I just returned from a weeklong safari with my 16-year-old son in South Africa. He actually purchased the donated hunt with Limcroma Safari’s/Koeshall’s World Hunting Adventures during our Badgerland Chapter Hunting Expo and Banquet last year.
It was an experience that we will both remember for the rest of our lives. In fact, during the 15-hour first leg of the flight home, he said it was the best week of his life. As the date approached, I became increasingly excited for my son, knowing what he would see and experience in the bushveld of South Africa. Indeed, it lived up to all expectations.
The only surprise was how difficult it was for me to participate in the many stalks and shot preparations, the occasional shot, verifying the shot and securing the animal with my son on the sticks. I have been with my son as he has taken quite a few large game animals but none with the toughness and will to survive as strong as the African game. It certainly added to the hunting experience.
He went six for six, including a 165-yard single shot threaded through the brush on a blesbok and a single shot on a running duiker. I was very proud with his calm, deliberate and accurate shooting prowess.
Equally important to the taking of game was that our PH, Erik DuPlessis, spent considerable time educating my son on the habits of the animals and the culture and history of hunting in South Africa. I have hunted with Erik before, so I anticipated this added educational experience, and Erik delivered perfectly on all aspects of the hunt.
The group in camp consisted of a father and college-aged daughter, a family that included two young elementary aged girls, and another family with two young teenagers, a boy and a girl. The evenings around the campfire listening to the children talk about the day’s adventures and successful hunts were infectious. Additionally, the PHs seemed to really enjoy the opportunity and took a great deal of pride leading their young hunters to success, as they should have. The memories and fine trophies will last the entire camp a lifetime.
I spoke to the owner of Limcroma Safaris, who I consider to be one of the very best in the business, Hannes Els, about the overall experience of this particular safari to gain insight into his obviously purposeful process in setting up one of his many camps as a family camp. He immediately acknowledged the critical and important nature of involving the next generation, as they truly are the future of hunting. I know he spends a great deal of time and energy insuring that our hunting heritage is paying off for both his business and us as a hunting community.
We talked about the importance of hunting to South Africa with regard to the health, longevity and numbers of the animals, the safari’s numerous employees, the local economy and the overall economy. Each conversation further cemented the importance of the work of Safari Club International to continue promoting hunting and fighting to protect it.
I thank our hardworking chapter board members, dedicated volunteers and especially our event participants who make the SCI wheel turn. We had a very fun membership shoot in June, a successful Badgerland Summer Banquet in July, and we are looking forward to the upcoming August legislative advocacy fundraiser that we participate in as a Chapter, along with many other Wisconsin Chapters.–Kirk R. Willard President SCI Badgerland Chapter