Botswana Elephant Hunting

rwc101

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I got pretty close to a bunch of elephant when I visited Botswana. It was a great experience. I can't see myself flying across an ocean to shoot one though.
 

Aussie_hunter_JD

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I think the only way I'd feel good about an Elephant hunt was if it was a specific rogue elephant. i'm not Disneyfied, but I've been Severely Ruarked Over...
Part of the problem in borswana is that the carrying capacity of the country is closer to 50,000 than the 130,000 that are currently there. The issue has been that in the last few years human elephant conflict has skyrocketed. Unlike other areas it's not human encroachment that's been the issue it's elephant encroachment onto human habitation. It's hard for a privileged person like any of us to understand but when your years worth of income and food is based off a crop that can be destroyed in a single night by elephants sending you and your family into starvation it makes sense why they need to be controlled. I agree that they're beautiful intelligent creatures but they're also not above killing people who irritate them. Nothing to do with the 'rogue' of old days, I read an article recently about an elephant raiding a families grain store, the father went out to shoo it off and it chased him back to his grass hut, destroyed it and turned him into a pancake. This stuff happens all the time we just don't hear about it.

I guess I had a different upbringing to kids my age, they were all reading comics and spooky stories while i was reading hunting, outdoor and conservation books. There are animals in this world I'd never hunt but I respect and would fight for someone else's right to do so as long as it was based on sound science.
 

Sask hunter

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I would love to. A Tuskless Hunt could be in my budget but not a bull hunt anytime soon
 

kansasdad

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The tusks in my avatar are from my father's elephant (we lived in Kenya 1967-70). His elephant was identified as one that left the safety of Tsavo Park to raid the subsistence farmers fields, and then return to safety in the park. The bull made a fatal error in lingering longer on the wrong side of the park boundary, and he was dispatched with a brain shot from 25 yards with a Winchester .458, with the professional hunter shooting out a three pound chunk of ivory from the working tusk as the "backup" shot.

My dad said that one was enough for him, and although he was afforded many more depredation type hunts, he never pursued elephant again, but instead became an avid Cape Buffalo hunter.

I might have an inkling of desire to repeat his efforts and go after an elephant, but for me it would not be possible. No big game hunting in Kenya, not enough desire to save the multiple thousands of dollars required, and if I did get an elephant, the marriage strain would in no way be worth it. Mrs kansasdad is fine with deer, turkey, fish and waterfowl, but has a red line in the sand with elephants. Our photographic safaris to Tsavo, Maasai Mara and the lessor known parks will be enough for me.

That being said, all African nations must come up with strategies to manage their elephant populations. Deforestation and desertification and will be the result if there is a population over the carrying capacity of the land. Allowing hunting and hunting dollars/pounds/euros to come to the aid and benefit of all wildlife is far better compared to culls or allowing habitat destruction and then massive starvation events to occur.

It would be wonderful if wildlife management was driven by biology and scientific principle. Sadly here in the US, and even more so in Africa, this is often not the case. Politics, economics and short sighted selfishness rule the day without careful consideration to the long term health and benefit to the land and its inhabitants.
 

Bambistew

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My question is can you actually do the above? Africa has just been at the bottom of my list because of how canned and contrived the whole experience seems, same thing for any exotic in Texas.
All depends on what you want to do. There are countless options. I know of a number of people that have come home empty handed on elephant and other animal hunts. Basically if you get outside of RSA (South Africa), you can find countless miles of wild, open "public" land and zero high fence. People tend to kill the animal they are after, well because they are hunting in an area where there are good numbers of them.

