is shining the powerful torch light to the still approaching female. “An other female on the left, watch out!” says Matt as we drive away. She was flat on her belly ready to jump…

Thanks to a highly professional team, all went well and nobody was hurt. It was very important to do a full debriefing that night so our guests could appreciate the whole situation. This was a very close call and it could have turned otherwise very quickly …

Day 12: We decide to explore that remote valley where the spring should still be producing water. Unfortunately, it has dried up already. On the way back, 2 big dagga boys cross the road in front of the car. After 2 hours of tracking, we lose them until Wilfred freezes in front of us. He has the two buffalo bulls less than 30 meters in front of him, lying down watching him. Nothing we can do, they soon stand up and run. We will see them again twice, before their tracks get mixed with another buffalo herd that crosses the area early that day. We always pack for lunch and try to have a little siesta during the hottest hours of the day.

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Later on, we will also track 2 beautiful East African Greater Kudus, some hartebeest and warthog. Claude will take a beautiful impala at 17:20, and we will track some more buffaloes until dark.

DSC07861That day, we will also check 3 baits. First one is close to our Tamarind tree where we had that old lioness feeding in front of us. The trail-cam reveals that she is still around. There is also a big leopard and some hyenas.
Second bait in the river has a big old lion on trail-cam and we are already thinking erecting a blind the next morning. Let’s hope he will be back. There is also a leopard feeding on that same bait.

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Day 13/ This will be our East African Greater Kudu day. We will see and track big bulls 4 times on the morning, with fair chances to harvest one of them. Then some hartebeest, then East African Roan (Claude will miss a big Roan bull rushing his shot a bit…pity!). That was a lot of action for one morning, when we come across a herd of buffaloes in the heat of the day. They run into the nearest forest in a cloud of dust, it must be at least 80 of them.
Our 3 trackers Julius, Wilfred and Edu are soon on the tracks. We follow them until Julius sees something. That guy is unreal, it seems like he can scan through the trees and pick up the smallest clue. After looking with my binoculars, I finally pick up what could be the swinging tail of a buffalo… Staying on the tracks would have soon given our wind away, failing the stalk. A big loop will take us right on the other side of the herd, with the wind in our favor. Lots of trees and scrubs provide some covers, but we soon have to go down on our knees in order to get closer to the herd. The last 300 meters will take us more than 2 hours. Claude is taking strength. He knows how important it is for his lion hunt to get a buffalo today. With all the predators around, our baits have been melting like snow in the sun, and we need to hang more meat to stay in the game…
Most of the herd is 60 meters in front of us now, but the one cow lies on our right hand side with what is probably her last year’s off spring and a very young brown calf. Female buffalo with young calf are usually aggressive and very alert. She is close to us and we need to stay as low as possible. We are after one of those solid boss bulls merely 45 meters in front of us. A lot of buffaloes are lying down in this mid-day heat. Bull is identified, ¾ back, rifle on the sticks…it is 13:40 when Claude send a bullet right behind the shoulder, the beast will run 50 meters with the herd and drop dead.

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Michel will join the trackers for a piece of fresh buffalo liver around the fire.

aout-2015-272Some more kudu tracking on the afternoon, Claude have had so many chances on big East African kudu now…
Back in camp for some delicious leopard filet, as well as buffalo’s for those not willing to try.

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Day 14: Checking our baits and adding fresh meat, we bumped into a nice common duiker. Quick stalk, rifle on the stick, Claude starts squeezing the trigger when the ram moves off. New position, he moves again. Third attempt, he keeps on walking when I spot a small kudu in the shade of a bush at about 120 meters. Something is not right with that small kudu as it looks like it got horns…I quickly have a better look though my binoculars and my heart dropped when I discover a majestic lesser kudu in the shade of that bush! This is probably the southern area where they occur in Africa, usually found in the Northern part of the country in Maasailand. I know Claude has one on his license and I quickly put him onto that rare opportunity. Claude has his prescript sunglasses on and is struggling to see the bull walking slowly towards some thickets. I don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on him, but I wait for the shot in great anticipation. Nothing happens…just could not see well enough.

We get closer trying to locate the magnificent lesser kudu bull and he is here, starring at us 40 meters away. All we can see is his neck, head and horns. Soon he runs away in the heat of the day, gone…

I ask Julius, Edu and Wilfred to combine their effort and try to find him again. The soil is rock hard and the tracking is very slow and difficult. I look up when the guys are tracking, hoping to spot him. 2 hours later, almost ready to give up in that burning sun, I see the bull 160 meters away in the shade of a tree. It takes a while for Claude to spot him, we cannot get any closer so he will have to take a ¾ shot from here. The long seconds for our hunter to adjust his shot seems to lost hours, but finally the shot goes…so is the kudu…

Tiny drop of blood, it sounded good on impact, but clearly not good enough. Some more tracking on those harsh conditions and another hour later, a bush in front of us explodes when the kudu stands and run. Quick shot and it’s all over. Hunting a lesser kudu by the mean of tracking was an experience of a lifetime. This is the first lesser kudu ever taken in this area.

