ZIMBABWE: Bad Leopard Hunt West Nicholson Zimbabwe

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by The Artistry of Wildlife, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. RickB

    RickB AH Fanatic

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    Sorry to hear the crapy story. Sucks to hear when this happens to people. You at at least found a little speck of light at the end of the tunnel.
     
  2. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    If you read the repoort, here was the first screwed chance.

    Tom on bait the night the of 15th.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sat the 16th till 11:00 then told, " We must leave" read the report.

    Oh well , what do I know.....

    Note the time.....

    [​IMG]

    Then he states we sit the next night, Why, he's eaten 100lbs in 2 nights,I was all for it but he won't be back.
    Oh well what do I know.....

    He doesn't come back.

    Told not enough bait...Hmmm CRACK, BREAK.....
    Read the story....

    But what do I know.....

    He's back and we aren't in the blind, we don't even have a blind anymore at that site....

    Oh well.

    [​IMG]


    Same camera, switched tree about 5 feet away.

    Lost a nice tom on this one. I will never let another PH tell me what "WE" are doing on a hunt I'm paying for.

    More pics to come....I guess I'm dumb as dirt but if you have an active tom on bait you sit, Don't you?
     

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  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Dennis,

    I am pretty certain I can see evidence of sex on that first picture.

    I am very confused by the PH's behaviour.
    Was it illegal to night hunt there? Why would he want to leave?

    Very hard lesson. Really Sad!
     
  4. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    This cat hit the 15th, we set blind and sat from 5 to 11 on the 16th then he TOLD me "we have to leave the cat knows we are here".....
    Yeh right, last picture 2 1/2 hours later...
     
  5. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    Dennis sorry about your experience, I do believe that you are taking a hard line as judging all professional hunters on one experience is tough..... I do not think that the attitude you are adopting will be conducive to good future safaris.

    Not to be nasty but most guides use knowledge gathered over many , many years of experience on African game to provide their clients with an unforgettably awesome experience.

    Leaping over the rainbow towards the other side of the scale will most probably provide the same.

    I truly hope that your future experiences will be better.

    My best always
     
  6. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    JACO, your taking this in much the wrong sense, I have hunted with S A and other PH's in 6 countries and this IS my first gone wrong safari. I just ran into the wrong PH for me. I IN NO WAY expressed anything about PH's as a whole, I on this safari realized , I was the paying client and I will no longer on any safari sit back and be walked thru watching a PH hunt while I foot the bill with no input.
    My onyy point to any ph was Ask the client questions and fill him in on what's going on and let him be involved in the options.

    I spent a week in S A before this experioence and Ricus was completely different than this PH. Ricus asked and walked me thru everything and bent over backwards to know my wishes and wants and how I wanted to hunt. Gave me options about how to proceed, the pro's and cons of each choice then we discussed and we hunted. He the S A Ph new how to open the door and talk, and walk me thru it, not slam it open and puch me thru his way.

    Sorry you take my report as being of all PH's. It is not ,and any implication was not and never intended.
     
  7. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    Dennis, I did take it in the wrong sense,.... Hunting is a team effort between client and guide, discussing option possibilities and such, a big thumbs up to Ricus for having you involved throughout your whole SA experience... As you correctly state being a passenger is boring...
    Once again I hope that your future safaris will hold only fond memories and some great trophies.

    My best always.
     
  8. RickB

    RickB AH Fanatic

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    I would have to agree.....I can see his tomatoes!
     
  9. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    There is lot to be said about the PH and client being on the same page. I whole heartly agree, when the hunter and PH have a different game plan...the expensive hunt, even is it is successful, can leave bad memories. It is always best to hunt with someone that thinks similiar to the way you view life.
     
  10. Gavin Lipjes

    Gavin Lipjes AH Veteran

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    Dear Sir,

    While I sympathise with your disappointment following your unsuccessful Leopard hunt I also humbly request your attention to a few misleading statements in your hunt report.

