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Economy destroying the hunting industry in South Africa.

This is a discussion on Economy destroying the hunting industry in South Africa. within the Hunting Africa forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; Excellent thread, alot of different insight on this subject. I am 42 years old and have longed for Africa since ...

  1. #21
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    Excellent thread, alot of different insight on this subject.

    I am 42 years old and have longed for Africa since I was 20, I'm sure after I go this year I will continue to go back, time and time again, until I can no longer squeze the trigger ( around my 110th birthday ) so I know I will always go with a reputable company. So one of you guys will always be getting my money. lol.

    Frederik, I hope no offence was taken, and Goodnight sleep well. Scott

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    Hi Frederik
    many thanks for your rant about my post !
    Without appearing to be rude I would like to make a couple of points .
    I have invested 10's of millions in Rands into South Africa and have created 25 jobs on my farm .I currently spend in excess of 2million rand per year on running costs ,all of which goes into the local community through wages,shops , businesses etc.
    I have invested heavily in breeding up my herds and trying to regenerate badly eroded areas and have spent large sums on grass seed and water pumps etc.
    I now have achieved my aim of having a nearly fully stocked game farm but do not wish it to become overstocked .Therefore I wish to do some management culling.

    Are you seriously suggesting that I get dictated to as to how much I charge .

    My costs are fixed and I am happy to charge reasonable prices because I WANT the animals to be culled THIS YEAR .
    I HAVE a house that sits empty for 6 months a year I WANT people to use it and feel that $300 per person in midwinter is a fair price .

    I obviously cannot cull hundreds of animals every year ,that is why by the forums rules I posted this in the special offers section.
    Why should you tell me what I can and can't do on my own farm ,if this is your attitude to business I seriously fear for yours.I have set up over 20 succesful companies in my life and my ethos is always to offer value and make sure any business deal is a win win for both sides,this is all I am trying to do in this case.

    My ulterior motive is also that these hunters may wish to return and shoot my trophy animals at a premium and bring their families and friends at a later date which is called 'product promotion',without as you say spending 100's of thousands of Rand on game fairs in the US. This is called the impact of the internet,perhaps you could cut your promotional costs and therefore you can reduce your prices and have more clients and in the long run make more money.

    There is always more than one way to run a business and I wish you luck with yours.

    Best wishes

    Tom
    Tom Buchan
    THALA Private Game Reserve - Eastern Cape, South Africa
    thala@telkomsa.net
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    Biltong Hunting - now there is an angle nobody in the US has considered! The rest of this thread is between you SA guys as we have no cultural or economic interest in the biltong hunting market. However, the numbers are impressive.

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    Tom, your points are well taken. It shows you have a lot of business sense. And I wish you the best of luck in running your operation. Your post shows you really do care about your hunting operation.

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    CapeHunter,

    I'm sorry to say but the biltong industry is going really well up here in the north you are just hanging around the wrong people sounds like the Cape as gone soft. So come on move up north and have a ball.
    As you stated yourself a lot of places dont wnat you to hunt alone on their places one of the reasons must be that they have enough hunters not too worry about a single hunters. I see that happening quite a bit up here as well places stating minimum of 2 hunters but they are open to discussion especially if instead you book 5 days instead of just a weekend.
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    Tom,

    I'm sorry if you took the post as a personal attack but going trough the forum you will see there was a couple more deals that was just too good to be true and I used your post as an example so sorry about that.

    You obviously have done very well for yourself but may I ask if you hunt yourself ?
    My post was just to bring a point up and with it I have gotten the answers that I seeked this is also after all a forum that anybody can access and if you don’t want to have any feedback on any of your postings do not post them.

    Then if you are struggling to sell the quota why not open your place up to a person like CapeHunter who is in search of a new hunting areas ? Or get some of the local outfitters from the area to bring some of their clients for a bonus add on hunt to their trophy hunts. I would be on top of your deal in a minute if I was close by as I have one or two clients who do come to shoot 1-2 trophies each trip and then management animals.

    All I was trying to say was are we seeing a crash in the hunting industry with game being sold to hunters below market value ?

    Send me an email anyway maybe we can fly down and bring two clients in one go and do a hunt over there.

    Hope this incident hasn’t soured your taste for the wonderful forum we have here.

    Regards
    Frederik Cocquyt, Outfitter and Professional Hunter
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    Hi Frederic
    Your reply has proved my point . 'I would be on top of your deal in a minute if I was close by as I have one or two clients who do come to shoot 1-2 trophies each trip and then management animals.'

