dv Goes To Africa – Trophy Dip, Pack, Ship and Clear
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 By Jerry Long, May 30, 2011 

Besides bow set up and broadhead selection I think Dipping, Packing, Shipping and Clearing of trophies is one of the most talked about topics for an African hunt.

Since trophies cannot be brought back as part of your baggage they must be shipped.  Trophies shipped from Africa must be “Dipped & Packed” in order to clear import by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).  Swine and primates also require United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) clearance.  When talking to prospective outfitters see if you can contact the Dip & Pack as well as the Shipping or Cargo companies they work with to get a written estimate of your “wish list” animals.  Whether or not you can contact them and whether or not you trust them may have an effect on your choice of outfitter. 

I was able to get in touch with both the Dip & Pack company, Swift Dip, and the Shipping company, Safari Cargo Systems, to obtain written estimates of my wish list.  Dip and pack for the trophies on my wish list; gemsbok (cape, skull horns), wildebeest (skull, horns), blesbok (skull, horns), wart hog (skull, tusks) and kudu (back skin, horns, skull); was estimated at $520.  Before I departed I also contacted the taxidermist I intended to use in order to get trophy identification tags.     

Now, what I ended up doing was having the following slightly different list of items dipped and packed; gemsbok (skull, horns, tail), wildebeest (skull, cape, backskin, horns), blesbok (skull, horns), wart hog (eight tusks mounted) and kudu (back skin, horns, skull) for a final price of $640.   The service, particularly the communications, received from Natasha Lotter at Swift Dip before and after the hunt was outstanding!   Who says, “It is all just a big pleasure,” in business these days?  My trip to South Africa was completed on August 25th, 2010 and I received the final invoice from Natasha around September 28th, 2010.    

In order to keep stateside shipping and processing costs down I chose to have the wart hog tusks mounted on a plaque as a “finished trophy”.  Having the swine treated this way allowed me to take possession of the trophy shipment myself at the port of entry (POE) vice having it shipped to a USDA approved taxidermist for reprocessing and then to my house at additional shipping and processing cost.  I don’t remember where I learned about the swine processing, but prior to my trip I discussed it at length with Swift Dip, Safari Cargo Systems and D&L CHB, the clearing agent I eventually decided to use.  My taxidermist was a little skeptical before I went to take possession, but later confirmed I was correct.  As he pointed out before, “Everyone wants a little piece of the pie.”  I was hoarding my pieces, dad-blast-it!

Natasha Lotter at Swift Dip mounted these tusks herself.  This is one of my favorite pieces.

After dipping and packing the shipment was sent to Safari Cargo Systems for shipment to the United States.  My $813.03 estimate turned into a $1048.26 actual bill.  Contrary to the dipping and packing process where I added more work and materials for the wart hog tusk plaque the overall amount of items shipped really didn’t change that much so the increase didn’t make me happy.  Several of the line-items I was being charged for weren’t on the original estimate and those that went up, such as “Facility Fee” were less than quantifiable.  I questioned the changes.  However, keep in mind that the dipping, packing and shipping take place after we, the hunters, have left South Africa.  We have zero leverage if we want to see our trophies again.  The explanation was that SCS doesn’t know ahead of time what permits will be needed so the cost is variable.  Ok, I lost some pieces of my hoarded pie, dad-blast-it! 

Pietre at SCS provided good service and excellent communications prior to and after the hunt.  Again, my trip to South Africa was completed on August 25th, 2010 and I received the final invoice from SCS around December 14th, 2010.  Then, I had to wait on the actual shipment to happen. 

One complication I encountered during the dip, pack and ship process was getting payment to the South African companies.  My credit union, whom I’ve done business with and been very satisfied with for 23-plus years was absolutely clueless and not all that helpful on the customer service side.  I didn’t trust using my credit card internationally, especially in RSA, and Swift Dip was not set up to accept credit card payments.  After one hour in the local branch and literally hours on the phone with the central office I did accomplish the transfers, but it was quite an ordeal spanning multiple days for each transfer and cost me about $50 in fees.  Unfortunately the only tip I can offer on this is to contact your financial institution ahead of time and see what they require to perform international money transfers.

As previously mentioned incoming trophy shipments to the U.S. must be cleared through the USFW and possibly the USDA.  There are several reputable companies such as Fauna and Flora and Coppersmith’s (these are examples, not endorsements) that can be utilized to handle this task.  This service may include temporary storage after arrival as well as transportation to your taxidermist.  Of course, these services cost money.  My original intent was to clear the shipment myself in order to save money.  I made a lot of inquiries on the African forum of Bowsite, Africa Hunting.com and made a lot of calls to those who offered help, to the USWFS, U.S. Customs and the USDA. 

In the end I never felt like I had enough information to confidently proceed on my own.  So, I decided to hire D&L Custom House Brokerage to do the clearing based on recommendations from another southeast Wisconsin hunter who had used them several times.  Lisa and Laura were excellent communicators and extremely helpful throughout the process.  Their estimate was $285.  Note that a limited power of attorney is required for a clearing house to handle your shipment AND Customs requires (italics) your Social Security Number on it.  Since I’m eligible to do so I had one of our Navy lawyers review the document.  She had her supervisor review it and neither could find anything wrong with it except advising me to not give out my SSN if possible.  Rescinding the power of attorney after receipt of the shipment is advisable. 

SCS finally gave me the word that the trophies would ship around the 11th of February, 2011.  I notified D&L CHB so they were on the lookout.  On the 22nd of February I was notified by Laura that the shipment was in, but not cleared.  On the 25th I was notified that I could pick up my shipment.  Mrs. dustyvarmint and I made a quick trip to the Chicago-O’Hare International Airport to pick up it up from the transportation and storage company that had custody.  Interestingly, they had more than one name and attempting to get directions was a little dicey. 

Once there the counter worker shuffled papers from right to left and left to right, but wouldn’t really talk to me.  Already being nervous about this unknown process I was on edge.  Eventually she called D&L and notified them that one day’s storage fee would have to be paid in order to release the shipment.  I knew that, Laura had told me ahead of time.  Had she just asked me for the payment I could have handed it to her.  So, I blurted that out, handed her enough money to cover the $10 fee and it was settled.  The warehouse loaded up the crate and we were on our way. 

