Hunt Offerings - Check the Outfitters and PH's out

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by BRICKBURN, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Info was PM'd to me and I thought it should be posted in the name of openness.
    Everyone decide who you'll do business with.
     
  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    As I said, PM'd to me, not that I have not done tonnes of my own research too.

    Al Capone was never convicted of anything but tax evasion.
    Was he a gangster?
     
  3. Baydog

    Baydog AH Veteran

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    LOL!!!
     
  4. RickB

    RickB AH Fanatic

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    All I was saying is that knowing the world class judicial system in SA and the high class people in prison who just decided to roll on this guy with these accusations it would ne nice to see a conviction article.

    By the way the Al Capone thing is quite funny!!
     
  5. Wolverine67

    Wolverine67 AH Fanatic

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    I too feel that something is missing in this story. It must be a reason for the court, not to raise charges.
     
  6. Biddleman

    Biddleman AH Veteran

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    Where there's smoke there's fire? Maybe Jerome can fill us in if Mr. Saaiman defended himself after he was told he was banned from AH and the reason for it.
    By the way don't forget O.J. was brought up on charges and wasn't convicted..."if the glove doesn't fit you must acquit!"
     
  7. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks Biddleman for your post! Much appreciated.

    Yes Ivena Rossouw did email me concerning being banned from AH however I do not feel that I need to be the investigator or policeman... All I know is that there are plenty of honest and good outfitters, PHs and people within this industry out there that never have any suspicions surrounding their dealings therefore I prefer to focus or put the spot light on these people rather than allow the possibility of AH being affiliated with something ugly... Anyway I have to say here on the ground in Africa, that usually where there's smoke there is indeed fire...

    I have to say that I am a little bit surprised that no one has said anything about the Hunting Report post!
     
  8. RickB

    RickB AH Fanatic

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    I want to first say that I feel this is the same person and chances are they are guilty by the sound of the articles. It sounds really really bad for the accused. Jerome I agree with you, and others 100%. There is no need to associate with people of this nature. There was just several articles about the allegations, and nothing on convictions. We are quick to defend outfitters, and PH's when people accuse them of wrong doing. I was just looking for the guilty part of the story. It is probably just like the media here in the US. All the hype in the beginning of the story, and no follow up. I will see what I can find tonight on the wonderful world wide web!
     
  9. Buff-Buster

    Buff-Buster GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    The post in the "Hunting Report" referenced by Jerome. (I think?) Long read, but says alot and explains why Jerome has taken the action that he has. One more "smoke signal" to the hunting fraternity. Keep up the good work Jerome.


    Report ID: 8365 Weapon Used: Rifle How Hunt Was Conducted? Guided
    Date of Hunt: July 8, 2011 to July 19, 2011
    Place of Hunt: Congo-Brazzaville


    OUTFITTER, GUIDE AND BOOKING AGENT DETAILS
    Outfitter (or safari company): Gert Saaiman; Saaiman Hunting Safaris. 28 Marais St; Pretoria; Muckleneuk; South Africa; Tel. 01127123468055; Email: shsafari@mweb.co.za; Web www.saaimanhunting.com
    Personal Guide (if any):
    Booking Agent (if any):
    Trip Arrangements
    (if self-guided):
    License Required:



    GAME DESCRIPTION
    Major Game Animals Taken:



















    Game Sought But Not Taken:





    Game Condition Comments: See comments.



    SERVICE RATINGS (excellent, good, fair or poor)
    Quality of Outfit: N/A Guide/PH Ability: N/A
    Condition of Camp: N/A Condition of Equipment: N/A
    Quality of Food: N/A Trophy Care: N/A
    Name of Airline: Airline Service: N/A
    Airline Comments:



    COSTS
    Hunting Fees: Amount: $0
    Trophy Fees: Amount: $0
    Permits/Licenses: Amount: $0
    Commercial Airfares: Amount: $0
    Charter Airfares: Amount: $0
    Other Costs: Amount: $0
    Total: $0



    SUMMARY REMARKS
    Problems of Hunt: See comments.
    Highlights of Hunt:
    Equipment Recommendations:
    Would You Recommend This Hunt to a Friend? no
    Why? See comments.



    HUNTER INFORMATION
    Hunter Name: W. Robert CaudleII
    Contact Information: Tel. 252-308-7523 - 225 Old Farm Road, Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
    Hunting Experience:
    Physical Condition:



    IMPORTANT NOTES (actions taken if hunter unhappy with hunt)
    Notified Outfitter? Notified Personal Guide? Notified Booking Agent?
    Seeking any kind of restitution or other settlement from agent, outfitter or guide?
    If Seeking Restitution, What is Sought?



