Cheetah are built for speed just like a greyhound - long, thin and light-boned. They differ from most other cats because they have semi-retractable claws which help with acceleration and direction changes during short bursts of speed as they run down their prey. Cheetah spoor show the claw marks and is similar to hyena or wild dog.
They are not commonly hunted and are strictly protected as a CITES Appendix I animal. From January 1993, CITES approved export quotas for cheetah trophies from Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
USF&W, however, will still not permit US hunters to import cheetah trophies despite Namibia's strong cheetah management programs and the tireless years of work by Mr John J Jackson, III and Conservation Force, to get the cheetah of Namibia downlisted.
Cheetah Trophy Minimums
Acinonyx jubatus (Cheetah)
RW Measurement Method
SCI Measurement Method
Where To Hunt Cheetahs
There are now only 2 African hunting countries that permit cheetah hunting. Botswana cannot be considered anymore since the Government hunting ban was imposed on all controlled hunting areas throughout the country.
In Namibia, strictly controlled cheetah hunting is possible and there is a CITES quota of 150 cheetah trophies that are allowed to be exported. Where cheetah hunting is offered, you will need to inform the outfitter of your wish to hunt a cheetah and he must apply to the Namibian Ministry of Environment & Tourism for a predator permit, at least 14 days before the hunt is to start. The names of the hunter, PH must be submitted with a copy of the hunting client's passport and the specified hunt dates. You cannot just turn up and expect to hunt a cheetah on the off chance. The permit must be in your hand at the time of the hunt and cannot be issued retrospectively. If you take a cheetah without a permit it can lead to criminal prosecution and confiscation of the trophy.
Cheetah occur throughout Namibia but are particularly prevalent in the central zone of the country, spreading out towards the north-west and south-east.
In Zimbabwe cheetah are heavily protected and a special permit from Parks and Wildlife Management Authority is required before hunting a cheetah.
The range of cheetah in Zimbabwe extends across the south of the country.
Cheetah Hunting Prices
Cheetah are really an animal of opportunity and they don't necessarily stay put in one area, so you need a hunt of at least 12 days to have a fair chance of taking one. Some outfitters insist on a 12 day minimum hunt length for cheetah.
In Namibia you can do a 1x1 12 day cheetah package hunt, including cheetah trophy fee, for about US$12775. Always check the outfitter's refund policy if you don't get a cheetah. Most would refund you their listed cheetah trophy amount.
Straight daily rate cheetah hunts + trophy fee vary quite a lot. You either get a low daily rate and a high trophy fee or vice versa. Some outfitters strangely seem to rate a cheetah as 'dangerous game' and charge similar daily rates. So 1x1 daily rates go from about US$300 to US$550.
Some Namibian outfitters price their cheetah hunts and trophy fees in Euros.
Cheetah trophy fees range from US$3000 up to US$6000 in Namibia.
You will also have to pay for a CITES I Export Permit from Namibia if you are not from the US and want to export your cheetah trophy.
In Zimbabwe you can do a 12 day 1x1 cheetah only hunt for US$14500 + trophy fee or any number of different 10 to 15 day cheetah combo hunts with buffalo, leopard or plains game with daily rates ranging from US$700 to US$1400.
Cheetah trophy fees go from around US$4800 to US$5250. You will also need to pay US$1500 for a special cheetah hunting permit and US$400 for a CITES I Export Permit from Zimbabwe.
Cheetah Hunting Methods
In Namibia there are some hunting 'rules' to observe when cheetah hunting - you must not hunt cheetah between 30 minutes after sundown and 30 minutes before sunrise. You are not allowed to use artificial light or dogs to hunt cheetah in Namibia. You are allowed to take a female cheetah.
Cheetah are diurnal predators unlike leopard, so a hunt is conducted during the day and it is really a case of shooting quickly when you come across a mature one. You stand a good chance in an area where there are is known to be a good density of cheetah - always ask your prospective outfitter. They do frequent farmland and can be a nuisance to farmers if they threaten their livestock.
They do not respond to bait like leopards but it's worth building a blind if you come across a fresh cheetah kill as they will commonly return to it.
A Good Cheetah Trophy
A mature cheetah with a large body, possibly with scars which are indicative of an old animal.
Cheetah Hunting Shot Placement
As with all cats, the heart is very slightly further back than in most animals and as usual, heart and lungs are the largest target area.
If the animal is standing at right angles to you, bring your crosshairs up the foreleg and divide the body in half and then in half again and the centre of the heart will be found at the top of that first (lowest) dividing line, but just behind the foreleg The lungs extend to slightly above the mid way line.
If the animal is at an obtuse angle to you, remember the previous rule and aim at the opposite shoulder and you'll hit the same area.
If the animal is standing facing away from you, and you feel confident of the shot, aim at the root of the tail where it joins the body.
If the animal is facing you, aim for the central chest area where the bottom of the neck leaves the body.
You may need to be able to take a shot up to 300 yards.
Cheetah Male Vital Statistics
Shoulder Height: 28-33" / 70cm-85cm
Weight: 90-130lbs / 40-60kg
Cheetah Habitat and Requirements
The cheetah prefer in a variety of open habitats of grasslands, savannahs, areas of dense vegetation and mountainous terrain.
It needs a good supply of prey animals such as small to medium antelope, the young of larger antelope, guineafowl and hares. In ranch lands they will take calves and sheep.
They only need to drink water every three or four days.
Cheetah Social Structure
Male cheetah are territorial and are either solitary or join up with 2 or 3 other males to form a group or coalition.
Females do not form territories but live in overlapping home ranges. They usually live alone, only joining a male for mating or accompanied by cubs.
Cheetah Gestation Period
After a gestation period of 3 months, 3 - 5 cubs are born.
Cheetah Gender Identification
It is quite hard to tell the difference between males and female cheetahs as they can be similar in stature and features.
Males are larger in the body than females but you would need to see them side by side to make a judgement.
Click images to enlarge
Cheetah Trophy Permits (2015)
Acinonyx jubatus (Cheetah)
CITES I Export & Import Permit
Endangered Import into USA not allowed
Annex A Export & Import Permit
CITES I Export & Import Permit
Cheetah Trophy Taxidermy
Not many cheetah are hunted so they are not a common African animal in a taxidermist's repertoire. If you are going to get your cheetah trophy mounted make sure you use a taxidermist who has experience with this animal. This might very well be a job for an African taxidermist rather than one in your home country.
A full mount is the most popular set-up for a cheetah. A full mount of a cheetah running at full stretch looks especially spectacular.
Click images to enlarge
So What Is A King Cheetah?
A king cheetah with it's eye-catching fur design of blotches and swirls rather than just spots was though to be a separate subspecies and was known as Acinonyx rex. It was only in the 1970s when king cheetahs appeared in litters of captive spotted cheetahs that it was realised the fur pattern was a recessive genetic mutation.
The king cheetah was formerly known as Cooper's cheetah. Major A C Cooper found and published a photograph of a king cheetah skin from Zimbabwe in 1926 which set him of on a search for further specimens. He thought it was a hybrid cheetah/leopard cat which was later disproved.
The king cheetah mutation existed in Zimbabwe, Botswana and in northern South Africa.
Cheetah Hunting Recommended Viewing
The Namibia Safari DVD sees Ken Wilson hunting 3 species that can only be hunted in Namibia: the Damara Dik-Dik, Hartmann's Zebra and the Namibian Oryx. There is also footage of 2 species that can be hunted in Namibia but not imported to the US - cheetah and black-faced impala. 55 minutes. DVD.