As some of you know, I've been giving serious thought to booking a lion hunt. The outfitters that I have spoken with hunt them using spot and stalk. However, on hunting shows that I have seen I think that all, or nearly, all have been done using bait. I realize that shooting over bait is probably a lot easier for the cameraman. However, what is the reality of lion hunts in southern Africa?
I have been doing research into this lately as well. This is what I have learned and is subject to correction by those more knowledgeable.
Most free range lions are taken over bait or within a short distance of bait. Steve and others may correct me but the only free range lions that can be stalked (tracked down like elephant and buff) consistently are in Burkina Faso. (Cameroon also has some hunts this way but it is more involved trying to get the license for a lion) This is due to the soil being sandy. They don't have much in the way of manes. If you want a free range lion and want to stalk it that may be the best way to go. Otherwise you will probably be hunting over baits for a free range lion. Unless of course you get one as a "target of opportunity".
Someone mentioned Jamie Traut and I have heard that lions can be tracked down there because of the sandy conditions as well. Lions not being on the property when you choose to hunt might be a problem though.
Hunting a released lion in a big area and stalking it is a personal decision. There are certainly a number of outfitters on this website that offer these hunts. These lions tend to be cheaper with larger manes than free range lions.
If you do either, I would love to read your hunting report and see the photos. Just beware the "Bachman fiasco". The people that tweet and facebook don't seem to appreciate it too much.
All the best on your decision and hunt.