Serval: Something for everyone – the season in full swing

Earlier this year while heading southwest of Joburg to collect a consignment of trophies to ship, I came across what was undoubtedly my finest roadkill specimen to date. The sun was just rising and the road kill was fresh – not your regular activity when road tripping. But it’s something I started (collecting roadkill) since being a ‘lighty’ (southern African term for a kid) while driving around with my dad. The kills had to be intact and not too smelly, otherwise I just kept a bunch of feathers, for example, guinea fowl or owls. I’d skin colorful breast feathers and dry the wings; it was my way of appreciating forever the different species. Odd – but that’s me.

Afton is now my giant man-cave and home to all these. And having access to and working with a number of great taxidermists around the country, I’ve upgraded to collecting animals. I get to showcase what the taxidermist work. They often have spare, extra, or ones that clients never paid for, or I can just buy. And when I have a roadkill, it’s a win-win for everyone to have it mounted. Owls, a lilac-breasted roller, and soon, a water monitor, a lesser spotted genet, but for this trip, it was the serval.

This cat is one of the most underrated or unappreciated animals. A cat, (retractable claws) with extraordinary hearing, pouncing on or jumping up to catch its prey, it has the most spectacular coat. A treat to watch it moving through the grass – and as a memento of Africa, for me, it is right up there.
Below is what I saw and picked up on the road that morning. When I arrived at Africas Best Taxidermy they actually had a full mount serval right there. They have promised to do exactly the same mount for my serval and have it ready for Afton in the not-too-distant future. Their link shows you just what they are about.

Extremely rare melanistic version of a serval. Masailand – Tanzania, taken by Jason Stone www.stonehuntingsafaris.com

April means the season’s in full swing – and the mood in Africa couldn’t be better.

If you are on your way – brilliant! Africa will not disappoint.  If you have been early, I hope you have planned your return. And if you have not yet booked, and are reading this – well - what can I say? BOOK AND GET OVER HERE.

Out the blue I got a call from Quintin Whitehead of Kilombero North Safaris. He and the team from Kilombero North Safaris have been working in Tanzania in a major area (practically the size of Hwange National Park in Zim) and so I am sure you would love to hear what is happening in that region of Tanzania. You can read all about it – fresh, interesting content from one of the great hunting destinations. By the way, in the spirit of Tanzania, we have the Grant’s gazelle as our hero pic this month.

And then there is a taxidermist feature we bring you from the USA. Aaron Simser who runs Artistic Visions Wildlife along with his portfolio of some African work. The feature is below.

We are going to bring more conservation and anti-poaching updates next month, especially one from Cameroon (African Dawn Member – Mayo Oldiri) but for now, – we hope you enjoy this issue. 

Road-kill Richie (nearest and dearest came up with this name for me)
[email protected]

African Dawn Catalogue

I am not sure if you have seen in the African Hunting Gazette –  or on the adverts in these newsletters, but we actively promote a range of outfitters across Africa in whose services we are confident and encourage you to consider on your next hunt. They are what we call the African Dawn Outfitters, of which there are a limited number. Each outfitter is featured over a double page spread in the African Dawn Catalogue, with information to help you make a great choice for your next hunt. Plus, there are links to their websites, other digital material and their direct contact details.  

The link to the catalogue is below, hope you enjoy it - and please shout if you need anything that they cannot answer.  

View and down the African Dawn 2022 Catalogue.


Wildlife column

Namibia has a unique population of lions that have adapted to life in the Namib Desert and the Atlantic seaboard in the north-west of the country. They are a unique tourist attraction and visitors from all over the world come to see these very special predators. But their range overlaps those of livestock ranchers, and the threat of conflict is high, as the landowners retaliate with lethal consequences for lions that kill their domestic animals.

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Classic and Contemporary African Hunting Literature:

The Man-Eaters of Tsavo and Other East African Adventures

This is quite likely the most well-known story of African hunting and adventure. And rightfully so, as it has all the elements of every classic tale – tragedy and horror coupled with heroism and redemption. I’m mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good train wreck, literally and figuratively, especially one that stars man-eating lions and a decorated military figure?
Patterson relates much more here, however, than just the 1898 story of the two man-eating lions that, in what is now Kenya, terrorized workers constructing a Uganda Railway bridge over the Tsavo River.

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Artistic Visions Wildlife

I have had a love of the outdoors since I was a child. Splitting time between hunting and fishing, my early days were always filled with adventures. After high school, I joined the United States Marine Corps and I had the honor to serve my country overseas for two and a half years. It was this experience that gave me a passion for travel and other cultures. After being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps I attended college in the state of Pennsylvania where I started the part-time hobby of taxidermy. Always being very artistic, I picked up the art of taxidermy quickly. After beginning with the typical whitetail deer mounts, my passion for the art quickly evolved into larger animals and more complex designs. That one small decision of picking up a new hobby has turned into a life-changing career for me as well as my staff.

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Hunting for a Trophy Nyala Bull with Monkane Safaris

I was back in the Limpopo province hunting with Monkane Safari owned and operated by Kereneels Verjon. It was my first day on what would turn out to be a marvelous safari filled with high drama and lots of surprises. The kick-start of the adventure was to find me a mature, trophy-quality nyala bull. We started out well before daybreak after a delicious breakfast prepared by a master chef. We were in the truck heading to a beautiful property known to have a tremendous number of quality nyala bulls. 

