Fair chase vs game ranches

Art Lambart II

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Rookhawk, not only do I like your post I admire your typing speed.
 

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I’m a longtime reader and this is my first post. Let me say, first off, that I am greatly indebted to this website and its contributors for their help and info. I’ve learned a lot from you guys and feel much better prepared because of your advice. With the many posts of experience here, humble readers, like myself, are truly standing on the shoulders of giants. Also, let me say that I have never been to Africa, but like a lot of folks, I read and dream a lot about it. I love hunting and spend most of my free time devoted to it. As for this post, sorry for a late response, Erich, but I just came across this thread and I wanted to post, because I found myself in your shoes a while back. I too am a North American hunter and we share similar tastes in our hunts so I thought I’d share some of my research into the area of “fair chase vs game ranch”. My best advice is to read this site, read all the books and webpages you can on diverse spots (even those that may not initially interest you), read hunting reports with searches on outfitters and locales that interest you, and talk to those who have been. Where I’m from there aren’t many interested in Africa, but once I joined SCI I’ve had access to a new wealth of info. Back to your post, originally, I was taken by Craig Boddington’s words on hunting public land concessions in his book From Mt. Kenya to the Cape:

….given a choice I lean towards the traditional safari in remote areas, especially for a first safari. The old Africa is going quickly, and while I think ranch hunting is often excellent, it will be available for a long time to come. I like to see a hunter go for the traditional African hunt – or as close an approximation as possible – the first time around.

With that said though my ideas have changed over time. Those words of Col. Boddington were first written in the 1980’s, I believe, and even he admits now that Africa as a continent hasn’t been all doom and gloom with limited access to traditional hunting grounds. Although some of the places in his book have closed, we haven’t run out of good wild concessions to hunt. Relatedly, there has been so much good info on this post regarding “wild” hunting and also ranch hunting. I personally am grateful for the info on this post regarding many things I hadn’t thought about before. I’m especially grateful to Rookhawk and Brickburn for their thoughtful posts and their questions to ponder. Also, when it comes to hunting, as johnnyblues notes, it doesn’t have to be all-or-none for wild hunts. Many outfitters in countries like Namibia offer access to both game ranch and concession hunts so you have the option to do a bit of both…and this is probably the option I will take when I finally go.

Finally, and the reason for my post, Erich, I would like to share with you something I’ve found that you may be interested in. It’s called Erongo Verzeichnis (http://www.erongo-verzeichnis.com/s.../hunting/africa/hunt-namibia/certificate.html) which I believe translates from Swahili and German into something like “Dream Directory”. If you are looking for something “certified” (at least by one man) for fair chase then this may be what you’re looking for. The “one man” who certifies these sites is recent past-president of NAPHA, Kai-Uwe Denker. He is a very accomplished hunter by most accounts, and used to hunt all over the continent. He is especially known for bringing in big elephants in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, but now hunts primarily in the Erongo Mountains. You can look up Mr. Denker on his webpage (http://www.kaiuwe-hagen.com/site/kai-uwe-denker/hunt-namibia/hunting/home.html). I would also recommend doing a web search and reading some of his NAPHA statements online. Although I have never met him, I have read much of what he has written, and he seems very much to be a purist when it comes to hunting game animals. Erongo Verzechnis certification basically means that the conservancy, farm, or whatever is an open, natural hunting ground. This certification is for the grounds only and not for the guides who work it. The idea is to help hunters easily find areas of wilderness and also to make a new record book of animals taken in these areas. The principles from the Erongo Verzeichnis website are as follows:

The Erongo Verzeichnis Principles are:

Hunting


· Game animals within the natural, historical habitat of the specific species

· In an area, where the game animals are able to elude the pursuits of the hunter beyond the boundaries of such an area

· In an area where at least one of the five large African beasts of prey occurs (Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, African Wild Dog and Spotted Hyena) and evidently regulates the game populations in the specific area

· It is the goal of the Erongo Verzeichnis to ensure the sustainability of hunting game animals. Only trophies can be entered into the Verzeichnis, whose carriers were fully mature and hence were able to take part in the reproduction of a healthy population; very old trophy animals will be revalued by a multiplier.



Areas that have been certified are listed on the webpage as well, and are as follows:


Tanzania: Mount Loosimingor

Mozambique: Coutada 9

Namibia: Farm Garib, #275

Farm Garib-East

Farm Okondura South

Farm Wilsonfontein, #110

Farm Omandumba East, #133

Farm Omandumba West, #137

Nyae Nyae Conservancy (excluding the Buffalo Camp in the borders)

