Back from superb African management and trophy hunt trip with Nick Bowker. The start was in 2019 when Nick posted a 20-animal cull hunt. My buddy and I booked for March 2020. Well, we all know what happened, so we went for 2021.
Thanks to our Prime Monster, traveling was too risky. Now, in 2022 we finally put it together. My self and my Great Nephew and buddy arrived on the 25th of May in Port Elizabeth, where Nick was waiting for us, and off to Bedford, we went for our African hunting safari.
We arrived at Nick’s home, a very British-style, rambling 170 yr old home. Nick has put a lot of effort into upgrades and renovations—beautiful, comfy accommodations with great views.
We unpacked and checked the rifles. Once everyone was happy, we went out for a little afternoon drive for orientation. The rest will follow!
So as we left Nick’s place, I was impressed with the number of animals. Very few high fences and an amazing country. Open pastures to hills and valleys with heavy brush. As we came over one hill, we stopped to glass, and the 1st animal we spot is a large Sable. Not far away was another large Sable that was wide. As this had become an add-on Trophy for me, I immediately got interested.
First, hunt on our Management and Trophy Hunt.
Nick said let’s keep looking, as one of his PHs keeps seeing a large Bull hanging around one of the main herds. A little farther and we spot another large Sable. As we are glassing, Nick says damn. He has broken 3-4 inches off one side. As I already have an excellent Sable, I am more than impressed with this old warrior.
Nick offers me a discount, and the chase is on. Exit the Bakkie and work into position. I am shooting my 6.5-06 Custom I built. We finally get a decent shot at 275 yards; he buckles and then comes running toward us.
I shoot again, and it is a hit but not much reaction. He stops, and I put the 3rd round in. He goes a short way and is down. Finishing shot and done—old Bull shredded ear and battle scars. I couldn’t be happier at the start of our African management and trophy hunt.
Loaded and returned to Nicks for a refreshment, an excellent dinner, and a couple more refreshments. Not bad, considering our official hunt didn’t start till tomorrow.
About Nicks African Management and Trophy Package
So Nick’s 20-animal Cull package is five species- 4 of each Warthog, Springbok, Impala, Mountain Reed Buck, and Blesbok. 3 Culls of each and one trophy. The amount of animals is phenomenal, and Nick and crew make each trophy you take Proper. Todd and I were hunting two-on-1 with Nick for the 1st seven days until Nick’s Bakkie blew its brakes.
The only problem was his backup was a single Cab, as his other double cab had an engagement with a Kudu the week before and was in the body shop. My great-nephew was on a seven-animal Trophy package and hunting with his PH Nadine, a fine young lady from the area whose father is also a PH, and she is carrying on the family tradition. 30 yrs young but very skilled and a 9 yr Veteran as a PH. Call my great-nephew is a young Texan of 20 who grew up hunting and shares an outfitting Operation in the family.
20 Animal South African Management Hunt Package
1 Hunter $6000 2 Hunters $5000 each.
Eight days of hunting are all-inclusive for the following 20 animals. No day fee & inclusive of accommodation and meals
- 4 Impala Rams
(1 Trophy Ram)
- 6Springbok Rams
(1 Trophy Ram)
- 4 Warthog Boars
(1 Trophy Boar)
- 2 Common Blesbok Rams
(1 Trophy Ram)
- 2 White Blesbok Rams
(1 Trophy Ram)
- 2 Mountain Reedbuck Rams
(1 Trophy Ram)
- Add any Kudu Bulls at $400 per cull
- Add any Trophy Animals from our Trophy Fees Price List.
I was happy as I wanted to spend some time with Call hunting. I brought him because he is one of the finest young men I know, and it was a privilege to share the trip with him. Memories to last us forever. So Nick asked Nadine if she would mind if I were added to her duties. No problem, so off we went.
Call was down to a Gemsbok and a Zebra, which was an add-on. We went to another property near Bedford—a well-managed cattle ranch. The farm tracker hopped in, and off we went.
It constantly amazed me how these trackers/farmhands knew every little 2 track on the property. I had shot a Cull Fallow Deer stag here two days earlier—lots of hills and beautiful brushy valleys.
As we approached the area we were to hunt, we bumped into a herd of Fallow Deer. The amount of game was phenomenal. I could shoot one more as a Cull. Nadine suggested a stalk as they seemed not very spooked. I declined as I wanted Call to get his Gemsbok.
