Too excited to sleep, you step from your tent, shivering from an unexpected
chill of the predawn air. Like a glowing ember, the eastern horizon heralds
the arrival of another perfect day. The campfire crackles, beckoning you
forward, its leaping yellow flames a promising oasis from the cold. Visions
of big game animals tantalize your imagination, making rest impossible.
Will a magnificent kudu bull cross your 30-yard pin as you try to disregard
its spectacular horns spiraling four feet toward the heavens? Will a wildebeest
pause in savannah grass long enough for a shot? Or, a tank-like warthog
pause to drink, challenging a broadhead to pierce its gristly armor?
If these scenarios spark the slightest interest in your hunting soul,
heed the popular jingle and ?just do it!? Eight years ago, I was that person
by the campfire, arriving in Africa with a million unanswered questions,
yet filled with an acute sense of adventure. As I stood beside the fire,
captivated by the jungle and the spectacular sunrise, I pinched my flesh,
expecting to awaken at any moment. It was not a dream. I have since returned
three times, and on each occasion my anticipation of an exciting African
adventure is equal to or greater than my first.
African hunting methods and conditions differ by country, outfitter,
and habitat. Hunts fall into three general categories: large game ranches
typical of South Africa, huge jungle enclosures as in Zimbabwe, and enormous
safari concessions such as Botswana, Zambia and Namibia. Each poses advantages
and variables of cost, time and hunting method.
South African Game Ranches
The game ranches of South Africa are the most advertised and economical
safari option. Outfitters purchase or lease hunting rights to lands and
manage the animal populations for hunting. Cattle ranchers kill off indigenous
populations and these species are often reintroduced to their former range
and prosper through protection from predators and poaching. Game ranches
are usually 1,000 acres and larger.
winter (our summer) is the dry season, when dense brush becomes dry and dormant. Stalking wary animals that are hunted ten months of the year is
very challenging. Conversely, water hole ambushes can be very productive.
Most animals drink each day (some do not), providing an incredible wildlife
viewing and hunting opportunity. Ambush points at waterholes include treestands,
ground blinds (called hides) and pit blinds.
Animals usually begin watering mid-morning, providing a leisurely pace
to the day. You can sleep in, enjoy breakfast, pack a hearty lunch, and
then hunt. Because lions and other dangerous game are absent from most
ranches, hunters are left alone to hunt, photograph and enjoy.
Most ranch hunts offer a relatively controlled environment and are ideal
for the first-timer. Ranches are accessible and well supplied, often with
3-D targets and practice ranges. Although the property is fenced, hunting
is not affected since game animals usually come to you.
with permission from Bowhunting World magazine. For more information contact:
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