Africa, Steve says, as a hunter is one of those bucket list items. Steve admits he embarked on this trip with expectations and assumptions about what hunting in Africa would be like. Often, people assume that hunting in Africa is easy and that the hunts are canned or done behind high fences, etc. Steve says that even he underestimated the challenge of hunting African plains game. However, once on the ground and in the bush that changed and he admits it was actually very difficult. He hunted an 80-square mile area with animals that were completely wild, wary and tough to pursue. Not only were the animals tough to hunt but the terrain was much different than what he expected which added to the challenge. While you may see photos of plains game on a wide open plain, the reality is that he had to contend with traversing through some really thick stuff. That thick vegetation also made spotting game a challenge and that’s where the expertise of the professional hunter (PH) was invaluable. Steve says that he found himself jumping out of the truck to chase animals he hadn’t even seen yet based on the tips from the PH as his eyes were so much more adept at picking out animals.
The role of a PH is crucial on any African hunting trip, their knowledge and experience are something that you want to be able to draw from. When it came to stalking and tracking animals, Steve says that overall he made some good shots. Watching the trackers work though, blew his mind. Whether they were looking for sign after a shot or just looking at a track, their skillset was impressive. Steve says that he was surprised to find out his PH was so young. At only 21 years old, his PH carried himself with such presence, knew his job and did it well, commanded respect based upon his skills and abilities, and he was worthy of that respect.
The hunting was fun because it was hard, Steve says, and he really appreciated that challenge. Even more important, he learned a lot. He went into it thinking it would be easy and it wasn’t. He came away from the experience having learned a lot and that elevated his hunting game, an outcome that he didn’t anticipate. Learning and becoming a better hunter, that’s a great side benefit, Steve says.
Beyond his expectations about the overall hunting experience, Steve says he brought his wife with him and he was also uncertain about whether or not she would be as in to the whole trip as he was. However, he said that they both ended up having a great time. She went along on some of the hunts and together they also got to eat a lot of different and new wild game they hadn’t had before. How does African plains game stack up to wild game in the U.S.? Steve says that they ate kudu several times, had wildebeest which ended up being far better than he thought it would be and they had zebra, too. Steve says that it was important to him to have the experience eating African wild game meats and he appreciated and enjoyed the opportunity noting that some of it was even better than wild game he’s had here in the states. He says his wife dove right in as well and wasn’t disappointed. In totality, Steve says that it was an awesome and epic adventure. By the end of the trip, he was able to take a few great mature animals, all of which he says he’ll treasure and tell stories about forever.
While Steve may be back from his own adventure, now is when millions of people across the country are thinking about vacations and setting out on their own ventures. Yamaha is all about helping people everywhere realize their adventures. Just this year, Yamaha launched “Destination Yamaha” which helps people find their next adventure at different destinations across the country. Destination Locations and Destination Experiences connect people with Destination Yamaha partners and give them the ability to experience the outdoors, new terrain and new places in a Yamaha vehicle that fits their lifestyle. Pick a location, select a Yamaha vehicle from the available offerings, rent that vehicle and then get out and have a great time. You can explore places like Moab, Utah or the Black Hills in South Dakota, Brimstone in Tennessee, or a host of other locations. By being able to rent a vehicle you can essentially try before you buy while you are adventuring. Steve says this kind of program does a lot for promoting outdoor recreation and makes it more accessible for everyone. Get outside, have a good time in a Yamaha vehicle of your choice, go places in that vehicle that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to go and better yet, take family or friends with you.
When it comes to youth participation, there are various Yamaha ATV models that cater to a younger audience. If you have a kiddo that would like to have a little more independence and have their own ride instead of riding with mom and dad, the Grizzly 90 is a fun option. When outfitted with the proper safety gear (helmets, gloves, eye protection and more), riders 10 years old and up can take to the trails. Steve says that the Grizzly 90 is a great introduction to riding and letting them get their feet wet. It gives youth riders a little independence, teaches them how to ride while still be supervised and could just get them hooked. Steve says that Yamaha achieves the same thing on their sport side with the Raptor 90 that is fun for riders 10 years old and up. Plus, Yamaha’s YFZ50 model can get kids involved even a little younger as it’s safe for first time riders 6 years old and up. Yamaha’s diverse lineup really makes it possible to include the whole family in outdoor adventures. Steve says that the idea is to get kids interested, involved and invested, bring them into the fold and grow the sport. We need to grow the outdoors in general, Steve says, whether that’s by taking kids fishing, putting them in a hunting blind or getting them on a youth ATV of their own. It’s all positive traction for furthering outdoor activities, he says. It’s a positive thing to pull them away from screen time for a while and promote fresh air and comradery, instead.
The full-size, 686-cc, Yamaha Grizzly EPS is the best performing big bore ATV out there. It has proven itself year after year and has garnered a cult like following for its performance from front to back - engine, suspension, comfort, power steering, handling and more. It’s a dream ride in the woods, Steve says, and performs like a sporty utility big bore. It offers a fun ride but can also work. Advanced trim levels like the Special Edition model even offer extras like a factory installed WARN Pro Vantage 2500 winch and high-quality painted bodywork.
For those that are keen on a two-wheel ride, Yamaha’s dual sport bikes like the TW200 are great. The 196cc do-it-all dual sport is a street legal but backroad capable beast. It’s rugged and capable of getting to the back reaches of any property if two wheels is your preference. It doesn’t hurt that the bike is affordable and also gets almost 80 miles per gallon. The TW200 has a big fat tire in the rear and would be a fun way to get to and from your hunting or fishing destination. Steve says they are looking to incorporate the TW200 more into their outdoor adventures and wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more of them on the trail as they are worthy of the attention they are getting.
Listen in as Steve Nessl, Yamaha Motorsports Group Marketing Manager, joins The Revolution to talk exciting African hunting adventures, realizing your own adventures with Yamaha ATV’s and Side-by-Sides for both adults and youth, Yamaha’s two wheel sport bike backroad options, the Destination Yamaha program and so much more. Get outdoors and create your own adventures this summer, go beyond the pavement with some help from Yamaha.
Get outdoors, ride and recreate!