June 19, 2008

Local Hunter Travels 9,000 Miles in Search of Latest Exotic Harvest

Most hunters will agree that a remote location is often key to a successful trip. Local outdoorsman Tom Deberry takes that notion to an extreme.

The retired Memphis resident spent two days getting to his most recent hunting spot, the Limpopo Province in South Africa.

Deberry departed Memphis on May 8th, driving to St. Louis to board a plane for Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. On May 9th his plane touched down in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He traveled to the northern most province in South Africa where he took part in a series of hunts for a number of exotic animals.

The travel was pretty interesting, Deberry said. You go down our highways and you see deer crossing signs. I have some pictures of the elephant crossing signs we saw on these roads. Fortunately none ran out in front of our vehicles.

The former NRCS director spent 10 days viewing nearly everything but elephants, watching crocodiles, giraffes, and even an occasional hippopotamus.

We even got to watch a couple cheetahs, Deberry said. They are an endangered species now, as they just cant compete against the lions and especially the hyenas.

The 10-day excursion was booked through Dalerwa Ventures near Hoedspruit, South Africa, about six hours north of Johannesburg.

Deberry avoided the 100-degree days of the African summer (September through April) by taking the May trip when temperatures were in the 70s. He and a second hunter from central Missouri, arose at 4:30 a.m. for their daily excursions into the brushy terrain at the foot of the Brackensberg Mountains (South Africas tallest range). The two clients were accompanied by the hunting guide as well as trackers.

The journey marked the Missouri mans second trip to the continent of Africa. Deberry traveled to the eastern cape in 2005 on a similar hunting expedition. Many of his trophies are now on display at the Community Bank of Memphis.

Deberry added to that collection on the recent trip. He bagged a waterbuck, a kudu, a blue wildebeest, a nyala (south African antelope) and a warthog.

He said he doesnt anticipate waiting on these trophies as long as he did from the last trip.

This trip they shipped the materials back to a Taxidermist in Missouri, so I should have them back a lot quicker than last time, when we left everything in Africa and had the final mounts shipped here nearly a year after the trip, he said.

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