Several game hunters have expressed concern over the hunting time frame which they say should be issued a little earlier than is the case now.
Abraham Survivous Steinberg, a freelance professional hunter who was among big game hunters who bought elephants at an auction sale on Friday, is worried that the hunting industry is on a brink of extinction.
Steinberg noted his disappointment shortly after he managed to buy three elephants, which he intends to market in Europe.
“Auctioning of wildlife and hunting quotas should be availed to us before December to give us time to market our hunting packages in the European market,” mourned Steinberg. “It’s a pity that we are given hunting quotas in February when we have already marketed our tourism packages in December.”
He was also concerned about the time frame for the hunting season, which starts in April and ends in September.
Steinberg was of the view that the time frame was not favourable to hunters. He explained that sometime it is very difficult to find wild animals, such as elephants, in a short period of time.
He said that areas such as NG49, which is owned by Phuduhudu Community, is more of a desert and, as hunters, they sometimes fail to kill during their hunting expedition.
“If you fail to hunt and kill a wild animal that you had bought in a hunting quota during the hunting season, you have lost. It’s a risk for us because we may lose money and our clients, who come all the way from Europe hoping that their hunting journey will be full of surprises, sometimes go back empty handed,” he added.
Though he regards hunting as one of the wheels of the tourism industry that could have direct spinoffs to the economy, he is concerned about the profession that is growing stunted.
“Hunting industry is not benefiting us like before because they are certain areas where hunting has been banned while photographic safaris have been given an upper hand,” he said.
Tlholo Safari Director, Coive Eaton, who was among the hunting safari that bought some wild animals at an auction held at Thamalakane River Lodge, also stated that wildlife quotas and auctions should be done before December.
Eaton explained that this will afford Safari an opportunity to market their products on time.
He added that February was not the right time to market tourism products.
“We have been to Safari International Convention in Las Vegas and Reno where we were marketing our holiday packages. And availing the wild animals at this juncture could affect our business because it was very difficult to find wild animals in some of these areas,” he added.
Eaton said that even tourists sometimes get disappointed when hunting Safari companies fail to kill wild animals during the hunting expedition.
He was of the view that the hunting quotas should be availed before January.
“It is very difficult to market tourism packages by this time around. Availing it before January will give us an opportunity to find clients who are mostly based in Europe,” said Eaton.
More auctions are expected to take place country wide as the hunting season starts and it is expected that once the hunting season starts the country will benefit from the spinoffs.
Speaking after the auction Botswana Director, Graham Philips, noted that the auction sale was excellent as big game hunters came in large numbers to get the beasts for their clients.
“The auction that takes place every year has brought excitement for safari companies. The companies attended well and only four bidders from ten came out successfully,” said Philips. “A number of safaris came for auction as they prepared to get beasts for their clients because most had secured clients at the just ended Safari International Convention in Las Vegas and Reno. Everyone is looking forward to satisfying their customers. Game hunters were vying for 17 elephants and an assortment of other wildlife for NG49 concession area, owned by the Phuduhudu community.”
He explained that the auction for the 2012 hunting season has attracted Safari companies in the Okavango and Chobe area.
Philips, who was appointed by Phuduhudu Xhauxhwatubi Trusts, is optimistic that Safari companies will buy all wildlife that is currently on auction.
He said that the assortment of wildlife includes two buffaloes, two Kudus, two Zebras, two baboons and two warthogs.
Philips noted that safari companies are excited to buy wild animals for their clients based in Europe.
He said that now Safari companies can bring their clients for hunting season which starts in April and ends in September this year.
Philips said that all wild animals were bought. He added that the prices for the beasts increased from 22 percent compared to last year.
“One elephant was bought at a price of P45 000. We have recorded a good sale from this auction. I think even the hunters will have a splendid hunting because of good rains through the area,” Philips said. “There are always risks associated with hunting. Once you fail to hunt and shoot the beast in this hunting season you will not have another opportunity.”
He added that they will be conducting another auction for game hunters in Mmadinare in a few weeks.
Philips said that the sale will benefit the Phuduhudu community because the money raised will go towards community development.