Sustainable Hunting Practices in South Africa

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by One Day..., May 27, 2019.

  1. TokkieM

    TokkieM AH Fanatic

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    @Hank2211 you have always been polite and calm with your replies, I respect that and value your opinion.
    Yes that is correct it is the case I referring to and I do see the similarities. "Led" came on here with controversy riding his coat tails, something about not having a license to PH, then something about copying a name,but you see the AH folks where very forgiving, maybe the price was right I don't know. Then the great hunt reports came until one day a bad one came from a very good and trusted AH senior member. Then there was a agent defending the outfitter tooth and nail along with a few others, but in the end the "lead" ran out.
    HH became known here becuase of controversy and a lie, Then the glowing reports, becuase the price was right, then one complaint by a member and sure enough a agent defending them tooth and nail with support from a few clients. To me the similarities are strikingly similar except for one thing and that is that "led" had the decency to fight his own battles.
     
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  2. mark-hunter

    mark-hunter AH Fanatic

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    The subject of this thread is sustainable hunting practices in RSA.
    So far we have established that there is legal requirement for the fences.

    Two questions came to my mind that raise my long term interest:

    1. Buffalo.
    How does it work for buffalo? Disease free buffalo is managed in what areas & provinces, and what areas are non-DF buffalo?
    Is the program in full swing, or stagnating?
    What is also a historic natural range for buffalo in RSA?

    2. Lion?
    My intention is not to go in political and ethical aspects of CBL hunting.
    How do we (clients) know, what could be a free range lion, or CBL, when all of RSA is in fence of various sizes?
    What is historic range for lion in RSA?
     

  3. IvW

    IvW AH Elite

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    I just quoting what you are posting and too much of it is contradictory...and in most cases just not possible

    Let us just take the size of the property as an example...

    How big is this property exactly as it seems that not even this can be stated correctly which leads to further confusion....

    Let's start with their website:

    Huntershill offers a unique hunting experience in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. This large game farm of 55 000 acres, offers trophy hunting, bow hunting, fishing and wing shooting.

    Comre Game ranch
    Our own ranch and the base for almost all our hunts. Tucked away in a beautiful valley close to the spectacular Winterberg mountains, this 22 000 acre game ranch has some of the most spectacular terrain Africa has to offer.

    Rocklands is a 6175 acres farm located just outside Fort Beaufort on the Grahamstown road. Guests are transported to Rocklands from Huntershill.

    Then you keep quoting:

    - 120,000 contiguous acres (188 square miles);

    HUNTERSHILL safaris - 188 square miles private hunting area - 70 species

    Now where exactly is this 120 000 continues(I am presuming you made a spelling error) situated because I do not see it..I am looking...

    Presenting data is enough from my perspective.

    I provide data, its validity is challenged with opinions. As I said elsewhere, I am not too good at that, I am the analytical guy, not the emotional guy, so it may be time for me to sign off this one.

    Good idea until the facts are straight. Where are you getting this data you are presenting? We shall see...

    The game density numbers are well just impossible and have been sucked out somewhere....

    When I say (summarized):
    - 120,000 contiguous acres (188 square miles);-This is not true
    - typical density at Huntershill in good habitat devoid of top predators (Lions, Hyenas, Leopard, Cheetah, etc.) of 2 to 3 animals per 10 hectares (25 acres); -Totally impossible, unless they receive some serious supplementary feeding or are stocked from somewhere else
    - game population in the range of 10,000 to 15,000 animals;-This is a 50% discrepancy is it 10 000 or 15 000, I suggest they get somebody to do a proper game count, this is hearsay or thumb sucking or just an assumption....
    - annual recruitment of 80 fawns per 100 does in good habitat devoid of top predators;-There are no fawns or does in Natural African animals so you must be quoting these figures from some American species or place, definitely not possible under natural conditions in African game farming even more so given the assumed size of total number of animals already on the property.
    - annual population growth at Huntershill in the range of 4,000 to 6,000 animals per year;-They should stop hunting and just sell game at these rates. How do you get to this figure? Lets split the total population given(between 10 000 and 15 000) so we have 12500 with an annual recruitment as stated of 80% this then gives us 22500!!, so we have an increase of 10 000 annually! The 97%n return clients and the 3% new clients arrive and harvest 2000 of these, which then leaves us with 20 500 head of game!! in one year!! What happened to the rest!! Died of old age? What happened to the other 8000??? Jackals, caracal, cull hunting? Come on do the maths!!
    - annual hunting season of about 8 months, 34 weeks, 240 days;
    - 200 hunters/year;
    - 10 animals per hunter in average;

