African Hunt Etiquette
African hunt etiquette or how to conduct oneself is of some concern especially for first time hunters and probably ought to be for some veteran African hunters.
"A happy camp is a successful camp. You can help maintain the magic." Craig Boddington.
- Increasingly, hunters arrive in Africa expecting the same standards as they have at home and so are well prepared to find fault with everything, ready to blame and figure out ways to get money back or with dogged determination to get every trophy on their shopping list like they are visiting a home or office furnishing store. Fewer hunters, these days, come to Africa armed with the right attitude of actually having fun and enjoying themselves and their surroundings. Most outfitters and PH will move heaven and earth to get things right for you but a little understanding from the hunter will not come amiss if he can't have an ice bucket in his leopard blind.
- Perhaps, of course there may be days for some, when things go wrong - delays, logistical problems and other screw-ups. Nobody has deliberately gone out of their way to sabotage your hunt, so these hitches should be viewed philosophically and as veteran hunter, Peter Lang says, 'TAB' - That's Africa, Bwana.
- There will probably be days when you make mistakes like missing a shot or wounding and losing an animal. Sickening as it is, try to get over it quickly and keep smiling.
- As with most other sporting activities, there are a few points to keep in mind in conducting yourself on an African hunt. It is your hunt but a degree of gentlemanly behaviour makes for a pleasant and safe hunt.
African Hunt Etiquette
- Be safe with your firearms.
- Arrive with a modicum of shooting skill, that is, having done some practice.
- Arrive with some level of fitness - if not, do not be surprised if your hunt is not as successful as it could be.
- Treat all the staff with respect and courtesy.
- Do not treat your PH as a servant.
- Offer to lend a hand and join in - it's always welcome.
- Be honest about your hunting abilities.
- Enjoy yourself and your surroundings.
- Try not to hunt religiously for the tape measure.
- If you do want measurements, have the respect not to measure before the animal is dead.
- Don't try to be an instant expert on African hunting.
- In the field, listen to your PH. There are times when he may need you to act quickly for your own safety, which you may not realise at the time.
- When out stalking, talk minimally and quietly and avoid waving your arms around.
- Stay close and behind your PH when following up a wounded animal. Don't go wandering off or get too close to the tracker, thereby obliterating spoor.
- Keep quiet and composed until your animal is found and declared definitely dead by the PH. Only then should the back-slapping start!
- Always approach a 'dead' animal from the rear. If it does come back to life, it will usually run in the direction it is facing and not into you.
- Be aware of your immediate surroundings. Watch where you put your feet and hands.
- Smokers only - don't throw your butts into the bush. Extinguish cigarette and put the butt in your pocket. Take care when lighting up in a moving hunting vehicle as it's not great getting hot ash in your eye or anyone else's eye.
- Use discretion when 'using the bathroom' in the bush. Going in full view of your hunt team, a few feet from the vehicle and not using a spade is not ideal, to say the least. Check for ants and thorns when picking your spot and don't forget the loo paper.
- Put the lid back on the cool box after getting something out.
- Switch your cell/satellite phone off while out in the bush hunting.
- Don't keep borrowing the PH's binoculars and if you do, don't drop them.
- Don't wander alone outside your tent in the dark and use your torch to check out the bathroom for unwelcome visitors before you use it at night.
Most hunters will think these African hunt etiquette points are completely obvious and nobody would do any different....Don't you believe it!