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Welcome to Kingstone Deer Management's Story page. Here you will find stories that we have written from past experiences.

Click on a Title below to read the story.

Back to Africa

Out of Africa

An Invitation to Germany

A Scottish Stag for My European Friends

An American’s Tale

2008 Hunt in South Africa

Nduna Hunting Safari 2009



Out of Africa



Shortly after returning from our management hunt safari in April, 2005, Paul and I decided that we would return in 2006, for a trophy hunt.   Trophy hunts are considerably more expensive than management hunts, so it was important that we got it right in our selection of outfitter.   In 2005, we had hunted with an outfitter based North West of Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.   However, although we were completely satisfied with our visit to this outfitter, we felt that the expense involved warranted going out to several outfitters, to get their prices for our wish list.   One of these other outfitters had been recommended to us by an acquaintance that we meet at our local riflesmith’s establishment and who himself regularly hunts in South Africa.

In response to my enquiry, sent out to six outfitters, only two came back to me with any kind of realistic price, relevant to our financial status.   One was our first outfitter and the other was the company recommended to us by our acquaintance, met at the riflesmith’s premises.   This outfitter trades as Kei River Hunting Safaris and is based at the small farming community town of Komga, eighty klicks North West of East London, Eastern Cape.   Kei River Hunting Safaris is owned and operated by Andrew Renton and his family.   Their Hunting Lodge, which is also their home, is located some sixteen klicks out of Komga.   Andrew’s price for our package came in, all things considered, better than the same package from our previous outfitter and though we had no problems at all with the time we had during our first visit, the difference was such that we chose to go with Kei River for our 2006 hunt.   On that basis, the preliminary decision was made to go with Kei River, subject to meeting Andrew when he attended at one of our local game fairs, promoting his business.   As it turned out, I was unable to attend that particular game fair, so my buddy Paul went along to meet Andrew.

Paul was suitably impressed by Andrew Renton’s straightforward, honest manner and subsequently, the decision to hunt with Kei River was made.   All that was left to do was select the dates for our hunt.   (That was not really all that was left to do but it cast the die and gave us the event to look forward to and plan for.)

Nine months sounds like a long time but it really did come round fast.   I was working in my pub for most of that time, up to eighteen hours per day some days and seldom less than sixteen, which could explain why time flew for me but even after I left the pub, time didn’t exactly stand still.  

I didn’t have much to acquire for my trip but one always just needs that little extra piece of equipment, clothing, boots, etc. etc.   I’m sure that you all know what I mean.  

Last year, I took my Winchester Ultimate Shadow in .300WSM and my Sauer Outback, in .25-06 and had decided that these were the rifles I would stick with.   The scopes I had on these rifles were 3-12 x50 and they are just fine.  However, both scopes have fairly thick cross hairs and as many of the shots taken whilst hunting in Africa are in excess of two hundred yards, I found that the thicker cross hairs were obscuring more of the target that I was happy with.   A hunting acquaintance who would occasionally patronise my pub, informed me that he could get me similar scopes but with the reticule in the second focal plane, so the thickness of the cross hair would remain the same throughout the range of magnification and most of all, at a very reasonable price.

The scopes were bought and fitted and off we went to the range to sight the rifles in.   Below is a picture of Paul at the range.   Fearful of camera damage, my picture was not taken.

Paul had also decided to take the same rifles as he had the year previously, a Remington 700, in 7mm Remington Magnum and a Remington 700, in .25-06.   A reloading session was all that was left to make our preparations complete.

I had elected to take the following trophy package:

One Kudu; One Oryx; One Bush Buck; One Blue Wildebeest; One Warthog; One Baboon; One Representative Warthog.   £2650 inclusive of everything, including drinks, during the time spent at Kei River.   Circa $4770 at today’s exchange rate

Paul’s trophy package consisted of:

One Kudu; One Oryx; One Zebra; One Baboon; One Blue Wildebeest; One Warthog.

