How involved do you want to be in your safari?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Diamondhitch, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    I saw this link in an old thread about what people want in a hunt. It got me thinking, what do people really want? I am sure some people want to be catered to to this degree but how much assistance do you guys really want from your PH?

    Personally I would be offended if my PH kept treating me like had no idea what I was doing every time we spotted, stalked and set up on an animal. the first time or 2 sure, I mean he has to get a feel for his client but after that he should know how much assistance his client wants or needs and how involved in the hunt he wants to be. I like to be part of the action from spotting, planning a stalk, setting up and picking my shot. I appreciate the knowledge and assistance the PH can provide but do not want to be coddled to anywhere near the degree described here below in a "A Typical Hunting Day".

    What do you guys think?



    A Typical Hunting Day

    Our hunting objectives for the following hunting day will be discussed around the campfire each night. Your wake-up knock on the door will be between 05:30 to 06:00 every morning. A full breakfast will then be served in the breakfast room.

    The hunting vehicle with your PH will wait for you. Your PH will again then have a discussion with you on the plans for the day. The hunting vehicle will take you to the area where you are going to hunt for the day. This trip could take usually about half hour to an hour.

    Game will either be spotted from the vehicle or you might just walk through a designated area where we know the game species that you are interested in hunting, occur in abundance. You will be informed if a trophy has been spotted. The stalk then will commence. The stalk can take up to three to four hours, depending on the terrain or the density of wildlife you have to pass before getting in a shooting position for your trophy.

    The PH will inform you when you are in a shooting position, after which he will then erect the shooting sticks, move in behind you in order to give clear directions of where exactly your trophy is. After confirmation from the hunter that the indicated animal is in sight, your PH will then request you to take the shot.

    If you have been successful (90% success rate) with the shot, you will move to the trophy, ensuring it is dead. After all the excitement and congratulations to one another, the trophy will then be set up for trophy pictures.

    The trophy will then be taken to the camp/lodge. The staff will congratulate you on the hunt. Slaughtering instructions will then be given to the slaughtering team after consultation with you. Your trophy will be slaughtered according to your instruction and immediately be tagged with your name and trophy hunting permit number reflected on the tags.
     
  2. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I understand that an experienced PH has lots to teach me when it comes to hunting in Africa.
    But from the moment an animal is spotted by me or the PH and I decide I want to try to stalk it to get a shot, I want to be in front and make the decisions.
    I am not to proud to ask for advice if I feel unsure about what to do, but I want it to be my call.

    I don't want the PH to do the hunting for me and my job is mostly to do the shooting.
    I want the success or failure of a stalk depend on what I decide and what I do.

    I also much more prefer to be mad at myself for ruining a stalk than feeling that it was the PH that ruined it:p

    Often I see videos of people hunting in Africa and they have lots of people with them during a stalk.
    That would drive me mad.
     
  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Pretty generic description of every PH's job presented in some promo literature for a first timer, I'd guess.
    The control/decision making in this description is pretty high. Hence your expressed concern.

    Level of confidence and knowledge play a key role. As you say yourself, "for the first couple of animals sure". The PH has to get a feel for you and develop a working relationship in the field. In some cases your life and his depend on it. (I know you know that)

    "You will be informed if a trophy has been spotted" The language leaves me a bit off.
    How to interpret this,
    Scenario 1) "Pst, there is a Kudu!!!!"; or
    Scenario 2) You sit and wait for the PH and tracker to do the hunting for you (Spotting, stalking, trophy estimation) and let you know when to execute the selected target. NOT FOR ME

    I was "informed" on several trophies, as I had not seen them first, in the early days of the trip. (This is the part of the trip where everyone is astounded with the incredible eye sight of the local tracker. Me too)
    I still discussed and had input about the size of the identified trophy and order of the hunting and had input on the stalks.
    I see this as a big part of hunting under any circumstance. (Hence the time effort and expense of taking a PH course for me)

    "The PH will inform you when you are in shooting position..." I hope you would already know. After watching some hunt videos there are hunters following blindly along. This was always a discussion on my hunts

    How many people hire consultants on a regular basis?
    In Africa you place yourself in the role of client and hire a consultant/expert to help you achieve your hunting goals. You have to be able to communicate your needs effectively in this new situation. Hopefully, "when you get your Africa legs under you" you will develop that working relationship effectively.

