Vol 22 â€¢ Issue 4
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Contents Richard’s Editorial An African Wonder
Vol 22 • Issue 4
News & Letters
• Published quarterly, a quality journal presenting all aspects of hunting available in Africa. • The traditions and tales, the professional hunters of today, and the legends of yesteryear. • Reporting on the places to go, the sport available and all the equipment to use. • Examining the challenges of managing wildlife as a sustainable resource and the relationship between Africa’s game and its people.
Fan Mail By Jim and Diana Felix Fan Mail By Jim Wilson Fan Mail By Norm McLaury Thank you mail By William Archibald
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief – Richard Lendrum email@example.com
Gear & Gadgets
Managing Editor – Esther Sibanda firstname.lastname@example.org
From the Desk of Hunter Proud Foundation
Custodians of Wilderness: Ethiopia By Zig Mackintosh
Electronic Shooters Protection (ESP) ESP Stealth Gaston J. Glock style LP Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance
Columnists • On Shooting Johan van Wyk • Rifles In Africa – John Mattera • One for the Road & On Ammunition Terry Wieland
Proofing – Peggy Lendrum email@example.com
Outfitters, Africa and Europe Richard Lendrum Tel: +27 (0) 82 653 7185 firstname.lastname@example.org North America Kim Rieman Tel: +1 406-925-2466 email@example.com Design & Layout – Nadette Voogd
Subscriptions Africa Esther Sibanda firstname.lastname@example.org Administration & Finance – Esther Sibanda email@example.com Published by: African Sporting Gazette Inc. 15 East Orr Street, Dillon, Montana, 59725 Printed by USA – Quad Graphics Inc. Africa – Typo Colour Printing Specialists
The Chinese in Africa – Curse or Opportunity for Wildlife? By Dr John Ledger
Bushbuck By Chris and Mathilde Stuart
Uncle Bobby – A loyal client By Erik Visser
South Africa 2016: Never Mind the Bull By Brian Gallup Zimbabwe 2014: Namibian Safari – the Highs and Lows By Joe Byers South Africa 2015: First African Safari – Part 2 Hunting with Marius By Michael G. Mathis Zimbabwe 2014: The Leopard at Lake Kariba By Tom Ugray Zambia 2013: Hippos the Hard Way By David Svinarich South Africa 2016: The Waterbuck and the Lizard By Darrell Sterling South Africa 2013: A Klipspringer to remember By W. Hunter Roop South Africa 2017: Stormberg Elangeni Safaris Youth Program
A Solid Case for the Big Birds of Africa! By W. Evans
South Africa 2010 & 2015: Dorca Slam By Engee Potgieter South Africa 2016: A Sable Bowhunt By Frank Berbuir
Hunting Stories of Yesteryear
A True Tale of Terror By Chris Meyer © Copyright. All copyright for material appearing in this magazine belongs to African Sporting Gazette Inc. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written consent of the publisher. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers.
John Abraham – conservationist, conversationalist and friend
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Contents John Mattera’s Rifles in Africa Verney Carron in the Savé
Johan Van Wyk’s On Shooting The Gift of a Rifle
Terry Wieland On Ammo Premium Depends on Definition
A Hunter Speaks Out The Topic of Tipping
African Outfitters – Visited & Verified We Answer the International Hunter’s Call
Terry Wieland’s One for the Road Lions, Kittens, and Cats
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An African Wonder A
pril this year, 37 years ago, Zimbabwe became independent. The world celebrated as Zimbabwe’s majority had their long-awaited and foughtfor freedom. A continental powerhouse and agricultural breadbasket, with oodles of potential was handed over. Sadly, the cost of freedom, borne by millions who are voluntarily exiled across the globe, (and most notably in South Africa) was too great. The economic, human rights, political, commercial and environmental downfall of this once-great country have been well documented, and I certainly don’t want to waste precious space in the AHG going on about it. While growing up in Bulawayo, I collected stamps, and the highest denomination at
that time was the Z$2 stamp* depicting the Victoria Falls. I used to trawl the philately shops (can you believe there were such places back then) looking for a particular flaw on this stamp. One of the natural wonders of the world, Vic Falls is arguably an adventure capital of the world. Definitely it is in Africa. The sheer magnitude of its awesomeness – the beauty, the thundering water, drenching spray, and rainforest you walk through – is possibly only matched by Iguacu Falls. Then add white-water rafting, river cruises, unforgettable sunsets , helicopter, microlight and aircraft flips, the zip-lining, bungee jumping, ballooning, game drives, elephantback riding, walking with lions and the entire
town being in a national park, makes this place truly unique. And that is before you leave the immediate confines to explore the neighbouring world-class game reserves like Chobe and Hwange. The ranges of options are extraordinary. And now an international airport that will accommodate direct long-haul flights means a potential boom. Despite Mugabe’s political machinations that have thrown everything at this small principality of magic, from the threat of name change at Independence, through all the negative PR, insecurity, a crippling economy of the country – Vic Falls still thunders on. And haven’t the rains just come down this year! This is one place, should you not have experienced it yet, that will be the finest two-night stay (my suggested minimum) you have experienced on this continent. Getting back to hunting. This industry in Africa has a few similarities: Despite the infighting of clubs and associations that do little or nothing to take advantage of the potential this continent offers, like actually promoting what we offer to the hunters globally, add to that the continual onslaught of the Antis. Then there is CITES’s ridiculous and paralyzing rulings, plus USF&W unilaterally dictating their terms and ignoring the very organisation they are a member of – CITES, apart from the corruption and madness of the many African governments, Zimbabwe’s in particular, being right up there. Despite all this, the wildlife of Africa and her hunting still - miraculously – seems to survive and prosper! If it isn’t mountain nyala in a desolate country like Ethiopia, or Lord Derby in a ravaged country like the C.A.R., then it is that magical and favourite cat of mine, the leopard in the land where I grew up. Sure, there are threats that we all know about, and there are patches to worry about - some worse than others. But the sheer
resilience and ability of Africa’s wildlife to bounce back and keep growing is incredible. When it comes to the wonder of our wildlife, and the wonder of Africa’s hunting as a result – hunters are truly fortunate. So as another year rolls on for an African dictator, Mother Nature will, hopefully, preserve the wonder of Africa.
Richard Lendrum Richard@africanhuntinggazette.com * Zimbabwe dollars
Special Note As we evolve the business, I’d like to point you to a few important pages: • The African Hunting Expo – Our 10th Anniversary in Canada - See page 127. • African Oasis – The Safari Experience. The shop we have opened in Montana now has the long-awaited website www.african-oasis.com. If you are ever driving through Dillon, please stop by for an African coffee or glass of wine! See page 87. • AHG Shipping – in the six short months this has been open, we have had countless enquiries where the ‘apple for apple’ quote is simply way, way cheaper. This grudge purchase taints the pleasure of a safari for so many hunters, but the hundreds of shipments we have already done, bear testimony to the fact that hunters want change. So if you are on your way to Africa in the near future, or have trophies there, it will be worth visiting www.AHGshipping.com See page 126. africanhuntinggazette.com
News & Letters Dear Richard, I have just finished reading my latest issue of AHG, and as always loved every article. I read everything you publish. Rarely do I think of responding, but a letter in the latest AHG writer by William Archibald really made me think of what Mr. Archibald did not see or chose not to comment about. Unfortunately, poaching has become big business in Africa. I am sure that Mr. Archibald having done three safaris has seen the snares and traps set by poachers. Sad and scary killing tools. The poor man described was possibly just trying to feed his family and trying to survive, his is the face of desperation. What was not said is about the poacher for profit. These people are killers. Not only of wildlife but sometimes of anti-poaching patrols and unfortunately, a PH and client that is in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have witnessed this 1st hand. How do you stop this epidemic when
corruption is rampant. Country leaders, government officials, and police. Not all, but those who have their hand out for the quick buck. Catching the native, running thru the bush, does not stop the problem. Stop the wildlife trafficker, and the supply of money will stop the problem. PHs and concession owners continually fight this battle. Sometimes I wonder who is winning. If only the antis would look at the hunting organizations as animal conservationists. Most hunters are not someone with an enlarged ego and wallet, wanting to fill a trophy room. Sad but true, there is more money spent at pet hospitals and grooming shops in the USA each year than on African safaris. Jim Wilson York, PA: USA Hello AHG,
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I stopped by and visited with you on 2-2-17 at the SCI Convention in Las Vegas. My visit was to thank you for such a fine magazine and to inquire about Volume #22 â€“ Issue #1 that I did not receive when my wife re-subscribed to African Hunting Gazette. I know all of you had a fine time in Las Vegas, as it had been over six years (2011) since my wife and I had come to the SCI Convention. It is my hope, with those that finally had the privilege to attend, that we come away with the understanding that it is about the animals â€“ their fate and the longevity of each of the species we all strive to protect and preserve. The public often views the animals that we place in our homes â€“ on walls and on pedestals â€“ without understanding that our love for each of them is with the hope that our effort and dollars go into the conservation for their habitat, their research, and to those stewards that watch over and protect them daily. Seldom can the uneducated look at these animals we have preserved and see the way our Creator wonderfully crafted each of them, the way He patterned the hair and horn, splashing with color, and with the imagination that only He is capable of. I thank each of you at African Hunting Gazette for making it possible for us that care deeply for Africa and its people, to not forget. How can we explain something that has taken hold of each of us... and calls us home! Best regards, Norm McLaury, Kenai, Alaska
My Nyala ining
By William Archibald
Dear AHG, Allow me to again tell you how pleased, and flattered I am to have my nyala story appear in such a prestigious publication as the African Hunting Gazette. Thank you. The Gazette is hard to find in this part of the world, but it is received by dedicated Africa hunters. It is from this alumni group, that I have received compliments, and congratulations. Iâ€™m afraid that most of my hats will no longer fit me. I recently met with Roche and Ansu, my PH, and his lovely wife of Roche Safaris,. Roche was reluctant to part with my copy of the Gazette, and so it is now back in South Africa. He was delighted to be included in my story. Iâ€™ll find another copy eventually. As of today, I will be flying back to South Africa to hunt with Roche Safaris in another 36 days. Canâ€™t wait, neither can my daughter, and 8-year-old granddaughter . Their first safari. Thank you for the opportunity to share my story. It has earned the approval of people whose opinion matter most to me. Keep up the good work with the African Hunting Gazette. May God bless you and yours. Respectfully William Archibald Greetings, My wife and I have been avid readers of your wonderful publication since early 2004, when we booked our first African safari. We have now been to Africa a total of three (3) times and have loved those hunting trips totally. My question is this; will there ever be a show in the northeastern USA, such as New York, as going long distance is not possible. Looking forward to your answer. Best regards, Jim and Diana Felix Hello Jim and Diana, Unfortunately we do not foresee a show being held in the North East. Thanks for your support.
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From the Desk of Hunter Proud Foundation
Custodians of Wilderness: Ethiopia
An Ethiopian peasant farmer with his family. The demand for agricultural land is placing extreme pressure on wilderness areas in Ethiopia.
By Zig Mackintosh The mantra of the anti-hunting lobby is that hunters are not conservationists. Their claim is that hunters are only interested in satisfying a bloodlust and have little concern for wildlife or the environment. The truth of the matter is that those who utilize a natural resource are most likely to want to conserve it.
n September of 1910 the English naturalist Richard Lydekker received word from a Piccadilly taxidermist Mr. Rowland Ward. He reported that the skin, skull and horns of an unknown kudu-like antelope had been brought into his taxidermy shop. The animal had been shot in the Abyssinian Highlands by a Mr Ivor Buxton earlier that year. It appeared to be a cross between a nyala and a kudu, and it was suggested that it be known as the spotted kudu. 10
Lydekker received the donated specimen on behalf of the British Museum and gave it the Latin name Tragelaphus buxtoni. He thought that it looked more like a nyala than a kudu, and decided on mountain nyala for its common name. Little did he know at the time that the link between this endemic species and safari hunting would be responsible for the preservation of Afro-montane forest in central Ethiopia in the 21st century. Ethiopia has a human population of
around 95 million, and apart from the 7 to 8 million who live in the capital Addis Ababa, the populace is mostly pastoral. Subsistence agriculture is the dominant economic activity. As the human population continues to grow there is an ever-increasing demand for agricultural land which places extreme pressure on the countryâ€™s wilderness areas. Forests in Ethiopia may have at one time covered as much as 35% of the country but this has since been reduced to around 2.3%.
From the Desk of Hunter Proud Foundation
The Afro-montane forests of Ethiopia.
However, 58 Forest Priority Areas covering 2.3 million hectares have been designated to conserve the forests of the country. Despite this official protection, a multitude of intertwining factors are contributing to deforestation of some 163,000 hectares annually. This environmental degradation has forced the forest administration to seek an alternative to a government-command controlled conservation approach. In Ethiopia all land belongs to the State, but participatory forest management has been established in the Forestry Priority Areas. The objective is to achieve sustainable forest management through community empowerment. One of the income-generating options available is safari hunting, and this has proved to be lucrative for these communities. The mountain nyala is the key species. Ecotourism is also promoted, but safari hunting
There are five hunting operators in Ethiopia that currently hunt the mountain nyala, and they are responsible for protecting around 2 000 kmÂ˛ of forest.
A waterfall in the Bale Mountain National Park in Ethiopia. 12
is around five times more profitable. 60% of both the hunting licensing fees and the concession fees goes directly back to the villages, but it is not distributed equally. Those that are seen to participate more in forest management practices receive the greater share. This weighted system of income-sharing incentivizes the communities to be more conservation-minded. The forestry authorities have realized that monetary benefits alone will not work. The people must also have controlled access to forest resources. Twice a week the villagers are allowed into the forests to recover dead wood. The felling of live trees is forbidden. Honey gathered from beehives made out of dead tree trunks is also permitted. There are five hunting operators in Ethiopia that currently hunt the mountain nyala, and they are responsible for protecting around 2 000 kmÂ˛ of forest. Jason Roussos is a native fourth-generation Ethiopian and co-owner of Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris. He is a professional hunter, but also has a degree in wildlife biology. His company currently operates in five controlled hunting areas, and within each of these areas, 15 to 20 people are employed on a fulltime basis as forest guards and game scouts.
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The mountain nyala Tragelaphus buxtoni, is more closely related to the sitatunga than the common nyala. In 2004 a scientific paper on the status of the mountain nyala in Ethiopia was published in the African Journal of Ecology. The conclusion of this study was that the total population of mountain nyala throughout the country was estimated to be less than 1 000, and that the study area, the Bale Mountains National Park, encompassed 95% of the total mountain nyala population. This implied that there were only 50 nyala in the rest of the country. At the time there were seven safari hunting companies operating in different areas across the country, all of which were producing topquality mountain nyala trophies. The validity of the paper had to be called into question. If the findings had been accepted by various conservation bodies such as the IUCN, CITES or the US Fish and Wildlife Service, it would have spelled the end of mountain nyala safari hunting, the mountain nyala as a species, and the Afro-montane forests. Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris teamed up with researchers from Colorado State University, Fort Collins to undertake practical mountain nyala research in Ethiopia. Using satellite imagery, field observations and advanced statistical algorithms, the researchers are able to monitor mountain nyala habitat. This invaluable work has shown that mountain nyala populations are healthy, and that safari hunting actually enhances the survival prospects of the species.
The future of the Afro-montane forests of Ethiopia is inextricably linked to the fate of the mountain nyala, and without safari hunting that species’s prospects would look grim. For wildlife conservation to work in Africa, a balanced approach is needed which takes into account both economic factors and the sociocultural needs of the indigenous people. The mantra of the anti-hunting lobby is that hunters are not conservationists. Their claim is that hunters are only interested in satisfying a bloodlust and have little concern for wildlife or the environment. The truth of the matter is that those who utilize a natural resource are most likely to want to conserve it. The Hunter Proud sponsored documentary “Custodians of Wilderness: Ethiopia” can be watched online at this link https://vimeo.com/200626912
The Hunter Proud Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable public foundation based in the USA. The foundation’s principal aim is the use of charitable tax-deductible donations to produce educational documentaries promoting the success of the conservation through a utilization model. For more information please visit the Website at www.hunterproud.com. africanhuntinggazette.com
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The Wildlife Game
The Chinese in Africa –
Curse or Opportunity for Wildlife? By John Ledger The Chinese have moved into Africa in a big way, and wherever they are involved, illegal wildlife activities seem to accompany their citizens, prompting a recent diplomatic confrontation in Namibia. Illegal trade in ivory and rhino horn is at the top end of the business, but many other wildlife products are also in demand. What this clearly demonstrates is a lucrative Chinese market for African resources that is currently being met through illegal channels, mainly because of the activities of CITES. What if some of this ﬁnancially signiﬁcant demand could be met legally, for the ﬁnancial beneﬁt of Africans and the continent’s wildlife? 22
n December 2016 the Namibian Chamber for Environment sent a strongly-worded letter to the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Namibia, reproduced in full in this issue of African Hunting Gazette, because it is a very important document. Since Chinese nationals moved into Namibia in numbers, the illegal exploitation of wildlife and other natural resources has escalated exponentially. Namibians don’t like that one bit, because they have fought long and hard to develop one of the most successful wildlife management policies in Africa, based on the concepts of sustainable utilisation, and proprietorship over wildlife resource by landowners, whether communal or private. The implementation of this policy has seen a huge expansion of land under conservation management, a massive increase in the number of wildlife species in Namibia, and considerable financial benefits to those who own the resource. All this has been achieved at great personal cost and sacrifice by many individuals and organisations. One such individual is Garth Owen-Smith; his book called An Arid Eden documents some of the history of this success story, and is highly recommended to our readers. You can get it here: https://www. amazon.com/Arid-Eden-Personal-ConservationKaokoveld/dp/1868423638. The bad Chinese behavior that Dr Chris Brown has described so eloquently in his letter has been replicated in many other African countries where the Chinese have turned up to make their mark. The new airport terminal in Maputo, Mozambique and the new parliament buildings there; the new parliament on the top of the hill in Maseru, Lesotho; new power stations here, new dams and bridges and railways there - the smiling Chinese are everywhere. Africa is being recolonised, and once more the assets and resources of the continent are being stripped, notwithstanding the national legal measures in place to protect these resources. If other African countries had similar strong civil societies like Namibia, with eloquent representatives like Dr Brown, comparable letters would probably have been sent to the Chinese Ambassadors in Angola, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and others. However, I suspect those countries lack the capacity, let alone the will, to take on such a challenge to their ‘benefactors’. So what is to be done about this threat to Africa’s wildlife resources? Can some of the products so avidly sought by the Chinese be supplied on a sustainable basis and for good prices? While overfishing, over-consumption of bush meat, and the killing of Carmine Bee-eaters are certainly not sustainable
activities, the demand for ivory and rhino horn could probably be addressed through a well-controlled market. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is supposed to regulate the international trade in endangered species, but since it has been inﬁltrated and increasingly subverted by the international animal rights movement, it has increasingly shut down trade instead of regulating it. At the close of the CITES CoP 17 in Johannesburg, Eugene Lapointe, Chairman of the IWMC World Conservation Trust made the following forceful speech: Madam Chair, Please allow me to associate myself with previous speakers in congratulating all those having contributed to the organization of CITES CoP 17. Madam Chair, due to the important increase in poaching and in related illegal wildlife activities, the international community has reinstated the Inquisition in order to identify the witch or witches responsible for this drama. The Inquisition quickly identified trade as the culprit and therefore the witch to be burnt. However we cannot burn trade, it is a concept – most likely the most important concept in the history of humankind that has allowed societies, communities and peoples to link together. So we decided instead, to burn the symbols of the concept i.e. ivory tusks, rhino horns and other confiscated wildlife specimens. But while the bonfire was on, we threw in it the history book that tells us that prohibitions do not work, have never worked, and will never work. By the same occasion we threw in the bonfire, the dictionary of definitions to replace it by our own definitions. As such, the definition of a hunter and a poacher is the same. There is no different definition between legal trade and illegal trade: harvesting a wild animal is called murder; a skilled ivory carver is considered a forger; bribery to a poor game warden is corruption; bribery to a senior official or politician is commitment to environment; and so on. All those new definitions mixing legalities with illegalities together then fall under the general definition of ‘wildlife crime’, a message that celebrities, crowned or not, are too happy to carry throughout the world. Finally, Madam Chair, we also threw in the bonfire, the Charter of Human Rights and quickly replaced it by the Charter of Animal
Rights and the Poachers’ Charter. And this with dramatic consequences for people. Madam Chair, • When I hear the comments by the Distinguished Delegates of Japan and of the Democratic Republic of Congo complaining of harassment because of their political stands on certain issues; • When I hear the emotional appeal from Swaziland completely ignored for obscure reasons; • When I realize that the advice from the FAO on proposals related to marine fish species are being completely ignored; and • When I hear the call for help, understanding and support from Madagascar being replaced by a call for punishment from the developed world, including from a major NGO; Then, Madam Chair, I realize that CITES is getting away from its mission to conserve wildlife for the benefit of people as clearly stated in the Preamble of the Convention. Madam Chair, there is a wrong perception of CITES. I can hardly understand the ‘chanting and dancing’ taking place whenever a new species is listed on the Appendices. If a species is listed in the Appendices for valid reasons – and we have recommended several of those – there is certainly no reason to rejoice: to the contrary, it is a sad day for humanity indicating its failure to take care of nature. However, if the listing has for objective ‘the listing itself ’– with no consideration whatsoever for the effects on conservation and on people – then ‘chanting and dancing’ is certainly inappropriate… But at the end, Madam Chair, we came here in South Africa to listen to the people and to learn from them. After all, it is in this part of the world that the real relationship between humans and the other living creatures has been developed. We had everything to learn from South Africa and its neighbors. It is very unfortunate that there were only a few to listen to your voices. Thanks to the Chairs of Committee I and of Committee II, but mainly thanks to you, Madam Chair. You are a perfect reflection of your people: charm, warmth and wisdom. Thank you. Eugene Lapointe Johannesburg, 04.10.2016 It is my view that CITES is probably the greatest threat to wildlife in Africa. When an international body can unilaterally take wildlife ownership rights away from africanhuntinggazette.com
The Wildlife Game Africans, banning instead of encouraging the trade that benefits these landowners, and rendering African wildlife resources valueless to those who are its custodians, then we are in deep trouble. The sooner Africans rethink their relationship with CITES the better, and the reasons for withdrawing from CITES must be even more convincing following CoP 17 in Johannesburg than they were several years ago when that nearly happened.
Is it possible that alternative arrangements could be made for sustainable, legal, controlled and profitable trade in wildlife products between African and Asian countries? Of course, anything is possible! This could be the major shift in thinking that is required to provide an alternative to the stifling impact of CITES. Africans should have proprietorship over their wildlife, be able to negotiate the best prices for their wildlife products, and make their land economically viable. Any
international or government institution that interferes with this process is complicit in engineering the ultimate demise of Africa’s rich wildlife heritage. Dr John Ledger is an independent consultant and writer on energy and environmental issues, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. John.Ledger@wol.co.za
PO Box 40723, Ausspannplatz, Windhoek, Namibia • 18 Nachtigal Street, Windhoek, Namibia Tel: +264 (0)61 240 140, Mobile: +264 (0)81 162 5807 • e-mail: email@example.com • www.n-c-e.org
OPEN LETTER TO AMBASSADOR XIN SHUNKANG OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA TO NAMIBIA 21 December, 2016 Dear Ambassador Xin Shunkang, During the past few weeks, several Chinese nationals have been apprehended and charged with wildlife crimes, including illegal possession of rhino horn, ivory and pangolin skins and scales. Your embassy is on record stating that “it will not allow a few of its nationals who have been arrested in connection with poaching to tarnish its country’s image”. While we recognize that not all Chinese nationals are involved in wildlife crimes, Namibia’s environmental community believes that the situation regarding Chinese nationals committing wildlife crimes in Namibia is far more serious and broad-based than you have acknowledged. The fact is, unless effective action is taken now to halt wildlife crime, your country will get an increasingly bad name. And you and your country are best placed to address the problem. Until the arrival of Chinese nationals in significant numbers in Namibia, commercial wildlife crime was extremely low. As Chinese nationals moved into all regions of Namibia, setting up businesses, networks, acquiring mineral prospecting licenses and offering payment for wildlife products, the incidence of poaching, illegal wildlife capture, collection, killing and export has increased exponentially. Chinese nationals have been involved in, and/or are the commercial drivers behind: • the escalating poaching of rhinos and elephants in Namibia and the illegal export of rhino horn and ivory, • the capture, trade and export of pangolins,
• the import of Chinese monofilament nets in industrial quantities via Zambia to the northeast of Namibia, which are destroying the fisheries of the Zambezi, Chobe, Kwando and Okavango Rivers, • the unsustainable commercialization of fisheries in these northeastern rivers and wetland systems for export to cities and towns in neighbouring countries, • the capture and killing of Carmine Bee-eaters at their breeding colonies by means of nets, • the rise in bush-meat poaching wherever Chinese nationals are working on road construction and other infrastructure, including tortoises, monitor lizards, pythons and any other form of wild meat, including from protected and endangered species, • the illegal collection of shellfish on the Namibian coast, • the illegal transit through Namibia and attempted export of poached abalone from Cape waters through Namibian ports. We are also aware of long-standing interests by some Chinese nationals to start a shark fin industry in Namibia, a practice that has caused widespread damage to shark populations in many parts of the world, including in South Africa. And more recently, Chinese nationals have proposed to capture marine mammals and seabirds for the Asian aquarium market. The Namibian scientific and environmental communities have strongly rejected this proposal on sound conservation and ethical grounds, as has the Namibian public.