Then came a telephone call from an old oilfield Buddy, Iain, whom I met on Thistle Alpha Platform, North Sea, in 1978.   Iain is celebrating his fiftieth birthday this year so what better way to do so than with a plains Game hunt.   A quick E-mail to Kei River ascertained that there would be plenty of room to accommodate Iain on our hunt dates and the flights were booked.   Iain works on Sakhalin Island, Russia, on a five week rotation, so he decided to make the trip into a longer vacation by flying to Cape Town and driving round the coast to East London.   This drive is known as the Garden Route and it takes in much of the South African wine producing area.   Now I am sure that this was not a major factor in Iain’s decision to make the drive, at least not much, but I am glad that he did for in visiting the wineries, he acquired several bottles of first class red which Pail and I helped him enjoy during our time in East London after the hunt.

Iain did not have a rifle suitable for plains game so he had to visit his local gun dealer, who himself is a regular plains game hunter, to get kitted out with a suitable calibre rifle.   Iain chose that venerable round, the .30-06.   This calibre is not so popular in the U.K., though it is more than enough for any of our deer species.  

Iain bought a rifle made by the Belgian company, Dumulin and topped it off with a Swarovski scope.   Nothing else was left for him to do but wait and meditate on the onslaught on his liver, his visits to the South African wineries, prior to the hunt would occasion.

Iain’s package consisted of:

One Springbok; One Warthog; One Kudu; One Mountain Reedbuck; One Duiker; One Impala.

The necessary paperwork to allow us to take our firearms to South Africa was completed and collated and all was ready.   The paperwork is not too onerous but one has to ensure that it is filled in accurately or there would certainly be problems.

The sixth of July arrived and at 0400hrs, a colleague of Paul, picked us up and drove us to Manchester Airport, around sixty miles away.   We were flying with the Dutch airline, KLM, to Amsterdam, where we would connect for the flight to Johannesburg.   By a stroke of wonderful luck, St. Hubertus was smiling on us and we got two seats on a two seat row, which was much more comfortable than the standard three six three configuration.   The flight from Amsterdam to Johannesburg takes eleven and a half hours and I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t boring.   There are movies etc. but I never seem to like watching a screen on a plane.   So, as an alternative, I had a couple of gin and tonics, several glasses of wine with the meal and a Drambuie after.   I then slept a straight six hours.   Paul went through a similar routine and before we knew it, we were landing at Johannesburg.

We had arranged through the Kei River U.K. Agent, that for a fee of $60, he would have us met at the door of the plane and escorted through immigration and Customs, to complete the police formalities and get our temporary import permits for our rifles.   That did not happen, as the contact let us down.

Immigration formalities are painless anyway and once through into Customs, rifles are brought to you by security and one is escorted to the Police Office.

I must remark that although the inspection of the rifles and the granting of the temporary import licence were efficient and courteous, I was amazed as to how the police were dressed.   Those not in uniform looked more like Central Park muggers than policemen.   Hooded Jackets, jeans, sneakers and woolly hats seemed to be the order of the day.   Nonetheless, having been wished good luck by those guardians of justice, we were on our way to a small hotel, fifteen minutes away from the airport.

Bow Hunters do not require to go through any formalities and they are able to bring their hunting equipment in South Africa freely.

It was now 2230hrs and our flight on to East London was not until 0600hrs, so we had elected to spend a short night at the Airport Game Lodge Hotel, rather than sit around a closed up airport.

A couple of beers and a short sleep later, we were on our way back to the airport, for the one and a half hour flight to East London.   Travelling by air in South Africa with firearms is no problem and after check in, there was ample time for coffee before the flight.

On arrival at East London, Iain was first at the carrousel to meet us, before introducing us to our host, Andrew Renton.   Andrew then introduced us to the other two Professional Hunters (PHs) who would be working with us, Deon and Dave.   Andrew then went off to reclaim our rifles and baggage and having done so, guided us outside to where three pick ups were parked.   One client and one PH to each pick up meant that by the time we reached the Kei River Lodge, the ice was well and truly broken.

On the drive to the Kei River Lodge, we all stopped off at Andrew’s friend Karl Human, who runs a taxidermist business and who would do the initial preservation work on our trophies.   Karl, a friendly, outgoing and perceptive gentleman, immediately sussed out that we might be thirsty, so three bottles of Castle Lager were produced and we toasted to a successful hunt.   Karl’s shop was amazing, with all sorts of animals in various stages of presentation.   Here are some photographs.

