Rebuttal from Boet Nel Safaris:
Mr. Joel Hand did send me a mail in May 2006 were he was enquiring about a hunt for July 2006. Unfortunate I was already booked out for that period and suggested a earlier date to hunt starting July 3, 2006. He never return a answer.
In the end of May 2006 I did send him a mail again to follow up on a answer. He then informed me that he had booked with another outfitter and I consider the deal closed.
On June 7, 2006 another client Wayne Rush arrived and we start the safari the next day. At 2H00 on the night of June 9, 2006, Mr. Hand phoned me and wanted to book a hunt because the other hunt with the other outfitter did not work out and was cancelled, I then informed him that I already got a hunter in camp but that I will try to get another PH to hunt with him but that it was a very short notice to get one.
He informs me that he had hunted Africa a couple of times and that this trip is more to see the country and to introduce his wife to Africa than hunting, he also confirms that he knows that it is very short notice but he except the circumstances. He will send me his schedule as soon as he had booked his flights.
At 12H00 on my return to the lodge I received his information were he will arrived the next morning, June 10, 2006, and immediately I phoned all the PH's I know, fortunately most of the free lance PH's are booked because they are in the middle of the hunting season.
I then booked a PH, Mr. G Van Pletzen; he could only hunt June 10, 2006 and June 11, 2006. I also send my trophy hunting application before 13H00 to the permit office and let one of my employees drive to Windhoek right away to pick it up and to overnight in Windhoek so that he can pick the clients up at the airport on Saturday.
Before the afternoon hunt started I had a look again at Mr. Hand schedule and only then did I pick up that it is impossible to left the USA on Friday, the 9 of June at 18H00 and arrive the Saturday the 10 of June 8H00. I did phone him and inform him of the mistake.
I could not get a hold of Mr. Van Pletzen to inform him about the change.
Mr. Hand and his wife arrived on the Sunday flight 40 minutes earlier than scheduled, when my employee arrived on the arriving scheduled he was already waiting outside customs, he them blame me for being late. They arrived at the camp on 10H30 and me and Mr. Rush plus Mr. Van Pletzen got back by 11H30.
After meeting Mr. Hand and his wife we all had lunch and then we all sit down and discuss the trip and planned the safari. I then informed him what situation is again about the PH because of the short notice and that I am waiting for another PH to confirm his help on the 12/6/06.
I also let him know that Mr. Brian Bartlett that are registered in my company will start to hunt with Mr. Hand on the 14/06/06 until the end of the safari with him because he was busy with another safari on the moment. I also informed him that if there are maybe for a day not a PH available he will have that day for free at no charge.
Hr then agreed to one of the hunt packages and to all the above points and that he wanted to start the hunt as soon as possible. He would want to shoot a couple of non-trophy warthogs for rations if possible, he also informed me then that he want to hunt for mountain zebra and maybe a leopard. I then informed him that we are anyway moving to the Khomas - Hochland on the 13/06/06. Because Mr. Rush wanted a leopard and zebra and that he can hunt that species in the mountains he agreed because then he will also see a different part of the country.
I then informed Mr. Hand that I had to go to the permit office to get the permit for leopard because we had not known that he maybe wanted a leopard also. He then requested if it was possible that he and his wife can spend time at Windhoek to shop and to overnight. I agreed and organized with my wife to help them around and meet us on the 14/06/06 at lunch time in our camp in the Khomas - Hochland.
Mr. Van Pletzen and Mr. Hand accompanied us then to the shooting range where after a lot of shooting from Mr. Hand I offer to help him to zero his rifle. When looking through the scope I saw that his scope are mounted wrong on this rifle and then help him to zero it, they then left to hunt and Mr. Hand shot a jackal that evening.
That evening Mr. Coetzee phoned me and informed me that he will not be available for the 12/6/06, I informed Mr. Hand and offered him and his wife's to made a game watching trip the next day and that he can shoot some jackal if he want at no cost. He accept it and by lunch he want to go to a water place to watch game. I also permitted him that he can shoot a non trophy warthog for rations, which he also accept and he then shot a non trophy warthog.
When I got back that evening my employees had loaded up the trailer and then started to load the vehicles for the Khomas - Hochland hunt also had the kitchen staff prepared all the food for the safari for all persons involved because we had to left at 5H30 the next morning. When I met up with Mr. Hand and his wife at the fire place I congratulate him with the warthog and informed him again about the planning.
I then heard that his wife had got sick by seeing how he had shot the warthog and that she did not want to be on the hunt anymore. She then asked me where the Jacuzzi was and why I did not have one in camp. I explained to her that it is a safari camp and that we were in the bush I did not have one, the closest one, are in Windhoek. She then congratulated me by the very nice business that I am running and that all the staff is so helpful and friendly and everything is in her words very nice. I must add that there she was from Russia her English was not good.
She then left our company and then Mr. Hand informed me that he want to stop the hunt because his wife did not like it although he wanted to continue and that they want to do a normal photo safari to Swakopmund and Etosha.
I then proposed to work out a trip for his wife were my wife could take of her for a couple of days and take her to Etosha and the coast so the he can continue hunting but he rather want to be with her which I then accepted.
After dinner she left with the words, "thank you it was very nice and all is very good". Mr. Hand and I then sit down to settle the bill. He said then that he will not pay anything because their was no service at all.
I then pointed out to him that he had agreed on a hunt package and that he had to pay his deposit for that because we had done already a lot of arrangements. We also had gone to town to buy all the extra food for their safari, we had arranged the safaris planned with the owners and booked the PH's involved.
He was the trying to take me to court and report me to all the organizations that he knows of my response was please go ahead but that he will pay his bill. He then paid his bill and ask me what time will the vehicle take them to town. Also did he want to know where he can rent a vehicle and what are there to see on his way to Swakopmund and Etosha I then gave him the information he wanted.
He then left for the night that was the last time I saw Mr. Hand because I left the next morning at 5H30 to continue Mr. Rush Safari. His statement will be available as soon as possible. He was taken to Windhoek at 9H00 at no charge to the hotel.
At all time I do got at least one witness close by and if needed they will also make their statements.