Welcome to the 2018 newsletter. We have spent considerable time in the last year on our Social Media presence. On our Facebook and Instagram sites we are now making new posts every day. You will now be able to see on our Social Media what is going on right now with Cruiser’s and be able to enjoy our 2018 hunters’ trophies. We are currently looking for more videos for Cruiser’s YouTube channel. If you have a video that you would like to share, please feel free to send it to us. In the next few months we are planning to add several videos there for you to enjoy. You can visit our channel with the following link: Cruiser Safaris TV.
As always, we are including all of the hunters that have come to Cruiser’s along with every trophy that they took. Also included are their safari stories that they have sent. Sometime we don’t receive these stories right away, however when we do receive them we will add them to this newsletter. In following my tradition of trying to give the reader of the newsletter the feeling of actually being on their safari with them, all of the stories that are included here are those actually written by our clients. If you have a story be sure to send it to us so all can enjoy the highlights of your safari. Although there may not be a lot of the clients’ stories right away, we will add those as we receive them. We have now made sure that there are pictures included here on everyone that has hunted with us this year.
On a sad note our PH Hans is no longer with Cruiser’s. We will miss him but want to wish him the best. We want to welcome Rudolph Human as our new full time PH. Rudolph grew up on a farm and began his hunting career with a Warthog hunt when he was only 5. Along with Craig, Frank and Johan we have an outstanding group of Professional Hunters. Naturally we still have to take our hats off to our chef DelMarie. Each year her culinary skills absolutely amaze our clients.
And as we do every year there are improvements made at Cruiser’s. A lot of these improvements are subtle and you may not even notice them such as landscaping, décor and linens. New end tables are a little more noticeable along with air conditioning being added to the chalets. Now that is cool. Nothing is nicer then coming back to camp after a hard day of hunting and relaxing in an elegant setting.
Included in this newsletter are all of the clients’ trophies and those trophies that qualify for the record book are indicated by a * and in the case of Kudu’s, their size is also listed. All trophy pictures that are sent to me are included as well. Thank you to those that have contributed their safari stories and I hope everyone enjoys this 2018 edition of Cruiser Safaris newsletter.
NOTE: The * behind the animal indicates that it qualified for the record book.
April - May
MARK YANKO – British Columbia, Canada
Animals taken: Bushbuck, Eland*, female Waterbuck
The bushbuck is a small animal and because of the time of year the bush was still thick so we had to really work hard for him. We saw 4 different bushbucks but they kept catching us off guard. It was not till the 4th day that one finally made a mistake and we were at the right spot to take advantage of it. He will be a fantastic memory of a great hunt.
JEAN-LUC SURPRENANT – Quebec, Canada
Animals taken – Gemsbok, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest, Impala, female Waterbuck, Kudu* (51”), Red Hartebeest*, Warthog
KRIS & CHERYL CHRZANOWSKI – Michigan
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Gemsbok, Kudu* (55 ¾”), Blesbok*
BILL & KIM MARTIN – Missouri
Animals taken – Gemsbok, Waterbuck*, Warthog*, Impala*, Red Hartebeest*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (56 ½”)
When I shot my waterbuck, it ran. In no time at all, we heard it fall. We waited a while before we went to look for it. My PH went to get the truck. He came back with several guys to help. We looked for it for about 30 minutes. I thought for sure it was lost. We all regrouped back to where I shot it. And slowly the trackers looked for blood. There were small amounts on a few blades of grass. We kept finding a little bit of blood. After about 15 minutes one of the trackers spotted it laying down in some tall grass. What a relief!!& We were so excited to find it, we forgot to take pictures in the field, so we had to unload it back at the lodge, take pictures and then loaded it back up and took it to the skinning shed. All very exciting!
