I had the pleasure of hunting with Mark, Stephanie and Grant Williams in June 2012. We hunted Pilanesberg National Park for leopard - a safari that we had been planning for 3 years with Mark! Pilanesberg was an exclusive CVS area for 10 years before they terminated hunting on a large scale. Since then, in more recent years, we (CVS) have purchased limited hunts which were auctioned through the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa in aid of anti-poaching projects and the training of previously disadvanted folks as Park Rangers.
For the first few days the leopard weren’t eating our baits. On day 6 we had our first “hit” from a decent but young tom in the north of the park. We kept him on bait as back up and monitored his feeding paterns with our trail cams. Then on day 8 we had 3 more hits - a female and 2 more toms, one of which was definitely a shooter. We completed our blind at 4pm and settled in as the car drove away. Indredibly, at 4:50 pm we heard rustling in the grass, then everything went quiet. We held our breaths! At 4:55 there he was, standing on the tree limb above the bait, in a golden sunset light. His beauty took our breaths away! He suddenly became uneasy about something and started to head off the branch. He stopped for one more look. It was now or never! Mark made a perfect shot, killing the Tom instantly. The relief and joy was incredible! After taking some stunning pictures we headed back to camp to show Marks wife,Stephanie, and son, Grant! Maddi, a young lady friend who came along on the safari to help take care of grant (7) was amazed at the cats beauty. Needless to say we celebrated that eveing around the campfire and toasted the awesome leopard many times over.
During the baiting process, Stephanie took her first trophies in Africa, 4 impala, 1 blue wildebeest and a blesbok. We nick-named her "the assassin" because of her superb shooting skills. Mark generously sent a plane to Hilton (our home base) to collect my family Sarah, Emily and Caleb, along with my sister Eileen, her daughter Rebecca and my Dad Coenraad. They enjoyed three nights in camp with the Williams clan! Young Grant, a fine young man, enjoyed having Caleb, Emily and Rebecca in camp with him and he was a real trooper throughout the safari. A future hunter in the making without a doubt.
We look forward to sharing many more happy campfires with the Williams family in the future. We truly value your support and friendship!