Trophy hunting more lucrative than previously thought

Research has shown that trophy hunting is more lucrative to the South African economy than previously expected, according to a recent study headed by Prof Peet van der Merwe and conducted by North-West University’s research unit, Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society, in collaboration with the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa.

Trophy hunting more lucrative than previously thought
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In 2013, research revealed that international hunters spent an average of R134 500/hunter/trip.

According to the most recent research, however, international trophy hunters spent around R261 761/hunter/trip.

With some 7 600 international hunters estimated to visit the country every year, trophy hunting thus contributed R1,98 billion to the national economy annually.

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“The previous study we conducted in 2013 was not nearly as extensive and showed that that trophy hunting contributed R1,3 billion to the economy. Although a lot, we underestimated the value,” Van der Merwe said.

Disregarding the expense of the game hunted, total expenditure per hunter/trip had increased to R127 275 since the previous study. Transport costs to South Africa had increased to R65 895, while daily rates for accommodation and food had increased to R46 838. Shipping costs and trophy handling fees also increased to R37 152.

The top five game species hunted in 2015/2016 were impala, warthog, springbok, kudu and blesbok. The top five game species that generated the most income were buffalo, lion, sable, kudu and nyala.

Game farmer, Francoais Schutte from Theunissen, said that despite the increased income from trophy hunting, the gap between the income of the outfitter and the game farmer remained too large, as it did not reflect the initial costs of breeding game.

“Very often outfitters sell a buffalo, [for example], for more than R200 000, but [only] pay the farmers R40 000. This is unacceptable,” he said.

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Annelie Coleman represents Farmer’s Weekly in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape. Agriculture is in her blood. She grew up on a maize farm in the Wesselsbron district where her brother is still continuing with the family business. Annelie is passionate about the area she works in and calls it ‘God’s own country’. She’s particularly interested in beef cattle farming, especially with the indigenous African breeds. She’s an avid reader and owns a comprehensive collection of Africana covering hunting in colonial Africa, missionary history of same period, as well as Rhodesian literature.