TIM & JACQUELINE MIERITZ – Wisconsin
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Steenbok*, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Kudu, Impala*, Warthog*, Waterbuck*
GLENN & JESSICA MIERITZ – Wisconsin
Animals taken (Glenn) – Impala*, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (50 ½”)
Animals taken (Jessica) – Zebra, Impala*, Waterbuck
BRIAN – Michigan
Animals taken – Red Hartebeest*, Blue Wildebeest*, Cape Buffalo*, Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Kudu* (50 ½”), Impala
DONALD – Michigan
Animals taken – Impala*, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (50 ½”)
HECTOR SIDANEZ – Argentina
Animals taken – Sable*, Nyala*, Warthog, Red Hartebeest*, Impala*
RUBEN GONZALEZ – Argentina
Animals taken – Impala*, Gemsbok*, Kudu
ALAN CRAWFORD – North Carolina
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Kudu, Gemsbok, Warthog*, Zebra, Red Hartebeest*
WES ROBBINS & LEESA DETERDING – North Carolina
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Kudu* (53”), Red Hartebeest*, Gemsbok, Blesbok*
MIKE & DANAE ALIG – North Carolina
Animals taken – Blesbok*, 2 – Impala*, 2 - Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, Kudu* (51”), Gemsbok, Zebra
RICK & JENNIFER MOORE – South Carolina
Animals taken – 2 – Impala*, Warthog*, Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu, Zebra, Waterbuck*, female Blue Wildebeest
(Wes’ Kudu hunt) We saw the first bull around 7:30 that morning and I missed him cleanly at about 200 yds. We then sat in a blind and saw two bulls, one of which we actually saw twice and I could not get on him either time and another that we couldn't decide in time if he was one selected to not be harvested. Finally, towards the end of the day, we drove some and a bull crossed the road. We drove up to where he entered the brush and saw him and I had a shot and took it. We had to track it and when we got within a few yards, Frank glassed it and pranked me by telling me that I had shot a cow. My heart sank and then he told me that he had some extra horns that we would tape on and it would be good enough for a picture. At that point, I knew he was pranking me and it was fabulous. Then, when I got next to the animal, I could see how good he was and I knelt and thanked God for the opportunity and sacrifice of that glorious Kudu. The Kudu was my main objective but I also wanted so badly to take one over 50". My Kudu was 52 1/2". The pressure was off, my main goal had been achieved on day four and the rest of my safari was so relaxed and wonderful.
(Wes’ Gemsbok hunt) When I shot my Gemsbuck we had to track it as well. We got to a point where Frank told me to get ready, the animal was ahead and I would have to shoot it again. He put his hands on my shoulders and pointed and guided me 25 yards instructing me to look into this certain area as the Gemsbuck was moving in there. He finally stopped and said "he's right there, I can see him". I turned around to ask Frank where he was as I could not see him and the darn Gemsbuck was six inches behind the heel of my boot. It was another great prank and he got me good. The Gemsbuck was a fine harvest as well and the prank will always be a part of that story.
(Rick’s Kudu hunt) We drove about an hour from the Cruiser facility, we hunted in the mountain area. We ended up finding Mikes wounded Kudu from the day before and was able to take that animal down for Mike. We continued to hunt hard all day and only saw a few cows; we sat on a water hole at 300p and then at 512p a shooter Bull came have way out of the bush, I had my red dot on him for 10 mins and he wouldn't take a step forward. Turns out the property manager was walking through the adjacent field so the Kudu was watching him .. the Kudu ran away and the property hand walked up to our blind; We were both very upset and I was mad enough not to see straight anymore. The ranch hand was coming to get us to go to another water hole ... so we did do that and as we were driving to the other water hole the ranch hand spotted a large Shooter Kudu Bull standing just outside of the brush about 135 yards away, Craig yells at me "Shoot his butt" so I free hand shot his butt, the Kudu ran about 20 to 25 yards and died, it turned out I shot him right in the heart. The time of the shot was 543p. We and to take pictures in the dark .... oh, what a great conclusion to an almost ruined day of hunting :)
(Danae) At dinner the first night, Pieter crawled under the length of the table with a big plastic bug to scare me. Everyday there was snack mix, sand, rocks, salt, etc. in my hood or pockets. I was still cleaning stuff out when I got home. It was jokes all week!
June - July
CHUCK & ANITA KEEGAN – Georgia
Animals taken – Warthog*, Impala*, Kudu* (50 ½”), Gemsbok
JIM GENT – North Carolina
Animals taken – Nyala*, Impala*, Bushbuck*, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest*
MARTIN EVANS – North Carolina
Animals taken (unfortunately trophy sizes were not recorded) – Impala, Blesbok, Warthog, Blue Wildebeest, Kudu, Gemsbok
JON & DIDI CAULFIELD – Georgia
Animals taken – Impala*, Nyala*, Bushbuck*, Waterbuck*, Blue Wildebeest*
CLARK GREGG – Washington
Animals taken – Cape Buffalo*
GARY SCISM – Oklahoma
Animals taken –
KEN & NIZHONI STARKOVICH – New Mexico
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*, 2 – Impala*, Kudu, Gemsbok*
JOEL TAVERA – Florida
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (53”), 2 – Warthog*, Impala*, Blesbok*, Waterbuck*, Zebra
MATT EATMAN – South Carolina
Animals taken – (unfortunately trophy sizes were not recorded) – Impala, Nyala, Blesbok, Steenbok, Red Hartebeest, 3 – Warthogs, Gemsbok, Female Waterbuck
So many folks dream of an African safari, but never make it happen. Too often, it seems they are unable to commit due to fear and uncertainty over downrange business ethics, in-country safety, the unknown, and finances. Enter my friend, Joel, who faced all those same fears and went on his first African hunt. Oh yes, and Joel is a one-legged, one-handed, totally blind, and badly burned young man.
