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Subscriber-Written Trip Report On West African Safari Hunts

Below is one sample of such a Report which is made available to you FREE of Charge.

DATE AND PLACE OF HUNT
Report ID: 1973 Weapon Used: Rifle How Hunt Was Conducted? Guided
Date of Hunt: September 9, 2008 to September 19, 2008
Place of Hunt: Liberia -
Hunt Area:


OUTFITTER, GUIDE AND BOOKING AGENT DETAILS
Outfitter (or safari company): Tom Banks; West African Safari. PO Box 234212; Encinitas; CA; 92023; Tel. 888-454-7710; Fax: 619-659-1057; Email: westafricansafaris@hotmail.com; Web www.westafricansafaris.net
Personal Guide (if any):
Booking Agent (if any):
Trip Arrangements
(if self-guided):
License Required:


GAME DESCRIPTION
Major Game Animals Taken:
Game Sought But Not Taken:
Game Condition Comments: See comemnts.


SERVICE RATINGS (excellent, good, fair or poor)
Quality of Outfit: Guide/PH Ability:
Condition of Camp: Condition of Equipment:
Quality of Food: Trophy Care:
Name of Airline: Airline Service:
Airline Comments:


COSTS
Hunting Fees: See comments. Amount: $0
Trophy Fees: Amount: $0
Permits/Licenses: Amount: $0
Commercial Airfares: Amount: $0
Charter Airfares: Amount: $0
Other Costs: Amount: $0
Total: $0


SUMMARY REMARKS
Problems of Hunt: See comments
Highlights of Hunt:
Equipment Recommendations:
Would You Recommend This Hunt to a Friend? No
Why? See comments.


HUNTER INFORMATION
Hunter Name: Georges D Aoust
Contact Information: Tel. 867-979-6624 - PO Box 749, Iqaluit, Nunavut X0A 0H0
Hunting Experience:
Physical Condition:


IMPORTANT NOTES (actions taken if hunter unhappy with hunt)
Notified Outfitter? Notified Personal Guide? Notified Booking Agent?
Seeking any kind of restitution or other settlement from agent, outfitter or guide?
If Seeking Restitution, What is Sought?


ADDITIONAL HUNTER COMMENTS AND/OR OUTFITTER/BOOKING AGENT REBUTTAL
I booked a hunt to Liberia with Tom Banks and I paid him 100 percent, including airfare from New York to Liberia and return. I also paid him $400.00 for two extra days of hunting.

In fact, I hunted with Rex Baker of Atlanta. He can confirm what I say. At the last minute, Tom Banks called me and told me that it was illegal for him to pay my airline ticket. He told me to pay for it and he would reimburse me. I could not reach him anywhere, so because he waited at the last minute to tell me about the new arrangements, I had to pay an extra $700.00 US for my ticket from Iqaluit to New York.

When Rex and I finally arrived in Monrovia, Banks had made no arrangements for us, whatsoever. His partner Morris had no money to buy food, gas, etc. So Rex and I had to give him $750.00 each.

Enclosed is a copy of the letter I sent to Tom Banks. He owes me $2,075.00 US, not counting the extra money I had to spend to get to New York. Tom Banks talks big but he does not produce. He never paid me back. Warn your clients. They should pay only in Liberia at the hunting camp. If it were not for Morris, we would have had to come back. We could not reach Banks from Monrovia.

---------------------------------------------------------------------- NEW DOCUMENT ---------------------------------------------------------------------

To: West African Safaris From: Georges D'Aoust Date: March 3, 2000 Re: Problems with hunt.

I had a successful hunt although we had airline problems coming and going. So I lost three (3) days of hunting.

Furthermore, Morris could not buy any groceries and fuel, as you did not send him any money. So, Rex and I had to give him $750.00 each for the purchases.

You owe me the following:

Food and fuel $750.00 Air tickets $925.00 Prepaid 2 extra days of hunting and drive back to Monrovia $400

TOTAL $2,075.00 US

Because you waited to the last minute to tell me about Air Africa flight, it cost me an extra $700.00 to fly to JFK Airport.

Please wire transfer the money to my bank account.

---------------------------------------------------------------------- NEW DOCUMENT ---------------------------------------------------------------------

To: West African Safaria From: Georges D'Aoust Date: May 25, 2000 Re: Problems with hunt

I brought my trophies with me and had no problems to clear them through Customs. All the meat was given to the local Chief. We did not keep any for the camp.