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The Wildlife Game We are concerned by an apparent total disregard by some Chinese nationals for Namibia’s wildlife, conservation, and animal welfare laws and values. Namibians are proud of their environmental heritage, their rich wildlife resources and the institutional mechanisms that are in place to sustainably manage them. Namibia as a nation has worked hard to protect and nurture these natural assets. Namibia’s wildlife management provides an international example for good conservation and sustainable use. We have not made these investments so that some Chinese nationals, or anyone else, can pillage them. The illegal commercial interests of some Chinese nationals towards Namibia’s protected wildlife has exploited the vulnerability of poor Namibians and divided societies. It undermines local ownership of natural resources and the empowerment of communities to manage their wildlife wisely, for long-term communal benefits. It undermines Namibia’s globally acclaimed Community-based Conservancy programme, and it does considerable damage to Namibia’s international conservation and sustainable development reputation. The recent announcement by the Chinese business community that it is contributing N$30,000 to counter rhino poaching, while acknowledging that Namibians are deeply concerned about the situation caused by some Chinese nationals, totally fails to understand the economic scale of the problem. Indeed, it is an insult to the environmental sector in Namibia and to Namibia’s environment. An initial very conservative estimate of the extent of the losses to Namibia’s wildlife and ecosystems caused by Chinese nationals is about N$811 million. And this does not include the significant additional resources that Namibia’s government, donors, communities, private sector, and NGOs have had to commit to combat escalating wildlife crimes. These funds should rather have been spent on more productive activities such as continuing to develop the wildlife and tourism sectors to improve the lives and livelihoods of rural communities. We do not claim to fully understand the relationship between Chinese nationals and the Chinese state. It appears that Chinese nationals are not at liberty to obtain passports and travel independently around the world, bringing their personal capital and starting businesses in their own names in whatever country would have them, independent of the Chinese state. As such, Chinese nationals in Namibia appear to be part of a state supported system. So, as the highest ranking Chinese official in Namibia, we would expect all Chinese nationals in Namibia to fall under your authority. As such, we now call on you to put an immediate stop to the illegal wildlife crimes perpetrated, encouraged, funded, incentivized or otherwise committed and supported, by some Chinese nationals in Namibia. Further, we call on the Chinese government to make good, by investing in Namibia’s environment sector in a transparent and internationally recognized manner, and in proportion to the damage caused, to help rebuild Namibia’s wildlife populations, ecosystems, management systems and reputation. This letter does not represent only the views of the 40 environmental organisations listed below, but also represents the views of countless members of the Namibian public and our international friends. The
sentiments expressed in social media over the past months, from across a broad spectrum of Namibian society, and their outrage at the leading role that Chinese nationals play in wildlife crime have surely been noted by you and members of your embassy. You will also be aware of the sentiments expressed by our President, by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, and by the Namibian Police Inspector General as reported in the local media. The time for inaction is over. China has a policy of non-intervention and yet these actions by some Chinese nationals, and the apparent inaction of your embassy to address the problem, are direct and indirect interventions that have disastrous impacts on our policy and legal framework, on our environmental culture and ethics, on our natural heritage and on our national conservation and development programmes. They also have huge negative impacts on our people and their livelihoods, and on our international reputation. In late 2014 the out-going US President Barack Obama, in an interview with the New York Times, accused China of being a “free rider” for the last 30 years in not taking on more of its international obligations. In the last couple of years, particularly under the leadership of your President Xi Jinping, China has taken a decidedly more active leadership role in global issues. It is time to extend that leadership to natural resources and in particular, to wildlife conservation. Indeed, the Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi, almost 2,000 years ago, may have been amongst the first to advocate for ecological sustainability within a philosophy of coexistence between man and nature. If China is to live up to its stated aims of having positive interactions between peoples and countries then this, for us in Namibia, is a critical issue. We support our government’s policy of attracting foreign investment to stimulate growth, employment and development. And we counter all forms of xenophobia and profiling. However, we expect foreign investors and their nationals to abide by Namibia’s laws, and to embrace Namibia’s cultures, ethics, and values. Too many Chinese nationals have abused Namibia’s environmental laws, and this is causing growing resentment and anger amongst Namibians. By their criminal actions, some Chinese nationals have drawn attention to themselves and their nationality through their blatant disregard of Namibia’s legal and environmental values. We are also concerned at how little action the Chinese embassy in Namibia appears to be taking to address the problem. We as concerned Namibian Environmental NGOs and businesses, who it should be stated, are pro-sustainable use, stand ready to work with a China that willingly takes on greater responsibility and leadership in addressing the illegal trade in wildlife and, in particular, commits to putting an immediate stop to all wildlife crimes in Namibia by its Chinese nationals. Yours sincerely, Dr Chris Brown CEO: Namibian Chamber of Environment Representing 31 Namibian Chamber of Environment Members plus nine other Namibian environmental organisations supporting this letter
Many bushbuck races have been described, here a ram of the Chobe race (T.s.ornatus) from the Zambezi.
Based on Chris and Mathilde Stuart’s book, ࡑGame Animals of the World,’ published by African Hunting Gazette, here’s everything hunters need to know about the Bushbuck. English: Bushbuck Latin: Tragelaphus scriptus German: Schirrantilope French: Guib harnaché Spanish: Antīlope jeroglīfico MEASUREMENTS Total length: Male: 1, 36-1,66m (4.5'-5.4') Female: 1, 3-1,5m (4.3'-4.9') Tail: 20cm (7.9’) Shoulder Height: Male: 80cm (2.6') Female: 70cm (2.3') 28
Weight: Male: 45-80 kg (99-176lb) Female: 30-42 kg (66-93lb) Description A medium-sized antelope with a variable coat coloration and markings, with as many as 29 subspecies being recognised on this basis – many of these subspecies and races are seen by some as being geographical variations that do not warrant subspecific status. It has a short, bushy tail that is dark above and white below, and rams carry short, almost straight horns with a slight spiral and a keel at front and back. Rams tend to be darker than ewes. Rams in most
populations have an erectile mane down the centre of the back, which is of variable length, which is raised during encounters with other rams, or when an individual feels threatened. The erection of the mane is often accompanied by a slow, stiff-legged walk display. Northerly and westerly forms are the so-called “harnessed” group, chestnut or reddish with clear white markings. Eastern forms tend to be browner with most white lines broken down into a series of spots. Southern populations are darker brown but some, such as Chobe bushbuck, are brighter, with numerous white spots on flanks. There are pockets of differently
colored populations, such as almost black Menelik’s T.s. meneliki and Powell’s T.s. powelli of Ethiopia. Although distinct color and pattern forms occur in different parts of its range, where they overlap they readily interbreed, and within any one population there is great variety of coat coloration and patterning. Animals from higher montane regions in East Africa and the Ethiopian Highlands are generally larger and darker than those occurring in surrounding lower-lying areas. Distribution Most widely distributed of all the spiralhorned antelope through much of subSaharan Africa, only absent from dense Congolean forest blocks and arid areas. Bushbuck find secondary growth very attractive for both cover and food. It is offered as a trophy in most countries that allow hunting. CONSERVATION STANDING It is still common in many parts of its range. HABITATS Highest densities in riverine woodland and bush/thicket country close to water. Populations occur from sea level to at least 3,000m (9,850 ft) above sea level in East Africa. BEHAVIOR Largely solitary, but pairs are seen as well as loosely knit groups that may reach densities of more than 26 animals to 1km² (247 acres). One study estimated 78 resident
Young bushbuck ram, race T.s. roualeyni, from Letaba River. bushbuck in just 2.6km² (642 acres). Home ranges overlap considerably, but each adult has its exclusive lying up spot. There may be some slight range adjustments in different seasons associated with water availability. Rams show no territoriality, but develop dominance hierarchies by display, and on occasion, serious fights occur. Dominant rams closely accompany oestrus ewes, but may be displaced by higher-ranking rams in the area. Nocturnal, but often active in undisturbed areas in early morning and late afternoon. Bushbuck rams are among the most courageous of horned mammals, and if wounded or cornered they are potentially dangerous. There are numerous confirmed instances of rams attacking hunting dogs and human hunters under circumstances of stress.
Right front, 44 mm (1.7”) Right back, 41 mm (1.6”)
BREEDING Mating Season: Throughout the year Gestation: 180 days Number of young: 1 Birth weight: 3, 5-4, 5 kg (7, 7-9, 9 lb) Sexual maturity: 10-14 months but males breed later Longevity: >12 years in captivity FOOD Browse, including leaves, growth points, flowers, fruits, and sometimes grass.
Fine bushbuck ram shot in northern Tanzania.
RIFLES AND AMMUNITION Suggested Caliber: .243 -7mm. Bullet: Expanding bullet Sights: Medium-range variable scope. Hunting Conditions: Expect close to medium
Shot placement. africanhuntinggazette.com
Uncle Bobby – A loyal client By Erik Visser (Quagga Safaris) I have always said that loyalty is one of the most important part of any relationship.
oyalty can be seen or evaluated as many things such as being a good client in our industry as hunting outfitters. The relationship between professional hunter or outfitter and his clients is built on loyalty and trust. I am fortunate enough to have many such clients, or rather friends now, in my outfit. One of the most mentionable clients to me is Mr. Bobby Lynch or as we know him, Uncle Bobby. Uncle Bobby, 21 years ago a first time client known as Mr. Bobby Lynch from Florida, USA came over with a few friends on a 5 day plains game safari during 1995. During this safari we already build up a relationship between us that I could not imagine will last up to where we are today… Uncle Bobby just finished his 37th safari to Africa since 1995.Most of the years two to three safaris in one year. Obviously we have spend many hours, days, traveling and hunting together to tell this story today. I made a calculation and realized that Uncle Bobby has spend 518 days of hunting in Africa over the past 21 years. Needless to say that today we are part of each others lives, furniture, trophy room and discussions around campfires with other hunters and clients. Most of my clients have either met, spend time in camp or know of Uncle Bobby… During our safaris we’ve hunted South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana together. At first Uncle Bobby hunted with his rifle and during his 4th safari in 1998 we completed his Big-5 together. It was a proud day for me as a fairly young professional hunter and my first Big-5 with one client. Uncle Bobby has been and still is a very enthusiastic bird hunter and I knew that. Off course the Big-5 thing was much more important to me than bird hunting. I asked him to file a hunting report in the SCI magazine. This was exiting for me and every time I received an issue of the magazine I pages through it to look for his report. Eventually one day I opened the magazine with his leopard photo. Very excited and read the following words “ I just finished my Big5 with ph Erik Visser with this leopard. The
The current SCI #1 (handgun) buﬀalo taken by Uncle Bobby with his SW 500 handgun. (Measuring RW 43" and SCI 136 7/8).
Uncle Bobby and PH, Erik Visser with the current SCI #2 buﬀalo that also received the 2017 PHASA’s Uncle Stevie Award. (Measuring RW 47" and SCI 128 4/8).
Uncle Bobby with the pending SCI #1 (handgun) sable measuring over 46". highlight of the safari was killing three guinea-fowl with one shot”. Now it’s funny but at that time I did not think so. Only to realize that Uncle Bobby’s love for bird hunting was strong and he had fun doing that. It made me realize that he was hunting for the right reasons.
To have fun and enjoy the sport didn’t make a difference to him weather Big-5 or just a guinea-fowl. I still give him hell over this anyhow. We have hunted basically all species available in South Africa with rife and then in 2012 Uncle Bobby ask me if we can start over with his S & W 500 handgun.
It sounded like a challenge and we started that safari with a buffalo bull that made new SCI number 3 (handgun). This didn’t stop and in 2014 we completed his Big-5 with handgun. We had conversations and jokes about what’s next with Uncle Bobby. Together we decided to focus on big buffalo with handgun as we both enjoyed the hunting experience of buffalo. This developed into a challenge and the quest to harvest the Top 5 SCI ranking Cape Buffalo with handgun. Since 2014 we have hunted more than 10 buffalo that all ranked in the Top 10. Some of the trophies outranked each other as we continue but we kept on hunting to achieve the original goal. Today we can proudly say that Uncle Bobby has hunted eight of the current SCI Top 10 (handgun) buffalo including all of the Top 5 (pending). Uncle Bobby I’m proud of what we have done together but even more so on our relationship of trust and loyalty. Uncle Bobby is what they call a Good Client, but also a very good friend to me and too many he have met in Africa during his 37 safaris. All respect to the amazing and outstanding quality of buffalo we have hunted together and thank you for all your great shooting! I’m afraid to ask what now my Uncle… See you in April for your 38th safari!
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Never mind the Bull For the female of the species is more deadly than the male. Kipling, 1911 By Brian Gallup The bull was close and looking at me with his head up and his eyeballs rolled forward, like they do sometimes before they chargeâ€Ś
South Africa: 2016
was standing on the target range at Buffalo Land Safaris in the beautiful lowveld, near Kruger Park. My rifle was a .577 NE single shot that I recently built from an old 10 ga. shotgun. The bullets were my own 700-grain hard-cast solids. This was going to be an interesting Cape buffalo hunt. I had just met my two young professional hunters and I liked them. Kobus was stalky with broad shoulders and huge hands. He was pleasant and looked right at me when he spoke. He proved to be a serious hunter, but he could still laugh about things. Louis was lean and handsome, with a long white scar in his left eyebrow and a natural, wry grin. The grip of a stainless Colt 1911 showed out of an old leather holster on his hip. These guys were the real deal. Jock was our cameraman, and turned out to be a savvy bushman as well as an excellent videographer. I must have been nervous because I was talking a lot as we hung a fresh target on a backstop in front of an old termite mound. Louis walked back to the shooting bench, assuming that I would shoot from there, but I stopped at 40 paces and sheepishly opened the shooting sticks that I had brought from Canada. Nobody said much while the tracker, known as Lieutenant, politely took over the sticks. He was a bright young man, full of life, and he loved setting up those new Vanguard shooting sticks. Jock placed his camera tripod about five paces to my left, while Lieutenant stood at his official post on the right side of the shooting sticks. Kobus and Louis stood behind me and waited for me to stop talking and shoot. The sun was going to set directly behind the target in about half an hour. I dropped a .577 cartridge into the chamber and closed the barrel. But when I looked at the target through the scope, all I could see was glaring red sunlight. “Can’t see a thing!” I said. Kobus came over and stood beside the muzzle to block the sun. I looked through the scope again, and could just make out the bull’s eye well enough to shoot. “How’s that?” asked Kobus. “Perfect!” Then I realized that there were three men with no hearing protection, standing around the muzzle of my Nitro Express rifle. “This thing has a real loud...,” I started saying, but didn’t finish. It occurred to me that I was about to tell a seasoned PH that a .577 NE was noisy. I cocked the hammer, took a breath and squeezed the trigger until it fired. With the recoil and the muzzle blast of 116 grains of slow-burning N550 powder, I didn’t see much 34
The client is happy.
We were looking for old Cape buﬀalo cows in an area that had become too dry to support them.
“Nothin’s Too Good For a Canuck.” Brian’s Single Shot .577 Nitro Express that he built from a 10 ga. shotgun. Scope is the Weaver Super Slam, 1-5, Scope. Bullets are his own 700-grain hard cast with a .450 ﬂat meplat ﬁred at 1800 fps. .577 Nitro Express with 700 grain cast bullet. The recovered bullet broke the buﬀalo’s shoulder, went through the heart and stopped on a rib on the far side. It only lost 12 grains. at first, just Jock and Lieutenant hopping around holding their ears, and a great cloud of dust rising from the termite mound. “Bull’s eye!” Louis shouted from behind me. “It works”, I chuckled to myself.” ********* It was eight the next morning when we left the Land Cruiser and walked another 500
metres further to the east bank of the Klaserie River. Louis said the water was so low with the drought that four resident crocodiles had just disappeared, but the trees along the riparian zone of the river were still green, and the low morning sun shone brightly through them. It was a beautiful place. During the Great Trek, this was a traditional hunting area for the Voortrekkers. They would have been carrying single-shot big bores and may have faced the last of the legendary Cape Lions right here. Some folks believe that not all the Cape lions were killed off by the pioneers in the 1850s as reported in the history books. Oral history holds
South Africa: 2016
The skinners turn a good hunt into good food.
that a few of these magnificent beasts, with their jet-black manes, came north as far as the Klaserie River area and lived here in relative peace for at least another century. The last remaining specimen was an old male that the locals called “Grootpoot”. He, or his huge footprint, was seen near the Klaserie River area in the early 1980s. This was good country! We were looking for old Cape buffalo cows in an area that had become too dry to support them. For over a year the country had been in a bad drought and many animals were dying. I guess we were culling, but we never looked at it that way. I had hunted Cape buffalo bulls before, but never cows. Kobus reminded me to not underestimate cows. “They can be very protective and aggressive.” he said. We walked across the river, hardly getting our boots wet. Kobus and Louis gave me the palmdown hand sign to stay low while they glassed across a plain and into the bush on the far side. After a minute they nodded to each other and grinned at me, before leading us straight west across about 300 metres of open flat land that was scattered with a few acacia trees. There was no grass at all on the dry ground and our boots raised enough dust for us to read the wind. Louis, Kobus and Lieutenant watched the far bush line as we went. I was pretty excited! It was noisy going when we got into the thick 36
There was no grass at all on the dry ground and our boots raised enough dust for us to read the wind. sickle bush trees. This tree is considered an invasive weed and has sharp, five-centimetre, thorns that can puncture a tire. I later learned how Louis got that scar in his eyebrow chasing a poacher through this stuff. (The poacher got a hiding for it, too.) We worked our way around and under thorn branches for a while. Suddenly, Louis and Lieutenant froze in mid-step. Louis gave Kobus a hand signal, and Kobus handed it off to me, but I didn’t understand it. I just kept close. Louis and the tracker moved about 30 metres to the north where they disappeared into a trench-like ravine. Kobus quickly followed down the steep bank and then turned to help me slide in. We were now in a dry flood channel almost four metres deep and about six metres wide at the top. We could use it to sneak further west. The bottom of the trench was all loose stones and I tried to be quiet, but through my electric ear muffs I sounded like a gravel crusher. After about 100 metres we stopped and Louis peered over the edge of the south bank for a moment. He was grinning.
“There is a small herd at about 150 metres. They are slowly moving away,” Louis indicated. “I don’t think they know we‘re here.” Kobus checked the wind and the two whispered something; it took all my strength not to ask a dumb question. “We will wait for the wind to change,” Kobus whispered. Louis found an easier place for me to climb out of the trench, and when the wind was right we went over the parapet and into more patches of sickle bush. Kobus thoughtfully pointed out a shallow cow track to show me that the herd was still moving slowly. He often did that kind of thing, and it meant a lot. In about half an hour we came to a wide open area. On the far side, we saw the buffalo. The herd that we were following must have joined another small herd; they had stopped traveling and were just milling around in the shade. With a gentle breeze beginning to swirl, getting close would be unlikely, no matter what direction we approached from. So, with Lieutenant in front, and the breeze in our face, we just started marching straight towards the herd in single file across the open ground. We kept going and the herd kept holding. It was just a matter of luck now. This was my first stalk on Cape buffalo in two years, and every step was a thriller. At about 80 metres from the herd, Kobus brought me forward to walk with the tracker. I took a couple of deep breaths and it made Louis smile. Finally, at close to 50 metres the cows noticed us, and Lieutenant quickly set up the shooting sticks and held them steady for me. Two bulls were curious and stepped toward us for another look, but the cows were moving out. My scope was turned down to 3x power, so I could see most of the herd through it. Quickly, Kobus pointed out a tall, old cow quartering towards me. I cocked the hammer, put the crosshairs on the spot that looked like a straight line to her heart, and squeezed off the shot. It looked good, but I wasn’t sure. The herd scattered and the old cow hobbled off into the bush, unable to put any weight on her right front leg. Kobus had his .458 Belgium Browning ready. He had to remind me to reload. We waited a couple of minutes. Both Kobus and Louis were looking through their binoculars. I was getting a little anxious and whispered, “What do you think?” “She’s down.” Kobus whispered back. We followed the jagged spoor of the wounded buffalo for about 30 metres, and there she was, under a thorn tree taking her final breath. I thanked Louis, Kobus and Lieutenant.
South Africa: 2016 Kobus and Lieutenant quietly said, “Good shot sir,” when we shook hands. I appreciated their reserved style; respectful to me and respectful to the animal. Louis had a smoke lit. He took a drag and said, “Knap gedaan.” I didn’t understand. “It’s something we say when someone does a good job. “Knap Gedaan,” he repeated. “It’s Afrikaans for ‘well done’.” At the skinning house the men found my hard-cast .577 bullet. They were quite interested in its size and shape. The nose was just flattened a bit after smashing the cow’s shoulder, going through the bottom of the heart and stopping in a rib on the far side. “Knap gedaan,” I said to myself.
Left to Right: Lieutenant the tracker, PH Louis Jacobs, client Brian Gallup, PH Kobus Kok. Brian holds his .577 Nitro Express single shot that the Shangaan skinners named ‘Vati Kaki’.
********* On the third morning the sky was covered in low grey clouds and it smelt like rain. Beautiful rain! One shower and the land would be transformed. We drove out past the main camp, waving at the staff and pointing to the sky. They waved their hats back at us. Kobus and Louis had a new area in mind. We drove slowly northwest from the river into higher bench land until we came to a power line running north and south. It was a good place to stop and glass for buffalo. Jock did some videoing. Kobus said, “Mr Gallup, I must tell you about this power line.” He explained that we were standing at one of the few remaining reminders of a very tragic time in Mozambique’s history. In the midseventies the Cohora Bassa Power Dam was completed in northern Mozambique. Most of the electricity went to Johannesburg via this very power line which crossed through the northern end of the Kruger National Park. During the civil war in Mozambique in the eighties, thousands of people became refugees. They would set out on foot to follow this power line to safety and hope of better times. The tragic story goes that the Kruger Park lions got many of them before they ever got to South Africa. Sometimes rangers would go out and shoot a few lions, but it didn’t make much difference – there were lots of lions and lots of refugees. “Hard times,” Kobus said. After a long pause, “Now we shall go find some buffalo.” We walked northeast from there. I could see the line of green trees along the river in the distance, when we came across some fresh spoor. I only knew it was fresh because Kobus and Louis said so. “Lots of cows,” they said, and we followed the tracks north for about a kilometre. It was good walking. We passed two
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South Africa: 2016 With a gentle breeze beginning to swirl, getting close would be unlikely, no matter what direction we approached from.
A year of drought in the Lowveld killed a lot of animals.
giraffes browsing in the sweet thorn trees and lots of blue wildebeest looking for grass. They were really thin. “They look like bicycles.” I whispered to Jock. He wasn’t amused and pointed to vultures feeding on a fresh carcass. That’s when we saw Louis stop in a crouch beside two thorn bushes. Jock quickly set his big camera on his shoulder and adjusted the viewfinder. I opened and closed the barrel quietly to make sure there was a round in the chamber. My scope was set at 2x power. I was good to go! Louis peered around the edge of the thorn bushes, then sank lower before turning to us. No grin this time, just a couple of low hand signals to Kobus and Lieutenant before he pointed to a spot on the ground about two metres beyond the edge of a thorn bush. Kobus signaled me forward, while Lieutenant took two more steps out into the open and gently set up the sticks. I could see some buffalo now. Louis was whispering into my electronic earmuffs. He was so close it was mostly static. “There is a small herd right on the other side of these bushes, maybe 30 metres. When you get to the sticks you will see three cows and a young, wild-eyed bull standing in front of that tree.” He pointed to the top of an acacia tree that
OUTFITTER OF THE YEAR
CONTINUING THE LEGACY OF
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roaring up on a two-wheel-drive bakkie. They jumped off both sides of the box as soon as it stopped and went straight over to the buffalo. Being our second buffalo, their curiosity about the big .577 bullet was gaining momentum. All of them were talking at once as they crowded around the huge bullet hole in the cow’s shoulder. Some of them poked a finger or a thumb in it. I showed them a cartridge. They were fascinated, rolling it over in their fingers for a moment, then looking up at me with a kindred grin. The rifle was leaning up against a tree, and that was considered out of bounds. So I picked it up, checked it for empty in front of them, and handed it to a big, serious-looking guy they called Africa. They were pretty impressed with the 14 pound single shot. Each man would cradle it reverently for a moment, then pass it to the man beside him. It was the holy grail of smoke-poles, and they were holding it in their hands! Their talking never stopped, except for a good laugh here and there. I asked Louis if he thought I’d ever see my rifle again. He grinned, but he kept listening to the skinners. “They’ve named your rifle! Africa did; he gave it a sort of tribal name,” said Louis. They all went quiet at some signal, and Louis became the official spokesman.
“They named it…Vat Nie Kak Nie,” Louis said with some amazement. “What does it mean?” I asked. “Well, it’s a…it’s a sort of compliment – in Afrikaans.” Louis was searching for the words. “It means, uh…uh… ‘Doesn’t Take Crap’. Yes: Vat Nie Kak Nie – Doesn’t Take Crap!” he said louder. All the skinners, who were pretending they didn’t speak English, burst into laughter. Then we all did. What a morning! It never did rain that day. In fact, it wouldn’t rain for another month, and I wouldn’t be there to see it. I left that amazing place two days later. It was a wonderful hunt. The country, the animals, the people… everything. I’m going back to the lowveld as soon as I can. Retired in BC, Canada, Brian recalls that his first formal hunting trip was with his father in 1958, for pronghorn antelope in southern Alberta, Canada. He and his wife Sandy have lived and hunted in some pretty remote places, including the MacKenzie River Valley in Northern Canada. They now intend to spend more time in South Africa. “We keep going back to hunt and explore. We have booked our next trip with our children and grandchildren.”
