Civilized life has altogether grown too tame, and, if it is to be stable, it must provide a harmless outlets for the impulses which our remote ancestors satisfied in hunting.-Bertrand Russell

MIDLANDS BRANCH REPORT
By Martin ErasmusMidlands Branch is divided into five areas because of the geographical layout of the area and the distance between places. Listed from west to east, these areas are Ixopo, Richmond, Pietermaritzburg, Dalton/New Hanover and Greytown.  Some events are enjoyed by anyone who is willing to travel. For the most part, however, Waterholes and shooting events are  attended by people in the areas in which they
are organised.

Ixopo Interest Group Report – written by Mark Robinson

As a short summary, the Ixopo Interest Group ended off 2016 with a fishing trip to a cottage at Grosvenor in the Transkei. Unfortunately only a handful of people could make it, but fun was had by all. By the looks of it, we seem to have more success in the hunting field than with our fishing skills.

We started 2017 with our local trophy competition in January, and 26 people attended. We had 19 trophies entered for the 2016 year and 11 trophies entered for the 2015 year.  As usual, every trophy had a story to it, which provided a lot of interest and a late night.

14 people attended our February Waterhole. Nic Shewan and Wayne Miller gave us a slide show about their fishing trip to Madagascar in 2016. That was definitely a trip of a lifetime!

In March, we had our Waterhole at Karongo Guest Farm, with seven people attending. It was a cold and wet evening, on which many interesting hunting stories that were told. As planned, we did not have a Waterhole in April due to the Easter holidays.

On 17 May, we had our Waterhole at Barry Cole’s farm. He showed us his trophy room with all the trophies that he has collected from various parts of the world. Barry also spoke to the guys about trophy care and how he had selected various taxidermists to  mount different species. The evening was ended off with a braai and many laughs.

Thereafter, the Ixopo group took a break. We skip a few months of Waterholes in the middle of the year while most of our members spend more time in the bush doing what we enjoy, namely hunting.  Our next Waterhole was scheduled
for 13 September.

Richmond Interest Group Report – written by Robin English

On 11 October 2016, a Waterhole was held at Richmond Country Club. Some members brought trophies hunted during the season for viewing and measurement. 15 members attended the meeting. Our next Waterhole was held at the Richmond Country Club, with 17 members were in attendance.

The Richmond Interest Group held two Waterholes during the period 1 March to 31 May 2017. 11 members attended the function held on 7 March 2017, while 13 members and four visitors were in attendance on 9 May 2017. The Nyala Shoot trophy was awarded at this event, and Jeff English gave an interesting slideshow of his hunt in the Zambezi Valley in 1968.
There were no Waterholes during the hunting season, because many people are away from Richmond during this time. The next Waterhole was scheduled to be held on 4 September 2017, after
the hunting season.

Pietermaritzburg Waterholes – written by Deon Rossouw and Gavin Longmore

The Pietermaritzburg Waterhole is held on the second Thursday of every month.  Attendance varies between 15 to 25 people on any given evening, going up to 50 people for a horn/tusk measuring event or an AGM, or if there is an interesting speaker or topic.

In September 2016, everyone was asked to bring finger portions of already-prepared venison, so there was an array of drywors, biltong, kabernossie etc to be enjoyed whilst having a drink and a chat.  The Midlands annual Horning & Tusk Measuring event/AGM was held in October 2016 and lunch was one of Sakkie’s tasty potjies and a sweet-sour coleslaw.

In November we had a bring and braai which we shared with the Ski Boat Club members who had renovated the Underwater Club at their own cost.  The Midlands branch supplied some of the paint for the walls. In December, Kalvin Brickhill brought his most amazing private collection of antique air rifles, as well as a few
to sell.

Then in January 2017, Pat McKrill spoke about snakes as being our friendly neighbours. It was obvious that Pat knows and understands snakes, and it  was one of the most interesting and amazing talks that we have had for a long time! Pat had such a humorous way of presenting his talk that we all laughed and laughed, and went away feeling that we should just leave snakes alone and they would leave us alone. However, he also told us what to do if we get bitten.

Pat has written a book called Getting to Know your Neighbours, which he autographed for anyone who purchased a copy. Sakkie cooked wors on the fire and sold so many wors rolls that he ran out of them before the end of the talk.

On 31 January, Deon Rossouw, Johan Minnie, and Martin and Carmen Erasmus attended the Richmond Waterhole at the Richmond Country Club and spent a very pleasant evening with like-minded hunters.

In February, Kalvin Parsons of Jexree came with a vast array of LED lights, torches, bike lights, head lights, flashlights – you name it! The most interesting was the H1 Hunting set, which was a suitcase with a light that can be fitted onto a rifle. It has four different coloured LED light bulbs, namely Cree White, XPE Green, Red LED and Infrared. Members of KZN Hunters could purchase them at the Waterhole, or later online from Kalvin.

