Post Author: Rance Safaris
February 21, 2019
In April 2018 I had the pleasure again of guiding Brian and Denise Welker of Texas on their third African Safari with me. This time we were to hunt the Kei River Reserve owned by Rance Safaris in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. We were to spend 7 days of fun and laughter together.

After catching up around the campfire and reminiscing the two previous trips to Tanzania together over a good few G&T’s, our first morning we set off in search of what ever we stumbled across with no real game plan. The Welkers have always preferred going out with a happy go lucky mindset. With a favorable breeze in our face, we set off on a walk to finally get to a major vantage point to glass through the undulating valleys and deep gorges. I was still wiping the sleep from my eyes when I spotted strange looking sticks protruding out the waving long green grass not barely 100 yards from us – my Leica’s confirmed that it was indeed the ivory tips of a fine bull bedded down enjoying the warmth of the morning rays.

I have never liked giving the client the option of shooting a bedded animal, and this case was no different. We had all the time in the world so we all sat down and let the kudu make the next move. In such situations seconds feel like minutes, and minutes hours with your heart in your throat praying the wind doesn’t change. It didn’t take long for the kudu to slowly get up and have a stretch and a poop. By then Denise was already on the shooting sticks with thumb on the safety lever. As he stood there he looked even grander than we could have imagined, a massive heavy body with beautiful flaring ivory tips, an animal that we certainly couldn’t pass up . Denise made a great shot and it was high fives all around. On closer inspection he was extremely old with a horn length of 56″, the perfect animal to take.

It has taken the Rance Family many years of careful management to ensure that such genetics are passed on and kept in the gene pool – premium trophy bulls are only to be harvested once they have past their prime breeding age ensuring the best genetics are passed on. This bull is a great example of that. As the days went by we would see plenty kudu bulls over the 50″ mark DAILY, some even close to the magic 60″. Throughout all my years of guiding I have never witnessed such a healthy kudu population with such fine genetics! Hats off to Rance Safaris, you guys have created something spectacular!

Stayed tuned for more short stories of the Welker hunt with Rance Safaris!

Craig Middleton

Share this post: