While operators were still abroad at the marketing shows, LEDET decided to completely change the way they issue leopard permits in an effort to address their mistake. Their intent was to make operators apply for a client's leopard permit 30 days before the hunt was to take place. Their "fix" would have proven absolutely disastrous to safari operators and their clients.
When I contacted PHASA just before going to press with the March issue, President Eduard Katzke and executive committee member Richard Lemmer were working feverishly to address the problem. PHASA submitted what seemed a reasonable proposal that would have had operators submitting applications after booking the hunt and collecting the necessary information from the client. Once the 50 permits were issued, others would go on a waiting list. Instead, LEDET has set a deadline of April 14 for all applications and will issue them according to the date of the booked hunt. This means that hunters booked early in the season are most likely to get a permit. All hunts scheduled after the first 50 hunt dates will go onto a waiting list according to hunt date. As the earlier hunts take place, the permits from any unsuccessful hunts will be reissued to the next hunters on the waiting list. This will continue until the quota of 50 is filled.
"It is probably better than originally planned, but will still cause unhappiness for both outfitters and clients," Lemmer said. He went on to promise that PHASA will be working to prevent this kind of thing from occurring again. If you booked a leopard hunt in the Limpopo this season, contact your operator about your........(continued)