Going on a hunting expedition without the essential equipment can be embarrassing, uncomfortable and even perilous.
So, before revving up that powerful 4x4 to depart and waving the family goodbye, make sure that you have packed:
" Boots - light and ankle-high. Wool socks for protection and isolation.
" A hat - big and wide-rimmed for protection against sun and rain.
" A knife - the sheath type with a strong, sharp blade. It doesn't have to be too long - 100 mm or 4" will suffice.
In addition there is the light rucksack containing the following:
" A full water bottle.
" Toilet paper, which may also be used to mark game.
" A short rope to hang game while it is being cut or carried.
"Matches or a lighter and lip ice.
" Extra boot laces.
"A small sharpening stone.
Then there are the binoculars - 8x20 will suffice.
Concerning clothes; black or white are no-no's, except in snow. Dim colours, such as khaki or olive green, do the trick.
In addition, depending on weather conditions, the wardrobe should contain:
"A long-sleeved jacket.
"A shirt of a strong material (short-sleeved).
"A strong pair of longs.
"A strong leather belt.
Then the important things
There are many do’s and don’ts hunters have to comply with when planning a hunting expedition. Failure to comply with regulations and to do proper research may well turn such a trip into a nightmare – and the hunter may fall prey to legislation.
In order to get the full benefit of a hunting trip the hunter should take note of the following:
• Join an amateur hunting association. You will then associate with people who are ethical hunters and who can advice you on various game farms and safari companies.
• Obtain brochures and price lists from safari companies and land owners.
• Read the fine print to ferret out any hidden extra costs, such as additional costs for an extraordinary trophy, use of vehicles, abattoir fees and cooling facilities.
• Ask for a list of hunters who recently visited your intended destination to determine first-hand what treatment can be expected.
• When getting involved with safari companies, ensure that you are dealing with an honest individual. Ask for a list of previous clients. Keep in mind that the best safari agent may often not charge you more than the worst.
• Wherever possible, deal directly with the land owner or the safari company concerned and insist on a written agreement. Take it with you.
• Before paying a deposit, ensure that that there is unanimity on the cancellation stipulation and determine in what circumstances the deposit is refundable should circumstances prevent you from embarking on the hunt.
• Decide whether it is necessary to hunt with a safari company or land owner who provides all services. The more the services, the higher the price. Don’t pay for services you are not going to use.
• Ensure that the safari company or land owner has the required permits to allow you to hunt there.
• Ensure you have the necessary permits to hunt. Each province has its own nature conservation department, ordinances and rules and regulations concerning the issue of licenses and permits. Talk to them, they are usually very cooperative.
• Veterinary limitations may prevent you from removing horns, skins and meat or biltong from the hunting area without the required permit. Ask the safari company or land owner whether there are veterinary limitations and comply with it to prevent having your expensive trophies being confiscated. Veterinary limitations are instituted to prevent the spreading of diseases. It is there for your own interest.
• Should you hunt outside South Africa or receive a foreign visitor, ensure that you have a temporary permit for guns and ammunition. It is issued at the point of entry. Determine from the agent what these regulations are and ensure that you comply with them. If not, customs officials may confiscate your weapons.
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