Once home I unpacked the shipment from the truck while Mrs. dustyvarmint took photographs.  First, even though I knew what to expect, it was disheartening to see the damage the dip and pack process did to the horns.  The wildebeest and kudu horns, in particular, were in horrible shape.  The wildebeest horns actually looked like cinders from a fire.  The beautiful white accents on the blesbok horns are now a snot-yellow.  Somehow, the plate had been removed from the skull of my kudu.  The wart hog plaque, however, was fantastic.  The taxidermist’s trophy tags were pretty much destroyed.  The smell of mothballs hung heavy in the air and took months to exit the house. 

The transportation company by Chicago O’Hare airport.    

The crate just before unpacking.

The lid is off.

Everything was well-packed and wrapped.

A closer view with horns visible under the bubble wrap.

That is a back skin in the forefront.

A lot of money in a little pile.

My beautiful wildebeest.

The skull plate of my kudu.

My kudu.

My gemsbok.

A blesbok with the horns on the wrong sides.  I’m a jackwagon!

That’s better.

D&L billed me $295; ten dollars more than estimated.  Swift Dip arranged a substitute kudu skull to replace the chopped up one.  Outdoors Buddy Seth and I transported the wildebeest cape, horns and backskin to the taxidermist, Safari Room Taxidermy, as well as the gemsbok tail and kudu backskin.  While I was prepared to pay the roughly $825 for the wildebeest shoulder mount I wasn’t thrilled to pay $180 each for the backskins, but the choice was either throw them out, leave them in the basement or have them tanned.  After paying and coordinating to bring them back I decided to have them tanned and I’ll figure out what to do with them later.

Overall, though, I was and am very disappointed.  Not in Swift Dip at all as I would heartily recommend them, but just the amount of money and time it takes to coordinate the shipment for what I ended up with.  And, all of them still need a lot more work.  As mentioned before, photographs are my true memories so it is possible I value the physical trophies less.  It is highly unlikely that I would bring trophies back if I went to Africa again.  They would not go to waste as there is a market for their use there in RSA.

happy hunting, dv   

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Copyright © Jerry E Long, 2009-2011

Outfitter Report – Dries Visser Safaris
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 By Jerry Long, April 4, 2011 

The following is my outfitter report from a recent adventure with Dries Visser Safaris for African plains game.  This is a modified North American Hunting Club format.    

1) Outfitter: Dries Visser Safaris

2) Owner: Dries Visser

3) Address: P.O. Box 751, Thabazimbi, 0380, South Africa

4) Phone: +27 147790644  

5) E-mail: dries@dvisser-safaris.co.za

6) When: August 16-23, 2010

7) Where: Thabazimbi, South Africa

8) Guided: Fully   

9) Drop: No

10) Transportation to hunting area: Truck driven by professional hunter (PH). 

11) Accommodations: Duplex cottages with separate lodge, dining area, bar, BBQ area and pool at main camp.  Huts, covered dining area, fire patio and separate shower/toilet structure at a Kronsberg camp.

12) Trophy hunt only: No

13) Species hunted / harvested: Gemsbok, blesbok, kudu, wildebeest, warthogs (male and female).

14) Tools used: Compound bow.

15) Land hunted: Private

16) Cost: Daily rates, 1×1 professional hunter upgrade and trophy fees totaled $7214.00.   Check with outfitter for current rates.   Additional costs:  Tips $985.00, air fare $1545.00+$15 FEDEX shipment, Dip &Pack $640, shipment of trophies $1073.26, overnight in Johannesburg $136.44, travel insurance $219.00, trophy clearance $295, taxidermy for one animal $875.00.  Estimated final total:  $12,997.70.    

17) Challenging terrain adversely affect hunt: No

18) Did weather adversely affect hunt: No     

19) Quantity of game: Excellent

20) Quality of game: Excellent

21) Guide’s Competence: Excellent   

22) Guide’s Hunting Ethics: Excellent

23) Condition of Equipment: Excellent  

24) Food: Excellent   

25) Trophy care: Excellent   

26) Meat care: Excellent   

27) Number of outfitted / guided hunts for myself: 8

28)  Recommended: Yes!        

29)  General comments:  This was the trip of a lifetime (and I’m hoping to make a second…).  Dries Jr is a great guy who runs a tight operation.  Kerneels, my PH, was intent on being a great host as well as professional hunter.  The same applies to the other PHs, trackers, Chef Duane and the rest of the staff.  You can find my daily journal from the eight day hunt here

30) Contact me at dustyvarmint at hotmail.com if I can be of help.

happy hunting, dv   

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Index to dv’s African Archery Safari 2010
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Here’s an index to dustyvarmint’s African Archery Safari 2010:

  • WWAC – What Would Africa Cost?
  • dv Goes to Africa – Expenses Part I
  • dv Goes to Africa – Expenses Part II
  • dv Goes To Africa – Bow and Arrow Set Up
  • dv Goes to Africa – Packing List and Packing
  • dv Goes To Africa – Completing The CBP Form 4457
  • African Archery Safari – Part 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 2
  • African Archery Safari – Part 3, Travel Day 3
  • African Archery Safari – Part 4, Hunt Day 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 5, Hunt Day 2
  • African Archery Safari – Part 6, Hunt Day 3
  • African Archery Safari – Part 7, Hunt Day 4
  • African Archery Safari – Part 8, Hunt Day 5
  • African Archery Safari – Part 9, Hunt Day 6
  • African Archery Safari – Part 10, Hunt Day 7
  • African Archery Safari – Part 11, Hunt Day 8
  • African Archery Safari – Part 12, Return Trip Day 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 13, The Conclusion
  • African Archery Safari – Part 13, The Conclusion
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     By Jerry Long, November 22, 2010 

    In Part 13, The Conclusion, of the African Archery Safari series with Dries Visser Safaris in the Republic of South Africa I share the final day of my trip and a quick story I forgot to relate.  There won’t be any pictures in this entry, just information. 

