Hunting the largest land mammal on earth is the pinnacle of a big game hunter’s career. Hunting Elephants in Africa is the ultimate of Big game hunting and provides an exhilarating experience. Elephants were first hunted for meat and then for their ivory and today elephants are hunted for the sport and challenge that this hunt offers, the trophy comes as a bonus. Elephant populations have been greatly reduced in numbers over the last 100 years, this is due to inhumane poaching of the animals’ for their ivory. Trophy hunting has however allowed hunters and safari operators to fight this battle and now elephants are once again found in stable populations throughout Africa.
There are two species of elephant that can be taken in Africa, The Savannah Elephant and the forest elephant.
The savannah Elephant is the most common elephant which is found in Africa. These animals are widespread throughout the continent but can only be hunted where the populations are stable. Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa are countries where these animals can still be hunted with a licence. In South Africa, elephants are hunted adjacent to national parks producing excellent trophies. Zambia offers some of the best elephant hunting available, Zambia has produced some of the world’s biggest trophies and always will, the populations in Zambia are tremendous and seeing herds of 80 to 90 animals is not uncommon. Elephant hunting in Namibia and Botswana is outstanding with the majority of the animals being taken in or around the Caprivi Strip. Elephants can still be hunted in Zimbabwe and Mozambique although the issued quotas are not as they used to be in an effort to try and reduce poaching and increase numbers.
The Forest elephant is far smaller than its savannah cousin. These elephants are found in Western parts of Central Africa. As its name suggests this elephant specie is a forest dweller and is seldom seen in wide-open spaces. Trophy hunting the forest Elephant can only be done in Cameroon, and very few tags are issued each year.
An elephant hunt in Africa provides an indescribable amount of resources in rural communities close to where the elephant are hunted. The meat from an elephant hunt never goes to waste as communities use every single part of this animal. The financial resource that an elephant hunt brings in to these counties can in no way be overlooked. These hunters dollars aid in helping these rural communities carry on with their day to day lives and also allow anti-poaching teams to protect these magnificent animals so that future generations can appreciate them as much as what we do.
The traditional method for hunting an elephant involves looking for and finding fresh tracks of a good bull at a regular crossing or water hole. Once identified as a good specimen the tracks will be followed on foot until the animal is located and one can have a closer look at the ivory. Elephants travel extremely long distances while feeding or looking for water, the hunter should be prepared to walk a fair amount during the hunt.
It is not uncommon for the elephants to charge at hunters, especially by a cow with a calf. In most cases the charge is a mock charge with fanning ears, violent bush breaking, and loud trumpeting. A genuine Charge is relatively quiet, but not always. The shot on elephant is taken at close range with a big bore caliber rifle, this really is exhilarating and gets the heart rate up. Despite all of the excitement, stay focused, listen to your PH and your Elephant hunt will be a great success!
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