Gabon is a forested country that offers hunting similar to that found in Cameroon. It has been closed to hunting since the late 1980s. Animals available there include the dwarf forest buffalo, western sitatunga, various duikers and elephant, reportedly both the forest elephant and the so-called dwarf forest elephant. The country is also said to contain significant numbers of bongo, but not to our knowledge in any of the areas that have been hunted in recent history.
Talk of reopening Gabon inspired us to search our files for more information. What we found were some 15-year-old brochures and a single Hunt Report filed by long-time subscriber Gerald Warnock, who hunted Gabon in July 1987, taking what was then the new No. 1 dwarf forest buffalo (that animal has now dropped to No. 4, behind animals taken in Angola, Central African Republic and Cameroon), a blue duiker and a Gabon duiker. He saw but failed to take a western sitatunga.
At press time, we called Warnock to ask him for more details on this long-ago safari. He spoke warmly of the experience, recalling that the camp back then was located inside Petit Loango National Park, on the banks of a vast lagoon teeming with tarpon and other sportfish. The individual cabanas looked out on the Atlantic. Miles of untouched beach stretched away in the distance. Elephants and buffalo would come down onto the beach each evening.
He says the hunting was "moderately difficult" because there were almost no roads to get around on. Moreover, no tree stands had been put up for sitatunga. The high point of the trip was seeing and missing a quick shot at a dwarf forest elephant (Note: It is unlikely these animals will ever be huntable when Gabon reopens.). He said Gabon would likely be of some interest to African hunters, particularly if Wyeth manages to develop the country's limited bongo potential.........(continued)