    25 August 2010 

    Near the end of the flight we were directed to fill out a Custom’s form.  I indicated I had been on “ranch operations” and I had an animal product with me – the warthog tusk.  The line for entry and customs wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t quick either.  The DHS representative questioned me about the ranch and animal product answers and indicated I would have to proceed to station “B” after claiming my luggage.  She asked to see my CBP Form 4457 and despite my immediate declaration that I was “archery only” she wanted me to point out which of the listed items was my firearm.  Since there wasn’t one I couldn’t point it out.  She then allowed me to pass. 

    We had to collect our baggage at this point.  I was somewhat relieved to see my archery case.  Not as relieved as in South Africa as I would have simply filed a claim here, but relieved none-the-less that there would be no hassle.  I stood in line for station “B” where I was asked to produce the warthog tusk from Stephan’s collection.  After conferring with a supervisor the CBP officer told me she had to confiscate it.  No worries from me – I had expected that.  She then asked to see my shoes since I had been on a “ranching operation”.  I indicated that I had left them in South Africa.  She had me pack everything back up and feed it all into an x-ray machine.  I was then free to proceed.  We re-checked our bags and moved along to a very cramped TSA security check point which was chaos due to the small quarters. 

    Once cleared, I picked up my traditional airport Starbuck’s latte (“filter” I assume) and waited for my flight.  The flights back to Milwaukee were uneventful although I did get a small amount of enjoyment from seeing the Army JAG (lawyer) sitting next to me spill his soda into his shoes (no offense DC Gal).  Not that I dislike lawyers in general just some deep-seated feelings associated with Navy JAGs currently and in the past.  I would have been more than happy to help hold a soda for awhile if asked… 

    Mrs. dustyvarmint was there to greet me in Milwaukee and I collected my bow case without problem.  

    This journal is for you, the reader, but also for me when I am old, in my rocking chair and no longer going on adventures so I have been thinking if there was anything I’d forgotten to record or share.  There was one thing. 

    On 18 August, Hunt Day 3, we were departing the property north of the Citadel about mid-afternoon.  Upon turning onto a two-track leading out, we spotted an animal in the distance directly in the path.  I couldn’t tell what it was, but Kerneels declared it to be a warthog. 

    When we got closer it turned out to be a decent male with tusks the same size or slightly smaller than the warthog I took on 21 August, Hunt Day 6.  He began to run down the road in front of the truck directly in front of me as Kerneels kept driving.  He wouldn’t move out of the road and simply trotted like an escort right in front of the bumper.  This went on long enough to start being funny.  I’m trying to get out my video or still camera and Dingaan is yelling to Kerneels to run the wartie over as he wants the meat.  The boar let out a ferocious grunt every now and then.  By this time my stomach is hurting from laughing and I couldn’t get either camera ready.  Finally, he peels off to the left side of the road and hits the property line fence head on, but never stopped.  In milliseconds he was under it and gone.  That was quite a bit of entertainment. 

    Well, sadly, that brings to conclusion dustyvarmint’s 2010 African Archery Safari daily journal.  There will be further posts about trophy handling and shipment and likely other tidbits designed to help you out.  I want to thank you for following along and wish you the best of luck on your adventures. 

    happy hunting, dv  

    If you liked this blog you may like the following:   

  • WWAC – What Would Africa Cost?
  • dv Goes to Africa – Expenses Part I
  • dv Goes to Africa – Expenses Part II
  • dv Goes To Africa – Bow and Arrow Set Up
  • dv Goes to Africa – Packing List and Packing
  • dv Goes To Africa – Completing The CBP Form 4457
  • African Archery Safari – Part 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 2
  • African Archery Safari – Part 3, Travel Day 3
  • African Archery Safari – Part 4, Hunt Day 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 5, Hunt Day 2
  • African Archery Safari – Part 6, Hunt Day 3
  • African Archery Safari – Part 7, Hunt Day 4
  • African Archery Safari – Part 8, Hunt Day 5
  • African Archery Safari – Part 9, Hunt Day 6
  • African Archery Safari – Part 10, Hunt Day 7
  • African Archery Safari – Part 11, Hunt Day 8
  • African Archery Safari – Part 12, Return Trip Day 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 13, The Conclusion
  • Feedback, Questions & Comments 

    I’d like to hear your tips, feedback, comments or questions.  Please leave them below.    

    Subscribe   

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    African Archery Safari – Part 12, Return Trip Day 1
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     By Jerry Long, November 15, 2010 

    In Part 12, Return Trip Day 1, of the African Archery Safari series with Dries Visser Safaris in the Republic of South Africa I begin the long return trip.  There won’t be any pictures in these last two entries, just information.    

    24 August 2010 – Return Travel Day 1 

    I met with Dries and settled up.  He was beyond fair in final settlement.  We had breakfast of eggs over easy, bacon, cheese grillers (sausage) and toast.  I was stuffed.  Finished ahead of schedule, Kerneels and I took off for the airport.  

    The roads turned from red dirt, to gray gravel and finally to asphalt once again.  We stopped at Kerneels’ house to drop off a few things and pick up his mother.  I imagine they were going to take advantage of the trip to Johannesburg. 

    The trip was scenic and enjoyable.  We stopped at a gas station where I was surprised to see showers in the restrooms (and people using them).  Also, Kerneels was nice enough to pick up some biltong for me to finally try.  Biltong is their version of jerky, but not the same by any means.  I am not sure whether I liked it or not, but I’d like to try some more.  From a young female college student to old bowhunters, everyone talked highly of biltong.  A hunter like me who is willing to shoot a female animal to eat is referred to as a “biltong hunter” in South Africa. 

    Kerneels and his mother helped decipher the departing signs at OR Tambo International Airport.  He was also kind enough to accompany me into the departure area and help me orient myself.  Turns out we still went to the wrong area, but South African Airlines staff pointed me in the right direction.  There seemed to be an absence of airline company signs labeling the counters as we’ve become accustomed to in the U.S.  There were porters who work for tips only available that know the layout and can assist you, but conflicting reports from previous hunters regarding their value, trustworthiness and penchant for demanding exacting tips had me wanting to avoid them if I could.  Stretch warp booths (for luggage security and protection), should one wish to have his baggage wrapped, were readily available.  