    展ould I hunt any area that has been dog hunted by what I have seen?
    Nope. It lowers the ratio of female to male
    æ»´as dog hunting affected this area? Dramatically, and it shows. Dog hunting let's the PH target males much easier. He has dog hunted this area for over 3 years taking many many cats.

    Your statement suggests that hound hunting is to blame for the lack of regular sign of male leopard and while it is true that the use of hounds is more selective and much more efficient at harvesting only adult male Leopard (data for Zim 2009/10 average skull size for 20 hound hunted Leopard 16.13 Inches National average 2009 under 15 Inches), the statement by default also indicates that hunting of Leopard in that area has resulted in a reduction of male Leopard. A statement that might not impact you as possibly you will never undertake another Leopard hunt, but might cause concern for other hunters still with a Leopard hunt on their bucket list.

    A study was commissioned in the Phinda-Mkhuze area of South Africa to assess the impact of neighbouring hunting operations on the Leopard conservation within the protected properties. The study seeks to prove that hunting of Leopard can be detrimental to the stability and sustainability of core breeding populations. You can google the following to access the full report Leopard in the Phinda-Mkhuze complex, G.A.Balme, R.Slotow & L.T.B. Hunter.

    In Zimbabwe there is a strict quota system that is designed to prevent the over use of any game specie in any area. This is the tool for implementation when reports indicate a possible population stress, not directing blame on any 1 specific method of hunting.

    In fact numerous studies point to a vital part of Leopard population stability termed recruitment. This is understood as pyramid of age experienced in any healthy Leopard population, few adults on top with a variety of ratio F:M depending on the study area but always more F:M, a greater amount of sub-adults and again more juveniles with the base of the pyramid totalling many cubs. Infant mortality is high in felines especially Leopard because they are solitary and cannot rely on a pack or pride structure to care for young and this permeates through the levels to result in a ratio of few adults: cubs. Recruitment describes the necessity of having many cubs to supply the juveniles and so it climbs. Therefore any female removed from the breeding structure has a far greater impact on recruitment than any adult, mature male. Likewise any sub-adult male has a greater impact on recruitment and therefore social stability, than any mature male. With this in mind, as hunters, it is in the best interest of sustainability to always harvest the adult, mature male that has already mated and passed on his genetics.

    To my information it is illegal to kill a female Leopard in Zimbabwe outside of a PAC permit. Studies in the US on Mountain Lion populations show there is merit in a restricted female harvest quota but no such investigation has occurred anywhere in Southern Africa. We might find some parallels if harvest reports from South Africa are analyzed as there is no specification on sex or age in this country.

    I do not challenge that you found little sign of Male Leopard during your hunting period of 15 days but would like for you to consider that this is a small window to pass a definite conclusion. There are also several other factors possibly responsible for the absence of a large Male population to name a couple:
    Male Leopard have greater dietary requirements than Females which can subsist on small game alone, the low game numbers you report suggest that this area is not capable of retaining large Males continuously as there is not sufficient, readily available meat.
    In cattle country not only sport hunters target Leopard but farmers too, Males are more adept at tackling large prey and therefore are more regular stock thieves.

    Please note that I do not know the PH that conducted your hunt nor do I submit this in my personal capacity but rather that as the current Chairman of the Sub Saharan Houndsmen Association.

    Gavin Lipjes.
     
  11. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    Thank you Gavin for your insight.
    My report was my evaluation on what I saw and experienced and was my opinion.
    I guess I should restate this on top of my post.
    I had not told any hunter not to hunt anywhere, I state that I would not hunt there.
    I am not and even more so now not a supporter of dog hunting leopards.
    I felt the impact and this is just my opinon, and if it's wrong so be it.
    Thanks for enlightening others on your side of dog hunting issue.
    Unlike Zimbabwe we encourage free speech and don't live under a dictatorship doctrine.
    I have met many Ph's from Zim and they are about 50 -50 pro to con against hound hunting.
    I for one am against it and always will be.
    Thanks for your input.

