Phillip and Sarah Spitler.

Husband and wife team Phillip and Sarah Spitler from Virginia hunted Laohu Valley Reserve during September 2022 with their friends Justin and Crystal Brinkley and Kevin Campbell and Ryan Edwards.

Professional Hunter: Mielie du Toit.

This was the Spitler’s first trip to South Africa, judging from how much they enjoyed it, It might not be the last one.

Phillip and Sarah Spitler with Sarah’s springbok. Laohu Valley Reserve is home to ±2000 of these antelope, which also happens to be South Africa’s national animal. Being at the bottom of the food chain they are a challenging quarry. Once you’ve tasted springbok you will realize why everything wants to eat them.

Sarah and Phillip with a red hartebeest hunted at Laohu Valley Reserve. These relatively unknown antelope make very interesting and unusual shoulder- and skull mounts.

Sarah Spitler with her impala ram. Impala are mixed feeders, grazing and browsing, making them very adaptable. Impala engage in recipocral allogrooming (orally removing ectoparasites from each other) within the herd. This enable them to live in areas with a high load of ticks. They make a beautiful trophy and are challenging to hunt.
Phillip and Sarah with Phillip’s warthog boar. Not the most beautiful of animals but they are fun to hunt, make an interesting trophy and provide a major part of the meat for the South China tiger project at Laohu Valley Reserve.
Phillip Spitler getting ready for action in typical terrain. Note the Covid mask used as a makeshift scope cap.
Sarah and Phillip with Phillip’s kudu bull. This member of the spiral horned antelope family have a well deserved reputation as a very difficult quarry, hence their popular nickname, the grey ghost.
Sarah Spitler with her blesbuck ram. Loahu Valley is home to ±800 of these plains antelope. With their keen eyesight and their love of wide open plains, they make for a challenging hunt.
Phillip and Sarah with Phillip’s blue wildebeest also known as brindled gnu. Known as “the poor man’s buffalo” they are tough animals that require perfect shot placement. Laohu Valley Reserve are home to ±500 of these large antelope. They make beautiful shoulder mounts or skull and rug mounts.
Sarah with her springbok. Note the “pouch” of white hair on the rump of the animal. Springbok can open this at will, displaying a fan of long white hair. It also opens for a short while when the animal dies. Inside the pouch is a gland secreting a sweet smelling liquid. The second part of the springbok’s scientific name antidorcas marsupialis refers to this marsupial like pouch of white hair.
Phillip with his chacma baboon, these primates are arguably the most difficult animal to hunt on the reserve. Laohu Valley is home to six troops of baboon.

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