    I was able to enter the line and get my bags weighed, but then was told I must wait until five hours previous to the flight to check in.  At the prescribed time I attempted once again, but was told to wait another half-hour.  Finally, I checked in.  Despite my mild protests I was told my bow must be checked as a firearm and was escorted to the firearm security office. 

    There must have been six to nine people, besides myself, in the twelve-by-twelve foot office.  I was certainly overwhelmed.  I had to show an attendant each bow and specify that my case contained no alcohol. The attendant played with one of my bent arrows and we joked, me very nervously, about the Afrikaans phrases I had labeled my bow case with, “Geen gewere, Boë alleenlik.” meaning “No guns, Bows only.” and how to pronounce them correctly.  I was able to lock my case up and depart. 

    I had plenty of time so I perused the souvenir shops for a vuvuzela for my nephew and something for Mrs. dustyvarmint.  Being previously cautioned I totally locked up my carry-on backpack and proceeded through security screening without problem.  There were a lot of souvenir and food options so I spent my time exploring them.  I attempted to call home twice more without success.  I’m not worldly enough or technically apt enough to make these things work.  

    We were not allowed to sit in the departing gate area for quite some time.  Even after being allowed to do so we were cleared out for one further very lame security pat down and search of carry-on bags.  We were also required to dispose of any liquids we’d bought past the initial security screening contrary to current U.S. practice.  We were then allowed to re-enter the gate area. 

    We boarded the plane. I had an aisle seat in the outside left section.  Once again I couldn’t store my stuff under the seat.  Being better prepared I pulled items from my pack and got settled.  My seat-mate was a young college student from Florida who had been visiting her paternal family in South Africa.  She was lucky enough to have had a faceoff with elephants and a rhino (while in vehicles) during her visit – that sounded fun! 

    Again, the food was decent and plentiful, the service was good and the flight was very long.  During the fuel stop in Dakar a team came onboard to look for stowaways in the overheads; another lame attempt at security.  Somewhere, sometime the day changed. 

    Thanks again for following along. Next week will be the final post in this series.  I hope you’ll join me back here then. 

    happy hunting, dv  

    If you liked this blog you may like the following:   

  • WWAC – What Would Africa Cost?
  • dv Goes to Africa – Expenses Part I
  • dv Goes to Africa – Expenses Part II
  • dv Goes To Africa – Bow and Arrow Set Up
  • dv Goes to Africa – Packing List and Packing
  • dv Goes To Africa – Completing The CBP Form 4457
  • African Archery Safari – Part 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 2
  • African Archery Safari – Part 3, Travel Day 3
  • African Archery Safari – Part 4, Hunt Day 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 5, Hunt Day 2
  • African Archery Safari – Part 6, Hunt Day 3
  • African Archery Safari – Part 7, Hunt Day 4
  • African Archery Safari – Part 8, Hunt Day 5
  • African Archery Safari – Part 9, Hunt Day 6
  • African Archery Safari – Part 10, Hunt Day 7
  • African Archery Safari – Part 11, Hunt Day 8
  • African Archery Safari – Part 12, Return Trip Day 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 13, The Conclusion
  • Feedback, Questions & Comments 

    I’d like to hear your tips, feedback, comments or questions.  Please leave them below.    

    Subscribe   

    Like this blog? Want to be notified of updates? Subscribe via RSS feed by clicking here

    African Archery Safari – Part 11, Hunt Day 8
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     By Jerry Long, November 08, 2010 

    In Part 10, Hunt Day 8, of the African Archery Safari series with Dries Visser Safaris in the Republic of South Africa I enjoy my last day of hunting to its fullest.  

    23 August 2010 – Hunt Day 8 

    We met for breakfast at 7:00 and headed out close to 7:20 or 7:30.  Kerneels explained that he was going to drop me at one blind until 11:00 am and he’d go pick up some blinds at another property.  Then I would go to the blind for warthog culls after lunch at camp.  I didn’t like that idea as I wanted to be in place by 11:00 at the warthog cull blind.  I decided to spend all day in the warthog cull blind alone.  He got me a lunch and we headed out.  

    After settling in for some time the horn bills started to arrive.  I wanted to try to blunt one on video early in the morning and let things settle down again and hopefully do the same with a guinea or two.  After a few false starts setting up the camera I finally managed to accomplish the deed and I got it on video.  It wasn’t long, though, before some creature carried it off. 

    At about 9:45  am kudu started to arrive to drink at the waterhole. Skittish at first they settled in and I enjoyed the viewing.  Nyalas arrived shortly after.  At some point what seemed like a lone monkey stumbled in.  They are very wary creatures who seem to be able to stare right into the blind.  Four warthog sows came into the water, but I couldn’t get the camera on them to shoot and they mostly offered only quartering-to shots. 

    The wind started to shift about a little which led to many animals departing.  I worked my fingers to the bone attempting to light some zebra dung as a cover scent.  On my last of six matches I succeeded.  Not being an experienced dung burner I had flame shooting out of the pile when a stiff breeze came though the blind and my eyes were close to tearing up.  Dries states that one can get zebra cancer from the dung burning…  I was more moderate in my burning after that. 

    At about 1:30 the guineas came in.  Nyala were still feeding on one side so I didn’t want to shoot there although I would have liked to scare the monkeys.  I set up the camera and gave them a whack.  The shot looked good, but both ran away.  I think I hit the camera with the stabilizer though.  Now I had to settle back in and wait for everything to return to normal – hopefully to see some warthogs.  It was good to push the reset button at the waterhole.  

    Later in the afternoon I saw a warthog out in the bush headed obliquely towards the water.  I never saw her again.  Later, one more warthog female came to the water.  I couldn’t get a shot at the water and she circled out.  Then she circled back in to an old stone feeder that was there.  She climbed up into the feeder at about 16 yards, but wouldn’t offer a shot.  She spooked and ran off, but then returned jumping up into the feeder and offering a broad side shot.  I made a conscious decision to forego the video recording, took aim one inch low and one inch forward of the sweet spot in case she jumped the string and let fly. 

