I'm sorry to hear about this story. My wife and I went on our first safari in September of 2011. I had been doing a lot of internet research and reading books - mostly Boddington. We attended DSC in January 2011. We talked with Wendell Reich, Peter Thormahlen, Joof Lamprecht, Andrew Dawson and others. I believe hunting with through any of these would have been a good experience. We ended up being the winning bidder on the Hunt & Fish trip that Chifuti and Safari Classics had donated. Several things made me comfortable purchasing that hunt: 1) References, 2) All funds held in the US, 3) Final payment handled by Safari Classics in the US after we returned which eliminated the need to bring a larger amount of cash with us, and 4) the people we met (Andrew, Tamela, Dave, etc.). We stayed at AfricaSky in Joberg for our overnight.
Everything went fabulously and we were rewarded with the experience of a lifetime and fortunately the trophies are on the wall. The extra bonus for us was to have Owain Lewis as our PH and meeting his wife Robbie in camp. Ann and I spent time with Robbie and their son Rowain in Dallas this past January and reminisced of how he touched our lives. We were also surprised and delighted to see the owners of Africa Sky at DSC as well. In the end, although the trophies are important. For us, the people and relationships we built in our time there are what last. The loss of that part of the experience for Jamie is the more significant and unfortunate aspect of what he and his hunting companions experienced.
Good luck to you Jamie in getting this resolved. And, if not, follow your own words of advice and the Lord's direction. Look at your pictures and the wonderful memories you have with your buddies. And remember that the rest is just stuff and that doesn't define you.
Back to one of my original questions- is there a 6 month expiration on the export permit for a lion and if so what can be done/ needs to be done after the 6 month window?