The southern African country of Botswana has abruptly reopened lion hunting - not fully to be sure, but the one-cat-per-major-concession-area quota was more than enough to touch off a mini-stampede of interested hunters when I announced the opening in an e-mail bulletin December 1. Fueling the interest are continuing reports of big MGMs wandering about in full daylight in some of the better concessions. Indeed, Botswana has always produced fine lions. With hunting closed for three years, some truly memorable cats are likely to be taken this coming year.
There has been no official explanation for the surprise opening, which has left observers free to speculate that it may have been a residual benefit of the battle Conservation Force won in Bangkok this past winter. That battle, of course, was the one that resulted in Kenya withdrawing its proposal to uplist the African lion to Appendix I of CITES.
Another major development is the almost certain opening of bowhunting in Tanzania. I say "almost certain" because we received official word on the opening from TAHOA (Tanzania Hunting Operators Association) as this issue was being edited, and we had already written a report to that effect, only to receive at press time the following note from TAHOA Chairman Gerard Pasanisi: "As a matter of fact, even if the details concerning the procedures for bowhunting are exact, the law is not yet officially passed. It should be done very soon, but we cannot consider it as official yet."
I will post official word on the opening as soon as I get it on The Hunting Report website, (www. huntingreport.com) under "Other Hunting News." In the meantime, interested hunters need to know that trophy fees in Tanzania on key species will be increased this year by 25 percent. They will go up by 20 percent on non-key species. And get this, the trophy fee on bowhunted animals will be twice that........(continued)