    This is exactly what I was hoping for .If you can see a margin for yourself at these prices then I am very happy to discuss your bringing clients here and we would both win !!

    To answer your question as to whether I hunt ,the answer is not very much .I just can't seem to get excited about rifle shooting although I have shot a few animals .I have to say my passion is bird shooting and I travel all over the world to shoot birds but wouldn't walk 500 yards to shoot a Kudu !
    Yet in the past 2 years I have had over 100 friendsfrom England hunt animals for the first time and these people will go home tell their friends and hopefully return one day bringing more people into the hunting fraternity thus boosting all our businesses !


    That said I dont wish to open my game reserve to every Tom Dick or Harry to come and blast my animals ,I am looking for ethical hunters /outfitters who I hope by treating them with respect and giving them a good deal they will in turn respect my animals,my farm and my home .


    best wishes

    Tom
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    This does sound like a win win situation for the both of you, it just goes to show that good can come out of talking about something as well as maybe a good business relationship.

    I understand both sides of the coin here.

    Good luck Tom and Frederik (miskien drink jul nog n bier saam)!

    Best Regards
    Louis van Bergen
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    Hi Frederik,

    Yip, I agree, just looking at the numbers, Biltong hunting is doing extremely well. I was just looking at the average age of the SA hunter and for a fact less and less younger hunters coming through, what will happen in 15/20 years if this bread and butter segment gets dramatically less. The bit about me hunting alone was just to make the point that it feels to me that your average farmer isn't too concerned about shrinking numbers of future hunters. I've got to a point where I'm too scared to enquire about bookings for myself and maybe 2or3 friends that wants to learn/are interested, because the guys advertising in SA Hunter, Magnum etc, make you feel like an idiot/inferior when enquiring, even though our generation are the big spenders and long term future of our sport.

  10. #30
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    This has been a fantastic topic. Hits on several valid points.
    My .02:

    1. There are many ways to market an Outfitter/PH/landowner. You can go to the sportsman shows (Reno, Dallas, etc) and sit at a booth with 500 other outfitters trying to prove your item is different and better OR you can offer a fair priced package online or through print media directly to your target client and get hunters on the ground. They have a good time and then bring their friends and their friends, etc. I think the internet and these websites have opened up an exchange of information that can be extremely focused and profitable.

    2. I think this offer is a great sign of the times. It is a landowner who has managed a property to a point where he wants to remove some surplus and generate a bit of interest in his operation. It is these individuals who will survive the economic storm. They have an actual financial interest in their farm and their animals. NOT from just hunting/killing the animal. Just as a concession holder in TZ might be concerned about his property, so will a landowner in RSA. I have a problem with some PH's who have nothing but a truck(bakkie) and want to hop around farms shooting with clients with little thought given to their actions for the landowner or herd age structure, etc. Increase the body count, increase the trophy fee mentality.

    3. I am not being personal about any particular outfitter here at all, but i think those outfitters owned by more than one PH will have a heck of a time staying alive in the current market. I know outfitters who have three and four (!!) "partners", all with an economic interest in the company. I think those companies will have an extremely difficult time in the current economy. It's just a lot of hands in the cookie jar.

    4. I think a lot of you might be missing the point of the "cull" offer. It is clearly a cull hunt but the main motive is to get hunters on his property. Genius. You tell me a guy is going to come over from America, Australia, etc on a cull hunt and only shoot cull animals!?!? Hell no! He is going to shoot a few impala ewes and a wildebeest cow and then look at a giant impala ram, a big kudu, etc and decide right then and there that he wants to take one as well!

    And for those of you who are above a "cull hunt" in your mentality, that is fine with me! I will take a cull hunt anyday of the week. My trophy room is getting full and i really cherish the experience of hunting africa more than the actual foam taxidermy form on my wall.
    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOM View Post
    This has been a fantastic topic. Hits on several valid points.
    My .02:

    1. There are many ways to market an Outfitter/PH/landowner. You can go to the sportsman shows (Reno, Dallas, etc) and sit at a booth with 500 other outfitters trying to prove your item is different and better OR you can offer a fair priced package online or through print media directly to your target client and get hunters on the ground. They have a good time and then bring their friends and their friends, etc. I think the internet and these websites have opened up an exchange of information that can be extremely focused and profitable.

