There’s a common believe amongst African folk that any given flock of Ground Hornbills should always group in odd numbers, but apparently someone forgot to teach them how to count.
For the past few days my good friend, Johnny Posey, and I have been trying to keep a head count of each flock of Ground Hornbills while enjoying the rigors of a Leopard hunt in Mozambique’s Zambezi Delta. It’s not necessarily bothering us, but ever since the guys made mention of this fact around the camp fire we’ve started noticing how many of these peculiar birds can’t count. Day in and day out we’ve noticed odd number flocks, but more often than not it’s been even numbers.
Contrary to popular believe we’ve come to the conclusion that either the 100 degree heat has affected the birds ability to account for the rest of their flock… or Africa has once again proven how mysterious she can be. How else can one explain it? A mystery of diversity, as diverse as the past month at John X Safaris.
From 1200 yard shots to bachelor parties and African weddings. From exciting adventures to lifelong memories, and ultimately from strangers to friends – that has been the safari world of John X Safaris. We’ve seen families united, reliving childhood memories, while broken relationships have been healed by the African bush. It has always amazed us how much good such a relatively short period of time such as a safari can do.
For Mike Grier it would be his third return trip to John X Safaris, together with good friends, Tyler Geer and Tom Lincoln. For both Tom and Tyler it would be their first taste of Africa – a taste so sweet it would be hard to see them not back again in the near future.
Having started in the south, the guys enjoyed memorable days hunting from our coastal area before heading north to the Great Karoo. A number of great trophies was just reward for the endless effort put in by the group.
With Mike, Tyler, and Tom heading back state side, we welcomed the Motley family for a short, but action packed safari. The species the family were after meant the family would spend most of their hunt up in the north, before heading to Cape Town with Freewalker Luxury Tours. As per usual a couple of days of R&R at Lalibela with big 5 game drives was a must and one the entire family truly enjoyed.
To Mark, Patrice, Lauren, and Caden, congratulations on a superb collection of trophies – From all reports both Greg and Stix enjoyed your hunt immensely!
With July coming to an end we entered one of our busiest periods of the season. The arrival of Gunwerks saw a hive of activity erupt as we geared up for our second season of hunting and filming for “Gunwerks Long Range Pursuit TV”.
This year proved to be bigger and better than last season with owners, Aaron and Mike Davidson, hosting the hunt in South Africa. Joining them was first timers, Sam Cunningham and “Uncle” Don Roberts, as well as the father/son duo of Graham and Sebastian Turner.
Each hunter had used the Gunwerks rifle system before and came prepared. The level of understanding of what the guns were capable of made a great impression on us – as the results would prove later on.
Aaron and Mike Davidson teamed up with Professional Hunters, Carl Van Zyl and Rusty Coetzer, respectively, treating the guys to a shooting exhibition like few have seen before. These guys were the men behind the system, and how interesting it proved to be….
While the men behind Gunwerks were keeping us busy, so were the rest of the group too.
Sam Cunningham enjoyed a memorable hunt with Professional Hunter, Stix Hoole, taking over proceedings on any species that anyone else wished to pass on. Sam arrived open-minded, ready for the adventure, and man did he walk away with a very fine selection of trophies. During the course of the safari both he and Stix struck up a special bond between PH and hunter, one that sees a hunting career being built on. It seems Sam enjoyed his hunt that much that on the last day of his safari he had already confirmed his next hunt with John X Safaris – a Leopard hunt in our new concession in Namibia, but more on that later.
With Sam clearly leading the pack on species, the rest of the pack weren’t going to be left in the dust. Having met Don Roberts briefly on the opening day of SCI, Las Vegas 2014, I knew he would be a sure member of this years group. Needless to say, the very next day he and his beautiful wife were back at booth # 850 booking Don’s hunt.
Since then we’ve come to know the stranger a lot better and proudly call him a great friend. “Uncle Don” as he is now fondly referred to enjoyed success on a number of species, and together with PH, Martin Niper, proved to be one of the luckiest team of hunters out there!
A huge Kudu, Fallow Deer, Nyala , and Bushbuck were some of their best, but it was Uncle Don’s Sable that inspired me the most.
Picture the scene, I had just come into camp off one of the tallest mountains in our newly secured 80 000 acre concession in the Great Karoo, having been after Eland for most of the day with Aaron , when Uncle Don meets me at the door pleading to have a word. Immediately the alarm bells start ringing in my head – what could have happened today that Uncle Don wants to see me so urgently? Then I notice the frown on his brow turn into a smile, asking;” Carl , today I saw the most beautiful animal I have ever seen in my life…. What are the chances that I could hunt it?” As they say the rest is history! Uncle Don got his Sable, and a beauty at that, not to mention that smile he has yet to wipe off his face!
Professional Hunter, Dave Burcy, teamed up with Graham and Sebastian Turner, for a selection of species they had not hunted before. This was to be a multiple return trip to South Africa for the Turners, before they headed up to Mozambique for the second part of their safari.
The guys did extremely well in both South Africa and Mozambique – coming away with a number of dream trophies.
As early August rolled along, with Gunwerks still enjoying our northern areas we welcomed a wedding party on safari to our southern base, Lalibela. The change of the season was upon us, with us ultimately deciding it was time to open up Treetops lodge again after the cold winter. Treetops proved to be the fairytale setting to what turned out to be one hell of a safari and wedding.
Father/son duo of Wade and Casey Fairchild enjoyed a memorable hunt with PH, Tyrone Schulpfort, while mom in law, Michelle and bride, Rusmira, joined in on the action too.
As I’ve come to expect from Tyrone, that is since I’ve known him from the 3rd grade, always expect the unexpected! I’ve always believed that each PH should enjoy the privilege of planning his daily hunt as he wishes, as long as it maintains our high standards, and keeps all involved, firstly safe, and secondly, very happy on safari. Tyrone not only ensured a memorable trip was enjoyed by all, but mixed hard hunting with down time at the beach, a day of shopping here and there, and ultimately ensuring a dream African wedding for the wedding couple.
The Fairchild’s enjoyed a truly memorable hunt with a wedding and setting like no other. To the John X ladies who put the wedding together, I fear I may have to start a wedding service business – you’ve all missed your calling in life! What you ladies put together not only blew my mind, but all who were present too, thank you.
I sign off this past months report with pictures from a fairytale wedding… Congratulations Mr and Mrs Fairchild… It was not only beautiful, but spectacular ….