Hi Bill I would have to say that I can agree with you on the matter of someone who starts off by hunting Dangerous game in unfenced countries.
But I am sorry to hear that you think hunting is all that easy in RSA I think that if you hunt in proper bushveld and on foot where it is easy to say that you saw a good trophy but a totally different matter to get a in to a position to shoot it. Hunting can be made easy for the wrong reasons and it would be easy to be mislead in to thinking that Hunting an animal on the back of a truck in an tree less area is hunting in RSA in general.
Sorry Bill don't what to be rude but you might have got the wrong idea on the matter thanks to your PH in South Africa.
I´m just a greenhorn with two South African farm hunts for PG on my back.
That said I have hunted moose, red deer and roe deer for more than 40 years in my local woods and wilderness.
RSA farm hunting is so different, the amount of game and species is ovehelming to one used to spot a deer or two on a good day.
I hunted Northern Limpopo, the bushveldt and the riverine bush along old Limpopo River.
My outfitter had hunting rights on several farms in the area plus his own. Some farms was rather small, other big...
Even on a rather small block along the river, it took me three days of stalking on foot to nail my waterbuck, not easy at all and it should not be!
What surprised me a bit was the PH´s.
Most of them young farm boys in their twenties.
No doubt good hunters with keen eyes who know what to look out for, but with an attitude to get it over with as fast as possible.
A kind of "competition" among them to drag most game to the skinning shed.
They loved cruising along the paths in the bakkie and the shorter the stalk the better....
On my first trip I had such a young guy as my PH, and I had to tell him to slow down as I refuse to pay my daily fee to be part of a competition.
Then he changed attitude completely, and did honestly try to do a more serious spot and stalk hunt.
Which by the way did give me an exiting afternoon stalking a small herd of blue wildebeest in dense thorn bush and finally nail the old bull.
I talked this over with the outfitter and he admitted that the PH´s he used on PG hunts, could in some instances be a bit "green".
I also got the impression that the outfitter got what he payed for regarding the quality and dedication of his PH´s.
On my second trip to the same outfitter I had the good fortune hunting with his senior PH, a farmer and Boer who could trace his family line back to the Voortrekkers.
To stalk the riverine forest along Limpopo River with that guy looking for bushbuck and waterbuck, was a PG hunt as good as it could be.
Next safari will be in 2011 and we have more or less decided for Namibia.
We are still collecting info, but do not find that Namibia are any cheaper than RSA.
I have on my list (premature) kudu, eland, zebra, black wildebeest and springbuck, which with day fees 1x1 and trophy fees cost approx $12.000 by an Namibian outfitter.
The same list by my former outfitter in RSA is $ 10.800.
We are still looking around as the prices wary, and so do the accommodation, and other stuff.
Hi Arild Iverson, I liked your input. I agree with everything but the prices for Namibia. That hunt should cost in the $6000 U.S. Dollar range...without airfare or taxidermy...give or take. And you should get a real good hunt....like your looking for...no truck driving. There are a number of outfitters I could recommend.
Bill Quimby, loved your input thought it was very smart strategy!!!
South Africa is a wonderful place to hunt, with a large number of unique game species indigenous to no place else on earth. I have hunted on properties there that are so huge I'm certain many of the animals never encountered the high fences that surround them (Rooipoort near Kimberley is one), and I've hunted others that were small enough to walk from one side to the other in a day.
I also accompanied a friend who bumped off a black wildebeest from a tower after selecting a bull from a herd of at least 500 animals. We easily could see without binoculars all four sides of the fence from a high point at the rear of the property.
In all, I've probably visited or hunted on more than three dozen places in every province of the country. I hunted most of them while guided by professional hunters, and a couple of them I simply went out with a farm worker and shot a blesbok or a springbok or two for the farmer's braai.
My experience in Namibia was limited to one huge "farm" divided into two 300,000-acre enclosures. I was thrilled to see that it still is possible to see kudu, warthog and the like on the one paved road I drove north from Windhoek, and I was pleased to see (unlike South Africa) only a few high fences from the road on the three-hour drive.
