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The inside story of captive lion "hunting"

Wednesday 3rd February 2016

captive lion hunting

What actually goes on behind the scenes? We now have a South African professional hunter telling his side of the story and it is NOT pretty…. The hunter spent time on a “ranch” where captive bred lions were hunted and was disgusted by what he saw. He posted this yesterday.

The hunter, who goes by the internet alias “johnkudu” (and so he shall remain as whistleblowers should not have their real identities revealed) had this to say – I have paraphrased as his English is not that good – presents these various “scenarios” he witnessed while employed at the hunting “ranch”

Scenario 1. The client arrives and is driven around by his professional hunter supposedly looking for lion tracks – the actual hunt is planned for the next morning. Meanwhile, the lion to be hunted is still in a holding pen behind the scenes being given lots of food. The next day, the lion is immobilized and eventually transported to a location in the bush. The professional hunter is notified of the release location and makes a big deal of finally having “found” the lion they have been “tracking”. The client goes home happy. This is standard practice for all captive lion hunts.

Scenario 2. As above, but when the client sees the lion through his rifle’s telescopic sights, he’s not happy. He tells the professional hunter it is not the lion he ordered – the mane is not dark enough. Back to camp they go, the client points out the sort of lion he wants in the catalogue. Meanwhile the original lion is immobilized and brought back to the pen, a “better” lion is taken out of the pen and put out in the field for the client to shoot.

Scenario 3. According to the “rules” in North West Province, a lion to be hunted is by law supposed to be released 3 days before the hunt. South African authorities call this “rewilding” and as a consequence insist that there is no such category as a “canned lion”. The Environment Minister herself said so! Anyway, the “released” lion instead of enjoying his first experience of a sort-of wild area, head straight back to the pen he was kept in. Why not? That’s where the food is and that’s where he can hear the other lions roaring at night. So still the lion has to be immobilized and taken into the bush so the client is fooled into thinking he’s not shooting a captive bred lion.

Scenario 4.  “johnkudu” did not experience this himself, but it was related to him by others. A client not on a lion hunt says he might want to hunt a lion if the price is right. The professional hunter, who has had a bit much to drink, negotiates a price and then actually takes the client to the lion pens so the client can choose his lion to be shot the next day. The client apparently left in a huff.

“johnkudu” mentions there are many similar “horror” stories, and that many of the lion “outfitters” on the forum are engaged in such hunts.

So there we have it – the real experience of someone involved in the lion canned hunting industry in South Africa. Yet the government refuses to condemn it?

You can read “johnkudu”’s actual words below. You won't be surprised to hear that his post on the Africa Hunting site has now been removed! Scroll down through this link and you will see this phrase:

"@johnkudu has been banned and all his posts along with answers to his posts have been removed from public view."

We did note, before it was pulled, that one of the other contributors was not happy about the post as it would give ammunition to us “greenies”!!

Scenario one,

client is hapy in camp for the first afternoon and driving around with his ph and guides looking for lion tracks, the lion however is lying happily in his holding pem eating his last meal, the lions are given as much meat as possible for 2 reasons, makes him lazy not to run away from th hunters and 2 to ensure he doesnt hunt any of the ecpensive game that free roaming on the property. the hunt has been set for the next morning. hower the next morning the hunting party has left camp to look for tracks but the lion is not released yet becouse the lion is lying behind the only cover in the penn and cant be darted by the release team, finally they dart him drop him off on the bush and give the ph directions to where,

if you knew this was your lion would you have him in your trophy room staring back at you for the next 20 years? telling you friend how you hunted the beast?

Scenario 2

lion tracks found, client and ph and lion farm guide stalk up to the lion, client gets ready on the sticks looking at a lion under tree, client looks at the lion and the ph gets nervous and urges the client to hurry up and shoot before the lion charges, the client however puts the safty back on his rifle and says this is not the lion in the pictures he was shown when he paid his deposit and wants a diferent lion, they leave the lion go back to camp client chooses a new lion from the picture catelog the first lion is darted put back in the pen and the second lion released and with in an hour the clients shoots the black main he wanted and the the fight starts as he accuses the outfitter of trying to make him shoot a cheaper lion that was not what he paid for.

who is to blame the client, the ph or the lion farm?

