Hunting of Lions in Africa
Hunting of Lions in Africa
Some consider the hunting of lions in Africa the ultimate dangerous game hunt.
There is a saying in Africa that you are frightened three times during the hunting of lions in Africa. First, when you find his tracks in the sand; second, when you hear his deafening roar; and third, when you first lay your eyes on him. Some consider lion hunting the ultimate dangerous game hunt.
Hunting Lions Over Bait
Lions are baited similar to how you bait leopards, but there are some differences. Larger baits are set up closer to the ground than a leopard bait, but are hung high enough so that hyena’s cant reach it. Hunters will wait quietly in a ground blind for a lion to feed, or sometimes hunters stalk the lion on the bait. Once a lion is hitting bait, it is typically an easier hunt than for leopard because they are not afraid.
Walk-and-Stalk Lion Hunting
The traditional way hunting of lions in Africa that most hunters think of is following a track on foot. Hunting an animal that has no fear of humans in this manner is possibly the most dangerous type of hunting one can do.
A walk-and-stalk lion hunt is probably the most challenging and rewarding hunting safari available in Africa today. Trophy lions are scarce though, and to be assured of a big maned male, you need to choose a hunting concession and PH that has a proven track record.
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If you have questions or would like to go on a lion hunt yourself, just contact us. Give us a detailed description of what you are looking for, so our hunting consultants can match you with the right hunt. Whatever suits you, we can help you find it. So if you’re looking for a great hunt, you’ll love working with us.
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Shot Placement for Lions
Hit them right…if not, you’ll experience why they consider them dangerous game animals.
As with all dangerous game hunts in Africa, shot placement is important when hunting lion. A good quality soft (Swift A-Frame or Barnes) in a .30 caliber will readily kill a lion. They are not thick skinned, and sometimes expire immediately with a well-placed bullet. They are extremely dangerous when wounded so make sure your first shot count!
Most countries require a .375 minimum for all dangerous game; the bigger the better, as long as accuracy is not sacrificed.
Scoring an African Lion
A trophy lion is not measured by the hair around its neck but rather by size of its skull. A big mane however, is a nice bonus. Some areas genes produce lion with thick manes while other areas genes produce big bodied lions with very average manes.
African Lion Conservation
The hunting of lions in Africa is banned in some countries, but most do allow it.
In fact, South Africa boasts the fastest growing wild lion population in Africa. Wild lion hunting quotas are extremely conservative and sound management principles dictate these quotas.
In the late Pleistocene, about 10,000 years ago, the lion was the most widespread large land mammal after humans: Panthera leo spelaea lived in northern and western Europe and Panthera leo atrox lived in the Americas from the Yukon to Peru. Most lions now live in eastern and southern Africa, and their numbers there are rapidly decreasing, with an estimated 30–50% decline per 20 years in the late half of the twentieth century.
Estimates of the African lion population range between 16,500 and 47,000 living in the wild in 2002–2004, down from early 1990s estimates that ranged as high as 100,000 and perhaps 400,000 in 1950. Primary causes of the decline include disease and human interference. Habitat loss and conflicts with humans are considered the most significant threats to the species.
Western conservation efforts must take account of these matters not just because of ethical concerns about human life, but also for the long term success of conservation efforts and lion preservation.
The lion’s proclivity for man-eating in rural areas of Tanzania increased greatly from 1990 to 2005. At least 563 villagers were attacked and many eaten over this period – a number far exceeding the more famed “Tsavo” incidents of a century earlier. Another study of 1,000 people attacked by lions in southern Tanzania between 1988 and 2009 found that the weeks following the full moon (when there was less moonlight) were a strong indicator of increased night attacks on people.
Author Robert R. Frump wrote in The Man-eaters of Eden that Mozambican refugees regularly crossing Kruger National Park at night in South Africa are attacked and eaten by the lions; park officials have conceded that man-eating is a problem there. Frump believes thousands may have been killed in the decades after apartheid sealed the park and forced the refugees to cross the park at night. For nearly a century before the border was sealed, Mozambicans had regularly walked across the park in daytime with little harm.