An Eland.   The largest of the antelope species.

Iain admires the Lion

View in Shop.

Paul and I

P>


Elephant and Rhino

Having had a good look round and having finished the beer, we continued or journey to Kei River Lodge.

On arrival we were met by Andrew’s wife, Sharyn and Andrew’s mother Jill, both of whom were to make us feel very welcome.   They assured us that if there was anything we required we only had to ask.   We were then escorted to our various accommodations.   Iain and Paul were in the main building but I elected to stay in a traditional rondavel, a round one room building with a high thatched roof, containing shower/toilet area, sitting area and bed.   Perfectly comfortable.

Backing up a little, three days before leaving the U.K., I had had a niggling cough and ticklish throat with runny nose and eyes.   I had put this down to the extremely high pollen count we were experiencing, during an unusually hot spell of weather.   I had visited my doctor, who prescribed various allergy medicines.   However, before I left his surgery, he examined my chest, in case my symptoms indicated a chest infection.   Finding that I was a little wheezy, he also prescribed antibiotics and steroids, to be taken if a chest infection developed.   When I arrived at Johannesburg, I felt bad enough to start taking the antibiotics and steroids.

I was coughing fairly badly by now and getting out of breath but after an excellent brunch, we got dressed for hunting and went to the range to check the zero of our rifles.   This accomplished we joined our respective PHs, (I had paired up with Deon (whose day job is a graphic designer and who has the unusual habit of stubbing out his cigarettes on his wing mirror), Iain with Dave (whose day job is a pizza franchisee) and Paul with Andrew), and went off to hunt.  

I was to hunt for the blue wildebeest and this being a big tough animal, was recommended to take my .300WSM.   After a walk of around forty-five minutes, Deon located a group of blue wildebeest and having observed them through his binoculars for several minutes, informed me that a suitable bull was present within the group.

The terrain was not too difficult, acacia scrub and thorn trees, and mildly hilly with a few deepish ravines but it soon became evident to me that my chest infection would make this hunt much more difficult than normal for me.   The location of the group of wildebeest made it necessary for us to stalk downhill and way round to the left of the group, approaching them uphill and downwind.   All through the stalk, I was fighting coughing fits but eventually, Deon led me to a small bush, one hundred and twenty or so yards form the group.   I knelt down behind the bush and readied myself to shoot.

The group were pretty tight together and although Deon identified the target animal, it would not separate itself sufficiently from the group for me to take a shot.

When it did, I took the shot and heard a solid thump as the 180 grain Hornady SST bullet struck.   The animal did not go down and trotted off to the right, towards a thicket of thorn trees.   We followed the group until we saw the bull within the thicket.   However, I could not get another shot before it trotted off downhill towards a ravine.   Examining the ground within the thicket, a small amount of blood was found.  A dog was put on the trail but even though we looked till dusk beat us, we could not find the wounded beast, though there were many signs that it had indeed passed that way, slide marks and chipped tree fells, where its hooves had struck the fallen trees.   Paul and Andrew, who were hunting in another area of the property, had seen the wounded beast and were able to tell us that there was no exit wound and that the entry wound was some six inches behind the ribs.   It had not sounded like a gut shot, Deon, his tracker and I had discussed and agreed this, but it was.

I felt dreadful about wounding a beast and not finding it but it was dark now and all we could do was to return in the morning and start again.

We saw other species during the hunt.

Impala, Blesbok, Springbok, Nyala and Ostrich.   Here’s a picture of some Giraffe.

 Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Blesbok.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Returning to the camp, we met up with the rest of the crew, who commiserated with me, over a few beers.   Paul had not had a shot but Iain had taken a nice blesbok.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Dinner was soon ready and we attacked it with gusto, a spread of butternut squash soup (I had never tried this before, it was great), kudu pie, roast chicken, cauliflower cheese, carrots etc. and for those with a sweet tooth, home made lemon meringue pie.   All this was helped down by seemingly endless quantities of good South African wines.   After a short bull s**t session at the bar, I retired to bed, still more than a little upset with myself over the wounded wildebeest.