Scenario 3

the lion is released as per law 3 days before the hunt, lion walks around and hears the other lions roar at night and walks back to the lion pen spends the the next 3 days lying next to the pen sleeping just outside the fence the lion farm guy and the ph knows anout the problem and make plans to shoot the lion is such a way that the clint doesnt realize he shooting next to the lion pen, when plans fails the dart the lion again and move it into the bush wherevthey immediately follow and kill it half asleep,

Scenario 4

this was told to my by one of my longtime clients,

he was hunting on a farm that did lion shooting as well, one night the ph has a couple to many beers and the client asks him to what will they do if he decides to shoot a lion in the morning the ph says no problem how much do you want to spend, client says gives an amount they jump in the cruiser the lion guy drives to the lion penn and tells the client he can choose the ones in penn no 5 they are in his price class, needles to say he has never hunted there again,

sadly I can continue with a couple more horror stories like this and all was experienced in a very short time and with well known hunting outfitters that are active on this forum,

I made a choice to distance myself from that industry for many reasons and it happend about the same time as the phasa meeting and vote, interesting many outfitters especially lion outfitters tried to get my proxy vote to help them at the phase meet win the vote and they where very surpized when I said im voting against,

I try to see myself as a ethical hunter but more so an active conservationist!

yes the vote snowballed in to something big, I believe that this is the wake up call the industry needed to get their shops in order the best way to make someone listen is to hit them in the pocket/wallet where it hurts most, these lion farms made big money for many years without any effort to give back to consevation of wild lion areas and populations what should have done is to proactively market what they are giving back to conservation and they are setting goals to combine land with some of the black communities around them to create bigger areas where may be one day they can have free roaming lion populatations to the benefit of hunter and eco tourists alike, but in stead they chose to be secrative in their business dealings all for the mighty $.

For me the lion hunting situation is not hunting and currently its not helping at all with any kind or conservation that is sustainable for the 100 years, the help these captive lions can be for future generations is it can provide genetics and animals to repopulate wild areas,

I agree that these lions could be put back into a working ecosystem but it will not work where there are all ready wild lions pressant as the captive lions wont know how to interact with other wild prides and their complex sosial systems. Reasons for this is becouse in the captive systems the females are allowed to raise the cubbs they are taken away and hand reared by people and put back into the breeding pens once they get to big to have around the house/workers they are then divided into male and female groups, mails are put into groups of 5 or 6 in a penn so that you have a group all the same size and age to sell easily and manage and feed them easily, also is the lions in a small group like this know each other they can be releaced togher with out the fear that they would kill one another before the hunters can get to them.

As for the video posted on this thread earlier,

this is not wild lions they are hunting those are all hunts that took place in the North west province, i recognize several lion ph' s I know in the video and I briefly spoke to one this morning to ask if he knew he was in the video, he was very surprized and said no those are not wild hunts and he is going to report it to sapa (south african predator association)

He also said that the one female lion apeard to be drugged, from his experience.

as for longer release peroids the lion farms in the freestate all ready found a loophole around it, what is the difference between feeding a lion in 1 acre or feeding it for 3 months on 20000 acres until its legal to hunt it?

is there a quick and easy anser No!

but one things for sure, canned lion hunting is not for me I would rather not have a lion in my clients trophy room but species that where hunted whlie they where selfsustained on a big enough hunting area fenced or unfenced but not small camps and released before the hunt specific for the purposes to be killed

hopefully all of us as hunters will work together to find a solution but we cannot let the greenies regulate our industry for us and we cant give them reason to interfere and reason to shut hunting down becouse of a couple of bad practices we must take upon ourselfes to do what is right


Picture credit:

Posted by Chris Macsween at 12:57

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