    I’d previously decided to use a 100 grain, 3-blade, 1 ¾” cut Wasp JakHammer mechanical broadhead for this shot.  Not something I would have used on the bigger game, especially the Wildebeest, but a head I have confidence in.  At the impact I immediately saw a blood pattern on the entrance side in the shape and size of a rugby ball.  She exploded and ran off.  There was blood covering the end of the feeder. 

    I called in to the PH and thirty minutes later Kerneels and Ben, a tracker and PH, arrived.  Kerneels could see the large blood splatter from the truck and said sarcastically, “Jerry, did you shoot something?”  There was blood everywhere.  Kerneels quickly found my arrow and the rest of the seventy yard blood trail was easy to follow to my sow.  That JakHammer performed marvelously.  To say I was happy is an understatement.  I’d had a great time and this warthog was the culmination of a great hunt.  We headed back to the camp. 

    The offside of a Wasp JakHammer shot on a female warthog. 

     

    My final trophy of the trip – a female warthog. 

      

    I began the tedious process of packing.  I picked one of the many warthog tusks Stephan had traded me for a pack of broadheads knowing it would likely be confiscated.  I wasn’t worried as I knew I’d declare it and if they took it, they took it.  

    After packing I met Duane and Kerneels in the lodge.  They convinced me to try a Richelieu Brandy and Coke.  Holy smokes was that good!  Kerneels described it as “mother’s milk.”  I had to agree.  I’m glad I didn’t try that earlier in the hunt.  We had dinner which I believe Duane called “carrion over rice” (very similar to the filling in our Shepherd’s pie) with some sort of appetizer I wasn’t familiar with and a dessert I can’t remember.  The carrion was so hot, temperature wise, that a tear formed in my eye. 

    I tried to e-mail Mrs. dustyvarmint once more, but we couldn’t get connected to the internet.  Then it was time to turn in. 

    happy hunting, dv  

    If you liked this blog you may like the following:   

  • WWAC – What Would Africa Cost?
  • dv Goes to Africa – Expenses Part I
  • dv Goes to Africa – Expenses Part II
  • dv Goes To Africa – Bow and Arrow Set Up
  • dv Goes to Africa – Packing List and Packing
  • dv Goes To Africa – Completing The CBP Form 4457
  • African Archery Safari – Part 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 2
  • African Archery Safari – Part 3, Travel Day 3
  • African Archery Safari – Part 4, Hunt Day 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 5, Hunt Day 2
  • African Archery Safari – Part 6, Hunt Day 3
  • African Archery Safari – Part 7, Hunt Day 4
  • African Archery Safari – Part 8, Hunt Day 5
  • African Archery Safari – Part 9, Hunt Day 6
  • African Archery Safari – Part 10, Hunt Day 7
  • African Archery Safari – Part 11, Hunt Day 8
  • African Archery Safari – Part 12, Return Trip Day 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 13, The Conclusion
  • Feedback, Questions & Comments 

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    African Archery Safari – Part 10, Hunt Day 7
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     By Jerry Long, November 01, 2010 

    In Part 10, Hunt Day 7, of the African Archery Safari series with Dries Visser Safaris in the Republic of South Africa I get to spend some solitary time in a blind pursuing cull warthogs. 

    22 August 2010 – Hunt Day 7 

    The plan was to go out in the morning for guinea with my bow and then for cull warthogs in the afternoon.  Also, there as a wounded black wildebeest in the area and I was to get another arrow in it if I could.  He had been seen by another hunter and was said to be quite sick. 

    Kerneels was looking a bit under the weather having returned to Thabazimbi for a Saturday night.  

    We took up occupancy in a blind hoping to spy some close guineas.  At one point I thought Kerneels said, “Have you seen a giraffe?”  I replied that I hadn’t seen one this trip.  Then he was nodding out the window.  I looked and was surprised to see a large male giraffe leaning its body and craning its neck sideways staring at the blind.  Eventually another small male and a female came in.  Only the large male ever drank. 

    A giraffe makes a surprise visit. 

     

    He poses for the camera. 

      

    Some little warthogs at the wrong waterhole. 

     

    Later a young waterbuck started to come in and check out the water hole and we could see one about two-hundred yards out also as well as a herd of impala about 300 yards out working their way in, but it was time to go to the blind for the warthogs. 

    Ben dropped me off and I settled in.  There was a kudu cow nearby.  In a short period of time very small kudu calves started to come in as the wary cow sneaked and peaked around.  Eventually, though, many kudu cows, calves and very young bulls started to come in.  Many nyala also came in, but I wasn’t after nyala, only the wee little piggys. 

    A young cow impala.  Note:  I have no idea where “impala” came from in my brain on this one. Thanks to reader Will for pointing out that this is a female nyala vice impala. 

     

    An nyala – I don’t know how to tell the males from the females. 

      

    From current experience I believed the warthogs would not come in until the other game was gone.  Once it thinned out I looked to my left and saw two female warthogs.  I opened the window, grabbed the video camera and fumbled with getting it set up.  Several good shot opportunities passed during this time.  By the time I got it set up the larger of the two warthogs had gotten nervous and ran out, but the other stayed.  However, it would only offer me butt shots. 

    The other hog returned then left again.  I repositioned the camera.  The other hog returned once more.  I waited for a good shot.  Finally, broadside.  I let fly.  I was certain of a good hit.  I called in on the radio and Ben was dispatched.  Not knowing if I could fully communicate the details of the shot with Ben I drew a diagram to help out.  

    Twenty minutes later, just as I was about to blunt a horn bill Ben and Kerneels showed up.  I described the shot and the direction the two little piggys had fled.  The arrow was quickly found and was covered in blood.  It looked good.  A good blood trail was almost immediate.  Ben and Kerneels followed a combination of blood and spoor.  I stayed way back following only blood.  The trail stretched and stretched and I developed that feeling in the pit of my stomach.  

    I worked closely with Ben.  I would stay at the site of last blood and look for more at ground level.  Sometimes I actually found some he had missed.  Ben would range out from that spot on spoor and blood.  Kerneels called out Nico the PH with his dog General, a Jack Russell used to track wounded animals.  Ben and I continued to track.  I found a spot where she had bedded. There was significant blood there but then it petered out.  We found maybe one to two more blood spots after that, but not much more.  I and Kerneels felt the wound had probably been a muscle hit and had probably clotted at this point. 

