Keeping hunting clients happy

South Africa is a favourite destination for US trophy hunters, but the authorities underestimate their contribution to the local economy and don’t try and lure them here.

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International hunters John Blaine and Tony Prince from Montana, US, recently on their fifth safari in Eastern Cape, were clearly impressed by what the province offers. But they believe the authorities could do more to make trophy hunters feel welcome in South Africa.

Why South Africa?

  • Firstly there’s hospitality. They rate our ranchers as every bit as friendly as the people back home.
  • A wide variety of habitats and game as well as the reasonable pricing – certainly much cheaper than hunting in Tanzania, which has become affordable only by the super rich. In SA, a package of seven species is equivalent to one large animal or one rare animal hunt in the US.
  • In SA one can hunt an animal per day whereas in the US it might take six days to bag a single trophy.

Improvements needed
But John and Tony say there’s room for improvement at the arrivals hall at OR Tambo International Airport as well as at the permit processing counter at police stations.

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Irritating, too, is that South Africa’s laws discourage hunters from bringing their own rifles. Having to borrow rifles from the local hunting outfitter is not ideal. Obviously, you want to take your own bride on honeymoon.

John and Tony are also concerned that SA is being pressured into the wrong direction by animal rights groups in respect of predator management. In Idaho and other states, reintroduced wolves are multiplying and playing havoc with elk and caribou deer in particular. And landowners can face FBI-like forensic investigations for killing a wolf in an attempt to safeguard their livestock.

Arthur Rudman, experienced game rancher and outfitter, a director of Wildlife Ranching SA, and executive committee member of Professional Hunters of South Africa, agrees that visiting hunters deserve better treatment.

Contact Arthur Rudman on 041 966 1441.