Even in RSA there aresome very interesting, and wild hunts but are still on private land. The hunting on "public" in other contries is generally by concession form the gov throughout the rest of Afirca, with exclusive rights to the concession owner. Its a total corrupt system, like anything in Africa. My buddy spent a lot of time trying to secure a concession in Mozambique back in the mid 2000's, but was outbid by a former general... and by outbid, he lost out because he was from Zim vs the general who was from Moz and was owed a favor. It was an amazing place. 100,000ha, hadn't been hunted commercially, ever basically no people due to the previous civil war... thousands of buffalo, sable, elephant, etc. The pictures he sent were like something out of National Geographic. I was lined up to go on a expedition hunt with him and then they pulled the rug out from him. he spent a month up there scouting it out and doing game surveys, the government took his survey info and kicked him to the curb. It was total BS.

The idea of taking a lot of animals on safari goes along with the idea of an adventure. Do you just hunt one species every fall, or do you get multiple tags in multiple states, for multiple species? There are people on here that shoot a dozen or more animals a year (and donate most all of it), do we look down upon them for it? If you could hunt them all in a single 2-3 week trip, would you do it? All told most guys only hunt a few weekends here and there, they just spread out the killing. Their kill/day rate likely rivals any safari.

There are plenty of easy hunts, and many animals are taken out of opportunity while chasing your chosen quarry. I have only been to Africa 3 times, hunted two times, and will be back in a few years when my kids get older. I've hunted a lot of places, and I would put a trip to Africa near the top, that includes anything Alaska has to offer. The adventure of it is something you can't explain, its totally foreign. Its like going on the best hunt of your life, on a Hawaiian beach having unlimited drinks.

The idea of hunting like we do here in NA is very foreign to them. I've tired to talk my RSA buddies into coming to Alaska, they want no part in that misery, hahah. Why work at just surviving the hunt, when you could enjoy it? I work with and am friends with a number of South Africans. They are just like you and me, they go out for a long weekend and shoot an animal or two for biltong/meat. take it home and process it. Some will camp out, some will rent a room, feed themselves, etc. The African "safari" is, a proper British tradition, and they cater to the Europeans and Americans for that type of experience. The gear, staff, food, etiquette, protocol, etc has been the same (for the most part) for 100+ years. Kind of akin to hunting elk out of a wall tent using horses... we still use tack and gear that was my grandfathers when hunting elk. Why live out of a backpack when you can live in a tent with a stove?

There are few operators in Nam, and RSA that offer back pack hunts. I think it would be a very neat adventure to chase kudu or mountain zebra in the mountains. There are dozens and dozens of operators that set up tent camps in concessions throughout Tanzania, Zim, Zam, Moz, etc. in some truly wild country, rivaling anything in the L48, that is for certain, and surpassing probably 90+% of all hunting we do on public land. How many hunts have you done where you are the only guy hunting in a 10-20 mile radius? Just because they are not living out of a backpack eating mountain house, doesn't make it less wild. To be honest, there isn't much hunting in the L48 that really appeals to me anymore. Too many roads, too many people, too much OnX, we've made it too easy...the hardest part is the foot race to the animal against our fellow hunter.

There are self-guided hunts available in Cameroon, but sadly it is no longer safe to go there, at least for me. I want to say there is another country you can do self guided hunts, in western Africa, but I don't recall where. I do not know of any other self guided hunts in Africa, all require aliens to have a guide, and rightfully so. The corrupt governments, LEOs, etc could land you in jail, kidnapped, or in a hole and you'd never be seen again.

Outside of RSA, there are virtually no high fence hunts... And if you saw some of the fences they have, you'd wonder how they even manage to keep animals in.

My first trip I hunted RSA right on the boarder across from the Tuli block in Botswana. The farm was fenced on one side (along the highway), the other sides were bordered by a river (the Tuli in Botswana behind), a national park to the west, and a private farm with no hunting to the east. It was about 10,000ha. It was a truly amazing place, homesteaded by the hunt operator, as a cattle farm, and eventually turning it in to a citrus farm. We saw elephant, buff, rino, and herd lions and hyenas in the evening. We saw hippo, giraffe and giant crocks, and all sorts of other game, more variety than we saw in Kruger Park. That farm is now part of the northern Transval national park in RSA. I would LOVE to go hunt in the Tuli across from where we hunted.

