Game hunters are an interesting collection of mindsets and ideas, and often a hunting safari to Africa is linked to a photographic safari in the parks.
Generally hunters do not reveal to photographic safari guests that they are hunters as it mostly causes a great deal of conflict.
But there are the times when the proverbial stray bullet strikes a target.
During my stint at Mombo Camp in the Okavango Delta a couple arrived in camp and the first thing they informed me was that they had been on a hunting safari and had bagged some good trophies. As usual with hunting guests I showed my guest-interest in the hunt but then advised them not to share their hunting escapades with the other guests. They seemed somewhat bemused at my advice as they obviously thought that they had done something special by hunting in Africa.
On the afternoon drive the guests spent a lot of time watching a leopard and her cub on a dead log, and the excitement upon their return to camp was obvious. During the pre-dinner drinks one of the other guests innocently asked the hunter if they had enjoyed seeing the leopard and her cub. 'Yes and I bagged a big male last week'.
'So you saw a male leopard too? That is great'.
'No I shot a big male on my hunting safari in South Africa'.
The silence was deafening.
'You shhhottt a leopard'!
'Yes a huge one'.
We had to organise private dinners and game drives for the couple for the rest of their stay as the other guests refused to go near them.
Then there are the hunters who have the air of superiority in their demeanour, looking down on others as lesser mortals. When explaining safety to them they snort or even feel offended.
Two incidents spring to mind with regards the superiority issue with the first one from my mobile safari days. Three German men were travelling together for a hunt in South Africa and had booked a camping safari in Botswana before they left for home.
During the first morning game drive in Chobe National Park we came across a large herd of buffalo some way off the road. After watching the buffalo for a few minutes one of the Germans, Klaus, asked: 'Can ve get out and stalk zem'?
'Umm no we have to stay in the car'.
I decided not to use the official park policy regulations as an answer as we had seen a few people out their cars earlier on the drive.
'Because it is dangerous', I ventured.
'But I am ze hunter'! Klaus shouted across the Botswana wilderness
Ah but mighty hunter Klaus sir you do not have your big gun with you now.
The second occasion occurred when explaining the camp rules to some new guests, one of which had just come off a hunting safari in Botswana.
'Why are you explaining safety to us'?
'To make you aware of the dangers'
'Like the buffalo that live in the camp'
'I hunt buffalo'
'Ummm okay but ....'
'But what .... there are no buts here ... I hunt buffalo. If anything I should be teaching you about safety'
Oh but mighty hunter sir you do not have your big gun with you now...
By Leigh Kemp