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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.
“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.
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.”
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/).
Spiral-horned antelope are large and elusive antelope characterized by outrageously impressive spiralled horns in the males and lovely camouflaged patterns in the females. 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. The spiral in the horns is a result of a growth pulse. At certain times, the horn material will grow faster and thinner and at other times thicker and slower, resulting in spiral horns. Here follows a couple of tips on hunting these magnificent species:
The kudu tends to browse in the early morning and late afternoon. It usually rests during the heat of the day. Hunting kudu can be extremely challenging. It is very sly and extremely elusive with exceptional senses. It will be easiest to look for spoor around water holes as they drink regularly and will never be too far from water. There are several methods that can be used when hunting kudu. One must check likely feeding areas in the early morning hours, and stalk.
It also recommended that one ambush the kudu’s likely feeding areas at daybreak as the bulls return to higher ground and cover. At midday, you can lie in wait by the water, as they are regular drinkers. In addition to these techniques, consider tracking if the ground permits, or try still-hunting in thick cover. Hunting kudu with less than 7mm or .270 caliber rifles would not be recommended.
The Cape Eland is southern Africa’s largest antelope, and also the largest spiral-horned antelope. Eland tends to be nervous, taking flight at the first sign of danger. This could make hunting extremely difficult, as they are difficult to approach and to therefore get within shooting range. Hunting Eland with the right rifle is also of paramount importance. Many Eland are taken with lesser rifles, but the .375 would not be considered overkill! A well-placed shot are very important. A few inches to the left or right with a lesser caliber may make for a long day of tracking or even the loss of a wounded animal. The easiest way to hunt eland is by chance encounter while hunting other game. Ensure that you have a quick follow-up shot, as he will not go down easily.
To be continued… see part 2