On day two, rising at 0500 hrs, I showered and went to find the coffee, prior to heading off to find the wounded wildebeest.

By this time, my cough had developed to a point where uncontrollable coughing fits were the norm.   Andrew’ wife Sharyn and mother Jill were most concerned for me and wanted to take me to a doctor in East London, an hour’s drive away.   I explained that I already had the required medication and I just had to keep taking it.   That aside, their concern for their guest was such that they procured for me some cough linctus which did ease the pain of coughing a little.   There was not much of this linctus left in the bottle, so the following morning, Sharyn drove to East London to get me some more.   When I offered to pay for this kindness, the look on her face made me regret doing so, as Sharyn had obviously followed her instinct to give help to another human being in need with no thought of expense incurred in doing so.   I will say no more of the many and caring kindnesses of Sharyn and Jill that I received during my period of illness at Kei River.   Let’s just say that I could not have received more genuine care from any hospital and that I had picked a good place to be ill.

After coffee, we returned to continue the search for the wounded wildebeest and though we had a dog and split into two parties, we searched for six solid hours before reluctantly giving up.   The consensus of opinion was that the beast had most likely laid up overnight and was now dead.  It would be found in due course, when its presence became more obvious.   That was little consolation to me.   I have not lost many beasts but those that I have, has each affected me greatly.   I feel that in losing a hunted animal, I have let myself down, in this case I let the PH Deon down and most of all, I had let the animal down.

Being distressed over the wounded wildebeest and not just a little by what was now a good solid dose of bronchitis, I would have happily returned to the camp.   However, Deon asked if I would like to go to another area, on the route back to the camp, to try for a kudu or a bush buck.   The bush buck was to be the highlight of my trip.   I cannot explain my attraction to this animal.   Maybe it’s because it looks like a bigger version of our roe deer but with much more attitude.   I don’t know.   And against my better judgement, I could not say no and off we went.

Having arrived at the farm, Deon introduced me to Andrew, the owner of the property, who allows Kei River’s clients to hunt there.   Andrew wished us good luck and we drove off to the area we would stalk.   During our initial walk, we saw three kudu cows and one bull, but only briefly.   We went on to see a bush buck ewe and ram.   Not being of trophy size, we hunted on.

It soon became evident that I was unable to move for long without going into a coughing fit and that a walk and stalk was no longer an option.   The area we were hunting was hilly with deep ravines, terrain favoured by the bush buck.   A short and steady walk of two or three hundred yards, found me on a vantage point, looking across a valley.   There Deon suggested that I stay and see what would appear as dusk approached.   I got myself reasonably comfortable, almost in the prone position, and settled, trying to control my constant urge to cough.

It wasn’t too long before we saw a bush buck ewe and working on the premise that where there are girls there are boys, felt that a ram would soon show himself.   Another ewe appeared and within minutes, a bush buck ram walked into a small clear patch in the scrub.   Deon checked the distance with his range finder and advised me that it was three hundred and twenty yards and said that if I was comfortable with that range I could take the shot.   The ballistic tables show that a 180gn bullet at 2836 ft/sec, sighted in at two hundred yards would strike 10.3 inches low at three hundred and twenty five yards.   I took the point of aim up from the shoulder, up to just below the top of the rams back and fired.   The ram wheeled round to his right, into the scrub, and as he did so, I saw his back end seem to slip off to his left.   There were large clear areas to his left and though we expected to see him emerge from the scrub there, he did not.   There was not enough light left to cross the valley and look for the ram, so we decided to call it a day and return in the morning.

On the way back to camp, we stopped to relate the tale to Andrew, the farmer.   We told him that we were sure the ram had been hit and arranged to meet him the next morning, when he and his dogs would help us find the ram.   After enjoying a couple of beers with Andrew and his family, we headed back to camp for an excellent supper.

As we were driving the last few klicks back to the camp, a pick up came up behind us, flashing the lights.   When it drew alongside, we saw that it was Iain and Dave.   Iain was grinning like a possum eating sh*t and when we stopped and got out to look in the back of there truck, saw why.