In March, Martin managed to source and shoot two Blesbuck for us, and Deon organised for Deli spices to convert the meat into wors. Four different types of wors were brought to the March Waterhole and we had tastes of all the different types and were able to purchase packs. This was a most successful evening. The email address is info@jexree.co.za.

The April Waterhole was just as interesting, although attendance was lower because of the Easter weekend.  Basil Brook from Joburg, a lifelong friend of Arthur Coleby, came and showed us his custom-made rifle bags, ladies handbags, duffel bags,
leather belts etc.  What makes his items so special is that they can be made from the very animal that you have hunted. What’s more, you can specify exactly what you want because it is all custom-made. Basil can be contacted on 084 317 5401 or bbrook@hunterscuriosities.co.za.

The May PMB Waterhole was disappointing from a talks-and-organisation point of view because Gavin had tried so hard to organise speakers, but for many reasons they all fell through. Instead, we had a bring-and-braai and weren’t disappointed.  The turnout was actually excellent despite the inclement weather, and guys chatted about absolutely everything under the sun.

In June our guest speaker was Pat McKrill, who entertained us with stories about frogs and bullfrogs and played us recordings of their calls. The outfit that he wears for going out to study frogs in the rain was hilarious! In July, we hosted Cheryl from Skhumba Tannery, who gave us a most interesting Powerpoint presentation about the preparation of skins and the various stages a skin goes through before it becomes a rug on your floor. She explained why some skins have hairslip and what one can do to prevent it. We learnt that there are also some species of buck, namely those with spiralled horns, that
tend to have hairslip on their shoulders. You can contact Liz
from Skhumba Skins on 083 631 6130 or email
info@skhumbaskins.co.za.

At our August Waterhole, Magma Security Company showed us a video clip of their security abilities and we were most impressed with their expertise and commitment to the safety of the people who they protect.  Some of our members could testify to that fact that their areas had been crime-ridden, but that they were now sleeping peacefully, safe in the knowledge that Magma was doing drive-by patrols. Magma also prides itself on investigating after there has been an incident in an area.  They may be contacted on 072 438 9115, 031 785 1155 or techmanager@magmasecurity.co.za if you are interested.

Shoots

The Association’s annual Nyala Shoot happened on  8 April 2017.  Although the weatherman had predicted rain, we were blessed with good weather for the Nyala Shoot at Mapstone shooting range. A full report on the Nyala Shoot appeared in the July edition of Nyala News.  Only the winners will be mentioned here: The Nkonka team beat the second team by almost double their score.  Team members were Ryan Antel, Kyle Antel, Craig English and Roddy Brent (JNR). They had a score of 2125.37 and the second team finished with 1221.37.  The winning teams in order of succession were Nkonka, Waidmannshail, Bang-On, Schweinehunde and Bushpigs.

The PMP shoot, organised by Conrad Klipp, was held at Mapstone range on 10 June 2017. This was a first for Midlands Branch, and it went off very well.  A full report is in the July issue of Nyala News, but the highlights are given here:

Although our recent import from the Mpumalanga Lowveld, Ryno, commented that it was the coldest he had ever been in his life, the morning turned into a beautiful autumn day with very little wind, which was conducive to excellent bench rest shooting conditions.  Our range officers, led by Mark McKee, efficiently dealt with the relays of shooters while other volunteers collected and changed targets after each relay. A fun, enjoyable day was had by all 34 shooters, who shot 124 targets in total. Of these, three targets were smaller than the 18mm maximum group size to be invited to the PMP National Grouping Competition.  The winner on the day, with a 7.74mm group, was Ryno van Zyl. He was shooting a .308 Winchester rifle using 168 grain ammunition.  In second place, with a 9.88mm group, was Conrad Klipp, shooting a 9.3×62 Mauser, using 286 grain ammunition. Third place, with a 12.87mm group, went to Mike Hutton, shooting a 243 Winchester, with 100 grain ammunition.

DRGC Interest Group (formerly known as NHGC/Dalton) – written by Conrad Klipp

Our local KZN Hunters activities centre around the monthly shoots offered at New Hanover Gun Club. Attendance at shoots can be seen in the table below:

Untitled-82There have been seven shoots since the last report. We also shot twice on the first Wednesday of the month.

Mascor John Deere Dalton once again sponsored the Christmas shoot held in November. This attracted many members and numerous non-members were exposed to the Association and the work that we do. We held a clays shoot in conjunction with a 22 LR CHASA shoot.

On 2 January, we shot a CHASA centre fire exercise on a local farm. It was attended by 10 members. The wind was very tricky and scores lower. However, this is how one learns and realises one’s limitations in shooting.

The Kings Cup has been reinstated, as it has been given back
to the Association by the Waidmannsheil team. All members
of the Association were briefed and invited to attend. Five teams entered, mainly from our area and Pietermaritzburg.
I believe that next year, with more forewarning and planning, more teams will attend. This was a team event with four shottists per team. Each member shot five shots at the same target, and also shot five shots each at the 20 silhouettes. The winners were Waidmannsheil with 1540 points, followed by Die Wilddiebe with 1280 points and Hollow Point with 1135 points.
Thanks go to Rowan Kirton from Kings for the sponsorship of all the 22LR ammunition and gift voucher prizes, and to Head Office for their help. Thanks are also extended to Kathryn and Anton Potgieter for creating the flyer, and to various club members for general assistance and for doing RO duties. We hope this event will go from strength to strength and that more teams enter from other areas.

