View Full Version : African Hunting Questions

July 30, 2006, 02:56 PM
I watched an hour or two of OLN earlier today that left me with questions.
The animals hunted were a red hartebeest, a blue wildebeest (sp?), a wart hog a/k/a extremely uglybeest, some smallish deeralope that I'd never heard of, and another wildebeest, black I think.

1) Anyone have any idea what chamberings we use here that would be fine there? The wildebeest looked suitable, in size, for what we'd consider as a larger elk chambering, .338 WinMag, .340 Wby, and so on. No doubt a 7mm magnum or .30-06 would do, if you get the right shot, but what are the optimal chamberings for these animals? What makes the PH happy?

2) No one bothered with camo clothing. Is camoflage clothing an American hobby? I was mildly surprised to see a PH and client stalking the red hartebeest (pretty animal, must say, very pretty) without spending much time prone (at least on camera) and without camo. I assume that, for deeralope game, a deeralope chambering would be fine too; .280 or 7mm-08, and so on.

3) The PHs did carry small binoculars but did NOT carry a pistol. Would they bother to do so if you were chasing, say, Cape Buffalo or lion, or are pistol backups another American eccentricity.

4) Warthogs are ugly. REALLY ugly. And the trophy looked smaller then many feral hogs here. Does Africa not have large hogs?

5) Are all PHs white, or does that reflect OLN's judgment of what American viewers want to see?

July 31, 2006, 03:45 AM
I have a trip to South Africa lined up for next July. I've talked to the PH's and land owners quite abit over the last few months. Pistols are nearly impossible to bring into the country over there. I don't know what the restrictions on residence over there having pistols, but I would imagine there there very strict as well. I' m not to sure a pistol would have much of an effect on a charging cape buffaloe anyway. The PH's usually carry large bore rifles while hunting areas with dangerous game anyway. For medium sized plains game as you were describing, they recommend .270 and larger. Atleast where I'm hunting. I'll be taking a 300 win mag and a 7mm weatherby. They've told me that would be just fine. I know one guy going with use that has already taken just about everything besides Eland with a .270 Weatherby. As far as the Wart Hogs, I think they get up to about 250lbs.

Anthony Terry
July 31, 2006, 03:53 AM
The guys hunting dangerous game in Africa use .416 Rigbys and .375 H&H, etc. The backup is usually a .700 nitro express or something. Id rather have that than a pistol.:D

July 31, 2006, 05:43 PM
I thought the .700 Nitro Express was a woodchuck cartridge? You load the woodchuck into the cartridge ... etc. :D

Anthony Terry
July 31, 2006, 10:06 PM
:D Only if it's a big chuck. It has to fit tight.

August 1, 2006, 01:22 AM
"Pistols are nearly impossible to bring into the country over there. I don't know what the restrictions on residence over there having pistols, but I would imagine there there very strict as well."

I live in S.A and unfortunately you right, owning a pistol is a very privileged thing indeed. Fortunately for me, i got my two handguns before the new laws came into effect, so i am safe, but for everyone else its a nightmare trying to get a handgun license. The gun laws here are very restrictive. Only allowed one handgun and one shot gun for self-defense (good luck trying to get either!) and only two rifles for hunting!:eek: The biggest threat in S.A is not from 4 legged animals, but rather from two legged beasts!

Jack O'Conner
August 1, 2006, 10:04 AM
A Christian Missionary told me that the 30-06 and .243 are very popular in South Africa for plains game.

An Engineer I worked with hunted South Africa every year for a decade before his untimely death related to cancer. Larry took a custom .338 MAG and his old but prized .270 on the first hunt. The 338 was never even fired as his .270 slew large animals such as zebra and gemsbok as if struck by Thor's hammer. Larry hunted with 150 grain Nosler Partition bullets.

I'm not an African expert; simply stating what what my co-worker shared with me. But Larry was no fool and he took hunting very seriously. He used his 338 MAG in Alaska for moose and caribou then sold it.


August 1, 2006, 12:15 PM
I read that camo clothing in Africa is associated with either the military or with poachers. (40MM, chime in and tell me if I am wrong). The article hinted that camo can land you in trouble with various groups there, so you are better off sticking with khaki or green.

