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Hunting trip to South Africa a memorable experience for Rhein resident

When Calin Bugera of Rhein was asked if he wanted to take part in a July hunting trip in South Africa, it didn’t take him long to say yes, he said in an interview last week after returning from the trip.

                   When Calin Bugera of Rhein was asked if he wanted to take part in a July hunting trip in South Africa, it didn’t take him long to say yes, he said in an interview last week after returning from the trip.

            Bugera works for his father Ian, who runs Dam Beaver Trapping Supplies in Rhein. They are a sponsor of The Real Deal TV show based in Dryden, Ont. which airs on the Wild TV hunting channel. When show founder Marc McNay asked the elder Bugera if he wanted to join him on a hunting trip to South Africa, Ian declined the offer.

            But when the opportunity was passed along to Calin, he was ready for the adventure.

            Another show sponsor, Bill McKinstry of Dryden, also accepted McNay’s offer to take part in the trip.

            The threesome left for South Africa on June 30 and returned on July 15. The trip involved four days of flying, two each way, which left 10 days for hunting. They stayed at a camp operated by Nongai Safaris, which also provided a hunting guide.

            Bugera said they did all of their hunting in about a 150 square kilometre area located about a two or three-hour drive northeast of Johannesburg.


            Hunting trip to South Africa productive and educational


During the trip Bugera shot a kudu and a wildebeest, also known as a gnu. Both are members of the antelope family, but are quite different in appearance. The kudu’s most distinctive feature is its vertical horns, which can stretch several feet high. The wildebeest has the more common horizontal horns, but heavier front quarters and a box-like head.

            Bugera said the highlight of the trip for him was the whole experience of hunting the kudu. After about 10 hours spent in two different blinds over two nights, he was able to take down the kudu from a distance of about 12 metres with his bow. The animal weighed around 600 pounds.

            Its horns measured close to 56 inches high and scored 132 points, well above the 120 needed to qualify for a mention in the record book. The predominantly black horns had distinctive white ivory tips.        

            Bugera said he shot the wildebeest with a rifle after stalking it for about two hours over a distance of approximately two kilometres. Its weight was right around 500 lbs.

            Other animals shot by the other members of the threesome included a wart hog, a red hartebeest, which is an African antelope, and an impala, which is a medium-sized antelope (not the car).

            Hunting in Africa is carefully controlled and regulated, said Bugera.

            Their hunting guide was always ready to tell them which animals to shoot and which to avoid. They were only allowed to hunt the older adult animals which were no longer reproducing.

            He said he got to try the meat from the kudu and the wildebeest, which tasted quite good. Most of meat from the animals hunted by the threesome went to surrounding villages for distribution to poor people. Any meat left over was sold to area restaurants, which usually carry quite a bit of wild meat.

            Bugera said he is having taxidermy done on the kudu and the wildebeest from the shoulders up, so he can display them at home.

            Much of the money raised from the fees paid by hunting trips such as theirs ends up creating and supporting employment in the surrounding area, said Bugera.

            One example is a nearby rhinoceros enclosure. Since the rhino is an endangered species, employees are required at the enclosure in order to protect the animals from poaching, which unfortunately is quite common.

            Bugera said, given the opportunity, he would love to go on another trip to the same region. They only hunted about six or eight different animals, but there are at least 30 more species that they would have been allowed to pursue.

            He said anyone thinking of setting up a similar hunting trip should definitely do it when it’s summer in Canada. At this time, it’s winter in the South African region where they hunted, which means the maximum daytime temperature is about 25 degrees Celsius. By comparison, summer temperatures there consistently exceed 40 degrees.

            Bugera said video from the hunting trip is expected to air on The Real Deal TV show some time in 2018.