I do not know where I hunted as it was in three or four different areas. The royal antelopes are not the true royal antelope as they are too big. I do not know what they are? Same with Rex's royal antelope.

I did not ask or get a receipt from Morris for the $750.00. We lost three days of hunting plus Morris was not expecting us, plus he had no money to buy supplies until we paid him the $1,500.00 US.

If I owe you $150.00 for 6 animals, plus 2 X $45.00 for skinning equals $90.00 total $240.00, please deduct this amount from the $2,075.00 that you owe me. Therefore, transfer $1,835.00 to my account.

You may try and put the blame on Morris but I do not buy this. You screwed it up at the last minute. You changed the whole travel arrangements and that cost me an extra $700.00 US to get to New York. You were going to pay me back for the airline ticket, in February. I sent you a breakdown of what you owed me on March 03.

If I do not have what you owe me in 30 days, I will write to the Hunting Report.

---------------------------------------------------------------------- NEW DOCUMENT ---------------------------------------------------------------------

To: The Hunting Report From: West African Safaris Date: October 23, 2000 Re: D'Aoust's Report

In response to the letter sent to you by Mr. D'Aoust:

1. We were never responsible for the ticket from his home to New York.

2. Mr. D'Aoust was delayed from arriving in Monrovia due to an Air Afrique crash in Dakar that closed the runway for two days, thus delaying his hunt. He should make a claim to Air Afrique.

3. Mr. Morris Dougba is not my partner and never was. He was a stockholder and was the camp manager. However, under his management $17,000 of cash sent to Liberia and $30,000 worth of assets has disappeared. Mr. Dougba is no longer the manager. Mr. Dougba had the funds to run the camp and had no need to take any funds from Mr. D'Aoust or Mr. Baker. Mr. Dougba owes Mr. D'Aoust and Mr. Baker each $750.

4. To date, I have not been able to reconstruct what animals and how many animals Mr. D'Aoust and Mr. Baker collected and from what village areas. This is further complicated by Dougba misidentifying of animals and the fact that the villagers did not receive the meat despite what Mr. D'Aoust states and Dougba's failure to keep any records like I always do. The rains and Air Afrique flight failures have delayed my resolving this, but I shall this coming season.

5. Dougba was aware of Mr. D'Aoust and Mr. Baker's arrival. I left Monrovia just before their arrival and had told Dougba of their flights and I prepared the camp for their arrival. Last season Mr. D'Aoust and Mr. Baker were the only hunters for the whole season that I had not personally taken care of, due to past problems with Dougba. I had to go back to the USA, but returned right after Dougba's failure. Dougba did not meet D'Aoust and Baker at the airport due to his unwillingness and irresponsibility to keep in touch with Air Afrique as to flight arrivals. I too had problems with flights and when a passenger would arrive, but always met the customers.

6. No attempt was made to reach me from Monrovia. Perhaps Dougba told them he tried, but he did not.

7. Partial payment until arrival in Liberia is always acceptable. However, Dougba is no longer involved in our operation, no funds sent to him or given to him will be recognized by us.

8. After we resolve what Mr. D'Aoust and Mr. Baker collected, pay the village for tax, deduct for field prep of skins, pay the villages for meat they did not receive, any excess funds will be reimbursed.

9. In that we cut Dougba off from handling any further funds after this incident, he has decided to start his own company. Although I suspect he already had decided that, well before this incident in that he was attempting to undermine West African Safaris, Inc many months before, I have now learned.

10. We are attempting to recover cash and assets at this time from Dougba. On my last visit I discovered tires had been taken from a company vehicle, put on his personal vehicle, that he had up for sale. I had the local police impound the vehicle, and photographed the vehicle with the stolen tires. This is just one small example of assets "disappearing" which I have put a stop to, at least in Dougba's case.

Subscriber-Written Trip Report On West African Safari Hunts

Below is one sample of such a Report which is made available to you FREE of Charge.