The long answer to your question... Africa is as wild or more wild than anything you can hunt in the L48.
 

Aussie_hunter_JD

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I think people fail to get the scale of africa too. You could fit 3 and a bit lower 48 size areas into the continent of Africa. RSA doesn't really appeal to me. Namibia, Botswana and a few other places do have high fenced hunting but less so than RSA.

The price point is the thing, HF hunts are reasonably priced but the tented adventures into free roaming areas, particularly now that Americans are the biggest audience (everything is charged in USD which kills the aud om conversion) make it very expensive even for plains game. I was planning on it but a diy hunt in the states is a fqr cheaper prospect.

a local guy did the diy Cameroon hunt chasing forest buffalo and LDE (greatest game animal on earth!) Got the buff but didn't see LDE. Had no problems but another aussie he got on to went a few weeks later and was generously liberated of the burden of having to carry and own possessions at gunpoint.
 

Carl 9.3x62

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I don't understand why people wouldn't want to hunt Africa (I've never actually been there, so there is that, haha), but then again I don't understand why people don't like to hunt in general. I realize everyone is different, and we all have preferences, and thats just fine. Life would be borning otherwise.

I grew up reading lots of old African hunting books, and thats the Africa that draws me. I know its not socially acceptable, but if I could go back in time I'd go back and be an ivory hunter, hands down. The amount and kind of adventure those guys is sure appealing, to me anyway.

And given the opportunity today I would go hunt there in a heartbeat. I know its different than 100 years ago, but it would still be a heck of an adventure.
 

fishing4sanity

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The nice thing about African hunting is that if it doesn't appeal to you, don't go. Bambistew said it much better than I can, so read his posts again. I've hunted Africa twice, once in South Africa (RSA) and once in Zimbabwe and felt both were genuine hunting experiences. Where I hunted in RSA the properties were very large. I know there was a fence near the paved roads, they said that was to keep animals off the road and help with poaching. It also included a river, a lake and an active railroad line; there was no fence in those areas. In Zimbabwe I drove for hours and saw a truly massive area, never even saw a low cattle fence. Zimbabwe was very wild and remote. There were four of us hunting, all primarily looking for cape buffalo, only two of us got buffalo or even shot at buffalo. We ate meat from pretty much everything we shot and the locals were very appreciative of the jobs and meat the safaris provide. Very long days and long walks, only power at camp was a generator, no phones - it was a very enjoyable hunt and I'd love to go back. It is expensive and getting there was very slow and truly a pain, that's what keeps me from going right back again.
 

ElkFever2

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Botswana is incredible country. When I die and go to heaven I imagine I will be hunting upland birds in that country. For anyone who has not been there it is something of a combination of what you might imagine the Garden of Eden to be, crossed with the Lion King. Imagine driving a highway for 100 miles and no crossroads. Nothing but trees, wildlife and open skies. Then take a different highway back in the same direction through open country.

I have zero interest in hunting elephant. In that country they are basically like giant cattle that will step on you if you happen to be in the way. That's why people tent camp on top of their SUVs. Archery elephant might be more of a rush, due to the danger and close proximity.
 

TheGrayRider

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African game meats are some of the best fare in the world. Even if you never hunt Africa, you owe yourself a trip to Kenya or Tanzania to at least see the game parks before you permanently check out of planet Earth.

Here’s a great restaurant recommendation in Nairobi before you fly back home.

The Carnivore Restaurant
Langata Rd, Nairobi 00200 Kenya


You have to try the zebra and wildebeest. My favorite by far is the giraffe, a very lean and white meat, similar to our lean pork and turkey.
 

wllm1313

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@Bambistew
The idea of taking a lot of animals on safari goes along with the idea of an adventure. Do you just hunt one species every fall, or do you get multiple tags in multiple states, for multiple species? There are people on here that shoot a dozen or more animals a year (and donate most all of it), do we look down upon them for it? If you could hunt them all in a single 2-3 week trip, would you do it? All told most guys only hunt a few weekends here and there, they just spread out the killing. Their kill/day rate likely rivals any safari.

