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A Legend of a PH – Johnny Vivier

Johnny Vivier entered the hunting industry as an apprentice PH in Zimbabwe in 1978 and has hunted ever since.  Being a PH runs in the family.  Johnny started shooting with a pellet gun, at the tender age of 5 years, under the watchful eye of his father.  He shot his first animal, a Roan antelope bull at the age of 7 with a 30-06 rifle whilst on Safari with his dad in Zambia.  His first dangerous game specie was shot at the age of 10 years – a rouge Buffalo bull in Zambia – that had been mauled by Lions and was chasing the villagers away from the waterhole.  According to Johnny, he knew from that day that he too, will one day become a Professional Hunter like his father.

Dangerous game

“I love hunting Buffalo most out of the dangerous game animals, especially Bulls that are in herds where cows, that have calves, are present.”  Johnny also feels that hunting Kudu bulls on foot is his specialty out of all the antelope species.  He says that he has taken on average about 15-20 trophy bulls per year with his clients spanning over a period of 30 year throughout Southern Africa. The magical mark of 60+ inches being broken only 11 times!!  He uses the same old open sighted .458 Ruger bolt action as a backup.  It holds 3 rounds in the magazine with 1 up the spout.

Family Man

Although he loves his career as a PH, Johnny is also a family man and treasures his wife Beverley and his daughter, Kelly.   “Before Kelly was born, Bev would go with me on every safari, to help transport clients to and from the hunting areas and in most instances Bev would handle the catering and camp for me as we were a team.” 

Hunting Highlights

On the topic of hunting highlights, Johnny had this to say: “I would say the very first time that I actually stalked up to an Elephant Bull knowing that … I … Me … Myself … was about to shoot my first Elephant at only 18 years old. I had only ever viewed these enormous land giants on foot at a distance, or within the safety of my Dad’s hunting truck.” 

Johnny feels strongly about quality hunting and to make the client at ease.  “As a PH, you want to teach the client how to hunt in Africa; to show him the little things in the bush that we as PH’s take for granted, which means so much to the client. Explain to the client why your hunting vehicle is rigged the way it is; teach the client about skinning, salting, boiling of horns and trophy care.  As a PH stand tall that you have completed yet another quality hunt and know that you have just set the stage for a return bout with the same client, which is what it is all about!!”

Johnny – The Legend

Johnny is a PH with vast experience.  “I was very fortunate that back in the early 70’s, I was able to go on safaris into countries like Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. It was during that time, that I was able to view game in numbers unheard of today and see some incredible hunting areas. I fondly recall certain experiences like watching three huge, heavily manned Lions walking together in Mumbwa Zambia.”

Johnny Vivier joined Wintershoek Safaris 25 years ago and has since been an integral part of Wintershoek.  He is currently in the USA to meet new and old clients.  If you are interested in meeting this legend, please let us know, so that we can put him in contact with you! 

(Information used from johnnyvivier-professionalhunter.co.za/about-me/around-camp-fire/).

The Talk of the Bow Hunter

When hunters talk about bow hunting, arrowheads, strings and sights come to mind.  Bow hunting is an age-old method of hunting that already started during the ice age.  Primitive civilization used this method to feed themselves and to protect them from dangers.

But bow hunting is not just pointing a bow and shooting an arrow.  It is a fine art that perfects with time and persistence.  Bow hunting can also be described as a humble and patient kind of hunting. 

This method of hunting is widely used around the world.  America and South Africa being two of the biggest countries making use of this method, may it be hunting or as a sport. 

Bow hunting in South Africa can be extremely challenging and at the same time, intensely rewarding.  All of the plains game species of South Africa can be bow hunted. Even dangerous game, like the Cape Buffalo and Hippopotamus, can be bow hunted in South Africa. In contrast to rifle hunting, where one is able to shoot effectively from ranges in excess of 200 yards, archers usually take shots from 2 yards to 40 yards. This, however, depends on individual ability, the target animal – regarding body size, type of animal and accessibility to animals, the bow strength, terrain, arrow and weather.

 

Bows and draw weight

Three types of bows are legally permitted in South Africa, namely the compound, re-curve and longbow. The compound bow being the choice of most hunters who pursue game animals of South Africa. The minimum draw weight required for hunting plains game in South Africa is 50lbs. The minimum draw weight permissible by law when hunting dangerous game such as Lion, Buffalo, Hippo, etc is 80lbs.