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we could see over the bush. It looked closer than 30 metres to me! “Take the big cow in the middle that’s standing sideways. Never mind the bull!” For some reason I was fiercely calm this time and ready for anything. I did as Louis said. There stood the three cows and the young bull on the edge of a small mixed herd. The bull was close and looking at me with his head up and his eyeballs rolled forward, like they do sometimes before they charge. I strained to ignore him and put the crosshairs in the right spot on the middle cow as she swung her head and turned half a step towards me. The .577NE bellowed and shoved me back, but I saw everything this time and it was in slow motion! Her shoulder muscles rippled with the impact of the 700-grain cast bullet at 1,800 fps, and she jerked up her right leg. I didn’t have to ask anyone about this shot. I reloaded as the herd scattered. The mean-looking young bull must have had enough because he was gone. We moved forward without waiting, and found the cow on the ground not far from where I hit her. Kobus asked me to finish her with a spine shot. I was wound up pretty tight, and the .577NE felt more like a .30-06. In less than half an hour the skinners came
â€“ the Highs and Lows. By Joe Byers Safaris can be a roller coaster of emotions, unexpected conditions, and hunting tactics that can have you in the tops of trees or deep into the desert sand.
s the safari dates neared for my second safari with Agagia, sleep became impossible. I was in such a mental state that I left both front windows down when I parked my new truck at the airport. Part of the excitement was including two nonhunting friends, Rick and Stephanie Dias on the adventure – bowhunting from hides sunk more than a metre into the ground so that you actually looked up at animals as they came to a waterhole to drink. Built from bush concrete, they were well-positioned and spacious, a comfortable and exciting way to spend a day. Two days later, as we stepped down into the subterranean hide, the weather dampened our spirits. “It normally rains in January, February, and March,” said Tielman Neethling, coowner of Agagia Safaris with his wife Carin. “This year we got twice as much rain as normal and had copious rain yesterday, hence the puddles. As you see, the grass is nearly waisthigh and still quite green.” I had two bows set up for this ambush-style hunting with bright sight pins specifically set for close-range action, but hoped we’d at least see some non-trophy game come to drink. Birds were very active and we counted nearly ten species. As the afternoon waned, two warthogs came, followed by two kudu cows. Normally, we’d have seen a herd or two of wildebeest, gemsbok, and maybe a kudu bull, but the abundant rain and lush foliage made even spotting game very difficult. I was a bit disappointed at the lack of action, yet being just ten steps from African game is ultraexciting for any first time safari participant. Fortunately, I had brought four boxes of Hornady ammunition to match the caliber of the two camp rifles, a Musgrave Mod 80 in .308 and a Finn Bear in .30-06 Springfield. With puddles in the bush, few animals would come to the blinds, so the next morning I headed to the shooting range to check the zero on the rifles. The .308 was dead-on with the first shot, while the .30-06 took five rounds to dial in. We jokingly called this the “long bow” strategy, and the hunt began. A gemsbok was on my trophy list and everyone wanted to taste venison, so my hunting trip was twofold - trophy hunting and food. This was the first of eight hunting days, so my hunting partner Jere Neff and I decided that I’d dedicate a day or two to rifle hunting, and he’d be very patient with the archery process, if the rains ended. We drove about 10 km to his hide to spend the day. The evening before, a herd of zebra had approached the water to drink, when two giraffes bullied their way to the water. He had a last-second opportunity on a young stallion, but believed the light was too low and passed
PH Ronnie Thompson is an excellent climber, and scaled this tree to spot several gemsbok feeding in the distance.
A gemsbok was on my trophy list and everyone wanted to taste venison up the opportunity, and instead took a photo of the giraffe standing by the water just as the sun dipped, its head bathed in light and the rest of its body in shadow. Our rifle hunt began in typical safari style in which we drove a network of tracks in a cruiser, looking for game and fresh spoor. We cruised slowly for nearly an hour without spotting a suitable gemsbok in the thick bush. Eventually we came to more open area, and Ronnie Thompson, my Namibian PH, stopped and whispered that he knew of a high termite mound that offered a great vantage point. He hurried away and a few minutes came jogging back. “Only a herd of black wildebeest,” he said. Suddenly, a stampede of animals crossed the road ahead of us including zebra, gemsbok, and blue wildebeest. “They must have smelled us,” Ronnie said. “Let’s see how far they went.” He was a tall, lanky man, nimble as a cat and in seconds he was thirty feet up in a nearby tree, scanning the distance. I was still marveling at his agility as he descended, when he whispered, “They traveled about a kilometre, but seem
During the stalk, the author was able to climb this termite mound and make a 300-metre shot on a good gemsbok – not only an excellent trophy, but the meat was needed for camp fare the next evening. to have settled down. I think we can make a stalk.” He grabbed his Primos TriggerStick, and we headed off. As much as I love bowhunting, this was also fun, and for the next 20 minutes we moved steadily in the direction of the herds. Ronnie had a fix on the direction and the distance, and he slowed down just as we eased around a patch of thorn. Freezing, he pointed at the distance, and twenty years of African experience came into play. “It’s a young bull,” he whispered, while I could just see bush. Through my binoculars, I still saw only vegetation, but eventually I could see a tail swish in the background. We worked toward the termite mound 50 yards ahead and scrambled to the top. A big cow was feeding into the trees, and the rocklike mound gave me a solid rest. The Finn Bar recoiled and I heard the sound of a solid impact. Despite the heavy bush, Ronnie took me to the exact spot the animal had stood, and it lay just ten steps further. The Hornady SuperFormance ammo and the 165-grain GMX bullets had an impressive impact. We would all enjoy steaks the next day. Agagia Safaris owns a satellite property about an hour’s drive from the main lodge, and Jere and I headed for it the following morning, hoping that the rain had not been as heavy there – but if anything, this section had had even more. africanhuntinggazette.com
The author smiles behind some of his trophies taken from the down/low approach.
Much of Namibian hunting area is flat and rolling terrain, often covered in thick bush. One of the best means of glassing for game is to use a windmill, tree, or one of the numerous termite mounds which make a solid rifle rest. Bowhunting from a sunken blind has advantages. Being one to two metres below ground gives an upward view at animals and allows one to determine the sex of zebra, gemsbok, and wildebeest. The shooting angle is nearly level, which puts an arrow directly into the heart/lung cavity for humane kills. Sunken blinds help cover human scent from animals’ incredible sense of smell, and keep the interior dark, so that animals in bright sunlight don’t notice slight movements inside. Finally, these blinds are a photographer’s dream and provide a ground-level view for stills and video. All Agagia blinds are built with a photo port that makes photography fun and easy. When Ronnie and I entered the hide where I’d taken several animals on my previous visit, I knew the prospects were dim. “Where are the birds?” I asked. Normally, any African waterhole is flush with them, and a hunter can expect to see dozens of species at any day. This time, only a few doves visited and the day was mostly uneventful. A mature blue wildebeest and a big gemsbok bull approached the waterhole early in the day, but lay in the shade of a tree until late afternoon. They neither fed nor drank. When a dark animal passed by the blind, Jere saw it was zebra. It was so caked in mud its white stripes were concealed. Our spirits were a bit low as we left the farm the next morning, planning to hunt different hides in a more remote section of the 46
bowhunting-only property. I was first to be dropped off this time, and was heartened to have dozens of guinea fowl come to drink near the blind. If the guineas were drinking here, maybe the bush pools had dried up. The first two hours were uneventful until a pair of jackals came to drink. I had five arrows in my quiver, and using one on a jackal was a good investment as the property had too many. The small predator was only six yards away and I forgot to aim low to compensate for the close distance. As a result, I clipped hair from its back and the animal raced away. Since there seemed to be little action at the water, Ronnie and I left the blind to trail the jackal. As we searched for the spoor, I noticed something in the distance and pointed it to him. “Zebra!” he whispered and we ducked low to the ground and slowly moved back into the hide. For the next hour we were extra quiet, knowing how wary they can be. Suddenly, we heard hooves pounding behind the blind and the sound of animals fleeing. Whereas, most animals came to the waterhole with their noses into the wind, the savvy zebra had circled directly behind the blind where they caught our scent. Oh, well. At least we had action. Though every hunt has emotional highs and lows, things just didn’t seem to be going well. On my previous safari in late June, animals came to drink throughout the day including one big kudu bull that came so close it nearly kicked dust in my face, but I had already filled my trophy slot with a 50-inch bull earlier in the hunt. This year, just past noon, a young kudu bull came to drink, paused a few minutes and then moved on. Two mature gemsbok followed. The kudu was too small and the gemsbok didn’t offer a shot, but... Suddenly, Ronnie poked me and pointed out of the shooting window. I took my bow from
its hanger and slowly eased into the window. Standing 15 yards away was a trophy gemsbok bull, and I immediately drew the bow, aimed at the base of its shoulder and released. The arrow hit exactly as aimed, and fell from the animal’s far side as the animal fled. Within seconds, the gemsbok fell. “That happened so fast I didn’t get nervous,” I smiled at Ronnie as the excitement of the moment set in. He radioed for help, and as we waited, a big warthog boar came to drink. It just barged right in and stopped in the quartering away position. Ronnie nodded as I came to full draw, and the arrow entered behind the shoulder. We were easily able to follow the trail. My spirits had gone from the bottom of Victoria Falls to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in five minutes! Both animals were of trophy quality, yet the highest satisfaction came from equipment function. I practice year round and use the best gear so that taking animals in an ethical and humane fashion gave me great satisfaction. The unusual, late season rains had made hunting much more challenging, yet by searching from the tops of trees and termite mounds, and waiting patiently down low in subterranean hides, the safari was a huge success. Joe Byers writes from the experience of 22 safaris on which he pursued game with lens, arrow, muzzle-loading and center-fire rifles. The majesty of Africa and its animals captivates his spirit and catapults his eagerness to return. Look for his adventures with crossbows in future issues. Author’s Note: Carin and Tielman Neethling offer an excellent plains game safari on their 50,000 acres of fenced and free-roaming property and their bowhunting blinds are second to none. www.agagia.com
One of us
â€œBuffalo hunting with Ian Brownâ€? Watch it on: www.blaser-usa.com
Day three of our safari had us teamed up with PH Marius, tracker Malcolm and cameraman Henko Du Toit. Duiker was the focus with my .30-06. And talk about coincidences – my pre64 Win 70 Featherweight .30-06 and Marius’s pre-64 Win 70 Standard 270 have serial numbers less than 100 apart – they were probably made the same day!
ay three of our safari had us teamed up with PH Marius, tracker Malcolm and cameraman Henko Du Toit. Duiker was the focus with my .30-06. And talk about coincidences – my pre-64 Win 70 Featherweight .30-06 and Marius’s pre-64 Win 70 Standard 270 have serial numbers less than 100 apart – they were probably made the same day! We hunted the now familiar game-rich foothills near the camp. We bumped into a few zebra, and two stallions put on quite a show, sparring with one another about 300 yards away. Steenbok were flushing all the time, but no duiker! Whenever we did spot one it turned out to be a female, or disappeared before we had a chance to check, much less take a shot at it. After lunch we traveled to a nearby sheep farm in search of springbok. Trophy-class springbok were not available on the 35,000 acres of Mayogi land just then. Marius pulled into the farmer’s driveway and said that he might be gone a few minutes as these old farmers were alone and welcomed conversation. He returned 45 minutes later. “Sorry – I got not a cup of coffee, but a bucket! Burnt my mouth trying to finish it quickly.” But it was worth it, as the old farmer said we could shoot anything on his property as long as it wasn’t a sheep! We could have shot 50 springbok but only managed one apiece! My son remarked that though it might be easy to walk on the plains, it was much harder to hunt! The 6 to 10
First African Safari
- Part 2 Hunting with Marius By Michael G. Mathis
Photo courtesy of Willem Van Rooyen â€“ Jules of Africa Safaris
South Africa: 2015 foot-high trees are sporadic and have no low hanging branches – so you can’t see them, but the game can see your legs under the trees from a long way off. We didn’t shoot anything to brag about, though a nice offhand shot at 100 yards that dropped a springbok like a stone was my highlight for the day. We also saw warthog, black springbok, kudu, red hartebeest, impala, Blue Cranes, Secretary Birds, hawks, and quail. Because it rained, Day 4 was a photo safari to Addo Elephant National Park. Day 5: We hunted a lot of familiar and new territory. The hunt started in the familiar foothills and we spotted a few duiker, but all were female. The next area turned up some duiker, but most were a mile or more away, too far to identify before they disappeared. The last place we hunted was along a fence line. A male was spotted at 800 yards, and we stalked to about 300 yards, perhaps closer, when the elusive little creature detected us and dove for cover. I told Marius that I didn’t need to get that close; I was comfortable with a 300- yard shot. A few hours later Marius informed me that the 300 might have to grow to 600! We backed up along the fence row and were set up like we were groundhog hunting in Pennsylvania. A possible male duiker appeared about 30 yards in front of me. I could not see horns and spooked him when I whispered to ask if it were a shooter. Marius said it may have been a horned female as the horns were poorly developed and slender. I don’t know if he was serious or trying to brighten a dull moment. I didn’t really care about not shooting it as it wasn’t my style of stalking and hunting anyhow, but felt bad for the rest of the hunting party as we had covered a lot of miles on foot. But a bonus was seeing different wildlife from before, including giraffe, baboon, vervet monkeys, blesbok, blue wildebeest, eland, and waterbuck. A treat was the seldom-seen aardwolf. Marius said most South Africans never see one. Day 6: The morning was in the foothills again after the ever-elusive duiker. Game was out in abundance, but no duiker. After lunch we headed back to the sheep farm for a change of pace. We had a lot of fun but not much success. My son, Mike finally downed a springbok at 100 yards in the heaviest cover on the property. That day we added meerkat and mongoose to our checklist. The last day’s hunt finally yielded a duiker! Mike also had an exciting hunt for a black springbok. The hunt was on new territory, a couple of miles down the other side of the highway. This parcel of land had the Mayogi Restaurant, Butcher Shop, and the rarely used Bush Cabins.
My son, myself, my trusty pre 64 Win 70, and the elusive duiker; notice the missing horn.
South Africa: 2015 We started hunting up the right-hand border and spotted a duiker 1800 metres along the border fence. We stalked to within 800 metres, when it disappeared into the brush on the left. The brush was that thick, gnarly stuff, similar to laurel, and is pretty hard to stalk through. We took a trail to the left and hunted a few hundred more yards with no luck. Marius told us to continue on the trail with Malcolm, while he retrieved the truck to meet us on the other side of the thicket. Just as we approached the left side boundary of the property, we rounded a curve in the trail, and there was the back end of a duiker protruding from a bush which it was eating. We froze. I knelt, and waited for the duiker to show its head, and after a few minutes – which seemed much longer- the duiker proved to be a female! Now not only could we not shoot it, but had to not spook it and ruin our chances at a male in the vicinity. The wait seemed even longer, kneeling along that trail, trying to remain undetected, when Malcolm elbowed me in the ribs and pointed. I looked and looked but did not see anything. Then I looked way off in the distance at a small clearing up the hill and spotted a duiker. I
gestured to Malcolm if I should shoot, and he nodded. I took careful aim and jerked the trigger hard. Luckily I did not take the gun off ‘Safe’, and was given a reprieve. “It’s OK – just good practice,” I whispered, then quietly disengaged the Safety and made a very careful, well-placed shot on the distant, tiny target. The duiker fell, ending my quest. “Wow Dad nice shot! How far was that?”
It was at least three times larger than the largest warthog I had ever seen in a book, magazine, zoo, television, anywhere! What a specimen! “200 yards tops, probably 175,” I replied. It was an older fellow with only a very few teeth left and only one horn! There wasn’t any evidence that he ever had a second horn; he must have lost it at a very early age. Marius arrived on the scene.
“See, male duiker do exist,” he joked. “I am also told that some have two horns!” He ranged the shot at 190 yards – I had finally got my eyes calibrated to the African landscape. After lunch my son Mike decided to chase after a black springbok as an add-on to the package. No sooner than we started down the trail when Marius stopped. “Mike, there’s a huge warthog 60 metres to our right in the brush. I know you don’t want a warthog, but I am telling you that is the biggest warthog I ever saw in my life!” “I would rather hang on for a springbok.” “I am not going to force you, but I am telling you that you will regret this for the rest of your life because that is by far the biggest warthog I have ever seen!” “That’s OK, let someone else get him.” Marius was incredulous. “I am never going to forget this day as long as I live. Mike Junior passes on the biggest warthog in the world for the springbok!” Then we all saw the warthog. It was huge! It looked like it had elephant tusks hanging out of its mouth. It was at least three times larger than the largest warthog I had ever seen in a
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Northwest of Joburg, “The Cradle”, as this area is affectionately referred to in South Africa, is where Man is said to have originated. Near this World Heritage Site, that we call home, you will ﬁnd our factory where we turn your hunting experience into your own piece of history. Founded by Raymond Hoffman, a young man grown up in a world of tanning hides with a grand vision, this owner-operated, new-age taxidermy company is situated on a piece of history, but is set on creating its own piece of history. And it’s all under one roof, from the tanning, dipping, shaving, drying, moulding, mounting, artistry and touch-ups, through to packaging and crating. We take complete responsibility for your trophy from A-Z. No excuses, no other parties involved. HOW? • With the experience of knowing the tanning business inside out (Raymond’s dad runs Oasis Tanning) • Delivering the ﬁnest quality of cleaned skulls • Offering the fastest turnaround of trophies • Being close to Joburg (the hub from where the majority of every Southern African trophy is exported)
The crew with my son’s beautiful Black springbok. book, magazine, zoo, television, anywhere! What a specimen! (Marius later told me that he seriously considered asking to take it, but held back as it would not be ethical.) It took at least an hour of traversing the various trails, thickets, and clearings, up and down small hills until we found some sign/ tracks of a decent-sized springbok herd, and located it in a fairly open area. There was one nice, heavy-horned ram. Mike took a 200yard standing shot at the ram and knocked him down. But it got up and started running with the rest of the herd into the thick cover. We had zero visibility in the heavy, laurel like cover. All we did was head in the direction of the herd, listening for and following Marius’ tracking dog, a young Jack Russell. (The little terrier is trained to follow the wounded animal and once he finds it, he circles, or corrals the animal, and keeps barking while keeping the animal corralled. They are trained to keep a safe distance away to avoid injury.) We caught up to the corralled ram in about the worst place you would want that to happen. We broke through the thicket and there it was in an 8-foot diameter clearing, right in our face. No chance to even think about taking a shot. No chance to think about anything. The springbok was hopping around, the dog was nipping and yipping – it was pure chaos! Exciting yes! Manageable no!
The springbok found an opening and nearly jumped right over us. I began to think that we may have lost this one, but after probably 45 minutes the Jack Russell started sounding off and we headed toward the barking. This time it was in a fairly open area. Mike quickly shot the bouncing, lunging, springbok ram offhand right in the neck, dropping him instantly. What a treat to watch a well-trained dog doing his job. And what a ram! An interesting thing about springboks is as they expire, the mane on their back, near the rump, stands on end. If you rub the mane while raised, your hand smells just like cotton candy. That day we also added a few new species: rabbit, rock hyrax (dassie), tortoise, ostrich – and an ostrich egg! Marius took us on a tour of the coast, the Cape, and Port Elizabeth en route to the airport on our departure day. Everyone tells me it was, “a once in a lifetime trip.” Not. There is no way that was the only time I am hunting Africa! Born 60 years ago in Pennsylvania, Mathis spent his youth roaming the hills in Wildcat Hollow on the family homestead. He joined the US Army at age 17, made it a career, and was a paratrooper in the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions. He is a lifelong hunter, competitive shooter. africanhuntinggazette.com
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The Leopard at Lake Kariba
For many years I have had an African dreamâ€Ś By Tom Ugray
e had to fly via Johannesburg to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. In Joburg we had arranged for a meetand-greet guy, and he was there, holding a sign with our names on – he had the South African permit for the rifles for my friend, Stephen. But the permit did not do Stephen much good, as his luggage did not get there. This situation used to be referred to as “lost luggage”, but these days, the luggage is not lost or missing – it is simply “delayed.” Next morning we were told that Stephen’s luggage had been located in Amsterdam, and would be forwarded to Zimbabwe. At Bulawayo, which is a friendly little airport, we did the paperwork so the guns could be cleared to send on to us. Dean, a tanned and solid chap, one of the camp’s PHs, was waiting for us. A six-hour drive, and we reached Sijarira Camp. Some camp! Over the years, on five continents, I have been in many camps, some quite comfortable, but none of them measured up to this one. A flush toilet, the hot shower, and later, the cool breeze off Lake Kariba as we admired the view of the lake from our bar stools. The deep sound of an African drum announced dinner was ready, and I enjoyed
Setting the bait. 58
one of my favourite South African red wines with our T-bone steaks. Not a bad start for a hunt. The next morning we sighted in our borrowed rifles, and took an easy drive to look for leopard tracks and a bait impala. It did not take long to find tracks. A brief discussion ensued between the government scout and Fidela our tracker, as to whether the tracks were left by a small lion, or a very big leopard. To my relief and good fortune, a very big male leopard was the verdict. Getting a bait impala proved to be more of a challenge than I expected. They were there in good numbers, but “spooky”, and we had several stalks on the fast-disappearing antelope. Fidela would set up the tripod several times for me to shoot from, but by the time the rifle was on it, they were gone. Finally, one young ram stopped to look back. I felt bad for the sacrificial animal, until I eased my conscience with the thought that the leopard would have eaten one of them, anyway. The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging the bait and later cooling off in the pool before sundowners and another great meal with some more of South Africa’s best. A spectacular sunrise over the lake provided the background to our breakfast. Immediately
Sunrise over Lake Kariba.
afterward we went to the bait. It was hit, and it was hit hard! The trail camera’s pictures showed a huge leopard feeding at 6.20 p.m. Just after dark. Meanwhile Stephen’s luggage had arrived. He sure was delighted to have a change of clothing, and very happy to be reunited with his guns. I was to borrow his 8x68 Mannlicher which had a 56mm objective lens, ideal for evening work. The rest of the day was spent on finding the right spot for setting up the blind. We opened a pop-up tent on a slight hill almost 52 metres from and overlooking the bait. Lots of greenery covered the blind, and a blanket folded over the rigid tent frame acted as a rifle rest. “We shall come back at 4.30,” said Dean. “The armchairs better be comfortable because we may be there for many hours. And do you know what it means when I squeeze your leg once?” he asked. “Yes - there is a leopard on bait,” I answered. “And if I squeeze twice?” “It means, go ahead and shoot, it’s a male. And Dean, if you squeeze more than twice, I will not be happy,” I said. I just had time for a refreshing swim in the pool, a quick snack, and it was 4.30. We settled in comfortably. “By the way,” Dean
The camp was comfortable.
The 3.8 inch-long 375FL Magnum Nitro Express cartridge.
He had big paws.
said, “leopards have a characteristic barking, a sort of grunting sound, that they use if they detect that something is not right. We do not want to hear that sound.” I nodded off. I was sleepy. A jab in the ribs stopped me snoring. I forced myself to listen. As the light waned the bush became quiet. Then even more so. Eerily quiet. Then, like a
canon going off, we heard the feared leopard “grunt”. Not good. He was suspicious. Then it was quiet again. The minutes passed painfully slowly. It was six o’clock – getting quite dark. Dean had his binoculars to his eyes, and as he sat there, his excitement was palpable. Then he squeezed my leg. I slowly started to reach for my gun, and
began to lean forward toward my sight window. I was sitting about ten inches back in order not to be seen. “Don’t move yet,” breathed Dean quietly. Time went even slower now. Then he squeezed my leg twice. I began to lift the rifle, but Dean stopped me again. “Wait, he is looking straight at us,” he whispered.