Iain had shot a Kudu and a warthog.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Arriving at the camp, Paul informed us that he had shot a Blue Wildebeest and here it is.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

As we were having our pre dinner beers, we met a Canadian hunter, Malcolm, who was hunting with his wife Zita and his son Damian.   They live in Colorado.

Malcolm had shot an oryx and a kudu.

After eating far too much of another excellent dinner, we hung around the Braie, helping our digestion by sipping scotch, till one by one we sidled off to our respective accommodation.

Day three at 0500hrs saw Deon and I ready to go and look for the bush buck ram and after coffee, we went back to Andrew the farmer’s land.   By the time we arrived at Andrew’s place, he and two of his friends and their dogs were ready to go.   It was decided that Deon, I and one of Andrew’s friends would go to the spot from where I had taken the shot, whilst Andrew and his other friend would go across the valley with their dogs to look for the ram.   When Andrew appeared on the hillside opposite us, we quickly pointed him towards where the ram had been standing when shot.   Andrew called out that he had seen blood and the dogs were sent off on the trail of the ram.   The dogs went off to the right of the spot where the ram was standing and tracked downhill and clockwise back to the left.   I had taken my Sauer Outback, in .25-06 and was standing watching, in case the wounded bush buck ram appeared.   Bush buck rams are fairly aggressive animals and a wounded bush buck is extremely dangerous.   They will not hesitate to attack a tracker or dogs and will poke at them with their long straight horns.   They are just the right height to stab a human in the upper thigh or groin area and can move extremely fast, even when wounded.   Many attacked hunters have had their femoral artery punctured or severed by these angry animals (Mind you, if someone had just taken a wounding shot at me, I would be pretty angry myself.).   Suddenly, there was a lot of barking and Deon shouted for me to shoot the ram.   I could not see the ram and reported back as such and offered Deon my rifle.   Deon again cried out for me to shoot the ram before it killed the dogs but I could still not see it and again reported so, offering my rifle.   Deon went to the truck and retrieved his own rifle, a .300 Win Magnum, loaded up and took a shot at the ram, about two hundred yards distant.   His shot struck it on the left rump and that took the ram’s mind off the dogs.   At least for a while.   By this time, Andrew had caught up with the dogs and took a shot at the ram with his .243, which went through the rams right ear.   His next shot hit it high in the back and the ram dropped.   When the ram was retrieved, my shot had severed its front left leg at the first joint.   Instead of the bullet dropping 10.3 inches, it had dropped more than 20 inches.   I have since chucked my ballistic tables away and will not take shots at more that two hundred yards until I make a physical check on the range as to what the bullet drops actually are.

This is Lagh Lagh, Deon’s tracker, in the bush.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Bringing back the ram.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Roebuck with Bush Buck Ram.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Bush buck on pickup tailgate.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

The second poor shot left me feeling even more disappointed with myself.

After the bush buck had been retrieved, Deon suggested that we try for a warthog.   We drove to the top of a hill, looking down onto a level plain where some cattle were grazing.   We could see several warthog amongst the cattle.   Deon explained the stalk we would have to make and although we had a fair walk, it was downhill and I would not have to walk back up the hill as Lagh Lagh, the tracker, would bring the pick up down to where we were after the shot.   Despite the walk being downhill and at a very slow pace, I could not control the coughing fits and regrettably I had to tell Deon that I would have to abandon the hunting and return to the camp.

The next day, day four, I had decided that I would rest up and advised Deon that I would not be hunting.   Whilst I was resting, Deon asked if I minded if he took Damian, the young Canadian lad out for an impala.   Of course I didn’t mind, so off they went and this was the result.

Well done Damian.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Deon, keen to get me back hunting, asked me if I thought I could sit up in a blind
and wait for a warthog.   Again, against my better judgement, I said I could and Deon went about collecting materials to set up the blind.   The location of the blind was to be in the centre of a round hut, which had no roof, but would afford us the required concealment.   When we arrived at the intended location, there were several warthog grazing around the round building, so we decided to try to stalk down to the pigs and see if I could get a shot.   I had taken my Sauer Outback, in .25-06 with me.   I had killed two warthogs cleanly with it during my previous trip and I felt comfortable with it.   We did stalk on to the pigs but I did not get a suitable shot, the warthogs disappeared and we went on to build the blind.