King Nehale Conservancy

Farm Okowiruru, #108

Farm Okondura North

Farm Kamelbaum, #15

Farm Schlucht, #162

Farm Braban, #168

Farm Stoetzer

Bamunu Conservancy

Dzoti Conservancy

Tsiseb Conservancy

Again, all these are listed on the site, and his certification is for the land only and does not vouch necessarily for the operator. I was first introduced to Mr. Denker through a story on this website and Diana Rupp’s book Ask the Namibian Guides (which is a good book and gives a good flavor for several PH’s, their preferences, and many good do’s and don’ts). His responses (with other guides) stuck with me. I bought the book as it was as close to a conversation with multiple PH’s as I could get to without actually seeking them out online or at a trade show. Since that time, I have read Mr. Denker’s own, very enlightening book Along the Hunter’s Path which was originially in German (like most of his works) and then translated into English. In this book he talks about his philosophies of hunting and also the joys of hunting some of the wildest places and farmlands in Africa (the pics are superb). Although I may sound like an acolyte of Mr. Denker’s, I can assure you that I am not. He seems to, at the very least, tolerate with some disdain things like optics on rifles (he states things like if you need an optic you should stalk closer…a paraphrase). He tries very hard it seems to be a purist and is of the old school. As I said before, I do not know him and cannot vouch for him, but his credentials and writing are quite good and many of his ideals are in line with mine. I respect his work, and he has much more experience than me, but we differ with some of our thoughts, and that’s ok. Just like it’s ok for different people to go out and take on a hunt in different ways. I merely love reading and learning from those with experience, and I hope this bit of info and list of areas helps you. Personally, I used the Erongo list to search out several hunters who currently use these “certified” spots to operate and learn about their hunting opportunities. I can also recommend using Hunting Reports and the book Safari Hunter II for researching areas in multiple countries. After researching several locales in Africa, I personally dream now of doing a hunt in Namibia for a first safari with a bit of ranch hunting and a bit of conservancy hunting perhaps in the Caprivi. As I have read more, my opinions have evolved from doing solely wild hunts to more of a combination since most ranches are not shooting galleries and many, as the Erongo certification attests, are even open, if that’s your thing. The great thing about Africa is there is a hunt for everyone’s liking and ability. I can’t wait to do a little bit of it all over the years to come. Also, by the way, a relatively new video of Mr. Denker and his son, Hagen, hunting in the austere Erongo mountains with a Krieghoff hunting is up on youtube:
. It’s a great vid of kudu, zebras, black rhinos, black faced impala, etc. in a pretty natural habitat for them. Also, per his website, Mr. Denker solely hunts Kudu now. I hope this bit of info was beneficial to you. Enjoy the research and dreaming…I know I do. Hope you have a truly “wild” hunt wherever you end up.
 
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johnnyblues

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Wow what a first post. (y)
 

jeff

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There are many areas in Namibia that are free ranges and not listed on that list. I've hunted on 5 that are not listed.
 

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centerfire

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There are many areas in Namibia that are free ranges and not listed on that list. I've hunted on 5 that are not listed.

Great point and agreed that there are many areas not included. Undoubtedly fee range areas abound throughout many countries, and the list I posted is merely a repost from the Erongo Verzeichnis website of ones that they endorse...nothing more and certainly not a be-all end-all of free range or even fair chase in Africa. Just another tool to research if one is so inclined. To be sure it's an infinitesimally small list which leaves out many reputable areas and operators. I would be remiss if I did not say that, to my mind, it is certainly not all encompassing of the great, free range or fair chase opportunities that are available. So many great options it's hard to decide!
 

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johnnyblues

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You guys should know by now Marius is lurking in the shadows just waiting. Lol
 

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johnnyblues

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NO snow in Africa. Lol
 

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Topic should read Free Range vs Game Ranch. Many game ranches that offer fair chase.

Marius, this it not an argumentative question. From an outfitter's perspective, how does a fair chase hunt take place on a game ranch? Is it all in relation to the size of the farm, or what?
 

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Land size, Vegetation, Terrain. The problem that I have is that the entire South Africa gets painted with the same brush.
 

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...................
· Game animals within the natural, historical habitat of the specific species
· In an area, where the game animals are able to elude the pursuits of the hunter beyond the boundaries of such an area
· In an area where at least one of the five large African beasts of prey occurs (Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, African Wild Dog and Spotted Hyena) and evidently regulates the game populations in the specific area ...

  • "....beyond the boundaries of such an area" So, we have a low fence proponent.

Did the author/proponant delineate this as the only arena for "fair chase"?

LeopardMaps.jpg
Cheetah-Maps1.jpg
Figure-1-Distribution-map-of-spotted-hyaena-light-grey-and-lion-dark-grey-Most-lion.png.jpeg
range.png
 

jeff

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Land size, Vegetation, Terrain. The problem that I have is that the entire South Africa gets painted with the same brush.
Also the species being hunted can make a big difference. One place I hunted was self sustaining for impala, warthog, duiker and a few others but the bigger animals I learned were mostly put and take, although they tried to hide that fact.
 

daved

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It all boils down to what YOU consider free range. If a whitetail deer on a Kansas cattle ranch is free range , then South Africa has huge free range areas for many indigenous species .

If a kudu has a natural range of 2 square miles and you're hunting him on 20-65 square miles ( typical size of a SA private game reserve) is that free range for a animal reintroduced into its natural range 20 years ago ?
DEFINATELY fair chase as you cannot guarantee success or that you're going to get that nice bull you saw with the last client?

On properties of that size you don't know what you're gonna get and on the low fence properties making up the conservancies , you DEFINATELY don't know what you're gonna get.

South Africa is a big country with many different areas and outfitters and you can't paint them all with the same brush.

The other option is wilderness areas in Mozambique , Zimbabwe , Zambia and Tanzania. These hunts will be considerably more expensive.

Best of luck finding your hunt of a life time.
If you are looking at a free range / fair chase experience in South Africa. They do exist.
Warm regards
Dave

Posted a while back and still applicable
 

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