    After seeing a few videos of wounded Leopards and Buffalo I might be inspired to be in more control of the client too. :)
     
  4. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I guess many PHs would love to do the shooting as well for some of their clients BRICKBURN:D
     
  5. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Brick, my experience and expectations are very similar to yours. I hunted with Chris, I did not shoot animals that he had hunted. Seeing this in print makes me wonder though since there is obviously a reason for it. Is that because many people want to be a part of that little or because the PH is tired of wounded animals, wrong animals shot, etc. Norwegianwoods is right, I know from experience that the average guy shoots only enough to be able to hit paper at 100yds, calls his gun sighted in then never fires another shot unless it is aimed at a critter. Also many peoples idea of being stealthy is slightly hunkering over in the wide open. LOL

    Interesting wording to say the least. I do however know a "Bwana" as people call him who wants someone to hold his hand, point to the critter and stroke his ego once its on the ground, and thats when hunting at home here with freinds so who knows how many people there are out there that want the same.
     
  6. tap

    tap AH Enthusiast

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    I would have to agree with 100% of how they are hunting. I EXPECT my ph to set me up on the sticks and to tell me if the shot is good. Why do I say this? The situation in particular that echoes through my mind is impala. I'm addicted to hunting for impala over 23.5". Impala are in such huge herds and trophy judging is so detailed that I want to know that the trophy the ph is looking at and the one my gun is pointing at are one in the same.

    Another example is nyala hunting. Judging the depth of the saddle of a nyala can be very difficult. I'm still not the best at distinguishing between a 26" nyala and a 29"er unless they are standing side by side. This very scenario played out for me this year. We spotted a 30"+ nyala. We decided to make a stalk and I was sure I know the bull I wanted. a while later a bull stepped out with tall horns and flared out wide at the top. It looked just like the 30 incher we were after. I didn't give my ph time to verify what I was shooting and shot without his approval. I shot a 26 3/4" nyala and the next day when that other nyala stepped out I could tell the difference which was the saddle depth to the horns.

    I think it is extremely important that the ph set the sticks up for his client and verify the animal the barrel is pointing at. However if the client isn't to concerned with trophy size and there is not penalty for shooting a female then there is really no need to veryify the correct animal is being shot. On the other side the ph needs to know which animal is being shot at so that he can watch and verify if a hit has occured.

    Now as for certain animals, based on experience, one doesn't need to be told what they are looking at. I am this way with kudu as I have taken many and know what I want in a kudu and will now rarely listen to my ph when shooting a kudu. In addition every area has animals that behave differently. the ph usually knows the patterns of the animals and how they behave and can usually give you good adivce on the stalk and how to excute most effectively. I personally always welcom the advice of ANY hunter. Whether I'm at the gym(been working out straight for 17 years now) or hunting (been hunting my entire life), I always want someone elses opinion on how to lift or hunt. Its may not happen all the time but every so often someon has something to say that really makes good sense that you've never heard of or thought of before. You can then add this small bit of wisdom to your own and someday hopefully become great at whatever it is you do. I've found that the people who can't ask for advice from others, no matter their age, are the people who are handicapping themselves at whatever it is they are endeavoring to do.

    Those are just my worthless opinions so take them as you will.

    Tony
     
  7. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Enthusiast

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    I'm not exactly sure how my PH could hunt and stalk the animal for me. Seems to me that even if all I did was follow blindly behind him, if my stalking technique were off, the animal would be gone. Perhaps I just haven't had the kind of hunt that others object to.
     
  8. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Tony, these are all parts of what I think are the discussion/ interaction that should be happening between the PH and his client. I just want to be a part of the team.

    I stared at a Nyala at 300 yards and my PH said he was big. I looked at him through the 10X glasses and he looked reasonable, not monstrous. We looked at each other and he said it is very hard to tell their size head on. (Darn Nyala would not turn his head) "The Sweep", depth as you called it, really lets you know what they are. Side views are very important in judging Nyala. Lesson learned.
    Next days hunt confirmed our instantaneous agreement on size. A monster. We both did our jobs and were both happy with the result.

    Buffalo are the same or worse than Impala in my mind. They are all black, horns and hide, they all have horns and group up in thick cover. A total pain to judge and shoot safely. These large herds make it imperative to communicate well.

