Bela Hidvegi, Big Game Hunter


Bela Hidvegi with Warthog hunted in Tanzania. SCI number 6 and Tanzania record.


Bela Hidvegi with Bongo hunted in Cameroon

The international hunter and businessman Bela Hidvegi was born in 1936 in the small Hungarian town of Nagyszenas. In 1956, at the age of 20, he left the country and the Agricultural Academy of Keszthely, and continued his studies in England. He earned a degree in food engineering and lived abroad for many years. At the beginning of the 1970s, he started to work for a well known American food industry company as their marketing director, began to build strong ties once again with the agricultural and food industries in his native Hungary. His name is closely associated with sweet corn agro-industrial production. During this time he became acquainted with the legendary English gun manufacturing companies and through his connections he was able to purchase Purdey and Holland and Holland guns at very reasonable prices, he had them reconditioned by craftsmen and sold them with a profit during hunts that he organised in Hungary. This allowed him to start his own gun collection and to travel further and further to hunt. During this time he hunted small and big game in Spain, Austria, the Czech Republic and Transylvania as well as his native Hungary and his second home Great Britain. At the beginning of the 90's, he experienced his first African Safari and he has never been able to break free from the spell of that Continent.


Bela Hidvegi with Dwarf Buffalo hunted in CAR


Bela Hidvegi with Gerenuk hunted in Tanzania

He returns yearly and often twice yearly to hunt his favourite species, especially the Spiral Horned Antelopes. His trips have taken him to savannas of Tanzania, the mountainous wilderness of Ethiopia, the Lake Kariba region of Zimbabwe, the Zambezi Delta, the hot and humid rain forests of Central African Republic and Cameroon, the grassy plains and bush lands of South Africa and in the marshes of Zambia to name a few. He trekked in Alaska as far as the Brooks Range and the boundless wilderness of the north and in the Rocky Mountains in North America.


Bela Hidvegi with Leopard hunted in Tanzania. 176 pound Leopard.


Bela Hidvegi with Lion hunted in Tanzania

In Asia he started in the Pamirs with its snowy wilderness at 6000 meters and to the Altai Mountains in Mongolia. In Pakistan he hunted in the Hindu Kush, Karakuram and the Himalayas for two months. Further hunts took him to Iran where few travellers venture and where he hunted various species of sheep. All this was accomplished at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century in the classic and traditional style of hunting and in the spirit of the great hunters who came before him. During the second half of the 80s, he once again settled in Hungary and brought with him his unrivalled trophy collection - the souvenirs of his amazing hunting past.


Bela Hidvegi with Mountain Nyala hunted in Ethiopia. SCI number 10.


Bela Hidvegi with Roan hunted in Tanzania

He has graciously made a gift of his collection to the Natural History Museum of Hungary and is now exhibited at the Helikon Castle Museum in Keszthely. The fantastic collection, with hundreds of trophies of which more then 170 alone come from outside his hunts in Europe, has a number of unique trophies. These include a large maned lion, the timid, elusive bongo, all three types of sitatunga from deep in the African marshes,a rare bay duiker whose trophy, one decade later, is still a world record, a gold medal Mountain Nyala, a giant eland, and a warthog with its 18 inches tusks.


Bela Hidvegi with Sitatunga hunted in Zambia


Bela Hidvegi with Lord Derby Eland hunted in CAR

He has successfully hunted a huge Alpine Ibex, a Giant Forest Hog, a Marco Polo ram with 62.5 inch horns, a huge argali and three subspecies of markhor together with many others. One of the trophies in the collection remains a world record while 25 others are listed among the Safari Club International top ten. n 2007, Hidvegi was awarded the SCI's most prestigious price,the World Hunting Award Ring ,while in 2009 he was recipient of the Ovis Club's (first among sheep and goat hunting organisations) prestigious "Triple Slam" award. He is perhaps proudest of the latter award,since to win this award, one needs to take one of each of the North American Sheep ( Grand Slam), and the same for the rest of the world sheep ( Ovis World Slam),and finally the world goats( Capra World Slam). The three together comprise the Triple Grand Slam and to date only about four European hunters have been able to accomplish this feat. He has also been twice the recipient of one of the Carlo Caldesi Awards, considered the top for the world's mountain hunters. is trophy collection, spanning the wildlife of six continents with more then 150 life-size pieces set in their authentic habitats, is not just one of the world's richest and most attractive collection: the collection of a seasoned hunter plays a significant role in being a fine example to emulate for the younger generation and starting hunters and as a fine teaching tool for educators.


Bela Hidvegi with Bay Duiker hunted in Cameroon. Rowland Ward number 1. SCI number 1 World record.


Bela Hidvegi with Yellow-backed Duiker hunted in Cameroon

The trophy is the greatest reward for a hunter. It is like a gold medal in other sports. Behind a valuable trophy are the struggles and the tensions, the ordeal involved, the exceptional sacrifices also from the part of the family, and of course the successes that come along too: all these make up the whole hunting experience.


Bela Hidvegi with Forest Sitatunga hunted in Cameroon. SCI number 7.


The Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Ullmann Award, Mr. Norbert Ullmann, left, presenting the 4th and highest echelon award to Mr. Bela Hidvegi in March 2010.

Hidvegi has published two books: "Hunting Dreams" and "As a Hunter on the Peaks". He has also 3 DVD films: " I had a Dream", "My Mountain hunts", and a documentary film "From the Wild to the Museum" His name is inextricably tied to the Hungarian branch of SCI as well as to his activities with Nimrod Safari magazine. Hidvegi is still hunting today.

Africa Diorama at the Keszthely Hunting Museum by Bela Hidvegi

Trophy collection in Festetics Castle, spanning the wildlife of six continents with more then 150 life-size pieces set in their authentic habitats, is not just one of the world's richest and most attractive collection: the collection of a seasoned hunter plays a significant role in being a fine example to emulate for the younger generation and starting hunters and as a fine teaching tool for educators.












Monish