Brad Hempkins

I want to share my recent experience with Limpopo Big Game Safaris. I will post this in Day by Day post & pictures, so it makes more sense of how the trip went. I have known Bossie Mostert for years, I have had other friends that have hunted with him, like Royal and Bob all with great experiences. So I was looking forward to my opportunity. This makes my 3rd trip to Africa, first with Bossie & LBG Safaris. We communicated for quite a while before deciding on when, where & what. So, the time had come for my departure…. However, not without tragedy striking first. 10 days before my departure, Bossie & family suffered a devastating blow. He lost his wife May-Henriette to a massive heart attack at the age of 47. Day 1 & 2: I chose to fly on miles, without firearms this time. So I was routed through London. I had quite a layover, which was okay, it allowed me to venture into London & see the city.

I landed on Friday morning, after an all night flight from London to Johannesburg. As soon as I walked out of the secure area, Bossie was there waiting for me…. big hug & smile. Bossie is an awesome, gregarious guy with an upbeat, positive attitude. We loaded the bags, hopped in the truck and headed North to Limpopo, the Lodge is just north of Louis Trichardt…. So it was an easy 4 hour drive. Lots of time to talk, visit & catch up.

Friday at the lodge we took it easy, got familiar with lodge, staff, etc. All top notch. Bossie’s right hand man is his 10 year old son D.J. Who is an absolute Prince of young men. In many ways he is a typical goofy 10 year old. However, in other ways he is wise & experienced beyond his years. Speaks several languages, drives the bakkie better than most adults, can weld, handle a .416 Rigby as if it were a pellet gun, etc. After a few beers around the fire it was off to bed before the start of the hunting.

Saturday started with breakfast, then off to the range. I sent a few down range with the 7×57…. cloverleafed. Now out in the bush. Did some driving around… climbed up to the top of this canyon, looking down upon a watering hole…. Just down the road was a couple of baboons walking in. Bossie said, let’s get this party started & draw first blood for this trip. Boom! Strike the old male…. the second ran off into the mountainside, only to stop. He said get on him….. Boom! Second one dropped!

The next day, Sunday, we went to check out some baits & cameras for night critters. This is one of Bossie’s true niche’s & specialties. We had a Honey Badger on bait and camera…. so now it was time to build a blind and get prepared for the evenings hunt.

Took a test drive on a Kalahari Ferrari…. Hope y’all enjoy! :

Night fell…. expecting the Badger/s to show about 6:30pm…… well, 6:30 came & went….. as did 6:45, 6:50, 6:55…. starting to think we got stood up. Then at 7pm… we see the bait move. Keep in mind it is pitch black, but Bossie has a sweet set up. This badger is behind the bait, despite every attempt to block the back, it still went there. It had to be back there for 30 minutes. Then it got down…. went into a drunken stupor. Falling down, rolling around, passing out, then getting up. Another one had gotten on the back of the bait. This one decided to climb back up & go for the front. On the way up…. I pinched. Boom!!! Dropped like a bag of concrete!

Monday came, we decided to head South to one of his other concessions…… A lot of spot & stalking. Place is thick…. lots of animals, so very easy to get busted. Something interesting to note. Mornings were chilly… like in the 40’s, within a few hours, sunny, hot & 90+. We started chasing Red Hartebeest. It was a real cat & mouse game…. 3 bulls, then they met up with the herd, lots of eyes & ears. Finally, we got in front of them. This guy stepped out. After the shot, like 30 of them dispersed… I was like whoa!!!! I only saw 3!!!!

Later that day, we decided to go North from the lodge, to another concession to do some night hunting. This place was very cool. Huge property. Thick and mountainous. At dusk Bossie insisted that we sit by a watering hole with shotguns. He said at 6pm sharp the Sand Grouse will fly in… like clockwork. Sure as hell….. What a hoot that was. 4 of us sitting around a water hole, no bigger than a kiddie pool. We only had about 5 min to shoot before it was too dark. It was a real rodeo. Lot’s of laughing. As night was upon us, it was time to break out the spot light & calls…. do what Bossie does best.