    Nico, his tracker John, and General arrived.  General did a good job following the trail to us and liked the bed real well.  Nico and General followed the track at a quick pace and I thought I might get a jog in, but I lost sight of them quickly.  Kerneels and I followed along while Ben and John continued to try to track.  In the end it was all to no avail.  The little female wartie was not found. 

    I called it a day and we headed back to camp.  We watched the video of Kyle’s (from Texas) stalk on a springbok and then the video of a joke played on his friend, Travis (also of Texas).  Travis had made a marginal shot on a crazy-horned white blesbok the prior evening.  It hadn’t been found.  However, Nico had found it that morning and had stood the stiff carcass against a tree.  Dries “guided” Travis to the blesbok and had him shoot it at 27 yards.  When he didn’t see it go down Dries instructed him to shoot again.  By this time Travis knew something wasn’t right.  He took the joke quite well. 

    Dinner was sausage, kabobs of various wild game, an excellent pasta with a lot of cheese, mushrooms and corn and some herbed bread.  Duane, the chef and head housekeeper is a talented culinary who intends to produce a cookbook for the 2010 season. 

    Kerneels tried to convince me to shoot an impala (or at least shoot at an impala) as most people do want to take one.  Each person has his personal choice and I preferred the blesbok over the impala.  While I had been in the blind he had been preparing a site on the property where I took the warthog.  He wanted me to think about it.  

    I contemplated it, but didn’t want to spend the money.  It wasn’t just the animal it was the VAT or the dip/pack and the cargo costs also.  In the end I decided to settle back on the guinea fowl in the morning and wart hog culls in the afternoon. 

    happy hunting, dv  

    If you liked this blog you may like the following:   

  • WWAC – What Would Africa Cost?
  • dv Goes to Africa – Expenses Part I
  • dv Goes to Africa – Expenses Part II
  • dv Goes To Africa – Bow and Arrow Set Up
  • dv Goes to Africa – Packing List and Packing
  • dv Goes To Africa – Completing The CBP Form 4457
  • African Archery Safari – Part 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 2
  • African Archery Safari – Part 3, Travel Day 3
  • African Archery Safari – Part 4, Hunt Day 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 5, Hunt Day 2
  • African Archery Safari – Part 6, Hunt Day 3
  • African Archery Safari – Part 7, Hunt Day 4
  • African Archery Safari – Part 8, Hunt Day 5
  • African Archery Safari – Part 9, Hunt Day 6
  • African Archery Safari – Part 10, Hunt Day 7
  • African Archery Safari – Part 11, Hunt Day 8
  • African Archery Safari – Part 12, Return Trip Day 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 13, The Conclusion
  • Feedback, Questions & Comments 

    I’d like to hear your tips, feedback, comments or questions.  Please leave them below.    

    Subscribe   

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    African Archery Safari – Part 9, Hunt Day 6
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     By Jerry Long, October 25, 2010 

    In Part 9, Hunt Day 6, of the African Archery Safari series with Dries Visser Safaris in the Republic of South Africa I have a blast hunting warthogs from a Primos Double Bull blind with my PH and the landowner’s son.  

    21 August 2010 – Hunt Day 6 

    We agreed on a late start, 0700 for breakfast and 0730 for departure.  Ben accompanied us to a new ranch where Kerneels parlayed with the owner for awhile.  There were impala ewes trying to get in his yard, monkeys were encroaching on the other side and he was feeding the guinea hens.  We checked out a location, decided on a pop-up blind and ran back to the citadel.  We chased the blind down in the field where it was well brushed in.  We took both the blind and as much brush as we could haul. 

    Back at the ranch we checked the wind and set up within ten yards of a water tank.  We brushed in the blind as well as we could in a hurry.  Stephan, the landowner’s young son, joined us for the sit.  I wasn’t sure how I would shoot if it came to it, but I’d try. 

    The Primos Double-Bull blind as we were disassembling it – I forgot to take a picture before we started. 

     

    In a short period of time we were surrounded by eland.  There were huge old bulls, cows and calves that could not have been more than a few days old.  They came in for some time and went away.  Later, they came back.  Shortly after that a herd of blesbok came in and watered.  Females and young warthogs would come in, but they were definitely not shooters.  Many were very smart, circling down wind and avoiding us altogether. 

    A beautiful old blue eland cow. 

     

    Blesbok drink from the waterhole with eland in the background. 

     

    Cow and calf eland. 

     

    A red warthog with a sub-prime eland bull in the background. 

     

    Three little piggies. 

      

    The blesbok grunted and groaned, impala butted heads, eland hung around.  Then they all disappeared.  Stephan spied an ostrich with young smaller than North American turkeys.  Immature and female warthogs continued to come to water and/or wind us. 

    Kerneels, a budding primary school teacher in his final year of school, had coached Stephan’s football (soccer) team the previous year so they bantered about the entire morning.  Stephan got punchier as time went by.  He would alert us to a warthog from the back or side by saying, “varker,” which is short for warthog, vlak-vark (say that three times fast), in Afrikaans. 

    There was no zebra dung to burn for cover scent so a try was made with eland dung - a failed experiment, but a fun try none-the-less. 

      

    At some point one of us looked out of the blind at the waterhole to see a decent male warthog staring at the blind window.  I grabbed my bow while Kerneels set up the camera.  When I got the green light I asked about shot placement since the hog was up on the water tank and slightly quartering to.  Upon Kerneel’s reply I began aiming, but taking my time to ensure a good shot.  Just then a flock of little birds erupted and the wartie jumped down and faced quartering away from us. 

    I had been sitting on a plastic lawn chair and had been planning to shoot from my knees, but there was not time.  As Kerneels readied the camera I ensured I had a good squatting foundation.  When I had the green light I focused on the indentation behind the elbow and let fly.  

    I never saw the arrow strike, but I saw a racquetball-sized spot of blood form just under where I had aimed.  The hog exploded and I watched it as long as I could.  Stephan was convinced it was a great shot.  Kerneels reviewed the footage and thought maybe it was a tad low, but was very positive.  I got his “high five” seal of approval.  

