How to hunt Leopard

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Cleathorn, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. Cleathorn

    Cleathorn AH Senior Member

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    How to hunt Leopard

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    I shot my one and only Leopard at 8:30 in the morning after it charged a tracker who was checking the bait. I was with the PH and 2 other trackers elephant hunting. When we got the radio call about what happened we went to investigate. Sounded odd, very odd, in part because the bit WAS NOT HIT!

    We got there and found the tracks leading up to the truck door. The tracker made it to the truck and closed the door just as the leopard ran smack into the door. No lie. As we looked around we found more sign but he sure enough, the bait was not hit. After 10 minutes of looking the leopard had all he could take and started to grunt and roar from about 15 yards away. He was still there in the thick bush guarding his meal. We could have been made very dead at any point. No way to stop an unexpected charge from that distance - at least not a leopard charge.

    Just as I got him in the scope he slipped just over the bluff along the river. Now he is 15 yards away in the thick bush between the bluff and river roaring and grunting. But we cannot see him. The longest 5 minutes of my life. Finally the game scout saw him on the dry river-bed and ordered me to "kill him." I found the AK47 he was pointing with very motivating.

    A freehand shot at 150 yards. My first shot was true but not mortal. My second shot missed but my third broke both back hips. I finally got on the sticks, picked him out from the clump of bush he had evaporated into in the dry river bed and off the sticks made a perfect shot across the top of the heart.

    When we made the recovery there was a poachers snare around its neck. When healthy the cat broke a 1/4" braided steel cable! Now that is one tough kitty cat. The poor cats was emaciated. He tapped 8'6" and had a skull at 17" but only weighed about 120 lb. My PH figured hat the cat was probably a 180 lb cat, give or take - probably give - when he was healthy. His front paws must have become entangled in the snare wire and he chewed them partially off to escape. Since he could not climb, he was eating the intestines and stuff we used for a drag.

    Then it came out. The game scout told me that was the cat "they were looking for. He could tell from the odd pug marks." Why were you looking for it, I asked. It killed 2 people over the course of the last month in the bush. Did it eat them I asked. In the way that only a native could, he said "not completely." I am not sure I see the distinction he was making but as they say, "its Africa." A real and true confirmed man-eater. In fact, as I said at the beginning, he gave a spirited effort at eating a man I personally knew.

    I should note that the tracker got drunk that afternoon and quit hunting. He was ordered out of camp because of his drunkenness and I am told he has not returned to hunting. I cannot blame him - at least I had a 375 H&H upon which I used to hold my position.

    So that is the ideal way to hunt leopards.

    Understanding that it's not likely to work out that way many times (or technically speaking - EVER AGAIN) I plan to hunt them again. Next time over bait, and then with hounds. I have become a certified Leopard nut.

    However you hunt your leopard, it will be the most beautiful animal in your trophy room - at least in my opinion.

    Good luck and oh yeh - SHOOT VERY STRAIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As an aside - there has been a lot of discussion recently about ethics in hunting and inciting a charge for an adrenaline rush. After that Leopard I also made the final kill shot on a Cape Buff at roughly 12 feet (he was still standing still but had his head down and but for his severe wounds, I am sure he planned to make me dead) and shot a rather small, young, elephant bull at 20 paces after we bumped into the heard trying to trail the bull following a herd. That young man was dead set on making me into a low veld pancake.

    From my personal experiences, dangerous game hunting is just that - DANGEROUS. You do not need to do anything artificial to make it better than it already is. Be happy if it all goes "right," because I have been there under less than ideal circumstances, and my greatest achievement was to keep my underwear dry and white.

    The tracker was not so lucky - either way. It's a long ride back in wet pants and it is very hard to look cool with a brown spot where your undies once were.

    Just for scale - I am 6'4" and weigh in at 245 lbs.

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