Editorial: Donation Hunts

Since I can remember, many outfitters in Africa have been unhappy with the Donation Hunt concept. PH Associations in Africa have lobbied the big US hunting clubs for minimum standards and rules but nothing’s really worked. Donation hunts are here for good. However, if both parties know what they are getting into, it can work really well.

It can be great way to promote your operation and it is a way to raise money. And with Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, SCI, nearly 200 SCI chapters, DSC, DSC’s Chapters, Mule Deer, Rocky Mountain, Wild Sheep (that’s not even all the hunting industry has to offer), there are loads of places for outfitters to offer hunts. Then there are all sorts of school, community, and a gazillion other associations all trying to raise funds where hunts are offered.

Some outfitters donate 50 or more hunts annually. It’s their marketing strategy – and for them, it works.  

All I ask is that you, as hunters, know exactly you are buying. Not only with the hunt but during and after the hunt. Otherwise, there can be a misunderstanding and your experience could be compromised.

The outfitter is:

  1. Showcasing his safari operation, at the very least. That way your experience and word-of-mouth promotion is going to help for years to come, assuming you had a great experience.
  2. Hoping you hunt more than what you bought, so he can make some money on the other game. If you are just buying the accommodation, check the price of his game.

Earlier this year, a hunter in Nashville came to me at our booth at the convention to complain about one of our Africa Dawn members – said I should remove them. I asked him to give me the facts from his side so I can look into it – because we have removed members over the years – but he didn’t supply anything. A few months on, this same gent was at Afton, in the midst of a 5 hunt, (yes 5) back-to-back safaris all with donations he had bought, proudly, for pennies in the dollar. A professional donation-hunt buyer.

I saw first-hand how difficult he was. Nothing could please him. He was with another Africa Dawn Member this time, and this time, I got the story from the other side. Difficult, difficult, difficult. Left ZERO gratuity for anyone and moaned throughout his hunt. At Afton, he did the same. We’re in the middle of winter and I asked, “Chuck,” let’s call him Chuck, “did you sleep well?” “No, I was so too hot!” What? Did you not take the duvet off then, Chuck? Complaining comes naturally and the hunting forums were made for these folk. They complain about an outfitter and their one-sided experience has no right of reply from the outfitter – and that contributes to what people think. It’s wrong.   

On the outfitter side – here’s something I found out recently:

There is one (well-known) outfitter in the Eastern Cape (with a base in Namibia as well) that offers free hunts at the major shows. Currently he offers a safari for ONE EURO. I kid you not. Unsuspecting hunters take up this offer, not seeing the fine print. And here it is.

He forces you to use his own in-house taxidermy operation. Forcing may be too strong a word because you can Dip & Pack the trophies and export them if you want to have them mounted abroad. But if you want them mounted in South Africa – with a taxidermist of your choice – well, sorry for you. He does not offer a salt pit, a place to keep skinned and salted hides for another taxidermist to collect. And if you want to use your own taxidermist of choice, you’ll have to pay him to do the Dip & Pack regardless, which is a complete waste. If there is going to be the full processing and mounting done in a South African taxidermy shop, why do you need to pay an additional Dip & Pack fee on each animal?  

Subtle – but an effective business model for him if you like being held hostage.

Every now and then, my inbox has just the best mail. Thank you Piet van Rooyen for sending this month’s wonderful hero pic from beautiful Namibia of Mountain Zebra on a mountain. Does not get much better than this.

Until next month.

Richard Lendrum

Op Ed: Hats off to Botswana

For a country that’s decimated much of their own natural vegetation, and with that most of their indigenous wildlife, England breeds about 75 million pheasants annually just to sustain their beloved pheasant shooting. Now they want to impose further pressure on southern Africa’s utilization of wildlife.

For a country that supposedly believes in democracy and citizen rights, they wish to prescribe citizen choice. It makes me sick. I wish the UK, along every other country that has no knowledge or understanding for that matter, of how to manage indigenous wildlife of their own, let alone what we should do in Africa, would simply leave this continent to manage its own wildlife.

But they can’t. The woke brigade is in full flight. Interfering.

Damaging Africa by not allowing their own UK, ‘FREE’ citizens the right to return with memories/trophies of legal hunt in Africa is nonsense. They have no understanding of how this plays a small, albeit meaningful positive role in Africa looking after its own wildlife.

