I booked this Lioness/Copper Springbuck hunt with HartzView Hunting Safaris, Jacques Spamer for 4 days. If time allowed, a Sable would be hunted. 3 days is the norm to track and harvest a lion on this 6000 acre lion hunting only concession.
Thursday August 28th,
I arrive in Joburg from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
I was met by Elliot who works with, Rifle Permits. I did a pre-approved permit since my connecting flight to Kimberly was only 2 hours, 10 minutes. Elliot took me to the SAPS office where I met Rifle Permits owners who walked me through the process. Everything went very smooth and there was no one else at the SAPS office.
It so happened that my flight to Kimberly was delayed for mechanical reason, so having my gun checked in by the deadline was not an issue.
I arrive in Kimberly, a small airport and Jacques was waiting. I did a simple rifle permit for Kimberly which was $30.00 US or 200 Rand. Also $30.00 when leaving Kimberly.
It would be very late arriving at lion camp which is a 4 hour drive north, so we stopped at Chiefs Steak House. Very good food, I had New York Strip and salad.
Along the way we met up with one of Jacques PH's, Olif. We picked up the tracker and Jacques clothing and headed north to camp. We arrived at 1:00 am.
Friday August 29th,
Up at 6:30, looking for my camera and I can not find it. When we stopped to pick up the tracker, I pulled my jacket out of my back pack for it was very cool along the road. I must of lost the camera here, because I had it in the Joburg airport when I showed my buffalo pictures to a PH I hunted with in the NWProvince in 2008. My whole Zimbabwe photos are gone.
The lion camp is a very nice 5 star luxury camp. Owned by Don, a doctor. Jacques has complete control of all lion hunting at the camp. Lion hunting is Jacques passion and it shows.
First thing Friday morning, we helped another PH from another camp and hunter Cory from PA hunt a Male Lion. This hunt was a one day last minute deal for Cory because the Male Lion needed to be harvested. The lion was found sleeping under a tree. He picked up his head when he heard us coming. Head on, Cory took his shot, the lion spun and started to take off. Cory was able to get another shot off and drop his lion, another shot for good measure and the cat was still. The first shot was not good and only broke out one of the lions incisors.
After lunch, we drove the roads looking for fresh spoor. Too late to track the large lioness through the bush, we decided to drag the roads with a large branch behind the bakke to clear the roads of all animal spoor made that day.
We then drug a stinky pig bait behind the bakke along the roads with hopes to pull the large lioness out of the bush for a evening meal. The bait was left laying along the road for the night.
Saturday August 30th,
First thing, we checked the bait left along the road. It was eaten by a Hyena.
We drove the roads again looking for spoor. These cats walk the roads at night while hunting. We found two sets of spoor, one large with pigeon toe paws, one smaller.
We started tracking the two lions that stayed in the thick bush. We tracked for hours only to see the lions a couple of times with out a shooting opportunity. Many times we lost the spoor in the heavy vegetation, but circling around and covering ground trackers and Jacques seemed to always find the spoor again. Very time consuming. We tracked many miles today.
Suns setting, so we dragged the roads with the branch to clear them. We then dragged a pig again and hung it high to keep it away from the Hyena. My hopes are still high.
Two days left now to hunt this very wary cat.
Suppose to go out earlier on Sunday.
Sunday August 31st,
Did not get out any earlier. Tracking all day, this lion is very keen, always staying ahead and out of sight. We only seen the large lioness once, then she's gone in a flash.
We have tracked this cat hard for 3 days and she has not feed.
It is getting late. Jacques decided if we are to get this cat we needed to get serious with the baiting to pull her out of the bush. We cleared the roads again of spoor. We dragged the roads many times with really stinky pigs kept wet with water to keep the smell fresh. We laid one pig along the road where we last saw the spoor and hung one in a tree out in a open field with a good visual, with hopes of drawing the lion to this bait.
We went in for a earlier supper. Jacques went back out to travel the roads with hopes the lion would feed. He would then radio the tracker and we would head to the active bait. When Jacques arrived, the lions where already on the bait along the road. He chased the cats away.
We arrive and tied the pig along the road to a tree so the cats would not drag it away. We backed up about 80 yds., set up the sticks and waited for the cats to return. About 20 minutes later a dark object is walking up the road towards the bait. It is a Brown Hyena, are rare sight. We had to chase the Hyena away so the cats will come to the bait. Shortly, the smaller cat crosses the road, then the large cat arrives beyond the bait. Jacques says, cat to the left, I take the shot. The cat growls and spins in place, a sign of a good hit I was told. Then it's quiet. We wait awhile. Now dark, we see and hear nothing.
To dangerous to just walk up to the spot of impact, we drive the bakke into the bush but found nothing. We then got out and found blood and bone. Too dark and dangerous to proceed, we again dragged the roads with the branch to freshen them and left for the night to return in the morning.
Monday Sept. 1st,
Back In the bush about the same time as the other days. We drove the roads looking for cat spoor. We found where the cat crossed this morning, found fresh blood and could see she was dragging her right front leg. We began the tracking process all over again. We pushed the lion hard and knew she was getting tired for she would lay down more often and we would find a pool of blood.
When tracking a wounded cat in thick bush you do not know where they are laying in hiding waiting to pounce on you. You can only hope for a roar or catch sight of them before they make their move. We must of tracked for a hour, on high alert.
The lion made this un-godly roar which stopped us in our tracks! Where is this cat?
Shean, the lion camp manager was along for the tracking and seen the cat from his side of the bush. I moved to his side at the ready encase this cat made a move. I caught a glimpse of the cat before she laid down behind the bush, growling and growling.
I had the tracker set up the sticks so I had a steady rest and waited for the cat to run or charge. For 10 minutes, I stood there, waiting with nothing happening. Finally Hannis my tracker, picked up a stick and threw it towards the bush, but falling short, nothing happened. Hannis then took a second stick and moved closer to the bush which is about 40 yards away. When the stick hit the ground, the cat came out of the bush in full flight right in my face. My nerve was steel and I laid the cat to the ground. One more insurance shot and the cat lay dead.
I had my video camera in my pouch, but being on high alert tracking this wounded cat, it did not cross my mind to get the tracking and shot on video. But, this hunt and charge are burned in my mind forever!
My trophy is 6 years old, 350 lbs. 8' 4" from nose to tip of tail.
Jacques passion is lion hunting. You will not go wrong booking a hunt with him.
We had lunch, I packed, settled my bill and we headed to Jacques's very up scale camp 2 hours south of lion camp for the rest of the day. We also stopped and looked for my camera again and found nothing.
We took a evening tour around Jacques hugh concession.
Tuesday Sept. 2nd,
Up at 6 am, took video of Jacques camp, had a light breakfast then off to Kimberly for flight back to the US. Smooth sailing home. Had a hour delay from Chicago to Sioux Falls South Dakota due to a missing keeper on the cargo door.
Being the lioness gave us a run for our money for 3 1/2 days of the 4 day hunt, I did not have time to hunt the Copper Springbuck or Sable. Thus, another trip to Africa.
"A Dream can be relived, again and again in Africa".