    Ps. I have dogs, 5 to be exact.
    I know your dogs are breed to hunt and are a tool to be used for hunting leopards
    I'm sure you love your dogs,, but
    next time one dies fighting a leopard, think of me.
    No dog will ever die because I want to hunt......

    I wil hunt leopards again, but not in Zimbabwe under the current rules and goverment.
     
  12. Ole Bally

    Ole Bally AH Enthusiast

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    Dennis, Sorry man, I feel very bad for you!
    The 'old farms' part of West Nick has declined badly over the past 15 years in terms of trophy animals and outfitters are still trying to eke out a living on some of them. The area produced some huge cats over the years. But you are right. There's usually about 6 females to each male in a standard eco system, never mind a male depleted one. Our NP are not the brightest smarties in the box and they come up with some real stupid rules every now and then. This being a prime example of one...another was they tried to do the same for Zebra!! That didn't wash at all!
    I don't think that the dog hunting there was the problem though. It's more to do with the locals poaching. I also doubt there's been a Hyena shot there in a very long time. They were seriously persecuted by the white farmers years ago and became very secretive.
    More's the pity you didn't go back to 'Lemco' or Mazunga Safaris as it's now known. It's still a great game environment and well looked after.
    At the end of the day...you deserved more diligence.
    There are some very good cat hunters in Zim.
    I hope your bad experience...and it was one...will not discourage others from booking hunts in Zim.
    In fact if any of the AH members want any references to any Zim outfitter or PH, please don't hesitate to ask me! I don't hunt anymore and have no axe to grind with anyone in the industry. I still sit on the Joint Examining Board and am a committee member of ZPHGA. I will give you an impartial opinion to the best of my knowledge
     
  13. accipiter

    accipiter AH Veteran

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    Dennis - Thanks for sharing your story. Hope that next time things go better.
     
  14. Ontario Nimrod

    Ontario Nimrod AH Member

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    I've never hunted leopard, so I certainly can't speak from experience, but just to play devil's advocate for a moment...The cat hit at 8 pm the night before, and then you sat until 11 pm the next night without seeing anything (I assume it's reasonable to assume that the cat might be back around the same time as the night before). Your PH felt, for some reason, that the cat knew you were there and wasn't going to show while you were there. So you left and the cat showed up a couple of hours later. Is it possible that your PH was right and that the only reason the cat came after you left was BECAUSE you left when you did? Just wondering.
     
  15. Ole Bally

    Ole Bally AH Enthusiast

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    Ontario, you're right! If you could ever figure out how these cats think you'd be the best cat hunter in the world.
    There is nothing to predetermine what time a cat will come to feed. If he comes at 8pm one night, he may then leave that bait having filled up and go off to one of his female conquests a coupla miles away. He may have as many as 7 females that he 'services' in his territory. Depending on the availability of food in the area, these females can be spread out to a distance of about 1500 sq kms I believe. That's a lot of territory! So he may a/ find another meal the next evening, b/ skip a meal if the girls HOT!! c/ only get back late to the bait. d/ catch 1 particle of fresh human scent in 300 000 000 and depart the scene!
    However, these cats get PHD in human evasion as they get older which is why they're such a sought after trophy in the first place and if he notices you hanging around he may wait or run. But he also knows that if he waits you out, there's a good chance he's gonna get a free meal he doesn't have to hunt for AGAIN!
    We have in the past, in the WN area - and others, driven up to the blind, got out made a noise, and then driven away. Sometimes dropping someone there and sometimes not. Sometimes waiting an hour or so and collecting the people again. Then sneaking back in on foot. Sometimes having 3 people get out, enter the blind, then one person gets back into the truck and they drive away. The variations and games are endless!
    It gives a new meaning to the expression 'cat and mouse' game!
    One of the biggest issues is usually being able to sit still and quiet in the blind.
    If the evening is warm, you often get a lot of swirling air currents then too!
    The WN cats are in a human inhabited area, but whilst they tolerate the humans around - usually easy food sources around, within 100yds of the food will make them wait until the people leave should they find out someones there!
     