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The next day will be spent exploring the far southern end of the concession, bordering the national park. We will cross various landscape and scenery like baobab tree forest and grassland.

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Day 16: While checking our baits, a 2-year-old lion make very clear that he owns one of them!

DSC07999We will see a big herd of elephant and Claude will harvest a very good impala

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Day 17: This is predator’s day in Kizigo for us. First, we find our big one eyed leopard in the tree when checking the bait. While everyone try to take photos of the big cat now running away, the game scout turns around and find a lion and a lioness lying in the grass merely 70 meters away. This is the 4 year-old male that challenged the leopard on his branch.
The closest bait to this one has a big lion, it looks like the same seeing on day 12. This is an old and clever lone lion. We have not managed to see him daytime yet, only got a few trail-cam pics of him at night. He never stays for very long, and we are trying to anticipate his next move. It looks like he is coming from the mountains and is heading towards the spring next to the big Tamarind tree where we have that old lioness feeding. There is also a leopard and some hyenas on that bait, let’s hope it will attract him.

Day 18: We have lots of actions on various baits and need to freshen up our meat. Early start to pick up buffalo tracks. We soon find 4 dagga boys together, the wind is good and we manage to get real close. One bull is very wide but still young and Claude will take a smaller but much older bull. We have not been targeting huge buffaloes during this safari as the main purpose was to get enough meat for baiting. This is the third old buffalo bull for Claude during this trip.

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On the way back to camp, we check the last bait where we had that big lion coming once at night. The trail-cam shows a nice old lion on bait, a different one! We decide to build a blind on the morning so we can try to check him out.

Next morning, day 19, we are back on the bait, it has been eaten entirely. Trail-cam shows the old boy and then a younger male and a leopard. Looking at the time frame, it looks like the old boy got pushed away by the younger lion, and the leopard came for some grab while the dominant lion went to drink. How disappointing…
Checking baits on the afternoon, we will get to flat tires and will get stuck in a sandy riverbed…long day…
We will seat at our closest bait to camp that same evening, where we had seen those jackals and had the close encounter with the big female. It is also there that we had our lion honeymoon couple for a few days. Claude will take a nice jackal.

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Day 20: We decide that our best bet was to seat at the bait near the Tamarind tree, where we have that old lioness and a big leopard fighting with hyenas. The 2 old boys are in within the area, if they come to the spring, they should either pick up the drag (we always pull guts from strategic points to the bait) or maybe investigate any noises made by hyenas and jackals. The old lioness will come and feed, no big boy…
This is still our best option and we decide to come back the next morning.

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Day 21: It is 4:30 am when we seat in the blind in pitch darkness. The car leaves and all the night sounds are back to normal again. It is truly a unique experience to seat in the dark in lion country. 05:00 am, a lion is feeding on the bait in front of us. Can’t see and we can hear it. Then we get our first lion call in our back, probably coming from the spring about 3km away in straight line. It is a long deep call … got to be a big old lion…
Then on our left, some other lions call in the distance. Soon answered by that same lion behind us. The feeding has stopped in front of us. The call on our back is getting closer, this is probably the big boy we are after that is walking on our road. Some other lions are now calling from far on our right, we have calls coming from 3 directions now… something is going to happen, for sure…
All of a sudden, there is now enough light to see our surroundings. It is always very surprising how quickly it gets light or dark in Africa. The last call from behind the blind will take all of us by surprise. It must have been from 100 meters away. The lion is here, he will come to the bait. From where Matt seats, he can see the lion walking towards the bait. The big boy is going to eat and we will have a chance to confirm his age and hopefully take a shot… He suddenly turn left and walk between the blind and the bait, merely at 8 meters away from us! It is too rushed to confirm the age and for Claude to shoot. All we will have from that cat is a video clip of him walking pass the blind. It is now 6:38 am and if he does go to the bait within half an hour, chances are that he will wait until late afternoon to feed. 7am, 7:30am, he is not coming back…

We will try again that same afternoon but not even the lioness will show up…

The next day, on the way to the landing strip, we will see 2 big lions walking on the road in front of us. One of them was over 6 years-old…

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Claude came to Kizigo to experience lion hunting at its best. There is not much else we could have done to get him the true wild lion of his dream. Hunting is hunting, right? We’ll try again…

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