The Bakkie parked on top of a tall hill. Nadine and Call headed for the valleys. They hadn’t been gone 5 minutes when out of the bottom comes a nice Fallow Stag and stops at 40 yards. I advised him he should move on as I can be tempted easily.
Gemsbok Trophy Hunt
Two and half hours later, we hear a shot followed by a call on the radio. I was to bring the Bakkie down as Call had his Gemsbok. We had no sooner crested the hill when a large herd of Gemsbok was calmly watching us. They had been within 4o hundred yds of the Bakkie all the time.
It took a while to get down to call Nadine. After a difficult stalk avoiding other animals and working the terrain, Call took a very old female with worn-down teeth, one shot at 90 yards. Call was very cautious of his shots and was proud of his patience.
We were heading to the skinning shed when we spotted a herd of fallows. A short stalk and I got a 225 yd shot. Hit a little back and not the best angle. No worries, as Nadine sent Flip her Jack Russel and had the Fallow bayed in no time. After a finishing shot, we went to the skinning shed and back to the Lodge for lunch. Fabulous lunch of Kudu burgers and chips a short nap, and we were off for my Trophy Impala.
Trophy Imapala Hunt
As we were heading to the property, we spotted a herd of Springbok. As we glassed, Nadine and Call both said there he is. There was an excellent male that had outwitted them on three previous stalks.
After some stalking and careful locating, I was on the sticks. 256 Nadine says. One shot and the Springbok is mine. Beautiful animals. We carry on and start spotting Impala. 1st group doesn’t like our company.
Nadine says we need to get to the valley, where we have more cover. We start spotting Impala moving thru the brush, and a good Ram is located. We begin to stalk, but we constantly try to sort out which.
Nadine suggests we continue as they pass by us and see if they continue uphill. As we sneak down, I spot our Ram in the bush. I whisper to Nadine, and she says that’s him. One for me to beat the PH!
After he clears the tree, he turns full frontal at 100 yards. One shot off the sticks and we are headed back for the skinning shed, followed by several adult beverages, appy’s, and a great dinner of sirloin steak cooked to perfection by Nick—another great day on the Eastern Cape on our African management and trophy hunt.
Kudu Trophy Hunt
Call’s main target animal was a Kudu. I believe it was the second day I had passed on the morning hunt. Jet lag and pre-trip work had me exhausted. Todd and Nick headed out, as did Call and Nadine. As Todd and Nick were spotting, they saw a great Cape Kudu on a steep brushy hillside.
Call, and Nadine went down the Cliff and steep hillside while Nick and Todd moved along the edge of the Cliff. The call was made as Nadine and Call were about 20 mins away. They hustled over, and the Kudu was still feeding. Nadine and Call made a stalk, and Call had to shoot at a steep downhill angle. At the shot, the Bull disappeared, but only several cows ran out.
The Kudu was spotted, and the location was radioed to Call and Nadine. Call’s admiration and appreciation for this trophy were worth the whole trip. He thought if that were all he got, his trip would be complete. Boy, was he in for a surprise?
Zebra Trophy Hunt
The following morning Nadine, Call, and I headed out for his add on Zebra. Another ranch close to Bedford. Beautiful property and buildings were immaculate. They had also added a guest lodge for holidays and hiking clients.
Not sure how big this property was, but it was huge—it also held some monster Kudu! The 1st herd of Zebra we spotted had a lot of mares with young foals, so we left them alone. We picked up the property tracker and headed for the hills.
We found a second herd that had a good stallion. Off Call and Nadine went. These Zebra were spooky and took them down a valley, up a steep hill, back down a ravine, and onto a flat where Call finally got a full-frontal shot off the sticks at 175 yds. One-shot and DRT. Good job, young man. Beautiful Zebra with good markings. Loaded and headed back to the Lodge by 11:30 for lunch and nap.
African Management and Trophy hunt
After a nap, we left a little early for the afternoon hunt. With Call having completed his list, we were focused on finishing my Cull/Trophy list. I still had Warthog, Mtn Reedbuck, and Blessbok on my list. But we had seen some super Gemsbok, so away we went to add another trophy.
