Members and other readers,
A friend forwarded this thread to me, I apologise for a somewhat brief summary as I am sending this out of camp via cell phone coverage.
I respectfully offer the following response;
A few facts to consider,
On the morning that Ikeda left/was leaving camp, another hunter shot a Buffalo in Salambala Conservancy. This would have been the 7th morning of Ikeda’s 7 day hunt, he however chose to leave early. Furthermore the ph informed me that the sign showed that the buffalo had been in this area for at least two days. Also a large herd crossed from Botswana and were around the camp the evening prior to the buffalo being shot.
In Ikeda’s defence there are no resident herds of Buffalo in Salambala only a few bulls. However there are large herds that come and go into the area throughout the year. Otherwise the game department or rather our Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) would not approve a quota one would think and hope.
The Buffalo was shot in exactly “One” of the places that I suggested to Ikeda’s ph to work in. I suggested several other areas as well. Nevertheless, the evening before the buffalo was shot, the ph asked Ikeda’s ph if they would like to hunt there the following morning. Ikeda’s ph replied that no they did not as Ikeda was leaving the following morning. Ikeda it should be mentioned was not at dinner that evening and I was informed that he went to his tent at 5pm (17H00) already as he was not feeling well in fact his knees were bothering him is what I have been told.
Ikeda’s claim that they walked and drove the whole of Salambala has had some contrasting words from our camp staff and the game scout. Ikeda and his ph were the last to leave camp in the mornings and were back in camp in times ranging from 09H00 to 11H00. Surely this cannot count as hunting or trying hard?
It should also be noted that several months prior to Ikeda’s hunt he sent me an e-mail insisting that he wanted to hunt in Salambala. He did not ask for my opinion or input. I did not at that stage place concern over this as I would just keep quota for him in Kasika where there are resident buffalo, which I did. I also informed the ph that they should try hunt Salambala a few days (per Ikeda’s request) and then they could come to Kasika if all else fails.
Kasika hunting is physically challenging 90% of the time, reason being flood plains and swampy area. Ikeda sent me an e-mail several weeks before his hunt and informed me that amongst other things he is 300lbs and has knee problems. I was concerned and hoped that he was successful in Salambala given the above. Nevertheless if need be I have put hunters on sleds to get them close to buffalo and make the final approach on foot. A ph must make a plan. So I still had Kasika and we shoot Buffalo every year in Salambala so my hopes were still positive.
In reference to the one day that Ikeda went to Kasika as in his report, where they could not go anywhere as it was “full” of hunters, they did not discuss their plans with the other hunters. If the ph and Ikeda expressed a wish to go there, I know the plans would have been adjusted to accommodate everyone.
The PH (professional hunter)
On the second day of the hunt Ikeda’s ph suggested to me that they go hunt buffalo in the area where he is the full time registered ph. I rejected this based on
Firstly; it was only the second day and
Secondly; There was quota reserved in Kasika for Ikeda which costs us money
Thirdly; the ph’s quote to me was almost $1000.00 more than what Ikeda was paying Classic Safaris for the whole hunt.
Surely this places a question mark on ethics and even though the ph is freelancing he surely has a duty to represent the company that is paying him.
Ikeda pre-paid his trophy fee, this was wired to him and he was to advise me as soon as the funds cleared, he obviously never did. I have paid the ph after I withheld his money till I thought the story was finalized. In my opinion the ph was unethical, left camp early on the morning of the 7th day and also working till 9 or 11 in the morning for the other 6 days surely does not justify full remuneration?
Hunting areas (legality)
Classic Safaris hunts in Salambala, Kasika and Impalila Island conservancies. According to legislations no more than 2 parties may hunt the same area. Kasika and Impalila immediately border one another and Salambala is approximately 35km away in a straight line. Self explanatory
Due to the annual flooding of these areas we have a window of 5-6 months to fill our quota. We are not foolish ph’s have the responsibility to ensure where the other hunters are going and stay within the areas they stated that they would hunt. No rocket science.
I apologise to Ikeda for not enough food on the evening Ikeda refers to. I asked my staff and they informed me that there was one evening that clients complained about a shortage of food. Why did Ikeda not mention this to me whilst here or even in subsequent e-mails. I can only apologise after the fact.
It was however not Guinea fowl. Shalom
In general we have not had many complaints about our food before, in fact it has been complimentary. I have taken steps to ensure this for the future and apologise again for the staff slacking.
We have had 4 ladies in camp this year and all were happy with the accommodations and food. Our beds are hotel quality being 6ft 6inches long and ¾ wide and can be joined to make king size double beds, hardly cheap and sub-standard. We do not run a lodge, guest farm, guesthouse, game ranch or hunting ranch to which I suspect Ikeda is accustomed. We operate out of a tented camp and in conservancies/government concessions outfitters may not erect permanent structures. We offer en-suite toilet and shower facilities and linen is changed on a regular basis and laundry is daily.
I am sincerely sorry that Ikeda had an unsuccessful hunt.
To forewarn people about Classic Safaris and me is pushing it. Each has his responsibilities and each must face up to his.
People who have hunted with me and who know me know that I care and try my best for them.