    2. I think this offer is a great sign of the times. It is a landowner who has managed a property to a point where he wants to remove some surplus and generate a bit of interest in his operation. It is these individuals who will survive the economic storm. They have an actual financial interest in their farm and their animals. NOT from just hunting/killing the animal. Just as a concession holder in TZ might be concerned about his property, so will a landowner in RSA. I have a problem with some PH's who have nothing but a truck(bakkie) and want to hop around farms shooting with clients with little thought given to their actions for the landowner or herd age structure, etc. Increase the body count, increase the trophy fee mentality.

    3. I am not being personal about any particular outfitter here at all, but i think those outfitters owned by more than one PH will have a heck of a time staying alive in the current market. I know outfitters who have three and four (!!) "partners", all with an economic interest in the company. I think those companies will have an extremely difficult time in the current economy. It's just a lot of hands in the cookie jar.

    4. I think a lot of you might be missing the point of the "cull" offer. It is clearly a cull hunt but the main motive is to get hunters on his property. Genius. You tell me a guy is going to come over from America, Australia, etc on a cull hunt and only shoot cull animals!?!? Hell no! He is going to shoot a few impala ewes and a wildebeest cow and then look at a giant impala ram, a big kudu, etc and decide right then and there that he wants to take one as well!

    And for those of you who are above a "cull hunt" in your mentality, that is fine with me! I will take a cull hunt anyday of the week. My trophy room is getting full and i really cherish the experience of hunting africa more than the actual foam taxidermy form on my wall.
    First of all not in response to you Tom A., but I echo the sentiments that this is a great thread. Controversial for sure, but also polite. I believe this to be something that distinguishes this forum from others. I am on a number of forums, not just hunting related, and when controversial issues come up they seem to inevitably break down into personal pissing matches. It ultimately ruins the discussion of the topic and it becomes boring. Anyway, I appreciate these discussions and the civility with which they're conducted.

    In response to Tom A., on your first point I do agree mostly. The internet has done wonders for communication and is a great tool for planning a safari. However, I would not encourage either prospective hunters or the safari operators to depend on it alone. There is something about meeting a person face to face at the shows that can't be replaced by the internet or even the phone alone. It's an even better meeting if you also get to talk to repeat clients that may be at the show. Armed with the right questions to determine the style of hunting, the personality of the PH, etc. is just something that works better in a direct meeting in my opinion. For the operator I think it also beneficial as they get a chance to feel out the type of hunter they're booking which would help lessen the time req'd for this at the start of the hunt.

    On point 4, I couldn't agree more. There is no way I'm going to take the time and go through the effort to go to Africa to shoot females or immature males of just about any species (save for a possible tuskless ele or lioness, but that's another story). To the offer that the other Tom has made, quite frankly I'm not interested. There's only so many trips I'm going to make to Africa in my lifetime, I'm going to try and make the best of each one I take. It's not a bad offer or anything, it just doesn't hold interest for me.

    There is nothing wrong with cull hunting, it's part of good management practice and adherence to the principle of carrying capacity. I'm willing to partake in this myself. I just dropped off my AZ elk application and my 2nd choice hunt is for a cow tag. But that's different I live here. If I wasn't from the U.S. and wanted to come to America to hunt elk, it sure would only be for a bull.

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    Tom Adellman brings a lot of good points up. The internet does educate you to all the hunts out there and how much they cost. And the great thing about the internet...is all the great people you meet...and can chat with. Yes, there are bad apples out there but hey it can happen anywhere. Point 2 & 3 that he makes is awesome advice...I would reread those comments if I was new to hunting Africa! And point 4 is good, cull hunts are teasers to the bigger action out there!

    Phoenix Phil made a lot of great points too. I think meeting a outfitter in person is invalueable!!! That being said, it's not 100 percent necessary.

    My next hunt in Africa...will be with a solid outfitter. They are not going to cut corners...with me. I'm willing to pay the price to hunt with someone who is a cut above the rest of the competition. If I go to Mozambique or Zimbabwe....I'll save my money up and get a great outfitter....vacation time should be spent with a top quality PH. The phrase "buy nice or buy twice" rings a bell tone with me.

    "There is nothing wrong with cull hunting, it's part of good management practice and adherence to the principle of carrying capacity. I'm willing to partake in this myself. I just dropped off my AZ elk application and my 2nd choice hunt is for a cow tag. But that's different I live here. If I wasn't from the U.S. and wanted to come to America to hunt elk, it sure would only be for a bull. " Phil's quote here sums up my hunting style. I like my freezer full of wild game! And locals take advantage of every possible way of filling the freezer. But if I travel a long distance...I'm hunting for horns!

