I live to hunt dangerous game and have tried to specialize in dangerous game from day one. I was lucky enough to hunt Botswana, Zambia, and Tanzania in the golden years of the late 1970’s through the 1990’s.
The best dangerous game hunt in my opinion was tracking lion in the sandy conditions of Botswana. It was a hunt that I soon specialized myself in – hours of tracking big maned lion, creeping along, often covering only a few kilometers in as many hours, sometimes having to back up to shoot a lion lying less than 5 yards away in thick cover.
It is said that a PH goes through a series of progressions during his career. As an apprentice he absorbs everything good and bad. After having hunted dangerous game for a while and achieving success, he gets bolder, taking a few short cuts. It is never one mistake; it is often a series of small mistakes. If he survives, he learns from those mistakes and does not repeat them. In his golden years, his body needs to keep up with his experience. I have always said that the ideal PH is 30 years old with 50 years of experience!
As a PH, I have been fortunate to have take the number 1 SCI Lion twice – once in 1987 and again in 1995 (currently number 12 and number 3) – as well as a number 2 SCI lion in 1997 (currently number 7), and received the SCI international Professional Hunters Award in 1998. I also took a number 1 SCI leopard (currently number 1) and received the SCI International Professional Hunters Award in 1998. I also took a number 1 SCI white rhino (currently number 3), the third largest elephant (95×90 lbs) taken in Botswana since it reopened for elephant (I was awarded the APHA Dangerous Game Award in 2011), and many big buffalo. My biggest buffalo measured 48”, shot the same day as taking my biggest Kudu (60”) as the PH with the same client.
Early in my career as a PH I started carrying a Holland & Holland .500/465. I shoot left handed as I am left-eye dominant even though I am right-handed. The advantage of this has been that my strong arm holds and controls the heavy double rifle as it does not take strength to pull the trigger. I carried my H&H .500/465 for 20 years before retiring it in favor of an H&H .577.
I started carrying a purposely built double-trigger side-by-side 12 gauge 3” shotgun with copper plated OO buck shells; this shotgun has express rifle sights and 20” barrels, when following wounded leopard. The key is letting the leopard get close on the charge and not shooting too quickly.
A safari is a journey and, taken with the right people, a remarkable and soul satisfying experience for everyone involved. I have formed lifelong bonds with many of my clients who are now my closest friends. Sharing a dangerous-game experience with someone creates a bond that can last a lifetime.
I have a tracker that has been with me for over 30 years. He has hunted with me mostly in Botswana. OT has saved my life more times than I can remember. He has seen things seconds before I have and has always stayed by my side. He is a loyal friend and companion whom I have shared many laughs and kilometers with. I have spent more hours, days and years with him than I have with any member of my family.
My career highlights are many but one that I am proud of is that I started at the absolute bottom and learned the industry from the ground up. I was fortunate to apprentice and hunt for some of the finest PHs and companies ever to hunt Africa. What I learned from them was all different but it prepared me to achieve success in the world of professional hunting, and I thank them for that. I also thank all those PHs who said I would not make it – they only made me try harder.
As a company we have been awarded concessions by the various governments bringing in millions of dollars into that country’s economy, supporting community development through community-based sustainable hunting and supporting African wildlife by placing a value on that wildlife.
Rann Force is a sustainable conservation project for the African Lion in conjunction with John Jackson’s Conservation Force for every lion taken by my company during the 2000’s until the Botswana government closed lion hunting. This money was used to fund research and lion counts proving a stable population that was sustainable through hunting with minimal quotas.
I filmed most of my safaris during my years as a PH. I first filmed with Peter Capstick in 1986 (these were the first African hunting videos produced), then with my own production company, African Adventure Videos, and the last seven years with the Federal Premium’s Dangerous Game Series, now renamed Federal Premium’s Deadliest Hunts on the Outdoor Channel.
I have had the privilege of hunting many of the great safari areas of Africa; Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, and the Cameroon and I have had the honor of hunting with many great wildlife conservationists; we have share many campfires and stories and I want to thank them all for sharing those memories.