There are two ways to hunt leopards:
- Bait and blind is the most common method of leopard hunting.
- Hunting with hounds. This method is increasing rapidly in popularity.
Hunting Leopards over Bait
This is not a plains game hunt, and is not for the faint-of-heart. It is a specialized hunt and you should stay very focused. Leopard hunting most commonly takes place out of a blind over bait at night. If you are very lucky, they will come in at dawn or at dusk, but don’t count on it (this is more common in remote areas such as Mozambique).
Be prepared for long, motionless hours in the blind. You will hear every sound and movement from outside the blind as you sit and wait for the distinctive, “throaty coughing” calling sound or, better yet, the sound of him eating at the bait. You hear every leaf drop, every animal walk by, every insect.
You can get lost in your thoughts and allow yourself to close your eyes even though you are as uncomfortable as hell…. but then, you hear the sound of bones crushing or flesh ripping, and every sense goes to High Alert!
At that point, the darkness becomes your friend as you wait anxiously for the moment when the PH switches on the light. You will have one shot, and one shot only. Make it count. During the days, you check baits, move blinds and maybe even hunt for more bait.
Shot Placement for Leopards
As for shot placement on leopards, the only trick is to remember is to place the bullet through the heart you have to shoot behind the shoulder.
- Never shoot a leopard facing you – there is too much room for error
- Never shoot a cat standing on its hind legs eating a bait
- Never shoot a cat lying down – the room for error is ZERO
- Always test fire before going into the blind
Best Caliber for Leopard Hunting
You don’t need a large caliber rifle or even premium bullets for leopard hunting.
A 7×57 or .308 with standard soft point ammo is perfect. If you are shooting from a blind you will require a good quality scope on your rifle though, and ‘scope choice is probably more important than caliber used. A high magnification ‘scope is unnecessary. The leopard will not be shot at long range, but will probably be shot in poor light. An illuminated reticle of some sort is an advantage, but definitely avoid too fine a cross hairs.