Gary's Gun Notes #44 (part 3)

The long drive to Rooiport went off without a hitch. We enjoyed the constantly changing scenery as we drove. One minute it looks like you are in Wyoming with the long rolling hills, the next in northern Arizona with the sharp hillsides and mountains in the distance. We go thru areas that look like southern Georgia with heavy weeping willows along streams. We got into Rooiport in mid afternoon and pitched our gear in our tents.

In Rooiport we stay in large tents. These are tents that have wooden floors with zebra skin rugs covering the wooden floor. They have bathrooms in the back of the tent and each tent sleeps 2 hunters easily. We dragged our gear into the tents assigned to us and immediately got our guns out. We still had a few hours left in the day and wanted to do some hunting. 

As we hit the field we immediately began to see the large assortment of animals that Rooiport is known for. Large herds of mixed species of animals, with blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, zebra, impala, springbok, blesbok, black wildebeest and much more by the hundreds. In a couple of areas there are what they call "pans" which are long flat areas that look like they were ponds or lakes many years ago. The grass is high in these areas and hundreds and hundreds of animals are scattered across the pans.

We mostly drove that afternoon to let the guys get the lay of the land. I was the only one that had been in Rooiport before, this being my 4th hunt in this area. For the rest it was an eye opener.

As we drove in the land cruiser Jason, Bill Firman and I were getting an eye full of wild game. Sean Harper was in another cruiser with his PH. Jason and Bill were our hunters. I was along to video. My chest cold I had picked up in Baviaan when we got soaked and then damn near froze in the back of the cruiser was getting steadily worse.

The next day was bright and clear as most of them are in Rooiport. A great day for hunting. Unfortunately not for me. My cold had turned into a racking cough that wouldn't quit. Knowing all I would do was scare away the game we were stalking I decided to stay in camp and try to get rid of the cold. And of course some of the best action would happen while I was in camp. The second group of hunters arrived in camp in the early afternoon. That group brought our group of hunters to 10. Among them were...

  • Woody Seiders...378 GNR Encore, Ult 410 revolver and 375 H&H rifle.
  • Bill Springer..375 H&H rifle
  • Tracy Marshall..510 Hunter revolver, 378 GNR encore and 375 H&H rifle.
  • Brian Tonnacliff...375 H&H rifle.
  • Shawn Deremer..378 GNR Encore, 475 Linebaugh African Hunter.
  • Anthony Ransom...8mm mag Encore rifle, Magnum Research 500 S&W.

Among the first group we had...

  • Bill Firman..378 GNR Encore, 338 GNR Encore, 510 GNR revolver.
  • Jason Parr..416 GNR Encore, 338 GNR encore, 470 Nitro Ruger #1.
  • Sean Harper..Professional Hunter 475 maximum revolver, 410 GNR Encore, 375 GNR#2 encore.
  • I had my destroyed 338 GNR encore, 378 GNR encore and 280 GNR encore.

Among the group we had 6 rifles, all but one was a 375 H&H, 6 revolvers, and 12 encores. 

On our first full day hunting in the new camp Jason got on a huge eland and after a long stalk took him with his 416 GNR. Bill spotted a large blue wildebeest and decided it belonged in his trophy room. They did a nice stalk on him and Bill took him with his 338 GNR. On the way back into camp they ran into a large herd of red hartebeest and Bill collected his second Rooiport trophy with the 338 GNR. 

The next day was another cool and clear day. Against my better judgment I went with the guys even though this cold still had me by the nuts. Today Bill has his 378 GNR with him as he saw several large gemsbok yesterday and felt the 378 was a better choice. This was a good move for Bill as he took a very nice gemsbok with his 378 the first few hours of the day. Several nice Kudu showed themselves but Bill just never could get on them before they disappeared into the heavy brush. In Africa, being a good shot is a must, but being quick is even more important. The animals there are smart, so smart, and you have to be a bit smarter and quicker. This is why I constantly tell my guys to practice shooting off sticks and practice shooting quickly. Being pin point accurate is not as important as being quick and reasonably accurate. There are very few animals in Africa that require a one inch group at 100. 

After lunch we went back out and again began seeing Kudu. Jason tries one but like Bill, just couldn't get on him in time. We begin seeing herds of cape buffalo and Bills hope of taking a big one is getting closer to becoming real. We spot a huge sable but on closer inspection find he is a one horned animal. he is huge but all the minerals that would go to making two good horns are now making one huge horn. We just enjoy watching him.

Soon after seeing the sable we saw a large roan but he is too far away for us to really begin to see what a large animal they really are. The other hunters were also beginning to bring in the game. In my 11 hunts in Africa, Anthony Ransom brought in the first giraffe I had ever seen taken. A huge old bull. They literally had to quarter him just to get him in the truck. That will make one impressive mount for Anthony. 