Deon set up four fifty gallon oil drums, with a sheet of three quarter plywood on top, two camp chairs on top of the plywood and we had our blind.   We must have sat there for two hours before we saw a warthog.   Regrettably, the position of our seats did not make for a shot and eventually, the warthogs moved off.   Deon suggested that perhaps it might be better if I stood at the door of the building, where a better view could be had.   I agreed and descended from our platform seat to the ground.   Around twenty minutes later, three smallish warthogs came into view and as I had one representative warthog to shoot, Deon picked out the beast to be shot, identified it to me and after a short stalk to get into position, I shot the warthog.   The warthog was hit hard but had disappeared into the bush and when we walked up to where the pig had been standing when shot, saw plenty of blood.   We followed the blood trail for about sixty yards when it ran out.   We were at a fork where one path ran off to the right, over a post and wire fence and another, off to the left and into the bush.   Deon took the right path first and as we were searching in that direction, Andrew, the farmer, arrived in his pick up.   He had watched the shot from the top of the hill and thought that the pig had run along the left fork and into the bush.   His Jack Russell terrier, Spot, soon found the animal, twenty yards away and dead.   It had been shot through the liver.

Here it is.

Lagh Lagh brings it back.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Spot found the pig.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Still feeling pretty dreadful, we made for camp.   Jill had arranged a typically African dinner for us and for her staff to dress in traditional costume.   Alas, although I enjoyed the food I managed to eat, I excused myself and went to bed around 2000hrs, advising Deon that I would not hunt the following day.

Staff in traditional dress.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story


Waking up the following morning, day five, feeling fairly well rested, when Deon asked if I would accompany him to East London where he had some chores to take care of, I said yes.   He took me to visit the local gun shop, owned and operated by the family of Shane, another of Kei River’s PHs, took care of his chores, met Iain and Dave and Andrew the farmer for lunch, at East London’s best seafood restaurant.   The excellent looking seafood platter was totally wasted on me, as by this time, I was feeling as bad as I ever had and only wanted to get back to my bed.   After a quick trip to a Bow hunter shop, to ascertain the progress on Dave’s new bow, Deon drove me back to camp, where I repaired to my bed.

The next day, day six, I awoke feeling a little better.   I had said that I did not wish to hunt that day but by lunchtime, I said to Deon that I wouldn’t mind going to the range for a few shots.   Having gone to the range and made sure that my .300WSM was placing the shots where I wanted them, Deon suggested that we go on and try for a Kudu.   That we did but the kudu, also known as the grey ghost of Africa, was just that.   We saw none.

Time was now running short, I had four animals left to hunt and only two days left, so on day seven, I rose at 0400hrs and with Iain, Dave and Deon, made a two hour drive to an area called Hunters Hoek.

Hunters Hoek.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

This was to be where the kudu could be found.   As I was still coughing a lot and was constantly short of breath, I was driven along tracks into the bush, stopping regularly to spy the land.   After about an hour, we spotted a small group of kudu cows, some three hundred and fifty or so yards away and there to their left, some thirty yards, was a good bull.   Deon and I dismounted and stalked on to the bull.   At two hundred and fifty yards, Deon asked if I would take the shot, but struggling to control my coughing and my breathing, I asked to stalk closer.   At two hundred and twenty yards, I set up the sticks and put my scope on to the bull.   I had put the cross hairs one third of the way up the front leg and fired.   The bull looked up and around and took off.   I had missed.   The shot had been observed by Deon and by Dave, sitting up on the track.   It had gone over the top of the animal.   I was gutted.   I could not believe that I had missed so badly but at the same time, was glad that I had not wounded that fine bull.   Deon and I returned to the vehicle and it was then that I made the decision that I would not continue to hunt.   Perhaps I should have made the decision to stop hunting earlier, as a hunter who is not in control of his or her breathing has a much higher chance of wounding.   Despite the assurances of Deon and Dave that I was not the first hunter to miss a kudu and that we would find another bull, I stuck to my decision not to continue to hunt.   I felt that I owed it to the intended quarry that if my shooting ability had been compromised by the bronchitis, I should not shoot.   My illness had taken the pleasure of the hunt from me.