It was team work. Another minute passed. Then Dean dropped his binoculars, and with drooping shoulders he sat back in his chair, deflated. “He is gone,” he said hoarsely, no longer whispering. “Gone.” I relaxed for the first time in a long while. “He grunted, because he knew that something was up. He went to the bait, though, but he did not feed. Instead, he was looking up, straight at us. That is why I stopped you moving. He would have seen the movement,” explained Dean. “So, if my gun had been mounted, aimed, and me permanently behind it, I would have had a shot?” “Not quite. From where you sat you could only see the branch, and the bait. The big cat was on the ground, below your sighting plane,” said Dean. The next night we gave it a rest. Stephen shot an impala for bait, so we hung it right beside what was left of the first one. Next morning we went to look. The cat had come back again at the same time as previously, and had a big feed. We went to work. We took the blind down, moved it over about five metres to a piece of level ground between some large rocks. There were so many branches covering the pop-up tent that it really looked like a big bush. This time, after the first fiasco, we prepared better. I borrowed a rifle rest: On an adjustable camera tripod, we mounted a horizontal piece of 62
metal with two foam-covered rifle supports about a foot apart. The rifle sat well, the barrel was pointing at the bait, but a little too high. From an old inner tube we cut a long strap which tied the barrel down to the tent frame. By leaning ever so slightly forward, I could see from the ground up to the bait in the tree. But this time, I also had some freedom of movement, should the cat be elsewhere nearby. We tried to shoot another impala for bait, but weren’t successful, so Fidela took down the original impala, and lowered and skinned the second one to make it more appetizing. Then it was time... We entered the blind. As I sat back in my chair thinking smugly about our wellcamouflaged blind, I realized a mistake we had made. There was no greenery in front of the little zippered door of our blind. Heavy green coverage everywhere else, but not at the door! We should have had our helpers close us up with green branches before leaving us. Major mistake! Then it all became very quiet, much earlier than the last time. It was a heavy, graveyardlike quiet, and there was still lots of daylight left at 5.30. Then there was a barely detectable noise. We were being circled. Neither of us moved. I only dared to move my eyes to the left, where Dean sat. He was rigid. His neck, and from what I could see of his face, became very red. Dark, dark red. He was looking through the slit in the blind to his left, and
saw the big cat low to the ground slinking towards the blind’s zipped-in door. Dean was closer to the leopard than to his buckshot-loaded shotgun. As the cat nuzzled the soft canvas door, it snarled. First, quietly. Then with increased intensity. There, less than a yard from me, it threatened us with a deep, throaty growl. We sat like statues. We didn’t dare take a breath. My gun was pointing away, and the muzzle was tied to the frame. It would take five or six long seconds for it to be useful. Dean could have been slightly quicker to reach his shotgun had the cat decided to enter. Had we moved, we may well have brought the cat in to us. We stayed still. It took forever, but the growling subsided. Then we heard movement, and the movement was retreating from us. I finally dared to breathe, and then felt an iron hand gripping my leg, and right after that came a double squeeze. I could not believe it. As I leaned into the rifle’s scope, I saw the cat. He was huge. He was reaching up, locking his jaws onto the bait and hanging with all his 180 pounds, swinging back and forth, trying to bring it down. He swung like a pendulum. By that time I was tight with the gun, following his movement. I did not dare to risk a moving shot, so I waited. Waited until, with his hind legs, he grabbed a branch below, and was still. With ten minutes of daylight left, the huge spotted cat appeared bright and crystal-clear in my scope. I found a rosette between his shoulders then I squeezed the trigger. When I recovered from the recoil of the 8mm Magnum, the cat was no longer there. Dean jumped up, both of his arms punching the ceiling, and yelled, “You got him!” It took almost a minute before I could get up to hug Dean. “That was incredible,” was all I could say. The Land Cruiser came, and my team rushed to the bait tree and celebrated. It was a great accomplishment for them as well. I walked over slowly to admire the big cat. Even in death, it lay powerful and dignified. After the picture-taking and the joyous celebration at the bar, I walked down to the campfire and sat there alone with a glass of my favourite Calvados, a big fat Cuban cigar, and my private thoughts. We all have dreams. One of mine, Africa’s greatest prize, just became a reality. As a 14-year-old, I was fortunate to escape Russian-occupied Hungary in 1956. In Canada I found freedom and the opportunity to hunt. In my love of the mountains I completed my dream of achieving the coveted Triple Slam of sheep and goats.At over seventy, when the mountains got to be too steep, I fell in love with Africa and its game.
Hippos the Hard Way By David Svinarich Many big-game hunters and professional hunters consider the common hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius, to be a bona fide member of the dangerous-game group, which includes the elephant, buffalo, rhino, leopard and lion. There are some very good reasons why the hippo should be considered the sixth member of the Big Five.
Hippos have a thick rubbery skin, which may be up to two inches thick in places, which protects the animals from the majority of wounds they could receive.
View of the Zambezi river from our camp. The riverine islands are where we hunted for hippo.
ost notably, hippos kill more people in Africa each year than all of the other dangerous game animals combined. This is because hippos are highly territorial, aggressive by nature, and female hippos are extremely protective of their young. Furthermore, they inhabit rivers and other permanent water sources which naturally places them into contact with human inhabitants who share a dependence on water. Today, there are an estimated 155,000 hippos scattered along the permanent water sources throughout sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest populations in southern Africa. The majority are shot in the water either from land or from a boat. The general practice is to identify a suitable bull, wait until he raises his head to breathe, and then slip a bullet into the small, grapefruit-sized brain. If the shot is good, the animal will immediately submerge. If everything goes according to plan, within the span of a couple of hours the animalâ€™s expanding intestinal gas will float the carcass to the surface where it can be roped and subsequently hauled ashore. However, this does not always work well in deep, fast-flowing rivers like the Zambezi, where the current can carry the carcass a considerable distance and potentially lead to the loss of the animal â€“ much to the delight of the local crocodile population! Hunting hippos on land, while certainly more difficult and considerably more dangerous than hunting them in the water, is in my opinion the best way to fully experience hunting this fine animal. With this thought in mind, I booked a hunt with Gavin Rorke 66
A wounded hippo is a significant and dangerous adversary, and with the same alacrity as your average neighborhood Cape buffalo, will charge you with the same malicious intent. Safaris to see if we could successfully find, stalk and ultimately collect a mature hippo bull the hard way. And finally, on the 13th day of our of our 14-day safari, we got lucky. We were motoring up the Zambezi River in the North Dande region in the northeastern part of Zimbabwe in the lower Zambezi Valley â€“ just across the river from Zambia to the north, and adjacent to Mozambique to the east. It was mid-day. As we cruised the river in search of a solitary bull hippo sunbathing somewhere in the thick vegetation growing along the river, a pall of acrid smoke drifted across the river from the Zambian side, and the air was redolent with the smell of burning winter grass. We had already passed a number of hippo pods along the way, some of which contained respectable bulls, but I was steadfast in my desire to collect one on land, despite the diminishing time left to my hunt. Nearing one of the many large riverine islands in the area, we glassed a suitable bull just entering the thick reeds.
Hippo spoor found along the river. We quietly beached the boat on a sand bar well downwind of where we had seen him. After stepping from the boat, I chambered a .375 H&H round topped with a hand-loaded 300-grain Swift A-Frame bullet, and followed up with 300-grain North Fork solids. A sensible, and legal, minimum in most African countries for hunting hippos generally starts with the .375 H&H and goes up. Although a smaller caliber could theoretically be used for a brain shot, if things go bad it is always preferable to have a bit more horsepower at your disposal. It is important to remember that a wounded or cornered hippo is a significant and dangerous adversary that will soak up multiple rounds from large-caliber weapons, and with the same alacrity as your average neighborhood Cape buffalo, and will charge you with the same malicious intent. So it is better to use the largest caliber rifle that you are comfortable with and can shoot accurately. We quickly found the single set of large tracks which led along a game trail some four feet wide and lined on either side by a wall of dense, eight-foot-high reeds. It was thick in there, and any opportunities for a shot were likely to be at very short range, so I turned
A pod of hippos sunning along the banks of the river.
Kachinga receiving some sutures following an accident with his butcher knife while helping to eviscerate our hippo.
Sunset along the Zambezi as we made a toast to the hippo.
Fishermen are at particular risk of attack, and are easily knocked from their unstable dugout canoes by submerged animals. 68
Hippos will spend up to 16 hours a day in water, venturing onto land occasionally during the day to sunbathe and at night to feed. Unlike most mammals, hippos are not naturally buoyant and will immediately sink. They are also not very good at swimming and typically propel themselves in water by pushing off the river or lake bottom. These aggressive vegetarians can live to 40 or 50 years of age, and will often bear the tusk scars from many recent and past battles. Fortunately, their thick rubbery skin, which may be up to 2 inches thick in places, protects them from the majority of wounds they would otherwise receive. Those long curved canines or tusks, which grow continuously throughout the life of the animal, play no role in eating and are purely for defensive purposes. The lower and upper canines occlude against one another, keeping them at a given length and sharpening each tusk until they are as keen as the edge of a wood chisel. This, coupled with the ability to open their jaws to almost 180° and a bite force which can exceed 1,800lbft, makes them formidable indeed. Other than the occasional lion or crocodile, man remains their most significant predator. down the magnification on my scope as low as it would go. Soon after entering the sandy game trail and topping a slight rise, our stealthy conga line came to an abrupt halt as Stewart, our tracker, pointed down the trail to the bull we had seen earlier. He was only a scant 15 yards away and dozing in the noonday sun. Fortunately, the wind was still with us and the bull was facing towards us at just a slight angle. We quickly set up the shooting sticks, and I looked for the anatomical spot that would allow me to place a bullet cleanly into his brain. The forehead of a hippo has an inverted “V” near the top of the skull and the apex serves as a great indicator for this type of shot. As with crocodile hunting, this requires precision shot placement to get the job done, and a miss, especially at the distance we were shooting, could have disastrous consequences. Quietly thumbing off the rifle’s safety, I placed the cross hairs at the apex of the inverted “V” and shifted my aim to the right to account for the slight angle of the head. At the moment of truth, it occurred to me that if I botched this shot, the shortest distance to the water for this hippo was through me, my PH Luke and Stewart, a distance that he would cover in short order and one that would make a stopping shot very difficult. At times like these, I contemplate the sensibility of stamp collecting.
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Zimbabwe: 2013 An adult male hippo can weigh in excess of two tons, which places them second only to the elephant and white rhino for body mass. Yet despite their size and rotund appearance, they are surprisingly agile and fast on both land and water. On land, those stubby legs can carry them at nearly 20 mph for short distances, which is more than fast enough to overtake an incautious native or unlucky hunter. At the shot, I was relieved to see the bullâ€™s legs immediately fold beneath his corpulent body, and he settled to the ground much like a poleaxed steer. I quickly reloaded my rifle, but he remained still within my scope. An insurance shot in the neck just to be sure, and we finally had our hippo! In seemingly no time, we had six men with us, each armed with knives, pangas and axes, and all intently focused on reducing over 4,000 pounds of recently deceased hippo into usable protein. All was going well until Kachinga, one of our other trackers, ran a butcher knife along the length of his index finger. So while the other men finished the task of skinning and quartering our hippo, we headed back to our river camp to assess the extent of Kachingaâ€™s injury. With no apparent tendon damage, and after some soaking in antiseptic and a shot of Lidocaine, we put in nine sutures and left him with some antibiotics. The hippo meat was shared with the nearby village and the camp staff, and for days afterwards there was biltong drying everywhere. The local families and staff were elated to have the added protein in their diet and we were thrilled to have collected a nice bull hippo. Hunting hippo on land is not the easiest means of collecting your trophy and it carries with it the additional risk of being charged. However, this form of hunting still remains one of the best and most exciting ways to pursue this aggressive herbivore and member of the Big Six. As we sat in camp that evening on a high riverbank overlooking the Zambezi, we watched a crimson African sunset melting into the dark waters of the river. Far below us, we could hear pods of hippos talking in low grunts in the gathering dusk. The mopane fire felt good against the chill of the evening, and we made a toast to honor both our hippo and the new friends who helped to make this hunt a success. Such are the memories of Africa.
The author and his wife Kat next to the bull hippo they took on land.
David Svinarich is a molecular biologist in charge of clinical research for a large health care system. He enjoys both big-game hunting and wingshooting, with a penchant for alpine and dangerous game. He has hunted throughout North and South America, Africa, the South Pacific and Europe. When not traveling, he enjoys spending time with his family in Northern Michigan. africanhuntinggazette.com
and the Lizard
by Darrell Sterling
South Africa: 2016
While on safari in 2012, my good friend Stan Bernard shot a giant SCI gold-medal waterbuck. I was shocked at how long its horns were and the overall size of this beautiful animal. I was unable to connect in 2012 on this coveted trophy, but the Dark Continent – as it does with most people – has a way of calling you back.
was set to return in 2015, but I had to wait a year as I first had to battle cancer to earn the right to come back to my beloved Africa. My main drive on the safari was to dart a white rhino, which was an experience of a lifetime, helping to protect and conserve this amazing animal. My second goal was to find an old trophy waterbuck to take home. I was hunting in the Cape of South Africa with Tam Safaris. I flew into Port Elizabeth and enjoyed a twohour breathtaking drive to Tam’s hunting concession. My safari went wildly beyond my high expectations. The accommodation, the food and, most importantly, the hunting had been phenomenal. My sights weren’t set too high. The tricky part was going to be finding my own giant waterbuck. I just wanted a record-book bull like my friend Stan took in 2012 – hopefully, slightly larger! I wanted to dog Stan if possible. We set out in our very sturdy 4x4 safari vehicle and literally climbed up the side of the mountains. I was thrilled and scared to death at the same time as we seemed to lurch forward, climbing at what I swear was a straight, 90-degree uphill. One thing for sure, Steven Tam can drive the heck out of those vehicles. We finally dragged, climbed and bumped our way up an old mountain pass that served as a makeshift road. Steven stopped and told me to look to the left, and there standing maybe 60 yards from our cruiser, was a very nice-looking africanhuntinggazette.com
South Africa: 2016
A young bull who just wanted to watch us. waterbuck. We parked, enjoying the view. The waterbuck seemed frozen and dumbfounded as to what he should do. I was able to dig out my camera and take a nice photo, and although the bull wasn’t the size that we were looking for, it was still a special moment that will always be frozen in my memory. The bull finally snapped out of his trance and bounced away. We continued scrambling down the mountainside, and saw some very impressive bulls. We stopped and debated taking an old bull, three-quarters of which was hidden behind some brush. If it weren’t for Steven’s eagle eye, we would not have spotted him at all. I thought he was indeed a shooter, but after careful consideration Steven decided we could do better, so off we went, much to my dismay. I sure hoped we were going to regret that decision. Steven admitted it was a fine bull, but explained to get a monster would require us to be extremely selective. I gave a deep sigh and agreed. We covered a lot of ground and looked over plenty of animals. Then Steven spotted a small herd of waterbuck which was hidden by a giant clump of bushes. We parked and stalked our way in. As we were getting closer we began inching our way forward to where we could see lots of females and a few smaller bucks. Steven wanted to see the whole herd, so we continued toward them. We came to a huge round bush and began to sneak around it, when we got the overwhelming stench of what was either fresh dung left by a Cape buffalo which were in the 74
area, or possibly the scent of something dead. Steven stepped forward as I scooted back, trying to see around the bush from the other side. I inched my way along until I saw a long set of horns lying on the ground next to the bush. The horns obviously belonged to a nice waterbuck. I was confused as to why the horns and the top of the animal’s head were on the ground. I spun around looking for Steven who had now walked past the bush and was staring intently back. As I hurried over to where Steven was, I heard a very loud crunching sound. I stopped dead, still listening carefully, and there it was again – the chomping sound. The foul smell grew stronger. Steven waved me over with a nod of his head. As I rounded the bush there it was – an 11-foot monitor lizard eating a now dead, but good-sized, waterbuck. I froze in amazement. It was a gruesome sight. The lizard’s eyes darted over toward us, but it still reached its head down to bite its way through bone, and once again made that grinding, crunching noise that I had heard earlier. I instinctively drew my gun up for selfprotection. Steven just smiled, enjoying my reaction of fear, excitement and confusion. He turned and walked off slowly to stalk the herd. I, however, wasn’t going anywhere. I had an 11-foot lizard giving me the stink eye. I held my gun at the ready, not sure what to do. The foul smell was hard to take. The lizard had made a royal mess out of the buck. We both froze, lizard and man. When it became apparent that I wasn’t going anywhere, frozen as I was, the
monitor lizard hissed at me (which almost got it shot) spun around, then burst off into the bushes. It was downright scary how fast that extremely large lizard just scampered away into the bushes, all four legs moving at once as it left the scene in the blink of an eye. I continued to stare, not believing what I had just seen. When I finally turned, I noticed Steve had moved some way off, and I quickly hurried over to him. “That was one big lizard,” he grinned. The large group of waterbuck had moved off. I got a glimpse of a set of massive long horns moving away. Another smile: “That old bull there is what we want.” The problem was, they were gone. The small group had dropped down into a riverbed and vanished out of sight. Steve scrambled into the riverbed, which was bone-dry, and every animal in that concession had made tracks running through the area. I personally only believe about less than half of what I see on TV. I had seen this trick before on hunting shows where a tracker was able to follow a specific animal over hard ground littered with tracks and over rocks, which is like trying to track footsteps on a sidewalk. I followed Steven along in silence thinking, OK, he is just going on a walkabout, hoping to find a game trail so we can find and stalk more waterbuck or another animal on my hit list. I was honestly still a little shaken by that giant lizard digesting that nice bull. Then Steve stopped me and whispered, “OK they are just ahead of us. Once we climb out of the riverbed and out of this cover, I will get the sticks up and you should have your shot.” I must’ve looked at him like he was nuts, because he gave me a quizzical look and asked, “Are you ready?” I said, “Yes,” but I had to ask, “Is this the same group of animals? Did you really follow them here?” He looked at me as if I were dumb: “What do you think we have been doing?” “You can really track them through all of that?” “Come on,” he replied, and sure enough once we broke through the cover, the small herd was all there, including my monster bull. Steven set the sticks up and the bull of my dreams was less than 100 yards away. I couldn’t believe what was happening, it just seemed unreal. I was shaking like a leaf – adrenaline rush. I was unprepared. I shot and missed. Please let me express how amazed I was that I missed that shot. I was certain muscle memory would have taken over, because I had taken hundreds of practice shots from various distances all longer than 100 yards. I had already taken a very good springbok, which is
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South Africa: 2016
He looked at me as if I were dumb: “What do you think we have been doing?”
A huge set of horns.
Darrell’s trophy bull
a much smaller target, at over 300 yards, so how could I possibly miss a target that big and so close? Buck fever is just plain nasty. I was pretty upset, but Steven said, “Calm down, they will run off another 100 to 200 yards and turn around to see what happened. Let’s get ready.” He was right, and this time I connected with the bull. The bullet made that unmistakable smacking sound, letting us know it was a solid hit. The herd ran away, but the bull couldn’t keep up. He was badly hurt but wasn’t finished. Steven warned me that the bull was now 420 yards away, and if I didn’t put him down now we might never get him. A large African animal like that can go a long, long way before bedding down. He was quartering away, but all of my anxiety and adrenaline had worked its way through my system. I took a deep breath, relaxed, and slowly squeezed the trigger. The old monster bull dropped right where he was standing. I had made a mess of things. The lizard didn’t help matters much, but the end result is I now have my very own record-book bull, much like my good friend Stan’s. (Mine’s better)! Darrell is a successful big game hunter who loves Africa and has taken 15 different species of big game animals. He is also a a free-lance writer that has been published many times by numerous outdoor magazines. africanhuntinggazette.com
By W. Hunter Roop
South Africa: 2013 “Shoot. Shoot! Shooooot!” The sense of urgency in PH F.C. Prinsloo’s voice was clear and unmistakable and seemed to fill the canyon. Off the right side of the hunting vehicle and 120 yards up the canyon face, a veritable monster of a klipspringer peered down at FC and his client Gary Wayne “Red” Merrell. It was evident that, in spite of FC’s urging, Red was hesitating. After all, a klipspringer wasn’t even on Red’s preferred species list.
After all, until just a few moments ago I he day had begun as many didn’t even know such an animal existed. do in South Africa: up just A klipspringer wasn’t even on my list of before daybreak, followed by preferred animals, and I couldn’t grasp a quick breakfast and discussion of the importance of what F.C. was telling the day’s hunting plans. This was Red’s me. F.C. sensed my hesitancy. first African safari and he had devoted “Red, I know what you are thinking,” much time to advance planning and He sounded urgent. “I am not just preparation before arriving in South trying to get you to bag another animal Africa in May 2013. He divided his so the trophy fee can be collected, but species list into an A-List and a B-List, believe me, this animal is HUGE for its the former being those animals he species. Trust me, please – the trophy most wanted, the latter being animals of a lifetime is standing right in front he would like, but would be willing of you! You must shoot this animal to forego if no opportunities came NOW!” about. Neither of these lists contained a I still wasn’t excited, but decided I klipspringer – the quest for the day was would take the shot to humor my PH. a zebra. When I looked back up the canyon This was the third day of Red’s This photo represents a recreation of the actual wall, I did so just in time to see both safari. He had already taken a blue shot placed by Red Merrell in bringing down his klipspringers disappear over the ridge. wildebeest, impala, and a blesbok.* klipspringer. Klipspringers are typically found in In a way, I was relieved that I did not (Ultimately he would get a zebra, kudu, eland, gemsbok, and two warthogs.) steep, rocky terrain. Shooting from a vehicle on private now have to take the shot. I glanced at Both Red and his hunting partner, concessions in South Africa is legal. During the wet F.C. and saw he was crestfallen. “Red, I’m afraid we just missed the Scott Whatley, host the Sportsman of season, when grass is very tall, it may be the only opportunity of a lifetime. That was Colorado radio program each Saturday eﬀective means of making a shot. absolutely the biggest klipspringer I morning on KLZ 560am/100.7fm have ever seen. He was so huge I would “The Source” where they talk about all things outdoor-related in Colorado, plus we drove the access road through a long rock never expect to see another one that could match him. At the risk of sacrificing our their activities internationally. Both are canyon that topped out on top of the plateau. accomplished sportsmen but were unfamiliar On the drive in, my PH, F.C. Prinsloo, afternoon zebra hunt, I think we should wait with klipspringers. spotted a female klipspringer standing among right here. It would be unusual for them to It was Red who described the events of that day: the rocks high up the canyon wall. My wife reappear, but for a trophy of that importance We had gotten into the hunting vehicle that Dece was accompanying us, and while she I think we ought to chance it.” He sounded morning with the idea of bagging a nice zebra does not hunt, she is a real wildlife enthusiast, almost frantic. “If the ram reappears, you must stallion. We stayed out all morning and into so F.C. instructed our driver to stop so she shoot him. Are you with me on this?” At this juncture, I could see the conviction in FC’s the early afternoon without success. Since we could photograph the klipspringer. hadn’t planned on being out in the bush for “Red and Dece, this is something you just face. “OK, I’ll shoot him.” I still couldn’t get too quite so long, we decided to head back to base don’t see that often,” F.C. said. “I am a bit camp to eat a light lunch, rest a bit, and then surprised to see a klipspringer in here as I excited over what was expected of me. To me, try again before dusk. The clock moved pretty have hunted this concession many times and the animal just looked like some sort of rock fast while we were doing this, and by the time never seen one.” As he was describing all the varmint, and I decided to make the best shot I we got reorganized it was already late in the peculiarities associated with it, a male stepped could, but had made up my mind that if they day. So, we decided to hunt a concession that into view, and I saw that F.C.’s demeanor didn’t reappear, or if I missed, then I would just go on with the zebra hunt. was close to base camp. We had hunted this changed instantly and dramatically. During the next 10 minutes F.C. continued one before; it’s a beautiful piece of ground “Oh my gosh, Red, you must shoot this consisting mainly of a high plateau with ram right now!” he exclaimed. I wasn’t even to impress upon me the unique opportunity beautiful views of the surrounding country. sure what I was looking at, and felt no sense of that had been presented, and we focused on We really didn’t expect to see any game until excitement or urgency to follow his suggestion. setting up the shot in case the two klipspringers africanhuntinggazette.com
The klipspringer, Oreostragus oreostragus is a smallish antelope measuring about 2.5-3.5 feet in length, standing no more than two feet at the shoulder, and weighing 20-40 pounds. The coat is very short and made of hollow, brittle hairs that some refer to as “quills”, giving them a very grizzled appearance. The young remain concealed in rocky crevices for two to three months before venturing forth. Mainly active during the early morning hours and late afternoon, their remarkable agility on the steep rocks of this almost vertical habitat is attributed to a unique set of feet. The hooves are almost circular, about the size of a dime in diameter, and the klipspringer stands on the very tips of these hooves. Its powerful hind legs enable it to jump onto rocky projections no larger than a silver dollar, and land with all four feet, earning it the nickname, “Ballerina of the Rocks”. Their main predators are leopard, caracal, serval, hyena, jackal, large snakes, and, of course, man. They avoid predators by using their habitat to their advantage. That, and their coloration, makes them extremely difficult to spot and to hunt. Interestingly, they are one of the antelopes listed as Africa’s “Tiny Ten”. The others include dik-dik, Cape grysbok, Shay’s grysbok, oribi, steenbok and suni, and the red, blue and common duikers. Many hunters get nearly as excited about taking the Tiny Ten as others do the Big Five. As one hunter so aptly stated, “These are small animals, but big trophies.” came back. This took some doing, as the last place we had seen them was considerably uphill from our position. We struggled at getting the shooting sticks set up to account for this difference in elevation. Ultimately, I had to spread my legs very wide to lower my body position, and elevate my rifle to where I could get the cross-hairs on the position where we had last seen them. Just as I had maneuvered into position, F.C. exclaimed, ‘’There’s the ewe; see if you can get on her!” She had just stepped into the field of view of my scope, and I had the cross-hairs on her with little trouble. I raised my head to look at FC as he continued to glass the area, and instantly he blurted, ‘There he is! Shoot. Shoot! Shooooot!’ The instant my rifle recoiled I knew I had made a good shot. The Remington 700 in .300 WSM had placed the 180-grain bullet squarely in the chest. The klipspringer vaulted up the canyon wall and landed about five feet up-slope from where I shot him. I still felt little excitement or emotion, and was simply 80
Red Merrell and PH FC Prinsloo happily pose with Red’s new world record klipspringer. thankful that I had met my PH’s expectations. Only later did the realization of what we had accomplished sink in. F.C. and our tracker retrieved the ram, maneuvering carefully back down the rubble of strewn boulders until they reached the hunting vehicle where Dece and I waited. The look in F.C.’s eyes was indescribable. “Red, you cannot imagine what we have here. I don’t want to speak too soon, but this specimen is going to be a contender for unseating one of the top 3-5 klipspringers in the world. When I tell you it is an absolute monster I am not exaggerating.” There was a moment when everyone just froze, and silence fell over the group. I looked at F.C. He and the tracker looked back at me. I looked at Dece. She stared at me in silence. Only then did I realize the importance of what had just happened. On the drive back we all relived the experience, speculating on what could have gone wrong, and how fortunate we were that things played out the way they did. At base camp our outfitter, Stephan van der Merwe of Bushmans Quiver Quality African Safaris was astonished at the impressive sight shown him. “Have you measured him?” someone asked. We scrambled for a tape measure. F.C. measured the immense horns and scored him at just over 17 inches. I didn’t know what that meant, so I emailed my son back in the US and asked him to check what the SCI World Record was. He replied that the World Record was a tie at 16 14/16 inches and was held by Arturo J. Guitierrez together with Angelo
Vecchio. Number 2 scored 16 12/16 inches and was held by Mary Lou Meyers. Number 3 had been taken by Ken Ryan and scored 16 10/16 inches. We knew that our specimen would shrink after green scoring it at over 17 inches, but felt confident it would fall within this range, and certainly I was very happy with that. In pouring over the SCI records and seeing how few specimens score within this range, and seeing how long they had retained their positions, I began to feel and appreciate the significance of what we had done. I realized how foolish I had been in not fully respecting the professional knowledge of my PH. I fully credit F.C. for the way he handled the situation in impressing upon me what I had to do. It instilled in me the significance of the often repeated mantra, “Trust your PH.” After the required drying period, two SCI Master Measurers confirmed the final score of 17 inches, thus defeating the previous World Record by only 2/16 of an inch, and my klipspringer was registered as #1142053 in the SCI Record Book. In 2017 both Scott and I plan to be on safari with Bushmans Quiver once again, and you can rest assured when FC tells me to shoot something, I will know he means it and has my best interest at heart. *Red’s blesbok also registered a respectable score with SCI, ranking #53 in the world. W. Hunter Roop is the Senior Pro-Staff Team Member and Manager, Public Relations for Bushmans Quiver. This is his first article for African Hunting Gazette. This article is copyrighted by the author.
