Hunting Practice: Tracking|
Most of the articles in hunting magazines I read are more concerned with rifles, bullets, shot placements and the like, with little practical advice or tips on the main subject - hunting.
Gamebirds part 1
A feature of many gamebirds in our region is unpredictable or protracted breeding, which results in conflict with hunting. This is particularly true of our sandgrouse. From the hunter's standpoint this conflict is because traditionally sandgrouse are only shot flighting to water, which is during the dry season when they are breeding.
Gamebirds part 2
The Passenger Pigeon, once a ubiquitous North American gamebird; today, only to be remembered. Like many of our gamebirds, dove shooting should be reasonable and responsible.
Hunting with the Bulawayo Boys
It was a fine, crisp, sunny day. The birds were all singing in the trees (including the resident crow, who was making noises like a rabid set of bagpipes being slowly strangled to death). We didn't mind, though - we didn't even throw anything at it for once. Why was this?? Because we were going hunting!
In Defence of Baiting Cats
I was recently challenged by a respected wildlife conservationist on the ethics of hunting big cats over baits. He was actually comparing it to canned lion hunting and felt there was little difference between the two practices! I must confess I have never thought that there is any comparison between these two methods of hunting lion and leopard. I consider the hunting of these species using baits to be the “right” way to hunt them while shooting them “in a cage” to be completely immoral, unethical and wrong. However, the fact that I was asked this question by the conservationist in question - a pro-utilisation man - got me thinking about the issue and decided me on addressing the subject in this column. (For the sake of this discussion let us define ethical hunting as the morally correct way to hunt)
Hunting the African Elephant part 1
The African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) is the largest land animal in the world, with a mature bull standing between 10 and 13 feet high at the shoulder, and weighing upwards of six tonnes. Together with the lion and buffalo, elephants form the definitive African trophy, which has attracted European sportsmen to Africa for the last 150 years and no man can truly say that he has hunted Africa until he has a pair of tusks in his lounge or study. The hunting of the African Elephant is such a huge topic that it will be divided into three parts over the coming issues.
Hunting the African Elephant part 2
In Part I, the basics of hunting and tracking elephant as well as the location of the brain and how to go about placing one’s bullets for a brain shot were discussed. In this edition the body shots and trophy estimation will be considered.
Hunting the African Elephant part 3
The need for ‘recovery shots’ is something that has to be seriously considered when hunting elephant. Nobody deliberately wounds an elephant (or any animal), but it does happen, particularly as the vital organs, although relatively large targets themselves, are concealed within an extremely large body/head.
Hunting Lion part 1
Baiting - The story goes, that under the heading “Eland Stew” in the cook book, the first essential is “find your eland”. Hunting lion requires this first step as well. It is no good festooning the countryside with baits until you are sure that there are lion in the vicinity. Once you have seen spoor, heard them calling or detect vultures circling over an area, you at least have a starting point. Lion are fairly nomadic in their habits and tend to follow the most easily accessible routes like road paths and watercourses. Consequently these are the areas to concentrate on when first looking for lion...
Tracking - In my opinion, this is the most sporting and exciting way to hunt lion. In 1973, Carlo Manetti, whilst hunting lion with me in Botswana, shot a lion five feet away. Bill Buford shot his lion at seven feet. Mike Bartlett and I, were the PHs on safari with Senor Botine and his wife Paloma. Whilst hunting with Mike, Paloma shot a lion at three feet! Mike, very wisely, shot with her, as it was her first lion, and she was a bit nervous at that range, (who wouldn’t be?). Mike had almost stepped on the lion, when it sneezed a fly out of its nose right at his feet. Many lion were shot at less than twelve feet, when hunted in this manner. A lion can spring 20 feet with ease. It may be that those who have hunted lion on horse back in the past, will not agree, and consider their method of hunting lion more exciting. I have never hunted lion on horseback, and tracking them up on foot is the best sport I’ve had...
Hunting Lion part 2
Lion (Panthera leo):- the king of the beasts. Symbol of strength and majesty from Old Testament times until present day. Feared and loathed super predator. Once widespread across much of Asia, Southern Europe and all of Africa, the lion's range has been considerably reduced within historical times. Man, the predator and stock farmer doesn’t like competition, and lion have been exterminated from Europe, almost all of Asia (less than 200 remain) and even large areas of Africa. Its very size, strength and appetite have been its downfall, whilst occasional forays into man eating have done nothing to endear it, as a species, to rural communities.
Learn When To Shoot, Sh*t or Go Blind
As readers may have gathered from past episodes in the magazine, my efforts as a buffalo hunter have so far not proved to be shining chapters of success, and so I channelled my efforts into collecting an eagle chick so that I may try my hand at falconry - that also proved to be just a small fraction under a resounding victory, and so I finally attempted another form of hunting.