However, nowhere in South Africa, or in my limited experience with Namibia, did I find the feeling of "wildness" I've experienced in Zambia, Zimbabwe, or Botswana.
It has nothing to do with whether someone walks to hunt or shoots from the back of baakies, or whether the hunting is easy or not.
South Africa is a modern country and except for the rare places such as Rooipoort, most of its hunting takes place on high-fenced, 5,000-acre parcels with very closely managed animal populations. (At least one of the posts on an AfricaHunting.com forum talks about releasing new rams and bulls to replace those taken by hunters and "improve" genetics.)
We travel around SA comfortably on paved highways, eat in great restaurants when we're in its cities, and don't worry about drinking water from the faucets in our well-appointed hotel rooms. Most of its hunting lodges are equally comfortable and groomed. In fact, I've seen a couple that actually could compete with some posh U.S. resorts.
All of that is great, and a true indication of a first-world country, which South Africa certainly is, but it is why I suggest my friends hunt there first. They return to the States thrilled with their experiences, and wanting to return and see more of South Africa. Those who hunt South Africa late in their career talk about "collecting" this or that.
I never expected such great responses to this thread. Thank you all. It has given me lots of honest appraisals that would have otherwise been hard to come by. I've started calling a few references supplied by a couple of outfitters. It's really interesting to compare their experiences. It's also very interesting that they all view their experiences with widely variable expectations. One guy went on and on about how two of the meals during his stay weren't great. Now, I also appreciate good food a little too much myself, but I can't begin to imagine defining my hunt in those terms.
I suppose there isn't any substitute for talking to people and doing lots of reasearch about the various options.
Hi Bill sorry I did not mean for it to come out wrong.
South Africa is in a lot of aspects like you said there is not a lot of property available and it needs to be managed very effectively.
I understand your point perfectly now and would say that I agree with you if one where to hunt Zambia on a first Safari and then RSA it will not be the same experience so yes you are 100% right.
The question here is can you really compare the two?
I do not understand how there can be anything wrong with introducing new genes the animals I spoke about are all young and not trophy bulls to be shot in the same year. Have to say you really got me there I would think it is good to have a deep gene pool. You might be wrong on the replace animals shot out by hunters since we have not trophy hunted the property ever, this year was the first hunts on the property.
Originally Posted by Spiral Horn Safaris
I wasn't talking about your property, or any particular property for that matter, or even in the remotest way condemning a farm owner for wanting to improve his animal inventory. It's just that intensive wildlife management is a widespread practice on South African game farms, just as it is on many game ranches in Texas. I leave it to others to decide whether that's good or bad.
I simply recommend that my friends start with South Africa, and collect as many of its indigenous game animals as they can afford, and then move up to progressively more primitive countries and more glamorous and dangerous game for their second, third, fourth and fifth safaris. I know no one who has taken my advice who regrets it.
Those who hunted Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe or Zambia first later told me they felt hunting in South Africa was "tame" compared with the other countries they've hunted. I know what they mean, because my first African game animal was a buffalo I shot on the banks of the Zambezi in Zimbabwe in 1983.
It took seven .458 soids over a 45-minute period of tracking, shooting, tracking and shooting before it finally went down. We were mock charged daily by elephants, and there were tracks of lions and leopards everywhere we hunted. (We even saw a big tom leopard in daylight.) The conflict in Zim had been over just three years, but there still were armed bandits operating on the roads after dark. A village nearby was raided and torched by government troops while I was there. Before I left I also shot trophy-class sable and kudu, visited Victoria Falls, and caught tigerfish.
Unfortunately, that hunt in Zimbabwe ruined me for hunting in South Africa the next week when I shot a gemsbok and a springbok on the only afternoon my business schedule allowed me to go out to Anglo-American's holdings south of Kimberley. I returned to South Africa many times for business or as guest of SATOUR (the South African Tourist Department) over the next 25 years, saw a great deal of your country, hunted game on a number of places, and made many friends, but it was never the same as what I experienced on my hunts in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana.