I got to the area close to Nick’s and found a herd immediately. In a bushy valley, but were able to have a good look. Nadine said there is a huge Bull and some old trophy Cows. As soon as they spotted the Bakkie, they got nervous. I got out of sight and gave them time to calm down. I started a stalk but got spotted. Too far for a shot, and getting nervous.
Nadine said we need to back out as we don’t want to spook them. She said the Bull was huge, and she wanted to get him. Hmm, very focused PH=large trophy! Nadine said we could get ahead of them with the Bakkie. Well, almost they were already there. Back off again, but this time we get ahead of them. Start a stalk but get spotted again.
My Monster Gemsbok
By this time, Nadine had got me revved. I had already had the lecture on shot placement and how tough these animals can be. We don’t want to be tracking a wounded Gemsbok till dark. More revved, thanks.
Nadine suggests we go to the top of the hill as the Gemsbok will be coming out on a flat just over the hill where we can get a good look. The shot might have some distance but lots of time for a calm, well-placed shot. Off we go and stop at the top of the about 200 yds from the edge looking over the flat. Exit the Bakkie and grab the sticks. We don’t make 10 ft, and the Gemsbok is on top of the hill.
We freeze, and they walk up in two groups. Look at the Bakkie and are not concerned. Nadine quickly spots the Bull and points him out to me. I am no Gemsbok pro, but I am a little concerned. He has very thick horns but is long for a Bull. Nadine assures me it is a Bull.
About 180yds but is in a group of 4 or 5. I am waiting for a clear shot. Finally, clear and broadside. One-shot. Solid hit. It makes a small circle and is broadside again. Nadine says shoot again at the same time, and my gun goes off. Drops right there.
I always get an adrenaline rush after shooting an animal and would quit if I didn’t, but I hadn’t had the shakes since I was 25. I look over at Nadine; she is shaking as badly as I am. Call is trying to film it too. We all start laughing at each other. Call says Uncle Graham, and I didn’t think you ever got that excited. After 10 mins of calming down, we go over to see our trophy. 42″ Bull and not as old as we thought. He was well into his prime but not old and in great shape.
Blesbok African Management and Trophy Hunt
This morning we head out to hunt Blesbok. We had seen several herds in the previous days, but man, were they spooky. We arrived with Todd and Nick in one Bakkie and Nadine, Call, and I in the other. The idea was to split up and set up for an ambush as the trackers moved them around. Five minutes later, we got a call from Nick to get our butts over to them as they had spotted a large Warthog, and I was the only one left without a trophy.
Nick’s knowledge of his properties is incredible. He had got in front of the Warty to cut him off. When he turned back, I was ready. He stopped for a moment, trying to decide which way to go. Quick shot and a solid hit, but he took off running and knowing how tuff these critters can be. I tried a running shot but only got a termite mound. In mid-stride, he just dropped. Proper Boar, as Nick would put it.
African Management and Trophy Hunt
We carried on for Blesbok. The plan was for Todd and Nick to set up in one spot for an ambush and Nadine and me in another. We set up by a pond, and our sniper’s nest was a bank that Warthogs had dug out. It seemed like a good plan, but nobody had told the Blesbok. As the trackers tried to move the Gemsbok, they did, and twice they were within range and too bunched up for me to take a shot. After 2 hrs, we called it a day and searched for some culls.
Nadine found me an Impala. This was my best distance shot at 458 yds. DRT. After lunch and a nap, we head out for more culls. We go thru the hills and find a group of 4 Mountain ReedBok. Nadine says shoot that old female. 200 yards but not the best angle; hit but takes off over the hill. We looked for a while, and I said I don’t think it went this far. We start back to the start, and Nadine turns Flip loose downwind. 2 minutes and Flip has found it. Very tall grass and it is hard to see. Thanks, Flip.
Head for another area and glass from the hilltop, move down and glass, and when we reach the bottom, we spot 2 Warthogs. As we glass to more come on the same opening but closer. We head out to stalk them. As we move closer, we spot a Duiker in a green patch of grass—nice Duiker and on my trophy list.