  16. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    Maybe, maybe not, on all the above.
    The point your missing Ontario is I wasn't given any options.
    Like ,if we stay he may not show up, or we can leave it another night,do you want to stay all night...etc.
    2 hours tells me he wasn't waiting 100 yards away.
    I was paying the $15,000 wasn't it my choice, to have or to screw up?
    Being in a blind may give you a 1% chance not being in it gives you 0% chance.
    I was not hunting anything else, so there was no reason not to sit.
    It was only the 5th night of 15 days.

    We had females on trail cams that never kept a schedule sometimes 3 to 6 hours difference in apperance time and some every other night, some everynight, some every 6 to 8 hours.
    If you have an active bait, a known tom. and you leave?????......
    I wasn't asked, I was told.
     
  17. Ole Bally

    Ole Bally AH Enthusiast

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    Dennis, should we invite the PH to comment on all this? There's always two sides to a story...or as my folks always said three sides, yours, his and the right side.
    I do appreciate that you're mad as a snake in a sack right now.
    You do pay a PH or Guide to steer you in the right direction and sometimes the call isn't what you want to hear and then to make it worse it doesn't turn out the way they call it either as it did in your case, but that's just the way hunting (or Fishing) is...a lot of chances strung together with possible success at the end of the effort... Some people have had as many as 7 failed leopard hunts before taking one. Not that that'll make you feel any better I know.
    I sure hope you'll have better luck next time!
     
  18. Gavin Lipjes

    Gavin Lipjes AH Veteran

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    Some food for thought :

    A Leopard permit can be sold several times over generating more income for the Outfit. So making sure a Client is unsuccessful can be in the best interests of the company. Also during that period the Client can be tempted to take other animals not initially planned for. A system where the only option is the bait & blind method can work in favor of the Outfit only.

    Panthera published a paper - applicability of age-based hunting regulations for African leopards (PLOS ONE: Applicability of Age-Based Hunting Regulations for African Leopards) - which documents the necessity to harvest mature males only. They go as far as proposing a NO QUOTA system provided all the Leopard killed are male, and older than 6 years. The estimated population percentage of mature males is about 8% of the total population and harvest quotas are currently worked out to be about 5% of the total population.

    Targeting mature males only, following the identification guide provided by Panthera, requires far more selectivity than previously engaged. The bait & blind method alone is not ideal if this is to be regularly accomplished. How do you select 1 adult male from the population in any given area and get him on bait? It is more often the case that you harvest the biggest male that is feeding on the numerous baits (and in many cases not even).

    The science is critical and we cannot preach 'sustainable utilization' out of 1 side of the mouth and 'if it has balls - shoot it' out the other side of the mouth.
     
  19. Ole Bally

    Ole Bally AH Enthusiast

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    Gavin, I'm glad to see you're not too biased!! :whistling:
    I have hunted 'males only' for many a year and it's not difficult to set up a bait and blind system to ensure you know whats happening there. I'm not saying it's right to hunt only the males but that's the way things are here whether we like it or not!
    I can't open the Plos one link you posted here, but I can't say I'm for hunting leopards with dogs either...but that's just me!
    Yes there are the type of outfitter that will knowingly 'defraud' their clientele by marketing the same cat to 10 different clients...there are many horror stories out there including 'frozen' cats put out for the client to shoot too, but it's not the norm...there has to be an element of trust and honour out there for a company to survive. Any company that only has a 1 in 10 success rate on cat hunting should replace it's PH's and/or look for better areas! But they won't be in the cat hunt game too long!
    By the same token there have been cats with dog hunts where the cat shot is clearly a juvenile! It's the PH's job to control the hunt...and be ethical!
     
  20. Gavin Lipjes

    Gavin Lipjes AH Veteran

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    Hey Ole Bally, the link seems to work, not sure why you cant access it? it's a good read for anyone interested in the long term of Leopard hunting.
    It is difficult not to see my opinion as being weighted for hounds, considering that is my passion, but more importantly I would like to see Leopard remaining on the 'huntable' list, especially with it's high profile and easy target for anti-hunting lobbyists.
     

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