Ok Bill might have got you wrong on the game farm thing?:confused:
I spent the whole of last years hunting season hunting all of the big 5 in Zambia so I fully understand what you mean when you say it will never be the same after hunting big 5 in those unfenced areas. I agree with you fully and would say that it is good advice on your behalf. We are fighting for the same cause Bill that I can assure you.
I think what we should take from this is that we should handle every hunt on its own merits regardless of where it is. If your ever in RSA again it will maybe be good to take a hunt up in Limpopo you might find it very deferent from the Cape.;)
I've hunted, visited friends at their farms or accompanied friends on their hunts in every South African province during 22 trips to your country.
I am quite familiar with the Limpopo River region. I accompanied a friend who took seven or eight species on Henny and Audre de Jaeger's place along the Limpopo. I also hunted blue wildebeest near Alldays and again near Vaalwater on different occasions. Later, I shot a Limpopo bushbuck not far from the northern border of the Kruger and visited a farm where lions were being raised for the trade.
I also have hunted -- unguided -- on my Arizona hunting partner's unfenced 30,000 acres along the Limpopo in the Tuli Block across the river in Botswana where elephants and lions still are plentiful.
I've seen the river when it was running bank to bank, and when there were only a few scattered pools. It's a beautiful place, but the fences on the South African side spoil its wildness for me. Even so, I enjoyed every minute of my hunts in your country. As you said, each place is different and shouldn't be compared to another.
Bill it seems like you have got a lot of experience on hunting is RSA so I am going to respect your opinion.
I can assure you that if most of the guys here could get rid of fences they would but it is just one of those things over here and we need to make the best of the situation. I still think that if a hunt is done properly on most of these property's it will be very much of a challenge.
Good talking to you Bill very interesting.
I think the fence issue began early on when the provincial nature departments in the "old" South Africa decided to create rules governing farmers who cater to foreign "tourist" hunters.
Allegedly, it was done to protect us innocents from unscrupulous outfitters, but before it was over there were rules governing minimum standards (with inspections) for such things as lodges, meals and safari equipment.
When landowners were allowed to manage the wildlife on their properties -- i.e., set their own seasons and bag limits, and release native and non-indigenous game -- if they enclosed the animals, high fences popped up everywhere and it marked the end of wildness in South Africa, at least for me.
Later, the desire to "protect" us also included rules that said we foreigners were not supposed to shoot game without a licensed PH accompanying us, no matter how much hunting experience we might have or whether dangerous game is found there.
I count myself fortunate to have hunted without guides on the farms of several of my South African friends before this above-mentioned dumb rule came about.
Bill the fence issue all started because South Africans can't share and the part of what you said contributed to it as well. Don't get me wrong on the matter I think that fences are an abomination but this is where we are and it is to late now. The wild factor is still very much alive in RSA you just need to go to the right place.
As for the whole PH issue, I can understand your point on a plains game hunt because there is a small chance of things to go wrong. If a client would like to judge his own trophy’s and stalk them alone I can't see a problem with that besides the law aspect. I would however take in to consideration the fact that some of the PH's who do hunt every day has got some experience to share. Dangerous game is a whole different matter though if you were to hunt a Buff in thick bush you might get in to trouble, when I say this I am talking out of experience no matter how smart you think you are you will never be sharper in the field with dangerous game than a guy who hunts them for a living and arrogance just get's people killed anyway. A old PH told me this once "as soon as you think you are to smart you will get bit" those are some wise words and goes without saying something all PH's hunting dangerous game think about every day.
And by the way the dumb rule is compulsory in all of the African countries that I know of?:bonk:
Well I agree to a point..............as long as it was on fenced private land and with privately owned game animals, then yes, I think that should be up to the landowner if he wants to let someone from another country hunt on their own.
On the other hand I have seen a lot of hunters over the years that could not find their own butt with both hands. Hunters who don't know which direction is what, can't understand simple terms like, "Do not cross any fence lines." or "Do not cross any roads." There are lots of guys out there who can get lost in 160 acres never mind turning them loose in 10,000 acres.