- I haven't been hunting all that long so I don't have ton of seasons under my belt for an accurate average... but sure, I hunt 4-5 tags a year in 2 to 3 states... and yes I would do them all in one trip if I had the time. Point taken.

There are plenty of easy hunts, and many animals are taken out of opportunity while chasing your chosen quarry. I have only been to Africa 3 times, hunted two times, and will be back in a few years when my kids get older. I've hunted a lot of places, and I would put a trip to Africa near the top, that includes anything Alaska has to offer. The adventure of it is something you can't explain, its totally foreign. Its like going on the best hunt of your life, on a Hawaiian beach having unlimited drinks.

- See this is the hard one for me... AT THIS POINT in my life I kinda want my hunts to physically suck. Sure I will hunt pronghorn and bring beer and do a road style hunt, or sit in a blind with my FIL, but what I really enjoy are hunts where I hit my bag exhausted and don't even want to think about drinking a beer. Which is kinda my point, Alaska offers DIY hard work. Have you or anyone you ever met that is a NR Alien ever even touched a knife when they were in Africa, did they bring a pack, did they get blood on their pants, did they sleep in the dirt?

My hang up more than anything is the feeling that I'm parading around like a colonial.


Why live out of a backpack when you can live in a tent with a stove?

Because I work 7-7 in an office in a city, sleep in a nice bed, and on vacation want to push myself physically and mentally. Why do people run ultras? Same thing.

There are few operators in Nam, and RSA that offer back pack hunts. I think it would be a very neat adventure to chase kudu or mountain zebra in the mountains. There are dozens and dozens of operators that set up tent camps in concessions throughout Tanzania, Zim, Zam, Moz, etc. in some truly wild country, rivaling anything in the L48, that is for certain, and surpassing probably 90+% of all hunting we do on public land. How many hunts have you done where you are the only guy hunting in a 10-20 mile radius? Just because they are not living out of a backpack eating mountain house, doesn't make it less wild. To be honest, there isn't much hunting in the L48 that really appeals to me anymore. Too many roads, too many people, too much OnX, we've made it too easy...the hardest part is the foot race to the animal against our fellow hunter.

^ I've seen your pictures and then animals you have taken. This doesn't quite apply to me because I have a ton to learn, finding animals is still a challenge... but I can see how one could get to that point. Especially a hunter with your skill.

There are self-guided hunts available in Cameroon, but sadly it is no longer safe to go there, at least for me. I want to say there is another country you can do self guided hunts, in western Africa, but I don't recall where. I do not know of any other self guided hunts in Africa, all require aliens to have a guide, and rightfully so. The corrupt governments, LEOs, etc could land you in jail, kidnapped, or in a hole and you'd never be seen again.

My sister works in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Zambia... so yeah I hear you on that one.

Outside of RSA, there are virtually no high fence hunts... And if you saw some of the fences they have, you'd wonder how they even manage to keep animals in.

My first trip I hunted RSA right on the boarder across from the Tuli block in Botswana. The farm was fenced on one side (along the highway), the other sides were bordered by a river (the Tuli in Botswana behind), a national park to the west, and a private farm with no hunting to the east. It was about 10,000ha. It was a truly amazing place, homesteaded by the hunt operator, as a cattle farm, and eventually turning it in to a citrus farm. We saw elephant, buff, rino, and herd lions and hyenas in the evening. We saw hippo, giraffe and giant crocks, and all sorts of other game, more variety than we saw in Kruger Park. That farm is now part of the northern Transval national park in RSA. I would LOVE to go hunt in the Tuli across from where we hunted.

