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Lion: Shot Placement and Hunting Techinques
Hanging a bait out of reach of hyaenas.
The height of the bait is within reach for lion, but not hyaena. A lion must be fully stretched out to reach the bait.

Lion exhibit a very wide habitat tolerance and are found in anything from thick bush through open forest to desert. They are not water dependent and are only naturally absent from the Congo jungles. Man has, however, exterminated them from most farming areas and today lion are confined to designated conservation areas and the more remote and sparsely populated tribal lands across Africa South of the Sahara. They are not particularly popular on private game ranches and conservancies as they invariably eat a considerably greater value of ungulates than they themselves are worth. Hunting areas are therefore largely confined to government controlled safari areas or said tribal lands, where they are regarded as problem animals.

Lions are great wanderers, and lone males periodically turn up in areas where they have been absent for many years, often as far as 300 km from their normal range. Home ranges of the prides tend to be fairly fixed and the pride will only move territory if forced to do so by food supply needs or competition. In areas where food is plentiful and permanent, resident pride home ranges tend to be small (50-100km˛) and well defined, whilst in semi desert and desert areas the range is huge and follow the herds as they migrate.

Trophy Selection
It is very hard to describe a ‘Trophy’ Lion. Everybody’s idea is somewhat different, depending on what they have been brought up to believe. The SCI or Rowland Ward scoring systems are but two methods of describing a trophy:-essentially bigger is better. But with lion there are a host of other factors. Mane colour, length and form are important considerations to many sportsmen, and these vary considerably with location, as does pure physical size. As lion are not the easiest animals to hunt, and nowhere can they be described as ‘super abundant’ a sportsman is probably best advised to ascertain what the average mature male from the area he intends to hunt looks like. There are probably only a couple of areas in Africa where he will be able to look over more than a couple of males on a sixteen day hunt and the first mature male encountered is often the one taken. Therefore “trophy” selection is best done by area.

1. Use a Brine - It is always best to use a saturated brine solution with some sort of anti-bacterial additive such as Hellanol to ensure the best curing of the skin prior to tanning.
2. Belly Fat - When skinning a lion it is particularly important to remove any fat from the skin particularly from the belly area as this will inhibit the salt from penetrating the skin.
3. Tip of Tail - A common fault when skinning a lion’s tail is to leave the last digit of the tail in the skin. This results in the eventual loss of the tail tuft. Be sure to skin right to the tip of the very tip of the tail and remove this digit.
4. Toes - Similarly, it is important to remove the last digit in the toes of the feet leaving only the claw in the skin. When skinning the foot it is acceptable to cut through the centre of the main pad to access the rest of the foot but be sure to score the inside of the pad so as ensure the salt penetration into this area.
5. Use of Nail Brush - A useful tool to clean blood encrusted areas particularly around bullet wounds, etc., is an ordinary nail brush which can be used to clean the area by scrubbing the area following the direction in which the hair lies.
6. Whiskers - In order to avoid the loss of a cat’s whiskers, it is necessary to pay particular attention when skinning this part of the cat. Be careful not to scrape the skin against the whisker follicles as this will result in damage to the follicle and possible loss of the whisker. The best thing to do is to very carefully score the inside of the skin around each follicle after removing any fat there, which will allow maximum penetration of salt.

Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 Related Articles: Hunting Lion Part 1
African Hunter Vol.5 No.6 December 1999
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