1. YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH (or the gun)
Bigger isn’t always better – African animals aren’t invincible. Most of them can be taken with the same rifle you hunt deer with. Of course there are times when you will need a bigger rifle especially if you are trying to hunt the bigger game but a .375 will do in these instances. A lot of hunters that venture to Africa think they’ll need a .400 Nitro to take an animal – it’s better to shoot a gun your comfortable with than one you’re scared of.
2. Thinking you know more than the PH
PH literally stands for ‘Professional Hunter’, he knows these animals and knows the area – don’t ignore his expertise because you think you can do better. These men and women are qualified and actually had to attend PH school to get where they are – they know their stuff.
3. Unrealistic expectations
Before you set off to Africa, you will give your outfitter a ‘wish list’ of the animals you would like to hunt. Try not have this list set in stone – the likelihood is you won’t take everything on your list (but you’ll likely take some extra animals). You will most likely take more game for a smaller cost than any other guided hunt you’ve been on. Instead of dwelling on what you weren’t able to get, enjoy the experience – and plan to take them on your next trip to Africa.
4. Shooting when you’re uncertain
This is something you should never do – always be certain of your shot. When you get excited and your PH is excitably telling you to shoot people have the tendency to take the shot without making certain they have a good hit. Remember blood trail = trophy fees (even if the animal isn’t recovered). There is also the concern of taking a bad shot while hunting dangerous game – injuring the animal will make it angry and put your whole team in danger.
5. Not practising perfectly
Practice doesn’t make perfect – perfect practice makes perfect. You need to remember to be practising the way you will likely be shooting. The majority of hunting done in Africa is done off a three-legged shooting stick. Before heading over to Africa you should be practising shooting off sticks to make sure you are familiar with them when you get there.
6. Thinking it’ll be hot
The most common time for people to be on hunting safari is in the winter months – June to August. When everyone thinks Africa they think hot and sunny, and that’s quite right (for midday) but the mornings and nights will be cold. While we were there in August 2018 we would venture out in the mornings in -3 degrees Celsius (26 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s weird weather to get used to but make sure you’re bringing gloves… and shorts.
7. Don’t be an over-achiever
Yes, Africa has a large list of game species. But don’t make your list so big that you spend the whole time focused on what you haven’t got yet and miss all the amazing things about this great continent. Leave time to experience Africa – watch the sunsets, enjoy a braai. ‘What winds up in the skinning shed is only part of the magic of Safari‘