    What is means is the following:
    - 2,000 animals are collected every year;
    - the 2,000 animals collected are obviously the older animals ("trophy size" to use your words);-
    So we have 12500 head of game and we can harvest 2000 "trophy sized" head of game, that gives us 16% of all the animals are trophy sized game. Again physically and mathematically impossible
    - the 2,000 animals collected at the top of the pyramid age are replaced at the bottom of the pyramid by the 4,000 to 6.000 animals born every year; Again this is impossible as animals need a long time to reach trophy size.
    -------> there is not only no financial incentive for "put & take", there is actually a need for culling.

    Let me state some facts and I can suggest you purchase this book which will give you facts about game farm management in South Africa.

    Game Ranch Management-J du P.Bothma(Editor) Centre for Wildlife Management University of Pretoria, Van Schaik publishers. There are 29 Authors.

    A few examples, Impala take 10 years to reach proper trophy size, eland 12-15 years, buffalo same 12-14 years....

    Stocking rate of some herbivores, this will vary from area to area but is a good indication.

    Below figures are maximum:
    Black wildebeest stocking rate 1 animal per 20 Ha(49.4 acres), growth rate is high at 30-34%.
    Blesbok stocking rate 1 animal per 1 Ha(2.47 acres), growth rate is high at 35%
    Blue Wildebeest stocking rate 1 animal per 15 Ha(37.07 acres) growth rate is 20%
    Burchell's Zebra stocking rate should never exceed 1 animal per 25 Ha(61.75 acres) growth rate is 20%

    Based on 450-550 mm annual rainfall.

    Please take note Huntershill located near Qeeunstown only receives 400 mm of annual rainfall.

    I ques it is none of my business how this operation is run and what happens there, however I have an issue when big figures with unsupported evidence are thrown around not backed up by facts I have a problem with that.

    Let us not create optical illusions about what is and what is not possible. The figures you are quoting here from farm/hunting area size, number of animals etc. cannot be right, simple as that.

    You hunted there once before for 12 day's, and by your own words:

    I am happy to share how I received the data I am sharing. Last year, in August 2018, I went hunting for 12 days at Huntershill. Had never met them, did not know them, and as I reported in my hunt report (https://www.africahunting.com/threa...faris-august-2018-plains-game-paradise.45017/) I took a a gamble. The gamble worked. I fell in love, and I made what I think will be (time will tell) friends for life (hence the loyalty).


    and I was personally interested in having technical discussions with folks at Huntershill, and I ended up developing a personal friendship with one of their PH who also happens to have an advanced degree in wildlife management and wrote his dissertation on Vaal Rhebok. It is possible that he lied to me then and continues to lie to me now. I may be naive, but I do not think that he lies. The data comes from him and I do believe that as Head PH and wildlife management scientist, he does have a clear understanding of what they are doing. There is a possibility that I get it wrong, but as I said, this is not exactly my first game management discussion...

    comes straight from this PH/wildlife management scientist. I do not really have a good reason to doubt it, but I am certainly interested in looking at published science that would provide something more scientifically quotable than a 12 days discussion in a hunting truck, if you have some.

    Well he has his figures screwed up that I can assure you, Head PH, wildlife management scientist or not.