Packer estimates more than 200 Tanzanians are killed each year by lions, crocodiles, elephants, hippos, and snakes, and that the numbers could be double that amount (which is why the hunting of lions in Africa is popular with native Africans), with lions thought to kill at least 70 of those. Packer and Ikanda are among the few conservationists who believe western conservation efforts must take account of these matters not just because of ethical concerns about human life, but also for the long term success of conservation efforts and lion preservation.
Africa Safari Gear List
Preparing for your first African Safari can be intimidating, but there’s no need to worry. The truth of the matter is that packing for a hunt in Africa isn’t all that difficult. We have worked together with our P.H.’s on a safari gear list for your upcoming hunt.
- Valid Passport (South Africa requires your passport to be valid for an additional 30 days after your return date to the USA. No exceptions.)
- Airline ticket.
- Proper weapon documentation.
- Email the date and time of arrival to your P.H. for pickup at the airport.
- Inoculation (if needed in the area you are hunting).
- Deposit paid and confirmed.
- Traveler’s checks and enough cash for gifts, tip, etc.
- Travel Insurance.
Keep it simple. Bring a few changes of light hunting clothing (most places will have a daily laundry service). Odds are you will be riding in the back of a truck on a high rack to and from hunting areas, and that can get chilly. So bring a good jacket along. During the day, temperatures should be pleasant.
*When hunting in Mozambique it is important to note that you are allowed to bring realtree type camo but it is against Mozambican law for an ordinary citizen to wear military style camouflage.
- 2 pairs of light hunting pants
- 2-3 hunting shirts
- 2-3 pairs of socks and underwear
- 1 pair of insulated underwear (tops and bottoms) *we recommend Merino wool
- Light jacket for stopping wind
- Wide brim hat or cap
- Good ankle boots/shoes that are very comfortable (you don’t need heavy mountain boots)
- Comfortable shoes for lounging at the lodge
- Light stocking hat and gloves
- Light rain gear
If you are hunting from May to August, be sure to bring some heavier clothing as well as temperatures can occasionally drop below freezing. If you are hunting during this time add the following items:
- 1 pair of insulated hunting pants
- 2 pairs mid-weight socks
- Insulated coat
Get the best optics you can afford. Don’t skimp here.
- Binoculars (Quality 8’s or 10’s)
- Spotting Scope
- Bino Harness
- Phone Skope – Mount your phone to your optics
- Lens Cloth and Cleaning Equipment
Firearms and Ammunition
Clients always ask us what type of rifle and caliber they should bring to Africa. Our advice is always, bring the rifle that you are most comfortable shooting with, shot placement and premium quality bullets are more important than caliber choice. For plains game, we recommend any caliber between 270 and 375. However calibers for dangerous game, the minimum requirement by law is no caliber smaller than 375H&H. We recommend using premium quality soft point ammunition like Swift A-frame, Woodleigh, Norma or Barnes. For elephant and hippo it is advisable to use heavy caliber solid ammunition.
When hunting dangerous game, use a good quality low powered variable scope of 1.5 – 6 x 25 power. We recommend a higher powered scope of between 3 – 9 x 40 magnification for plains game. When transporting your rifle it should be transported on the airline and on any major road in a solid, lockable, hard case. Whilst travelling between hunting areas or on the back of the hunting vehicle we recommend that you bring a soft padded rifle bag.
- Ammo (40-60 shells should be adequate for a typical hunt)
- Gun case with locks
- Soft gun case
- Bow (talk to your Agent or PH about poundage requirements)
- Arrows and good broadheads (2-3 dozen arrows should be adequate for a typical hunt)
- Bow case with locks
- Soft bow case
- Valid Passport
- Airline ticket
- Proper weapon documentation
- Certified copy of your Passport for the taxidermist.
- Tip your P.H.
- Pay trophy fees and final payments for the animals you take on your Safari.
- Make arrangements for your trophies.
The standard tip for a guide is 10% to 20% of the cost of your trip. Remember to tip the cooks and other help in the camp as well. The amount you give reflects your appreciation for your guide’s hard work and effort.