The elephant hunts in question, of course, are those two jumbo hunts authorized in the northern corner of Kruger Park in the wake of a land claim dating back to the apartheid era. The claim was filed by the all-black Makuleke community, which won back certain rights to the lands in question. Community members can't live on the parkland or farm it, but they are allowed to offer game-viewing trips there and, on an experimental basis, big game hunts. In all, two elephant and two buffalo hunts were authorized this year.
At this point, all but one of the buffalo hunts have been conducted, and we hope to have an update on it next month. The first buffalo hunt resulted in a 42-incher being taken.
We have the disappointing elephant news this month straight from subscriber Bill Figge, who took the larger of the two jumbo mentioned above. "I don't want to say this hunt was no good, but it was pretty darn disappointing to have to settle for a jumbo that size," Figge says of his 50- to 55-pounder. In all, he says he hunted 34 days, and the jumbo he took was the biggest he saw. The other hunter also took the biggest elephant he saw, Figge says, a mere 40-plus-pounder.
Was it the unusually heavy rains earlier this year, we asked? Was the professional hunting by Wayne Wagner of Wayne Wagner an issue? "No way," Figge replied, giving Wagner high marks for his hunting skills. "The problem I think is the area itself."
Figge says he came to that conclusion after speaking with helicopter pilots in the area who were conducting game surveys. He says the pilots told him the Makuleke area is many kilometers........(continued)