I have hunted with Dolph Scheepers of Leopard Moon Safaris in South Africa multiple times over the last few years.
Without exception, my experiences with Leopard Moon Safaris have been truly outstanding. The accommodations, food, guide services, hunting, and trophy handling have all been first rate.
If you are seeking the hunting experience of a lifetime at very affordable rates, you could not possibly be in better hands than with Dolph Scheepers of Leopard Moon Safaris. Beautiful trophy animals are abundant in his hunting areas, and Dolph will go out of his way to provide you with an exceptional experience. I personally harvested every trophy animal I requested, plus several more.
I highly recommend Dolph Scheepers of Leopard Moon Safaris for your next African adventure.
I am very lucky and blessed to be able to write this article to accompany the game photos from my July 2015 South African hunt. Believe me when I say that my success is not something which I would be able to share with the VBA membership without massive amounts of support from all around me. This adventure was planned a year in advance and it is hard to believe it is over, but I have collected some of the best firewood for old age (that is a South African saying for making great memories).
There is no way to effectively prepare yourself for 20+ hours of flying to get to South Africa from Virginia, not to mention the travel from the airport in Johannesburg to the final destination of the outfitter. Any way you slice it that's an extremely long flight to sign up for, so make sure you,re in the right mindset to take on the first step of the journey. Honestly, the first step is similar to any planned hunt in the Old Dominion or any of her 49 sisters. To the best of your ability, be ready and able to execute if, and when, the opportunity presents itself. This started early in my preparation getting out on the range, shooting in the backyard, joining an indoor league during winter, doing research, making sure your equipment is in working order and familiar to you. I have been so fortunate to make some great new friends over the past year and a half of shooting with my fellow archers at Massanutten Archery Club, other local clubs, and attending VBA events. Doing Archery with more experienced and skilled folks challenges you, and makes you want to be a better shooter. I have made friendships with folks which will last a lifetime, and I am so thankful for all of the tips/tricks/ lessons and general feedback you get from quality time with other archers and hunters. Earlier I said this was a "Planned" hunt. If you have ever taken yourself out of your normal element & environment and gone after game which you are not raised on, you know that plans need to change. If you have never taken on the adventure to go outside your comfort zone (and have a desire) I recommend you keep an open mind. The outfitters are locals, and the folks you need to listen to if you want to have an optimal experience. What works for you at home may not be the best tactic on the other side of the planet. Not to mention, South Africa is not the most stable community, and your guide can keep you from getting into trouble.
I knew I was going to be declaring my independence during winter in the southern hemisphere. It was 30-40 degrees in the AM and warmed up quickly to 60-70 degrees in the South African dry season. It was dry and dustier than I could have imagined, but the western zone camo I purchased helped me to blend in well for spot and stalks in the field. The required long underwear in the AMs quickly made it to my pack by lunchtime each day. In addition to the spot and stalks, the plan was to additionally spend a lot of time in ground blinds to be able to execute with a bow on some of these African animals. I was ready with a black hat and shirts as well.
For me this was a hunt of a lifetime. I didn't know if I would ever have the opportunity to make it back to Africa for another hunting adventure. With that said, I had a list of animals which I wanted to go after (and pay for), but I quickly woke up and became opportunistic and listened to my guide regarding the game and opportunities which presented themselves. I thought I would just be saying, "no thanks, that is not on the list." But the list is not a menu and you don't have the luxury of controlling your situation. As many of you know, whether in Africa or Virginia, that's hunting.
In addition to the archery equipment, you have to have a camera ready. There are 30-40 huntable species in South Africa, and I was targeting four. I got some great photos of animals which I did not hunt, took home a few animals I had no plans to hunt, and got very close to some game I never thought I would be remotely close to. My camera got pulled out more than my arrows.
The first animal I took was a kudu on a spot and stalk. The kudu was the only animal that I got a second arrow opportunity on. The impala, as with the rest of the animals on the hunt, were taken from a "hide"(South African for blind). These animals tend to run in groups and there are way too many eyes for my liking when you are trying to execute. You should expect that is how it will go down.
The baboon was a "throw in" for the outfitter as they have big problems with these animals and they want them gone. The waterbuck is the animal I was most excited about hunting before I left Linden, and it 100% lived up to my expectations. I made a less than perfect shot on the blesbok, and boy did I have to pay for that. It was a 3+ mile blood spoor (Afrikaans for track/trail/print), but we finally retrieved him very late into the evening. I was super impressed with the toughness of these adversaries, and they all seem to have an ability to keep going when they should have expired. Getting the opportunity on the blue wildebeest was an “add-on” outside of the plan, and I am sure I would’ve regretted not trying once the opportunity came. Their name is accurate, as they are “beasts”. The final animal on my list was a gemsbok. I didn’t have an opportunity for a bow shot on a gemsbok the entire trip, and on the last day I borrowed a buddies 7MM, and was lucky enough to get a shot on one at 156 yards. That’s as close as I was able to get to one of those animals, but he was on “the list,” so I felt obligated to bring one back even if that meant I had to put the bow down. I love my Mathews, but it’s not gonna get er’ done at 150+ yards.
I mentioned all of the folks who support me, and I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to call them out here. Thank you Massanutten Archery Club for making me more passionate about our sport and making me feel like a real part of the family. Thanks VBA for all of the coordination with the many great clubs and events in our state. The boys at Coal Run Hunting Lodge are always there for me and support my continued improvement in the field. Additionally, I have so much respect for Feron and all the folks at Hoffman Archery who have supported all of my equipment needs as well as stupid questions (I ask a lot of them). Thanks Feron for making me confident on each arrow I release. Most of all I have to thank my AMAZING wife Heather. Heather is my rock, and even though she does not have an interest in hunting or archery, she is super supportive of my passions and tolerant of all of the time I spend pursuing these interests. I am very lucky and blessed. “Dankie” (Afrikaans for thank you), and good luck out there!!!