WINTERBERG

When you think about South Africa there are many things that can come to you mind, but probably mountain hunting is not one of those.”

A few hours drive from Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape state of South Africa, there is a mountain range called Winterberg. With an average of 2000 meters of elevation, this mountain range is where two very unique species live, the vaal rhebok and the mountain reedbuck.

After checking the rifles early in the morning, we started looking for reedbucks. This is the smallest subspecies in Africa and lives just above tree line in small groups of typically one male and half dozen females. We let our spotting scopes do all the walking and finally located a big ram. As always it is all the way at the top, so we put a game plan together.

We hike to close up the distance as much as we could, controlling the animals at all times. The EL-Range gives a reading of 256 meters, but the true ballistic range is of 235m, so I adjust the ballistic tower accordingly. It is a small antelope, no much bigger than a roe buck.

The bullet finds its mark and drops the ram quick, it never knew what happened. What a beautiful stalk and scenery, I couldn’t be happier!

It was time to bring the reedbuck down to camp.

We move in the afternoon to higher altitude, to explore the mountain tops for vaal rhebok.

There is almost no vegetation to hide, and despite the amount of terrain we can cover with our binoculars we can’t locate the ram we were looking for, but we enjoyed a beautiful african sunset with good company.

Vaal Rhebok (Pelea Capreolus) it is a small antelope of around 20kg which also lives in groups. Their eyesight is unbelievable, and it is scary how they can spot you from more than half kilometer away. They do not give many chances, so there is no room for mistakes. I can’t share any good photos of them because it was impossible to get close enough.

We worked hard and glassed a lot of country until the morning of the third day, when we found an exceptional ram. We don’t hesitate and put a stalk in to the group, and quickly rush to go around and above.

The group of around a dozen animals are feeding not he side of the mountain, and with so many us and such an open terrain, it forces us to take a long shot. We have done our homework so I adjust the scope accordingly, take a deep breath, and squeeze the trigger.

The ram drops on its tracks without knowing what just happened. It is really nice when the plans work perfectly, and we couldn’t be happier of taking such a beautiful old specimen.

As always, nothing goes to waste and I put the whole antelope on my pack to bring down to the car.

There are a few things that I enjoy more than the pack-out, and one of them is sharing the meat with good friends down in camp over a beer and a fire.

With an extra day we spend some time in lower country looking for spaniards favorite, the warthogs!

Really like the versatility of the new Z8i scope, that allows you to do some long range hunting with 28x magnification, but at the same time some thick country close up hunting with a minimum of 3,5x magnification. For sure the most versatile scope on the market.

I can’t thank enough to Joaquin Vadillo and Willem De Beer for lining up such a great hunt, and Roberto Fontaneda and Garoz brothers for joining the trip! Good company makes the whole difference.

Just counting the days to be back in Africa, every trip its a unique experience.

Pedro Ampuero

*ROAD BOOK*
Location: South Africa
Species: Vaal Rehbok / Mountain Reedbuck
Photography: Roberto Fontaneda
Outfitter: Joaquin Vadillo (International Wild Hunting)
Equipment: Sauer Pantera 6,5 Creedmore, Swarovski Z8i 3,5-28×50 and Hornady Precision Hunter E-LDX
Gear: KUIU ULTRA Merino 145, Peloton 240, Kutana Pants, Icon Pro 2200 backpack.

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