A guide to hunting etiquette in South Africa

A guide to hunting etiquette in South Africa


Those who have not yet ventured into Africa before, have their expectations set from what they see in documentaries and have read in books. The same is true when it comes to hunting. Some travellers approach hunting as a once-off expedition – something to tick off their to-do list. However, many may feel disappointed when their experience of hunting doesn’t go the way that they envisioned. One needs to remember that a hunting expedition isn’t only about taking home trophies – it’s supposed to be a fun outing out in the African wild too.

Whether you’re a veteran hunter or it’s your first time undertaking a hunting expedition in the African bushveld, it’s always courteous to take those around you into consideration by following these basic hunting etiquette guidelines.

Things to remember when you’re out hunting:

  • Be responsible with your firearm and operate it safely.
  • Arrive with some hunting experience even if it’s a few practice shots. It’s always a good idea to understand your rifle and get a feel for it before actually shooting in the wild.
  • You need to be fit to hunt. If you cannot manage a medium-to long distance hike, then hunting in the wild may not be for you.
  • Respect your hunting leader as well as camp staff. Everyone is trying their best to accommodate you and make you feel welcome.
  • The leader’s duty is to keep you safe in the bushveld and inform you of the wildlife in the area – listen to him at all times.
  • Always try and help where you can.
  • Bond and have fun with your fellow hunters. Everyone is there to enjoy themselves.
  • Don’t pretend to be an expert in hunting on African terrain – respect your surroundings.
  • As mentioned: always listen to your hunting leader. There may be times which require you think fast and act quickly. Don’t argue and pretend to know better about the arising situation.
  • When stalking prey keep your voice lowered to a whisper so as not to scare the animals away. Avoid waving your arms or making sudden movements.
  • Always remain close to your leader when approaching wounded animals.
  • Always approach a dead animal from the rear because if you’re mistaken, and the animal is alive, it will most likely run in the direction that it’s facing.
  • Do not wander off into the bush unattended.
  • Do not walk too close to the tracker.
  • Watch where you walk and where you place your hands and feet.
  • If you’re a smoker, don’t flick your cigarette butts on the ground or throw them into the bush. The last thing you’ll want to do is start a bush fire and on top of that, it would be littering. It’s advisable to carry a container wherein you can extinguish your cigarettes. Also, remember to take into consideration the non-smokers around you.
  • If you take a cool drink out the cooler box do make sure to place the lid back on – no one wants a warm drink after spending a day out in the sun.
  • Switch off your cellphone while in the bush.
  • Make sure to bring your own binoculars with you, or whatever else you think you may need throughout the trip, such as a torch and sunscreen.
  • Back at camp, do not wander outside your tent in the late hours of the evening.

If you’re keen to enjoy a hunting expedition in Africa, consider joining Rovos for an eight day journey across Pretoria, Mareetsane, Kameel, Warrenton, Kimberely, and Bloemfontein during which you’ll experience bird shooting as well as plains game hunting. It’ll be an unforgettable adventure for sure.

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