Trophy shipping costs

    For decades our industry has faced, and continues to face, headwinds. Social media, the ‘Antis’, CITES and USFW regulations, industry’s infighting, controversies about color variants and captive-bred lions – you name it. Yet, despite all this – Africa and all she has to offer is where big game hunters still dream of coming. But for how long?

    There is one growing danger that I am not sure our industry has fully taken on board. It’s possibly our biggest threat. Something that will for sure prevent African hunting reaching its full potential if left unchecked. And that is the cost of shipping.

    It is no surprise that everything about the experience and memories of an international big-game trophy hunter centers around the trophy – particularly as, for years to come, that trophy is there to be admired with fond memories. Sure, some folks come for just the hunt, experiencing Africa’s wilderness, her wildlife, the stalk and finally the kill. But the majority want their trophy back home.

    For now, I am not talking about whether you ‘dip and pack’ or fully process and mount your trophies - I am simply speaking of trophy shipping.

    Three international surveys over the past twenty years consistently highlighted disappointment in an otherwise exceptional African hunting experience. Little has been done about it. And while covid recently brought this issue of the safari cost into sharp relief, air cargo rates tripling in some cases, this grudge purchase has always been there.

    To address this, five years back, we opened AHG Shipping. We thought if we were the least expensive exporter out of South Africa, it would suffice. Our motto was simply – ‘Save money. Hunt More.’

    While securing business directly from hunters asking for AHG Shipping, or wanting to compare their quotes, which often resulted in switching their shipment, we could not crack the link between taxidermists and their existing ‘contracted in’ shipping associates. This was despite our pricing model.    

    We needed to turn the model upside down somehow. And it dawned on me: Establish a unique taxidermy broker model. So, we contacted some established and reputable taxidermists, those who recognize the long-term problem this industry faces. They were prepared to render their service for a lot less, offering international big-game hunters a more financially viable solution through this brokerage that we run on behalf of hunters and taxidermists.

    We introduced TTS - a taxidermy and trophy shipping solution. The rate you pay for the taxidermy is, roughly, 30% at least below ‘normal’ South African taxidermy costs, allowing the savings to largely cover the growing shipping costs which have ballooned globally.

    Our service collects your trophies from the safari outfitter after it is salted and ready for transport. We take it to the ‘contracted-in’ taxidermist, pay the outfitter his due commission, pay the taxidermist their deposit to start the work, and from there on in, will give monthly updates. We’re the one point of contact from beginning to end, working with your import and clearing agent, or assigning you one, but never leaving the shipment till it is cleared and delivered. Nothing is shipped unless we are comfortable and thus ensuring your ‘After hunt’ experience is as good as, and lives up to, the actual hunt experience itself.

    You have money and memories of your safari experience to protect – and we have our reputation to protect. It is as simple as that.

    By offering this service across Dip & Pack, Tan & Shipping, and fully processed taxidermy work – hunters have more choice, whether it is to use your preferred taxidermists back home (receiving already tanned hides that are ready to hydrate and mount, saving time, money and weight to ship, or whether you wish to have both the tanning and taxidermy done back home, simply receiving dip-and-packed hides, or whether you wish to have the trophies mounted and ready to install on your trophy room.

    AHG Shipping’s TTS service is a one-stop, hassle-free service that we have opened in our quest to keep promoting hunting in Africa.

    Till next time, enjoy this month’s issue.

    Richard Lendrum

    Wildlife Column

    As I write this – John Ledger is fighting for his life in an ICU at a leading hospital in Joburg. He is either about to – or has had some big heart operation to try unclogging his arteries. It will be a tough ask for any surgeon as John, by his own admission has done a good job of clogging them up! John won’t mind a little latitude and some humor, in the conservation section this month. He and I had a fantastic conversation this week, he was upbeat, has officially given up and not drunk a drop of alcohol since 21 October (to be fair that was when he had the stoke and was hospitalized – so he could at least have all the support he needed) and now says – “Rich, I have to really change my life now! After colon cancer, liver cancer and now a stroke, I have used up all my chances.”

    Read More

    Classic and Contemporary African Hunting Literature:

    Facing Down Fear

    On a comparative basis, there is very little in the way of classic hunting literature focussed on what is today’s Botswana; professional hunting wasn’t prevalent there through the golden years of East African hunting. Paul Smiles’ autobiographical Land of the Black Buffalo is one of the few available books dedicated to this wonderful game land. 
    That bigger-than-life professional hunters are not relegated to a bygone era becomes quickly evident when reading John Sharp’s Facing Down Fear (Ex Montibus Media, 2021, 336 pages.)

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    Campfire Thoughts & Reminiscences Ch 11

    The 1980s were a busy time for conducting walking trails and I also got involved with game control operations. By way of something different, I was asked by my good friend Loot Schulz, the owner and Director of Pungwe Safari Camp in the Manyeleti Game Reserve, to accompany him on a trip to Mozambique to evaluate a game park called Zinave for possible restocking with game animals and to restore it as a tourist venture as part of the planned trans-frontier park project.
    Loot and I had been involved in several conservation and tourism ventures, including the Manyeleti Game Reserve land claim, planning the Ivory Route and the Maluleke community project, to name a few. 

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    Elephants and Mega Wildlife

    It was just over 20 years since I last sat down and had dinner with Johan after his life-altering buffalo attack.
    Much has changed in Johan Calitz’s life since then; and what a treat to catch up and spend five whole days with this extremely impressive, but unassuming member of the hunting and tourism industry. “I owe everything to the elephants,” is something Johan said in our time together. Even the logo of the luxury photographic camp, Qorokwe, was what he specifically wanted incorporated, subtly paying tribute to these African wonders of nature.
    Johan started hunting because of his father who was, and remained, a passionate hunter. Johan shot his first elephant at 14, and then by 19 he had taken the Big Five. 

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    Hunting Mozambique with Mashambanzou

     am not much of an author, but my wife and I hunted the Zambezi River area of Mozambique in 2022 and I wanted to share our story.
    This trip was purchased at an SCI auction as a crocodile hunt with Mashambanzou Safaris, although I was able to take a few other species too. During our travel(s) we saw many other game species, but since I’ve already taken most of them, I decided to concentrate on the croc, hippo and nyala. I would have taken a Livingstone Eland had the right opportunity offered itself, but we only hunted in their territory for a single day.

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    Grey? It’s actually Black and White – Anti-Poaching in Cameroon

    I was hired to go to Cameroon to work for Mayo Oldiri Safaris to train people in anti-poaching. However, the biggest challenge for me was that I had basically no experience as an anti-poaching guy. But with a military background in the French Foreign Legion, that helped me a lot, because it’s still the same thing – we’re fighting a war, this time, against poachers. We still use military tactics to work the whole process to catch them. 

    There were 30 people that I needed to train. How to walk in the bush, how to do a patrol. 

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    Wato – The Book

    Wato – The Book is a beautiful 324 page hard cover compilation of some of Wato’s hunting adventures in wild Africa and other wilderness places.

    To give you a taste of what’s in store between the covers, here is just one chapter for your pleasure.

    Read More

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