It seems like only a few weeks ago when Paul Lucas, Paul Himelrigh and Denny Lamb kicked off the season in early March with a hunt in the Umkomaas. About six weeks later we posted an update on the website regarding the progress of the season and with the Crusader Safaris season drawing to an end and myself and Chris about to pack the bags for a fall of deer and bird hunting in Northern Alberta its time to reflect on the back end of the 2007 season.
After a break in mid season, the pace heated up once again in early June with two groups in camp. Chris guided veteran African and SCI hunter Donald Shaum out of Indiana on an interesting hunt. Donald got a great Reedbuck grand slam, all three members of his slam making Rowland Ward which is the African equivalent of Boone and Crockett, truly an excellent achievement. A couple of smaller cats including a great Caracal made up a really good SCI hunt.
John Marek, Mark Knight and Ted Ashenbrenner headed into the Baviaansriver concervancy for their first African hunting trips. It was a pleasure to hunt with them and as always with first time hunters they took a mixed bag of species with some great horn quality.
The beg of July had Andrew and guide Scott de Villiers head North to Natal, the Umkomaas valley and the Drakensberg for a month while Chris spent the month of July hunting down South with a trip of the Cape wine lands and Cape town thrown in for a change of pace.
Doctor Paul Bambara had a great first African safari taking a great Gemsbok and well earned Bushbuck then taking on some of the sights of the Western Cape with wife Nancy and guides Chris and Melinda.
Around the same time Andrew and guide Scott where hunting with Bernie Wargo, partner Jay Hudson , young Bob Washington out of Fredericksburg Virginia and the Mitchell’s, Mike and Lori in Natal.
The month in Natal proved to be a challenging hunt but all the hunters where very capable and where duly rewarded for all the hard work with some really good trophies.
The highlights being the monster 19 inch Bushbuch and a beautiful 58 inch Kudu. These two trophies the 19 inch top ten Rowland Ward Bushbuck and the 58 inch Kudu that followed on some of the great bulls of the 2007 season as well as the 9,5 inch Vaal Rhbok taken in the snow covered Stormberg mountains made up the top end, numbers wise for the season.
As we have always said numbers like these are what keeps all of us, hunters, guides and outfitters out in the bush and its nice to know that our areas have the right mix of genetics and age class for these giants to crop up periodically, as trophy hunters we like to know that when everything lines up for us we might also bag one of these trophies of a lifetime.
The real heart of the season and the backbone of Crusader Safaris lie with the bulk of the animals taken while hunting and dreaming of one of these monsters. It is great to look back on the photographs of the season and see that most the trophies taken where old males past their prime and on the downhill slope while still displaying some good bone
With the season shutting down a little earlier than usual we found ourselves with a little time to build a new camp in the Baviaansriver Concervancy, something that has been planned and in the pipeline for a long time. Building out in the bush in the middle of nowhere is quite a challenge and this has been we have been building for about 6 weeks and are two weeks from being complete. I’m sure that when you get the chance to hunt out of the new camp you will agree that all the effort has been worthwhile and if there is a hunting camp anywhere in the world with a better view or warmer atmosphere I would like to see it. We look forward to hosting all of you and hunting out of this new camp in the near future.
Chris is over in the States meeting hunters, doing some marketing before the 2008 season and spending time with family. He heads to Canada to chase some big Mulie bucks in mid September and in November the veteran Whitetail guide will be putting some of Bearpaw Outfitting hunters onto some of the famous Alberta bruisers. The North had a pretty bad winter, the worst in a long time but talking to outfitter Scott Taylor the damage was minimal the big Mulie bucks that he was worried about have shown up again unscathed from the winter. When the old Whitetail bucks get their noses to the ground and start sniffing around some big Deer are sure to show up again as they always do around that time of year. Chris can be reached on his cell phone on 1971 4095615 at any time both in America and North of the border.
As I mentioned earlier I will only be coming north in mid September once the camp is done and all the loose ends are tied up. Another fall chasing migratory waterfowl around Alberta followed with some Deer hunting in Alberta and Georgia is on the cards for the fall. I can be contacted on email at firstname.lastname@example.org as I don’t have a cell number as of yet.
Good luck with the North American season, I am sure many exciting hours in the bush lie ahead and hopefully some good trophies as a reward for all the scouting and hunting. Looking forward to catching up with all of you in Canada, the States or early next year at the shows.
Andrew and Chris