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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/).
From a Professional Hunter’s point of view – Hunting at our new area, Karreekloof.
Over the past two years, a lot has been done with regards to making a dream come true for Wiaan van der Linde and Wintershoek Safaris.
This has been done in the form of the famous and historical Karreekloof that has been bought by Wiaan from the Wright family that owned the land since 1882. What first struck me, was when I realized that Karreekloof was the first and only trading post between Cape Town and Johannesburg (1000 miles apart) before the Boers and English started developing central parts of South Africa. Talking about some history…!!
Over the last couple of years, a lot has been done to recreate what was then a sheep farm into an expansive piece of wilderness area teeming with wildlife. A total of 6300 + head of game has been reintroduced from large game reserves to recreate what it used to be before development took place in 1881.
A state of the art lodge has been recreated out of the original buildings that were on the farm. Because of the great amount of history and the fact that most materials were imported from England by sea, Wiaan decided to renovate the old buildings by keeping the original Dutch Holland style.
From a Professional Hunters point of view, I think we would all agree with the fact that we want to give our clients a “Wild Africa” experience. Unfortunately, that is not always the case with smaller game ranches all over South Africa and Namibia. That is most certainly not the case at Karreekloof as you’ll have the opportunity to hunt on 112 000 acres, that is teeming with wildlife. (The long-term plan is to expand it to 250000 acres.) The trophy quality is unsurpassed to most areas I’ve had the privilege of hunting before… by far!!!
The whole idea behind Karreekloof is to create something that is unique! Unique with regards to the size of the hunting grounds as well as trophy quality, overall numbers of game, the quality of lodging, great food, the road infrastructure that’s been put into place and the overall traditions that has been kept since the late 1800’s as well as the total experience one will have whilst on safari at Karreekloof. From the serious and avid hunter to a Mom and Dad that wants to bring their kids/family on their first safari, I strongly believe that Karreekloof has what it takes to create those special moments and memories.
Combined with what we already had, Linksfontein Lodge, Gamagara Lodge as well as Thuru Lodge, I now believe that we, as a team at Wintershoek Safaris, are running one of the largest, most diverse and highly respected Safari Outfits in South Africa.
To end this letter, I would like to encourage everyone that’s interested in coming on a hunt of a lifetime to make Karreekloof your first choice.
Once again, I walk with my head held high and wear the “W” with pride on my chest.
Yours in hunting and conservation,
Yvan Nieuwoudt (Professional Hunter)
Hunting is not just going out into the bush and shoot the animal. Hunting is hard work. Your knowledge and skill will be tested to the utmost extreme.
There are of course various institutes where you can sharpen your skills, but most of your knowledge and skills would have come from your dad or grandpa. From your young days you would be out hunting with dad, observing, learning… And when the time is right, get your opportunity. But if you did not have this opportunity and want to start hunting now, here are some pointers on getting started:
In order to do this you would need a gun. Do not go out and buy one. Rifles are expensive and you don’t want to spend your hard saved money on a rifle and then later decide that hunting is not for you. It would be ideal if you knew someone with rifles. That person can then also give you some advice and pointers, especially on gun safety. You can also go to your local shooting range. They will help you and there are usually various courses that you can also do. Learn about guns and how they work, and as mentioned learning about gun safety is the most important! The more you practice, the better you’ll get.
You will probably not know where to start. Get in contact with a hunting association that is dedicated to Conservation through sustainable utilization. One such organization in South Africa is CHASA (The Confederation of Hunting Associations of South Africa). There aims to represent the hunter in securing the freedom to hunt. This is achieved through promoting sustainable ethical hunting practices through leadership and advocacy of all matters related to hunting and the freedom to hunt. Associations like this will be more than willing to help. In the States it is very similar. Take advantage of all the help offered.
Buying a rifle
When you feel that this is you, then buy yourself a rifle. Before you can do this you first need to get a firearm license. You will need to undergo training at an accredited institution and obtain a training proficiency certificate. You must successfully pass the prescribed test to prove your knowledge of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 as well as the prescribed training and practical test regarding the safe and efficient handling of a firearm at an accredited training provider. Once you have obtained the competency certificate, you can apply for the firearm license at your nearest police station. You need a license for every firearm that you possess. (This is how it works in South Africa).
Hunting is one of the ways to get as close to nature as possible. Get out of the busy life in the city and enjoy nature at its very best! Good luck and remember, safety and ethical hunting always comes first.