DATE AND PLACE OF HUNT
Report ID: 1977 Weapon Used: Rifle How Hunt Was Conducted? Guided
Date of Hunt: May 14, 2000 to May 18, 2000
Place of Hunt: Liberia -
Hunt Area: Near Suppo National Park


OUTFITTER, GUIDE AND BOOKING AGENT DETAILS
Outfitter (or safari company): Tom Banks; West African Safari. PO Box 234212; Encinitas; CA; 92023; Tel. 888-454-7710; Fax: 619-659-1057; Email: westafricansafaris@hotmail.com; Web www.westafricansafaris.net
Personal Guide (if any):
Booking Agent (if any): Tom Banks; West African Safari. PO Box 234212; Encinitas; CA; 92023; Tel. 888-454-7710; Fax: 619-659-1057;Email: westafricansafaris@hotmail.com; Web www.westafricansafaris.net
Trip Arrangements
(if self-guided):
License Required:


GAME DESCRIPTION
Major Game Animals Taken: Duiker - Availability: Abundant - Trophy Size: One big and one small bay duiker.
Duiker - Availability: Abundant - Trophy Size: One big and one small black duiker.
Duiker - Availability: Average - Trophy Size: One small female maxwell duiker.
Zebra - Availability: Scarce - Trophy Size:
Chevrotain - Availability: Abundant - Trophy Size: Small.
Game Sought But Not Taken: Duiker - Availability: Scarce.
Duiker - Availability: Scarce.
Game Condition Comments: All animals were in good shape. There was lots of native hunting in area.


SERVICE RATINGS (excellent, good, fair or poor)
Quality of Outfit: Good Guide/PH Ability: Excellent
Condition of Camp: Good Condition of Equipment: Fair
Quality of Food: Good Trophy Care: Fair
Name of Airline: Air Afrique Airline Service: Poor
Airline Comments: Don't take this airline for any reason! Avoid JFK, New York and Dakar.


COSTS
Hunting Fees: Reasonable to cheap. Amount: $0
Trophy Fees: Cheap. Amount: $0
Permits/Licenses: Cheap. Amount: $0
Commercial Airfares: Try to use Air France or Sabona. Amount: $0
Charter Airfares: Amount: $0
Other Costs: Can be large if you have travel problems. Amount: $0
Total: $0


SUMMARY REMARKS
Problems of Hunt: See comments.
Highlights of Hunt: Interesting country and the fact I saw a lot of duikers.
Equipment Recommendations: You will be wet all the time, so take extra gear for your guide and government scout.
Would You Recommend This Hunt to a Friend? Yes
Why?


HUNTER INFORMATION
Hunter Name: Bob Otto
Contact Information: Tel. 707-462-1542 - E-mail: rgotto1@juno.com
Hunting Experience: I have fairly broad experience in the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Physical Condition: OK. 60 years old.


IMPORTANT NOTES (actions taken if hunter unhappy with hunt)
Notified Outfitter? Notified Personal Guide? Notified Booking Agent?
Seeking any kind of restitution or other settlement from agent, outfitter or guide?
If Seeking Restitution, What is Sought?


ADDITIONAL HUNTER COMMENTS AND/OR OUTFITTER/BOOKING AGENT REBUTTAL
I have made two trips to Liberia, both with West African Safaris (WAS)/Tom Banks. In each case, I was after duikers from the group that are unique to West Africa (zebra, bay, black, Maxwell's, Ogilby's, Jolophil, and Jentkin's), water chevrotain, and golden cat with the unlikely possibility of a royal antelope, bongo, yellow-back duiker, dwarf buffalo, or giant forest hog. The first hunt was booked at the 1999 SCI convention. Liberia had been in turmoil for a number of years during which no trophy hunting was allowed. Banks secured permission to hunt from the new government and established a camp near Sapo National Park in the south-central part of the country. I was scheduled to hunt in April 1999, which is toward the end of the annual dry season. Unfortunately, the hostilities resumed, and my trip was postponed.

Banks and I went through a series of rescheduling and postponements while we waited for the fighting to stop. The main problem was communications. Either we were unable to contact the WAS staff in Monrovia to confirm that the country was "calm" and transportation to camp was available or we were unable to contact camp to confirm that the WAS people there were still alive and well. Summer rains started in mid-June, which effectively eliminated the prospect of hunting until November or December. However, Banks needed to visit the camp to "test" the new transportation arrangements and ascertain conditions there. I prevailed on him to let me come along on the understanding that, given the seasonal rain problem, we might not make it to camp and that if we did, hunting might not be possible.