We work closely to get a good look, and Nadine says let’s go back and check the Warty. As we start back, another Duiker comes out and is immediately chased by the 1st. Nadine says that was an excellent Ram and was I willing to sneak around and forego the Warts for a bit. You bet, and slowly we move thru the flat from bush to tree to bush. As we both are about to clear a tree there, he is 50 yds and feeding,
We back up to the tree, and Nadine says can you shoot thru the bush. Bang, she jumped and said damn, you’re fast. I had made her jump, and she lost sight of the Ram. Did you hit it? I don’t know, but there is a little white patch in the grass where it was standing. Beautiful Duiker Ram. When we returned to the Bakkie, Call said we looked like we were drunk with all our back and forth and wobbling around. Off to the Lodge for Appys, beverages, and supper. Life is tough here on the Eastern Cape!
African Management and Trophy Hunt
2nd last morning. I still have 2 Trophies on my Cull Hunt. Blesbok and Mtn Reed Buck. Off we go in search of Mtn. Reedbuck. The short drive behind Nick’s house, we spot an excellent Ram. Three hundred twenty-five yds, solid rest with the 6.5-06. 1st shot is high, 2nd shot is to the right, and 412 is just over the top.
There was some wind, but not that bad. I had the 06 riding in the back for the last few days as I wanted to use my 7×64 and make a bullet comparison. Maybe it got bumped; perhaps I was having a bad morning. I’ll figure it out when I get home. As we continue, we spot numerous groups of Reedbuck, but Nadine says no exceptional Rams.
Off to glass some distant hills. We spot a group in the valley that has an outstanding Ram. We get spotted, and they head for the open top of the mountain. Nadine says we are going to back out and come back after lunch as they will come back here to bed as this is their little valley. OK? As we approach the same area, they are all bedded in the same little valley. Back to the Lodge for lunch, nap, and head out early.
Mountain Reedbuck Hunt
We try a different approach and get to a spot where we can glass. Some are lying down, some are moving, and Nadine spots the Ram lying down behind a bush. She says we need to wait as he will get up and give us a clear shot versus trying to stalk them with too many eyes. We are watching and waiting when I catch movement out of the corner of my eye.
I swing over, and it’s another Ram. He runs 35 yards and stops broadside. Nadine taps my shoulder, and bang. DRT. She looks at me and says damn, your fast. Guess she’s never hunted coyotes in Alberta or Saskatchewan. He had been bedded 80 yards from where we were glassing. Not sure if he was as big as the one we were watching, but he still went over 7″.
Drop him off at the skinning shed, and we head out for a cull of Springbok and Warthog. 10 mins later, a Cull Springbok runs out and stops at 125 yds. Last Springbok down on to find a Warty. The afternoon had turned windy and cool. Only saw 3 Wart’s off and running. I cruised around some more but did not see much. We headed back for the evening.
Unfortunately, this is the last day. Todd, Nick, Nadine, and I head out for our Blesbok. We split up when we arrive. Trying to get up on the Blessbok is difficult. The wind is blowing, and they are spooky. Todd manages to snipe a Trophy as we move them around. I am on them several times, but either to group up or take off before I can get a shot. Finally, get a long shot well over 300 and make a bad shot. Spend another 20 mins before I get another distant shot that stops him. We move closer and a finishing shot. We keep going for my last Blessbok Cull, and I drop one at just under 400, which requires a finishing shot—a beautiful white female.
Warthog African Management and Trophy Hunt
Todd got his cull, and we were off. I still had 2 Warthog Culls left. Nadine had said that morning when we left that it would not be a good Warthog day as it was cool, overcast, and windy. As we were driving back, we started to see Warty’s. The sun had come out, and it had warmed up a bit. We were driving thru open pastures, and every time we spotted Warthogs, they took off with no shot. We came to a little Valley that went for a mile or so. Nadine suggested we walk as the Warthogs should be heading for a midday Siesta.
We had walked about 50 yds when we spotted a pig in the valley. As we glassed him, he got into some brush and didn’t come out. A little farther and a Sow with piglets. Then another 100yds, and I said, Nadine. 175 yards to our right, headed for the valley, was a big boar. Up went the sticks. As I got him in the scope, I noticed a large tusk. Damn trophy. Then he turned and had broken off his other tusk. I heard shoot. About 150 yds, one shot and done. Huge old Boar with scars and a calloused face with trophy warts as big as his ears. Loaded in the Bakkie and on the way back to the Lodge, we spot another group, and Nadine picks out a female and done in one. Back for lunch and the end of our African management and trophy hunt.
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