“Every day’s hunt on the African plains was a different experience filled with adventure. To be walking on and being a part of the African soil was a great priority; therefore every stalk was truly a great experience. Geoffrey showed us the details of the landscape, vegetation and wildlife i.e. the differences in the acacias, the long lifespan of some of the bushes, the marriage of steenbok pairs and many more…” Gary Stalder.Maddy (daughter), Gary and Jennifer Stalder hunted Fort Richmond Safaris – the picture says it all. Good times, unforgettable memories, hard work and loads of fun made it an experience of a lifetime for this family.
Gary wrote the following: My most memorable hunt was the Zebra hunt with my daughter Madeline and my wife Jen. As we got closer to the herd of Zebra, they moved into an open area with other groups of Eland and Gemsbok which made stalking within rifle range very difficult. Madeline and I were able to quietly sneak into an ambush location under the cover of some rocky hills. As we positioned ourselves, we realized how awesome it was to be experiencing the excitement of a hunt in this beautiful land together. We were able to get to a vantage point and soon spotted the Zebras following the script perfectly in single file at 150 yards. The lead stallion paused before going into more cover and the shot was perfect. Not knowing the source of the bang, the entire herd ran straight towards us with the animal that was shot falling within a few yards of us after a follow up shot. We recorded the entire hunt on video and it will be a lifelong memory.
Maddy took an Impala and Steenbok on her hunt. Here follows her account of a day in the ‘veld’.
The sun was setting- bathing the African landscape in a brilliant orange. We had been chasing a herd of Impala which consisted of a nice ram for 15 minutes. Upon the herd running far enough ahead into the brush, Geoffrey parked the truck, and the stalk on foot began. The wind swirled and blew against our favor the majority of the time, making a successful stalk unlikely. The three of us- my dad, Geoffrey and I- tip toed cautiously around the Acacia trees. Ever so often, Geoffrey would peer out from behind a tree one moment, and then be setting up the shooting sticks and ushering me forward the next, asking me if I saw the ram, standing perfectly broadside in an opening. Thanks to my superb hesitation skills, the ram took off before I could pull the trigger. This occurred on more than one occasion. On one particular occasion, the ram stood around 200 yards away. Geoffrey, having more faith in me than I did, encouraged the shot. However, I had my doubts, and yes, I hesitated. There’s a shocker. I stood with my crosshairs on him for what must have been forever. Geoffrey held his ears and my dad was filming, holding one ear with his free hand. All three of us, not for the first or the last time that night, expected a taken animal. But the ram fled. Before I had time to let out a breath, Geoffrey was re-positioning my sticks to the the left of us, and I soon realized why. Out of the brush, about 60 yards away, bound seven or eight Springbok, and boy are they cute. Geoffrey pointed out the nice ram, of course, the one quartering away and not making any promises to change that. So, here was a herd of semi-spooked Impala running off ahead of us, and a small group of Springbok coming out of nowhere practically right to us. We were surrounded. I held my cross-hairs on my new target, waiting for him to turn broadside. I was nervous about taking a quartering away shot. I’d grown up learning to wait for the broadside shot. In this case, however, there was no broadside shot coming. It was quartering away or nothing at all. I lacked this knowledge at the time, and continued my hesitation only to witness the fleeing of my Springbok a few moments later.
My only reaction was a broad smile. I knew being that close to Springbok doesn’t happen often, and I had two opportunities to pull the trigger within a few minutes of each other. A brief hug from Geoffrey and laughter from Dad behind us told me they had fun too, which made it even better. We continued our original Impala stalk, but not as cautiously, as the herd gained considerable ground on us while the Springbok distracted us. We finished our small loop through the brush just to see what we could kick up. On our way back to the truck, we began to relax and tread less lightly to enjoy what was left of the sunset. The sun shone through the trees in the most brilliant of ways, this became my most favorite sunset of the week.
Suddenly, Geoffrey stopped and glassed ahead of us. The stalk abruptly resumed; this time for Duiker. We abandoned the path to the truck and crouched as we sneaked behind the next couple of trees. I’ve yet to observe the Duiker, but if Geoffrey says he’s there, he’s there. Finally, after peering around an Acacia and staring for a while, I was able to get the Duiker in my cross-hairs. I was told to wait until he stepped out from behind his bush before I took the shot. So, I waited. And waited. And waited. And the Duiker just looked. And looked. And looked. When he finally did leave his cover, it was very quickly and he was gone. Oh well. I was not discouraged as I knew I still had more time to get an animal. Walking back to the truck, all three of us couldn’t help but smile. Not every day do you get to hesitate three times in 45 minutes. Not every day do you get so lucky and up close. Not every day do you get to stalk plains game in the African ‘veld’.
“Many days were filled from just after sunrise to well after sunset with preparations, hunting and trophy care. As a taxidermist, I enjoyed watching the ways the crew prepared the trophies. And enjoyed it to take part in the process as well as to show them some of the techniques I use as a taxidermist. Many thanks again for an unforgettable time shared with my family.” Gary Stalder