Hunting a lion in Africa has been a challenge that man has endeavoured since the beginning of mankind, being able to successfully take one of these absolute beasts is truly special. An African Lion hunt is on the top of every big game hunter’s wish list. The African male lion is the largest cat which can still legally be hunted on the planet, and they deserve every bit of respect of which they are given. Hunting a Lion in Africa can be broken up into two distinct classifications- a wild managed Lion and a Captive reared Lion. Hunting either one of these animals remains dangerous and offers a great challenge of facing off against one of these fearsome animals.
Hunting a wild managed African Lions can be done in Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and Namibia. These animals are located in areas where outfitters and hunter have conserved them in their natural habitat. Wild lions are under threat due to man’s expanding footprint into the natural habitat of these animals. There are however estimated to be in the region of 35,000 wild lions which remain in these free-roaming areas. Wild lions are hunted by the means of hanging up various baits in a few areas where there has been lion activity. After the baits are hung, the wait is on and a typical safari includes early morning trips to check cameras and/or to freshen up the bait. Once a good male is feeding a simple yet effective blind is built, the hunter will then sit and weight in the blind in hope to catch the cat when he comes back to feed in daylight hours. When hunting these Lions, outfitters will strictly only take an old male lion, one that has passed its breeding prime.
When hunting a lion in South Africa you will be hunting a captive-reared Lion. There is a common misconception with regards to these animals and that is that they are tame. This is not true, by being captive-reared these animals have been raised in a high fence area, where they still exhibit their natural behaviour.
A typical Lion hunting day in Africa will start by looking for fresh tracks at either water points, roads or even finding a fresh kill. Once the tracks have been found the Lion will be tracked. Typically Lions will rest during the day so finding the animal lying down in a shady spot is common. The hunter then needs to get into the right position to take a good shot on the animal without the Lion knowing you’re there. If these animals pick up even the slightest sense of danger they will disappear into the brush and will have to be tracked again. By hunting a lion in this manner it allows for close up confrontations with the animal which is extremely dangerous but thrilling. Majority of Lion hunts South Africa takes place in the Kalahari Desert where it can get very hot and dry making the stalk that much more challenging.
A Female Lion or lioness is smaller than the male but for what they lack in size is made up with aggression. The females do the majority of hunting within the pride and thus portray an aggressive nature. These animals are tremendously fast, covering the distance in thick brush in no time – especially if charging. When going on a Lion hunt chose a calibre in the .375 range, the bigger the better providing you can shoot the gun well. Make the first shot count, as it is the first shot that must kill this animal. The Follow up on a wounded lion in thick brush is exciting but of course dangerous!
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