Monthly Archives: May 2015

  • Horseback Hunting In Namibia

    I was faced with a pressing problem - there was a tiny little prehistoric-looking animal called a dik-dik required by Safari Club International to qualify for my African 29 Grand Slam, a long-held dream of completing. Now there six different species of these diminutive little creatures recognized by SCI but they all seemed to require lengthy and rather expensive jaunts into the plains, deserts and/or jungles of the Dark Continent to acquire. Enter the Damara variety...

    IMG_0335 Damara Dik Dik

    Named after the peoples that inhabited most of central Namibia prior to the mid-19th century, this little creature could be hunted a short flight from Johannesburg, South Africa,  so my outfitter Jacques Senekal / Africa Maximum Safari made arrangements for Johnny Schickering, owner of Namibian-based Agarob Safaris to meet us in Windhoek where we'd spend a week chasing them about the thornbush.

    IMG_1641I've been on many hunts that Jacques arranged so my (his) PH Walla and I met Johnny at the Windhoek airport and lit out on a three-or-so hour drive to a farm where they were reported to scurry about in great numbers. What I failed to plan on was nearly breaking my big toe right out of the chute, however. Stubbing my barefoot rather briskly on the one small step-up to my room almost immediately after arrival let me know right away it was bound to be an interesting hunt.

    As usual, Jacques (and, as it turned out Johnny) had done their homework very well - we had the little bugger sorted out within a couple hours on the first morning out - so Johnny suggested we light-out after lunch to his farm (cattle ranch) and see what other kind of table fare we could bring to bag from the back of his horses.

    335 yards from the tip of the muzzle is a zebra that doesn't know it's retiring in Florida soon.

    We were greeted at the Agarob Safari lodge and homestead by Johnny's lovely wife Mariana. As we discovered this operation is very much a family affair with Johnny doing the guiding and Mariana the hostessing and cooking. And the entertaining. And the bags of frozen veggies for ice packs on sore toes. Man, those sure did help! Good thing we were hunting on horses...

    The SOP at Agarob is to have Johnny's wranglers head out into the hills with the horses well before dawn while we enjoy a leisurely java or two with breakfast. Grab the rifles and hop into the Land Cruiser for a hour's worth of 4X4'ing to the horses, then mount-up for the day's hunt somewhere on Johnny & Mariana's 37,000 acre mountain haven. By taking the truck the hunters save a few hours of riding and can get right down to business when they get there, bit of logistical genius if you ask me. Great opportunity to catch a bit of the Zzzzzz's too.

    If you want a monster gemsbok, this is the place to be.

    The hunt itself went great, collecting a couple of Hartmann's mountain zebra, pretty much an exclusive to Namibia, and a nice bull gemsbok. In case you didn't know, by the way, for some reason the plains game in this area are real monsters, like South African game on steroids. On top of that they are all free-ranging, no high-fences or game feeders.

    Kudu, Steenbok, Klipspringer, Warthog, Black and Blue Wildebeest, Hartebeest, Blesbok, and Springbok, are also roaming free on the ranch so it's be pretty easy to make a very fruitful week or two out of the whole experience. One particular moment I recall was sitting on horseback hunting in the Namibian mountains, and actually pinching myself to be sure it wasn't a dream.

    IMG_1737 Note the unique tan coloring on the Hartmann's zebra.


    But one thing I'm absolutely sure of, it certainly was, and is, a dream come true.

  • The Africa 29 Bucket List


    IMG_1819 Stocky on horseback in Namibia

    I recently returned from a 28 day trek into some the wilder portions southern Africa in pursuit of not only Namibian, free-ranging plains game, but also into Zimbabwe for a shot at the elusive leopard as well as an elephant to complete not only the Big Five but also the SCI African 29 Grand Slam. But first a little back-story...

    I have been focusing my hunting Africa for two years now following my return to health after a fairly bad motorcycle accident that left me essentially unable to walk more than a 100 yards on my right knee for about 5 years (2007-2012). I had some ground to make up so I made a promise to myself that if and when I recovered I'd go on two major hunts annually for the five years, making up for the years I was hobbled. It'd also be a great opportunity to put our goods to the test.

    When the exchange rates started falling Africa got the nod - with completing the Africa 29 (taking representative animals from 29 different categories including the Big Five) became the goal, something no one to my knowledge has ever accomplished in under two years, and with certain reasonable exceptions due to trophy prices and availability, the goal was to have every animal score well enough to make it into the Safari Club International Record Book.

    On April 14th, 2015 the quest the 29 was completed in 1 year, 11 months and 10 days (710 days) with a grand total of exactly 40 animals "making the book." Of these nine have been officially ranked by method in the SCI Top Ten including the largest lion taken in Africa in over five years. Well over 90% of them have been one-shot kills, while on the flip side just one animal was wounded and lost.

    IMG_1615 Damara Dik-Dik / PSS-134 Stock

    Suffice it to say that it has been not only an adventure but perhaps even more importantly quite a number of lessons have been learned from both successes and failures. I'm finding the knowledge gained from harvesting about 40 animals with a rifle and a dozen or so with a crossbow, animals ranging in size from the tiny Damara dik-dik to the biggest game on the planet at distances ranging from 10 yards to over 500 yards, is invaluable - much has been learned using our industry's more current firearm innovations to boot! This is certain to influence not only our product line-ups but also the advice that we will be passing along to our valued clientele in the blog posts to come as well as on the phone and in response to your emails. It also encompassed the development and refinement of two specialized rifles for the variety of tasks at hand, all using upgrades that can of course be purchased right on this site and with the exception of the barrels, installed on your kitchen table.

    (If you'd like to chat with me directly with any specific questions just ask for Stocky and reference this post.)

    In the upcoming post I'll take you along with on the Namibian horseback hunt for  Hartmann Mountain Zebra and some huge gemsbok; following that into Zimbabwe to accomplish the "impossible" - leopard and elephant on the same two-week excursion. Along the way we'll discuss the reasoning behind my choices of rifles and cartridges as well as the stocks, bottom metals and optics chosen specifically based upon the weaknesses uncovered in the previous four safaris, do please do stay tuned...

    Warm Regards,

    - Stocky

    P.S. Here's a mock video trailer of the leopard hunt my PH Walla Albertse actually composed in the Zimbabwe bush on his IPhone... (IMG_2020_420)

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