The next day was like the rest, bright and clear. Our April is, to me, the best time to hunt Africa. It is our early spring but it is fall in Africa with cool mornings and warm afternoons. Bill got on a big old warthog and stalked him and finally took him with his 378 GNR. Jason spotted a red hartebeest and decided that he wanted to take a big animal with a 470 Nitro. After all how many of us can say we went to Africa and hunted with the old 470 Nitro. Jason took his hartebeest with the 470 nitro and a nice trophy it was too.

The next day Jason and I both were still down with that racking cough and both stayed in camp. Bill and John Abraham went out for roan and sable. These are huge animals, the size of a big bull elk. They got on both during the day and Bill got himself a couple of outstanding record book animals, both with the 378 GNR. 

The next day we all decided that colds or not we were going out. We spotted one of the herds of cape buffalo and John said there was a big bull in there. We all piled out and started our stalk. Within an hour we came up upon the big bull and Bill got in a shot with the 300 grain solids in his 378 GNR encore. At the hit the big bull was off and running. John sent a 475 Jeffery #2 round at him from his double rifle as the buffalo faded into the heavy brush.

Following the blood trail proved harder than you would think. The buff seemed to just fade into the brush leaving only a small spot of blood every few feet. But John's trackers are second to none. Those goys can track a cat over lava rock and the buff was soon back broadside to us again. This time Bill hit him with a good shoulder shot. But like before, the buff turns and runs off. This time John sends 2 475 Jeffery #2 suppositories up his ass. 

Within another 30 minutes we come up on the buff again and he makes a short charge, only to fade back into the brush. John and Bill again both put a bullet in him. Finally the buff decides to make his stand. He is in some head high brush 6 paces from us (John measured it later). He makes a short charge and John hits him again with the 475. I am standing elbow to elbow with John filming this magnificent beast. One of the trackers has grabbed Bill by the arm and dragged him behind a tree, just in case. It is just too dense and thick here for 2 shooters and this buff has decided he isn't going to run again. 

As John and I stand there, he with his 475 and me with a video camera, I would have felt a bit better with my 510 on my hip. We stand there waiting. Finally John says for me to stand there and keep the bulls attention. I knew John had this bull figured out and the thought that the bull might do harm to me never entered my mind. I have hunted in too many places and too many situations where there was a bad boy in front of us for me to ever doubt John and that 475 of his.

John eased from my right in front of me to my extreme left. He had gone behind some brush so the bull didn't see him. He was still grunting and doing those little mock charges they always do. He was just gathering up his strength for one last charge. He knew it, John knew it and I knew it too. It was now up to John to get into position before that happened. As John got into plain sight of the bull and grunted a couple of times to get the bulls attention, the bull turned his head and looked John straight in the eye. John figured it was time to end all this foolishness and put a 475 in the base of the bulls skull, putting him down for keeps. Bill had himself a great buffalo and had taken it with his handgun, what else could you ask for?

We loaded the big bull onto the cruiser and went back into camp for lunch. It's amazing what you can get accomplished before lunch. That afternoon Bill got a very nice Springbok and a huge eland with his 378 GNR. We got on a big kudu but couldn't connect with it.

The next morning we were up and out as soon as possible. Our hunt was coming to an end and we still had animals to hunt. Bill got his Kudu at about mid day with one shot from his 378 GNR. In for lunch, Sean Harper joined us as Jason was finished hunting and I was along for the filming. That left 2 hunters, Bill and Sean. That afternoon we hit the pans. Sean had asked to play with the 280 GNR during the lunch break and was so impressed with it's accuracy that he asked to use it on the rest of the hunt. That turned out to be a good decision for Sean. 

That afternoon Sean took 2 more animals with the new 280 GNR including a large record book (probably the new #1) blesbok with the 280 along with a nice steenbok. Bill continued his rampage taking another springbok at long range and a very nice black wildebeest, both with the 378 GNR.

The next day, our last, Sean took another large critter with the new 280 GNR, this one a very nice red hartebeest. Bill and Sean both had a good afternoon continuing to rack up great animals with the 280 GNR and the 378 GNR.

The next day was the roughest as it was time to pack up and head home. As Bill said during all this, "I would like to stay another week, but I will be back, if not in 2007, then in 2008 for sure". Each of the guys were on the same wave length, One and all they were hooked. Hunting Africa gets in your blood. To me there is nothing else like it on this earth. Even after being there 11 times, I can't wait until my next hunt there. And I can tell the feeling is the same among each of these FOGs. If any way possible, good Lord willing, each one of them will be back hunting in the wilds of Africa.


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