I spent the rest of the day watching Iain, who shot an Impala.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

This impala had been wounded some months before and Iain finished off the wounded animal.

Iain had already shot a warthog

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

but I asked him if he would like to shoot the trophy warthog that I had left in my package.   He would and did and here it is.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

On arriving back at the camp, it was a little cold, so we went into the main building where Jill had a fire lit for us, in a comfortable lounge.   The walls were lined with trophy heads and the floors scattered with skins.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

After dinner, I invited Paul and Iain to shoot the rest of my package, a kudu and an oryx.   Paul took the kudu and Iain traded the oryx for a bush buck ram.   I left it that I would accompany Iain and Dave on the bush buck hunt if I felt up to it.

Waking up on the morning of day eight, I did feel better.   The amoxicillin and Predisilone had finally kicked in.

After coffee, Iain, Dave, Deon and I set off in search of a bush buck for Iain.

It too just over an hour to drive to the hunting area and we had not driven a hundred yards into the property, when Dave, driving the pick up in front stopped and signalled for us to stay put.   He and Iain got our and Dave spied up the hill to the left as Iain loaded up his .30-06.   They disappeared up the hill and about twenty minutes later, we heard a shot.   We waited about ten minutes before we started off up the hill to join Iain and Dave.   When we reached Iain and Dave, Iain told me that on leaving the vehicle, he and Dave had spied a shootable bush buck ram and stalked up the hill to where a shot was possible.   Iain took a shot at the animal but was sure that he had cleanly missed.   Professional as they are, Dave and Deon took off into the bush with Dave’s dog, just to make sure.   No blood was found so back to the truck we went.   We drove further on to the property till we arrived at the owner’s (Cecil) house, where we stopped to advise that we had arrived on the property.   This property was a mix of hilly bush and cultivated land, where tomatoes and butternut squash were the main crops.   In fact, the cultivated area was very small compared to the bush part of the property.   Cecil was driving on a tractor, back towards the house, so we waited to make our “good days”.

Cecil mentioned that he had seen a couple of good rams on the hills above the cultivated area, so on that advice, we drove towards the area he indicated.   I was standing in the back of the pick up and decided to stay there, as Iain and Dave walked towards the higher ground.   They had only gone about two hundred yards when they stopped.   Dave had seen a bush buck.   Regrettably, the bush buck had seen Iain and Dave and decided to make himself scarce.   The truck was parked on a track, next to a fairly large thorn tree.   Behind the thorn tree was a strip of tall grass, about half the size of a football field.   As Dave and Iain approached the back of the truck, we who were sill on the truck, saw a bush buck ram, not twenty feet off to the left.   It had been feeding behind the thorn tree all the time we had been there.   Very quickly, it became evident that the ram was in some distress.   It was walking very slowly, head down and with a pronounced limp.   We signalled to Dave and Iain, who by this time were close to the truck.   Ian saw the ram and took an immediate shot, dropping the ram instantly.   When we walked over the short distance to retrieve the ram, we saw that it was emaciated had been wounded twice previously, once in the shoulder by an arrow and once high on its back by a gun shot.   Both wounds were infested with maggots and the ram must have been severely distressed.   We were pleased that we were able to bring it to a much more humane end.

We then proceeded to the high ground on the edge of the property, where Dave, Iain and Deon, went off to look for the two rams that Cecil had advised were there.   I stayed on the truck again, enjoying the sunshine.   The truck was parked by the road and the occasional pick up truck (known as bakkies) or other vehicles would pass along the road.   One pick up which had passed, stopped a couple of hundred yards down the road, turned and came back towards me.   I remember thinking that I would have been slightly more comfortable with my old S&W 59 in my pocket.   South Africa is not dangerous outside of the big cities, at least no more so than anywhere else, but I was on my own and anyway, our Government took my old 59 in 1997, along with everyone else’s handguns.   However, I digress.   I need not have been nervous for when the pick up came to a halt beside ours, a gentleman of around sixty years old, got out and introduced himself.   He had deduced that a stranger sitting alone on the back of a pick up, on his neighbour’s land, was part of a hunting party and was probably a foreigner and felt that he should make me feel welcome and at ease.   We chatted for about forty-five minutes, until he remembered that he had been on his way to complete his morning chores.   Having wished me good luck and a happy stay in South Africa, he shook my hand at least three times before he drove on.   That probably wouldn’t have happened too often, in my own country.