I just checked the source - it was in our local paper, so take it with a grain of salt.....

Rich Lucibella
August 1, 2006, 01:01 PM
Many African and South American countries ban all forms of camo....and change the rules regularly. There is really no hunting need for it, so why take the chance?

August 1, 2006, 02:00 PM
I know virtually nil about African hunting, but I remember reading some hearsay that .338 winmag is very popular for plains game, as is .30-06 and .300 magnums. If you go after DG, they will require a minimum of .375 HH mag, in a controlled-feed turnbolt.

It's a shame that there's such strict gun control over there in S.A. - seems to me that it wasn't 10 years ago that the country was still relatively free gun-rights-wise (??).

August 1, 2006, 06:38 PM
Interesting. OK, I can certainly see the association of camo with military, paramilitary and insurrectionist mayhem. South Africa has had enough of that.
And the PH and client were able to walk towards at least the black wildebeest, closely trailed by the cameraman, with the client right behind the PH. The herd - it looked to be no more then 20 animals - was staring at them. If you can fool them that easily, they deserve to be dopeybeest instead of wildebeest. And eaten.

Most of the chatter of whether an animal was a trophy pertained to horn and boss size and quality. One you shoot your dopeybeest, does the camp eat it?
Is it normal practice to skin the dope, and take it home? It'd be a shame to leave it to feed hyenas. Then again, they might be as tough as they are dopey (boy, I like that joke.)

August 2, 2006, 10:09 AM
Brian - I have gleaned all of my vast Africa knowledge from TV, so probably know nothing real about it. I think I have been told by someone on TV that the meat goes to "the village" for food. That might cut down on subsistence poaching some I guess.

August 2, 2006, 06:09 PM
To comment on a couple of your questions:

I think most PHs would carry handguns if the option wwas available to them. Peter H. Capstick used to carry a Browning HP in his "Leopard bag" until, as he put it, the Zambian Government decided that it would rather he just poke the angry cats in the eyes with his thumbs :rolleyes:

Most PHs are still white, which I assume is just a holdover from the days when "Professional Hunter" and "White Hunter" were interchangable. I'm sure there are more Black Africans in the job now than there were 40 years ago.

Warthogs, generally speaking, just aren't very big. They'd never get big like American feral hogs tend to be. There are big pigs - bushpigs and others - in Africa, but the Warties aren't among them. I think people see pictures of warthogs with their enormous tusks and assume that they're big and vicious. They're not very imposig, once you get close to them. Sure are cute, though :D

Camo clothing is actually recommended in parts of West and Central Africa such as Cameroon, where the hunting is for forest game rather than plains game. I can understand the paramilitary connection, and if I was advised against it, I wouldn't wear it. Better yet, I wouldn't hunt and area teeming with Paramilitaries. If you go hunting in Northern Uganda or Eastern Congo, You're liable to get into trouble with or without Camo:o

August 2, 2006, 07:46 PM
Good point. I'm more then happy to limit my exposure to war to reading about it. Might watch the idiot box now and then, but that's about it.

August 5, 2006, 11:10 AM
I did get to spend some time in Somalia, courtesy of Uncle Sam. I agree with Cossack. There are places in Africa that just don't make sense to go due to the dangers involved. I can't imagine rolling around Somalia trying to hunt. During my time there, we made some Atlatls and tried to hunt in our compound with no success. There were these tiny deer creatures that looked about the right size for roasting, but a nervous critter the size of a coyote makes a hard target for atlatls.

August 6, 2006, 11:11 AM
Chasing small quick game with atlatls .... just as well there were MREs around.
;) Yikes.

Excitable people with firearms make me nervous and I avoid them. I'll never get to Africa, so this is all just to satisfy my curiousity.

Boston T. Party
December 28, 2008, 04:08 PM
Plains game: a 200gr .30-06 is great. No magnums needed.
DG: a .416 if you can handle it perfectly

Camo: I wear green digital USMC in South Africa. It's rugged,
and the animals truly don't see me. I've shot a third of my 40
critters w/i 50yds, and many of those w/i 20yds. (I now also
use a bowhunters face net.)


