Wilderness Woman on Safari in Africa: Henry’s All-Weather Lever Action
Hunting is about so much more than the chase itself. The adventure is ultimately defined by the place, people, camps, food, camaraderie, sweat equity, failure, and success. Our time at five different camps during a recent safari in Africa allowed us to meet amazing professional hunters, ranchers, trackers, skinners, chefs, and families.
Every responsible safari starts at the shooting range. When flying halfway across the world with guns – transited with all the care of the airlines – it is crucial to verify your zero. Here, professional hunter Stephen Bann of SB Hunting Safaris takes a turn behind the Henry All-Weather Side Gate Picatinny Rail chambered in .45-70 Government. Even those “renting” rifles will want to begin at the range to get familiar with the guns before heading afield. (Photo: GJ DuToit/Wildlife Video Productions)
Stalking the Plains Game
Plains game make up the most commonly hunted groups of small, medium, and big game in Africa, which is separate from what is known as dangerous game. We hunted a wide variety of plains game, including kudu, black wildebeest, warthog, roan, sable, blesbok, bontebok, and this beautiful lechwe. This dandy was harvested with Henry’s Long Ranger lever-action rifle in .308 Winchester. We were shooting Federal Premium Terminal Ascent 175-grain projectiles while using a Leupold’s VX-3HD optic. Shown are hunter Kristin Alberts and PH Stephen Bann of SB Hunting Safaris. (Photo: GJ DuToit/Wildlife Video Productions)
Immersing oneself in the Safari is perhaps the best part of the adventure. We camp where we hunt, and we are thankful for every harvest this land provides. The animal is honored and the meat is enjoyed not only by our camp but shared with local villagers. Nothing goes to waste in this sometimes harsh but always beautiful country. Here, we slice into kudu backstraps cooked over a braai, which is a traditional South African “barbecue.” (Photo: GJ DuToit/Wildlife Video Productions)
Hunting Is a Family Affair
The hunting and outdoor lifestyle in Africa is a family affair, with younger generations taking a keen interest. Here, hunter Jerry poses with his trophy roan, a chase shared with the outfitter’s two young sons, Ruben and Divan. The boys helped spot and recover the beast after the stalk. They are proof that the future of hunting is bright. (Photo: GJ DuToit/Wildlife Video Productions)
Taking a Short Break From the Hunt
Our chosen outfitter, SB Hunting Safaris, is a premier dangerous game outfitter in South Africa. They also excel at traversing the country to hunt plains game in its most natural terrain. Even for those not interested in the hunt specifically, there are so many other aspects to enjoy – scenery, photography, hiking, diamond mines, and world-class fishing for both inshore and deep-sea fish. This is our boat out chasing toothy tiger fish near Jozini Dam at Kwazula-Natal during a break from hunting. (Photo: GJ DuToit/Wildlife Video Productions)
Dangerous game hunting gets in the blood, just like the lure of the African continent. The “Big Five” is made up of Cape buffalo, lion, leopard, elephant, and rhino. The “Dangerous Seven” adds crocodile and hippo. Few hunters today achieve these levels, which require great dedication and bravery, as well as the finances to support hunting and conservation. To sustainably harvest several of these great species on one safari was a dream come true.
This monstrous croc that was 14+ feet long was stalked by hunter Jerry and PHs Jasper and Stephen. It fell to Henry’s .45-70 All-Weather Side Gate Picatinny Rail rifle loaded with Federal Premium Hammer Down and topped with Leupold glass. With proper shot placement, the bonded soft-point bullet anchored this old crocodile on the bank, which is key to recovering the ancient prey. If they get into the water, they are gone. If those rounds can handle dangerous game on the Dark Continent, they can handle any big game in North America just as well. (Photo: GJ DuToit/Wildlife Video Productions)
Hunting Is Conservation
No matter how you cut it, responsible hunting is conservation. Revenue generated by hunters accounts for the lion’s share of tourism and income throughout Africa. Before jumping to conclusions, it’s important to realize that not all hunting is killing. In this case, we opted for a “green hunt” on a southern white rhinoceros. That means using a pneumatically charged dart gun to sedate the animal, provide necessary vitamins, and allow a veterinarian to perform a health check. The money for the “hunt” supports not only survival of the once nearly extinct species but also funds the much-needed anti-poaching forces that protect these animals for future generations. (Photo: GJ DuToit/Wildlife Video Productions)
Old Warrior Bull
Early in the hunt, while stalking a bachelor group of bulls, we had identified the old warrior of a bull that I wanted to hunt. He was instantly recognizable for his scarred face, worn horns, hard bosses, and wide spread – all the character a hunter could want in a Cape buffalo. It’s a long story for another day, but suffice it to say the adrenaline-fueled hunt couldn't have been scripted much better. This old Cape buffalo warrior fell to one round of Federal Premium .45-70 ammunition fired through the new Henry Repeating Arms All-Weather Picatinny Rail Side Gate lever action topped with a Leupold VX-3HD scope. (Photo: GJ DuToit/Wildlife Video Productions)
Even when we’re out hunting a particular species, there’s always plenty of time to enjoy and appreciate this amazing continent and its wildlife. Here, we were filming a quick video when we noticed curious giraffes coming to check out our party. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)
A safari sounds like a romantic affair of traversing beautiful terrain and harvesting wild animals, and at many times that is true. A good amount of it, however, is spent either glassing for game or hiking and stalking. It’s work, but glorious work indeed, and the views can’t be beat. Quality glass like our Leupold binos is a must. (Photo: GJ DuToit/Wildlife Video Productions)
Our African safari is now over. Even though we just got home, we’re already looking forward to another trip.