I flew into Abidjan (Ivory Coast) in mid-August 1999 and met Banks there. His local representative had arranged for accommodations, etc. and everything went smoothly. We arranged to fly to Monrovia the next day on a feeder airline (Weasua). This operation was just restarting service following the period of hostilities and did not have a fixed schedule. However, it was the ONLY rational way to reach Monrovia at the time. We reached Monrovia, but the plane did not bring any baggage so we were stuck there for several days. We needed the time to get my paperwork set up, arrange for transport to camp, and to obtain supplies anyway, so the delay was not a problem. Banks had made all the necessary arrangements. The government people were cooperative, the hotel was fine (we were the only guests), the food was good and there was plenty of cold beer. It was, however, very hot and raining steadily.

Banks had arranged to rent a pickup truck from the Forest Development Agency (FDA) and, along with two or three WAS people, five or six FDA staff and a few people who just needed a ride, we set out for the camp. We made it, with GREAT difficulty, to the last river crossing where the bridge was totally gone. It was night, but we borrowed a canoe and crossed in hopes of finding another vehicle trapped on the other side. The canoe trip was difficult because it was pitch dark and Banks had stepped in an anthill. He was covered with ants, which he claimed were biting him. He refused to be still and we almost went in the water on several occasions.

On reaching the other side, the vehicle we had hoped to take had left, so we slept on logs along the road. It was raining, and there was no shelter and no liquor or food. However, there was a whole community of stranded people, and it was an entertaining evening. The following morning, we set off on foot but soon met up with a vehicle that was unable to cross the river going the other way and which we commandeered to take us to Greenville - the only halfway organized town anywhere near the camp. The roads were beyond description, but there were always people around to help push and we made it to Greenville. There, the local FDA office came up with another pickup that was lacking an alternator and had some other problems but was running. We bought food and shotgun shells and set off again for camp. The situation was so bad it defies description. However, it was clear that everyone was working hard to make things as easy on me as possible. We made it to a village near the camp (the end of the road) and went the last few miles on foot.

The WAS camp is a picturesque complex of tents and thatched structures near the Sapo River. Our arrival was not expected but Banks quickly had things set up and operating. We did not use the generator, so we had no running water or electric lights, but everything was dry and comfortable. However, almost half of our time was gone. We had foolishly reconfirmed our return reservations from Abidjan to the States while in Abidjan (meaning that if we missed the plane, we had to buy new tickets), so we were concerned about the prospects of getting back. Banks got to work on his organizational chores and I started hunting.

Banks had rented a single barrel 12 gauge from a native for my use. The gun was old but serviceable with a good tight pattern. I hunted two days and two nights. The procedure was the same each day. I would meet with a hunter from a local village in early morning, and we would walk trails through the jungle all day, stopping periodically to call for duikers. I did not know what I was doing, and communication was difficult even though everyone spoke some version of English; so, there were problems.

I thought I should see the animal clearly (species, sex, and size) BEFORE I shot it. That does not work. When a duiker comes to the call, there is only a moment to shoot before the animal is gone again. There was some frustration, and I missed (failed to shoot) several animals, including one that almost trampled me, before I got the idea. All told, I saw four duikers in the two days - one zebra duiker (I think) and three bay duikers. I shot one bay duiker, and we had a very close encounter with a large cobra. The number of animals was disappointing, but we were limited in our range (due to the vehicle problem), and it was raining steadily, which made everything difficult.

The night hunting consisted of walking trails near the river with flashlights. I shot a chevrotain and another bay duiker the first night. We also saw a civet and a crocodile (while wading in the river). The second night we got lost and blew the whole night getting back to camp.

Banks had several skinners on hand who, while not polished, were adequate, and I was satisfied with the care of my specimens. Food in camp was excellent, there was plenty of cold beer, and we even had hot water. Again the local people did everything possible to make me comfortable.

On the third day, we set out again for Monrovia. By this time the borrowed vehicle was in REALLY bad shape, and the trip back was pretty much a repeat of the journey out. We slept in the truck or by the road and were held up by washed out bridges, etc., with the biggest holdup being a Catholic relief truck full of cane liquor that was stuck to the hubs in the middle of a very narrow bridge! Cane liquor is quite heavy, and it took a while to lighten the load, even with a large number of people helping. We eventually made it back, got cleaned up, did our paperwork, and returned to the US via Abidjan.

My skins were VERY wet and both skulls were crushed, but I was able to arrange to ship the skins directly from Abidjan to a taxidermist in South Africa (Highveld). They completed the processing. The taxidermy issue is one you need to consider carefully if planning a hunt in Liberia. Since very few people have shot some of these species in recent years, there is little information available on body proportions, etc., by which the taxidermist can do his work. Dieter Oschenbein needed to do a bit of research to get the necessary information for my water chevrotain. He has now done most of the Liberian species for me, and I am really very happy with the results.