    ADDITIONAL HUNTER COMMENTS AND/OR OUTFITTER/BOOKING AGENT REBUTTAL
    October 14th, 2011

    I am a retired District Attorney from North Carolina. I guide a bit here, and book a few African hunts every year to support my hunting habit. I have used a South African PH for the past few years who is a straightforward honest guy, and I had begun to think that most, if not all, PHs could be trusted like Lambert van Straaten. My friend, Van Johnson, and I had Lambert book a Mozambique buffalo hunt for us for July 2011, with Gert Saaiman. A few weeks before we were to leave the States, Lambert called to tell us that Saaiman had lost his concession in Mozambique. We never actually learned the reason for the loss of the concession. Lambert further informed us that Saaiman was offering us a replacement safari in the Congo. After talking it over, we decided to go for species that Saaiman was assuring us that we could take there.

    Per instructions, we flew to Brazzaville, and Saaiman met us at the airport. He said absolutely nothing about any problems, with the exception of informing Lambert while we were in Johannesburg that we were not to bring our own weapons since it had become difficult to import them. We spent several days at a hotel there on our own nickel, before we got a flight to the town of Ouesso where we were to meet our PH. Upon our arrival, we were singled out, our passports were taken by the police, and we followed them to a dirt-floor hut. Meanwhile, three Congolese in handcuffs were loaded on the plane we flew in on, for return to Brazzaville, to stand trial for hacking a Chinese man to death.

    The PH, Andre, appeared and protested our treatment and the officials' demand for payment for the return of the passports. Andre was physically tossed out of the hut. He called his fixer, Edgar, on his cell phone, and upon handing it to the officials in the hut for them to talk to Edgar, it was promptly thrown against the hut wall and it flew apart. This was our first indication of the relationship that Saaiman and Company had established with the Congolese. Luckily, there was a Congolese taxi driver there who spoke English, and he was able to intercede and inform us that all we needed to do was to pay a $15 "fee" apiece. The three of us, Van, Lambert, and myself, gave them the money to get out of there.

    Andre had an older model 4-door Toyota pickup truck that he and the other PH, Phillipe, had driven from Pretoria, South Africa, to the Congo, and we piled in and roared out of town to catch the barge across the Sangha River. It was held for us, but the other passengers weren't happy at the delay. We traveled several hours on loggin roads, then another 16 kilometers down a jungle trail to a washed-out bridge not far from camp. Before helping the pygmies to lug our gear across the bridge into camp, we found out the truck didn't have reverse, and we had to help push it backwards so that we could head out on the hunt. It was the only vehicle, and it wasn't too comforting to know we all had to rely on it as our only means of transportation!

    When we walked into camp, I couldn't believe it. There were no brick buildings and no ensuite bathrooms, as advertised. There were cinder block huts with tin roofs, and one toilet without a seat that had to be re-plumbed by Van before we could stand up and use it. There was very little food, consisting of mealie meal, some scrawny chicken in a freezer which periodically ran on a small Honda generator, a crate of eggs (some of which were rotten), some fruit drink, and a jar of instant coffee. There was shortly no fuel for cooking, and we made do with cooking over the campfire. Lambert became expert in picking out the good eggs and cooking pap the old-fashioned way. We had no idea what illness would come from eating thawed and re-frozen chicken.

    We hunted for 1 1/2 days before the military came and detained us. The hunt consisted of riding logging trails looking for bongo tracks, and then hacking and clipping through the jungle in a vain and futile attempt to approach for a shot. Needless to say, none of us ever got close to a bongo. They just aren't stupid enought to wait for three or four guys to blunder through the thick bush and approach for a shot. Perhaps the PHs hadn't had time (or inclination) before we arrived to cut shooting lanes and build machans along likely travel routes. We did see the rear ends of a few forest elephants and dwarf buffalo, but no shot was offered. The duiker we saw was dead, killed by the pygmies and shared with us as our only protein.

    After a day and a half, hunting method became a moot point, since the Congolese military, accompanied by an official from an NGO, caught up to us on the logging road, detained us again, and confiscated all weapons (a 375, a 416, and a 12 ga.) which I understand actually belonged to John, a nice guy in camp who is a friend of Saaiman's and probably one of his agents in the States. After letting us go, we retreated to the camp, weaponless except for a couple of compound bows owned by Andre and John.

    Shortly thereafter, the military made another appearance, this time at our camp. Once again, Edgar's SAT phone conversation with the officials made no impression, and we were informed that our hunt was over. We were also informed that we could not use the barge across the Sangha River, which meant that, unless we could sneak across, we were in for a 12-day trek through Congo, Angola, Namibia, and northern South Africa, the way Andre and Phillipe had arrived and vowed never to repeat.

    We prevailed upon Phillipe to take us to the river, paid a guy in a dugout canoe to ferry us across to Ouesso, where we again "cleared customs" by paying extortion to get our passports back, and hid out in a fleabag hotel until we could hop a flight back to Brazzaville. In the meantime, the airline we flew in on (Hew Bora) had one too many plane crashes and went out of business. The wife and granddaughter of my hunting buddy had arrived in Jo'burg and were anxiously awaiting Van for the start of a delayed vacation, and Lambert's wife was 9 months pregnant. Another contact of Andre's camp came up with two tickets out, and I just knew who would have to go back into the bush; however, they came up with a chance for us to buy our way onto a Brazzaville flight, and we took it! We were questioned at Brazzaville Airport as to whether we had any money on us, and it was obvious there was another shakedown pending, but thankfully we weren't searched.

    We had periodic SAT phone contact with our families, and they were understandably worried. I wish I could say the same about the outfitter. He and Andre were in contact with each other by SAT phone, but as far as I know, so far Saaiman hadn't lifted a finger to get us out of the mess.

    Lambert had advanced Saaiman $7,000 as a deposit for the hunt, and upon our arrival back in Brazzaville and checking back into a $100+ per night hotel room, he shamed Saaiman into wiring money for tickets from Brazzaville back to Jo'burg for the three of us. The only tickets we could get were first class through Nairobi.

    Every expense incurred on this debacle was paid out of our pockets. We're not naiive enough to think that Saaiman would reimburse us, and his promises are as worthless as his hunts. In my mind, an outfitter's responsibility is the safety and comfort of his hunting clients, and the thought of Saaiman's offer of another "make-up hunt" makes me ill. He should at least reimburse Lambert for the $7,000 he took from him, and Saaiman has been approached about that. When the subject came up, he ordered Lambert out of his home, and told him to "make an appointment at his office."

    After returning home, we have been in contact with others who have lost money to Saaiman, and have received the same empty promises. If he really lives up to his promise to mount a bow-killed bongo from his Congolese concession and bring it to the SCI convention in Las Vegas, I may change my mind and attend this year. From what I'm hearing there will be a line of Carolina hunters at his booth, but they won't be booking hunts. They'll be demanding their money back, and telling every attendee within earshot what a jerk Saaiman is!!

    Sorry for the length and breadth of this report, and I have taken a few months to cool down before submitting it. I'm not a complainer, and guiding myself, I know that you can't have everything run smoothly for every client every time, nor can you please some people. However, this hunt was so far beyond the pale and so grossly mismanaged that I had to speak out so that others could learn from our mistake. If all this hadn't happened to us and if we hadn't lived it, I probably wouldn't believe it. Both Van and I would be happy to correspond with anyone contemplating a foolhardy move such as ours.

    Bob Caudle



    Subject: RE: Congo - Hunter Reports
    Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2011 10:44:34 +0200

    I am really thankful that you contacted me about this story so that I can give you my side too. You know, it always amazes me to see how short a clients memory can get when they get back from Africa.


    Regarding the clients of Lambert van Straaten  Vance Johnson and Bob Caudle:

    On the first morning after they arrived, they spotted 2 Sitatunga at a bay. Andre  my PH  stalked the one together with the clients through knee deep water until they reached the edge of the bay. The PH went into the forest a bit to try to get a closer look, but the bigger bull disappeared and just the smaller one stayed behind. The next morning the client refused to go back to the bay, and was arguing that hunting conditions such as that  which is the normal hunting conditions for Sitatunga  was not acceptable for him. Then he decided that he would prefer to hunt Buffalo first, and then leave the Bongo for later.


    They were on the spoor of a Buffalo for about 1 ï½½ hours, tracking it through the jungle on foot, when the client started complaining about his back being painful. We had to turn around and go back to the camp. He also refused to track buffalo again saying that that is not the way to hunt Buffalo.


    In my opinion the clients lack of capacity for hunting in the forest was caused by their overindulgence with alcohol. Lambert and Vance had quite a bit to drink in the evenings  they even insisted that my PH stop somewhere for them to buy juice to mix with their Vodka within half an hour of getting off the plane. Conditions in a rainforest are tough for sober, fit people, so you can imagine that it must be punishment for someone who is hung over.


    It is also very interesting how they are now complaining about the camp, when while they were there they were complimenting my PH on the camp facilities and how good it is for such a remote area. We did have a problem with gas  after two days of being in camp our gas supplier informed me that they had no more gas available in the north of the country, and that he was unable to deliver on schedule, but that he was doing everything possible to find some gas for our camp. This is something that is beyond our control, and problems like these are quite common anywhere in Africa. When we do have gas though our camp is equipped with electricity, flushing toilets and hot and cold running water, as well as new beds and mattresses from South Africa. If Lamberts clients were so unhappy with the conditions and service they received in our camp, why did they give my PH and the staff in camp such a big tip?


    The other problem we had was with the confiscating of our firearms. The local WCS (Wildlife Conservation Services) were not happy that the government granted us a concession and allow us to start a business in that area. They are very obviously opposed to a legal operation in that part of the country as they are afraid that we will expose their underhanded operations going on there. They have been there much longer that us too, so their relationship with the local police is very good, and thus the police followed their instructions to confiscate our firearms. As I am sure you can imagine, you do not oppose the police anywhere in Africa, you follow their instructions to the letter.


    The bad luck continued for these clients when the airline that they booked their tickets on  and which they flew to Brazzaville with  was grounded because of a bad safety history. It was widely publicized that Hewa Bora Airlines was grounded on 13 July, therefore leaving our clients stuck in Brazzaville. Strange how they do not remember us sending them $5,400 to buy 3 tickets for them on Kenya Airways for them to be able to fly back to Johannesburg via Nairobi the next day. They only stayed in Brazzaville one extra night  this being quite reasonable seeing as there are only two airlines flying from Johannesburg to Brazzaville. My secretary was in the office almost 24 hours a day during that time to try to sort out flights for them to make sure they can get back as soon as possible. They were not very happy about this  but just to clarify things  if someone flying in from Johannesburg and comes to hunt with us now, they will have to spend two nights in Brazzaville either before or after the hunt because of how the flights from the two airlines flying to Brazzaville coordinates with the two flights per week from Brazzaville to Ouesso.


    Upon their arrival I asked Lambert to please bring his clients around to a place where I can meet them and apologise for their inconvenience and make them an offer on a return hunt or do whatever it takes to make it right with them. He did not want to do that and took them directly to his farm. I tried to arrange to see them before they fly back to the USA, but I was not able to make such arrangements, and the clients flew back without me having seen them.


    I can absolutely understand that hunters would be disappointed with their hunt if it turned out like that, but as you can see, all the things that went wrong were beyond our control. These are unfortunately the kinds of things that you would encounter when starting a hunting operation in any new country in Africa. Even settled hunting countries have serious problems to contend with, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you about it, you would have information that proves that fact from all over the world. When we started 16 years ago in Mozambique, we encountered many of the same problems, and in the end we turned out to be one of the best hunting operations in Africa. It takes a while to iron out the kinks in any new business, and we are looking forward to having a fantastic operation again soon.


    We have now decided that our company policy in future would be not to hunt with clients from other outfitters, as they are being misinformed by them. In this case, I was standing in my living room with Andre, my PH, when Lambert said that his clients know that they will be of the first hunters to do these hunts, and he assured us that they are happy with that. It is obvious to us that he did not inform the clients of the real conditions that we have explained to him, and because we don't have direct contact with the clients, we have no way of ensuring that they have the correct information.


    At this point Barbara, what you write is up to you. We have realised that unfortunately the hunting conditions in the forests in Congo is too tough for most Americans. This is a hunt that takes a lot out of a person, and not something that should be considered to be a relaxing holiday.


    I have attached some photos of the camp for you to see if it is quite as bad as they say it is.



    Kind regards,





    Gert Saaiman




    Rebuttak from Van Johnson

    October 18, 2011





    To whom it may concern,


    My memory is far from short, as I have never experienced such turmoil in my life! Yes, I was told there were two Sitatunga spotted at an elevated stand overlooking a lake (bay). I never saw them, but I agreed with my PH to follow up. We stalked them through the forest through chest deep water. He had me stop and wait and then came back and said the larger one had left and only the small one remained. We retreated back to the pier, I did tell him I didnt want to wade in water up to my chest and suggested the boat which was housed at the camp, even the elephants were chest deep as well.



    There was never an argument about any hunting. We went back there again and saw only elephants so we moved on. The Bongo was never discussed or seen. As for the back problem it was never an issue as I hunted from 4:30 to dark all 2.5 days until the guns were taken at approximately 11:00am on the 3rd day of the hunt.



    As for the vodka deal, it is totally ridiculous. We brought 2 fifths of vodka to last for 12 days. This was for evening drinks after the days hunt. Remember there are three of us and the hunt was 12 days and we only hunted 2.5 days. Yes, we had Andre stop in the jungle to get juice and Andre said there was none in the camp. It was the last stop per Andre. We were up at 4:00am every morning and in bed by 9:00pm each night.



    Yes, I did tip both PHs and all help as it was not the PHs fault for the events that happened during the hunt; they were good. Thats not a big tip and if the hunt had been satisfactory, they would have all received $1,000 each whether the hunt was successful or not.



    We do remember Gert sending $5,400 for the plane tickets as I said before, but Lambert Van Straaten gave Gert $7,000 for this on the front end! Gert never asked or suggested to meet with Bob or myself. Lambert tried and was turned away in Gert's driveway. He was told to contact Gerts office. Gert did offer a hunt to reconcile the problem to Mozambique, but how can we entertain such? Lambert Van Straaten did tell us it was a new hunt and we did agree we would go. However, never in our wildest dreams did we expect to go through any of this.



    Lastly, for Gert to say, Hunting in the Congo is too rough for most Americans, is absurd. Where does he think his clients come from? I can only say if Gert would address the problems and not try to discredit his clientele, he would be better off. Get the homework done first and dont use clients as guinea pigs for your exploratory events. I know we were the first to hunt the Congo with Saaiman Safaris per his PH, and we hope we were the last.



    Please keep in mind that Gert was not there as he was thousands of miles away. He did not experience any of this at all! On this trip a Bongo, Sitatunga nor a Forest Buffalo were ever seen by myself, and I did 100% of the hunting all 2.5 days of a 12 day hunt.



    The three of us spent approximately $9,000 on food, motels, planes, passports etc. at our expense. As you can see it was an experience hopefully no one else will have to endure when going on a safari hunt.



    I think all of this speaks for itself to make sure you have all the information you need before you go as we didnt and I do put that part on us. We made a big mistake by not researching this first to get the proper information to make a good choice with which is a lesson well learned on our part. Please remember the old saying, dont get the cart before the horse is definitely true.



    Please feel free to contact me if you need additional information or to call for references at any time.



    Sincerely,


    Van Johnson



    Telephone: 843-458-0726
     
  10. Biddleman

    Biddleman AH Veteran

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    That's why I'm taken back that J. Shockey would even associate his name with something that is so ugly. It's not like Mr. Saaiman was accused of illegally shooting impala for dinner. He's been associated with Rhino poaching, which to many hunters, including myself, may be the ultimate betrayal of wildlife. We seem to forget that not only is alot of money spent protecting the rhino asset but people risk their lives as well. Maybe the guy was guilty, maybe not, by why risk your name being associated with it.
    My hats off to you Jerome for not allowing your site or name to be dragged into the gutter.
     
  11. RickB

    RickB AH Fanatic

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    Buff-Buster, I think you are correct. I have forgot about this thread.. I do remember reading it but never put 2 and 2 together. I Just did my search and found that all the charges against the accused in the rhino poaching case where all droped in Oct of 2010. Go figure. I found several blogs and news artiles pertaing to the droped charges. More bad news for the rhinos!

    Charges against alleged poacher dropped - Crime & Courts | IOL News | IOL.co.za

    South African Rhino Horn Syndicate Case Involving Safari Operators Thrown Out | Rhino Horn is NOT Medicine
     
  12. RickB

    RickB AH Fanatic

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    +1+1+1 I am curious as to what Jim Shockey has to say about this? I know others where trying to get a response from him....will see?
     
  13. RogerHeintzman

    RogerHeintzman AH Enthusiast

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    Dought if a reply is forth coming. When I was considering taking my smoke pole to Africa, I tried contacting Jim Shockey for advice of how they got their powder to Africa. I heard nothing.

    Black Powder, Pyrodex loose or pellets are not allowed on plains, period. I know how people sneak their powder in etc. but I did not want to chance it.

    You can buy powders in Africa but at $80.00 per pound and not what is commonly used at home. I did not want to work up a load before hunting. I'll forgo the smokepole and opt for archery equipment some day.

     
  14. Biddleman

    Biddleman AH Veteran

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    Did anyone hear anything from a Shockey representative on this matter, or did we all get blown off and they're dodging the situation and have have their heads in the sand?
     
  15. tynchobox

    tynchobox

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    Hi Roger, Jim was hunting with me in Argentina and he told me that bring shotgun shells. He takes the primer and the powder. You can enter the Africa with bullet points.

    See you Martin
     
  16. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Jim Shockey's The Professionals will be airing his hunt in the Congo next week on the outdoor channel, I don't know if it will be from the outfitter in question yet.
     

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