It was a long drive to get to this paradise, but it was well worth the trip. We arrived as day was breaking, cascading sunshine across the rolling hills. We had barely got started when we saw a large nyala working his way up a dry riverbed. I had seen nyala before on another safari, but this bull dwarfed what I had seen before. We barely slowed down to take a look at the bull before it was decided to move along – he just wasn’t what we were looking for. I was shocked! It sure looked like a shooter bull to me.

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On the Menu: Curried Stir Fried Guineafowl

I often use this recipe when out hunting. It is simple and quick, very tasty and can be served as a starter on toasted bread, or if you have enough birds, as the main meal together with a salad. The most time consuming part of this recipe is removing the breasts, and slicing up the ingredients. The cooking is done in a matter of minutes. Everything tastes better in the bush, and serving at least a portion of the morning’s bag is what hunting is about. Clients always enjoy tasting the fruit of their labor, and why bother to hunt and not utilize what nature has give us?

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Campfire Thoughts & Reminiscences Ch 4

Poor Man’s Double Rifle
It all started when I bought a ‘slightly’ damaged AyA number 2 shotgun from a friend who had burst the one barrel near the muzzle with a bad reload. I paid R100 for it and had the gun sent off to AyA in Spain for a new set of barrels. Somehow, the gun was ‘lost’ in transit and it was only over a year later that it was finally returned – without the new barrels. Instead of going through the whole exercise again, I decided to cut the barrels down to 18” (46cm) and use the gun like that. After shooting a few guinea fowl and francolin – as well as a warthog and bushpig – with factory slugs, the gun was stored at the back of my safe in favour of other shotguns and rifles.

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Terry Mathews’s Elephant – a Football Icon

“Back in the days,” the biennial Game Conservation International convention (a.k.a. GAMECOIN) in San Antonio drew sportsmen and outfitters from all over the world.  The venue was equally appreciated by a generation of wildlife artists, such as Bob Kuhn, Guy Coheleach, and Terry Mathews, whose early fans and customers were the welcoming, well-heeled members of the international hunting fraternity. It’s noteworthy that Mathews is one of the few individuals in Africa who could attend such conventions as either – or both – PH and artist. (Zimbabwe-born sculptor John Tolmay would be another.) In fact, he attended GAMECOIN’s second conference as a PH, and started exhibiting his sculpture in 1971.

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The .600 Nitro Express

There is something magical about those words. A magic not matched by other big-game cartridges. .450 nitro express? Doesn’t come close. .500 nitro express? Doesn’t make it, either. How about the .577 nitro express? Still, not quite there. Neither is 8-bore or 4-bore. But say “.600 nitro express” and heads turn. Maybe size does matter. The .600 was the largest-bore diameter of the smokeless cartridges in the golden age of Africa and India hunting. It fired the heaviest bullet with the largest number of foot pounds of muzzle energy. The rifles also had the heaviest average weight of nitro double rifles.

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The Kilombero Valley, Africa’s best kept secret?

It was a classic case of love at first sight when I first set eyes on the famed Kilombero Valley in 2019.  The Kilombero North Safaris story starts a lot earlier though. It was founded in 1994 and later purchased by the current owner, Akram Aziz. The original purchase was mostly to create a family retreat for the Aziz family, but the seed was planted for what was to become one of the biggest hunting operations and conservation success stories in Africa.

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Hunting for “Blackie”

Back in March of 2019, I was hunting in northern Cameroon with Mark Schroder from Houston, Texas, when on our last hunting day, while still on the hunting truck, we spotted a large herd of Lord Derby eland.
Standing about 150 yards away was this tremendous bull, black around the neck and shoulders, much taller than the others around him. For some reason, Mark just could not pick out the right one from where we were standing, ready on the shooting sticks, a short distance away from the truck. The eland left, and the rest of that story is documented in another issue of the African Hunting Gazette.

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In the Bush

Lessons from the Frontline 
Bubye Valley Conservancy

The Bubye Valley Conservancy is one of the most exciting wildlife success stories in modern times.

In this short video Blondie Leathem, the general manager, explains what came before the conservancy was formed.

Voices from the Frontline
Ecological Areas Versus Socio-Ecological Systems

Richard Fynn is an associate professor at the Okavango Research Institute in Botswana.

His areas of interest are rangeland ecology, wildlife ecology, and conservation science. Over the years, he has published many scientific papers in these conservation fields.

In this 4-minute video, Prof. Fynn discusses giving rural communities in Botswana the authority over their natural resources and the right to utilize them sustainably.

He contends that conservationists need to understand that conservation areas are not just ecological areas but rather socio-ecological systems which include local human communities.

African Dawn featured outfitters 

Bowker Safaris

We provide the ultimate in comprehensive hunting experiences throughout Southern Africa. We are a family-owned hunting operation founded in 1970 by Frank and Jenny Bowker. Hunting has been in the family since the early 1800s when the family arrived in Southern Africa.

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Jamy Traut Safaris

Jamy Traut is a well-known and respected outfitter based in Namibia. Jamy Traut Hunting Safaris is a family-run operation dedicated to providing a small number of clients with an unequaled opportunity to hunt Africa’s great game. 

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Kwalata Safaris

Kwalata Safaris offers you the finest big and plains game hunting that Zambia has to offer. We take great pride in offering our clients a luxury and safe hunting environment and taking them to highest level of collecting very mature, record book trophies. From the beginning to the end of your stay with us you will be treated and guided by our most professional safari team who pay attention to detail.

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Monterra Safaris

Monterra Safaris is a privately owned 14,000 acre game ranch in the Limpopo River Valley of South Africa.
Monterra was established as the exclusive hunting ground of an American business owner in the 1980s. Out of his passion for hunting and conservation, we are proud to offer you the exclusive opportunity to make Africa your own.

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