South Africa: 2017
Stormberg Elangeni Safaris Youth Program Stormberg Elangeni Safaris needs no introduction, being made up of five families running a safari hunting business since 2000. Stormberg Elangeni Safaris, or SES as they are known, is based in South Africa, but conduct hunting throughout Africa in all disciplines ranging from dangerous game and plains game to bird hunting.
A group of enthusiastic lads picking up birds for a client. HOW IT BEGAN At a meeting held in 2004, the Stormberg Elangeni Safaris (SES) directors met to discuss how they, as a growing and successful marketing and hunting company, could give back to the hunting industry, which had been good to them, and at the same time to ensure that the love of the outdoors, and conservation through hunting, was encouraged in the next generation. Over the years SES had noted that their client base seemed to be aging, and very few young clients were coming on safari, mainly because young people generally don’t have the money to afford one. The directors were 82
concerned about the future TV, iPad and cell phone generation’s lack of enthusiasm when it came to outdoor pursuits and hunting in general. This meant that Africa’s hunting base would slowly disappear, and with it, the only true means of sustaining the traditions of hunting and the financing of conservation through hunting. With all the negativity surrounding hunting conservation, and the push by misguided anti-hunting organisations, they decided they had to come up with something unique to counteract the “antis”, and encourage a new generation of young people to one day enter the hunting fraternity. This would ensure future hunting clients, with
the knock-on effect of being able to sustain conservation of all species through hunting. After discussing this issue with good friend and hunting companion of many years, Larry Hansard of the Dallas Safari Club (DSC), SES came up with the idea of the YOUTH PROGRAM. In short, and simply put, SES would donate to the DSC the opportunity for two young men or women between the ages of 15 to 21, to accompany SES for a period of time during the hunting season in South Africa. The participants would live with the SES families, accompanying them on safaris, and learn to skin, help around the camp and be given the opportunity to hunt some animals of their
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South Africa: 2017 own. It was an instant success. DSC benefited financially, SES benefited with exposure to the market, and the youths benefited with an eyeopening experience never to be forgotten. RUNNING THE PROGRAM During the 2005 DSC convention the SES booth was very busy booking hunts and also meeting with prospective parents who were interested in finding out more about the youth program. During fierce bidding at the DSC auction it was knocked down to two excited families who would be sending their precious sons from the USA to Africa for the first time. The strange part about it was that the families who bought the donations were not mainstream seasoned hunters who had been to Africa, but people who hunted chiefly in the USA, but thought that exposing their kids to a foreign country would be educational as well as adventurous, and an exciting learning experience. It would also give their children an opportunity to grow, and maybe man up, knowing that they were with well-known, responsible and experienced professional hunters who were all members of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) The first youths that SES hosted settled down very quickly after a day of orientation, and they were soon at home with the SES families that hosted them. At that stage SES was waiting for the arrival of two groups of hunters from the USA who were going to two different hunting camps. Although SES had informed the hunting clients that there would be young people in camp, it was a concern as to whether the hunters would mind actually having them on a safari they had paid for. Thehuntinggroupsarrivedandintroductions were made. As with all hunts, the first day was mainly getting to know one another and the area that the clients would be hunting in. All went well and around the campfire later that evening the conversation turned to the youth program. Having explained the idea behind the program to the hunting clients, an amazing transformation took place over the next 10 days. It was something that SES had hoped for, but was not sure how it would pan out. The clients, who were bankers and insurance brokers, bought into the idea and took to the youths with enthusiasm, and besides hunting stories, gave them many life lessons as well. All enjoyed the camaraderie and company that developed around the safari. The youths pitched in with natural enthusiasm, keeping the fire going, serving drinks, and during the day accompanying the different PHs and clients during the hunt.
“You guys have made a man out of him. He is more confident, taking charge of himself and he does stuff around the house, and I think that he has found some direction. I cannot thank you and the SES team enough.”
Riﬂe handling is a very important part of the youth program.
Often the SES kids get to join the youths in their adventure.
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South Africa: 2017 One morning’s conversation: PH: (To youth at 5a.m.) “Nick are you awake?” “Not really, mumble, mumble…” PH: “You had better get up, as you know Doug (client) likes his coffee first thing.” “I am trying to, but we went to bed late last night.” PH: “Welcome to Africa! Get going, and then please check the scoff box and the drinks box. Yesterday we ran out of diet coke and that’s all Doug drinks. Oh, and also lots of water. It’s going to be hot today and we are hunting kudu all day, so we won’t get back till late.” “I thought this was meant to be a holiday camp!” PH: “By now you should know different. Anyway, if we get the kudu early, maybe I will ask Doug if you can shoot an impala female for camp meat as he only has one other trophy to get on his list.”
Some even get to shoot their ﬁrst birds.
They become expert bar tenders.
Not only boys participate in the program.
Everyone gets the opportunity to shoot something.
“OK, great, I’m up.” Later, after Doug got his kudu that afternoon, and as there was still time to hunt the impala, Doug said to the PH, “Ok, brilliant, you and me together can guide Nick.” This is not an isolated account. Since the Youth Program started, the enthusiasm of the hunting clients towards the youngsters has been fantastic. When a client heard that one of them couldn’t afford to mount any of his trophies, he said, “Pick one that you are proud of and I’ll have it mounted for you.” During breaks between hunting clients, the youths participate with cull hunting and they spend time with the trackers who take them out and teach them to skin and clean the carcasses, either for staff meat rations, for sale, or for the camp’s kitchen. Because the SES members live and hunt on working stock ranches in mixed ranching enterprises, the youths also get to assist with the ranch work, handling cattle, goats and sheep. In another year the PH who had the most to do with one of the youths got invited a year later to a dinner at the parent’s house in Houston. On arrival and after all the greetings and margaritas were in hand, the father said seriously to the PH, “I need to speak with you outside about what you have done to my son.” The PH, fearing that something that he didn’t know about may have gone wrong, looked around for escape, found none, agreed, and outside he went and stood in fight or flight mode. The father, with a huge smile on his face said, “Seriously what have you done to my 86
Having fun in the outdoors is the most important part of the youth program. son?” “What do you mean?” asked the PH. “You guys have made a man out of him. He is more confident, taking charge of himself and he does stuff around the house, and I think that he has found some direction. I cannot thank you and the SES team enough. Let’s have another drink.”
That young man is now a businessman in Houston and has been back to visit SES families. Some of the youths have been back several times, and most have kept some form of contact with SES members ever since their “Youth Experience.” Since the early days of the program, SES now donates many youth programs around the USA and youngsters from all walks of life have come and gone from SES camps, all leaving with a new sense of themselves and lifelong memories. Most of them have gone back to the USA spreading the word that hunting has opened their eyes. Meeting different cultures along the way has educated them, and, most of all, the opportunity has given them a new and healthy perspective on life. Anonymous
A Solid Case for the Big Birds of Africa! If the title made you think of large 5kg Spurwing geese flighting in on the early morning mist, or Egyptian geese at dusk dropping onto the mealie fields, or even size 3 or 4 shotgun cartridges – I have mislead you. This is about rifle and gun cases – as in airline and luggage cases, the ‘big birds’ being the Airbus A380s, Boeing 747-400s and others that transport us and our beloved shotguns and rifles to destination Africa for our safari and hunting vacations. By W Evans
perfect world scenario: At your departure airport for an ideal sporting vacation, after a trouble-free local security screening and checking of your firearm licenses and guns, you check in one suitcase and one or maybe two gun / rifle cases at the airline desk. The smiling attendant tags the gun cases as firearms. You watch them carried along on a rubber belt for a short distance, then routed down into cargo / luggage handling. They reappear at your destination either in the special section for bulky luggage and sporting goods, or are brought to you by another smiling airport attendant responsible for handling weapons and firearms. You have arrived. Your valuable guns are intact and undamaged, and your dream safari can begin. The reality: Not so. Let’s fast forward to the
time ‘after check in’ and ‘before arrival’. You head off to Duty Free or maybe the First or Business Class Lounge for a pre-flight drink and snacks, whereas your gun case is sent off on the start of a hazardous, bumpy and perilous journey on miles – yes miles – of luggage belts, ramps, drops, slides and chutes, all designed to quickly transport your luggage from ‘A’ to ‘Z’ with minimal human intervention. Add to this a possible layover and flight change, and you have just added in more conveyor belts, ramps, slides, chutes and bumps, bangs and scratches to you gun cases! As for the often quoted can of worms about baggage handlers’ treatment of gun and rifle cases, I won’t even go there. I like to think that airport staff would treat gun cases the same way they treat any sporting item – with care, consideration and safety.
I have actually toured a number of airport baggage-handling facilities, and it is simply amazing the physical distance that a piece of luggage travels from check-in to arrival. It literally is miles upon miles of rubber belts with hundreds of corners, straights, ramps, slides, luggage cages and baggage trucks. It is incredible to watch, but I would hate to be a piece of luggage, let alone a USD 5000-plus sporting rifle with a Zeiss or Swarowski or other high-quality scope! Some airports actually have staff that handle gun cases and personally carry them to the aircraft’s loading bay where they are specifically stored in a secured part of the cargo belly. Most, however, do not! I have heard and read dozens of horror stories about damaged or lost firearms, gun cases that did not turn up on time, cases that
Big birds! were outwardly damaged, rifles with damaged stocks or scopes, and, in one instance, an empty case on arrival - the single lock was broken and the shotgun was missing! Imagine the paper work to sort that mess out! Airline policy on lost and damaged luggage varies but is pretty simple – US domestic flight carriers are liable to a maximum of around USD 3.300 – per item, while British Airways states on their website that their international liability is capped at EUR 1.000 – . Others are similar – it’s just the currency that changes. But one thing is for sure, none of the amounts whether in USD or EUR or whatever will cover the replacement cost of a good quality rifle, a quality scope and a gun case. Do not even think about the “personal factor” that it was Dad’s deer rifle or grandfather’s bespoke shotgun! So basically, it is down to the traveller to cover himself with a quality case and plenty of travel insurance. My first hunting trips to Southern Africa, before I relocated to South Africa, were from Germany, and my wife and I travelled with two or three gun cases with one rifle and one shotgun a piece. The cases were cheap hard plastic things with thick foam bedding and simple locking mechanisms, the sort that all gun shops stock and sell. At times, to avoid excess luggage items and keep down costs, I would squeeze two shotguns into one case – a bit like doing a Browning or Beretta jigsaw puzzle. I must have used rolls of tape sealing gun cases over the years. It’s a credit to Lufthansa and Germany’s airports that in all of our travels with firearms from Europe all those years not one of the cases was ever seriously damaged, or our guns lost or delayed. We were
What a collection! lucky. Thank you Lufthansa, and also thanks to the other airlines that we have flown, with our sporting guns, over the past years without a glitch. As we travelled within Africa, I upgraded our weapons to include expensive double safari rifles by Krieghoff, plus an Army & Navy double and a collection of classic British shotguns in various calibers, both singles and pairs. Intra Africa air travel, plus a number of road trips, inevitably led to dents, scratches and, in one case, a broken lock. So I purchased a used aluminium rifle case online which would accommodate one complete rifle or two shotguns. A great piece of equipment and 100% secure, but it was a nightmare trying
to fit it into a taxi or other vehicle. I needed suitable, quality alternatives. I wanted a case that could readily accommodate and transport a double rifle and a shotgun, or a pair of shotguns if just travelling for wingshooting using double guns. It needed to be 100 % solid and able to withstand today’s international air travel as well as bumpy rides in the back of the PH’s bakkie. The interior also needed to be 100% secure. It needed to be a manageable size that can easily fit into a car boot or on an airport trolley without having to offload everything to maneuver into the elevator or to go up the escalator. It needed to be a light empty weight so as not to bust through any airline baggage maximums when africanhuntinggazette.com
Please handle with care!
Packed and ready to go... packed with firearms. It needed secure locks (plural) to ensure security and keep our guns in and strangers out. It needed to be able to stand up to airline and airport use and abuse for at least 10 years. And finally, it needed to come at an acceptable price. Add all of these
factors up, and I thought that it was going to be a bit like the search for the ‘Holy Grail’ or that 60” kudu or 40” plus oryx that we all dream about! The Internet took me from Europe to Asia to the USA and back again. A manufacturer
Life is measured by breathtaking moments
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in Brescia, Italy, the home of fine Italian guns, had some beautiful rifle and shotgun cases in classic old-world styles, including double motor cases in rich, chocolate-brown leather lined with green and red felts. Beautiful to look at and superb Italian craftsmanship no doubt, but could they stand up to Africa’s baggage handlers and airports? No. From Italy I moved to England. Would an antique, leather and oak double shotgun case meet the bill? They hold two guns, seem pretty robust and fit into a taxi. Security and weight let them down – two leather straps and a simple key lock do not provide 21st century airport security. Plus, being oak and leather, they are heavy from the start at more than 7 to 10 kgs! They may well have been ideal in the days when safaris started off on steam trains and ocean liners, and porters carried one’s luggage aboard, but they are not a solution for today’s global safari hunter. I saw a number of very good, and likely very suitable, gun cases manufactured in the USA, but once I had factored in shipping to Germany (our European base) or South Africa (our African base) plus the cost of exchanging money to US Dollars and all the US taxes and the import duties, they became expensive. Having said that, if I had been in the States for some reason with the possibility to travel back with one or two of the cases I saw, I would have bought one and done just that. After a long time looking and nearly giving up the hope of finding something suitable, I finally found what I was looking for at the annual “Wild & Hund” hunting and game fair in Dortmund, Germany. A solid aluminium case, manufactured by a German familyoperated company, in Massing, that has been specialising in aluminium cases for decades. The case that I was looking at had two sideopen lockable compartments – each spacious enough to take a broken-down double rifle or a shot gun – built around a central partition with twin key locks and a robust grip / handle. It measured 260x860x120 mm. The interior contained more than enough foam, which can
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Wingshooting be cut to shapes, to securely bed down rifles, scopes and accessories with plenty of space between each piece. In one of the corners of the case was an external retractable steel wire with a fixed loop on the end which allows you to chain the case in the back of a vehicle during transport or to a radiator in a hotel room as an additional security feature. And all eight corners are reinforced with riveted stainless steel corner pieces. The net weight of the case was 3.5 kg. And to top it off, they could sell me two identical cases – one for me and one for my wife – with the same keys / locks on both cases. No more discussions or debates about who has the keys to which case! The price was less than USD 750 each, and as a non-resident in Europe I could get the Sales Tax refunded at USD150 per case. And – wait for this – each case carries a 10 year guarantee / warranty! I had found my ‘Holy Grail’! I bought two matching cases with identical locks and two extra sets of keys. On their maiden voyage they did not carry any of my guns / rifles but went empty from Germany to South Africa. They arrived with one or two very minor handling scuffs and scratches but were none the worse for wear.
Modern day airline travel, even if you are lucky enough to sit up front in the plane is, for most of us, not much fun at all. And now factor in travelling with one or two guns and maybe ammunition. Today, airports and airlines are very securityconscious, and rightly so, and travelling with sporting firearms only adds to the stress factor. There is a lot to be said for renting the PH’s or camp rifle and skipping all the airport hassles, but then again, who doesn’t enjoy hunting and shooting with their own rifle or shotgun? Some months later they were put to the test on a flight up to Windhoek from Johannesburg on SAA for a long weekend’s shooting. The one case packed easily, containing a .375 Kreighoff Classic plus a Leatherman and a 1928 Cogswell & Harrison side by side shotgun, and the second case containing my wife’s Browning 20 bore and a Sauer 202 Take Down. After a trouble-free security screening and checking of our firearm licenses and our guns at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, and after
relocking the four locks on the two cases with one key, we checked our gun cases at the airline desk. The smiling attendant tagged the gun cases as firearms - and we watched as they were carried away by a baggage handler to start their long journey to Namibia. We headed for the SAA lounge for a drink and snacks. On arrival in Hosea Kutako Airport in Windhoek, the two shining aluminium cases were brought to us at the ‘Firearms Office’ by another smiling airport attendant. We completed our license papers, had the guns inspected, and proceeded to the exit. We had arrived, as had our valuable guns, intact and undamaged. Our dream safari could begin! We have since travelled throughout various countries in Africa by air and road with our gun cases, hunting in Botswana, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe and we have had no trouble whatsoever. Nothing damaged, nothing lost, nothing stolen! A scratch and a small dent or two, yes, but nothing that has ever dampened the start or finish of an African safari!
The ultimate African Safari Alex Thomson +27 82 493 6216 Johnny Thomson +27 82 442 4301 email@example.com www.elandsafaris.co.za 92
HUNTING – L I N E –
Bowhunting: South Africa: 2010 & 2015
The strong wind was relentless, which was a good thing is this case, as it allowed me the opportunity to belly-crawl through very sparse cover while remaining unseen. The 3D Leafy suit I had on also helped a great deal. I had another ﬁve yards or so to go before I would reach my destination, a small dense bush about chest height. Fifty-two yards beyond it was the record-book bontebok ram I was stalking.
mazingly, I made it to the low bush without being spotted, regardless of the fact that there were more than enough wary eyes on the plain before me. The first time the bontebok ram suspected that all was not well was when I stood up, at the same time coming to full draw, but it was too late to react – a mere second later I sent a shavingsharp Muzzy-tipped Gold Tip arrow through both shoulders, center punching the heart of the magnificent ram. It was an excellent shot if one took into account the trying conditions, but regardless, I had all the confidence that the big ram was mine. Seventy-six paces from the spot where the bontebok stood when the arrow passed through him, he fell. I was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty and sheen of the ram’s coat as I ran my hands over him. This was an extra-special occasion. Not only had I just succeeded in taking the biggest bontebok ram ever taken with bow and arrow, but I had just completed my South African Dorca Slam, otherwise also known as the Blesbok/Bontebok Slam. My most recent hunt for a trophy blesbok took an unexpected, yet interesting turn. I had spent two days going after a particularly large ram, which I believed would pass the magical 18 inch mark, in a mixed herd of about 45 buck. I’d had a few close calls, but could just not close the last few yards without being spotted. Of course, each failed attempt only succeeded in schooling the ram, as well as the herd, as to what the “walking brush
By Engee Potgieter
Bowhunting: South Africa: 2010 & 2015
A common sight on many hunting properties across South Africa, a typical mixed herd of both common (brown) and white blesbok. pile” was up to. It was after one of these failed stalks that I stood watching the fast-departing herd in dismay, when I happened to notice a badly limping ram toward the rear of the herd. My binoculars revealed a particularly nasty-looking gash or stab wound on the left rear leg, possibly inflicted by another larger, stronger and obviously fiercely territorial ram in the area. As much as I wanted to continue going after “my” trophy ram, I knew that it was my responsibility to at least try and put
I had spent two days going after a particularly large ram. this poor suffering animal down. The obviously festering, pus- and maggot-filled wound was only going to lead to a long and agonising death, something I was definitely not prepared to let him endure. I hoped that it would not be as difficult to kill the wounded ram as it was taking the trophy one. In theory, singling out the injured animal should be easier, partly because it was slower than the rest of the herd, and also it kept to the side of the main group, often trailing some way behind. I guessed where they were 96
he common blesbok damaliscus dorcas phillipsi is one of the most common of South African antelope, yet is also one of the very few endemic species to the southern tip of Africa, the others being the bontebok, Cape grysbok and Vaal rhebuck. From the gun hunters’ perspective, blesbok are often regarded as easy to kill, especially so when “hunting” from the back of a vehicle, often just a case of driving up within suitable range, selecting a appropriate target and shooting. When hunting on foot, you find that things are not always as straightforward as they may seem from a distance. I have been a dedicated bowhunter for more than two decades, and thrive on the challenge that fair chase, walk and stalk hunting presents. Yet I would be the first to admit how daunting an aspect it is when standing on vast, windswept plains with little to no cover, with just a bow and arrow in hand. But I have developed some successful strategies for outsmarting these open-plains species: One, they are creatures of habit in their natural travel routes. Carefully watching the herd will identify where these routes are and can allow you the opportunity to ambush them along one of these trails. Secondly, few areas are entirely flat – shallow creeks and a little brush here and there helps a great deal in mapping a likely route to get within shooting range. And, interestingly, I have noticed that heavily pressured animals that usually run at the sight of an oncoming vehicle, often react less dramatically when approached on foot. South Africa has some wonderful opportunities to hunt a wide variety of trophy animals. You need not travel to far-off and exotic locations for a challenging hunt. The blesbok can test your hunting skills - my love of hunting them has taught me a great deal over the years, which has proved useful when I’ve pursued other plains game, such as springbok, wildebeest and lechwe. Also, most shot opportunities with this type of open plains hunting will be at the very limit of most bowhunters’ effective range. Medium-sized antelope, such as the blesbok, have a heart-lung area of roughly eight inches in diameter, so in order to calculate the maximum distance at which to take the shot, I note the distance at which I can place all of my broadhead-tipped arrows within an eight-inch circle. Remember when you are practising at home to simulate the same conditions you will encounter in the field – you’ll often be forced to take a shot when either sitting or kneeling, in hot and sometimes windy conditions, while weighed down with heavy clothing, backpack, and a leafy/3D suit of sorts.
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Bowhunting: South Africa: 2010 & 2015 heading, and immediately went back to the vehicle to drive to get ahead of them. Parking at the base of a low hill, I quietly grabbed my gear and drove out. My suspicions were spot-on, and as I crested a rocky outcrop I saw the entire herd spread out in a depression. I scanned the group for the wounded ram, which took some time, as most of the animals were either stationary or covered by tall grass. Suddenly, the closest blesbok, which I had scanned over how many times, turned and showed a noticeable limp – it was the ram I was looking for! I grabbed my rangefinder and punched the button. It was only 61 yards off, steeply quartering away. Swapping my rangefinder for my 80 pound Elite Synergy, I quietly shifted into position. By the time I hit full draw the wounded ram had turned and looked as though he was going to take off. Opting for the only shot available – the “Texas heart shot” – I settled my 60-yard sight pin just above the tailbone and touched the trigger. This definitely was not a shot I would recommend for a novice, as it takes an intimate knowledge of animal anatomy, and a bow and arrow setup with plenty of “oomph”. Even then it
The author with a tremendous 16" bontebok ram, taken on Roydon Private Nature Reserve just outside of Queenstown in the Eastern Cape Province.
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Bowhunting: South Africa: 2010 & 2015
A handsome-looking, almost snow-white blesbok ram taken in the Mpumalanga Province. is only advisable as a back-up shot when no other immediate options are available. My Gold Tip arrow, tipped as usual with a surgically sharp Muzzy Trocar broadhead, slammed home and completely disappeared. At the shot, the ram managed only 15 or so paces before going down. Skinning it later, I discovered that my arrow had travelled the entire length of the
The wounded common blesbok ram referred to in the article.
body before coming to stop in the chest cavity. I would rather have had the big blesbok ram in the cold room. But each animal that I’ve hunted has served to teach me something and, I hope, made me a better hunter. Professional bowhunter and part-time outdoor writer, Engee Potgieter, was born and raised in
the picturesque Zululand region of South Africa. He had developed a great passion for the outdoors from a very young age and Engee quickly became an accomplished rifle and handgun hunter from very early on, but his first love always been bowhunting and archery. He is also a longtime Pro Staffer for Elite, Muzzy, Winners Choice, Gold Tip, Bee Stinger and VaneTec.