Banks was quite disappointed that I had so little time to hunt on this first trip, as was I, so he invited me to return for a second go-around. I was to pay my airfare, license and trophy fees and any costs associated with the hunting, and he would waive the daily fees. I agreed and arranged to make the second trip in late February and March 2000 (the height of the dry season). Banks and I met in New York with the intent of flying to Dakar and then on to Monrovia. The plane did not go on schedule so we had to overnight in New York and, of course, missed the connection in Dakar. We eventually got to Monrovia where we were met by WAS staff. We overnighted in Monrovia, picked up my license and some supplies and were enroute to camp early the next morning.

There was no comparison with the earlier trip. We had a sound vehicle, it was not overloaded and the roads and bridges were great. It was, however, VERY hot. We completed the trip in one long day. Again there were periodic military roadblocks, but the troops were disciplined and polite. At the end of the road we got a pleasant surprise! The natives had cut the road all the way into camp eliminating the two-mile hike from the village. The camp was unchanged - dry and comfortable. Banks arranged for a shotgun for me (another old but serviceable single shot) and I started to hunt the next morning.

The hunting process was much more organized than the earlier trip. Each of the local villages has cut one or more "trophy hunting" trails through the area of jungle where they (that village) are controlling local hunting. Some basic information on distributions of the various duiker species has been accumulated based on local knowledge and the successes or failures of earlier hunters, and it was possible to plan a schedule around the animals that I most wanted to shoot. Each morning I would meet a local guide and FDA staff person at camp, and we would go to a specific village. There we would meet the hunter for that village - the individual responsible for marking and maintaining the "trophy hunting" trail for the village. He would guide us along that trail, stopping periodically to call for duikers. The village hunters were all expert callers as were the guides provided by WAS and there was always a competition between the two. The FDA people were also knowledgeable of the area and the hunting process and were an asset in the bush (this had not been the case during my first hunt).

Some villages were doing a better job than others in controlling poaching but, on balance, the areas set aside for trophy hunting had well defined trails and minimal signs of local hunting pressure (snares). Banks has accomplished this by a system of rewards. If a hunter is able to shoot a duiker on a particular village's trail, there is an immediate payment of a "trophy fee" to that village. When I arrived this fee was set at $25 per animal shot, but Banks upped it to $50 for some species in light of the amount of work that was clearly being done by the villages. This money, along with whatever tip the hunter might give to the village guide, represents quite an influx of cash to the local economy. The political structure of the villages is complex, and the payment of the local trophy fee was quite a significant event, but it was clear that the local people enjoyed seeing the fruit of their labors and that they are anxious to do what they can to ensure hunter success.

The actual hunting is difficult - a great deal of walking over rough terrain and in intense heat and, sometimes, rain. There are snakes, but few biting insects, except for ants. You cover considerable distances, and the bush can be quite thick. Some of the hunters have found this to be too difficult and have chosen to purchase specimens rather than shoot their own. This has confused the local people and especially the village hunters and it is clear that they have come to the conclusion that it is easiest for everyone if they (the local people) do the hunting while the "white hunter" relaxes in the village. This probably does ensure the maximum "trophy fees." I preferred to actually hunt and, while they might not have fully approved of my decision, nobody objected, and they put their full energies into finding animals.

The natives have a truly amazing knowledge of the local ecology and, since they speak a form of English, it is possible to share somewhat in that knowledge. The Liberians in general are intensely interested in seeing that you enjoy your stay in their country, and they go to considerable effort to ensure that you are comfortable.