    Just more than 2 cents worth!

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    I am delighted that Tom Addleman and several others can see the point I was trying to make .Being English I have to admit that I struggle to appreciate how a couple of inches on a Kudu horn can make or break a holiday ,but then I am sure that many of you won't see the point of shooting 500 pheasants in a day and paying $5000 dollars each with nothing to stick on your wall afterwards.
    I fully appreciate that my offer is not something that neccesarily appeals to the American hunter and is more in line with the European market whose hunters like to come and hunt animals and are not interested in paying $2000 to pull the trigger on for instance an Eland if they are not going to keep the horns ,they would rather hunt 5-6 Eland for the same price the only difference being the size of the horns .
    I fully agree that there is nothing like face to face interaction in meeting your outfitter or proffesional hunter but personal reccomendations from friends and fellow hunters are probably more meaningful.
    I personally feel as Tom mentioned these outfitters/ph's who feel obliged to travel to the USA or Russia or Europe to get clients are risking their businesses by spending so much of their capital in finding clients and then have to charge heavy prices to cover their costs so it is a lose lose scenario from the business sense.Do the hunters all realise that they are maybe paying $1000 + for the privelege of meeting their outfitter face to face .That $1000 does not go to the outfitter
    It would be interesting as to how much of every $1000 spent on hunting by Americans in South Africa stays in South Africa and is not spent on Airlines and hotels trying to get you to come in the first place.
    I appreciate that many hunters are going to be suspicious of low prices and in many cases quite rightly so,however it is in my interest to give any hunter the best possible hunting experience even if it is not very profitable for me in the first couple of years to help me build up a client base and gain an excellent reputation [which it has amongst my friends but then they don't have to pay !!]
    My view is that a bad hunting experience in South Africa will far outweigh a good one in terms of goodwill and future clients for all of us and I would be mortified if anyone did not have one of their best hunting experiences at my farm.

    'You get what you pay for' seems to be the common line of thinking . I would go so far as to say that I am offering more than what you pay for and am happy to do so to help build my businesses reputation and increase the value of my asset.



    Tom Buchan
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  14. #34
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    a great topic indeed. there seems to be 2 very different view points here. some hunters come to africa for trophys and some do not seem to mind taking nice representative animals. there is a lot more to hunting than inches. to myself, i enjoy meeting new hunters, hunting different land, walking and stalking,and hunting different methods. sitting around the campfire at night ,looking at the stars and having a beverage and talking of the days hunt. this is what hunting is all about. the hunting market in africa is saturated with outfitters right now, and with the economy the last several years, some will not survive. i have just returned from a hunting show and spoke with many outfitters. because of the economy, many have had very few hunters for several years and therefore, their game numbers have exploded. these cull hunts are a way of dealing with these animals. tom addleman made a very good point stating that a hunter who comes on a cull hunt will most certainly take a few trophys as well. this is a very smart marketing ploy. my friend owns a pub, on football nights he offers wings at cost to bring in the customers. while watching the game and eating wings, they are drinking beer, therefore making him money. if nobody is in his pub, then he makes nothing. these cull hunts also bring in a different clientele. myself and friends are blue collar workers. i have no kids, so i can afford to hunt africa. my friends who are married with kids find it almost impossible with todays economy to be able to hunt africa. i showed them how affordable some of these hunts were when mixing the cull hunt and guess what, 6 of us are going this year. some are taking their families as well. these hunts open the door to a lot of hunters who would not have otherwise been able to partake in such an adventure. and these hunters are not worried about taking home record book animals. they look at my eastern cape kudu and they see a beautiful animal that they want on their wall as well. it is only 46 inches, but it is as beautiful as a kudu far beyond that. my point is, some people come to hunt trophy class animals and some come for vacation and to experience a fantastic hunt regarless of inches. to the business owners, this makes great sense.and is a great business idea. us blue collar workers are getting more bang for our buck on these hunts and these busineses are bringing in people that would not be coming otherwise. we are not looking to shoot countless animals, but throwing in a few cull animals with a few trophys makes for a great hunt.

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    We have been selling management hunts and animals for last 4 years especially to European clients and yes the economy is bad but to sell animals at below market value is like giving away chicken wings away for less than cost yes it brings business but it cannot last for long.

    My biggest worry basically was if game looses value they will be replaced by domestic animals with more value.
    Lets hope for a quick turn around in the economy it would help all.
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  16. #36
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    Recreation and discretionary income.

