How to be a Professional Hunter

How to be a Professional Hunter

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Because I loved Africa and because I still
love Africa I’ve decided to become a professional hunter. This came as a game changer, a game changer,
an opportunity of my life and I had to grab it. So you want to be a Professional Hunter? Well
you’ll spend the next 18 months learning cool stuff like this: how to set up a leopard bait, conduct autopsies,
build rifle-mount muscle memory, understand African ecology, shoot big bore rifles and
being put under intense pressure To pass the course these guys have to do 50
approaches on bull elephants. It’s important they get up close and personal
with dangerous game. How else are you really going to understand them, read their body
language, and anticipate when things are about to get “interesting”? The PH course at the Southern African Wildlife
College is open to all. Max is from France, Brighton is from Zimbabwe, and Keiron is from
the UK. He’s doing the shorter ‘field guide course’ as part of a gap year. Its one thing to go and sit in the classroom
and in a lecture theatre learning about these things, but to actually be here in the bush
and be able to go out and see a heard of buffalo. And stand 10 meters away from them and have
them all pressed up against you like that, it’s something you don’t get in England or
in an lecture theatre. So its a good place to be. What feeds the fire? The department is run by Dr Kevin Robertson,
author of The Perfect Shot. And if you open up a carcass that has died
of anthrax you will contaminate that area for 50 years. So if you see blood coming out
all of their natural openings. You never open that animal up. As a vet and a hunter Dr Robertson brings
a wealth of experience to the course. They have 2 classrooms, the orthodox one and this
one, also known as the Kruger National park. No school day is ever the same. We join Kevin and fellow lecturer Peter explaining
how to make sure the impala haunch from this morning’s autopsy should be hung correctly
to tempt a leopard. Leopard’s are basically lazy animals. They
prefer to walk in the road rather than walk through the crop especially if there is a
bit of dew on the grass, they don’t like to get their feet wet. So what we are going to do, we are dragging
some guts and we are going to drag it so this leopard walking along the road will pick up
the scent. And he will start following it, Always drag towards the bait never away from
it. When we get to the tree we will walk between
the drainage line and we walk a couple of hundred metres down and down towards this
tree. Drag so we have like a star formation coming
towards the tree and in that tree will be half an impala. We only get about 6 or 7 a year so every opportunity
we get an impala we make sure we utilise it to its full extent. We get our students to climb the tree, we
are going to wire the body to the tree and then we will drag from there. The leopard will be standing on this dead
branch and he’s going to reach down and grab the impala, take a few bites then when we
looks up the impala will sink down again and it will sort of keep the leopard occupied. So you want to keep the leopard occupied you
don’t want to make it too easy for him to feed. And thats when he’s preoccupied with
feeding he doesn’t look at you sitting in your blind somewhere. So they are just covering it so the vultures
don’t see it. They’ll spot it from about a mile high and then they’ll just come and try
and eat it. And also the leaves will protect it to stop it from drying out too quickly. And what you do now as you come down, you
just where you’ve been touching now you just smear the guy content on it. Cause you want the leopard to come in the
tree and smell humans on top of the tree. The students make plenty of mistakes. It is
just one of the many skills they will need to grasp to fulfil their complex roles as
professional hunters. People need to understand that what we do
it is for them. If they want to see black rhino and wild rhino in 20 years time then
it depends on us. I think they need to understand that what
we are doing is for them. We are not killing for the pleasure of killing
we are killing because we want to see lions in 2100. It’s not like we just wake up and start shooting.
We are professional hunter, its not like that, no. I mean there are certain ways and system that
you work with. Certain quotas that get to be approved by the government. So when the government says that 100 elephants
that need to be hunted this year, well, thats what we work with. We are now of to investigate what is left
of a lions breakfast. The class disturbed him a couple of days ago. We were here on Tuesday this week and we saw
some vultures in the tree.So we got out to have a look and we just stuck our head over
that ant hill and a big ginger maned lion stuck his head out of a bush and looked at
use. And gave a warning growl and backed off. Then we drove a bit further and we could see
a lion lying in this area. So we’ve just come back now as we wanted to see what the lions
have killed. There were lots of buffalo in the area so
I suspect its a buffalo. We will just go and have a look to see what it is. This is the remains content of the buffalo.
They don’t eat that but the hyenas have eaten up everything else that is left behind. So we have a young bull. Fantastic, right
pick up that jaw bone there. This is ideal so what we’ll do now, this is the lower jaw
and we’ll take the third molar. This is the third tooth from the back, which is this tooth
here. So we will measure the crown, where the enamel
starts. Which is there to there, that will be one measurement, and from there to there
will be the second measurement. We’ll get 8 measurements. We will get an average
and we will plot it on a graph and we will get the age of this buffalo in years. So let’s see if we can get this head off then
guys. This time of the year as the water is quite limited, the hearts are massive, the
one we saw this morning must have been a couple of hundred. And this one is definitely 3 or
400. So what they’ll do, the lions will just push
them and anything that lags they’ll come in and wreck him. But what is quite interesting if you come
in and look at this carcass of the buffalo you see the ribs of a buffalo almost overlap. So if you’re hunting buffalo and from a side
on shot. invariably you have to shoot through a rib. The bullet will go through skin then
it will go through for muscle then it will go through some rib to get into the thorasic
cavity. These are really hard, see this is a young
bull but when the bull gets much older his ribs get much broader and they get a bit thicker
as well. This is what we call a thorasic index, so
