South Africa’s Grey Ghost

10 10 2013

This post was originally published on Ladies in Camo’s website at http://ladiesincamo.com/lictoth/2013/06/20/south-africas-grey-ghost-diane-hassinger/

We traveled several miles from the lodge, to an area that was known to hold big kudu.  They are known as the Grey Ghost, and they certainly lived up to their name.  We would catch fleeting glimpses of their horns glistening in the sunlight, then they would be gone.  Several times we tried to stalk.  Once we came close enough that when they sensed our presence, they almost ran over top of us fleeing.

The following morning we were again going to search for an elusive Grey Ghost, when we spotted a trio of males in the distance.  We slowly and methodically closed the distance to 80 yards.  At that point I braced my gun and took a shot at the biggest male.  That is almost an oxymoron statement; of course I would shoot the biggest one!

The 2 smaller ones turned and ran back the way they had come, but my buck forged ahead, crossing into a tangle of mesquite type bushes.  Everyone was so certain I had had a perfect shot that we took off at once to find him.  There was no blood, not even a drop that I could find, but everyone was still confident.  Sure enough about 40 yards off of the trail laid my kudu!

I don’t understand what the physical differences are from our North American animals, I had heart shot this kudu, and he didn’t leave a blood trail, and my guide and tracker were at no point alarmed by this.  Your emotions can run the entire gauntlet of feelings in just a few moments of hunting; the elation of a good shot, the disbelief of no blood trail, the fear that your animal will not be found and the elation again when your trophy is found.

Diane with her very real Grey Ghost, aka Kudu

Diane with her very real Grey Ghost, aka Kudu                               Photo Credit:  Diane Hassinger

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South African Preparation with Safari Press

21 03 2013

This post originally was published on Ladies in Camo;  http://ladiesincamo.com/licpr/2013/03/20/south-african-preparation-with-safari-press/

I have a South African hunting trip coming up soon, so I have been doing my best to get prepared.  Safari Press publishes some great reference items for this trip, including; The Perfect Shot, The Perfect Shot Mini Edition, The Perfect Shot Plains Game Targets, The Perfect Shot Big Five Targets and Ask the Namibian Guides Book.

the perfect shot

I started studying The Perfect Shot books, by Kevin Robertson, as soon as we decided we were going to make the trip. The kill zone of the South African animal is somewhat different than what we are used to in our North American animals.  I wanted to make sure that every shot I take will be placed properly for the cleanest most ethical kill that I am capable of.  There is a lot of good information in these books also, regarding the habitat, anatomy, sexing the animal, calibers of gun and care for the cape following the shot.  This book also comes in a Mini Edition, which while it does not have the volume of information as it’s big brother, it has the animals pictures, along with their ghost view, which allows you to see all the vital organs positioning, so your shot will count!  Plus the mini edition can be packed much easier, and will be going with us for reference at the lodge!

I practice shooting year round, so I have confidence in my shot placement, my guns and my ability.  Safari Press and Kevin Robertson have made it possible for you to take that one step further.  There are sets of targets that allow you to shoot the plains game or big five animals of your choice.  These targets, like the books, show the picture of the animal on one side, and after you shoot you turn the sheet over to see what organs your shots would have come into contact with.

I practiced with the Springbok target, I set up 39 yards away, which should have simulated a real shot of about 100 yards.  That is the distance our professional hunter said would be the most common.  They give you different ranges to simulate different distances.  I shot the picture side 5 times, and when I turned it over, I have 5 heart shots!  Right where I wanted to be!  We will be practicing on all of the targets in the weeks to come, so we will be hunting prepared.

shooting reviews 176shooting reviews 177

ask the namibian guidesThe Ask the Namibian Guide book by Diana Rupp, features a lot of pertinent questions asked directly to a host of professional hunters.  Topics are diverse, and include packing, gun caliber, size of hunting grounds, local attractions, what to expect during the hunt and even whether you can wear camouflage during your trip; a lot of outfitters request you do not.  It was nice to see the cross reference of opinions.  Now I feel I can use the information they gave, and make an educated opinion of my own.  I will be leaving the camo at home, since I want my clothing to do double duty, both as street clothes and as hunting clothes.  All of the camps offer laundry services, so I will not need to over pack.  I do still need to check with my outfitter pertaining to the electrical converter, does he supply one, or do I need to bring my own.  This book, brought up points I may have not considered before.

I am so glad I started early to educate myself on hunting in South Africa.  These products from Safari Press helped tremendously, and the targets provide some fun and confidence that I can now take down my trophies cleanly.

If you are planning a first time trip to South Africa, or are a seasoned traveler there, you are going to want to add these books to your library and the targets into your shooting schedule.  They are all a small price to pay to make sure you have a hunting trip of a lifetime!

The Perfect Shot by Kevin Robertson  $65.00

The Perfect Shot Mini Edition by Kevin Robertson  $17.95

The Perfect Shot Plains Game Targets by Kevin Robertson $12.95 (kudu, impala, springbok, warthog, and wildebeest)

The Perfect Shot Big Five Targets by Kevin Robertson $12.95 (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, and elephant)

Ask The Namibian Guides by Diana Rupp $34.95

All of these, and more, can be purchased at http://www.safaripress.com/

Stock Photo Credit:  Safari Press

Photo Credit:  Diane Hassinger