Africa is one of the most remarkable places on earth. What makes it so unique is the infinite variety of different habitats; craggy mountains, winding coastline, dense bush, open savannahs and the incomparable Cape Floral Kingdom – one of the most documented places on earth. This wondrous variety gives birth to over 2,000 species of bird and over 4,700 species of mammal.
Big game shooting has been notorious in Africa for centuries, however recent years have seen a huge upsurge in the amount of interest surrounding the bird shooting and it is easy to see why! The variety of species and range of sporting experiences available is huge; Driven Guineafowl, Dove and Pigeon shooting, Francolin, Greywing Partridge and Spurfowl over Pointers, 15 species of Duck and 2 main species of Geese to flight and even Snipe and Sandgrouse. All accompanied with accommodation set in the heart of the African wilderness.
Each species offers a totally different challenge, which is what makes a trip to Africa so unique. Rock Pigeon, in particular, is considered the most sporting bird on the planet. Their agility, speed and general awareness will often leave you laughing having not even been able to fire a shot.
It is a challenge that simply has to be undertaken.
PIGEONS AND DOVES
Pigeons and Doves are normally shot in the mornings and afternoons, as they move to the corn and sunflower fields – it is fast and furious, hot barrels are guaranteed! Rock Pigeons fly in singles, pairs or groups similar to coveys of Grouse, some flying high and some very low, zigzagging at speed over the sunflower fields. Clients can’t help but feel like they are on a grouse moor at times – a yellow one. These birds will beat you for pace and agility as many times as you beat them (if not more!).
The Doves and Pigeons are considered agricultural pests, so there is no bag limit.
Season: No season – however the numbers of bird’s peak in March, April and May. Good numbers are sustained all through June, July and August as well. The perfect warm-up for The Glorious 12th.
Guineafowl are both extremely satisfying and frustrating to all those who pursue them. They are extremely alert and are wary of everything! Once the guns are in place the beaters will flush the birds towards the line of guns. Once the shooting starts it is spectacular – Guineafowl are deceptively quick through the air, and easily missed by even the most well versed of shots.
The flocks of Guineafowl are often mixed with Francolin and Spurfowl, irrupting in bursts from the thick cover. A very exciting and unique style of shooting.
Season: May, June, July and August (South Africa). July, August and September (Botswana)
WALKED-UP FRANCOLIN AND SPURFOWL
For those who enjoy a brisk morning stroll – with the added excitement of a gun in one hand and a pair of eager Pointers weaving ahead of you through the thicket, this is certainly worth building into your bespoke package.
There are 3 species of Spurfowl and 2 different species of Francolin to shoot, with each offering a different problem. From the small, fast Natal Spurfowl to the unbelievably cunning Crested Francolin – these birds will test your skill to the limit.
Season: May, June, July and August
Greywing Partridge is considered one of the finest sporting upland bird in the World. They are frequently mentioned in the same breath as the Red Grouse. Like Red Grouse, these birds not only provide thrilling sport, but they also inhabit some of the most beautiful and untouched habitats on earth. In Africa they are only found above 5000 feet in the gnarled, rugged mountains – so pack a good pair of boots!
Partridges are fast and devious – they will utilize the wind and terrain to their advantage. Once in a lifetime shots can certainly be made – imagine standing on a mountain peak as the birds dive below you, down the mountain face with the wind at their tails, dipping between boulders and rocks. Percy Stanbury’s infamous book on shotgun marksmanship does not cover that particular shot!
Season: May, June and July
DUCK AND GEESE FLIGHTING
With over 15 different species of waterfowl, including the world largest goose (The Spurwing), to shoot it is well worth setting an evening (or morning) aside for some wildfowling. Silhouettes of duck and geese against the African sunset is truly memorable, as is the shooting itself.
The waterfowl can appear from all angles and will continue to drop in right up to last light. This experience is just another string to Africa’s hunting bow – another one which makes this trip a totally unparalleled experience.
Season: May, June, July and August
The central Kalahari Desert in Botswana offers the finest Sandgrouse shooting in Africa – the same bird that Ernest Hemingway wrote so passionately about and loved to shoot. They are another of Africa’s intrepid sporting birds – swift and dexterous in flight and bold in nature.
Shooting occurs in the morning and evening. Guns form a ring, at least 400 yards from specially identified water holes. This provides not only tremendous high birds, but it also allows the grouse to drink once they have run the gauntlet – which is important.
Great sport and great eating.
Season: October (Botswana). September and October (Namibia)
Snipe are found in the wetlands and marshes of Africa. They are an Inter-African migratory bird that is very sensitive to rainfall. However, when the Snipe are in they provide among the best shooting available anywhere on the planet.
Labradors and beaters are used to flush them from the marshes – which is all too often proceeded by an unsuccessful chorus of shots from the guns. A very challenging bird!