Although I had been to Africa before, last year was my first time actually hunting there and I have to say, not only did I learn a butt load I also had the best time! It has been my favourite hunting experience so far!
Now I know there are a lot of people that have reservations about hunting Africa whether that’s because of backlash they have seen from other people hunting there or because they have heard of bad things that have happened over there or even just because they think they’ll have to sell a kidney just to be able to afford it.
I believe that every hunter would benefit from hunting Africa at least once in their lives. Whether you hunt for meat, trophy, predator control or just because you like hunting, Africa has something for you and I believe every hunter can learn something from hunting in one of the most unique and culturally diverse places on Earth.
Africa is unlike any place I have ever had the pleasure of visiting, it is both beautiful and confronting. Which is one of the very reasons I think people should hunt there.
Before I get into all the reasons you should hunt there, let’s discuss the reasons people think you shouldn’t:
As a hunter, whether you hunt Africa or you hunt at home there is a chance you are going to receive some aspect of backlash. The anti’s don’t have an aversion to hunting Africa, they have an aversion to hunting in general. If you are to post your trip on social media, which I encourage, make sure they are respectful. If you really are scared of backlash then you have options: make your account private, make good use of the block buttons (you don’t need to justify your lifestyle), report any stupid, unnecessary comments.
- Bad things happen
Heading to a new place, especially one that has had some bad media in the past, can be daunting. But you can lower your risk by not putting yourself in situations where you could get into trouble. For example, when we send a client to Africa they are picked up at the airport by our outfitter and taken to the property. Our outfitters know the area, they know where not to drive, where not to stop, and they will be with you throughout the entire trip. This doesn’t mean you can’t explore and do other things like going on a Safari or to a market, it just means that your guide will be there with you to make sure you are taken care of. Bad things happen everywhere, you just need to make sure you are minimising your risk.
- I’ll have to sell a kidney
Everyone seems to think that Africa is super expensive and that they’ll never be able to afford it. Depending on the animals you want, you can get multiple animals for the price of one animal hunted elsewhere. Unless you’re going for one of the bigger animals (lion, elephant, cape buffalo, etc.), it really isn’t an expensive place to hunt. If you are going for one of those bigger ones then go ahead and sell that kidney!
Okay so now that we’ve been through those here is why I think it’ll benefit you to hunt in Africa:
- Seeing one of the world’s most successful Conservation efforts in action
Before I went to Africa I knew that hunting played a part in conservation but I didn’t know to what extent until I had seen it first hand. Just as an example, one of the properties we hunted on used the money they received from trophy fees to breed rhino. Now this was not subsided by the government and the didn’t receive any grants or money from anything other than people hunting on their property. These rhinos were not hunted, the owner was breeding them because he wanted to see the population of rhino increase. An argument often made by anti’s is that it’s ludicrous to think you can save animals by killing animals but the truth is that the hunting of a few animals can raise thousands of dollars to put back into the conservation of many animals.
One of the most amazing things about hunting in Africa is getting to watch the trackers at work. I was in absolute awe of these men. Not only were they able to find a single drop of blood on a leaf in the middle of the bushveld but they could pick out an injured animal’s footprints after the whole herd has run through the area. I learnt so much wisdom and have great respect for these amazing men.
- Learn the truth about trophy hunting
A common misconception about trophy hunting (especially in Africa) is that the meat is wasted, in reality, nothing is wasted in Africa. We were amazed to see the locals utilising every part of the animals right down to the bones and hides. The meat from a trophy hunt (if it isn’t eaten by the hunting party) it is either donated or sold to villagers that don’t have the ability or money to go to the supermarket for meat like we have the privilege to do. In some cases, even used to feed and support the other animals they keep, for example, lions.
- To see the pure beauty of Africa
It’s often said that there is nothing more beautiful than an Africa sunset. I really have no arguments with that statement, the sunset is absolutely mesmerising and if you’re lucky enough like I was, you’ll even witness a giraffe walking across the sunset in what I can only describe as a ‘Lion King’-esque moment. That being said it’s not just the sunset, it’s the variety of animals, it’s the people, it’s the culture. Everything about it seems to have beauty like no other.
- To hunt with people that are still connected to the tribal nature of hunting
While urban life has many benefits, one downside is that our societies have become increasingly disconnected from the land, and from our traditional hunter/gatherer pasts. Even as hunters, we often seek out the latest advances in technology to make our task easier. In Africa, you get to hunt alongside people who are still connected to the tribal nature of hunting. For them, hunting is not just a pastime, it’s not something to do on the weekend with your buddies – for them it’s about survival, for them it’s a connection to their ancestors and this is an amazing thing to witness.
In South Africa, privately owned game reserves and safari parks have long provided the lion’s share of employment in rural areas but with Covid-19 bringing tourism to a standstill and causing historic unemployment, South Africa’s game reserves now provide the lion’s share of meat to those same struggling local communities.