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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.
There are many different rifle calibers and makes out there. It can sometimes be a very difficult and confusing task to pick the right one.
Here are a couple of tips on which rifles might be better for different hunting situations in Africa:
Big Game Hunting
“This topic will be debated for many years to come. The best possible answer is to bring the gun that you are the most comfortable with and that you feel most confident shooting. The rifles you intend to bring along are subject to government rules and regulations as set out in the SAPS 520 section. If a recommendation had to be made (this is not a rule though), we would suggest a 30-06 and a 375. With these calibers you will be able to hunt anything that walks in the African bushveld”.
Dangerous Game Hunting
“Experienced Hunters as well as professional hunters will all have their own opinion on their favorite rifle. When hunting for dangerous game, the .375 caliber is the minimum prescribed by law in most African countries”. “For hunting dangerous game one of the 400 caliber hunting rifles should be considered. A 404 Jeffrey, 416 Rigby, 458 WM, 458 Lott, 470 or bigger – Pieter Kriel”.
“When coming to Africa for plains game, bring a rifle that you are completely familiar with and comfortable shooting. The .270 Win should be considered the minimum for most medium-sized plains game species, although a smaller caliber can also get the job done with a well-placed shot”. “The 30.06 caliber is also a very good all-round choice for plains game hunting in Africa. It has a proven track record and ammunition is readily available. Other calibers like the .308, 7 mm Rem Mag, 7mm-08, 300 Win Mag are all great choices”.
“The 300 Win Mag is an excellent all-round choice, especially if your safari will take you to areas where long shots may be necessary”.
“The most popular calibers brought along on any South African hunting safari trip range from a 270, 7mm-08, 7 mm Rem Mag, 30-06 to a 300 WSM and 300 Win Mag”. As mentioned the most important thing to keep in mind is that you feel comfortable and confident with the rifle you are bringing. Bullets play just as an important role. A bad bullet can cause a great shot to be bad, especially when hunting bigger game. Most important is to get to the shooting range. Get comfortable with your rifle, and when on safari, listen to the advice from your PH.
Hunter John Tinley