The Third Annual Scout Rifle Safari in South Africa started with a range day conducted by gunwriter, Richard Mann.
After reading Jim’s blog post ‘A Real Trophy’, I once again realized that there is so much more to hunting a plains game trophy in Africa than just securing your anticipated list of trophies. Jim hunted two trophies that was not on his wish list i.e. the Zebra and the Red Hartebeest.
Jim Wilson or Sheriff Jim Wilson is a native Texas with many talents and a vast amount of life experience and interests which makes for very interesting as well as entertaining conversation on a hunt as well as around the campfire. Add to it a Professional Hunter who shares the same interest and you have a winning combination in every way. They had a ball and just watching them was a treat. Jim is not only an avid hunter, but also a singer, a songwriter, a retired Sheriff and a gun-writer for the NRA. Jim Wilson’s album, Border Bravo is a collection of cowboy songs and border ballads that focus on the American Southwest and the changing frontier. Wilson co-wrote three of the album’s songs, and carefully selected the rest to tell some tales of the border country, one of the last frontiers.
The Zebra and Red Hartebeest were the trophy animals Jim had no intention of hunting. But after seeing them he changed his mind.
Red Hartebeest make for great trophies as well as a superb hunt. They are gregarious animals which add to the appeal of hunting them. Although very different in appearance from other plains game in Africa, they have their own unique attractiveness and like Jim said: ‘The hide is beautiful, the horns are impressive and grilled hartebeest back strap is mighty appealing, too.’ Read more about Jim’s Red Hartebeest hunt: Here
Read more about Jim’s Zebra hunt: Here
Read more about Jim’s Red Hartebeest hunt: Here
Fort Richmond Safaris PH Leon du Plessis, the winner of our Professional Hunter contest, being presented his Moore Maker knife by the winning team… Jim Wilson and Linda Powell.
It is not all about the kill as is so often perceived. Hunters love to be in the outdoors, spending quality time with friends and loved ones while on a hunt. A quote by Charles Fergus sums it up so well: ‘Hunting has opened the earth to me and let me sense the rhythms and hierarchies of nature.’
The Man: Jeff Cooper – Gunsite Academy Founder
The Rifle: The Scout Rifle
His vision: A rifle in the hunting field as well as one to be used in a military scouting situation.
‘Jeff Cooper defied a scout rifle as a bolt-action carbine chambered for the .308 Win., no longer than 39 inches, no heavier than 7.7 pounds and outfitted with a low power extended eye relief scope. It also had to have back up ghost rings sights, be capable of two MOA or better accuracy and have a Ching, CW, or similarly styled shooting sling.’ Richard Mann Richard Mann’s Remington Custom Shop M7 Scout.
It was assembled by the Remington Arms Company Custom Shop to Richard’s specifications as follow:
After the successful completion of his vision – the Steyr Scout Rifle – Jeff Cooper started planning a safari to Africa. It happened in 1998 and Cooper used it to validate the concept of the Scout Rifle. Cooper’s safari had more participants than he envisioned. “Now our 1998 trekfest is mounting up for departure. We have far too many people aboard, but I could not find it in my heart to turn anybody down.” Jeff Cooper
History was made during June 2017 when the second Scout Rifle Safari to Africa took place at Fort Richmond Safaris. It was the brainchild of the author of the book, The Scout Rifle Study, Richard Mann. As with Cooper’s safari, the hunters used new ammunition – Hornady Precision Hunter ammo. It was a great opportunity to test various Scout Rifles in Africa as well as the new ammunition. Shooting Gallery host Michael Bane was one of the participants and filmed portions of the adventure for his show on the Outdoor Channel. And as in 1998, there were also more participants than orginally planned.
More images on The Scout Rifle Safari: See here
The term Big Five game was coined by big-game hunters of old and it refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot.
Cape Buffalo (Syncerus Caffer) is the most popular to hunt from the Big Five and will give a hunter a challenging and dangerous hunting experience. It is also referred to often as the most dangerous of all the Big Five to hunt. Although it appeared docile when grazing in a herd this animal can be extremely aggressive when agitated or wounded.
Buffalo are heavily built & bulls are black while cows have a reddish brown tint with the black. Bulls have heavy horns with well developed Boss. Cows’ horns are much lighter – they have broad muscle and large ears situated behind the eyes.
Size: Mass 750-800kg. Shoulder height: 140cm. Habits: Buffalo move around in large family units. The old bulls group together in bachelor groups and in the dryer season they tend to graze near water. They reached puberty at three years of age. Gestation takes 330-346 days i.e. +/- 11 months.
The Buffalo is a non-selective grazer who drinks every day. It occasionally will browse. Buffalo will lick termite mounds and will also lick the mud stuck to their coats from wallowing in mud pools, off each other in order to get the nutrients lacking from their diet.
The horns of a bull can be quite spectacular in spread with a deep curl and a solid boss which covers the forehead.