    I had a "verification" issue on my last trophy. Two good Reedbuck in the same herd, spooked by Kudu, another stalk
    and the PH had his eye on one, my eye on another. He says shoot, I look at him and say there is a tree in the way. He looks at me momentarily as though I lost my mind. (He knows I have not) We figured it out, verified the proper trophy and I got my trophy Reedbuck after the worst demonstration of shooting I did on the whole trip.
    I was immediately in on the tracking, found the first blood, followed the blood trail with my eyes and found the dying animal and pointed it out to the team. I finished the job.
    Everyone makes mistakes, clients, PH's, trackers. As a team we got it together repeatedly throughout my hunts. That interaction and participation was invaluable.

    Tony, you feel comfortable judging Kudu, they are still my nemesis in the accurate judging department. I still need a long conversation and viewing them. I'll just have to go back for some more conversations and tutoring to catch up.

    Everyone can listen and learn!
     
  9. tap

    tap AH Enthusiast

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    I wouldn't say I know how to judge kudu I simply know what I like that is all. I can tell if a kudu is over 54" and if he is over 60" and thats about it. All I know is that when shooting a kudu I want deep curls and horns pointing out at the top. I don't want the narrow cork screw looking kudu and I don't want a kudu with spindly horns. When I see a kudu with the look I want I shoot him. No ph in the world can tell me what kudu looks good to me. Its all in my head. Same thing with eland. I've passed up common eland bulls that my ph wanted to beat me for. They swore the eland bulls were at or over 41". I told them they body was far too tan and yellowish for my liking and didn't have a large enough dew lap or muscle mass. One of these days I will find an eland with a large dew lap, no hair, and have the looks of a brahma bull. I don't care if he has 20 inch horns I'm shooting him! So as far as not taking advice on trophies I would say those are two of the few I won't take advice on. I always trophy hunt but its not always the size of the horns that makes the trophy.
     
  10. iamyourhuckleberry

    iamyourhuckleberry AH Enthusiast

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    It's great when two hunters work as a team!

    I personally think there is a settling in/feeling out period which occurs between client and PH. This usually takes place within the first two days. If a person is determined to hunt a particular way, then advise your PH-they're not mind readers...use those first few days wisely. I totally agree with Brickburn, interaction and participation is invaluable! Each of us can set the stage, but we must also be ready to execute professionally (respect is still earned in my book, talk is still cheap)! The PH really does want you to be happy! This has been my experience anyway. And YES, everyone can listen and learn!

    I personally use the flight time over the Atlantic to jot down my goals and objectives for the upcoming hunt. If there are limits, I establish them in a written format. I share these ideas with my PH the very first day. We, as a team, assess the goals and objectives...PH and cient are on the same page...daily! I once had to slug a PH in the shoulder for not listening (3 times). He cost me a white springbok. I think he sensed I was upset. I'd hunt with him again in a second! We're like brothers from a different mother now!
     
  11. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    It's your money and that which you describe "is an ability to judge Kudu and Eland". You know what you want (species and size, description of a trophy) and know what it looks like. You communicate that well to the PH that carts you around and everyone will be happy. (well maybe)
     
  12. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    At least he survived the encounter. :)
     
  13. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Tony I agree, everyone should listen to their PH and ask as many questions as he can handle. Learning is a big part of the experience for me as well. Working together as a team is the key to a successful hunt, whether that means shooting everything the PH points at, shooting the first one that itches your trigger finger or holding out for some special trophy.
    Of course as you well know, holding out for that special trophy often requires you to go home empty handed as with your Eland, hopefully with a smile still on your face. I certainly never regret turning down an animal that for whatever reason does not quite make the cut, even if I find out later that I seriously underestimated him. I do however regret ending my hunt on an animal that did not meet my standards or taste. On the other hand I am a firm beleiver that you should not pass an animal on the first day that you would shoot on the last.
     
  14. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    That is a hard one to burn into your mind before your start the hunt. Gotta know what you are there for.
     
  15. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Sounds like my kind of homework. LOL
     
  16. iamyourhuckleberry

    iamyourhuckleberry AH Enthusiast

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    X2.
     
