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African Plains GameIt was a cold winter morning. It was still dark but the sun is slowly changing the dark shapes outside the hide in to trees. The birds are just starting the first overture of the morning bush symphony.

I settle in with a warm cup of coffee and a thick jacket to ward off the morning chill. I am ready for what the day might bring and what the bush is willing to sacrifice.

My main target is a big Blue Wildebeest bull I have been hunting for the last two years. The guys from S'Dudla Safaris had game cameras on all the water holes on the concession. The decision was made last night to hunt from one particular pit blind. The bull had been visiting the water and salt lick regularly there during the past week.

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African Plains GameThe Impala is one of the most dominant species found on the African savanna and bushveld. They can be found almost anywhere in Southern Africa ranging from southern South Africa to as far north as Kenya. The Impala is also able to adapt to different environments. Depending upon where they are, they will graze on green grass but also browse on shoots and seed pods.

The Impala is also the favorite pray for Africa's predators like lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and wild dogs. This makes the Impala a very nervous animal with lightning fast reflexes. They can jump distances of up to 9 meters long and 2.5 meters high. The Impala is found on most of our game ranches in South Africa and for me they are one of the most beautiful antelope in Africa.

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2010 African SafariAugust 18th: I check my bow once more. My bags are packed. Immunizations are up to date. Tomorrow I leave for the Bowhunting Safari in South Africa I booked with Infinito Safaris. The hunt will occur on bow hunting only concessions surrounding the S’dudla camp near Thabazimbi totaling almost 60,000 acres.

August 19th: I begin my drive to the airport with a quick stop at the gas station. The truck refused to start when I was ready to leave! I was stranded. It was 11:30 AM. My flight was to depart at 4:34 PM. The airport is over an hour away from the gas station I stopped at. Yeah, I was leaving really early. But, experience with travel has taught me that there is no such thing as too early when a flight is involved. Even with the extra time, this was big trouble! I’ve practiced for months shooting my bow preparing for this trip. I have done practically nothing else but shoot my bow this summer. To say I was looking forward to this trip was a major understatement. Here it was, next to zero hour, and the trip was falling apart right there in the parking lot of a gas station less than five miles from my house. I was devastated!

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Mathews SolocamFor approximately 39 years, Matt McPherson, CEO of Mathews Inc., has been designing and developing compound bows. Over the years, Matt has truly revolutionized the archery industry with his innovations; most notably to date being the dual-feed single-cam patent. In this tradition, Mathews Solocam has released three new single cam bows for 2009.

This year, Mathews Solocam clearly focused in on speed and efficiency. Mathews has long made the most efficient bows in the industry. (Meaning, the draw cycle versus speed output - what you physically put into drawing the bow against what you get coming out of the bow in arrow speed - is as high a percentage as is available from any compound bow manufacturer today!)

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Visit SmokeBroadheads.comRecently I received some Smoke Broadheads from Fulton Precision Archery for testing. Brett Fulton was looking for a frank and honest evaluation of them and I felt I could make that. Honestly, I would have prefered 125 gr. heads as my setup works best with those. However, Smokes are currently only available in 100 gr. flavor. Fulton is currently working on a 25 grain bushing, but these were not yet available at the time of testing.

The blades on these heads are nicely sharp, front and back. In my opinion, they are absolutely adequate. The blades are designed to deploy with a little tip pressure. More pressure than I would like, but they do open quite fast. I wanted to try to time blade deployment but it can’t be done. The blades open from a cam action force supplied from the tip. So, literally, the faster the arrow hits the faster the blades open. If you are very careful you can apply the force very slowly and open the blades in slow motion. This is good news to me. If it were a set speed I would be afraid of outrunning deployment with a fast bow.

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I love to spend time in the great outdoors; especially hunting and exploring the wilderness. And as a chef, my favorite foods come from the wilderness that is so dear to me. In my opinion, there is nothing healthier, more nutritious or better tasting than the harvest of God's wild bounty. It never ceases to amaze me how many folks willingly spend twice as much as they need to in the grocery store on trendy organic, free range, hormone free, farm raised meat and produce but turn up their noses in indignation when they discover wild game on their plate. You cannot get any more organic or "free range" than elk, deer, wild turkey, hare, etc.

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This year, instead of just the wife and I heading to Kansas my son Eric came too. Despite the "OUCH" price of gasoline, I drove. The trip from central PA to Topeka, KS is just over 1100 miles. Fortunately the wifes car gets from 31 to 34 MPG on a trip. The trip was uneventful, just the way we liked. My wife and I left on the 10th of April and met Eric who flew to Kansas City on the 11th. After a somewhat quick stop at Kansas City Cabela's to get a couple of AR-type pistol grip stocks for our shotguns, we were off to Topeka and our turkey adventure.

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Trophy Pic

“Great picture!”
“Wow! It looks like a postcard.”
“What camera did you use?”

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