The hunter should be comfortable with his/her equipment.  Enough time should be spent on the practice range honing your skills before the start of your safari. This normally makes the difference between a well-placed shot and a day spent tracking a wounded animal. Calmness and self-confidence is also a huge factor especially if you are a first-time bow hunter in South Africa.

 

Broadheads

Of the three main types of broadheads, namely fixed blades, removable blades and mechanical expandable blades, the fixed blades, have proven to be most effective in pursuing African game, but each hunter will have his or her own preference.

 

Blinds

A variety of blinds are used from which to ambush animals. These range from elevated blinds in strategic areas to ground blinds. Tree blinds are placed strategically along game paths or in areas where trophy animals are most likely to be encountered. Ground blinds are normally in close proximity to waterholes, ensuring a high success rate during the early morning and late afternoon.

 

Planning your safari regarding duration and time of year

A bow hunting safari should normally be longer than a rifle hunting safari.  The reason being that it takes more time and persistence.  It is ideal to bow hunt during the winter months of South Africa which are from late May to early September.   Water sources are limited during this period and game concentrations around waterholes greatly increase the success rate of your safari.

 

If you are a bow hunting enthusiast wanting to come to South Africa to hunt truly magnificent animals, do not wait too long! Being under the African sky, feeling the sun on your face might just be one of the best and most memorable things to experience and remember.

Wildlife Photography Workshop

We held our very first Wildlife Photography Workshop at Karreekloof from the 8th to the 12th of November 2017.  We had great times and everyone enjoyed learning and practicing their skills under that guidance of our Professional Photographer.

The Workshop

All novices and semi-professional photographers were welcome.  The participants had an opportunity to relax and enjoy nature, whilst enhancing their photography skills.  The workshop focused on practical experience and shooting – lots of shooting.   It also focused on specialized topics such as different lens, composition & motion techniques, depth of field etc. In addition, come learn about Adobe “Creative Cloud” Light Room vs Photoshop, back-up and photo management and much more. We all worked closely together, sharing knowledge and experience.   We also got the chance to learn more about Milky Way Photography under the guidance of our Professional photographer.

Here are some of the photos that were taken.

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Hunting Spiral-Horned Antelope Part 2

Spiral horned antelope are elusive antelope characterized by outrageously impressive spiraled horns in the males, and lovely camouflaged patterns in the females.  Previously, we looked at the impressive Kudu and Eland.  If you’ve missed our first article about Hunting Spiral-Horned Antelope Part 1, you are more than welcome to read it.  Only the males have horns, except in the case of eland where both sexes are horned. The most common species of the spiral-horned antelope found in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa are Kudu, Eland, Nyala and Bushbuck.    Here follows a couple of tips on hunting Nyala and Bushbuck:

Nyala

The Nyala and Bushbuck are very closely related. They are water dependent and therefore have to drink daily. They tend to graze during the cool hours and even at night, resting during the heat of the day. The techniques used for hunting Nyala associates closely with the techniques used for hunting kudu.  An ambush when the antelope approached the feeding areas and water holes, can be recommended. If tracked and pushed hard, like most antelope, it will become curious and stop to look back at his pursuer. This gives you an opportunity to take the shot.  Rifles of less than .270 cannot be recommended. The .270 and a good shot placement will certainly get the job done. The various 30 calibers, would be an even better choice.

Bushbuck

The bushbuck is the smallest member of the spiral-horned antelope. It is primarily a browser and feeds during the night or early morning and late afternoon on leaves, grass, branches, flowers and fruit.

Still-hunting can be very productive, or one might try moving quietly through the bush, probing the dense cover, always being aware of the wind direction. It is recommended that you hunt the bushbuck with a 7x57mm, or a 30 caliber rifle. You will probably be shooting through thick cover. Shot placement is extremely important. Place your shot so as to penetrate and pass through the chest cavity. You do not want to wound it because, for his size, it can be extremely dangerous. A wounded or cornered bushbuck is apt to be very aggressive and will not hesitate to charge. If your wounded bushbuck escapes to dense cover, which he will certainly try to do, be very cautious in your pursuit.

The elegant spiral-horned antelope make for beautiful trophies and is definitely a must for all hunters that come to hunt in Africa.