Maybe around half an hour later, I heard two shots and maybe twenty minutes later, the other guys returned.   Iain had seen two rams but had unfortunately missed both opportunities.

By this time it was lunchtime and we repaired to Cecil’s hunting lodge, nearby to his house.   Whenever a Kei River guest is away from camp over lunchtime, an ample and delicious packed lunch is prepared by the kitchen staff.   Cold meats, salads, fruit, sandwiches etc.   Always much more that could be eaten by a simple glutton like me.   So beside Cecil’s hunting lodge, next to his pool and looking over a small enclosure in which the lodge is located and which accommodates a pond, we watched some of Cecil’s pets.

A springbok.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

A bush buck ewe.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

That got more.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

And more.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

And even more curious.


Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

As lunch went on.

A young bush buck ram could not be enticed closer.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

After lunch, we took a short nap before resuming our bush buck quest on another section of the property.   Though we searched for another three hours and saw five or six rams and several ewes, Iain only had one opportunity for a stalk.   Dave and Iain stalked downhill, trying to get on to a fine ram that had two ewes in attendance.   Watching from afar at the top of the hill, through my binoculars, I could see the ram clearly.   However, from the ground, Dave and Iain could not and eventually, had to abandon the stalk.   Just before dusk, we parked up near to where Iain shot the wounded bush buck that morning, and walked again towards the high ground.   He had walked around two hundred yards when he saw a ram and in failing light, shot the ram at a distance of two hundred and seventy yards.   A real fine shot.   Iain was delighted and so was the rest of the party.

Here is the ram.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

It was time to go back to camp for our last night at Kei River.

The drive back to the Kei River Lodge was one full of anticipation as it is a Kei River tradition that the last night’s dinner is a seafood dinner.   It was also the best I had felt in myself since arriving and I had an appetite.

Arriving back we made for the shower.

Iain at the truck.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Before dinner, there were drinks and snacks at the braie.

Deon and Dave.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Paul and Roebuck.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Paul and Iain.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Jill, Sharyn and Zita.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

The seafood dinner, like all the other Kei River dinners was excellent and of course I ate too much and drank more than sufficient good South African Red.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

After dinner, the bull sh*t went on for longer than usual.   No one had to get up early.   Malcolm, the Canadian guy and his family were returning to Colorado the next day but their plane was not till mid afternoon and Iain, Paul and I were spending three days in East London, before returning home, Iain via Cape Town and Paul and I via Johannesburg.

Iain, Paul and I had invited the Kei River Team to join us for dinner in Post London, two days later.   They did, of course and then it was our turn to look after them   I think we did and I was so busy doing so that I only took a couple of pictures in the restaurant.   It was right on the sea front, looking at the Indian Ocean, but you can’t see that.   Trust me, it was there.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Iain had taken a springbok and a mountain reedbuck, along with another pig.   I did not see it and so cannot describe the hunt but here are the pictures.

Mountain Reedbuck.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Warthog.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

I did not see any of Paul’s hunts but I can let you see the pictures.

Paul’s first kudu.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Paul’s baboon.   Paul was proud of this one.   The first shot hit but didn’t bring it down.   His second did.   On the move at almost two hundred yards.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

His first bush buck.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

And his second.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Second Kudu.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

His zebra.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

And his warthog.

Kingstone Deer Management Services - Out of Africa Story

Paul and I spent two more days in Johannesburg, before we returned to U.K.   Shopping at Sandton Mall and eating at the Butcher’s Shop and Grill took up most of our time.   The Butcher’s Shop and Grill is a must if you ever visit Jo’burg.

We had a great visit to Kei River Hunting Safaris.   Andrew and his team could not have looked after us better.   We are already talking about what we will shoot next year.   Another friend, Greg, a bench rest varmint man, has said he will come too.

Anyone else????????