I met Joel in 2008 when he was in the Haley VA Hospital in Tampa, FL. He'd been severely wounded in Iraq. I was the HQ CMDT at HQUSSOCOM and my 1SG asked me to join him and visit some wounded guys in the hospital. Joel was a mess; missing a large chunk of his skull, badly burned, leg amputated below the knee, hands badly gnarled, and completely blind. Even in this condition, at his mother's urging, he thanked the 1SG for visiting and saluted me with his damaged hand - this level of discipline and lack of self-pity, along with an amazing sense of humor, are Joel's trademarks. We became friends, talking every few weeks, and visiting him a couple times after leaving Florida.
I'd been "kicking tires" and thinking about my second safari when Joel, who now had several successful stateside hunts under his belt, called and asked if I'd allow him to join me on my next African hunt. Joel hunts with the use of an iScope adaptor that allows his guide/PH to help get the crosshairs on target before Joel pulls the trigger. I told him I'd run it by my bride who said "it's Joel, you have to say yes." A year-and-a-half later we were on a plane.
We were supposed to meet up in Atlanta several hours prior to boarding our non-stop Delta flight, but weather in Atlanta kept me grounded in Greenville, SC and I arrived just after the plane left. Fortunately, Travel with Guns was monitoring our flights and we worked with them and Delta to leave two days later. We lost our Delta Comfort seats, but ended up with bulkhead seats, pretty good all things considered. Once done, I notified our booking agent and shortly thereafter received a text from Cruiser Safaris saying they'd simply shift everything two days to the right so we wouldn't lose any hunting time. Likewise, Travel with Guns worked with Afton Safari Lodge to shift our reservations as well.
We arrived in Jo'berg and were met at our gate by two of Mr X's (courtesy of Afton Safari Lodge) assistants who whisked us through customs to the SAPS office where we were met by Mr X. Minutes later we were in a van for a short ride to Afton for a great steak dinner and a night's rest. They even had a stool in the shower so Joel could take a shower. Since we'd arrived two days late and would be leaving the country two days late, our gun permits would expire during our stay. Mr X worked the extensions and e-mailed them to our outfitter for us! Afton also e-mailed me to say we'd left an adaptor in our room and offered to meet us at the airport to give it to us when we left. Pretty amazing service.
After about a 4-hour drive with Joel's PH and the videographer, with a stop for fresh produce, we arrived at Cruiser Safaris. Our dinner, as was every meal while there, was delicious and served with a smile by a wonderful and attentive staff. Our accommodations were embarrassingly decadent; remote control heaters, hot water bottle in bed each evening, hot shower with good water pressure, etc...and very clean.
First order of business was sighting in of the rifles and evaluation of client shooting abilities. I was uncharacteristically accurate. Then it was Joel's turn. He and his PH got the iScope set up and mated to his scope and iPhone.
Joel's first shot at 100 yds wasn't on the paper and the look on his PH's face said "what have I gotten myself into." Another shot, however, and they were in business. I'll save the blow-by-blow and tell you Joel missed one Impala and his Wildebeest required a follow-up shot. Every other animal was a one-shot kill and fell within sight of the blind. His 308 Winchester and Barnes TSX bullets were up to the task.
He took Blue Wildebeest, Impala, two Warthogs, Waterbuck, Blesbok, Kudu, and Zebra. The only animal he targeted but couldn't bring to bag was a Steenbok, but it wasn't for lack of trying.
I hunted as well, taking Nyala, Steenbok, three Warthogs, Blesbok, Red Hartebeest, Waterbuck cow, Gemsbok, and Impala. My PH, Frank the Tank, delighted in tracking, working the wind, and getting us in close. As a result, I only took two shots over 100 yds and many times were well within 30-40 yds from unaware animals.