Buffalo are found in southern Africa in herds which varies in size.
As with all hunting, shot placement is paramount when hunting the Cape Buffalo – a rifle of .375 caliber is adequate. To succeed a hunter needs to have put in the necessary preparation to be comfortable with his rifle as well as practicing on the shooting range. Trust the judgment of your Professional Hunter with shot placement and the selection of rifles and bullets when hunting the Buffalo.
Buffalo may be done with you but you are never done with them, not even if you have never hunted them. They loom so large in the hunter’s lexicon, they can simply never be ignored. Even if you are a committed plains-game hunter, you know they are out there waiting for you. They are the buffalo in the room, even when never mentioned in polite hunting company. You know that some day, if and when you can afford it, you are going to want to measure yourself against this ultimate game animal.
Why is it that your first Buffalo, for those of us that have been lucky enough to experience this right of passage, this double-edged opportunity to measure ourselves against this ultimate hunting challenge, is the one we all remember with the utmost clarity? We can remember that we saw, heard, smelt everything with our senses on such high alert they were almost supernatural. It was almost as if we were in our innermost beings and at the same time to the tip of our fingers and the nails of our toes. Certainly, up until then, we had never experienced anything similar.
And it is this two-stage reaction to the number one of Africa’s Big Five, which is primarily responsible, I believe, for the whole variety of differing results from a fair-chase hunt for this incredible animal that some people still argue is no different to cattle, on the one hand, and Africa’s most dangerous, four-legged beast, on the other hand.
To some, the experience is just too much. I remember a Zimbabwean PH telling of a wealthy Arab hunter haring off through and over the bushes in his white, flowing Arab robes when he came face to face with his first buffalo at 40 paces. A good friend and one of the most highly experienced buffalo PHs in Africa today, nearly came to a premature end when his American lawyer client wounded a big bull at a range so close that it is just about impossible to imagine how he could have placed the bullet where he did – centre Mrs Venter! I can go on and on, including the case of the very nice man who accompanied Derek and me to Mozambique for his first buffalo hunt, and who wounded two, one after the other, never to find either one no matter how long and hard he looked.
I suppose these and other similar stories ( and you can read about any number of them in my book, Hunting the African Buffalo by Peter Flack) serve to keep the buffalo legend alive and well in Africa. They also confirm the challenge that these magnificent beasts have always offered and always will.
Nick Rukavina from Ohio arrived on the tenth day of The Scout Rifle Safari for his Scout Rifle Safari in South Africa. He brought two Scout Rifles for his safari, a Brockman Packer Scout and a Steyr Scout.
Nick Rukavina arrived for The Scout Rifle Safari very confident and with great expectation…
Nick wrote the following:
My Scout Rifle Safari with Fort Richmond Safaris
South Africa is an almost mystical country after leaving behind the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg and its airport. It’s a place that seems almost timeless and gives us a close look at nature in the raw.
Even now, six months after my hunt with Fort Richmond, so many days and experiences are still very vivid in my memories – a few do stand out. I am sharing my most memorable hunt, which took place on the first day.
First of all, is the typical day, if there really is one. After a light breakfast, just the freedom of driving through the countryside with Leon, my PH, was an education in itself. He introduced me to so much more than I had encountered on my previous visit to South Africa in 2005.
The afternoon of the first day’s hunt was challenging but worth it. We followed a few herds of Blesbok. The animals were extremely spooky and a wind of 20 mph with higher gusts made it even more difficult.
Finally, Leon stopped a long way from the herd that we were following. I would have guessed the range at 500 plus yards, but my rangefinder showed that it was “only” 337. My excellent PH pointed out, by counting the number of animals from the right, a very respectable white Blesbok. Leon positioned himself behind a pair of binoculars. With the scope on my custom .308 Brockman Packer Scout set on 4x, I settled in to get control of my breathing, racing heart and trembling trigger finger. The herd was partially obscured by brush and I could barely make out “my” white Blesbok among the other white and common Blesbok, which are brown in color. I held a foot high and a body length to windward to compensate, I hoped, for the wind and distance. When the shot rang out, I lost view of the animal, but Leon was very excited. I just prayed that I hit the right animal in that wind!
After what seemed like an interminable time wandering the area, we found “my” Blesbok – the right color and everything. The bullet hole was not evident until Leon turned it over, showing a perfect shot just above the heart. I was elated.
I don’t think that I have ever experienced a more dramatic moment of both relief and triumph in my life.
It was the first day of my Safari, and while many more great days followed, it will always stand out as extraordinary among my hunting memories. Nick checking zero and shooting eight-inch steel plates at 350 yards very successfully, in preparation for hunting. The Brockman Packer Scout got the attention of everyone at the range.
Nick is returning for another safari with us and bringing his wife along as well, next year.
Photo Credit: Bat Mann
The two Father and Son teams who did the Scout Rifle Safari were: Richard Mann (the author of The Scout Rifle Study and whose brainchild the Scout Rifle Safari was) and his son Bat Mann, who was the photographer on the Scout Rifle Safari and Jim Jeansonne and his son James Jeansonne.