Tuesday, decided to head out Southwest…. about a 2 hour drive to another concession. As we get out & start walking. We see some BIG tracks! Bossie, apprentice PH Dieter & tracker look at each other….. “Buffalo”. So we were like, what the hell. Let’s do this. It was hot & dusty. After a couple of hours we see 2 bulls. They got a quick glass of them before Bossie said…..No, they are nice, but still young. They looked pretty damn nice to me. However, I only got a quick look before they hauled out. Anyways, more walking, then all of a sudden, everyone hit the ground. They said get down!!! Monster Bull!!!!! I was like what, where?!?!!? About 75 yards in front, through thick, thick brush, stood a bull. He was behind a tree that’s trunk split 2 ways and small branches in between. All I could see was his bosses, face & chest. Now, I know this is not a preferred angle or shot. However, the look on their faces was like “Wideyed”. So….. I put the crosshairs on center front. Boom!!!! Off he ran. We get up there, no blood, no nothing….. I am like, did I miss? Did I hit a branch? Tree??? So we get on the tracks……. about an hour later! Before we see him, he sees us! Storms off, within seconds…. vanishes….. Again. Not a drop of blood. we stay on tracks….. hours, miles. These guys were studying these tracks, one by one. They caucused with each other….. they said the bull was literally crossing it’s tracks, back & forth to throw us off. I’m, not going to lie. In this thick stuff, he could be anywhere. Pissed, wounded, who knows. We do some more tracking. Then out of no where, what seemed like a reenactment of the first shot. About same distance…. same shot with same angle. He’s standing behind a similar tree that is forked. This time, I got on him. I did not want a wounded Buffalo or anymore of this stalk. I put the crosshairs just under his mouth. Boom! He takes off!!! The race is on!!! Now, I’m giving you all the details…. the good, the bad, the ugly. As, he is heading away, my only shot is to try & break the pelvis and end it. Boom! Solid hit. He takes it…. keeps going! Bossie says give me the .375 H&H!!! Hands me the .416 Rigby. All this while we are running, jumping over brush, dodging thorns, etc. I stop, shoulder the .416. Boom! All you see is a cloud of dust rise beyond the brush. The death bellow follows. One final shot to end it. I wish I could say it was a simple, 1 shot dump… but this is the reality. As we reach the dagga…. All shots were solid hits. Chest, left cheek, pelvis, then the quartering away. Just goes to show you what these guys can take. For what it’s worth….. He went 42″ After a underwear change; it was time to head back to the lodge. Swim, eat, beer & fire….. and a good night sleep!

Wednesday….. back to the mountains. Ugh. I’m in shape, but not Africa sand & mountains shape carrying a 110 year old mauser 7×57, with scope & suppressor. Damn, I was getting tired. Nevertheless, up/down/up/down….. looking for Klipspringer. Man are they elusive. No luck…. on to the night for night critters. Bossie truly has a craft for this. Asides from all the gear & know how….. he can call in stuff with a squeak of his mouth….. dang near right up to the truck. BTW, he does not hunt/shoot from the truck. And he does not allow it from any of his concessions he manages/controls. Knocked down Small Spotted Genet. Thursday, yep…. you guessed it. Back into the mountains. This time over 7000 feet. This particular place, is a place where Bob hunted his Klipspringer a few years ago. We called & moved, called & moved….. We were just about ready to give up hope…. it was getting late. Bossie said let’s go to this one last place. He had never had success calling there…. but he was like what the hell. We went up this far. We get into a position for a calling session. Within 30 seconds 2 charged from the brush & rocks. From 82 meters….. he said the one on the right. Boom! Done. Wow…. now that truly was a mountaintop experience!

Friday comes….. Weather had moved in. We thought we might be able to out run it & head SW for some night hunting. My buddy & taxidermist Gizmo wanted a jackal & duiker for the shop. So we have been on the hunt for him. The storm really impacted us….. rain, high winds & even hail in some areas. As weather permitted, we pressed on. The night produced a Bat Eared Fox. Bossie called in from probably 500 yards….. came in on a string!

Saturday, still looking for jackal & duiker….. weather still threatening. We headed up Far North, to visit another concession that morning. More recon than actual hunting, to make a plan for the night. As evening approached, we decided to head down south. Where we took the Hartebeest. This is a great friend of Bossie’s. He said shoot anything with sharp teeth. As predators have reeked havoc on his livestock & plainsgame. Rain started in again….. we drive with spotlight, call….. not much at all. Don’t know what it was, but nothing was up or active. Oh, except for 2 aardvarks. Bossie told DJ to man the spotlight, as he jumped out of the truck to chase it down. The aardvark got away…. but I got it all on video. I told you this was a rodeo! As we were heading down the long road out of the ranch. Bossie said let’s give it one more go here. So, we hit the call….. heard some calling back, so we gave it a little more. With his thermal…. he could see something on the trail. He said, when I hit the red light you take him. Assuming it was a jackal, since that is what we were calling & was calling back. Hits red light, eyes light up, boom…. full frontal chest shot. Dropped! We called a few more minutes thinking something else might come in. Nothing…. so we decided to go collect the jackal. As we approach, I hear Bossie, DJ & Bethul going crazy about what we have!!!! No jackal at all…. A monster Brown Hyena! These guys are massive. Check out his head & paws. Bossie called his buddy. He & his wife immediately drove down to us! They were ecstatic, jumping for joy. So thankful he was taken out. As he was devastating their livelihood.

Sunday comes, my last hunting day….. head out to another concession we had hunted for night critters. Give it one final go. We were all exhausted. It had been a long trip. Didn’t want to make it to late of a night, as I had to head out to Jo’berg on Monday. Did some more Sand Grouse hunting. Then after a lot of quietness….. we decided to head back, then the night started to come alive…. Genet, Spring Hares, Porcupines, etc. Lot of fun…. fun way to end it!