    Buy the book I mentioned(it was one of many, we had to study when I did my PH licence for RSA) and then get back to me and tell me the figures you have been given are correct for HH and I will accept...until then do not believe everything you are being told...especially if all this is based on 12 day's conversation in a hunting truck....

    This thread has been started by splitting off from another in order that this subject "Sustainable Hunting" can be discussed on its own.

    Great way of diverting the attention away from the original post and no I do not think this post is about "Sustainable Hunting" but rather an effort to defend HH and get away from the original unhappy hunting experience posted by a member.

    Your vested interest and and the information given to you by your PH in the truck during your 12 day visit there is clouding your vision. If he is such a hot shot Wildlife scientist he could provide you with the actual annual game count figures if they are running such a vast and successful Game Ranching operation, if not it is just information sucked out of his thumb...you may also want to take him a new calculator because the one he is using is clearly not working.

    Learn from my trackers advice, you are looking but you are not seeing....

    If this thread is about Sustainable Hunting Practices in South Africa, lets return to that and stop trying to justify what HH are doing or not doing with figures that are just not possible as this just leads to further confusion and brings members under the wrong impression..
     
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  4. TokkieM

    TokkieM AH Fanatic

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    Personally I feel indifference towards HH, but have a very low BS tolerance.
    Throwing a shadow towards my experience is the first crack you have shown and that says a lot,but my let's see I PH'd in the EC 220 days a year for 3 years oh and then I ran a Outfitt for 2 more years PH'ing clients and taking care of a Game Farm, I have hunted every single province in SA, then Zim and Moz and I am currently working my way through Europe,but yes I lack experience,not becuase you say so, but becuase every new species I persue is a learning curve.
    I don't need to have been on HH property, it's a generic issue with some Outfitters and if it looks like sh@t,smells like @ shit it probably tastes like sh@t too chances are 99% it is sh@t and that is a general analagy which is not directed at HH alone.
    As to the constant reference between checking if SA facts are corroborated by USA practices you are emplying that a lifetime of study by highly dedicated and educated individuals is superceded by folks who have never even been on the ground. Strange that herd dynamics, population growth, soil quality, stocking rates, tannin levels and phosphorus % is so similar on the two continents but the animal species are so different? Evolution must have screwed up somehow.
    It still has not answered any questions related to why Impala are doing so badly on HH if cross feeding species are doing so well,but no need to look for a answer as I already know why. Neither have you touched on why the species are being hunted in a carbon copy order, but I am sure the explanation will be extensively backed with research.

    I am sure HH appreciates all the work you have done on these threads, but nothing speaks louder than their utter silence on both threads.
     
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  5. IvW

    IvW AH Elite

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    Although published in 2010 this will give you a good idea on the Buffalo.

    Black gold: disease-free buffalo farming
    Lindsay Hunt
    Oct 11, 2010 11:35 am
    Few farming enterprises can offer the returns of a well-managed buffalo breeding operation.

    The past four years have seen unprecedented growth in the industry, with some animals selling for several million rand at game sales. Buffalo farming pioneer Lindsay Hunt explores this phenomenon and examines its sustainability.

    South African farmers face volatile times. The lack of government support, fluctuating land values, stock theft, unstable exchange rates, and threats of expropriation play havoc with modern farming. But farmers are resourceful, and farming ingeniously and indigenously may offer new opportunities. A classic example is Elandsberg Farms in Wellington, traditionally a wheat and sheep operation. In 1999, looking at diversification options on 30ha of irrigable land, it chose buffalo over wine, olives and other produce.
    The result has combined remarkable returns on investment with very low running costs. Buffalo generate more profit per hectare than sheep, wheat and tourism combined. They’re a moveable asset, unlike cultivation in which all one’s money is invested into the ground.