Thank heavens Botswana is so outspoken, and admirably so, because they generate most of their foreign tourism not from hunting, but from photographic safaris. For them, human-wildlife conflict and sustainable utilization of wildlife is a matter of life and death – literally – and not something to debate while sitting on leather-covered oak benches in a place called Westminster.

Let that sink in – and spread the word.

Botswana and Namibia – I applaud you for being so vocal on the international stage of wildlife management in support of sustainable utilization of wildlife. It's a subject every citizen across the world should be learning – well before something as silly as Pythagoras’ theorem or algebra.

It’s real, it important and it affects us all, in a world of growing human-wildlife conflict.

Richard Lendrum

Formula: AHG + John Rigby = One Very Happy Hunter

Dear John Rigby Co. and Maria,
I wanted to write and tell you how thankful I am to own a John Rigby 416 rifle. It arrived last Wednesday!!! Your company and willingness to participate in the African Hunting Gazette drawing with the prize of a 416 is just incredible. What an honor to win this rifle knowing that John Rigby himself created his rifle over 110 years ago.

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Classic and Contemporary African Hunting Literature:

Death in the Dark Continent

There’s probably no modern author of African hunting adventures that has captured audience appeal like Peter Capstick has. After a short career as a Wall Street stockbroker, Capstick headed to Latin America, where he traveled widely while hunting and fishing. A few years later he returned to New York, where he founded a business as a hunting booking agent. Shortly thereafter, he took a position as Hunting and Fishing Director at a subsidiary of Winchester and in that capacity...

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The Beauty of Beadwork: Turning Waste Into Art 

For the past six years, Carmen Rudman has been creating intricate works of art on mostly, South African wildlife skulls.
Living on their family ranch, Blaauwkrantz, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, a well-known hunting destination, and with her background in art, jewellery making and beadwork, the idea of skull art was born. With exclusive access to international hunting clients and their trophies, her hobby soon turned into a profession and her commissioned work now hangs in homes across the globe.

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The Happy Walk

Perched comfortably in the pointy end of a 747 on the way to Johannesburg, the flight stewards dimmed the lighting for the long hop over the Great Southern Ocean. As so often happens after a pleasant dinner and some equally pleasant drinks, a calm close to sleep overtakes your senses. At this point, most of the other passengers were dozing or wearily staring at some drivel on the entertainment monitor. I looked out the window to the left and watched the icebergs of Antartica bobbing in the sea.

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Campfire Thoughts & Reminiscences Ch 20 

New shooters being introduced to the shotgunning sport may find the many terms and techniques rather confusing, with words like ‘load’, ‘bore’, ‘gauge’, ‘choke’ and others bandied about by more experienced shooters without explanation. Let me attempt to clarify these terms.

The sporting shotgun is usually of three types: firstly, the double-barrel, either side-by-side (s x s) or over-and-under (o/u) configuration. Secondly, there is the single-barrel, singleshot and thirdly, the single-barrel, multi-shot, either pump (or slide) action, or auto- (self-) loader. Just to muddy the waters, there is also the combination, which is a shotgun barrel (or barrels) with a rifle barrel. These are more popular in Europe than in South Africa.

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Who are African Dawn Outfitters?

The African Dawn Program is about promoting hunting in Africa, not just through what we publish, but with the outfitters’ cooperation in this program… and it is for your peace of mind.

International travel consumes two precious commodities – personal time and money. And when you are a hunter, things can get tricky when there are further considerations like rules, regulations, details and differences between each country and their species. It is important to have a good outfitter, and whether it is your next hunting safari, or your first one, there are many outfitters to choose from. In fact, there are over 500, so how do you find a reliable one, the one that is right for you?

To help you, we decided to promote and work with approximately 10% of this continent-wide group of outfitters. We have listed a limited number of an esteemed group of established and reputable African outfitters and they can be found in this Catalogue. To familiarize yourself with this list, we also offer monthly publications, and monthly trophy gallery posts (Trophies Fresh from the Veld). To ensure you receive these updates, sign up

If you are an agent looking for an outfitter to represent, you’ll be safe contacting one of these outfitters.

If you are researching for your next safari, be sure to contact any one of listed outfitters directly. It will support them and save you money by booking with them. Please tell them that it was by them being an African Dawn Member that contributed to the decision.

Our website has a detailed overview of them all, and you know where to contact me if you need to know anything more.

For now, just enjoy the read.

Richard Lendrum - Publisher African Hunting Gazette

[email protected]

2023 African Dawn Members

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