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Youth Spotlight

Ramarco Barrier, Youth Hunter

Ramarco Barrier Impala - 30-06 150 gr. TTSX
My name is Ramarco Barrier. I live in Maryland near Washington DC. A couple of years ago I decided I’d like to get into shooting and hunting. No one in my family did that. A family friend, Jack Tishue, Mr. Jack to most of us, was asked if he could help me learn to shoot and perhaps teach me to hunt. Mr. Jack has been hunting for years, and also reloads. He took me to a local indoor range, near where I live, a few times, then to his range, the Associated Gun Clubs range west of Baltimore, to shoot with real hunting rifles. He also took me with him deer hunting a few afternoons last year, but we only saw some one day at several hundred yards. Due to the fact this was a shotgun only area, they were out of range.

Mr. Jack had told me he would load ammo and we could go prairie dog shooting in South Dakota. When he was visiting one day, he asked me if I’d like to go to Argentina or Africa hunting, as both places promised good hunting and he felt it was a pretty good value where he had planned to hunt. I said, I’d really like to go to Africa. He then contacted a PH he’d been corresponding with for a few years, Pieter Kriel of and was told they had a couple of weeks open towards the end of July and into early August. Mr. Jack set us up for an additional week on the trip, so we could also do some site seeing and learn a bit about the country.

We left Dulles Airport at 6 in the evening and due to a storm, didn’t get off till late. We arrived in Johannesburg 24 hours later their time, there being a 6 hour difference in time and the delay at Dulles.
We were met my Mr. Kriel, and after getting through gun check, etc., we were wisked off to a “lodge” were we had supper at an RSA, all you can eat, buffet restaurant.

The next day, we drove north and entered Kruger National Park at the Punda Maria, gate. We stayed at another lodge there. Incidentally, these lodges are up scaled from our motels, etc, and generally have in house restaurants. The next day we left out and traveled for 3 days, down through Kruger park, seeing the differences in the terrain, and different animal life as we drove south. I spotted a leopard in a tree which Mr. Jack and Pieter had missed. We stopped and backed up, but it had jumped out of the tree and was hiding in some grass near by. Peter was able to get a picture of it anyway. Another day we had a herd of Buffalo come across the road in front of us.

We finally arrived at the first hunting site in Pongola, in the Kwa Zulu-Natal area. We were at an elevation here of 5,700 feet and it could and did, get quite cold some nights. The first night there, we needed an extra cover, but had only the one. It didn’t dawn on us till next evening to take the one off the other bed too. We ended up sleeping in our clothes to keep warm the first night. In the mornings, you could see your breath till the sun came up, and started to warm the air. Our cook was a professional Chef that Pieter knew, which was a definite treat.

The first day, we spent learning the area and placing trail camera’s at water tanks to see what was about. We saw some game, but nothing we were interested in shooting. The 2nd day however, we came upon a track and a group of Impala crossed in front of us. Pieter thought the ram was respectable and a shooter, so we continued down the road to a corner and which turned the direction the Impala were headed, when they went into the brush. Pieter myself and the tracker, stalked into the brush, to see if we could intercept the Impala. Mr. Jack stayed behind, as he put it, this is Ramarco’s hunt, and he should have the hunting experience himself and I don’t want to chance messing it up. On a stalk like this 3’s company and 4’s a crowd and apt to spook the game.

We got 100 yds. or so into the brush and intercepted the Impala. Pieter gave me the sticks to make the shot with. I hit the Impala in the left side of his neck, just in front of where it joins the body, and the bullet went back into and through the body, coming out on the right side, about 2/3rds of the way back of the rib cage. The Ram turned to leave and dropped on his nose. I was using a model 88 Winchester in 308 Winchester caliber that Mr. Jack had loaded the ammo for. The load was a Barnes 130 gr. Tipped TSX bullet, and it was felt that it would be a great round for plains size game as it proved to be. Mr. Jack was summoned and arrived with his camera and he and I carried the Ram to the road, where pictures were taken. There are pictures of the Ram laying with me standing, and a “posed” one, and one of me getting my face blooded to show I’d made my first kill.

We transported the Ram to the farms butchering site, where it was skinned and processed. Mr Jack had the scout, not only gut the animal right there, but also open up the intestines, laying in a wheel barrel, so I’d be able to see how much stuff there is in an animal. He also pointed out the damage done to the heart and lungs, by the shot. The entire top of the heart was gone, as well as pretty extensive damage to the front/top section of the lungs.

