The thing to remember about hunting in Africa, is that this is your day and your hunt. Your Professional Hunter will make suggestions and advise and lead your hunt, but it is your choice as to what you would like to do.
Every hunting area has its own challenges and hopefully every day will be a new adventure. Of course there will be variations, depending on what species you are hunting and where you are hunting, but essentially, below is what you can expect on a typical day.
Your hunting day will begin at first light. There is no merit in getting up too early, unless you have a long way to drive to get to the hunting area where a specific species that you are interested in occurs, or where you may have left off on following a wounded animal the previous day. If you are too early it will be too dark to see tracks.
Before heading out of camp, you will have coffee and breakfast in camp. If you are staying out in the field for lunch, the kitchen staff would have prepared a lunch box for your day. Your Professional Hunter would have planned for the day with the rest of your hunting crew, so they will know what the main species is that you will be pursuing that day. While you are having breakfast, your team will be getting the hunting vehicle ready and loading your supplies of drinks, snacks, lunch, etc. At about first light you will depart camp. Your tracker will often offer to place your rifle into the rifle rack on the truck and load your day bag. If you prefer to do it yourself, just let him know.
If you should take an animal during the course of the morning, after taking some photographs, your hunting team will load the animal and you will head back to the skinning shed. Your skinner will cape out the animal to your instructions and specifications. While the animal is being prepared for the taxidermist, you will continue hunting with your Professional Hunter.
After your lunch and siesta, you will continue hunting till dark and head back toward camp. Upon arriving in camp, your hunting crew will assist you in taking your rifle and day bag back to your room, unless you prefer to carry them yourself. You will have some time to take a shower before heading up to the main lodge for drinks and snacks before dinner is served.
As a hunting outfit, we realize that we have a huge responsibility toward wildlife, wildlife habitat, our clients and future generations, and we pledge to conduct ourselves in a professional manner, which will reflect honesty, morality and integrity. Our guides will adhere to the spirit of fair chase as well as the principles of sustainable utilization of our natural resources.
Responsible hunting provides unique challenges and rewards. However, I feel the future of the sport depends on each hunter's behaviour and ethics. Therefore, as a hunter and safari outfitter, I pledge to: RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT AND WILDLIFE.
To promote and observe the aims and objectives of PHASA, the provisions of the PHASA Constitution and its by-laws;
To obey the laws of any country in which we operate at any time in professional hunting or related activities;
To conduct ourselves in a manner which will reflect honesty, integrity and morality and shall not allow material gain to supersede such principles;
to respect the natural resources of the country in which we hunt;
To respect the rights and interests of property owners and local communities;
To not misrepresent ourselves to clients or mislead clients in any way;
to take every reasonable step to ensure that our clients receive the services contracted for, and to ensure their safety, comfort and satisfaction; and
to not act in any manner that brings the good name of PHASA and its members into disrepute.
Never shoot an animal from a vehicle or within sight or sound of a vehicle
Only ever shoot mature males and be selective in always taking the oldest animal.
Never shoot a female, unless it is a mercy killing, or for management purposes. For management purposes this must be an old female and discussed first
Never shoot a herd male unless absolutely necessary for manipulating breeding genetics
Never give up tracking a wounded animal until found or all sign to follow is lost
Never shoot another animal whilst tracking or searching for a wounded animal, even if clients is insisting they would like to shoot another animal (may wound a second one, not ethical, recovery may take a long time) this leaves no time for original search.
Never take a shot unless you are sure you can make a quick humane kill
Never shoot through twigs or at a long range that is out of your ability / experience – especially no long range angled shots or face on.
Make sure that you are aware that when you squeeze the trigger on an animal, the final decision is yours and you are responsible for the outcome. PH will judge trophy and advise client, but final decision is clients.
If PH judges that animal was hit, or any speck of blood found means the client pays for that animal at full trophy fee. If you are not certain as the PH if the animal is hit you should walk on its tracks for a minimum of 700 meters and check for blood.
Always give animal benefit of the doubt.
Never take a shot unless absolutely certain of hitting vital organs, do not take chance shot, running shots.
Clients are advised not to shoot until PH says so. Maintain discipline of safe handling of firearms at all times.
Never have a round in chamber in vehicle or walking over seriously rough terrain e.g. down or up boulders or slippery ground.
Always unload shotguns while crossing fences – not just braking gun!
Always take into consideration where the bullet will travel if it misses its intended target.
Never take a shot at an animal with another one standing behind it or any close to it.
It is the PH’s responsibility to dispatch an animal as quickly as possible if the client is not capable or cannot get to the animal as quickly as possible if it is wounded. E.g. if a pig has been hit and not hard enough, you may need to put in another shot quickly if you don’t think the client is capable of doing so, to prevent a wounded animal getting away.
The memory of the hunt lies in the stalk and not in the shot
Stalk hard and shoot easily i.e. ensure that you are close enough with the animal in the right position, client steady and confident they can hit it. There is no rush whilst hunting.
Hunting with paying clients is not a spectator sport and no one else is allowed on a hunt other than the trackers, client and his or her observers.
Avoid seriously angled or frontal shots unless you are confident that you are very experienced, but it is always better to be patient and wait for a more suitable position.
The objective with our hunting is to give the client the best experience he can have in the bush. Plants, trees, birds, spoor etc must be shown to him to enrich the experience. Clients do not like paying for wounded animals and this can ruin the best safari. Landowners do not like the sound of gunfire or their animals wounded and as we have the privilege to be on their land we have to respect them.
Always inform a client that if he has wounded one animal and then shoots a second one, he is responsible for paying for both animals.
Always respect the game you hunt and do not just see them as a target
Be honest always with the land owner and never attempt to try and cover up a mistake. This will permanently end the hunt.
Inexperienced or young hunters must not be pressurized to shoot beyond their limits or exceed the rifle calibres capability
If a client is not shooting well or missing, go back to the range and establish the problem. Do not leave the range until you are satisfied, even if this means losing valuable hunting time.
Like Hunting and Wildlife? Like Wildlife Photography? Like sharing authentic experiences and info? Then LIKE Mafigeni Safaris now!