My new book Safari Dreams available from:

lt dan
December 31, 2008, 08:52 AM
brian bm

you ask a lot of good question and i will try and answer them as good as i can. i am not a outfitter nor a ph. i have been hunting since the age of about 7 and i hunt wart-hogs about twice a week .in the winter(hunting season) i go on several hunts all over south-Africa. like most white males i was in the army and enlisted permanently( for a while). at the moment i am busy opening a gun shop as a hobby.in my existing business i have a lot of game farmers and game ranches as customers.

now to your questions. you have already received some good answers which just shows that
the american hunters are well versed.

1) for the animals that you mentioned the good old 30-06 is MORE than enough. i suspect that the animals may appear larger on tv than what they actually are. i will not go smaller
than a 270 but if need be i will use a 243 on any of the game in your first question. any game larger than the eland will mean the limit of the of the 30-06. i hunt with a 308 and 300H&H.

2) cammo clothing used to be outlawed in s-africa. i am seeing more and more hunters using cammo these days. the the african bush are mostly shades of brown and khaki, so going with khakis makes sence. i allways thought the desert storm cammo will
do best as cammo in the south-african winter. remember that by far the minority of hunters
in south-africa are foreign hunters maybe 1 in 20 at most. the rest are locals that go on hunts or hunt their own lands they will see cammo as overkill and many will hunt with bush jackets and shorts.

3)i cant remember ever hunting none dangerous game with a hunter carrying a side arm, but if you want to carry one then do so.

4)that is true wart-hogs dont get as large as feral pigs. the biggest one i have shot was +_
110kg, but the tusks was massive. my tracker always says that he would rather track
a lion than a wounded wart-hog boar.

5)no not all ph's are white and not all are male, but most are and a lott are ex-soldiers

hope this helps, if not ask more and if i cant answer you i will get you the answers.

January 3, 2009, 08:30 PM
Thank you. That's a heck of a well-thought-out answer, too.

I haven't been on The Firing Line forum for some time. Life's other business precluded my getting started in hunting, but I'll get there eventually. At the moment, all my hunting is done vicariously, here and by listening to friends.

If there is a World Standard for medium game, the .30-06 seems to be it; enough rifle for almost anything you'd want to eat, anywhere on the planet. I'll be content with a 7mm-08. The cartridge is ample for anything I'm likely to see in New York State, and easier for extended practice then the .30-06 (no one I know seems to enjoy shooting their .30-06 for more then ten rounds at a time). That's as much rifle as I ever expect to need. A .280 Remington would be fine too. When I finally go out with money in hand, if a nice firearm comes within reach, well, it goes home and I have a new friend.

The warthogs are interesting quarry. Feral pigs here become poor food for the table as they get bigger, especially males (so I read). Is a warthog worth cleaning and dressing for the kitchen at home, or are warthogs merely a nuisance to be controlled for the sake of cropland?

Any pig that is around is a hundred kilograms is worth respect. I'm happy to take your tracker's word that it's safer to track a wounded lion into the bush then a wounded boar warthog :eek::eek:. At this moment both the lions and the warthogs are safe from my depredations. :D In the event I were to find myself in that circumstance, I'll be happy to take the tracker's advice, or the PH's instruction, and carry something chambered for a bigger cartridge. Or carry a ladder, and climb it in a hurry as needed.

If circumstance permits and you have the chance to hunt something you'd like to see on the table, or roasted in the field, what would it be?

lt dan
January 4, 2009, 03:19 PM
the bigger the hogs and especially the boars the worst the taste gets. i have shot two
young sows the last 2 weeks about 15 months old. perfect for the table. what we do is i hand
the meat in at my friends butchery and they make the best little cheese sausages that you can grill.

what i want to eat is a young eland cow, although this is the biggest antelope in the world it tastes like veil. my other favorite is springbok. the thing about springbok is to shoot them when they are still relaxed as soon as they start running the meat gets spoiled to some extend due to the adrenalin. i sometimes partake in a springbok harvest and as soon as the
first springbok goes down we roast the liver with onions and garlic. this comes in handy as such harvests can take all night. the biggest harvest i joined was 117 springbok for the night
all head shots , game meat for export purposes .

