How big is big enough? (Property)

Charles de Ribeau

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Over the years, I've heard hunters and outfitters talk about the size of the farm or concession where they hunt. I know one outfitter who has four properties that together comprise more than 1 million hectares. That's almost 2.5 million acres or 3,800 square miles! I've talked with another who had only a few thousand acres. As with other things in life size isn't everything, but if a property is too small, your safari is going to feel like a canned hunt.

Personally, everything else being equal, I prefer larger areas over smaller ones, but of course, terrain and cover matter a lot. I've never tried to put a number on it before this post. I suppose, that for me 25,000 acres (100 square miles) is at the low end of what I prefer. After all, we are not hunting whitetails in the neighbor's 40 acre wood lot at home. I'm assuming a spot and stalk hunt for plains game. Hunting certain animals will, necessarily, have different minimums (some greater and some less).

What do you folks have to say about this?
 

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For RSA (all I've hunted in Africa)...I prefer to hunt a 5k+ acre ranch at a minimum assuming good cover and stalking for smaller antelope and game. For larger PG or if more bakke time is needed, 10k-20k acres + at a minimum is nice.
All that said, Ive hunted a 3k acre ranch for 2 days and never got a shot opportunity on what I was after, rather only opportunistic shots.
 

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Over the years, I've heard hunters and outfitters talk about the size of the farm or concession where they hunt. I know one outfitter who has four properties that together comprise more than 1 million hectares. That's almost 2.5 million acres or 3,800 square miles! I've talked with another who had only a few thousand acres. As with other things in life size isn't everything, but if a property is too small, your safari is going to feel like a canned hunt.

Personally, everything else being equal, I prefer larger areas over smaller ones, but of course, terrain and cover matter a lot. I've never tried to put a number on it before this post. I suppose, that for me 25,000 acres (100 square miles) is at the low end of what I prefer. After all, we are not hunting whitetails in the neighbor's 40 acre wood lot at home. I'm assuming a spot and stalk hunt for plains game. Hunting certain animals will, necessarily, have different minimums (some greater and some less).

What do you folks have to say about this?

i get what your saying but being a land guy i cant help myself 100 square miles is 64,000 acres not 25,000 acres but once you pass the 5,000 to 6,000 acre range thats a pretty good hike to cover even a part of it in a day on foot.
 

Charles de Ribeau

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i get what your saying but being a land guy i cant help myself 100 square miles is 64,000 acres not 25,000 acres but once you pass the 5,000 to 6,000 acre range thats a pretty good hike to cover even a part of it in a day on foot.
You are sooo right about the conversion of sq miles to acres. I even know that. It's ~25,000 hectares not acres.
 

Charles de Ribeau

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For RSA (all I've hunted in Africa)...I prefer to hunt a 5k+ acre ranch at a minimum assuming good cover and stalking for smaller antelope and game. For larger PG or if more bakke time is needed, 10k-20k acres + at a minimum is nice.
All that said, Ive hunted a 3k acre ranch for 2 days and never got a shot opportunity on what I was after, rather only opportunistic shots.
I suppose my inclination is shaped by where I live. I'm in Colorado. I'm used to big ranches, rugged mountains and seemingly endless national forest land and BLM land to hunt. Honestly, I have trouble picturing what 3,000 acres would look like. I know, it's a like a square a little over 2 miles on a side, or 4.6 sections. Now, a section, or multiple sections, I can visualize (silly, isn't it?).

I hunted once a ranch in RSA that was huge. The cover was dense and the land was relatively flat. The only animal that I saw, was the one that I was specifically there to hunt. One day, after I got my animal, I tagged along in the bakke with another hunter for the afternoon hunt. Neither, me, the hunter nor the PH saw a single thing. So, again, size isn't everything. While I did enjoy my hunt there, but had I been hunting for everyday plains game, I would not have enjoyed it at all.
 

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I agree with your sentiment. If pressed for a number 20,000 acres would be a good number for Africa.
 

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I think "it depends"...

what game are we talking about? and what are the conditions?

if youre talking a particular species of plains game that is known to travel significant distances each day.. then I'd certainly want a large property that allows them to free range and requires me to work during the hunt.. Most places I have hunted in SA have been 5000-7000 acre properties.. I've also hunted a couple of 25,000 acre properties though.. while the 25,000 acre places offered more areas to go search before seeing the same places a second time.. I cant say that any 5000 acre place I have been on gave the quarry any more or less of an advantage or disadvantage than a 25,000 acre place..

if we're talking something like a warthog though... something that really doesnt know a boundary and that isnt held in by fences, etc... I'd be perfectly comfortable hunting a much smaller property..

Im not suggesting a 1 acre pen..

But a 1500 acre property isnt going to hold a warthog in or out anymore than a 15,000 acre property.. and if youre trying to hunt them on foot, youre not going to cover an entire 1500 acres (or 15,000 for that matter) in a day of hunting anyway.. they have plenty of room to run.. and plenty of places to go..

In colorado I hunt a 25 acre property.. there are no fences though.. and the property backs up to a 250,000 acre piece of land.. I just have hunting rights on the 25 acres though (my own place).. since I typically sit on top of a ridge there and wait in ambush for muleys, its more than enough land.. and is just a short walk back to the cabin to fetch tools if I am fortunate enough to get something :)
 

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Tough one there, I know what 5 sections feel like and can honestly say I don't believe ive ever killed any of my N. American game outside those limits. That being said, that acreage doesn't hold the same amount of game that an African property might stock/raise ect. Assuming proper layout, heavy foilage and at or below maximum animal carrying capacity, I think I could live with 5 sections (3,200 acres) to hunt on.
 

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I don’t think it’s 10 or 10,000,000 that matters. To me it’s what is the natural range of the animal you are going to hunt. That’s the size I would want. In Texas that’s 640 for a white-tail (normally). For a Cape Buffalo that’s 12 miles from a body of water (24 miles by 24 miles).
 

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Good question, no idea on this one. Being from BC, Canada where we hunt I can walk miles and miles without crossing any road so could say spoiled. During my last Namibian Safari we stayed at the fenced farm, 20,000 acres, I did not think it small but we mostly hunted the conservancy, 1 000 000 acres? Next summer a SA Kalahari lion hunt so a ranch, I will have a better idea on how big a property should be after next summers excursion. I will pay attention to this thread.


MB
 

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i get what your saying but being a land guy i cant help myself 100 square miles is 64,000 acres not 25,000 acres but once you pass the 5,000 to 6,000 acre range thats a pretty good hike to cover even a part of it in a day on foot.
Amen!
 
 

 

 

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