when a buffalo is looking at you. That is your aiming point. But if you shoot off-centre
on the frontal shot what happens to the bullet hits and gets deflected round the ribs and
goes into the abdomen. So quite often on a frontal shot the buffalo
runs off. So you’re tracking the buffalo and you’ll find blood in the dung and you’ll say
you’ve gut shot it. And they’ll say how is it possible to gut
shoot a buffalo from the front. And the reason for that is of this rib shape. If you shoot
it through the thorasic indent, which is this little hole, its very deadly. But, if you’re
slightly off centre the bullet hits there and just deflects round this continuous bony
shield. And it just runs round there and it goes into the abdomen. It’s not often a college tutor finds it necessary
to carry a big bore rifle over his shoulder but out here there’s plenty of good reasons.
Pete has spotted lion prints You can see how he picks ups his foot and
he is putting it down. This guy is walking very slow. You can see he is almost registering
which is….lions don’t normally register but this guy is ambling along. You can see theres the front foot and this
is the back foot actually on top of front foot over there. To show how fresh they are Kevin gets Max
to blow across them – they’re fragile and will soon be lost in the wind. Pete tracks them and we end up finding two
very beaten-up old males lions about nine years old. This is a displaced coalition, so those were
dominant pride males but they’ve lost their territory. So look at that guys, he’s blind
in one eye. He’s got a wound on his leg and both, that
front guy was limping as well. Lions are such magnificent animals but when their time has
passed they fall of the bus very quickly. Because when they’re a pride male, the lions
and lionesses do most of the killing. so their job is do defend the territory, and to breed. So they do a little but they don’t kill much.
So they become old, they become unfit, they start slowing down they get arthritis. They become old men and now all of a sudden
the old men have now lost, been kicked out of their house. So they have got to cook for themselves now.
They have to buy their own groceries now. And they havent got any money to buy their
groceries with, so they start scavenging, they start begging. But from a hunting perspective these are the
perfect lions to hunt. They’ve done their job, they’ve bred, they’ve passed their genes
on. And I would rather get a swift bullet rather
than starve to death. Take me a long time to starve to death. But These are the ones that become dangerous
– resorting to scavenging, looking for easy meals which often can include humans. I mean we had a situation in one of our exams,
in the valley, one of our students was taken out of their tent and killed and eaten by
a lion on the examination. And it was the same thing, same situation.
Old lion like this, starving to death…lions are beautiful magnificent animals when they
are in their prime. But when they lose that prime then they fall
of the bus really quickly. As Kevin says, Africa is a cruel place and
they will probably starve to death within the next few months, which is the strongest
argument for hunting a big cat like this. The thousands of dollars it would raise would
pay for more high security fencing, patrols and, ultimately, more endangered animals being
protected. As part of the PH course students have to
learn to shoot. Most of them have no rifle experience so they start with a pipe. They need to carry these pipes with them everywhere.
If they point the red end in the wrong direction or leave it lying against a tree it’s forfeit
time. They now have to exercise with the pipe full of concrete. When they need to shoot they will have to
shoot either in self defence of themselves, their trackers, or their client. And they’re not going to have a lot of time.
Whether its a shot coming towards them or maybe a wounded animal running away from them. So… their sight acquisition and how their
rifle is going to get into their shoulder needs to be good so these pipes that we have,
they are about 5kilograms each. So it’s very close to what a rifle would be.
And we teach them not just the shooting and the mounting but its also a continuous awareness
of where the point their rifle. Rifle safety, looking after their gun and
all that kind of stuff. that we are now drilling into them. And some of the sys have never
shot before so we are doing this. And the guys that have shot before they also
get something good out of it. Another problem that they need to overcome
is the skill of using a rifle scope. Again, some students find this tough. Aimpoint has helped deal with the stumbling
block. With both eyes open on the target, the class’s end goal, is a lot clearer.
The Aimpoint units are just part of the involvement by the Swedish company. The company also helps fund part of this PH
course. Aimpoint president Lennart is here for the first time to experience it for himself. Educating professional hunters in the way
the Southern African Wildlife College does, I think is admirable. It is something that should happen in a lot
more places. But their education it is extensive and its not like you’re coming in and you
leave two weeks later with a PH permit. You have to go through a very very deep education,
in every way way, a lot of tests that you have to pass to get your exam at the end. And I think that is very very good. So after all that you have to be tempted to
train to be a PH. If nothing else, it’s going to look real cool on your CV – no matter where
you come from. And as the Rand is so weak at the moment, the 18-month course costs about
the same as one year at university in the UK: about £9,000 or US$12,000 – including
meals. or more information about the college go to
WildlifeCollege.org.za and for more information about Aimpoint go to Aimpoint.com

13 thoughts on “How to be a Professional Hunter”

  1. How do i apply from the UK. And what is the entry criteria. Could you please send me details of the course.

  2. This video is one of the most useful I've seen for explaining the true value of African sport hunting in relation to preserving these magnificent animals for future generations. We are really, truly in serious danger of seeing many of these magnificent creatures go extinct in our lifetimes. Thank you for this video, please keep up the good work in spite of the massive, worldwide negative attitudes that are based upon good intentions, ignorance and emotion.

  3. I think greenies need to watch this so they can understand the role hunters play in protection of animals and environment, I'm a hunter and all the hunters I know are the biggest lovers of nature and animals. Great video

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