just to clarify the tracker says he rather track a lion(not wounded) than a wounded wart-hog.

i shot a large wart-hog boar this week it went down like a tree trunk. i watched it for a while and waited until he stopped kicking the next thing i saw was the hog jumping up and disappearing into a thicket of dense bushes. i drove around the thicket for about an hour went home to get my tracker. we took up the spoor(tracks) from where i have shot it at first there was a lot of blood. we followed the tracks and the tracker only found three drops
of blood 500m from the first place i shot it. we spend the rest of the day looking without luck. i am telling you this because in all my years of hunting this about the fifth time i had to track something that had the potential to hurt me. but when you watch tv it seems to suggest that every African hunt is life threatening.

January 4, 2009, 05:43 PM
i have been into safari hunting for quite awhile,all though mostly dangerous game.most plains game is taken with the same calibers you use for deer/elk.the 300 win is very popular as is the 7s,most guides would rather you bring the gun YOU can shoot the best.when dangerous game hunting the big 5(elephant,buffalo,lion,leopard ,and hippo ) the 375 h&h is the legal limit,no guide carry the 700 nitro express for real(its mainly for show)the doubles in 470 NE and 500s are very popular.and a handful of guides like jeff rann and mark sullivan carry the almighty 577 NE.and yes camo is a no no.here is a quick video on hunting elephants i posted ,and why they use big stopping guns. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVWBRxk_2eI

January 4, 2009, 06:30 PM
A gun writer hunter here by the name of Nick Harvey went to Africa and used his
270 WBY MAG for all but the biggest and most dangerous game he killed black wildebeest with 130 GN Barnes-x and red hartebeest with 150 GN partition gold with emphatic results,
as long as you can shoot your rifle accurately and place your shot your 90% there.

January 7, 2009, 07:43 PM
Gentlemen, thank you all.

Even in fantasy, I'm content to leave the big five to others. I'd like to hunt the way I fish ... the trip ends at the dinner table. My freezer wouldn't accommodate a hippo. On the advice of this thread, I will take any chance I can to sample springbok or eland; that will have to wait for my trip to Africa, since there's no legal importation of wild animal meats into the US.

Pending my arrival, I'll be content to practice marksmanship.

Big Bill
January 8, 2009, 01:21 AM
I' m not to sure a pistol would have much of an effect on a charging cape buffaloe anyway.This is from Johy Linebaugh's website.



January 12, 2009, 09:28 PM
Well, yes, but his skills are a bit above those of most hunters. I believe Roy Weatherby took most or all of the big 5 with his .257 magnum, and there was the one gent - Bell? - who took down all manner of elephant with a 7mm Mauser, but .... quite apart from changes in the law, it wouldn't be prudent for most of us to leave as little margin for error in shot placement or penetration as they did.

I wonder, do baby warthogs or bushpigs make good bacon? Or perhaps the cure isn't practical at African air temperatures. Not that there's anything wrong with sausage, of course.

lt dan
January 13, 2009, 03:34 AM
I wonder, do baby warthogs or bushpigs make good bacon? Or perhaps the cure isn't practical at African air temperatures. Not that there's anything wrong with sausage, of course

i dont think so, they dont have enough fat.but they are good for cold meats.

January 13, 2009, 10:04 AM
Brian, don't let anyone tell you that age or size affects the taste of our ferral hogs in the negative. It is diet, attitude when shot and meat handling that is at fault. Give a 350 pound boar hog a few weeks to heal after castration and being fed a quality feed and a .22 'tween the eyes at night and you will see it as far BETTER than any pork from a store.
This is one reason we like running dogs for hog hunting.

January 13, 2009, 06:28 PM
In aperfect world I would have 3 rifles. 6.5x55 for the regular sized antelope&deer. .375 H&H for the wildebeast, warthog,etc. 458 for the big dangerous stuff.