The long answer to your question... Africa is as wild or more wild than anything you can hunt in the L48.

I really appreciate your answer and I realize that some of these were meant to be rhetorical. I hope my responses conveyed that I'm not putting a value judgement on those who want to hunt Africa. In many ways it is the last great place to hunt, full stop. That being said the cultural traditions surrounding the 'African Hunt' don't really appeal to me at this point in my life, it's just not what I'm after. For me the appeal of places like AK and NZ are as much about having to deal with everything as they are about killing an animal. Setting up an anchor to rap down to a tahr, or having to figure out how to keep brown bears off my moose on a 10 day float are what gets me fired up. I fully understand that hunting a buffalo up close is just as if not more exhilarating and dangerous.

Bottomline some of us are just looking for type 2 fun in our 20 and 30s and will probably go to Africa in a couple of decades god willing. There's a reason why that adage "go to AK when your young and Africa when your old" exists.
 

LopeHunter

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I try to avoid places that require private security to keep you responsibly safe. A friend has a brother still in Johannesburg and they have a safe room in their home to hole up during break-ins. When a kid with a gun is more than happy to shoot you for your wallet then I am in the wrong place. If not for the safety concerns, I would have hunted in Africa multiple times by now starting with my 40th birthday summer. I am fine paying to play and then being killed from an accident on the side of a mountain or on a glacier or in the desert. I am not fine paying to play then being murdered.
 

Dinkshooter

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An elephant hunt would be an amazing adventure. Close range, dangerous hunting if done right.

It puzzles me why Rinella and others are so offended by African trophy hunting and allude they will never take part in it?
Because they can't spin it into the realm of their little money making world at this point? Yet.
 
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wllm1313

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Because they can't spin it into the realm of their little money making world at this point? Yet.
Remi has done a number of African episodes and Rinella has said he would go... I imagine it would take the right kind of hunt, one in which they weren’t obviously guided and where they were allowed to prepare the animal they killed.
 

VikingsGuy

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I try to avoid places that require private security to keep you responsibly safe. A friend has a brother still in Johannesburg and they have a safe room in their home to hole up during break-ins. When a kid with a gun is more than happy to shoot you for your wallet then I am in the wrong place. If not for the safety concerns, I would have hunted in Africa multiple times by now starting with my 40th birthday summer. I am fine paying to play and then being killed from an accident on the side of a mountain or on a glacier or in the desert. I am not fine paying to play then being murdered.
Just took whole family to SA and felt perfectly safe. Have heard good things about safety in Botswana and Kenya too. Felt safer than when in Mexico or Brazil. I wouldn’t wander around on my own in areas I don’t know, but I wouldn’t do that in Chicago either. I would not let safety keep me from experiencing Africa once, just go with a trusted outfitter. Also, my experience in many different countries is that if you are a tourist with a reputable guide everybody knows to leave you alone - you are the cash cow for the whole community. Business travelers on the other hand . . .
 
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Northwoods Labs

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Hunting in Africa just doesn't interest me at this point, kind for the reasons described by wllm1313. I really enjoy the scouting and learning the inner workings of a place. In Africa (as with any guided hunt) I would just feel like to much of a trigger man, like I really hadn't earned it. The folks guiding me had done all the real work. I have no problem with people who go/ would like to go hunting in Africa, fully support it. Pretty well documented it is good for conservation of wildlife in those countries. It just isn't for me
 

VikingsGuy

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Hunting in Africa just doesn't interest me at this point, kind for the reasons described by wllm1313. I really enjoy the scouting and learning the inner workings of a place. In Africa (as with any guided hunt) I would just feel like to much of a trigger man, like I really hadn't earned it. The folks guiding me had done all the real work. I have no problem with people who go/ would like to go hunting in Africa, fully support it. Pretty well documented it is good for conservation of wildlife in those countries. It just isn't for me
I was glad I went once, but no interest in twice for these very reasons.
 
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