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A Sable Bowhunt By Frank Berbuir
I was on the overnight flight to Johannesburg, back to beautiful South Africa to bowhunt again with my friend and PH Izak Vos from Vos Safaris. Formalities were quick – with bow and arrow equipment as a sporting device, you normally do not have any issues with customs, so I was out promptly, happy to see Izak again who met me at the airport.
fter two years we had a lot to catch up during the drive up north to the Limpopo Province to our hunting grounds where we wanted to hunt two magnificent and beautiful antelope – a sable, a member of the ringed-horn antelopes, and a nyala, a spiral-horned antelope. After we reached our hunting destination and met the landowner we settled in and enjoyed a nice braai that evening, and planned the next day. It was to scout the area. The landowner had told us that there was an old sable bull, a real warrior and fighter, which was roaming around alone. The next day we started with a game drive, glassing the area. We saw some nice kudu, blesbok, warthogs, nyala, and a small group of sable antelope with some young males – but not the one we were looking for. But In the afternoon we finally saw him, a lonely roaming bull with tremendous horns, strutting through the bush. That must be the one! As we were told, he was rambling alone and looked a real warrior because we could see several scars on him. His body was huge, his mane was thick, and the horns looked enormous. It was a bit too far and late to start a stalk, and if we drove closer he could have been scared off. So we left him for that day, hoping he would go to a nearby small waterhole the next morning, where there was also a salt lick that might tempt him. That evening at the campfire we relived the scenes we had observed that day, and my sleep that night was fitful, as pictures of that sable played in my mind. At sunrise the next morning we were back to the spot where we saw him the day before, and made our walk and stalk near to the waterhole africanhuntinggazette.com
Bowhunting South Africa: 2016 Equipment: Bow: Mathews Z7x @ 70 lbs Arrow: Carbon Express Maxima Hunter 350 Broadhead: Silverflame XL 2-Blade @ 125 grain Optics: Zeiss Victory Binocular & Nikon Rangefinder Release: Scott Camo: Sniper Africa
Relaxing sable in the warming winter sun.
Fantastic landscape of the Limpopo.
Lucky author and PH with a fantastic sable. 104
and salt lick. We concealed ourselves behind some covering bushes where we could observe the spot up close and personal. The rising sun slowly warmed us up on that South African winter morning. The guinea fowls and francolins, with their raucous cackling were, as always, the first creatures to show up. We did not realize how much time had elapsed since we were there, when suddenly we heard something to our right. Luckily, the wind was perfect, blowing towards us, so we would not spook whatever was approaching. Slowly but surely we heard it coming closer. Our nerves were all on edge when, between the last two bushes, this magnificent ringed-horned antelope stepped out. A beautiful animal was standing there, checking the spot. His symmetrical, long, thick, curved horns swept over his black coat. Together with his long mane and face mask – a stunning sable bull. These antelope are not as shy as kudu or nyala. He was standing there like a rock, with his upraised head. After a couple of minutes he went straight to the salt lick. Izak indicated that I should stay calm and do nothing. I had nocked in an arrow on the string and put it on the rest when we arrived at our ambush, and my release was snapped in the loop. There was a small clear shooting window on the salt lick, and I was focused like a lion on its prey. “Wait until he is at the salt lick, relaxed and standing broadside,” Izak whispered. I don’t know how much time went by when the moment of truth was there and he bent down his head to the salt, his left leg a bit forward showing his broadside. He was at 26 metres when I pulled my bow to full draw, quietly and slowly. With the sight pin on his vitals I released the arrow which hammered into the animal´s chest and penetrated fully through its body. He jumped with a slight right turn, and swiftly bounded off. My pumping heart and shaking hands betrayed my excitement. Izak smiled at me. “Great shot my friend. Let´s wait a bit and give him time.” About forty minutes later, which felt like an eternity, we followed his flight trail. Roughly ten yards from the shooting spot we found the arrow
Bowhunting South Africa: 2016 full of blood and still in perfect shape. The blood trail was sparse, but by his deep tracks we could follow him. Then we saw him, beside a bush about 110 metres from the shooting spot. Even in death, what a beautiful specimen of a ringed-horned antelopes lay there. I was overwhelmed, and we more than happy with this awesome animal and trophy. We phoned the landowner to join us with the bakkie, and after some good, respectful trophy pictures, we loaded him on the pick-up. Back in camp the butchering gave 120 kilogram of first-class venison, and the sirloins tasted excellent a couple of days later. What an extraordinary performance again of bow and arrow. Together with my friend and PH Izak Vos from Vos Safaris I had a tremendously good hunt again, with unforgettable impressions and memories of that week
he sable antelope Hippotragus niger or Swartwitpens in Afrikaans, is a beautiful, majestic
antelope with a compact, robust body, and a thick, arched neck. Often it has a short, stiff mane, and a whispy beard on the throat. Its general coloration is rich chestnut to black. Females and juveniles are chestnut to dark brown, while males begin darkening and turn black after three years. Because of the contrasting white underparts they have the Afrikaans name Swartwitpens which means “black with a white belly.” Long, white hairs are present below the eyes, and a wide, black stripe runs over the nose. The tail is long, with a tuft at the end. Both sexes have ringed horns which arch backward. Females horns can reach up 39 inches, males horns range between 32-65 inches long. Sable inhabit East Africa, south of Kenya, and in Southern Africa in savanna woodlands and grasslands during the dry season, where they eat mid-length grasses and leaves. They visit salt licks and have been known to chew bones to absorb minerals. They are diurnal, but are less active during the heat of the day. They form herds of 10 to 30 females and calves led by a single bull. Males fight among themselves – they drop to their knees and use their horns. When threatened by predators, including lions, sable defend themselves using their scimitar-shaped horns. Many big cats are killed during such fights.
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in South Africa. What an exciting safari, where we also bagged an extraordinary nyala bull – but that is a different stor Once more thank you very much to Izak an his outstanding experience, company and organization. Shoot straight, always good hunting, Waidmannsheil and Alles van die beste.
German hunter Frank Berbuir is passionate about the outdoors and hunting – especially bowhunting, which he has practised for more than 17 years. Although he has bowhunted in several countries, he has become addicted to hunting in Africa since his first safari in 2004. Frank is a mechanical engineer and risk manager in the automotive industry.
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A true tale of terror
By Chris Meyer
hile researching articles on Sir Alfred Pease, a British traveller, hunter and author, I came across a letter that appears to have been written by him. Pease is best known for writing “The book of the lion”, which was published in 1913. While living in what is now Kenya on his ranch, “Kitanga”, near the Ugandan Railway, he hosted many famous travellers who hunted during the great age of safaris. One particularly famous visitor to his ranch was Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, the ex U.S. President, who stayed there with his son Kermit at the start of his world-famous Smithsonian expedition to Africa in 1909. Pease introduced Teddy Roosevelt to the art of lion hunting during this stay, and encouraged Pease to write “The book of the lion”. This letter is addressed to Teddy Roosevelt by Pease, while writing the book. As readers of the book soon discover, Pease had extensive experience of hunting and travelling in many parts of Africa. Pinchinthorpe Hall, Guisborough, North Yorkshire. 16 January 1912. My Dear Colonel Roosevelt Many thanks for your letter. As I write my reply, it is snowing heavily outside, and we have been warned that a blizzard is possible. I will follow you advice, and make the encounters with lions as detailed as possible. I will thus include the letter describing Williams’ encounter in full. I now describe the second encounter, which I found more terrifying than any lion attack. A man’s nerves do not fail him when a lion charges, simply because there is no time at that moment to be afraid, and it is all over in a second or so. I have known fear often, but true terror only once, and though it has not very much to do with lions, a description of how I was literally terrified out of my senses may serve as a warning to others of what not to do when out lion or any other kind of hunting. The experience has been a lasting lesson to me. To any but those who have been in the 106
The route followed by Teddy Roosevelt when on safari, and where he spent time with Alfred Pease (and learned to hunt lions). same position the story may appear both ridiculous and trivial. However, I find that something very similar happened to two experienced hunters: both Cornwallis Harris and William Cotton Oswell have described similar experiences in their books.
I refer to the terrifying experience of being lost alone: of wandering away from the camp and then being utterly unable to find a way back. Anyone who has been truly lost alone knows what true terror is, there is no other kind of fear like it. In the course of an hour or
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Waller’s gazelle: a really weird-looking antelope that Pease saw in Somalia. two, I was reduced to a condition when I could neither trust my eyes nor use my reason. I have been lost in the bush by day or night for longer or shorter periods, but was always in the company of someone. This time, I was by myself, in an uninhabited country and a day’s march from any water, and in a direction quite unknown to me. We were marching through a waterless, hilly country in Somalia, making a course about due north, but our caravan of camels had to wind in and out of the ravines and valleys which spread like a great network over a vast region. We generally meandered along dry stream beds. One evening as we were pitching camp, I looked up at the bush-crowned crags above us, as the sun was setting, and saw a hyaena gazing down from the edge of a cliff. He looked grim and black against the red west, which shone through the leafless thorn trees on the edge. I picked up my rifle and clambered up the side of the ravine, but had hardly started up on my ascent when the hyaena made off. Just as I was about to turn back I noticed three objects, which looked very large among the stunted trees, about half a mile away on the other side of the little valley. They were moving along in single file between me and the sinking sun. At first I thought they were wild donkeys, of which there were a goodly number in some parts of the country, but unlikely to be quite so far away from water as this. Then I saw that they were three lions waking steadily along. It was too late to think of going after them, and I had not ammunition 108
enough to attempt it with my .256 rifle [a .256 Mannlicher-Schönauer], so I told my shikari [gun bearer] what I had seen, and suggested trying to find them in the morning. At dawn we broke up camp, and while my two shikaris were giving a hand in taking down my bright green Willesden tent, I placed on the ground my water-bottle and ammunition for the day for them to pick up, and thought I would just go and see if could track the lions at the place where I had seen them the evening before. I was soon to bitterly regret this impulsive decision. I had five cartridges in the magazine of my .256 rifle and ten in my pocket. When I got to the top of the cliff, the sun had just risen behind me, so the camp and the sun were in a direct line to my right. I soon reached the place and found the lions’spoor. This I followed in and out of the bush, down one little valley and up and down another, across and up another and so on, to some rocky terraces, where after looking ahead and around and still seeing no lions, I gave it up and was going to turn back. Just at this moment I spied a herd of gerenuk (Lithocranius walleri), a strange looking antelope with very long legs and a long thin neck that stands on its hind legs to eat the leaves of thorn tree. I thought I would stalk them and see if there was a good male among them to shoot. But, upon getting closer, I saw they were all females. I then realised I must hurry back, as the caravan would already have started. I instinctively looked up at the sky to estimate
how long I had been away, as the sun in Africa is always a handy and correct time-keeper. I looked for the sun above the bush on my right hand: to my horror it was glaring at me on my left. I stood rooted to the spot. I had intended to bear away straight to my right, having a general faith in my sense of locality. In my mind camp was most certainly on my right, and beyond it ought to be the sun in the east, but there was the sun in the west. Though my reason declared what I held was west was really east, and what I felt was south was really north, I could not straighten the thing out in my head, do what I could. If I followed my reason it seemed I should not know which way to go. So I began to hunt for my own track among the stones and along the ledges of rock where I thought I had been: not a mark could I find. Then I said to myself, although the sun seemed to be in the wrong position, “Surely if I go to that cliff-top I shall look right down on to the camping place.” I went there and looked down into a great, wide wild valley I had never seen before. I now began to be really frightened, and with little faith began to turn more towards the sun, but did not know whether to turn my steps north or south: whatever I did, the sun always seemed in the wrong place. I crossed a valley, walked over a hill, and came to another ravine very like the last: no, that was not it. Then I thought to myself that I must move no more: I must stay here till they come to look for me. I felt in my pockets, counted my cartridges, and calculated how many shots I dare fire as signal shots. I must fire some at once, as the caravan would be well on its way. I had also a policeman’s whistle, my knife, and a pouch of tobacco. I realised that if I was not found I must kill meat and drink blood, and that I must keep ammunition for the night, as there was not a single tree big enough to climb into. I fired five shots, counting sixty between each so that they might sound regular, with an interval long enough but not too long to catch the ear of anyone listening for another shot. Our rule was that all signal shots were to be replied by shots from our men – the camel men all carried rifles and carbines. I listened for answering shots, but it was all silent in that parched land bristling with the leafless thorns. Well, if my shots were ever to be heard it was now, so I fired two more: but there was only deathly silence after the echoes had died away. How I cursed my folly in not telling any one that I was going out of camp. I sat down and blew my whistle continuously for about half an hour, and then got into a state
Alfred Pease standing over a lion he has shot, with Teddy Roosevelt (right), and Kermit Roosevelt (left).
due to Helen, my wife. After failing to find me at the head of the caravan, where we usually rode together, she found nobody had seen me after breaking camp and reported this to my shikaris. Good and faithful men, they immediately returned to the old camp site and then began to search for me, each taking different directions and shouting as they went along the ridges. I was lucky to be found: only one of my shots was heard, and none of my cries and whistling. A curious thing is that I got so mixed up, that all that day and the next it seemed to me that we were travelling in quite the wrong direction. To this day, I cannot get rid of the impression that, for two days, we looped back from the general direction of our march. This experience taught me never to trust alone my instincts of direction, and to observe carefully every piece of ground passed over in new country. I have since made it a rule to travel with a local wherever possible, to keep touch with my pony when I can, and to carry plenty of ammunition. Yours faithfully Alfred Pease
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of imbecile terror. The more I thought of it, the poorer seemed my chances of being found that day. It was hot, there was thirst and worse, there was the night ahead of me. I yelled till I could yell no longer, and my throat became dry and hoarse. After three hours of whistling whilst sweating with fear, I heard far away in the distance what I thought was possibly a human voice. I again whistled and yelled, but heard nothing more for some time, and then I heard the distant cry again, and determined to fire a shot pointing my rifle in that direction. After this there seemed to be a long and awful silence, and then I heard that it was a cry quite distinctly, but some miles off, and I fired another shot and the cry came again. I continued shouting and whistling, but neither my shouts nor my whistles were ever heard by my shikaris till they got on to a ridge about a mile off, and so I was delivered from my place of torment. It was humiliating to discover myself, after a quick march of about two miles, on the track of the caravan, and I reached my pony after having been lost rather less than five hours. My deliverance was fortunate, and it was all
John Abraham – conservationist, conversationalist and friend
With one of my very best friends after another great safari. African Hunting Gazette:: Tell us about yourself and your family. John Abraham: I was born in 1964 in the little town of Dundee in Northern KwaZuluNatal. Went over to Game Coin in Fort Worth in 1991 where I met my wife Lauri. She came to Africa, and we got married in 1992. We have two sons, Kye who is 20 and Talon who is 18. Both are at University at Texas A&M. AHG: How did you become a PH? JA: I had just completed studying electronic engineering and was working for Iscor. However, I was always passionate about hunting, and I knew that electronics was not the life for me. While reading a Magnum magazine I saw an article on professional hunting, so I contacted Johan Calitz. I did one of his first apprentice schools, and then he asked me to join him, which I did. This was in 1990. In the January of 1991 we went to the US and that is where I met Lauri. AHG: Which countries have you hunted? JA: I have hunted many– South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. AHG: And where are you hunting these days? 110
The end of an era, last elephant shot in Botswana.
2016 a great buﬀalo with one of my dearest friends.
JA: I still hunt the areas I have hunted since 1998. Over the years I have made friends with other outfitters all over Africa and have built up a sound relationship where we work together
and offer reciprocal hunts. I try to stay away from the typical game ranch hunts South Africa is known for, and rather try to offer the true African experience.
AHG: If you could return to any time or place in Africa, where would it be? JA: The Okavango Delta has always had a special place in my heart, but elephants are my passion, so if I could go back in time it would be to the early days in the Sudan. In the current Africa, I love Ethiopia.
the early days of SCI and DSC where there were only a few outfitters, clients would come up to the booth, talk about hunting and safaris would be booked on a handshake and cheque. Those days are long gone. It is very sad for me to see all these special packages, particularly for wonderful animals like buffalo and sable
that can be “hunted” on fenced ranches for ridiculous prices in minimum days. South Africa is a wonderfully diverse country with so much to offer, but the reputation of these artificial hunts is going to be the demise of our industry. It is the only country where prices go down every year as ranchers and outfitters
AHG: Which guns and ammo are you using to back-up on dangerous or wounded game? JA: I have a fairly large collection of firearms, but my faithful back-up rifle is a .475#2 Jeffery built in 1925, and it has served me well. AHG: What are your recommendations to your hunting clients on guns and ammo for dangerous game and for plains game? JA: My best advice to clients is to use something they are comfortable with, and shoot well. It is no use for a client who has grown up shooting a bolt rifle with a scope to rush out and buy a double for use in Africa, unless he familiarizes himself with the rifle and shoots it a lot. Generally, clients shoot scoped rifles a lot better than open sights AHG: What was your closest brush with death? JA: This should really be a story for another article, but it was on my birthday in 2010. My client had just shot a huge leopard, 98kg. We thought it was a good shot, and walked up to the bait. The leopard came out of the brush from four yards away, and although I got two shots in him, he still had enough life to chew on my left knee. My faithful tracker, Bongani kicked it off me, and with its last breath, it bit him also on his calf. I also had an incident in Ethiopia this past year when a countrywide state of emergency was imposed. We were stuck, unable to get to Addis to fly out, No charters available. We made a run for it, and our mountain camp was burnt down by the protesters. Exciting times!
116 x 108 pounds way back in 2000.
AHG: Looking back, is there anything you should have done differently? JA: Yes, most certainly. I was just too complacent. After many years, I was just too self- confident, and had lost perspective of how fast things can go wrong. Had I been two yards further back the cat would not have reached us. I should have gone in slowly, instead of just confidently walking in. AHG: How has the hunting industry changed over the years and the hunting clients themselves? JA: Changes there certainly have been. I have seen this industry grow tremendously over the past 25 years. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it has become very commercialized. I remember
Surrounded by my best friends, Lloyd Douglas, his 15th safari with me, Bongani and Fixit my two right hand men of over twenty years, and Scotty who has been ﬁlming for us for 12 years. africanhuntinggazette.com
PH Q&A compete to sell their animals. Color variants, game auctions, ear tags and breeding facilities are not hunting! It is a supermarket where hunters can buy the most for the least. AHG: Which qualities go into making a successful PH? JA: Patience, compassion, dedication, honesty, integrity. To be a good PH requires so many different attributes. A good PH is required to be calm, in control of all situations, be able to work with many different people and, at the same time, be conservationist, conversationalist and friend. AHG: And what makes a successful hunting company? JA: A hunting company is only as good as the staff that works for it. It is very important that the company treats the staff fairly and makes each one important. Consequently, this will show in the service they provide the clients. AHG: Which qualities go into making a good safari client? JA: Passionate hunters are generally good clients. Real hunters are prepared to hunt hard and not necessarily be successful. They do not measure the success of a hunt by the number
of animals killed or the measurement of the horns, but rather by the overall experience.
closed to hunting, and compare their game populations with a country like South Africa
AHG: If you should suggest one thing to your hunting clients to improve the experience of their safari, what would it be? JA: Once you have selected your outfitter/PH listen, to his advice and trust him.
AHG: Ask your wife if she could do it all over again, would she still…? JA: Let me ask her … Lauri: Absolutely! JA: I just rolled my office chair back over her toes – she now says she takes her above statement back!
AHG: Based on your recent experience in the field, do you think that any species should be upgraded to Appendix I or downgraded to Appendix II, or closed all together? JA: Closing any species is detrimental. Hunting provides the much-needed income for the protection and conservation of the species. If anything, I believe that in Africa as a continent we need to take a better, more scientific approach to the hunting of our wild lion populations. AHG: What can the hunting industry do to contribute to the long-term conservation of Africa’s wildlife? JA: This is a question that has been answered countless times. Hunters pay for conservation, and we ensure the survival and protection of conservation areas and species. Without hunting, our wildlife is worthless and will diminish rapidly. Just look at the countries
AHG: What is her advice to future wives of PHs? Lauri: If you love somebody, you just have to do what it takes to make it work, even when they are in the bush for weeks at a time. AHG: Are either of your children following in your footsteps? JA: Not yet. Both my sons are hunters, but Kye is more of a fisherman. Talon has already done his PH course and is licensed, but has to complete his studies in Texas. Then we will see what the future holds. AHG: Anyone you want to say thanks to? Or to GTH (Go to Hell)? JA: First and foremost our amazing God who has blessed me richly. There are so many people to thank – all the friends I have made
The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa
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“Hunting provides the muchneeded income for the protection and conservation of the species. If anything, I believe that in Africa as a continent we need to take a better, more scientific approach to the hunting of our wild lion populations.” in the industry, all the guys that so loyally work with me, the clients that continue to hunt with us year after year. To my wife who has put up with me and supported me through it all – thank you. I have not encountered anyone that bad that I would bade them GTH. AHG: Any Last Words of Wisdom? JA: Always be humble and kind. AHG: Do you promise to write a good hunting story for our readers soon? JA: Now you sound just like my mother! You will have to get me to sit still long enough. Answering these questions was bad enough. (AHG: Always listen to your mother! )
for he has so much to look forward to. -Richard Mullin
Dr Ted started hunting with me in 1994, we still hunt together today.
Rifles in Africa
Verney Carron in the Savé My return safari to the Savé Conservancy was long anticipated. I had had great success with Zambezi Hunters, stalking through the Arda hunting block through the Savé, a magniﬁcent place for buﬀalo – herds in the hundreds, at times swelling to over a thousand strong, pass through the concession. My last visit was after a heavy rainy season; visibility was measured in feet at times as we pushed through the dense, mopane forest and wait-a-minute thorns looking for buﬀ. While the hunt was fantastic in anyone’s book, I longed from that safari on to view this magniﬁcent hunting block in the late season without the tightly packed vegetation. By John Mattera
t started with a phone call to my buddy Winston Taylor, describing my new Verney Carron double rifle. Somewhere in the middle, the conversation switched to buffalo and the lack of rainfall. By that evening, I was booked on a SAA flight to Harare through Joburg. The only difficult part, now, was explaining to my wife that I was going back to Africa. Zambezi Hunters is one of the oldest safari companies in Zimbabwe, owned and managed by husband-and-wife team Alistair and Janna Pole. Winston is the Managing Director and jack-of-all trades for the company, but this time he was to be my professional hunter. 114
Winston and I have known one another for almost a decade and we have done some very long cross-country jaunts together, but surprisingly enough, this was the first time we would be hunting together. I have always been amazed at the ease of recovering my rifles and ammunition from Harare airport. Zimbabwe may be a country with a bunch of problems, but they don’t seem to be interested in mine. I picked up my bags without fuss and walked out the terminal to the sights and smells of Africa. And I had landed with great expectations, because my hunting companion was my new Verney Carron double rifle!
I was no stranger to the quality and workmanship of Verney-Carron - I had owned one of their fine doubles. Alas, in a weaker moment we had parted company, a trade that I have always looked back upon with regret. I had the opportunity to test fire and write about one of their .600 Nitros for AHG Volume 20 Issue 2. For a guy who likes his rifles at least half a century old, the modern workmanship and quality that goes into the new VC Azure is outstanding. Feeling the long-ago tug of separation, I spoke to Ken Buch of Kebco LLC, the US importer for Verney-Carron, about assuaging my feelings of guilt and separation.
Together we formulated a plan to build a new rifle. The .450 Nitro Express cartridge was my caliber of choice. Why not? I might as well have a hundred-plus-year-old bullet. It was the cartridge that started the Nitro Express revolution. Taking a .458 bullet and adding the new cordite powder to a .450 case was a proven winner at the turn of the 20th century, setting the stage for all the nitro cartridges to follow. The straight-wall case of the .450 allows a rifle maker to create a shooting tool on a smaller frame in a more manageable size than other nitro calibers achieving the same goal. Sadly, the caliber that began it all soon fell to near obscurity by the stroke of an administrative pen. The death knell was cast for this great cartridge as civil unrest in Colonial India was seen as a threat to the wellbeing of the English Crown – the powers that be outlawed any 45-caliber weapon or ammo in their colonial jurisdiction. In those days, India was the great hunting destination; Africa was still little known, undiscovered except by a few intrepid English officers on a hunting holiday. All the great nitro express rounds that followed, pretty much did the same thing as the .450, sending a 480-500-grain projectile out at that magic velocity of 2100-2200fps, the .450 just did it in a trimmer, handier package. My VC was designed and built in the journeyman fashion, not much in the way of embellishments; I wanted a working gun without the unnecessary pizzazz. I opted for a French grey receiver with Verney-Carron’s six-lock proprietary action equipped with ejectors and manual safety. The rifle is impeccably balanced, light and handy. It throws to the shoulder with ease, and with 24” barrels sits well and with good serviceable sights to aid my 55-year-old eyes. The wood is a very nice Turkish walnut stock and forend. The fit and finish is everything that I have come to expect from this fine French gunmaker. The Verney-Carron Azur is a functioning work of art as you stare down and marvel at the craftsmanship. The transition from spectacular wood to outstanding metalwork is seamless in design and flow. The overall attention to detail on this fine double rifle is a testimony to a gunmaker’s skill, as it should be. After all, Verney-Carron knows more than a little about building rifles. Their lineage of gunmaking is generations deep, dating back to 1650 when the first Verney guns were built. The current namesake, Verney-Carron, was formed in 1830 when the president of Verney gunbuilders, Claude Verney, married Antoinette Carron, also the daughter and granddaughter of renowned French gunsmiths. Taking full
Tracks over our own that get our attention. Lions roam free and wild through Arda, and they are hunting for the same thing we are – Buﬀalo.
