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Big Game

8 Reasons Hunting Africa Ain’t What it Used to Be

by Craig Boddington   |  September 10th, 2012 18

The late Peter Capstick described an African safari as “one of the greatest adventures our modern world can still offer.” I can’t say it better. An African hunt is indeed one of the last great adventures—and a first safari is a life-changing event that, honestly, can never be repeated—although many of us have spent our lives trying to recapture that level of magic.

Africa captivated me at an early age. I devoured the great old books, and spent all too many hours dreaming of Africa. I was still a kid, just 24, when I saved enough pennies to go on my first safari. My intention was to get Africa out of my system once and for all, but that didn’t work very well. After 35 years and more than 100 African hunts I still dream of Africa, and wait anxiously to return. That first safari was in Kenya, at that time the most traditional African country, but closed to hunting just a few weeks later. Based solely on that fact, I can probably lay false claim to having seen the last of the great old days of safari. The truth, however, is in the past 35 years I have seen many changes in African hunting, and not all for the bad. Here are eight reasons why African hunting today isn’t what it used to be.

  • Chris Ryan

    Great stuff, Craig, as usual. You are the fitting successor to those hunter/writer legends, to whom you are always paying respects. Thanks.

  • Chris

    wasnt able to read any of the captions to the story, they kept hiding behind the Sportsman Vote, is it just my computer???

  • Witold Jakutowicz

    Great stuff Craig. It is great that you are still very active in hunting.

  • raazorblade

    No Chris it is not just your computer, I always have the same problem. All I can do is look at the pics and wonder what was said about them..

    • dylan_polk

      Sorry about that, guys. Would you mind telling me what browser you're running?

      Dylan Polk
      IMO Social Media Editor

      • Kelli Beggs

        mine does the same thing, running internet explorer 9 with windows 7. didn't have any trouble when i had windows xp

        • dylan_polk

          Weird. We've got developers looking into it. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

          Dylan Polk
          IMO Social Media Editor


    Great article with both the positivie and the negative changes

  • Des

    I like to think that the changes mean though it's no longer the great adventure it might have been, it's a lot more affordable. I think it is common to talk about adventures like this losing their mystique as they become something more average people are able to afford and participate in, we saw the same thing happen with climbing when new gear and technique opened up the sport.

  • Carro Biverman

    Oh, poor hunters, hunting lions is expensive? Not expensive enough obviously…the number of African lions is plummeting and TWO studies have identified big game hunting as the culprit. You are incredibly ignorant, selfish people. And what satisfaction is there in killing a lion anyway? Disgusting.

    • Araxas

      What a misinformed, idiotic response. It is apparent that you know nothing about wildlife conservation in Africa. One, lions are not endangered in many countries in Africa. Two, they kill over 400 people a year and do millions of dollars in live-stock predation. Three, much of the costs for lion hunts beneift local communities that WOULD BE KILLING THEM ALL OFF if it weren't for hunter-management efforts. Four – your studies are BS, biased, feel-good studies full of poor data, I know, I've read them. Five – it is none of your business how sovereign nations control their wildlife. Go to Mexico, Germany, or just about any country on the planet and stick your nose into their business. If it gets smashed – that will be the least of your worries.

      • C Biverman

        The facts, of course, are not on your side.

        • john

          i love propaganda websites Almost all of the extinct countries also happen to be countries where data was not available meaning uncollected and about 10 more are outside of widely accepted historic range maps but who cares about science and fact when fiction is so much easier to find

    • Rauf

      Also most lions so hunted are very old males that in many cases would be loners and just waiting to die a natural death or be devoured by a hyenas if not killed by poachers.
      The revenue goes a very long way in sustaning the other younger lions, rest of the game, and goes a long way assisting the local community.
      Finally there are strict quotas in place in all hunting locales for all game.

  • DaggaBoyBlog

    Nice write-up by Craig and true on all counts. Most of the points raised are actually a good thing; shrinking habitat is hardly a bonus but that's reality as the human population increases at an alarming rate. And the cost – supply vs demand. It's gonna happen. Plains game is very affordable in the south, buffalo is not a rich man's sport by any stretch and elephant can be hunted at a fair cost though given the numbers they should be more available and more affordable.

  • Rauf

    Pearl of African still has hunting of the yester-years!

  • Matthew Tyson

    The reasons for the changes in hunting, are because of people like you. The decline in numbers lowers the gene pool, and the need to have the best ‘trophy’ – the largest or biggest, removes the strongest, upon which their species has relied on for millions of years. Thus a species can never really be restored.
    I am not sure if its a lack of intelligence or an ‘inadequacy’ in such men, which makes them still excited in such toys.
    The wild is a survival of the fittest, which puts them leagues away from the seemingly obese or unfit men that manage to lift a gun…

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