The news that a black rhino has been dart-hunted may not seem to be important, but it is. To our knowledge, the recent dart-hunt is a first. To be able to conduct it, Thormahlen says he had to make a detailed application to provincial authorities and pay the same government game fee he paid to kill a black rhino - namely, $850. Thormahlem does not say so in the e-mail he sent us, but it appears pretty certain that permission for the hunt would not have been given if CITES had not recently granted South Africa a sport harvest quota of five black rhino.
Thormahlen did not want to say what he charged for the recent-dart hunt, but he did send along the measurements of the downed animal: Front horn - 15 3/8 inches in length and 21 2/8 inches circumference; Back horn - 8 3/8 inches in length and 21 inches in circumference. We have uploaded a photograph of the animal and the huntress to the Trophy Gallery section of our web site.
The most interesting thing about the recent dart hunt is the surprising difficulty the hunter and PH ran into as they tried to get close enough to the chosen rhino to hit it with a tranquilizing shot. Campfire talk about black rhinos being more aggressive than white rhinos is not just talk, Thormahlen says. Here is an edited version of the hunt story he sent us:
"Black rhino are VERY smart animals. They have acute hearing and smelling. My hunter and I quickly learned that dart-hunting a black rhino was a completely different ball game than dart-hunting a white rhino hunt.........(continued)