Leopard Hunt with Sebra Hunting Safaris
Outfitter Sebra Hunting Safaris (Sebra Hunting Namibia)
PH Jan A. Duplessis
Animals taken Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Damara Dik Dik, Warthog, Kalahari Springbok, Small Spotted Genet, Black Backed Jackal and Hartmann痴 Mountain Zebra.
After my safari in 2012 for Lion and Plains Game, I made plans to do a Leopard hunt for 2013. After a bit of searching, I found an offer on AR that met my criteria. It was for a baited hunted in Namibia for 14 days. It was an all-inclusive package that included pre-baiting and the price structure was such that it put more emphasis on the trophy fee than the daily rate. To me, it showed that the Outfitter also had a vested interest in getting the trophy. This was important to me as Leopard hunting is a lot of hard work on the Outfitter痴 part and the home work starts well before the hunter even shows up, to help improve the chances of taking a trophy. Sadly, this time, my wife could not join me for the hunt as she was visiting family.
As I am temporarily living in Singapore and all my firearms are still in the US, I decided to rent rifles from the outfitter. Last year I actually flew back to the US to pick up my guns, but it had a lot to do with the fact that I wanted to take the lion with my double. I did not have the same inclination about the leopard, so any bolt gun would do for me. Also I did not want to deal with the extra travel.
When I first got there, there were three leopards already on bait, two of which were good size toms from looking at the tracks. We set up a blind on one that looked most promising. The rifle I was using was Jan痴 404 Jeffery with a 1-5X 28mm Leopold scope. We sat in the blind for two nights and it was apparent that the cat had moved on. He had fed there for 5 consecutive nights before I showed up.
On the third day, the other baits had gone cold too and only one female feeding actively. So, we decided to try our luck with spotted hyenas. We had seen some tracks and decided to sit by a waterhole. We did not get very lucky, but did see a lot of Gemsboks coming in. The hard drought this year made the animals very skittish and they were spending a lot of time up in the hills, where there still had food. A lot of them had even become somewhat nocturnal.
On the fourth day, one of Jan痴 friends found a leopard kill. We checked it out and it looked very promising, so we set up another blind at a convenient location about 70 yds away. We came in to the blind in the afternoon and waited for the cat. He did not show up till late evening and problem struck. Even though I could see certain movements the cat made, I could not clearly make out the entire body or the crosshairs in the low light conditions. He fed for a good 3-5 mins before fleeing and the whole time I could not really take a shot. Neither Jan, nor I was very happy with what happened. It was my fault for not checking the equipment in low light actual shooting condition.
Next day, Jan managed to get me another rifle with a 3-9X 56mm Leopold scope. I was thinking the bigger bell would gather more light and help me see better. Bar that, I could try to zoom in such that I would have more of the vitals in my scope to take a calculated shot, even if I could not see the crosshairs exactly. This was new to me. I don稚 have problem with my eyes or wear glasses. I have hunted at night before, though not extensively. I had used an illuminated reticle and had no issues with it.
So, we went back the next afternoon, hoping the cat would come back. He came back a little later than the previous night and this time I could see through the scope much better. He went down exactly where he sat. The bullet had passed diagonally between the neck and shoulder and exited out the end of the rib cage on the far side. It had taken out heart as well as parts of the lungs. Big celebration in the camp tonight. He was 6ft 4in long and weighed 125 lbs.
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Next couple of days, we tried hard for zebra without any luck. We also tried for the Dik Dik and ended up taking a really mature old male. He was blind in one eye and his left horn was worn down about 1/2in more than the right. He was definitely a prized trophy for me. One of the days, I ended up falling on one of the hills, when a boulder I stepped on let loose and I was lucky I fell to the side and the boulder did not run over me, as that would have definitely broken some bones. I did hyperextend my left shoulder and lost most movement on it for a few days. In fact, it is still very sore as I type this.
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I also ended up taking a very nice spotted hyena. This was what I wanted the most besides the leopard. Difficult to sometimes get them both at the same hunt, as they are most active during different phases of the moon. Anyhow, I actually ended up taking him in daylight, which again is not very common.
Over the next few days, I took a Genet, warthog and a Kalahari Springbok. The Kalahari Springboks have bigger bodies and horn that their South African cousins I was pretty happy with all these trophies. The one I was having the most difficulty connecting with was the zebra. Over the day, we estimated that we had climbed and walked about 30 miles for them. Walking was not difficult, but the climbing over loose rocks had its challenges for a flatlander like myself.
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Finally on the last day of the hunt, at about the last hour, we ended up getting on an old stallion and taking him. From the shot, it took us about 3-4 hours to actually retrieve him, as there was no ready access for vehicles to the area. In fact, if we didn稚 have the Unimog, not sure how much longer it would have taken.
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All in all, I am very happy with the hunt and the results speak for themselves. All the animals taken (that have a category in SCI) will make the SCI record books. Due to the drought, the plains game were a little more difficult. Leopard is as much luck as hard work. I would highly recommend Jan to any hunter looking to take a Leopard. He has access to a large amount of hunting area and during my time hunting there, saw multiple signs of leopard activity throughout the property.