January 14, 2009, 08:31 PM
Interesting ... hogdogs, you're capturing feral hogs with dogs and then giving them a bit of cultivation? Can't see anyone who lives in a citified area keeping the dogs needed. If I get down by you, I'll swap ya a couple of bottles of bourbon for some pork. I'm going to the rest of the world with a broadband hookup shortly; no doubt I can find video of pignapping - sounds like a hell of a way to spend an evening, following the dogs to net or lasso a pig. And then making him squeal soprano - ouch!

publius, I'll be content to get started with a nice 7mm-08 and a sight with excellent low-light properties.
Later this summer I'm taking my niece and nephew to the Orvis wingshooting school; we'll all learn how to properly handle a shotgun. I'm content to leave anything that needs a .458 and up to others.

Al Thompson
January 15, 2009, 08:19 AM
I've had good meals even from bigger hogs as long as they were cleaned and cooled quickly. The bigger ones are hard to handle though. I keep a come-along in the truck for hoisting and loading.

Other than Eland and dangerous game, the .30-06 to .338 is plenty of bullet. I know one guy that did fine on plains game with a 6.5 and some good shooting. He was using 140 grain bullets. I used a .30-06 on the smaller stuff with no problems what so ever. Kudu and buff I used a .375 H&H.

Para Bellum
January 17, 2009, 03:16 AM
The 7x57mm can offer very good penetrating ability due to a fast twist rate that enables it to fire long, heavy bullets with a high sectional density. This made it popular in Africa, where it was used on animals up to and including elephants, for which it was particularly favoured by noted ivory hunter W. D. M. Bell, who shot 1,011 elephants using a 7x57mm rifle, when most ivory hunters were using larger-caliber rifles. It was also the favored cartridge of Eleanor O'Connor, wife of famous hunter and author Jack O'Connor. Eleanor accompanied her husband on multiple hunting expeditions all over the world, killing small and large game with the 7x57mm. Though not as popular today, the 7x57mm is still produced by most major ammunition manufacturers and many modern rifles are available chambered for the cartridge.

More on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7x57mm_Mauser

January 17, 2009, 09:49 PM
Mr. Bell possessed a degree of skill that first-time hunters (me) may admire, but don't possess. Further, nobody seems to be making an action sized for 7x57. If the action's longer, why not put a bigger cartridge in it? The ballistics of a 7mm-08 seem modestly superior to those of 7x57, from what I've read, and that defines 7mm-08 as my personal minimum. If I get to Africa, I'll take that, and go up from there.

All things - like ammunition availability - being considered, I'd rather go looking for plains game with a .338WM then anything else. If some kindly fluke of local rules allows me to bring in a custom rifle and lots of ammo, why not .338-06?
A big enough hole for plains game, from what I've read. Not so much as to punish the shoulder unduly, if sighting in (or just indulging in target practice before going out). As I noted, I'll leave the Big 5 for those who really want'em.

After this thread, given lt dan's observations (based on vastly more experience then I'll ever have) I'm going to go surf the internet for farm-raised eland. I like veal. :)

lt dan
January 20, 2009, 04:55 AM
and that defines 7mm-08 as my personal minimum.

Brian please note the following that is probably not a well known fact overseas: to the northern part of south-Africa is what's known as the "bushveldt". this region is very popular with overseas hunters and i am sure that most American hunters hunt there when they visit s-Africa. i have hunted there as well. now most but not all of the game farmers there do not allow for a calibre less than .30. the reasoning behind this is that in the dense bush the small branches tends to have a larger accuracy effect on the smaller calibres. so a decision was made that .30 will be the smallest allowed. whether you agree with this or not, this is common practice. what is true is that due to the .30 and up the killing power increases and i believe this influenced to a large extent the decision, because tracking a wounded animal in the bushveldt is tricky business. the guys local to that region think this rule is responsible for less non lethal shots.

that is why when you ask a gun shop owner ,in sa, what is the best all rounder he suggest any .30 calibre like the 308win 300wm 30-06 and so on. so the second rifle you buy can either be larger than .30 or smaller.

so back to your opening thread. you will probably be able to shoot the game you mentioned with the 7mm-08 but you might not be allowed to. is it fair? no, but it is the rule of the land.

January 23, 2009, 05:59 PM
I am going to South Africa in May. I will be taking my tried and true Custom 870.I will using the Remington Accutip Sabot slugs. Staying under a 100yards the 12gauge will be than enough for plains game. As for warthog it's a face only mother would love, or a hog hunter like me. As for camo, most places see it as paramilitary and not recommend as you might be mistaken, espsecially for the blacks, as a fighter or poacher.

lt dan
January 25, 2009, 08:57 AM
bwheasler. i am sure that the 12gauge slug will be more than enough for plains game. how ever the chances of finding plains game under 100 yards are less than slim. don't worry about the camo , it has been legal for more than ten years. however very few local hunters use them as it often draw friendly banter from other hunters. it is often seen as pretentious and local hunters will more often than not use jeans with a mix of khaki. this does not apply to foreign hunters or bow hunters. hope you enjoy it over here and i hope you have a good wart-hog hunt.

January 29, 2009, 12:39 AM
On my trips to Africa, I have shot a goodly number of plains game and a few dg animals using everything from an E.A. Brown 6.5 brm to .375 h&h. My latest hunt was a Cape Buff using a 9.3x62 and really liked it for just about everything else too. If I could have only one gun to take it would be that or the .375. My PH said to bring whatever I shot best- placement and a good penetrating bullet would do the rest. The kudu I shot with the 6.5 went down just as fast as the one I shot with the .375 if not faster. My PH used a 30-06 for everything except dangerous game. Most PH's don't carry rifles when hunting plains game with clients unless they are likely to run into dg during the hunt. He figured it was my hunt, not his. I am beginning to see more black PH's depending on what countries you hunt in. The tools of the trade are expensive and so is the learning curve. Expense can be a barrier of itself. As far as camo, there are some countries that prohibit it and you really don't need it, so why bother. I have seen everything work from jeans and t-shirt to Willis&Geiger sheik. Live the dream and have some fun with the guys and gals. Never let money stand between you and your pleasure.

March 1, 2009, 10:26 AM
Well, on our trip to RSA[last July], I took a .45-70 guide gun, my son took a NEF .30-06 handi rifle. My buddy took a Marlin XLR .308 MX. My buddy's son took a ruger hawkeye, .338 mag. All of the guns worked well. We took 30 head of plains game, on a 10 day hunt. Take what you shoot well, and are comfortable with. Didn't see a critter that couldn't have been shot with a .30-06, and a good 180 gr. bullet.

We hunted kudu, gemsbok, zebra, red hartebeast, impala, warhog, blue wildebeast, and blesbok. Animal sizes ranged from 130 lbs up to 750/800 lbs.

With a couple of exceptions, most shots were 50-150 yds.

So basically, hunt with what you want, although I guess I'd reccomend 30 cal. or larger, but that don't mean ya can't gitter done with a .270/7mm.

Mad Dog

March 2, 2009, 05:46 PM
HMMM. Spent about an hour talking to Ross Seyfried about shooting a cape buffalo with a handgun, and, I ended up with the sister guns to Ross's, and, it was supposed to have been owned by Ross, but, that was just a bit of a lie by Linebaugh to get me to go for the gun.
25th gun Linebaugh built.

For what it's worth, Ross Seyfried was World Pistol Champ right around that time, and, he put 5 shots of 350 grain 45 Colt at 1550 fps, 27.5 grains of H110, into that cape buffalo, and, it died near nose to nose. He was trapped under some huge thorn bushes, and, couldn't get to his rifle. He got those 5 shots off in under 2 seconds, about the time it takes a cape buffalo to charge from 25 yards.

That said, some friends of mine are going this year, and, they could bring anything they want. Last I heard, they had settled on double rifles, in 9.3 x 74R. This is the rimmed equal to the 9.3 x 62. With a 286 grain bullet, around 2400 fps, it will kill elephant to dukier. Guns for these calibers feel like 22 lrs to me, at least compared to my 375 H&H. If I had to carry a gun all day, I'll take the 6 pound double, or light 9.3 X 62 over the 10 pound 375 H&H.
Here's a world famous gunsmith hitting a jug with the Merkel:
and a picture of the Merkel on the bench:
If it was me, I'd take the 9.3 x 62, in a cheaper bolt gun, so when it gets stolen at the airport in South Africa, I'm not out the cost of a new car.

For perspective, here's my 375 CZ 550. It's huge, in comparision and weight, and, for an action that big, it really should have a cartridge like the 458 Lott, 475 Ackley, or something along that line...