The other problem would be with hunters shooting the wrong animal. If you were a game rancher that could very well be an issue. Now with an experienced guy maybe............but then you tell the other guy there...."No you need a guide because I don't think you are experienced enough to be out there on your own." No, it is cleaner and simpler to have a blanket policy. No wounded or bruised egos to deal with.
And lastly, there is the liability issue and it is a BIG one for landowners. You would be leaving yourself wide open to watching everything you ever worked for disappear when some dolt gets himself killed through an act of stupidity or due to a lack of knowledge. And the world is a civil suit happy place. It is bad enough in that regard when the hunters are accompanied, never mind leaving yourself wide open by sending them out on their own.
If the landowner was not worried about any of the above....well then I guess it should be up to him. I wouldn't be one of the ones that would be that trusting however as I have seen way too much with clients in the last 30 years to make me comfortable with doing something like that. I have seen 'friends' sue 'friends' at the drop of a hat, and even if you have undying faith in the hunter and his loyalty you still have the hunters family to contend with after a bad accident and they will not be very 'friendly' I can assure you.
All of what you said here Kelly is very true I completely agree with you.
Thank you for solving this one for us nicely.
I've been on a few guided bird hunts here in the states and I've always wondered how the guides even dare go out with some of those guys. Pheasant hunting can get exciting and you don't have to watch too long before you get to see barrels swinging wildly all over the sky. I've also seen birdshot pass a few inches over the back of the guide's favorite dog. No thanks. The PH's problem is that he's obligated to do his job no matter what fool shows up. I think I'd have a hard time stomaching that some days.
Personally I really enjoy having a guide. There isn't any better way to find the animals, judge their size respective to the area, and execute a good stalk. Someone who knows the terrain and isn't annoying to hunt with is a friend I haven't met yet. The ones that want to turn back for the barn at 2 in the afternoon get tiresome, but they're the exception. I woudn't even dream of chasing DG without a good PH.
Bryce good comment I completely agree with you what good is hunting if you can't share it with someone ells.:thumbsup:
Originally Posted by Spiral Horn Safaris
During my early trips to South Africa a PH was not required, and it is my understanding that it is not compulsory on private land in Botswana now. Foreigners also are not required to be guided in several West African nations today.
I may be wrong, but also I think there still are auctions where a foreigner may lease certain lands in Zimbabwe and take a specified number of animals, including buffalo, without a PH.
You are absolutely correct about hunting dangerous game unguided, though. There is no way I would go after any of the Big Five without backup. After taking just one lion and one buffalo, I am smart enough to realize I don't have the experience needed to stay safe.
The information about Botswana is news to me but I find it very interesting as for hunting in West African countries that would be up to you then.
So we agree on the dangerous game matter? Taking on a DG hunt by yourself will not only be very stupid but dangerous as well this is not the movies people can get hurt badly out there and if you are in a Country like Zambia or Tanzania and you have got wounds with a lot of bleeding you would stand a better chance of dying on the spot than getting out of there alive. Most of the PH’s I know work very hard to keep up a good standard of hunting and it is a profession, just like being a lawyer so if you want to go in to a court room representing your self it is up to you:satisfied: each to his own.
Thank you Bill for your honest opinions.:giveusahug:
You are correct that good professional hunters are, well, professionals.
I would never attempt to hunt dangerous game with my limited experience with creatures that regularly kill and maim humans. That's why I always confined my do-it-myself hunts in Africa to antelopes, zebras, warthogs and birds.
It's funny, though. After making a fair living for more than a half a century first as a journalist, then as an editor and publisher, and finally as an author of international big game hunting books, I have come to consider myself to be a professional in my trade.
I am always amazed, though, at the great number of people who believe they can do what I and other outdoor writers do without a minute of training or an ounce of talent.
You must have the same feelings at times when talking with know-it-all jerks such as me.
Ha Ha Bill you are not a know-it-all jerk I agree with you on a lot of points you made in some cases more than you might think.
Being the good writer that you are makes me envious but it is one talent that I unfortunately do not possess. I must say I have met some very interesting people on this forum and love the fact that everyone has got something to say about a topic it shows passion.
Hope to hear from you again Bill very good chat.:dance: