What kind of a hunter are you?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Spiral Horn Safaris, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. Spiral Horn Safaris

    Spiral Horn Safaris AH Fanatic

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    Hi there guys here is an interesting one for you.

    We spoke about fences and the size a property needs to be for a hunt to be fair chase and most of us agreed on one thing, the fairness of the chase depends mainly on the ph and client.

    So this brings me to my next question what kind of a hunter are you?
    I believe that one can have a very good hunt and learn a lot about the species that you are after if the ph you’re hunting with is open to walk and spend a bit of time on other matters than just shooting. It is up to the client as well you need to be open too this kind of hunting and allow for enough time when you book your hunt which can be difficult since a lot of people have a day job to think about.

    So this is not about the minimum size of the property but more about how the hunt is conducted. One can never hunt 5 species in 5days and learn something from it except how to shoot. The real way to hunt in my opinion is on foot and sure in big areas you need to drive some distances and then start to track up the animal that you are focused on. However on smaller properties walk and stalk is a sure way to make a hunt very challenging. The problem is that a lot of times people have a time factor to consider and this is understandable.

    Walk and stalk is where we get to learn the track of the animal, his habits and behavior. I feel it is important to understand the animal you are busy hunting because it leaves you with a certain appreciation and respect for your quarry. Sadly tracking itself is dying out very few people can still track game up on foot. I feel that this is one skill that hunters can’t do without and it is our responsibility to ensure that it is taught to future generations.

    Driven hunts are a sensitive matter because if you see a good trophy whilst driving it is very difficult to pass it up and at the end of the day one must take the opportunities that come your way. Driving the whole day after game is not hunting and this really is in my opinion why people would think it is easy to hunt in fenced areas and the feeling of unfair chase arises, you never learn much except for how to aim and the tracks the truck leaves. A lot of times the animal stands in the road or in an open area when it is being shot how hard can that really be? When you walk and stalk it is one thing to see the animal but an entire different story to get in to a good position to have an open shot. When you drive you don’t worry about wind direction nor the element of surprise is it purely up to luck in my opinion don’t get me wrong we all need to get lucky every now and again.

    Guys I think if we would get of the truck more we would not be all that worried about the size of the property but more about outsmarting the quarry.
  2. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    ....Louis I agree! I totally believe if you get off the truck & hunt the size of the property will not be an issue. On my hunts we would ride along & if we got lucky see an animal & then pursue it on foot! Other times we rode around & stopped & checked tracks the trackers saw on the ground from the truck. Don't ask me how they knew a fresh one from an old one amongst all those tracks and no rain had fallen in over 2 monthes, but I got a couple trophies from this method & they make the memories even sweeter!
    ....I agree that is the way you learn more about the animal you are hunting and also the fauna & other animals & insects of this particular region. If you get off the truck & hunt, there will be a lot less belly aching about fair chase as you will spend the boot leather to prove it. You will also have better memories of that particular hunt as you earned it the hard way!
  3. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I couldn't agree more! I thought it was important at first...to collect as many animals in Africa as possible and now I see how I couldn't be more wrong. It's not the amount of animals you get in a safari, it's the journey and the adventure that you remember and appreciate most at the end of the day. I know my bushbuck is not a monster. But he was shot in a deep canyon, on the last day, after a hard hunt for him. I will always look at that animal with a ton of respect. Don't get my wrong...I never turn down a easy shot on a huge animal, but I like to do a lot of glassing and hiking. I know some of the people I have hunted with thought I was crazy. They wanted to relax and spend time at the lodge (Nothing wrong there either)...but I like to hunt hard...especially on piece of property that has game to hunt.
  4. BryceM

    BryceM AH Veteran

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    I once read an article about the stages a hunter goes through. I wish I could remember the source. I think it's relevant to this topic. You start off with a "shoot something at the first opportunity" youthful mentality. After a few seasons of that, a person moves to understading the quarry, learning how to stalk, and selecting mostly trophy-quality animals. Next comes taking an animal only in the perfect setting or maybe with a more primitive weapon. Finally comes enjoying just being out with friends, watching the dogs work, enjoying a good sunset, and teaching the next generation.

    I won't deny that I'm an opportunist. I'm not going to pass up a nice trophy just because he's standing off of the road. All the same, the hunts that are the most fun are the "up close & personal" encounters with game at close range after a careful stalk.

    Just yesterday I took a bull elk here in Idaho. It's not a trophy by any stretch but it's my first bull after many years of trying! We spotted a single cow on a ridgeline about two miles away. She soon moved into the trees. It was early afternoon and we were still in the truck. We took about 30 minutes and studied the land. We planned how to execute the stalk. I worked around behind the hill they were on, hauled my carcass up a #&$*&% steep ridgeline and worked to where I thought they might be. The wind had been swirling all around but it finally settled blowing right toward me. Very nice. I took about 30 minutes to slowly work through the last 100 yards. Out of nowhere came the strong, distinctive smell of elk. Right on cue I looked up as two cows and two calves passed through a small window in the trees. I moved slightly to get a better vantage. A total of 14 elk filed past about 40 yards away. Holy cow they're huge at that range! Once this little bull came by the trigger sort of took over. A few minutes later all that was left to do was figure out how to get it down to the road.

    Maybe I'm nuts, but sneaking up on that little bull elk like that was way more fun than nailing a huge bull from the truck. Now, this is a self-guided public-land hunt that cost me a grand total of about $60 in tags. It was tons of fun and will give us a freezer full of meat. I don't feel bad at all about shooting "a little one". ;)

    On the other hand, if I plunk down $5 or $10k on a week-long guided hunt, my trophy expectations will be a bit different. The stakes are higher, the pressure is more intense, and I'm sincerelly hoping the guide is feeling at least a little urgency in hooking us up with some nice opportunities. Everyone comes at this sport from a different financial background. When the hunt is a result of several year's savings, it's hard to be content with a little one.

    What kind of hunter am I? The kind that is sorry this hunt is already over, looking forward to deer season in a couple of weeks, to a seemingly far-off trip to Africa, wishing my son had drawn the elk tag instead of me. I think I can understand why enysse's bushbuck still stands out. One good memory like that is better than shooting a mosnter when it's a sure thing. The best would be working your guts out to execute the perfect stalk on a truly remarkable trophy. Hemmingway's kudu in "The Green Hills of Africa" comes to mind.
  5. richteb

    richteb AH Enthusiast

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    For me, if there is a fence its not fair chase and I would simply would not hunt there. Walk and stalk is the only way to hunt for me. And I would gladly pass up a trophy rather then shoot from a vehicle.
  6. Spiral Horn Safaris

    Spiral Horn Safaris AH Fanatic

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    HHMM this coming from someone who has not won the Rugby world cup twice HA HA just kidding around:laughing:. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion of this and if fenced game farms are a big issue for you it is fine.

    Bryce I seem to remember that same article and yes every hunter does go through phases but I feel it is imperative that they actually do evolve to get the last phase. Trophy quality is important but not nearly as important as appreciating the animal that you worked for.

    I loved your description of what kind of a hunter you are especially the part about your son.:clap:
  7. M'bogo hunter

    M'bogo hunter AH Senior Member

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    Yeah Louis,Bryce's description of the kind of hunter he is,is artistic!I don't mind the fenced areas as long as i am on foot.The only time i'm in a truck during a hunt is when i go to a waterhole to check for any fresh spoor with my tracker and when i go back to camp after the hunt.

    My hunting is strictly done on foot.I consider hunting by truck totally unethical and pollution friendly.The more you drive in a truck during a hunt,the more the pollution there is in our beloved hunting grounds.I believe no hunter seriously wants to be a cause of pollution while in pursue of the sport he/she so much loves.
  8. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    A lot of very valid points. Just as there are "stages" of hunting in general, i also believe there are stages of hunting Africa. My first trip was definitely the "shoot, get something" stage. Of course, that PH couldn't be happier as he was getting paid every animal. I look back on that hunt and wonder what i was thinking.

    My most recent hunt was more of a trophy/experience hunt. I knew what the land had (from information of the PH/Outfitter), and i knew what type of a hunt i wanted. It was wonderful. Couldn't be happier.

    I think the most important thing in these situations is to make sure your PH knows what type of a hunt you desire. At this point in my life, i would rather walk my legs off, scout around, learn and hunt for the "experience". I am still completely interested in the natural environment of Africa and love to continue to learn about it.
  9. DUGABOY1

    DUGABOY1 CONTRIBUTOR AH Enthusiast

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    It is true that most client hunters to Africa are not up to the mark on all animals found in a particular area they may hunt. However, most client hunters who venture to Africa do a lot more research on the animals of Africa before hunting there than they do animals in their home country. That being said, it is also true that much of the research they do on African animals was written by anti hunting scribes, so they get a skewed view of the animal’s habits. Most of the real knowledge comes from being there with folks who know the animals intimately.

    Tracking is something that comes with years of being in the field with animals you are hunting. Most-older hunters from the western half of the USA, who have hunted from an early age, are usually good trackers, if they hunted mostly alone when young. This skill rolls over easily to African animals once he learns to recognize the track of a particular animal. However he will not learn this in a hunting car. A hunting car is accentual to make maximum use of his time slot in the field. On a safari that is shorter than two days per animal to be taken, the car is used to drive the two track roads till spoor is found crossing the road, then load up and get on your feet! This has the same value whether in fenced property, or open concession.

    I agree 100%! The only way to learn the habits of any animal is to get into the weeds with him, and follow him up. Doing this you see what he does when you get close, where he likes to go to loose you, and to read hid body language when you confront him. This is especially true of dangerous game. Knowing what certain body language means, not only increases success, but is a safety factor as well, with many animals, both in Africa, and many places in North America.

    The car, as stated before is accentual to some extent for client hunters who are short on time, and/or money. But finding an animal while riding in a car, and stepping out of the car and shooting him is, IMO, not hunting but shooting. However riding on by a mile or so and staking back through the bush is a far different story, and it makes no difference whether you are in a fenced area, or an open concession.

    Good luck convincing most today those who shout the loudest about the fence, and/or behind fence, no matter how big size that hunting behind that fence is fair chase. Most of those who are making all the noise about fenced properties, have never hunted one either on foot, or in a car!

    Though I don’t get the same satisfaction when hunting a game ranch, as I do in open concession, if done properly both are fair-chase. My objection to the fenced areas is my main thing is dangerous game, and usually in a high fence area the dangerous animals if there are any at all may have been bought at auction then days before my hunt, and released into un-familiar territory.

    Gentlemen as I have stated before the size is not what counts, nor does the fence height have anything to do with fair-chase, as Louis has said it is how you conduct your hunt that counts. Some people will never accept a fence no matter how large the land inside is. We can’t help that, but we must live with the criticism. I once had a guy from Denmark tell me that if the whole state of Texas was fenced, any hunting inside that fence would be a canned hunt! The country of Denmark where he hunts is surrounded by ocean, and the whole country is only about the size of Texas, yet his hunting there is fair-chase, but a fenced in Texas would be canned in his opinion. I would say here that it is far easier to get through a fence into Oklahoma, or New Mexico, than to swim across icy waters of the north to another country to get away.

    …………………………MY opinion, and you know what they say about opinion! Like some other things everybody has one! :D
  10. Spiral Horn Safaris

    Spiral Horn Safaris AH Fanatic

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    Dagaboy1 you have a certain way with words id say.

    Thank you for summing it up for us again I would have to say I can agree with you on a lot of matters. The only one were I think we might get the wrong impression is the dangerous game. Yes it is true that most of the DG would be bought at auction and can be very tame and often hunted in small camps. This one of the saddest things happening in Africa today and unfortunately getting more conmen every year, however there is two sides to this story.

    First and foremost it is not necessarily the wild buffalo that will kill you If you ask me I am a I’m more afraid of the tame ones that run after the truck because they think there is feed on the back. They can be very unpredictable and the fact that they are used to human contact makes it even worse.

    Then not all of the hunting operations work like that. DG is very expensive as most people are aware of I’m sure so a lot of guys set up camps for them to monitor and control the animals because it won’t be nice to lose your investment which is understandable. Then you do have private operations were the DG roam around freely with the other animals and they are just as wild and spooky as on any concession area however this is unfortunately not the norm since, buying and then shooting is a lot more profitable for some of the guys.:mad:

    Dagaboy1 I think it is very sad times for people like us who love the thrill of the chase weaver it is on a fenced game farm or open area. I just hope that hunting will not become like getting take a way’s (you just pick them off the menu) work for your animal and you will appreciate the hunt as an experience.:)
  11. browningbbr

    browningbbr AH Enthusiast

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    BryceM - thanks for the post about the "stages" that most of us go through. You've hit the nail on the head.

    The good news is, the more stages you go through, the better it gets!

    - browningbbr
  12. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    I still like to hunt on foot at least in africa, I can't hunt sheep and goats anymore, got to old for that...I have hunted so much, it doesn't make much difference how I hunt anymore, I just like to hunt..

    My favorite hunting is horseback, I can get into places that the truck and foot hunters never see and thats where the big ones hide..I love to hunt Mule Deer in the rimrock country and ride until you jump a big buck out, then jump off my horse grab my gun and shoot the deer, then spend the next hour or the whole day chasing my horse! :) fortunatly that happens very seldom with my horses..:) If you try this be sure and pack 15 feet of cotton rope with a trap drag or big loop around your horn and toss it out before you get off and start shooting, it will hang up pretty quick..:)

    I figured out a long time ago that if I'm in the middle of the Selous with a concession the size of Rhode Island that I am only going to hunt about 10,000 acres of it in the whole time I'm there if I hunt on foot and 3 times that by spot and stalk, but I'm not going to cover the whole concession in a month.

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