A worthy old bull that fell to the Verney Carron, and the time-proven .450 3¼ Nitro Express round. After a successful backup shot the old bull wasn’t going far.
advantage of his newfound capitalist marital bliss, Claude renamed the company VerneyCarron. Voila! The company passed down through the family for the next century-and-a-half, surviving the ravages that beset 20th century Europe. Today the company thrives under Président du Directoire Jean Verney-Carron and Directeur Général Guillaume VerneyCarron, providing customers with some of the finest double rifles built in the world today, while maintaining old-world values and workmanship imbued in tradition. Winston is a rifle guy, and you can always tell a rifle guy by what he carries in the field. Some PHs are just like cops back home – they carry a rifle or sidearm as a means of collecting their paycheck. It is just a necessary tool to go out and face the day – there is no excitement or fascination. Winston is not that kind of PH. I can see the excitement building in his eyes as I uncase my new double and pass it into his appreciative hands. As he turns the big double about, his approval for the workmanship is apparent. For where we are going, good rifles are a way of life – Arda is wild Africa – there is no mistake about it. The Big Five roam wild. Feeding elephant step across your path, then they get your wind, and it’s off to the races as they do not have much tolerance for man – insolent behavior, bordering on downright
mean. I can attest from first-hand experience that they are not the calm, even-tempered variety of pachyderm. White rhino wander about in force, thanks in no small part to the wonderful antipoaching efforts employed in the Savé Valley Conservancy. Then there are cats. Leopards thrive here as they do in most of subequatorial Africa, and lions abound. Why not? Arda is loaded with the lion’s favorite food – buffalo! The predation from the lions is evident as you view the herds: scars on their backs and flanks, old dark-grey patches and new red welts on the survivors – the lucky ones. It is impossible to say how many buffalo that lions kill any given year, but we stumble upon more than a few sunbaked bones in our travels that prove their fate. The numbers of buff in this hunting concession are huge. The year-round water from the Mkwasine River and multiple deep pans in Arda fill the buffs’ needs. Buffs do not conserve water well and must drink every day-and-a-half or so. The steady water supply helps keep frequent the huge herds’ visits to the Arda Concession. It is my kind of place: Buffalo – often in countless numbers; hungry lions leaving their tracks over the top of our own, and short-tempered elephants. What a great place. After a year’s drought, the herds were easier to spot than the last time I was here, so we spent our days drifting along behind them, africanhuntinggazette.com
Rifles in Africa
The Verney Carron’s six-lock proprietary action equipped with ejectors and manual safety is robust and well-built. The action locks up like a bank vault and snaps open with ease. looking for the small groups of bachelors or single old Dagga Boys that often follow after them. There is an old hunting adage that goes something like this: “Don’t pass up on the first day what you would harvest on the last day.” It sounds like sage advice, but for all of us with the soul of a gambler, we are sometimes guilty of pressing our luck. After all, if it were written in stone, somebody would have put their name on it. So on this trip, as in many previously, I gambled. I let more than a few really good bulls pass by unchallenged, for I’d been vexed by The Save’ Conservancy in the past. Two years before, I had seen some monster buff, too young to take, but massive in anybody’s book, so I was searching. Late-season hunting in Zimbabwe is hot as we put miles under our boots and the days pass. It is a dry heat without much moisture in the air, so dehydration can sneak up on you, the telltale signs the white, sweat-stained shirts and caps at the end of the day. The secret to survival in this climate is to hydrate often and hydrate thoroughly. A good rule of thumb is to start early, downing water or water with an electrolyte substitute before you ever leave camp. Always carry a bottle and drink often. Hunting far out in the bush, you don’t want to be on the wrong side of the dehydration curve trying to play catch-up. Stay ahead of it! First success on the new VC came in the form of a beautiful Sable bull who happened across our trek. Winston brought us to about seventy yards, a bit of a stretch for my old eyes with iron sights, but the VC shot true and the sable bucked and ran. A short track and we 116
Top view of the Verney Carron .450 3¼ Nitro Express. found him tucked as if he was resting, ready for the salt shed. Day 6: As luck would have it, we took off at first light and cut the trail of two big Dagga Boys travelling alone – it did not look like they were in any particular hurry. So, on their spoor we went, Tsumbei our lead tracker pushing along at a brisk pace. A little farther on the trail he slowed down and
started to walk more warily. Perhaps the reason was that we were getting very close to the buff at the end of those hoof prints. As I gazed down at the soft sand, I realized that it was for a very different reason. There, right over the Dagga Boy spoor – lion tracks. We pushed on, ever mindful of what could lie ahead. The good news is that most lions, when presented with a group of hunters in their proximity, will choose to leave for less crowded hunting grounds. The downside to this theory is that I’ve never met a clinical lion psychologist who can give me a definitive answer as to what truly ticks off a lion, so we proceed with the cautious step of men who just don’t know. After another hour on the trail, Tsumbei stopped dead in his tracks. So far, it was just reason Number 1: two old bulls engaged in late-morning breakfast. However, lions are still firmly planted in my mind. Winston motioned me to follow him in a low crawl to get a better view; he had the sticks in one hand and his .500 Westley Richards in the other. I was cradling my .450 Verney Carron as I low-crawled through the dry mopane. We grabbed a slight shooting window under a small tree, and Winston set up the sticks. Just as I settled in, the old dude on the right gave me a nice, quartering, broadside shot. “Take the one that has just turned,” Winston whispered. I settled into the sticks and took up the slack on the rear trigger. The shot breaks and the rifle bucks. When it came down I let the sticks fall away. As luck would have it, I still had the opportunity for a nice back-up shot, and the right barrel barked. As I reloaded two big shells into the now empty chambers, I glanced over at Winston and saw him at the ready. He knows that I am not a hunter who turns his back on a bit of help. All the professionals that I hunt with understand that a back-up shot is at their discretion. If they feel the need – take the shot! To lose an animal through no back-up shot is a sin! But my first shot was good and the old boy did not travel far. We gave him a bit of time to stiffen up and then we were on his spoor, Tsumbei in the lead, cutting the trail as if it were the yellow-brick-road. We found the old bull in a bit of thicket. I positioned in for a shot. One last roar from the VC .450 and it was the big buff’s time. A magnificent end to a superb hunt, a world-class destination, and great hunting companions – and, with my new rifle. Life is good!
Johan van Wyk’s On Shooting
The author’s Mauser .22 as mentioned in the article
The gift of a riﬂe
I have a very good friend who has made his living for the past decade or so in a North American city renowned for its brutally cold weather in winter. Before leaving Africa behind for good, we shared a last bottle of red wine over a good meal. As we walked out of the restaurant my friend handed me a plain brown envelope, shook my hand, and asked me to please attend to one last matter on his behalf before he boarded the plane the next day. Being slightly caught-up in the moment, I took the envelope without much ado and thought nothing more about it until an hour or so later.
s I examined the envelope’s contents, I realised that the matter my friend wanted me attend to was as much an honor as a privilege for me. Inside was a note in my friend’s scribbled handwriting asking me to please look after his grandfather’s old rifle on his behalf, along with the paperwork necessary to get the rifle licensed in my name. I was touched, and a few months later proudly found a space for the rifle in my safe, silently thanking my friend for placing his trust in me. The rifle in question is not a big-game rifle in the sense that I can take it out and slay an elephant or kudu with it. On the contrary, caliberwise, it fires a bullet that isn’t good for much more than a guinea fowl or rabbit.
However, it is such a nice, classic specimen of its breed that I derive great pleasure from using it every year. The rifle, you see, is a virtually pristine, heavy-barreled Model Ms 420 B Oberndorf Mauser .22, a model that was only in production from 1934 to 1940. It is made on what is commonly called a Mini-98 action, complete with a tiny claw extractor that grips the cartridge rim as it is pushed from the retaining lips of the detachable magazine into the chamber. The tiny action, complete with Mauser flag safety, is a piece of gun making art to me, and to make the deal even sweeter, the little Mauser has a stock with dimensions designed for use by an adult. It fits me well, and when I shoulder it and look over the open
sights, it feels just like a “proper” rifle. I have no idea how many Mauser .22s of various configurations were imported into South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia, and sold over here over the years, but it must be many. In South Africa especially, they are fairly common and enjoy a well-earned reputation for superb accuracy and reliability. Notwithstanding the fact that they are fairly common, they still command good prices on the secondhand market and a good example in pristine, untouched condition will take plenty of baksheesh to secure. The other side of the coin, however, is that many, many fine old Mauser .22s have been converted and even mutilated by various owners and “gunsmiths” over the years,
particularly to allow a scope to be fitted. This can make finding a good example a rather time-consuming exercise. My friend’s rifle was bought new from a hardware store in a town near Johannesburg by his grandfather in the late 1930s. Together with the rifle, grandfather had the good sense to buy an extra five-shot magazine, canvas sling and carry bag as well. Good thing, too, because the old man never used the Mauser, and I doubt if it had been fired a hundred times by the time my friend inherited it in the early 1990s after the old man’s death. By that time the bag it was stored in was starting to fall to pieces and the canvas sling was turning into dust. Both were quickly discarded. We found the spare magazine and half a box of very vintage Remington .22 ammo in a cloth bag tied to the trigger guard with a piece of string. Miraculously, the only damage to the rifle was a few spots of rust on the front sight ramp. The offending particles were quickly removed and a single cloth patch through the barrel removed four decades of dust as well to reveal a mirror-sharp bore. Otherwise, the little Mauser appeared to
The Mauser banner on a riﬂe has always been a mark of quality and reliability, whether on a largebore elephant riﬂe or a small-bore plinker like the author’s .22.
have been forgotten by time: it looked like it had been carried out of the hardware shop just yesterday. Once a year, as the leaves start to turn brown here in Southern Africa and the morning wind suddenly has a chill to it that wasn’t there a week ago, I take the Mauser .22 from the safe along with a few boxes of ammunition, and drive to my local shooting range. And every time I do so I realise again just how much fun a good .22 can be! With its heavy-profile barrel and good stock dimensions the Mauser is a joy to shoot, and I usually pass a pleasant morning in joyful loneliness plinking at everything from empty soft drink cans to paper targets. If there is a better way to prepare for a hunting season in Africa, I have yet to experience it. To complete the circle of things, however, I raise a glass of good red wine to my friend’s health every now and then, as well. While he is still grinning and bearing it in kneedeep snow every winter, the Mauser is perfectly happy in Africa, just where it belongs.
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Wieland On Ammunition
depends on deﬁnition
In the last issue, I reported on the performance of a custom .270 Winchester riﬂe, with three diﬀerent handloaded bullets. They were the 130-grain Sierra GameKing, Nosler Partition, and Swift Scirocco II. Of the three, the Sierra performed best at the range, so that’s what I took hunting.
The Sierra GameKing performs extremely well at mid-range velocities on mid-range game, and is very accurate as well. This group was shot from an unaltered factory riﬂe during testing. 120
he first trip was to Kansas, to hunt whitetails; the second was a visit to the FTW Ranch in Texas, to hunt Persian red sheep. While in camp in Kansas, another hunter wanted to talk about “premium” game bullets, and whether they were worth the extra money. He uses a 7mm Remington Magnum, with factory Core-Lokt bullets, and has never found them wanting. Why pay more, he asked? In talking with him, I realized that he didn’t really understand what a “premium” bullet was supposed to do. Simply put, a premium bullet is one that expands dependably, but holds together and penetrates to the vitals, even when it hits an animal at high velocity. It does not over-expand and fail to penetrate. And that’s it. Premium bullets are not more accurate, and if accuracy is the only consideration, there are countless accurate hunting bullets around. The trick is combining accuracy with proper terminal performance, and premium-bullet makers have worked hard to improve their accuracy. In my friend’s case, shooting a 7mm Remington Magnum on Kansas whitetails, almost any bullet between 120 and 150 grains would be fine as long as it hit the animal in the right place. The trick is using a bullet that is not too stout; if it is, it may behave like a military solid and zip on through, causing minimal tissue damage. On the same trip, another friend took a 7mm Remington UltraMag with factory 160-grain Partitions. That is a load intended for moose, brown bears, and the like, but it was all he could find at the last minute. He made a heck of a running shot on a buck at 100 yards, and smacked it dead, but the exit hole looked just
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Wieland On Ammunition
“…shooting a 7mm Remington Magnum on Kansas whitetails, almost any bullet between 120 and 150 grains would be fine as long as it hit the animal in the right place.”
The Remington Core-Lokt has been around, seemingly, forever, and remains in production for one simple reason: It delivers reliable performance on game, as long as it is not asked to withstand excessive velocity. These 117-grain .257 bullets are excellent in cartridges such as the .257 Roberts and .25-06. like the entry wound. There was apparently no expansion at all. Fortunately, he hit it well forward. A couple of inches back, and that buck could have kept going, apparently unhit, probably never to be found. In my .270, I had the aforementioned 130gr. Sierra GameKings at a muzzle velocity of 3140 feet per second. I shot two whitetails – a buck at 145 yards and a doe at 103. The buck dashed 50 yards and died, the doe went down where she stood. Both were almost instantly dead, and in both cases, the GameKing went in one side and out the other, obviously doing substantial damage along the way. It is not billed as a premium bullet, but no one could possibly criticize the penetration. Those whitetails are not big animals – 180 to 190 pounds, maybe – and not heavily constructed. For them, a conventional game bullet like the GameKing is ideal. At the FTW Ranch two months later, I did some of their shooting courses, at distances out to 400 yards, and the .270 held its own nicely. I then went hunting and killed a Persian red ram at 328 yards. I doubt if the old boy weighed 125 pounds. The bullet angled in just behind the shoulder, out behind the ribs on the other side, the ram did its last dash, and that was it. Again, no possible argument with penetration. The only reason to pay premium prices for premium game bullets, in smaller calibers at least, is to get better terminal performance with
lighter, faster bullets on bigger, more stoutly constructed animals. You are not paying for better accuracy; there are many fine, accurate bullets. Nor are you paying for explosive expansion; there are lots of those, too, and that’s exactly the trait premium bullets are
intended to prevent. Since 1990, many “premium” game bullets have been introduced, some of which are no better than anything else. If anything, the concept of “premium” has been over-sold, and I plead guilty to being party to that. It now seems that a hunter who shows up in camp with anything except premium bullets is looked on as under-gunned. For most of us, shooting most game with standard rifles like the .270, .30-06, or .308, conventional bullets like the Sierra GameKing, the Remington Core-Lokt, or a host of others, are more than adequate. In fact, for some uses, they are much better than a tough premium bullet. If your rifle shoots them well, you should make sure you have a good reason for taking something “premium” instead. Otherwise, you may find yourself spending more and, for your particular purpose, getting less.
A Hunter speaks out
The Topic of
Tipping By Dave Svinarich
Unfortunately, for many of us, knowing who to tip and how much to tip can be a vexing problem…
t was the last evening of our Namibian safari and as is customary in many safari camps, we were treated to some African singing and dancing by the staff before the formalities of handing out gratuities. That night, in addition to the usual money gifts, we handed out a collection of costume jewelry. We thought it would make nice presents for the wives or girlfriends of the camp staff. The following morning, as everyone lined up for our final send-off, we were rather surprised to see all the men resplendently decked out in my mother’s pendant ear rings, bracelets, gaudy rings and necklaces! I suspect that there were more than a few jealous women after that hunt! For the PH or guide and their staff, these things are often of considerable importance and may represent a significant portion of their income. Who do you tip? Gifts and other gratuities often take a back seat to all the other expenses and logistical considerations that go into a guided hunt. On guided hunts when it is just you and a single guide, the issue is fairly simple. Things get considerably more complicated on hunts which may include apprentice guides or PHs, government game scouts, trackers, and skinners, and all the camp staff. Some of the people who contribute to the success of your hunt, you may never even see. Where there is a large staff, It is perhaps a good idea to defer to the head guide or PH for advice. Best do this while you are still home and have ready access to an ATM machine! Generally the guide or PH who is most involved with your day-to-day hunting receives the largest remuneration. Apprentice staff, are typically there to learn, and I generally do not tip them unless they have been very actively involved in the hunt. Game scouts, who are paid by their government to ensure that your hunt is being conducted in accordance with the rules, also generally do not receive a tip from me unless they have actively contributed to the hunt, in which case, I often compensate them, and the trackers, skinners and the cook at a similar level, while the camp staff – which may include waiters, cleaners and laundry staff – are tipped at a lower per diem rate. Monetary gifts So how much to give? Unfortunately, there are no set guidelines and the amounts can vary widely depending upon the place, game animals sought, and the logistical nature of the hunt. What may be considered appropriate for a guided bird hunt in South Dakota would most likely be inappropriate for a PH
conducting a 21-day dangerous-game safari in Africa. One alternative is to pay a percentage of the total daily fee, which could range from 10-20% with 15% being the most common. This is divided equally, with half going to the guide or PH and the remainder being divided among the staff. Non-hunting observers should also consider a gratuity, typically between 10-15% of their total daily rate and divided as previously described. Another suggestion is that the PH or guide’s tip should be based on a percentage of the total cost of the hunt (typically 5- 8%) with the remaining staff receiving a fixed amount ranging from $3$5 per day for camp staff, up to $5-15 per day for all the rest. However, this latter approach can be strongly influenced by the size of the tag fees, which can be considerable on African hunts, sheep hunts, etc. It is not the done thing for a guide or PH to solicit a gratuity from you, but there is nothing wrong with having a frank conversation about tips. Even call on a booking agent or any other reference. Just be sure to find out well in advance of the actual trip, as the evening before departure from your hunt is not the best time to decide what to give and how much. Hunting is a service industry. While your guide and staff may depend upon your gratuities to help support their income, both tipping and the size of the gratuity are still discretionary and should reflect the general level of service received. The vast majority of guides and their staff are honest, hardworking and considerate individuals who will go out of their way to make your trip a success. However, if people have worked hard and made a bona fide effort to help you secure your trophy, regardless of the actual outcome of the hunt, they should still receive an appropriate gratuity. Many hunters have gone home emptyhanded and it is not necessarily the fault of the guide. Hunters miss shots or arrive in poor physical condition; equipment fails; bad weather moves in, and a whole host of other situations which are beyond the control of the guide. Conversely, incompetent, dishonest, lazy, inattentive, drunken (or worse), and downright rude guides and staff do not deserve equal gratuity. In fairness, if there are persistent issues, they should be addressed with the guide, PH or booking agent, preferably while you are still on the hunt. Anyone can have a bad day. What I am referring to here is consistently poor behavior despite an honest effort on the part of the hunter to address the situation. However, exceptional service demands special
recognition, like the time my Argentinian bird guide carried my wife from her duck blind because a large Yacare caiman was cruising through the decoys. It is also a good idea to ascertain the
“Gifts and other gratuities often take a back seat to all the other expenses and logistical considerations that go into a guided hunt. ” appropriate currency. The US dollar is often considered a gold standard in preference to a country’s own currency. However, sometimes local currency may be preferred or even required. Staff in remote areas or developing countries may not have convenient access to
a bank, so things like credit cards, personal checks and traveler’s checks may not be a practical consideration. Giving out gratuities directly to the recipient always has the greatest impact, but in some camps, especially in Africa, the PH may prefer that you give the gratuities directly to him for subsequent distribution. Sometimes, all the gratuities are pooled and distributed at the end of the season. This helps to ensure that the staff will remain present and motivated. I generally do not give gifts of alcohol or tobacco, but you may want to check with the guide, PH or booking agent. However, on one African plains-game hunt, we did buy a case of cigarettes for one of our trackers. This gentleman had spent the week rolling his own massive cigarettes using pages torn from a woman’s magazine. We figured that normal cigarettes had to be less hazardous than smoking a full-page glossy advertisement for Chanel #5! Non-monetary gifts Gifts of gear or clothing, especially warm clothing, are often very welcome in addition
A Hunter speaks out to money. Try to pick items that will be useful or otherwise hard to get. Particularly desirable items include Leatherman multi-tools, knives, head lamps or flashlights, back packs, warm clothes, wool caps, gloves, sunglasses, and even slightly used boots. But bear in mind that it is illegal to wear camouflage clothing, particularly military clothing, in a number of countries throughout the world. Resist the urge to bring a bunch of ball caps and T-shirts – they are of limited utility and are commonly brought items. Furthermore, if you intend to leave an expensive item as part of, or in place of, a monetary gift, be sure to check with the intended recipient first. One time on a Dall sheep hunt in Alaska, I left my rangefinder with the guide as his had broken during the trip. By mutual agreement, this served as part of his monetary tip. In many remote areas and Third World countries, hunting-related gear and clothing may be either very difficult to get or extremely expensive. Sometimes guides and PHs will even make arrangements with a client to bring in hard-to-obtain items. However, be advised
Supporting the local community in this way generates a tremendous amount of goodwill on behalf of all hunters. that leaving a firearm or even a rifle scope can be can be problematic for both you and the recipient, unless the appropriate paperwork has been prepared beforehand. Lastly, consider gifts for the local community. Some hunting camps actually sponsor schools, orphanages and medical centers. On a recent wingshooting trip to Argentina, we learned that the lodge helps to support a local orphanage, so we sent crayons and soccer balls to the children in addition to much of the game we shot. On a trip to
Zimbabwe, we visited local schools to drop off school supplies. Any time we step outside to hunt we are, in effect, acting as ambassadors of our sport. Supporting the local community in this way generates a tremendous amount of goodwill on behalf of all hunters. While always discretionary, tips are an inherent aspect of guided hunts. And although gratuities are an important incentive they should not be considered a substitute for developing a good relationship with your guide and camp staff. People will work far harder for a hunter who is respectful, appreciative, and maintains a positive attitude. David Svinarich is a molecular biologist in charge of clinical research for a large health care system. He enjoys both big-game hunting and wingshooting, with a penchant for alpine and dangerous game. He has hunted throughout North and South America, Africa, the South Pacific and Europe. When not traveling, he enjoys spending time with his family in Northern Michigan.
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taxidermist in Africa, right through to your trophy room or your own taxidermist back home. • The savings we can guarantee means you will be able to hunt more animals
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Jamy Traut Hunting Safaris
US Tel: 406-261-1222 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Webiste: www.jamyhunts.com/
JOHN SHARP SAFARIS
John Sharp Safaris 22 Hoopoe Hollow, Burnside, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Zim Cell: +263 712217067 • SA Cell: +27 83 661 5318 USA Cell: (713) 498 8196 RSA E-Fax: +27 86 621 2753 E-mail: email@example.com • Website: www.john-sharp-safaris.com
Field & Stream Taxidermy
3 Industria Rd PO Box 1256 Louis Trichardt 0920 R.S.A. Tel: (015) 516 1081/1952 International Tel: +27 15 516 1081 &HOO_2IÂ¿FH&HOO (PDLOLQIR#Â¿HOGDQGVWUHDPFR]D :HELVWHZZZÂ¿HOGDQGVWUHDPFR]D
Because we are ﬁnancially and editorially independent, publishing our own magazine and hosting our African Hunting Expos - along with being based in Africa as well as in North America - this unique outﬁtter veriﬁcation program answers a call from the international hunter. Whether you’re a serious big-game hunter, or dreaming of your ﬁrst African safari but believe it’s too diﬃcult to make it a reality - think again! Africa is the ultimate destination and home to the widest variety of game available. Equally diverse is the range of hunting experiences oﬀered by the numerous outﬁtters across the continent, and which you need to assess when making your choice. Our job here is to help you make the right decision, based on the information we provide, having visited the following outﬁtters and compiled the proﬁle independently. Over the next few pages is the list of members and please visit www.africanhuntinginfo.com for more information and complete proﬁles.
Southern African Outﬁtters Mebenca in Afrika Safaris
Pro Hunting Africa Safaris
MEBENCA in Afrika Safaris is Spanish owned, on 10000 hectares of pristine African savannah.
beautiful lodges are in pristine African bush veldt,
near the Botswana border. Enjoy luxury accommodation with 34 animal species to hunt.
an unbelievable hunting experience, nothing is too much to ask; even the blinds are comfortable!
Kobus Potgieter, with an extensive knowledge of the African Wildlife, will ensure Pro Hunting Africa Safaris is a memorable experience and believes selective hunting plays a major role in maintaining natures balance.
Tel: +27 81 018 1771 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.mebencainafrika.org
Tel: +27 83 404 0111 Email: email@example.com Web: www.motsomi.com
Tel: +27 82 822 0850 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.prohuntingafrica.co.za
Southern African Outﬁtters AAA Serapa Safaris AAA Serapa Safaris ensures a safe and exclusive hunting safari, with the highest unforgettable experience & they will make your hunting dreams come true.
Tel: + 27 82 556 0760 (Apie) Email: email@example.com Web: www.lionhuntingsafaris.com
built up to one of South Africa’s premier Safari
game packages and no hunt is ever too big or
that make each client have a dream hunting experience. It’s all about personal attention.
that they can assist handicapped hunters to enjoy a great hunting experience.
Tel: +27 83 668 3240 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.quagga.co.za
Tel: +27 83 251 6122 Email: email@example.com Web: www.magersfonteinsafaris.co.za
Dries Visser Safaris
eZulu ' ME ESERVE
Dries Visser Safaris combines the hunting experience and dedication with the art of hunting, with personal care and attention to provide hunters with an
Tsessebe is a 100% Spanish company managed from South Africa. Jose’s goal is to make safaris an unforgettable hunting experience for his
Our hunting areas are located in South Africa’s malaria free Eastern Cape province, home to unique African
Tel: +27 78 580 0104 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.tsessebe.com
Tel: +2 Email: F[VMU@hotmail.com Web: www.ezulugamereserve.com
and plains game hunting in the country. Our
and experienced professional hunters are used.
Tel: +27 83 282 4822 Email: email@example.com Web: www.dvisser-safaris.com
Greater Kuduland Safaris
Southern Cross Safaris
FM Safaris Private Game Ranch has very unique
Greater Kuduland Safaris owns 70 000 acres, with
Nama Karoo, Kalahari and Karoo mountain
large unspoilt areas. Not only will you be hunting on some of South Africa’s largest privately owned reserves, but will also be amongst 4 of the “Big 5”.
Southern Cross Safaris is a family owned business in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Our clients will enjoy superb hospitality with the best hunting opportunities available here, as well as in Mozambique & Tanzania.
