Crusader safaris is an outfit that prides itself in the quality of the trophy animals that we hunt and put in the salt, we make sure that we have the exclusive access to the best areas with the best trophy quality so that we can maintain the standards that we set and that you expect.
But what happens when you get an experienced African hunter who has visited the continent on many occasions and has hunted all the plains game and big game animals available? As a result he has no more space on the wall and the wife won’t allow an addition to an already big and costly trophy room.
This scenario that affects some older and more experienced hunters has in the last couple of years started to develop into something mutually beneficial to both these hunters and Crusader safaris.
We continuously only hunt the biggest and oldest trophy males carefully planning and dictating quotas as not to over hunt what we trying to develop and improve, namely the biggest representatives of the species. In the past little attention has been paid to the female populations nor have there been quotas set to harvest the older non productive animals.
Recently we set up a safari for some clients out of South Carolina, John Paul, Ken Clifton and Kent Clifton who fit the profile of the above hunter. All had hunted Africa on many occasions, have trophy rooms that are overflowing and a collection of most the hunt able species in Africa yet they love to hunt Africa and the challenge that this type of hunting presents.
They decided to come out on a cull hunt, planning to hunt old females and old bulls with bad genetics that should not be allowed to breed. They also wanted to trophy hunt a Vaal Rhebok that had eluded them on past trips as well as do some bird hunting to change the pace. Apart from the trophy hunt and bird hunt the rest of the time, 8 days in all where spent doing some selective cull hunting. By this I mean that we spent the better part of 8 days selectively hunting old females as one would selectively hunt trophy males.
We hunted Blue Wildebeest, Black Wildebeest, Blesbok, Springbuck, Mountain Reedbuck, Bushbuck, Duiker, Fallow deer and Kudu, some females have horns others don’t but in most cases the animals where old. In all we killed 167 animals’ mostly old females with a few old non trophy bulls thrown in, the meat was all processed and went to good use as did the skins.
The cull hunting was mixed up with some trophy Vaal Rhebok hunting; John Paul killed a great 9 incher. A few afternoons around a pond looking for ducks and geese and a morning hunting Grey wing partridge in the Storm berg completed the hunt.
The end result of the cull hunt is that we managed to take off some off the older animals, not normally hunted on a trophy hunt, while giving hunters the opportunity to test their hunting and shooting skills without having the feeling that they where unnecessarily killing good trophy animals that they had hunted in the past.
This to us seems like real good way of maintaining the balance of the herds of different species. One way to go about this cull hunting is to bring a rifle that you are familiar with, get within reasonable shooting distance through stalking and shoot at hopefully killing an old unproductive female.
Another very effective method of hunting/shooting that seems to be growing in popularity in the US is long range shooting. Long range shooting seems to have followed bow hunting and black powder as a trend in the means of hunting in the States.
This involves setting up with a fast, high powered rifle, learning the ballistics of that weapon and then getting the right optics to finish the rig that in theory allows you to confidently shoot accurately at distances of 450 yards and better.
This trend is perfect for cull hunting as you can from long range select animals that you can confidently and cleanly kill while putting into practice in the field what you have spent many hours perfecting on the range. It is the challenge of learning your ballistics in a controlled environment like the range and then putting this into practice in the less controlled environment of the field that long range shooters love.
Like bow hunting and black powder, long range cull hunting has its supporters and its detractors. Where the bow and the black powder hunter chooses to test his ability to hunt and get close to animals the long range shooter tests his ability to shoot with the most important variables being the weather and the distance and the ability to perfect the ballistics of your chosen weapon.
We are definitely not becoming a cull hunting operation; our focus is 100 percent on becoming the best trophy hunting operation in Africa. We have however found that there is a need to cull some of the more prolific breeding species and as a result will be selling a limited number of these cull hunts in the future.
Right now we are selling two cull hunts per season, it is a 7 day hunt that will run anywhere from 5 to 7 thousand dollars depending on the species being hunted. On one of these hunts you can realistically expect to kill between 8 and 12 animals per day depending on your shooting abilities and to a lesser extent the weather. Normally we will vary the hunting between walk and stalk, pushing bush with up to 35 beaters and driving around on a quad. With the variation in hunting method, terrain and species it usually is a fun hunt.
Watch the site for some photos of the last cull hunt and an update on the next cull hunt taking place later in the year.