I saw many more animals on this second trip. Bay (black-backed) duikers were especially common everywhere, and I shot another one. Black duikers were also very common, and I shot a pair. I also obtained Maxwell's and zebra duikers. I saw an Ogilby's duiker but did not get a shot at one. I did not see a Jentkin's or Jolophil duiker or a yellow back duiker although the natives had a fresh yellow back skin and skull available. We saw a considerable amount of giant forest hog and dwarf buffalo sign (tracks, dung, and disruption - identified by the local hunters) but never actually saw the animals. We also saw what the natives said was bongo sign on several occasions. There were a lot of bushbuck (harnessed) in the areas around the cassava fields, and I believe that one could shoot one by sitting at night (you have to get close enough to the animal to kill it with light buckshot). Banks was in the process of constructing some high-stands over farm fields while I was there. I also saw civet, crocodile and pangolin. I did not do much night hunting on this trip because I already had a chevrotain and the natives reported that the golden cat were very scarce. Also, I was generally exhausted by the end of the day. I did make time to take a short canoe trip on the Sapo River and do a bit of looking in the Sapo National Park. It was necessary to keep ones eye open for ants and, of course, snakes, but there were very few mosquitoes or annoying insects of any kind. The camp skinners had gotten a good deal of valuable experience by the time of my hunt and did an excellent job of preparing the specimens.

The return was uneventful. Again the flight on Air Afrique was a nightmare, and it took three days to make the trip; but most of that was due to late or canceled flights. I had arranged for Fauna & Flora to meet me at the airport and take charge of moving my skins through Agriculture and US Fish & Wildlife inspections. Banks was much better prepared to handle the processing of specimens on this second trip and my skins were fairly dry and well packed.

Because our flight was delayed and it was very late at night, the Fauna & Flora people were not at the airport nor were the Fish & Wildlife staff. The Agriculture people took possession of my skins and held them in bond. They were VERY cooperative and made the transition easy. A Fauna & Flora representative met me at my hotel in the morning, took over the paperwork and moved the skins though Fish & Wildlife the next day without problems. I received the skins by UPS three days later.

Hunting in Liberia is certainly a more difficult endeavor than is hunting in southern Africa. In large part this is because it is just getting restarted after years of warfare and because there are not many people doing it. The Liberian government is still working out procedures, and there are very significant problems with transportation. Liberia is a very poor country, so everyone there is trying to make a buck by whatever means possible, and it is up to you as a wealthy westerner, to help fuel the local economy.

The US State Department has expressed concerns about the level of military discipline. On both trips, we encountered numerous military checkpoints while traveling to and from camp and in Monrovia. The troops at these checkpoints were consistently courteous and cooperative. I believe that WAS may have made some small contributions to smooth the process, but we had no problems. The situation at the airport in Monrovia is a circle jerk of truly West African proportions, but the WAS people do their best to get you through, and it just requires patience.

If you plan to go, you need to pick your time carefully. I think it is better not to be the first hunter in for a new season and, certainly, you should avoid the rainy season. Don't try to save money on peripherals - fly a major carrier if possible (avoid JFK International Airport, Air Afrique, and Dakar), have tickets that allow you to change flights or transfer to another airline if necessary, leave as much time as possible to deal with procedural problems in Monrovia, work with the skinners and camp staff to make sure your skins are dry and properly packed and labeled, verify that your CITES paperwork is correctly filled out, and use a customs broker to smooth the transfer through US Fish & Wildlife once back in the States. Don't try to sneak anything into the country (slugs or heavy buckshot), as the inspection at the airport can be quite thorough.

Getting to camp from Monrovia can be a problem. The roads can be bad, and the bridges are only temporary structures. There are not enough vehicles, and the vehicles are not in good shape. This is not specifically a WAS problem, there are not enough vehicles in Liberia, and ALL the vehicles there are in poor condition. However, WAS is not always ahead of this problem. Once in camp, West African Safaris does a pretty good job of putting you in a position to hunt, but it is up to the hunter to follow through and your ultimate success will depend partly on luck and partly on how well you can interact with the local people.

Anyone making the trip has to understand that the whole thing can go sour (quickly!) for reasons that nobody can control. There are no "professional" hunters involved in this operation. Banks is basically an outfitter - he makes things work with the government, helps you get to and from the camp, and coordinates things for you while there. His operation is generally well run - especially considering the conditions he has to work with. However, the operation is not "deep." If something goes wrong, Banks may or may not have a backup solution available on short notice. The Liberians themselves are used to living in desperate circumstances and have absolutely NO appreciation for the unrealistic expectations that some hunters bring with them. They are generally wonderful people who will do anything to make your stay enjoyable, but they have no concept of many things that are routine to Americans. They are communal people (communists), which means that it is natural for them to share everything and, since they have almost nothing and you (the hunter) have everything, there can be problems.