  17. 35bore

    35bore AH Elite

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    Guess I look at it a little different than most. On a DG hunt would the PH not be the guy whom would not have your life in his hands possibly? Then on those same lines, you as the hunter (a sane one) would realize that he does have your fate in his hand and is , of his own free will, accepting of that responsibility. You will go where he tells you, crouch when he tells you, low crawl when he tells you, and if nessesary run your f***ing ass off when he tells you. I guess my thoughts are, if it's a plains game hunt, why wouldn't i listen to the PH if he told me which animal to shoot, or where to step, or when to run.?.?

    The PH is, in my mind the go to guy, if I were to have a question, guess who I would be asking,,, not the skinner.

    We all need to be heavily involved in our hunts, guided or not, but, we also need to know our limitations, these guys (PH's) see these animals every day, we don't. I will listen to the PH, if you think you know better than your PH, then maybe a self guided hunt is the way to go for you. Not for me, not at this point in my African hunting career. I think I am a pretty good judge of trophy African PG, but I have time to study the pictures, I was wrong on 2 occations in the field and I am glad I listened to the PH.
     
  18. iamyourhuckleberry

    iamyourhuckleberry AH Enthusiast

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    Possibly? Sure, anything is possible. It is hunting (the life that courses through OUR viens). Would it be called hunting if we knew what was around every corner? On a dangerous game hunt would the client not be the guy whom would have the PH's life in his hands possibly? I believe ultimately, my life depends on me and the decisions I make-I know me and can control the variable associated with me. I am, however, savvy enough to heed experienced advice.

    There are many of us with a sense of exploration/adventure-leaders not followers. We are men like Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Megellen, Marco Polo, Captain Cook, Sir Edmund Hillary, Lewis and Clark...
    The fact is, men have explored the world for millennia, going in search of new places and experiences-every individual knowning the risks and the dangers involved. "All men die, but not all me really live." Each of us is motivated differently, but I am here to tell you, if I were afraid of dying, I wouldn't take the plane ride to the land that was designed to absorb protein. I also find no harm nor foul in participating in the decision making process with the PH. I have plenty of experience and foresight to share...I expect team play, or I'm not playing. I find no reward in hunting if am only there to pull the trigger.

    Not sure that matters if the journey is the trophy. The horn has always been a bonus for me, not the reason. I appreciate another set of eyes and the ability to bounce information/tactics back and forth.

    Me too, but I also expect him to listen to me. Again, I think this can all be sort out when the goals and objectives for the hunt are exposed. I recommend doing this before the hunt begins.

    "Experience" will help define the goals and objectives.
     
  19. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    35bore I dont think anyone has said they do not want or value input from their PH. Simply that they want to be involved in various apects of the hunt from spotting, stalking, judging (I have seen pictures of a 33 3/4" Nyala that I would not shoot, IMO it is ugly. Both horns go different directions. My input is valuable here because it will end up on my wall.).

    IMO The PH should be your rock, someone that you can rely on like a trusted freind. Someone who can help guide you down the path to greatest chances of success, not someone dragging along a gunbearer/executioner. IMO anyway.

    If someone chose to pick every place to walk, every animal to stalk and every other aspect of their trip with the PH was simply there to make sure everything was conducted in a legal and ethical manner what would be wrong with that if that is what would make the hunter happiest? Alternately if someone wants to do nothing more than the shooting, what would be wrong with that? Everyone has different goals and abilities, I dont think there is a right answer to this, I was simply curious what differnt people wanted in a safari experience.

    DG becomes a different story. Both of your lives are on the line as well as the lives of staff. Your PH knows (or should know) when to stand, shoot, back away or run and that is experience and knowledge you are paying him for. Stakes are no longer shooting an inferior trophy, passing on a real trophy or blowing a stalk. I have been given the stick when flying as a passenger of an ultralight, if I was in a comercial jet would I be handed the stick? I sure hope not. DG and PG is not comparing apples to apples.
     
  20. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    True this is much easier on game you are familiar with. Even if you are a trophy hunter there may be species that you simply want a certain look or just a representative of. This is where discussing goals with your PH beforehand comes in. If you were looking at a 70" Kudu bull with 1 straight horn and one that curled normally you still may decline to shoot despite it falling solidly under the definition of once in a lifetime trophy, it just may not be a trophy to you. You may want to pass on a 60" Kudu with 2 curls to shoot the 50" bull beside him with 3 curls. Your PH will certainly let you know which is bigger but in the end you must be the one to decide.
     

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