The next day, we encountered another band of Impala and another suitable Ram was discovered, so we did another stalk. This one ended up looking down a dirt road and a long shot was necessary. Using the sticks, this shot essentially duplicated the shot on the first Ram and he also, turned to go, but fell on his nose. Excellent performance again of the Barnes bullet.

We hunted the 4th day, and set in a blind, for a while. But I fell asleep and when two Kudu came by Pieter tapped me to alert me… being asleep and waking up, I must have waved my arms in the air and the Kudu departed. We had a Kudu on the license, but they were proving to be scarce so we decided to swap the Kudu and warthogs, which while around were not shooters, for an Nyala, which we had been seeing a number of and decent ones too.

The next day we hunted through part of the day and after lunch were going back out when we drove by an Nyala about a 1/4 mile from the camp. We proceeded on by it, and the usual suspects got out and stalked back to where we could get a shot. The Nyala was in some thick brush, but finally decided to walk into a slight clearing where another Tipped TSX found it’s mark and the Nyala turned and ran about 25 yards and died going down a bank into a dry stream bed.

Ramarco With His Black Wildebeest

The next day, we headed for our next hunting area in the Free State, area, to hunt a Black Wildebeest, which we were offered a “buy” on and Mr. Jack decided it was too good to pass up. Darrel Bailey, another person Mr. Jack had been corresponding with, came up with his son, Douglas, to hunt the Black Wildebeest with us. Douglas and I were about the same age, Doug being 15 and I being 13. The first day, using Pieter’s rifle, I undershot a Black Wildebeest, and then it was Doug’s turn. He hit his, but wasn’t an immediately killing shot, and tracking it, and finally bringing it to bag, took enough of the afternoon. I had to wait till the next day to hunt another one. This first day, we didn’t actually get out hunting till after noon. When we went out the next day, I had a shot at a BWB at about 250s yards, using the 308. The shot, while in line for the heart, lung, area , was a bit low, and the Wildebeest went off with the herd. We kept him in view, and eventually got another shot at him, at 225 yards. This shot went into the right hip and was found in the left shoulder, having penetrated about 4 feet of animal, through the hip and intestines and paunch and lungs, etc. Pieter was VERY impressed with the performance of the Tipped TSX bullets. He was really happy that Mr. Jack had also brought him some hand loads for his .06, using the Tipped TSX in 150 grains.

Ramarco Barrier - Zebra
Ramarco with his zebra taken with a 150gr Tipped TSX

There were no Gemsbok on this property so we had to drive further south to another farm for the Gemsbok. The bulls proved to be illusive, so with it getting late in the hunt, we decided to swap the Gemsbok for a Zebra.
We had spotted a herd from the hunting truck, but when we tried to get in range, stalking, were unable to locate them, so we returned to the truck, which was then used to try to approach within shooting distance. They were initially out at 600 yds, and we closed the distance to some 300 or there about. Getting down and shooting from the side of the truck, we shot low, using Pieters rifle, and the Zebra took off, and we followed them for some time until we could get another shot, and this time connected with a head shot, though not intentional. Pieter’s rifle just wasn’t sighted in for me. The load for the Zebra was one of Mr. Jacks loads with the 150gr Tipped TSX bullet. Needless to say, the Zebra went down like a rock..

We had done some additional site seeing as Mr. Jack had wanted to see Rorkes Drift and the site of the battle of Ishandalwana, so we were pushed for time. We drove straight through to Johannesburg, and got to the airport and got our stuff checked through just in time to catch the plane home. We literally showed up at the loading gate, for final inspection, while the plane was loading. Of the 5 animals taken with the Tipped TSX bullets, 4 were one shot kills. The Black Wildebeest would have been , if the 1st shot had hit 4 inches higher. Darrel, seeing the performance of the Tipped TSX bullets, said he was so impressed, he was going to make them his go to bullets from now on.

I would like to say that I’m extremely grateful for having the chance to experience something like this. I would like to thank my Uncle Jack for taking me on this trip. I wish more kids like me had the chance to go out and experience the world like I have been able to and that there were more people like Jack who was willing to take them on such an adventure like this.

-Ramarco Barrier

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