When thinking about hunting in Africa most people immediately think of dangerous game species like elephants, cape buffalo, lions, leopards and more. Without question, Dave says the leopard is his favorite game animal to pursue in Africa and one he likens to "hunting's greatest chess match". Leopard hunting requires a different tactic than other dangerous game like elephant or buffalo. When pursuing those species, hunters track and follow the animal wherever it leads until the hunter is able to catch up to it and get a good shot opportunity. In contrast, leopard hunting requires one to lure wary cats into a bait site during a specific time frame in order to get a shot during legal shooting hours. In what is generally a 14-day hunt, the bait line is essential to a hunter's success and has to be tended to frequently. Bait has to be checked daily and refreshed and/or replaced as necessary. In addition to the bait site(s), Dave says bait drags can be very effective when used right as an added means of attraction. To create a bait drag, a gut bucket is pulled from point to point, across roads, to and from watering holes, across dry river beds near known travel corridors, etc. The purpose of the bait drag is for the leopard to smell the scent trail and follow it back to the tree where the hunter's bait is secured. If it's a big leopard, Dave says, then he'll often claim the bait assuming he is stealing it from another cat. It truly is a chess game, he says, the leopard makes a move and the hunter counters with another until you finally reach a conclusion, which is hopefully a shot opportunity. Dave says there is no other animal in Africa that has made him work harder, but the payoff is unlike anything else.
Many hunters would be surprised to find out they could go to Africa for a price comparable to that of a guided trophy elk, whitetail or sheep hunt in the states. A hunter could go to South Africa or Namibia and hunt plains game and enjoy great accommodations, see a lot of country and a lot of game, and take five or six nice animals for the same price they would spend on a Rocky Mountain Elk hunt, Dave says. Just as surprising as the cost comparison is how quickly a hunter can actually get to Africa and get boots on the ground hunting. Although you're flying half way around the world, a hunter can travel to Africa and be out hunting quicker than someone can fly to Alaska, hop a bush plane and wait the mandatory 24-hour time delay that's required of hunters when flying into Alaska. Many hunters assume that an international hunting adventure like Africa is out of the cards, however, the possibility shouldn't be taken off the table completely. A well planned safari is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that is more attainable/affordable than most people realize.
Be sure to listen in as Dave Fulson joins The Revolution to talk leopard hunting in Africa and turning your international hunting aspirations into a reality. Watch "Trijicon's World of Sports Afield" on Sportsman Channel, Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. ET.