One For the Books

The 2023 show season was one for the books, with 8 shows/chapter events attended, and numerous new contacts made, friendships forged, and contracts signed for both hunting and photographic adventures for the ’23, ’24, and ’25 seasons. Those that stood out for me were SCI-Nashville, a fitting host city for such an event, the Western Hunting Expo in Salt Lake – Utah, an event comparable in size to DSC, and a small show I attended in New Hampshire that had a surprisingly high turn-out and interest in African adventures.

Hunting With Friends

The hunting portion of 2023 started with a good friend and fellow PH asking me if I wouldn’t mind flying back to Africa a few days earlier than planned to guide a walk-and-walk bow hunt, specifically for Eland, that he couldn’t attend due to other commitments. Doesn’t take much to convince me on Eland and was soon driving up to his free-range ranch in the Kamanjab area (Namibia) to meet up with a Zambian PH who was the “client”. Scheduled as a 4-day hunt, we followed fresh tracks from a waterhole and found the large group of Eland in an area strewn with granite inselbergs and boulders that provided just the right amount of cover at the right time, and a giant of a bull was taken right at sunset on that first afternoon, the 600gr arrow launched from 35 yards away entering in behind the last rib on the left side, and the broadhead almost coming out in front of the opposite shoulder. A 30-yard trot and down he went. What an absolute smoker…

We spent the next 3 days trying to duplicate this success with an oryx, and although we got close a few times, luck was not in our favour, but still had a lot of fun trying. The main target of the hunt though, the Eland, was a success…

Family Birthday Hunt

The next hunt was with a large family group of 17 that were celebrating a 75th birthday as well as a 50th wedding anniversary in the same week. 3 generations were in attendance including 9 children, the youngest being only 4 years.

We planned this hunt in conjunction with a long-time partner: Dannaud Safaris (www.dannaudsafaris.com), on a property where we usually conduct long-range shooting, purely based on the quality of accommodation & service, and the ability to accommodate such a large group. Off to the range on day 1 to sight-in rifles with everyone was a task on its own with all the older children taking a few shots with a .243WM as well in anticipation of hunting blesbok and springbok.

Mid-Week Celebration

For the celebration mid-week, we brought in a top Namibia-based French chef who prepared a scrumptious seafood gourmet meal on-site before everyone took turns for a short helicopter flight around the 46’000 hectare property. With 4 vehicles and guides out, we successfully hunted 16 trophies over the 5 days with the group. Roan, sable, nyala, M-zebra, kudu, oryx, wildebeest, and warthog, make up some of the list, along with the “little critters” for the kids. A fun family outing and a great celebration for them all together. After the hunting in Namibia, they headed to Botswana by charter for a 4-day photographic safari into the heart of Okavango Delta for game viewing, ending the trip with 2 days in Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe.

Future With Conservancy

On a very positive note, BHAS signed a 3-year hunting contract with the Iipumbu Ya Tsilongo Conservancy north of Etosha Nat. Park in April. Limited quota, primarily focused on Trophyelephant for now, and as a new conservancy, they are required to conduct a game count that will then determine additional quota of plains game species (probably kudu, blue wildebeest, eland, and springbok) in the future.

PAC Animal Hunts

What is thought likely to become periodically available is ”Problem Animals” (PAC), mostly elephants, lions, and spotted hyenas. These can unfortunately not be pre-booked as they are declared ad hoc when they become a nuisance, generally short-notice, but fully exportable hunts nonetheless. The first trophy jumbo hunt is scheduled there for next week. We’re also working on a partnership on 2 newer concessions, primarily for leopard and monster crocodile. Once again, limited Plainsgame quota for now, but likely to see dik-dik and Black-faced Impala (not for the USA market) added to their list.
Will keep you informed……. ~BH