    Where’s this massive market?
    Buffalo historically occurred all over Southern Africa where adequate shade, water and grazing was available – from the Cape Peninsula, along the southern coastal belt, into areas of the Karoo and up into the Highveld and Lowveld.The closing and restriction of hunting in much of Africa, combined with a steady drop in trophy quality due to poor management and excessive poaching, has focused attention on South Africa. Selective breeding and genetic variation is restoring what years of hunting has eliminated. The buffalo is arguably Africa’s most coveted trophy and essential ecotourism asset on any game reserve. Owners of game lodges are fuelling demand by seeking a return on their buffalo investment, through tourism revenue, and through breeding better-quality animals. Buffalo are immensely marketable animals for farmers with the necessary resources.


    They’re easily restrained by cattle fencing and don’t require huge tracts of land. They provide a financial return within four years of acquisition. They’re selective bulk grazers. They’re hardy animals and mortality is very rare. They relocate and adjust with little stress. Under ideal conditions they can calve every 14 months. They are neither susceptible to stock theft, nor to poaching (when compared to white rhino). And, much like cattle, they’re easily trained to accept supplementary feed and to gather at a central feeding site.

    Types of buffalo
    All buffalo in South Africa are of one species, but are defined by ecotype – Kruger, Addo, KZN, Madikwe, and East African. These distinctions will diminish over time as breeders mix genetics to improve herds through hybrid vigour. Historically, buffalo in South Africa have been restricted to four ecotypically defined groups: Addo disease-free animals, Umfolozi-Hluluwe corridor and bovine tuberculosis (BTB) positive animals, Kruger National Park (KNP) infected animals and disease-free stock from foreign zoos.
    Originally, only Addo buffalo and stock from foreign zoos were available as disease-free stock. Of the first three groups, KNP buffalo are the most genetically diverse, as proved by Prof Eric Harley from the University of Cape Town. However, buffalo from foreign zoos were excluded from his genetic variance study. If KNP buffalo were to be made available to buffalo farmers in the disease-free regions of South Africa, they had to be certified disease-free.

    But how?
    Breeding disease-free buffalo from disease-positive parent stock is a relatively recent breakthrough in Southern Africa. The pioneers worked with Dr John Condy, a veterinarian with the then-Rhodesian veterinary department. His far-sighted approach laid the foundations for future projects – but he was 20 years ahead of his time. It wasn’t until 1998 that Hunt Africa launched the first commercial project in South Africa to breed disease-free animals beyond the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) red-line, using techniques developed by Dr Condy and Dr Roy Bengis of Skukuza. The success of this project has seen many other projects developing, all contributing to the spread of buffalo into areas where they have long been extinct. Two buffalo ecotypes – disease-free KNP buffalo and disease-free KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) buffalo – are available as a result of these projects.

    Why the controversy?
    The KZN and Addo buffalo originate from greatly reduced nucleus herds decimated by a combination of hunting, habitat destruction and the rinderpest of the 1890s. Arguments rage about the real number of buffalo left in these nucleus herds. Prof Harley’s research shows that the number was too small to prove loss of genetic diversity – which is conclusive in itself.KNP buffalo have wide genetic diversity. So why would current owners of KZN and Addo buffalo not all buy as many disease-free KNP bulls and cows as possible to improve their genetic lines? Prof Harley stated that substantial variability could be maintained in these populations by regular introduction of individuals from the KNP population. KNP buffalo have been available since 1999, yet many buffalo farmers have resisted the opportunity to improve their genetics, mainly due to the risk of disease.This is a stumbling block as few buyers understand the disease implications, and some breeders claim to be “less risky” than others. There’s also a belief that Addo and KZN buffalo are less risky than disease-free KNP stock are, and that East African buffalo are the least risky of all.

    The East African market is an entirely separate and even less quantifiable model. Buffalo were exported to European zoos before 1960, and before Dr Robert Hedger and Dr Condy discovered that buffalo were carriers of FMD. The exact origin of these animals and their genetic diversity is difficult to measure. East African animals have, to date, always sold at a premium on the perception that they have the widest horns and are scarcer. Their “clean” status has also contributed to their price premium. Quite simply, prices are driven by supply, demand and perception.

