Father And Daughter Spend Two Weeks On South African Hunt

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A two-week trip to South Africa turned out to be much more than a hunting outing for Scott and Tamara Crabdree.

It was a chance for a father and his teenage daughter to spend quality time together before the girl returned to her busy life as a senior student-athlete at Payson High School.

"We had a lot of fun, got to hunt, made new friends, enjoyed their hospitality and saw a country we had never been to," Scott Crabdree said.

For Tamara, the trip "was something I'll probably never be able to do again."

Although the jaunt was both a cultural and bonding experience, the Crabdrees also took time to indulge in the family's favorite sport -- wild game hunting.

Tamara bagged all seven species she was there to hunt including a kudu, springbuck, blesbok, bushbuck, lynx, gemsbuck and an impala.

Her father was on the trip more as an adviser and companion, but did manage to tag three South African animals himself -- a blue wildebeest, mountain reedbuck and kudu.

The kudu that Tamara downed could make the Safari Club International Top-10 record book.

As with big game in America, the animal's horns must dry, cure and be officially scored before they can go down in the record books.

"We should know soon, we're pretty sure (the kudu) will make it," Scott said.

In downing the seven animals, Tamara managed to take all with single shots from either the .300 magnum or 25.06 rifles she was shooting.

"They (the guides) were calling me ‘one shot Tamara,'" she said.

Taking the game with just one shot was quite an accomplishment in the country.

"Those African animals are tough, not too many hunters do what she did," Scott said.

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Tamara Crabdree

Tamara's hunting feats also caught the attention of the native South Africans who heard of them.

"Most women don't hunt over there so it was very unusual for a woman, especially a teenager, to do what is usually done only by men," Scott said. "Their culture is a little bit like 1940s America and the women are expected to stay in the home."

Hunting in South Africa wasn't much different than in Arizona where Tamara has tagged two elk and a deer.

"It's spot and stalk," she said. "But the terrain is really tough and the dense bush make getting a good shot pretty tough."

In addition to hunting, the Crabdrees were able to see several other animal species running wild in their native habitat including elephants, lions, cheetahs, buffalos, rhinos and giraffes.

During their stay, the Payson duo were guided by John X Safaris' professional hunters through 250,000 acres of open hunting land near the Lalibela Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape.

They were housed in a four-star lodge where, Scott said, they enjoyed excellent meals which centered around foods native to the country including avocados, pineapples and vegetables.

The meat selections were mostly wild game.

"They marinate most of their food and then grill it," Scott said. "It is actually very good."

While the actual stay in South Africa was a delight for the Rim Country hunters, the long trip there was testing.

"It took us about 43 hours to get there, 25 of it was flying and the other time was spent transferring and waiting on flights," Scott said.

The pair flew into Johannesburg, then to Port Elizabeth and later took a four-hour drive north to the hunting lodge and game reserve.

The Crabdrees were able to make the rare hunting trip after buying it from Austin and Mary Lou Myers who had purchased it at a Safari Club International fund-raising banquet.

"They'd been on the trip once and were willing to give it up for what they paid for it," Scott said. "We got a good deal."

For Tamara, who aspires to go to college to play softball following her graduation next spring, the chance to travel and hunt with her father in a strange land was a dream come true.

"A once in a lifetime experience," she said. "Not many (teenagers) will have the opportunity I did."

-- To reach Max Foster call 474-5251 ext. 114 or e-mail mfoster@payson.com.

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