    Ben was called in and while we waited Stephan and I filled up aardvark holes with recycled coffee, soda and water.  My arrow was found right away, covered in blood from tip to nock.  A decent blood trail was quickly picked up.  Despite the red earth, the often-times red grass and the red-splotched leaves, I think I could have followed the blood trail.  They still moved extremely quickly following both tracks and blood.  Within seventy yards Ben and Kerneels spotted my hog lying in the grass.  

    The warthog’s final death dive. 

     

    Stephan and I with my warthog. 

     

    We took pictures and video with Stephan and Ben and then headed back to the lodge.  We discussed the possibility of obtaining a baboon permit, but I’m not sure what the outcome was.  It was short notice.  I would never have considered shooting one prior to this trip, but after witnessing their marauding, 

      (more…)

    African Archery Safari – Part 8, Hunt Day 5
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     By Jerry Long, October 18, 2010 

    In Part 8, Hunt Day 5, of the African Archery Safari series with Dries Visser Safaris in the Republic of South Africa I take a very beautiful animal, the blesbok.     

    20 August 2010 – Hunt Day 5 

    We headed north to a place we had hunted before, primarily for wart hog, but at a different hole.  Actually, it took us quite awhile to find the right hole with only a description from another PH and lots of discussion from the ranch’s foreman.  A large 14” wart hog was shot there the previous day.  This was another of the water holes in a dark opening in the trees.  No more than forty yards across the opening and fifteen yards across the water.  It is like something we would find among the Osage Orange trees of eastern Kansas. 

    Within moments a small duiker came in.  I was willing to exceed the budget for a duiker, but Kerneels pronounced him too small to shoot.  After some time an old blue eland cow and a younger eland came in with two zebras in tow.  The zebras were very wary, as they all seemed to be, and stayed a good thirty yards outside the opening.  In awhile they left, but we would see them several more times before we departed, always the four together.  Kudu cows, young and old, and a young bull came in and took over the waterhole. 

    An old blue eland cow on right, eland calf and zebra to the calf’s upper left. 

     

    Wart hogs joined the fray, either young ones or females, but no shooter males.  I would have gladly shot one of the two old females whose tusks curled like fish hooks on either side.  Impala stayed off to the distance.  Some ewes came as close as six to eight yards from the blind at one time, but would never commit any further.  The rams were very wary and stayed out.  At noon or so we decided to move.  I took a shot at a guinea hen, but hit just underneath it.  

    We went back to the Citadel to sit a new blind.  I pressed for blesbok so Kerneels asked the trackers and PH Ben.  With some trekking we settled in at a new waterhole at 1:34 pm.  For a long time it seemed as if we were hunting on the moon.  Only hornbills were moving.  Finally, at about 2:45 I saw a head and ears to our right.  I asked Kerneels to look and he pronounced it to be a kudu cow.  A few minutes later I looked again and a blesbok was standing there.  I had Kerneels look again. 

    He checked out the blesbok and asked me what size I was looking for; average, big…??  I replied with my usual, “I am not a trophy hunter.”  Although that has a slightly different connotation in this instance.  He declared the blesbok to be a shooter then.  

    Kerneels set up the camera with my herky-jerky fifteen dollar Targus tripod.  The blesbok made his way to the waterhole.  I verified shot placement with Kerneels, got the thumbs up, drew… and a kudu calf walked in front of the blesbok.  As its back leg cleared the blesbok’s vitals Kerneels gave me the green light once again.  

    I drew, aimed for what I thought was the perfect spot and touched off the release.  I could see the shot hit high and back of a perfect shot.  The blesbok spun and as he did blood pumped from the exit wound.  At first he charged off, then he slowed with his head down and we lost him in the brush. 

    Kerneels reviewed the video and was positive, but not overly so.  We gave the blesbok plenty of time as we waited for Ben, who is both a tracker and PH.  The blood trail started almost immediately.  Within seventy yards we saw the blesbok laid out on the ground.  

    Kerneels and I pose with my blesbok. 

     

    I find blesbok quite beautiful in the face, but the dark-reddish hair on its hide is also very fine and beautiful close up.  We took pictures and video and loaded it up. 

    Ben dropped us at a new blind that was teaming with game, including a very heavy impala, but in the one-and-a-half hours of remaining light we only saw the cutest little waterbuck calf, its mother, a waterbuck male and a zebra that once again stayed far out. 

    We ate dinner around the fire that night; mixed species t-bones that were fantastic, rice salad and grits and gravy.  That was my new favorite meal. 

    happy hunting, dv  

    If you liked this blog you may like the following:   

  • WWAC – What Would Africa Cost?
  • dv Goes to Africa – Expenses Part I
  • dv Goes to Africa – Expenses Part II
  • dv Goes To Africa – Bow and Arrow Set Up
  • dv Goes to Africa – Packing List and Packing
  • dv Goes To Africa – Completing The CBP Form 4457
  • African Archery Safari – Part 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 2
  • African Archery Safari – Part 3, Travel Day 3
  • African Archery Safari – Part 4, Hunt Day 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 5, Hunt Day 2
  • African Archery Safari – Part 6, Hunt Day 3
  • African Archery Safari – Part 7, Hunt Day 4
  • African Archery Safari – Part 8, Hunt Day 5
  • African Archery Safari – Part 9, Hunt Day 6
  • African Archery Safari – Part 10, Hunt Day 7
  • African Archery Safari – Part 11, Hunt Day 8
  • African Archery Safari – Part 12, Return Trip Day 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 13, The Conclusion
  • Feedback, Questions & Comments 

    I’d like to hear your tips, feedback, comments or questions.  Please leave them below.    

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    African Archery Safari – Part 7, Hunt Day 4
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     By Jerry Long, October 11, 2010 

    In Part 7, Hunt Day 4, of the African Archery Safari series with Dries Visser Safaris in the Republic of South Africa I harvest two animals in one morning.     

    19 August 2010 – Hunt Day 4 

    Breakfast was at 6:30 am and we were to leave by 7:00.  I got an early start as I wanted to shoot my bow.  I was feeling rusty and thought my peep looked like it might have slipped along the string a little bit. 