    Buffalo projects or disease-free herds?
    Many questions surround the disease-free buffalo projects and the risk they introduce to the industry.
    Disease is best controlled at source, and the easiest way to monitor it is by testing. Controlling disease at source is a subjective exercise performed by the breeder. As it’s impossible to enforce disease control at source, the agriculture department imposes strict quarantine, testing and movement restrictions on all buffalo bred in the disease-control area. These controls are very effective. This same level of control isn’t in place to monitor the movement of cattle, which arguably poses a higher risk of certain diseases than the strictly monitored buffalo projects do.As buffalo from established disease-free herds only require one blood test before being moved, it’s unfair to suggest that Addo or KZN animals are any less risky than disease-free KNP animals, which are more thoroughly tested by the time they qualify as stage-five animals.
    When comparing the disease status of a fifth-stage project buffalo or a second-generation project buffalo with that of any other buffalo, the reality is that buffalo are only as clean as their last herd test.
    So, in sourcing the cleanest buffalo, also examine the source, and the integrity of that source.

    The future of buffalo marketing
    The disease-free breeding projects are due to close at the end of 2011 as the agriculture department believes adequate genetic stock has been exported from the KNP gene pool over the last 12 years.
    This will cause a massive contraction in supply. Fortunately, the market is changing and informed breeders are going to great lengths to source superior animals from the widest possible gene pool to ensure the future value of their investment. This approach will become increasingly popular as game farmers become averse to the genetic bottlenecks prevalent in line-bred herds. The sudden loss of KNP genetic material can only bolster demand. In the future, buffalo will be judged phenotypically – by what they look like. Big bodied, big horned animals with excellent fertility will ultimately sell for a premium, regardless of origin.

    Some breeders over-emphasise horns and a particular horn shape. Some even argue in favour of line-breeding big horned animals and ignoring body size. The supply of phenotypically impressive disease-free animals with excellent genetic diversity is very limited. Small numbers of excellent-quality animals reach the market each year largely because, until recently, the focus has been on quantity above quality. Many buyers have focused on simply establishing a herd, regardless of the quality of the stock. Once a herd is established, improving its quality is time consuming and expensive – a very gradual process that hugely restricts supply and hugely increases demand. So it’s not surprising that exceptional bulls are selling for millions of rand and that the value of exceptional cows will continue to escalate.Few ungulates in Southern Africa have the wide habitat range and tolerance of the African buffalo. The growth of South Africa as a tourist and safari destination will ensure excellent returns in disease-free buffalo over the next 10 years.E-mail Lindsay Hunt at solole@netactive.co.za. |fw

    The disease dilemma
    Buffalo are hosts to two African diseases, namely foot-and-mouth and corridor disease. Both can be determined by a blood test. Both have little or no effect on buffalo, but are dangerous to non-resistant ungulates, especially domestic livestock.Buffalo can also contract bovine tuberculosis (BTB) and brucellosis or contagious abortion (CA), European diseases alien to Africa. Buffalo act as carriers and hosts, and are affected by the diseases. These diseases are difficult to detect and can often be present, undetected, in a herd even if regular blood tests are done.

    Buffalo from disease-free breeding projects are rigorously tested. They must pass a minimum of four negative tests in differing stages of quarantine, before being moved. These tests include a skin reaction test for BTB, and blood tests for the other three diseases. The protocol is designed to make sure no animal reaches a clean area (stage 4), unless certified clean of all four diseases. There’s some dispute over corridor disease transfer – an article in itself.Until “project” buffalo reach the fifth and final stage of testing, they remain a higher risk than animals born into disease-free herds. But many would agree that a fifth-stage Kruger National Park project buffalo is as clean as any other.

    Lion historic and current distribution map

    [​IMG]

    How do we (clients) know, what could be a free range lion, or CBL, when all of RSA is in fence of various sizes?

    As for CBL you should know this before you book the hunt.