This blog is about Jim Jeansonne and his son James’ Scout Rifle Safari.
From the start of the safari it was evident that this father and son have a good relationship and were here to have a great time. And as always when you arrive with an expectant heart and a positive attitude, you will have the best time. They worked incredibly hard for their animals and at first took some time to get into the hunt, but had great fellowship and fun all the way.
“What an awesome adventure, especially when a father and son can share the hunting experience of a lifetime in beautiful Africa!” Jim Jeansonne (father)Jim’s rifle was one of the most important rifles of the Scout Rifle Safari – an original Gunsite Scout #2. It was an honor to have an original Gunsite Scout Rifle as part of the Scout Rifle Safari. Thank you, Jim! Jim and his Gunsite Scout #2. Jim’s Rifle – 1985 vintage Gunsite Scout from the Gunsite gun smithy. Scout Rifles in Africa – Jim Jeansonne with his original Gunsite Scout Rifle #2. Michael Bane with his Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle. James Jeansonne with his Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle. Jim Jeansonne and his son, James with their first take of the safari, a nice Black Wildebeest taken after a mile and a half stalk, shot taken at 326 yards, single shot with Hornady 178. James Jeansonne with his hard won Gemsbok. Warthogs – a favorite of those who participated in the Scout Rifle Safari at Fort Richmond Safaris.
‘What an adventure! Both boots blown out on Kudu Mountain, brush scratches everywhere, but an absolutely beautiful country shared with 8 Gunsite graduates.’ Jim Jeansonne (father)
‘Great week! Many thanks to all involved… It was the trip of a lifetime.’ Jim Jeansonne (father)
Jim Jeansonne wrote the following: “We were hosted in grand style by Geoffrey, Victoria and Annamarie Wayland in a fashion that bespoke of how family would be treated. The PH, tracker, accommodations, food, camaraderie and, in general, the atmosphere that they provided were some of the high points of our trip. The hunting was everything we expected and challenged us both mentally and physically. In short, we can’t express enough, our admiration and appreciation to this wonderful group. We WILL be back next year! THANKS!”
Many emotions are experienced during a hunt – even more so when it takes place on the African continent. When the hunt is coupled with a book, makes history and almost all the hunters are Gunsite graduates, the excitement, joy, exhaustion and more reach new heights. Enjoy the pictures as they capture these emotions.
Great images convey meaning and essence always more effectively than a description does. Well done, Bat Mann – photographer of the Scout Rifle Safari in South Africa.
A N D M O R E were experienced by the participants on The Scout Rifle Safari that took place at Fort Richmond Safaris earlier this year. An event that will be remembered not only for its historical value but also for the fun, fellowship and adventure shared by all the participants.
To read more about it follow these links:
A lot of preparation goes into doing a hunt in a foreign country. It is often a once in a lifetime event for many hunters and every detail is given priority prior to departure to make sure he/she will have the ultimate experience. As an outfitter, we help and one of the many pieces of information we share is a packing list. The last information that is shared on this list is: Most of all come with an open mind ready to have the time of your life.
‘Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.’ Fred Bear
Go afield with a good attitude – your mindset is your mental attitude; your state of mind.
You must be positive in spirit, mind and your whole being when you go out to encounter African game. This is true for all hunting no matter where you are, but even more so when you endeavor to hunt on the vast terrain of the African plains. Like in everything you attempt to do, a positive mindset is paramount and will take you to great heights or trophies in this case. A positive attitude will and can make a hunt. On the contrary wrong expectations, poor preparation [fitness and practice-shot placement] as well as an entitlement attitude can ruin a hunt.
Reactive actions are taken after a happening in this case a shot taken versus responsive actions are positive approaches to the situation (the hunt) instead of just acting in what comes natural to you. You will often encounter the unexpected and/or challenging on a hunt and your attitude will determine the success or failure of the outcome.
Being positive must be practiced by a hunter until he succeeds. Be positive while you visualize the shot before it is taken. Proper preparation i.e. having a reasonable level of fitness and having practiced your shooting is essential but your attitude still determines the implementation of what you know out in the field. Combined with patience in the field and being confident in your approach and your success is guaranteed. This confidence is the result of the right mindset. Difficult and trying conditions whilst hunting can easily break your confidence. That is why a hunter needs to be mentally tough. You need to acquire it at all cost and you do not acquire it from a book or talking to your hunting buddies. It is an attitude and mindset that you need to develop and as you grow into it you will be more successful in the field. The conclusion is: Mindset is more important than skill when you hunt.
One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted… If one were to present the sportsman with the death of the animal as a gift he would refuse it. What he is after is having to win it, to conquer the surly brute through his own effort and skill with all the extras that this carries with it: the immersion in the countryside, the healthfulness of the exercise, the distraction from his job. Jose Ortegay Gasset