Hunting opportunities in Uganda continue expanding with the reopening of new areas, the latest of which are the Sesse Islands. Old Africa Hands know the Sesse Islands are home to a subspecies of sitatunga unavailable elsewhere. Only six Sesse Islands sitatungas are listed in the Safari Club International record book, with the latest entry dated from 1976. Last month I received word that after 30 years, this area has reopened to international hunters and two sitatunga trophies have hit the ground. They were taken by well-known hunting personality Jim Shockey and Corey Knowlton of The Hunting Consortium.
I first learned about the hunt from Shockey, who sent me a photo of his trophy and got me some sketchy details only days after the hunt. E-mail Extra subscribers received word about this in early July. Bob Kern of The Hunting Consortium contacted me soon after with complete details and more photographs, which you can see in the Trophy Gallery section of our web site and under the Website Uploads section along with Kern’s first-hand detailed report on the hunt.
The man behind the reopening of the Sesse Islands is Bruce Martin of Lake Albert Lodge Safaris. I’ve reported previously about his successful opening of hunting in the Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve, where several Hunting Report subscribers subsequently hunted with him for Uganda kob and Nile bushbuck and filed rave reviews on their experiences. Late in 2008, Martin started working with Steve Kobrine to organize and market these hunts. Together they set about opening other areas in Uganda, including the Sesse Islands. Now it appears that The Hunting Consortium is Lake Albert Safaris’ exclusive agent and will be booking hunters for all of Martin’s programs, including several additional concessions they are about to crack open.
For those unfamiliar with the Sesse Islands, they comprise a chain of 80-plus islands in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria. Martin’s first hunts took place on the largest island, called Bugala, but Kern says they plan to explore and hunt other islands as well. The hunts are conducted primarily from machans (elevated platforms) constructed at the edges of the vast swamps that cover much of the islands. Kern says the machans are high, some up to 35 feet or more, to allow hunters to see over the reeds. Occasionally, Kern says they will also use hounds to push the sitatunga out of the dense reed beds towards posted hunters. He says they will likely also use salt licks and other techniques to ensure success for their clients......