    As for Free range or wild lion hunting in South Africa, yes they are available, prohibitively expensive and some folks will still say they are behind a fence no matter the size of the property. This will boil down to your own preference.

    Although not always admitted but 99% of game ranching is high fenced, even all our large game reserves are fenced, it is what it is but this need not detract from the hunting experience if conducted properly and the client is aware of all the relevant information before he books his hunt. Being open and honest as opposed to BS'ting a client about what he can expect and is paying for goes a long way to ensure there are no misgivings...

    Below is a link to a well written and open article by Ron Thomson which could help you understand the differance.
    https://www.mahohboh.org/searching-for-the-truth-captive-breeding-of-lions-industry/
     

    Attached Files:

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  6. Albert GRANT

    Albert GRANT AH Fanatic

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    Don't know if .375 Ruger Fan already posted this on this thread or not, as he has in several other places, so I will just in case.
    This is sustainable hunting. You limit the number of hunters both at a time and throughout the year and only take a few animals of each species. This is the only way it can be sustainable, otherwise it is "supported" (putting animals in to replace ones taken out in order to maintain reproduction) or "put and take" (adding animals to a property solely to be shot out) These are the only options. It takes time to reproduce and grow, these are not magic creatures who suddenly appear grown and in top condition, in huge numbers- conveniently just when we want them there, lol.
    @One Day... there is also more math discrepancies in your statements that have not been addressed. You say there is an average of 200 hunters at HH per year, yet there have been numerous mentions (both in positive and negative comments) of dozens of hunters at a time cycling thru various HH properties. You also state there is an 8+ month hunting season for HH, which would logically lead to a far greater number than 200 per year and therefor an entirely greater number of total animals taken off these properties. Basically very little adds up in this particular thread on "sustainable hunting" and I see no advantage to you or HH in responding to this or creating new threads until the owner decides he can take time out of his far too busy and important schedule to address all concerns regarding his hunting business and bring to light the actual facts (or his opinion thereof) Taking the time to respond to your client base is the basics of business.
     

  7. One Day...

    One Day... AH Fanatic

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    In a few respectful words...

    IvW, maybe you should know that "recruitment rate" refers to new borns and females (I will not say fawns and does because it apparently upsets you). Your number crunching, and the conclusions thereof, apparently overlook the fact that only females bear offsprings... I cannot compete with such arguments. You win.

    TookieM, no one challenges your experience. About anyone would read what I wrote to mean what it says: "I get it TokkieM, you do not like Huntershill. That is perfectly fine. I wish you had been there (Huntershill) so you could talk about something you actually experienced (hunting at Huntershill)" Underlines added. No other meaning implied.

    Albert GRANT, dozens (plural) is a little exaggerated - there is only a grand total of 15 chalet/cottage/suites at Huntershill ;-) but I get your point.
    Allow me to reply for folks actually looking for information that 200 clients a year for an 8 months main season means 6 clients per week in average, which is generally understood to mean that there are weeks with 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12...
    For info, the weeks with 10 to 15 accommodations occupied, which is somewhat uncommon, are the weeks when groups (gun or hunting clubs, 3 generation families, friends, etc.) are coming together, which seems to be a developing trend. See for example the group hunt organized next year with @BRICKBURN for AH members. They obviously need a place that can offer a number of accommodations and with enough land for a number of hunters simultaneously. That is unless you want to imply that @BRICKBURN is taking them on a canned "put & take" hunt, which I would advise anyone to be careful before making such assertion :E Rofl:
    For another example, I was alone in camp the first week of August last year, and the second week a group of a dozen or so Mexican friends showed up. It did change the evenings dynamics, but I liked it too. I personally think that it is cool to be able to go with friends. This coming July, 6 of us are going together and we like being able to do so.

    100% agreed, which is why I only address TokkieM's rightful pride of legitimate experience, which was not challenged, and your question, because it is an opportunity to provide more information to folks looking for it. IvW's curious population modeling and conclusions thereof are kind of going along for the ride :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019

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