Tel: +27 15 539 0720 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.greaterkudulandsafaris.co.za
Tel: +27 48 886 0606 Email: email@example.com Web: www.southerncrosshunting.net
biodiversity, which provide suitable habitats for a
Tel: +27 83 264 8725 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.fmsafaris.co.za
Southern African Outﬁtters Lalapa Safaris Hunting with Lalapa Safaris is an experience
Mabula Pro Safaris
Wild Footprint Safaris
Christo, Stella and the Mabula Pro Safari team will ensure that your African Safari will be the
hunter looking for an experience of a lifetime to a seasoned veteran looking for a new adventure, we have got you covered!
Pieter-Louis started doing hunting safaris in South Africa professionally in 1992. Now situated in the
take home the best while catered for in luxury.
you a personally guided experience of a life time on hunting safaris throughout Southern Africa.
Tel: +27 83 654 3697 Email: email@example.com Web: www.lalapasafaris.co.za/
Tel: +27 832555069 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.mabulaprosafaris.co.za
Tel: +27 14 594 1901 Email: email@example.com Web: www.wildfootprintsafaris.co.za
Kwalata Wilderness Kwalata Wilderness, a true hunters’ paradise, hosts 4 of the big 5 on its privately owned 32 000 acre expanse in the Waterberg mountains of South Africa’s Limpopo province. Here you will not only and some of the most scenic terrain in Africa.
Tel: +27 14 755 4104 Email: oﬃce@kwalata.com Web: www.kwalata.com
Eulalie Hunting Safaris
Daggaboy Safaris Daggaboy Safaris, under the expert guidance of comfortable lodge, will give any hunter and unforgettable experience!
Tel: +27 82 653 3129 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.dbsafaris.com
Trophy Safaris cc
Authentic African Adventures Owner Hanno van Rensburg has a special passion for people, nature and the African Bush, where he grew up. He later became a Professional Hunter unforgettable experience in Africa.
Tel: +27 71 656 1914 Email: email@example.com Web: www.authenticafricanadventures.org
Safari Trails International
Eulalie Safaris is in the Limpopo province of South Africa and the lodge is on the side of the Koedoesrant Mountain, an area known for notoriously large kudu. Isan’s wealth of hunting knowledge will make your dreams come true.
Trophy Safaris is privately run by Douw & Bekker
Russell Lovemore is the owner, Professional
its clients a unique and exclusive adventure, whilst maintaining the highest standards in personal service and hunting ethics.
Tel: +27 82 375 7244 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.eulaliehunting.com
Tel: +27 14 763 5598 Email: email@example.com Web: www.trophysafaris.co.za
With 15 years’ experience in the Safari Hunting industry he is therefore well equipped to make sure you have a wonderful hunting experience and a truly memorable safari.
Tel: +27 83 303 7600 Email: Russell@safari-international.com Web: www.safari-international.com
Southern African OutďŹ tters Savannah South Safaris
than 30 species of antelope as well as numerous game birds varieties. Our hunting areas, rich in both historical interest and scenic beauty, are
Overlooking the Waterberg Mountains, Mof & Minnie, your host and hostess will give you a great South African welcome and guide you with your choice for an unforgettable African Safari experience.
TDK Safaris is built on trust and integrity and believe in ethical and responsible hunting
Tel: +27 82 567 4973 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.savannahsouthsafaris.com
Cheetah Safaris Cheetah Safaris and Sable Safaris Zambia is a plains game of Southern Africa. Situated on the
Tel: +27 82 898 1974 Email: email@example.com Web: www.adansonia.co.za
Johan Pieterse Safaris Johan, owner of Johan Pieterse Safaris, will be your host during your safari. He will take you
view and bird watch from the luxury lodge.
Experience the abundance of African Wildlife, traditional cuisine and magic sunsets.
Tel: +27 82 576 2043 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.cheetahsafaris.co.za
Tel: +27 83 268 6524 Email: email@example.com Web: www.jpsafaris.co.za
Wintershoek Safaris Wintershoek OWN over 110 000 acres in four unique areas in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. We also have access to some of the best Big Game Hunting/Hunting areas in the rest of South Africa.
Tel: +27 53 204 0042 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.wintershoekjvs.com
Phillip Bronkhorst Safaris
in South Africa on their own property as well
Tel: +27 73 368 4190 Email: email@example.com Web: www.tdksafaris.com
Bandur Safaris Bandur Safaris has for the last 22 years established a reputation for sustaining large herds of game that can be hunted as well as offering top quality trophies.
Tel: +27 82 775 8045 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.bandur.co.za
Spiral Horn Safaris
Phillip Bronkhorst Safaris is renowned for their personal attention to detail letting you enjoy a truly memorable experience and a lifetime of friendship are just some of the factors important to them.
Spiral Horn Safaris is three miles from the border of Botswana on the Limpopo River. Join Louis for
Tel: +27 82 552 7269 Email: email@example.com Web: www.pbsafaris.com
Tel: +27 76 577 6292 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.spiralhorn.co.za
Southern African Outﬁtters Tusker Safaris
service. Jan and Hettie thrive on realizing their clients’ primary needs with personalized attention.
Limcroma Safaris is situated in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Professional Hunter Hannes Els will be your host for an unforgettable
them into reality.
best hunting destinations in South Africa.
Tel: +27 83 730 1297 Email: email@example.com Web: www.tuskersafaris.co.za
Tel: +27 83 627 0350 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.limcroma.com
Pelser Bowhunting Safaris With over 40 years combined professional hunting experience between them, Nico and Will guarantee to share their skills and make your bow hunting dreams a reality.
Tel: +27 82 6145731 Email: email@example.com Web: www.pelserbowhunting.com
Liam Urry Safaris
Bushmen Safaris has years of experience in Africa and our trips will evoke a lifetime of memories. As bow hunters, our clients have placed more than 125 animals in the top 10 of the World Record Books.
Situated in untamed Africa, Sadaka Safaris is a mere 2 hours from Johannesburg. Your hosts, Ewert and Karen will personally insure that all your requirements and needs are catered for and guarantee to exceed all your expectations of an African Hunting Safari.
Liam Urry Safaris is privately owned and take pride in providing a quality of service and a level of exclusiveness guaranteed to give you a true “African experience”. We operate throughout South Africa and Africa, with many prime hunting areas.
Tel: +27 82 616 1942 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.bushmensafaris.com
Tel: +27 82 459 4436 Email: email@example.com Web: www.sadakasafaris.com
Tel: +27 82 390 5861 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.lusafaris.co.za
Graham Jones Safaris
Dumukwa Safaris is literally on the banks of the Limpopo river. Thick riverine bush and open savannah for hunting and a comfortable lodge will make this a truly unique hunting experience.
Kuvhima Safaris provide hunters the opportunity to hunt a wide selection of game on various concessions. From the main lodge the hills are home to leopard and have caves with ancient
“Over the years, it has been invaluable to hear from our guests that what they will treasure most, is knowing they lived a safari the way it once was
Tel: +27 82 378 0733 Email: email@example.com Web: www.dumukwa.com
Tel: +27 14 765 0252 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.kuvhima.co.za
Tel: +27 82 343 7663 Email: email@example.com Web: thesafarisofgrahamjones.com
Southern African Outﬁtters Numzaan Safaris
Numzaan Safaris’ main lodge is top class and the that will make your hunting experience even of experienced professional hunters.
Tel: +27 82 498 7061 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: numzaan.com
supports a large variety of mammals, including elephant and rhino.
Tel: +27 83 230 1998 Email: email@example.com Web: www.rhinoland.co.za
Impisi Safaris Family-owned Impisi Safaris, a world-class hunting destination on 13000 acres of private
Tel: +27 72 803 4723 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.impsisisafaris.com
Stanley Pieterse Safaris
Limpopo Safaris is 45 000Ha lies in South Africa’s northernmost corner, and here you can
Stanley Pieterse Safaris is in the heart of the South African Limpopo valley and numerous species of animals occur in this area. We cater
It has been known for its great wealth of game, and the high quality of it trophies.
Otterskloof Private Game Reserve is on 14000 ha of pristine bushveld and is located in one of the most scenic biodiversity’s in South Africa and have three luxury and exclusive lodges in the southern Freestate province.
Tel: +27 15 534 2403 Email: oﬃce@limpoposafaris.com Web: www.limpoposafaris.com
Tel: +27 82 697 6014 Email: email@example.com Web: www.otterskloof.com
Tel: +27 82 484 1826 Email: Stanley@spsafaris.com Web: www.spsafaris.com
Kikuyu Lodge Kikuyu Lodge is in the Eastern Cape Province on the Bushman’s river and encompasses over 30
birds and a large variety of game animals.
home. With 23 years catering to the international hunter, they truly believe in Conservation through Utilization, celebrating each animal harvested as part of managing their “5th generation” property.
Tel: +27 82 578 1827 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.kikuyulodge.com
Tel: +27 82 549 9500 Email: email@example.com Web: www.shiawela.com
to the serious trophy hunter.
Intrepid Safaris On our private preserve located a mere 5 miles from the Limpopo River, our guests can view and hunt a huge variety of game animals. Among
Tel: +27 83 633 5197 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.intrepidsafaris.co.za
Southern African OutďŹ tters Roger Whittall Safaris
Founded in 1977, Roger Whittall Safaris is in its 4th decade of big game hunting safaris. Roger and Guy operate in prime areas in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, providing quality fair chase hunting safaris to the discerning African hunter and an adventure of a lifetime.
It would be a pleasure to have you join Didimala Safaris in creating the most memorable African Safari Experience possible. We believe that we are
Falcon Safaris is a privately owned Game Reserve encompassing 4000 Hectares of pristine Bushveld, ranging from open savannah to mountainous terrain. We have in excess of 15 species available
Tel: +263 774 186 005 Email: email@example.com Web: www.rogerwhittallsafaris.com
operating under the highest ethical standards.
Tel: +27 83 294 5347 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.didimalasafaris.co.za
Tel: +27 14 786 0238 Email: email@example.com Web: www.falconsafaris.co.za
J P Big Game Safaris
Bush Africa Safaris
J P Big Game Safaris is a company specializing in African trophy hunting safaris. We pride
Highly-skilled hunters, personalized service and customized packages make Ekland the hunting destination of choice, where a unique link between wildlife conversation, sport and safety is carefully managed for sustainability and enjoyment.
Owned and operated by Schalk and Terina van Heerden, safaris are conducted from the main (5 star) lodge on 10 000 acres of private land as well as many thousands of acres privately owned under concession of Bush Africa Safaris.
Tel: +27 15 517 8300 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.eklandsafaris.com
Tel: +27 82 452 0749 Email: email@example.com Web: www.bushafricasafaris.co.za
experience in the ability to guide clients on a once in a lifetime big game safari.
Tel: +27 73 213 7902 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.jpsafaris.com
Omujeve Hunting Safaris Realise your lifelong dream of a perfect African Safari. We cater to your hunting needs and to your spouse and children with Windhoek city tours luxury accommodation and exquisite cuisine!
Tel: +264 811 280 041 Email: email@example.com Web: www.omujevesafaris.com
Klawerberg - Namibia
Bergzicht Game Lodge is a beautiful Namibian
Discover the exotic, breathtaking country of Namibia. Share in the excitement of stalking
opportunity to experience a trophy hunting trip,
one-on-one with your guide. Hunting on this private game farm is a dream come true.
Tel: +264 81 128 4825 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.bergzicht-hunting.com
Tel: +264 62 560 007 Email: email@example.com Web: www.namibiahunting.net
Southern African Outﬁtters Westfalen Hunting Safaris “DON’T CHANGE YOUR HUNTING STYLE, CHANGE YOUR HUNTING DESTINATION”. Situated in North Western Namibia, Westfalen is a private hunting area plains game.
Tel: +264 81 278 2764 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.westfalenhuntnamibia.com
Uhlenhorst Safaris Uhlenhorst Hunting Safaris has been a family business for over 40 years. Here you will experience a variety of landscapes from red sand dunes, dense bush to open acacia veld. Uhlenhorst is on the border of the beautiful Kalahari Desert.
Tel: +264 812 944 676 Email: email@example.com Web: www.huntuhlenhorst.com
OtjiruzeJagd Guest Farm Otjiruze was registered as a hunting farm in 1974. Namibian conservancies, with more than 25 species of game. Here you can hunt limitlessly, and not see a boundary fence. Since 1990, over 80% of the trophies taken were awarded a gold medal.
Tel: +264 62 503106 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.otjiruze.com
Aru Game Lodge Covering an area in excess of 65 000 acres, the two well established game farms, Veronica and Kalakwa, diverse in landscape and natural surroundings,
Etosha Heights Game Safaris
experience...a piece of heaven in Namibia.
Treat yourself to a hunting safari operating out of the luxurious Etosha Heights Game Safaris base camp with a selection of two lodges bordering the renowned Etosha National Park in Namibia, with a vast 65,000 hectare private wildlife reserve.
Tel: +264 62 560049 Email: email@example.com Web: www.arugamelodge.com
Tel: +264 81 262 4 372 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.etoshahunting.com
Nick Nolte Hunting Safaris
Daggaboy Hunting Safaris
Nick Nolte Hunting Safaris invites you to
Daggaboy Hunting Safaris is in the mountainous
Namibia, one of Africa’s most politically stable countries. Hunt more than 20 species of plains game available on free roaming concessions of approximately 100,000 hectares.
plains game on a 8000ha ranch as well as concessions for dangerous game in the Eastern Caprivi of northern Namibia.
Tel/Fax: + 264 64 570888 Email: email@example.com Web: www.nicknoltesafaris.com
Tel: +264 81 128 1215 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.daggaboy.com
Hunters Namibia Safaris
Hunters Namibia Safaris is one of Namibia’s most experienced and respected safari companies,
Managed by owners Malan and Barista Lambrechts,
luxurious accommodations and a full range of truly exciting options for the hunter.
Malan’s passion for more than 20 years. Our Safari Ranch is yours while are with us and will make your walk and stalk hunt one you will never forget.
Tel: +264 81 303 3010 Email: email@example.com Web: www.huntersnamibia.com
Tel: +264 61 238 772 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://arubhunt.com
Southern African OutďŹ tters Khomas Highland Hunting4BGBSJT
Welcome to Khomas Highland Game Hunting, a family business run by Dietmar Hennings and his son Philip. Namibia is, in many ways, the perfect
Byseewah Safaris Ken Morris, founder of World Wide Ethical Hunters with over 45 of experience, welcomes you to Byseewah Safaris, covering an area of over 28,000
time hunting experience.
is diverse, with Mopane forests, acacia woodlands, open savannah, hills, valleys and a large pan.
Tel: +264 61 232 633 Email: email@example.com Web: www.khomas-highland-hunting.com
Tel: +264 67 31 2117 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.byseewah.com
Afrika Jag Safaris Afrika Jag Safaris is based on a hunting farm 100 km south of the Etosha National Park near Outjo.
Gras Hunting Ranch
forms a spectacular setting for a unique Bow and
acres of pristine savannah. Known for its abundant wildlife and majestic views, it is considered one of the most beautiful game ranches in Namibia.
Tel: +264 81 127 2571 Email: email@example.com Web: www.afrikajag.com
Tel: +264 63 264 141 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.grashuntingranch.com
Progress Safaris At Progress Safaris, we take great care in scouting each hunting area beforehand and ensuring a combined with an exhilarating stalk. Each hunting safari is planned individually.
Tel: +264 62 560 033 Email: email@example.com Web: www.progress-safaris.com
Shona Hunting Adventures Shona Hunting Adventures started in 2005 when Johann Veldsman and his wife, Vera, turned their ten yearsâ€™ experience in the tourism industry into a personal hunting experience.
Tel: +264 64 697 038 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.shona-adventures.com
Leopard Legend Hunting Safaris
Leopard Legend Hunting Safaris prides itself experience. We go one step further to accommodate your hunting needs.
Tel: +264 81 236 0833 Email: email@example.com Web: www.leopardlegend.com/
Onduri Hunting Safaris Onduri Hunting Safaris lodge is located 450 km NW of Windhoek on a 13,000 ha farm, near Outjo and the Etosha National Park. Due to its location and hilly landscape, a huge variety of
Tel: +264 67 312 125 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.onduri.com
Rosslyn Safaris professional and responsible hunting. Fabulous leopard, sable and plains game can be hunted tented camp and high populations of animals allow for large groups or individual hunters.
Tel: +263 778 486493 Email: Juliet@rosslynsafaris.com Web: www.rosslynsafaris.com
Southern African Outﬁtters John Sharp Safaris
Pro Safaris Africa
De Klerk Safaris
John Sharp is one of the most experienced big game hunters operating in Southern Africa today & while adhering to his strict ethics, he epitomises the authentic ‘Great White Hunter’ of legend. John is a true gentleman and puts the client at the centre of everything he does.
Pro Safaris Africa is a Zimbabwean hunting company with access to the best hunting concessions throughout Zimbabwe and Namibia for both dangerous and plains game. Every client gets a personalized, unique hunting experience &
De Klerk Safaris is situated in South Africa in the Kalahari Desert, a unique ecosystem famous for its huge, black-maned lions, enormous gemsbok,
Tel: +263 77 221 7067 Email: email@example.com Web: www.john-sharp-safaris.com
Tel: +263 9 236894 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.pro-saf.com
Tel: +27 82 828 4899 Email: email@example.com Web: www.dksafaris.com
Eland Safaris An oasis in the middle of true African bushveld,
birdwatchers, wildlife photographers, adventurous African explorers and trophy hunters. Our luxurious African hospitality awaits you.
At Stormberg Elangeni Safaris, where over 40 species of plains game occur, we ensure your safari is professionally organized. Most safaris are from our lodges in the Kat River and Stormberg Conservancies.
the Botswana border and is renowned for its large Kalahari lion. Clayton and Sabrina will ensure clients and families have an unforgettable experience in pristine African bushveld.
Tel: +27 82 493 6216 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.elandsafaris.co.za
Tel: +27 46 622 9828 Email: email@example.com Web: www.stormberg-elangeni-safaris.com
Tel: +27 82 339 3124 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.tinashegroup.co.za
Monterra Safaris Monterra Safaris, on the Limpopo river bordering new luxury lodge, surrounded by diverse hunting areas and many animals, will give any hunter a truly memorable experience.
Tel: +27 82 610 5227 Email: email@example.com Web: www.monterrasafaris.com
Trompettersfontein Safaris Located in the Limpopo province, close to the Waterberg, Trompettersfontein Safaris offers both photographic and hunting safaris. We have special hunting permission with other neighboring ranches, and our total hunting area extends over 3000 hectares of pristine bushveld area.
Tel: +27 832 599673 Email: trompettersfonteinsafaris@ gmail.com
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African Hunting Gazette wishes to thank its advertisers for their support AHG 22.4
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Terry Wieland’s One for the Road (continued)
Okavango lions ﬁnishing breakfast. Six big male lions brought down a Cape buﬀalo bull, just behind our tent, in a terriﬁc battle in the dead of night. turns ruining each other’s stalk. I felt bad about it, as if the lions were somehow colleagues. We at least had the chop box in the safari car, whereas if they wanted lunch, they had to start over. No wonder he glared at us. The most famous case of a white man being killed by a lion was George Grey, in 1911. Grey was the brother of Sir Edward Grey, the British foreign minister, during the Great War. He was hunting lions on horseback on a farm in the Aberdares, got too close (by his own admission later), and failed to stop a charging lion with his .280 Ross. The high velocity bullet has been blamed ever since but, before he died in a Nairobi hospital, Grey said it was his own fault. Another famous story concerns Denys Finch Hatton, the well-known professional hunter and lover of Karen Blixen, who died in a plane crash in 1931. He was buried in the Ngong Hills, and it was said that for years afterwards, a lion would come and lie beside his grave, looking out over the plain. Humans have a tendency to anthropomorphize lions more than other African animals, crowning him the King of Beasts, and writing cute stories like “The Lion King.” That is, when they are not living in fear. This gives our relationship with lions a contradictory duality, and results in the kind of pro-lion, anti-lion conflict that we see in North America with wolves. My old Tswana friend had no doubt where lions fit into the scheme of things, and wanted no part of them. Generally, except for man-eaters, lions
seem to treat humans, if not as equals, at least as something interesting but inoffensive. Willy Engelbrecht was a PH in Botswana who had a great reputation as a hunter of lions, but he also liked them. Willy hated sleeping in a tent, preferring to pitch a little pup tent away from everyone else, and heating his water for tea in the morning over a small fire. One morning, he opened his eyes and looked up through the mosquito net to find a lioness sitting there, calmly looking down at him. Their noses were about a foot apart. “What did you do, Willy?” I asked. “Lay as still as I could,” he replied. “What else was there to do?” Sometimes, lions seem to like to tag along. Another PH friend of mine was clearing some roads in a concession up in Kwando, near the Caprivi Strip. They were sleeping under the stars, moving camp every day. One night, Chris woke up to find a lion sitting by the fire, staring into the coals. Just sitting there. Another time, he found a lion stretched out across one of his sleeping men, snoozing like a cat in a lap. The sleeping man was snoring away. The lion was just being sociable. As tamers of lions have found, to their cost, over the centuries, taking a lion for granted, and letting down your guard, or forgetting you are dealing with one of the most dangerous and accomplished killers on earth, may be the last thing you ever do. My last encounter was in a camp in the Okavango, the year before hunting was closed. There were lions all around – we’d find their footprints in the sand around
our tents in the morning – and walking back from the campfire after dark was a little hair-raising. One night, a herd of Cape buffalo took up residence just behind our tents, and we went to sleep to the gentle sounds of herbivores. Around one in the morning, we snapped awake to hooves pounding like thunder. The buffalo were being chased, and as the pounding faded, it was replaced by the sounds of a terrific battle – a buffalo bull, bawling and fighting for his life, and the roars of lions, all just a few yards away through the bush. We were painfully aware that we had nothing but a length of 12-oz. canvas between us and the Great Outdoors. Finally, the battle ended, and we drifted off to the relatively peaceful sound of tearing flesh, crunching bones, and lions exchanging testy growls as they sorted out who would eat where. As we later learned, there were six big male lions, hunting together. They used our camp as a screen, coming at the buffalo from between the tents in a long line, and brought down a big bull just behind my tent at the end. We drove out in the morning and found them in a clearing. Three were still eating, two were licking their paws and grooming, and one was lying on his back, all four paws in the air, sleeping it off. We stopped the safari car and watched them. They looked at us, and kept eating. That was my last memory of the Okavango as hunting country, and I couldn’t ask for better. africanhuntinggazette.com
Terry Wieland’s One for the Road
Lions, A ﬁrst encounter with a wild lion is a life-changing event. It may not seem like much at the time. Both of you may walk away unscathed. But I defy anyone to eradicate the memory. It stays with you until you die. And, in truth, you hope it will.
f all the Big Five, lions hold a fascination for human beings that is mysterious and inexplicable. Everyone acknowledges it, but no one can put their finger on exactly why. There is no single lion trait that’s exclusive to the big cat. They can be man-eaters, but so can leopards; they form family groups, but so do elephants; they can hold a grudge against humans for no apparent reason, but so do Cape buffalo.
One big difference is that humans find lions almost universally admirable – at least, humans who don’t live among them, day after day and, more critically, night after night. Every time I’m tempted into a reverie about my experiences with lions, into my head pops the voice of a Tswana friend from years ago. We somehow got talking about lions. “Lie-owns are bad,” he said, shaking his head. “Ver’ ver’ bad.” Since he had lost a cousin or two to hungry lions, and I had not, it was difficult to argue. Still, man-eating lions are rare, like the rogue humans who commit armed robbery. No one glorifies them, although the man-eaters of Tsavo gained world-wide notoriety and really put Kenya on the map. Bonnie and Clyde did much the same thing for east Texas. Although I’d been to many parts of Africa, and spent the better part of year there, in total, since 1971, I never encountered a lion in the wild until a safari in Tanzania in 1990. Driving along a narrow hillside track, we came around a turn and found a pride of lions sprawled on the road. Robin Hurt was driving, and immediately hit the brakes. 144
People have an aﬃnity for lions. Possibly it’s the fellow-feeling of carnivores, or possibly that both can be exceedingly elegant. One big-maned fellow looked at us calmly with his pale amber eyes, not 20 yards away. We backed up, Leo thought it over, and then rose and strolled into the bush. Nothing really happened (although it certainly could have) except that, at that moment, any desire I ever had to hunt lions evaporated. Like others of the Big Five, as well as the greater kudu, the lion has the power to fascinate, and some men become primarily
lion hunters. J.A. Hunter was supposedly one such; Jack O’Connor, the American writer, was another. “I have hunted the lion,” he wrote proudly after a safari in the 1950s, and the fascination stayed with him. Robert Ruark, on the other hand, hunted lions but was really fascinated by leopards. Personally, I consider myself a buffalo hunter, and would hunt mbogo in preference to almost anything else. Later on the same trip, hunting buffalo in the Okavango in Botswana, I had my second encounter with wild lions. We were tracking a herd of buffalo which had come to water during the night and withdrawn into the bush. With two trackers, my PH and I crept along, catching glimpses of black hide. For some reason, the buffalo kept spooking and thundering off. Sometimes, we knew they’d caught a whiff of us, but other times there was no explanation. Finally, they withdrew for good, leaving a cloud of dust hanging in the late-morning air as the sound of hooves faded to nothing. Hot, tired, and thirsty, we began the long trudge through the sand to the hunting car, five or six miles back. We came to a clearing, one of the dry pans that dot the Okavango, and found, lying there, a lion and a lioness. The lady jumped to her feet, but the lion just raised his head and glared at us. He wasn’t moving. We backed away and circled well around. It all became clear what had happened. While we’d been hunting one side of the buffalo herd, they were hunting the other. We had taken Continued on page 143
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African hunting magazine april may june 2017