    This honestly really has nothing to do with the hunting industry, it simply has to do with the business of discretionary income and how someone can compete for those dollars especially in a down market. There is no big secret to the fact that everyone in these businesses are working harder for the same dollar and surviving on significantly less. Anyone who thinks this will turn around soon I fear is in for a rude awakening.

    This situation is going on everywhere. wether you sell boats, vacations, meals, clothing, snowmobiles, scuba trips, vacation homes, or a hunting safari is irrelevant. Some of these industries are down 60+percent and the competition is getting tough.The safari industry as well as any other recreation industry has to remember. The other people in your industry are not your biggest competition, in fact collectively they may be what is saving your own operation by continuously advertising and keeping your industry alive in peoples minds.

    The amount of discretionary money a family may now have is less. So as they sit at the kitchen table and discuss what to do with what they have that will benefit the entire family, is a hunting safari the first thing that comes to mind? Is it even on the list? How can you personally get your business on the list. Why are the exclusive spa adult resorts around the globe hurting, why is Vegas hurting while Disney and the all inclusive family resorts a booming business.

    Diversity certainly is a very important part of any operation. Offering cull hunts, non trophy hunts, or anything else you have never offered before may certainly be a way to ad a small amount to your bottom line, but I think its time for you to look at the bigger picture. How can you compete with family resorts, the camping trailer industry, dad buying a Harley etc. How can you best get a family to dream of taking a vacation together in Africa? Can you imagine if every child and wife was bugging there husband to take a trip to Africa? People want an adventure and they want to share it with others, especially with there family.

    I have been to some hunting concessions in RSA that were as beautiful as some of the island resorts that we have gone to. Imagine a web site that focused on promoting Hunting, but also spending quality time afield with your family. Horseback riding or Atv's among the wildebeest. Zip lining above the giraffes or reading a good book by the pool. We will find the best activities to entertain your family while you are in the field. Pizza in an outdoor oven, African cooking classes, the African bush spa, etc.

    The bottom line is anyone in business needs to be focused on there own business and what they are doing instead of someone else and what they are doing or charging. Be the first to come up with an exciting idea that appeals to people that may be thinking of spending there money elsewhere. Consider advertising to a group of individuals that others in your industries are not. Let the folks without an imagination compete for the same dollars while you have your own private market.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting a different outcome.

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    Well said Bushbuck!

  18. #38
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    Frederik, I don't see how cattle, goats and sheep can be good business in Africa. Now I may be terribly wrong. But having grown up as a farmer. Just looking at Namibia and South Africa land. It grows better gemsbok, springbok, kudu, impala and everything else than any cattle will ever grow over there. They are suited for the land. Growing cattle for meat over there...can't be very profitable. They need a lot of water and protein to grow fast....my family is still in the beef business. And there isn't much meat on a sheep or goat. And raising chickens or ostrichs doesn't take that much land.

    I still think raising wildlife for meat...is best for the land and the pocket book at the end of the day. And I think properly managed should at least meet paying the bills.

  19. #39
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    Enysse,

    If you compare your food prices against ours with compariritive income you will be shocked Beef is expensive lamb even more so. Yes it might look easier to breed game but over the years the cattle have also been bred to handle the extremes.

    And with the growing population in Africa if you grow food you make very good money. Also venison is only now slowly starting to be seen at homes as regular meals. You give the choice to someone to have beef or venison and they will go for the beef.
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  20. #40
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    Hello Enysse,

    How are you my friend hope all is well with you. Just wanted to say you are totally correct regarding that cattle and sheep business in SA but you must be very careful because this depends on where in SA you farm with your cattle and sheep. I wish i could take you to some cattle farms around the free state and northern cape some of my friends there are extremely wealthy farmers. Regarding sheep in the Karoo i know people that have over 20 K hectares they farm mainly with sheep and these folks kids , kids probably never have to work in their lives again :- ) However if you farm in places like eastern cape lots of rain which equals diseases and natural predators so its a headache to farm there and the terrain is hard too not mentioning the sea air the eats your fences up !!.. Eastern cape , Natal , Western Cape are perfect for fruit farmers. But let me tell you the biggest problem farmers are having is livestock theft with all the natural problems and stock theft many farmers gave up in some areas. Bots , Nam very good for cattle in certain areas too.

    On the other hand yes venisons price has gone up a lot ....so if some offers a good daily rate and need some of his game to be culled and then makes money off the daily rate plus the animals price at action and then finally gets cash for the meat too .. its a win win ;-)

    cheers...

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