Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Sport hunting lion and leopard? Baited hunts and hunting with hounds

Big cat sporting hunts - Just how sporting are they?
March 2012. As part of Wildlife Extra's follow up into the revelations about Donald Trump Junior and his brother's shooting and elephant, a leopard and other big game in Zimbabwe, we have looked some more at the hunting industry and how it operates. 

One of the main that reasons that hunters use to justify their ‘sport' is that it is a sport - The hunter pitting his wits against the wild beast to overcome their mighty (and often not so mighty) foe and overcoming against all the odds. Most responsible hunting operations have published a code of conduct and that almost always includes a guide for "Fair chase". 


  • Stalking (walking around looking for prey)
  • Driven (Hunter remains in 1 place whilst others move prey towards him/her)
  • Baited (hunter uses bait to lure prey into shooting range). As far as we can tell, baiting is the norm for lion & leopard hunts, though in some place dogs are used to hunt leopards too.
Baited lion hunts 
Many lion & leopard hunts are conducted using bait, usually some plains game that has been shot for the purpose. Once a suitable spot has been chosen, the bait is tied to a tree or similar, and the hunter takes cover in a hide some 20 metres from the bait. If the opportunity arises, the hunter will shoot the lion (or leopard), or near the bait. According to safaribwana.com "Due to their secretive nature it would be very difficult to successfully hunt leopard on a 14 or 21 day safari without baiting or dogs."
Yet the various hunting codes of conduct that we have looked at make it clear that animals being hunted should be hunted in conditions that are as natural as possible. The Confederation of Hunters Associations of South Africa policy on Ethical Hunting and Fair Chase states "A recreationally hunted animal should exist as a naturally interacting individual of a wild sustainable population." Leaving a bait to lure lions and leopards surely goes against policy, as baiting is hardly a natural interaction, and it certainly isn't a ‘fair chase'.
Did the Trumps bait their leopard?
Hunting Legends, the hunting company that organised the Trump's hunt in Zimbabwe, state that "Hunting Legends has some of the very best hunting areas to hunt Leopard and we have a high success ratio based on our knowledge of the areas and our excellent hunting staff, who know how to put the cats on. Hunt with hounds or over bait, whichever you prefer."
We wonder which the Trump boys used - Bait or hounds? 
Hunting with hounds
In some places, leopards and other animals are still hunted with hounds. The hounds are usually used for driving a leopard into a tree allowing the hunter to shoot the cat. This appears to happen mostly in Zimbabwe, though we have also found it in Mozambique, & Namibia and it appears to be only allowed on private land.

1 comment:

  1. Ya'll need to address the real problem facing all wildlife... HUMAN OVERPOPULATION!!!


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