On 26 February we arranged a 22 RF CHASA shoot for members to keep up submissions for Sport Shooter status.

17 members attended a shoot held on 18 March, with the standard format of shotgun and silhouettes. The trophy shot for was the Carl Everill, and the event was won by Uwe Thies. The after-shoot social was sponsored by Mascor John Deere Dalton. Our thanks go to Johan Jansen.

We held the Schulz Attorneys Gong and Shotgun Shoot on 20 May. The setup was on a farm in the Wartburg area, with 25 members in attendance. Gongs were set up to a maximum distance of 387 metres. There is great interest in shooting gongs, as they are challenging and there is an instant result when hits are made. An excellent after-shoot function was sponsored by Schulz Attorneys. This may become an annual event. The shoot was won by Conrad Klipp, with shotgun going to Carl Wichmann and gongs to Henning Klipp.

At the AGM held on 20 May, we changed the name New Hanover Gun Club to Dalton Rifle and Gun Club. This was done in anticipation of an amalgamation with Dalton Rifle Club which has existed since 1922 or before in the district. The focus has also changed from only shotgun shooting to being a multi-discipline shooting club.

A good turnout of 20 members showed up at the 22LR CHASA shoot held on 24 June. Our scores are improving in this discipline. There was a very festive atmosphere at the bring-and-braai after the shoot, with lots of German folk songs being sung.

15 July saw a sporting shotgun event and 22 LR silhouettes, with 12 members in attendance.

On 26 August, we tried out a new discipline of 22 LR Bench Rest being shot at 50 metres. It proved to be a lot more difficult than imagined to hit the “x”. The wind was variable with changes every few seconds, resulting in windage and elevation changes. 12 members attended, and the event was followed by a sporting shotgun shoot.

Greytown Interest Group – written by Dawie Scholtz

The Greytown group has not been active for a while. I have tried on numerous occasions to get the guys together with very little success.  The one thing I seem to have achieved is to sight in people’s rifles – and these often belong to those who do not belong to KZN Hunters. I have another bring-and-braai planned for 23 February which will be attended by Deon Rossouw (the new Chairman), as well as Martin and Carmen Erasmus. If that is not successful, then I fear that we will have to abandon the idea of a Greytown Waterhole, as the guys here do not seem to have the same enthusiasm to get together as I have experienced in other areas.
Greytown group did not have a gathering over this last period, but there were a couple of meetings and gatherings in the area that were well attended by our members. The first of these was the Umvoti Conservancy’s AGM at the Greytown Country Club, which about four members attended. The evening went well, and guest speaker Mrs Hackland gave a very interesting talk on aloes.

The next event was a pigeon shoot organised by David Odendaal on Saturday 22 July. They had a very good turnout and there were enough pigeons to keep the guns spread out over four farms busy for the afternoon. Afterwards, we all gathered at the Jondol for refreshments and hamburgers.

In the evening of Friday 11 August, we had the Umvoti Conservancy Game Count, which is always a highlight on the Greytown calendar. Once again, I shot a Reedbuck for catering purposes and over 100 people who came for the gathering afterwards were well fed. In general, the numbers of animals were down, but then on some central farms numbers were up, seeing as they are more protected from poaching.

Conclusion

From the above reports, it is obvious that Midlands Branch is healthy and active, and that a lot is going on.

Martin, who served Midlands Branch for 19 years, stepped down at the end of December 2016. We at the Midlands Branch are grateful to him for all his years of sacrifice and his leadership.  His teaching ability at training courses will not be forgotten, nor his Sergeant Major precision on the shooting range, as many a student will testify.  We thank you, Martin, for giving freely of your vast knowledge to improve KZN Hunters and its members.

At the beginning of January 2017, we welcomed Deon Rossouw as Chairman and we could feel that a new man with passion and vigour has stepped into the arena to face the challenges of the future.  Deon, we are so pleased that you came in with your own ideas and leadership style.  We can say with full confidence that choosing you was a wise decision.  You are a people’s person and have exciting leadership qualities. The Midlands Branch has benefited from your ability to motivate all committee members to participate. This means that the pressure is not just on one person. Well done Deon – we applaud you for that.

In the middle of the year, Gavin Longmore was voted in as Deputy Chairman, and that was another wise choice for the Midlands Branch. Gavin has an infectious love for hunting, as well as good administrative skills.  He immediately set up a Pietermaritzburg Hunters Whatsapp group and a Midlands Committee Whatsapp group.  Gavin, we are so glad that you accepted the challenge of Deputy Chairman and that you and Deon get on so well together. We have every confidence that you will both lead Midlands from strength to strength.