    After two cups of “filter” coffee, as opposed to instant, I spent some time on the practice range.  I was indeed a little rusty.  Several arrows went a little low and left, but I got things back in order with a little concentration.  

    We traveled to the blind and got set up.   It wasn’t long before several kudu bulls came in accompanied by a cape buffalo, but Kerneels felt they were too small.  He knew I was only seeking a “representative” of the species, but I trusted him to make the call.  We passed. 

    One bull had held out and continued to hold out.  After a long time he started that odd camel-like rambling walk in.  Kerneels surveyed him closely for quite some time.  He thought the horns would go 47 or 48”.  I was fine with that.  After some consideration he gave me the “go”.  Kerneels wrestled with my cheap tri-pod and managed to get the video camera set up and ready.  By this time I had already taken my shoes off despite the carpet on the blind’s floor.  It did help. 

    When Kerneels gave me the green light I drew, aimed carefully and let go.  I never saw the arrow in flight, but I did think I saw a small dark spot form where I was aiming.  The bull took off and I saw a fist-sized area of blood forming at my aiming point.  I believed it to be a pass through.  We reviewed the video and it looked good.  Kerneels was very positive.  The tracker was called and my arrow was quickly found.  It looked good for penetration, but the 100 grain four-blade Magnus Stinger was toast.  As far as I could tell it had hit nothing except kudu, but the screw portion of the bleeder blade construction looked to have been the fault. 

    A 100 grain, 4-blade Magnus Stinger after a perfect broadside pass through shot on a kudu. 

     

    The good double-lung hit left plenty of blood and the bull was found at about 115 yards.  It was a beautiful shot.  After pictures and video we delivered him to the skinning shed. 

    This blood trail was easy to follow. 

     

    My 53 1/2″ kudu. 

     

    One of the wascally tracking dogs ate some fletching off my arrow and chewed up my quiver while the bow was unattended in the back of the truck.  This one doesn’t look too guilty. 

     

    My next target was gemsbok.  From a new blind we began a vigilant lookout.  Many kudy came in but after awhile Kerneels told me, “get your bow” (it sounds better they way they say “beeoh”).  He asked if I minded shooting a cow – I did not.  They have longer horns, but with less mass than the bulls. 

    The gemsbok milled about as we discussed which animal was the target and what proper shot placement was.  Once the camera was set I got the thumbs up.  Then the target cow and another gemsbok swapped places.  The offending gemsbok moved and my shot path was clear.  I aimed, squeezed and as I shot the gemsbok dashed backwards and to the right.  The arrow hit slightly low and 4-6 inches forward.  I knew immediately it was not good.  Penetration looked poor also.  We reviewed the footage time after time and looked over the shot placement chart I had.  It was possible I had caught one lung down low.  Not good. 

    I knew we had a long wait and despite Kerneel’s assertion that we must be positive my spirits sank.  This was the animal at the top of my list.  I could not afford another one and I’d wounded the wart hog on day one.  Maybe Dries would cut off my bow string.  While we waited a very nice eland bull came in as more gemsbok milled about out of range. 

    Kerneels called in two other trackers and a dog.  Stian, another PH, reviewed the video footage and thought the shot looked poor also.  He grabbed his rifle just in case.  We waited one hour and fifteen minutes then took up the trail.  Kerneels quickly found my arrow and the penetration looked far better than we had thought.  

    Kerneels, Stian, Ben (tracker and PH) followed the spoor more so than the blood trail.  They are quite quick and I stayed back out of their way.  Very quickly Kerneels turned and said, “Congratulations on your gemsbok, Jerry.”  I wasn’t ready to give up the poor feeling in the pit of my stomach, yet.  “Really,” I said?  And then I saw it. 

    It had probably gone no more than 115 yards from the blind.  I chalk that one up to luck.  The sun had already started to bloat the beautiful creature.  Ben and Stian got water from the waterhole to cool down the cape and hide in an attempt to prevent hair slippage as this would be my one full shoulder mount. 

    The number one animal on my list – the beautiful gemsbok. 

      

    We took pictures and video and then Ben transported us to a new blind in pursuit of blesbok, a good shot at a wart hog or an even better shot at an impala.  Before long kudu came in, then a female wart hog with small ones visited.  Throughout the afternoon we saw more gemsbok, wart hogs impala and monkeys.  The impala stayed out of range, one nice wart hog never offered a shot while a decent one-tusked wartie and his little brother offered the perfect the shots.  I passed.  Some blue wildebeest tried to come in, but just wouldn’t commit.  

    Kerneels burns some zebra dung during swirling winds. 

     

    A tracker came to pick us up and that was the end of day four’s hunting.  For dinner we had steak strips and noodles, cob fish and chips with rum-raisin pudding for dessert.  The fish was my favorite thus far. 

    Well, that is it for this week.  I hope you enjoyed it and will join me again next week. 

    happy hunting, dv  

    If you liked this blog you may like the following:   

  • WWAC – What Would Africa Cost?
  • dv Goes to Africa – Expenses Part I
  • dv Goes to Africa – Expenses Part II
  • dv Goes To Africa – Bow and Arrow Set Up
  • dv Goes to Africa – Packing List and Packing
  • dv Goes To Africa – Completing The CBP Form 4457
  • African Archery Safari – Part 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 2
  • African Archery Safari – Part 3, Travel Day 3
  • African Archery Safari – Part 4, Hunt Day 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 5, Hunt Day 2
  • African Archery Safari – Part 6, Hunt Day 3
  • African Archery Safari – Part 7, Hunt Day 4
  • African Archery Safari – Part 8, Hunt Day 5
  • African Archery Safari – Part 9, Hunt Day 6
  • African Archery Safari – Part 10, Hunt Day 7
  • African Archery Safari – Part 11, Hunt Day 8
  • African Archery Safari – Part 12, Return Trip Day 1
  • African Archery Safari – Part 13, The Conclusion
  • Feedback, Questions & Comments 

    I’d like to hear your tips, feedback, comments or questions.  Please leave them below.    

    Subscribe   

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