You can expect to be comfortable in camp. There is a generator, so there are lights, running water, flush toilets and refrigeration. The tents are comfortable (I understand that Banks is getting even better tents AND some full-length beds - a major improvement), the food is good and there is plenty of cold beer. There is laundry service, and things generally run smoothly. There are things to do other than hunt - particularly you can canoe the river or go to Sapo Park. I understand that Banks is getting some inflatables with small motors so that hunters can use the river to get to more distant hunting areas. Medical services are totally lacking, and you are a long way from help. Communication between the camp and the outside world is unpredictable and depends on assistance from a variety of third parties.

The quality of the hunting varies greatly between village areas and between the different village hunters. Some villages are doing a good job of controlling poachers. Some are not. Some village hunters are more competent or easier to work with than others. The natives generally do not understand "trophy hunting," a problem that has been compounded by some hunters buying specimens rather than going to the trouble of "fair chase" (one needs to experience the conditions first hand before being critical of this shortcut). The native hunters (guides) and the FDA observers do not have even the most basic equipment (flashlights, batteries, backpacks, water bottles, knives, etc.), and no matter how many times they are reequipped by WAS or by individual hunters, they quickly sell, trade, or ruin everything. And you cannot expect this situation to change. It is up to the hunter to supply the full kit. What you bring is what you use. You need to know the basic skinning and drying techniques of trophy preparation and have the necessary equipment to carry it out. There are adequate native skinners and plenty of salt available, but you have to understand that things dry VERY slowly in Liberia and you must verify that things are properly done. Unfortunately, your problems are not over when you depart Liberia. The US Fish & Wildlife people are not always as helpful as they should be - especially at JFK - and it is essential that you use a broker and fully understand how the CITES process works.

The Liberian government is still feeling their way along as regards the regulation of hunting. Practices and fees are constantly changing, which adds a confusion factor to the hunt. However, in no case have these people been unreasonable in their requirements (like some of their central African neighboring countries or our Fish & Wildlife Service). You can expect to see much evidence of the recent war, and there is a profusion of troops, especially in Monrovia. However, I had absolutely no problem with the military, either in Monrovia or in the countryside.

If you are planning to go and would like further information on my trips, I would be pleased to speak with you.

Subscriber-Written Trip Report On West African Safari Hunts

Below is one sample of such a Report which is made available to you FREE of Charge.

DATE AND PLACE OF HUNT
Report ID: 1687 Weapon Used: Rifle How Hunt Was Conducted? Guided
Date of Hunt: February 14, 2000 to February 27, 2000
Place of Hunt: Liberia -
Hunt Area: Sinoe River


OUTFITTER, GUIDE AND BOOKING AGENT DETAILS
Outfitter (or safari company): Tom Banks; West African Safari. PO Box 234212; Encinitas; CA; 92023; Tel. 888-454-7710; Fax: 619-659-1057; Email: westafricansafaris@hotmail.com; Web www.westafricansafaris.net
Personal Guide (if any): David, Gabrial, Jefferson, Sundy
Booking Agent (if any): Morris Dougba; Liberia Safari Incorporated. PO Box 5127; Monrovia; Liberia; Tel. 011-231-227161; Fax: 011-231-226091;
Trip Arrangements
(if self-guided):
License Required:


GAME DESCRIPTION
Major Game Animals Taken: Antelope - Availability: Scarce - Trophy Size: Small.
Duiker - Availability: Scarce - Trophy Size: Small zebra duiker.
Duiker - Availability: Average - Trophy Size: Book bay duiker.
Duiker - Availability: Scarce - Trophy Size: Book black duiker.
Duiker - Availability: Abundant - Trophy Size: Book Maxwell duiker.
Cat - Availability: Scarce - Trophy Size: Golden cat.
Cat - Availability: Average - Trophy Size: Civet cat.
Game Sought But Not Taken: Duiker - Availability: Bad luck.
Bushpig - Availability: Bad luck.
Chevrotain - Availability: Bad luck.
Game Condition Comments: Good hard hunt with lots of walking in 100-degree weather and 100 percent humidity. If you hunt hard you will get the game. Fifty percent of hunting is in thick forest at night. Fly camped four days.


SERVICE RATINGS (excellent, good, fair or poor)
Quality of Outfit: Fair Guide/PH Ability: Excellent
Condition of Camp: Good Condition of Equipment: Fair
Quality of Food: Good Trophy Care: Good
Name of Airline: Air Afrique Airline Service: Poor
Airline Comments: Don't fly them unless you have no other choice.


COSTS
Hunting Fees: Amount: $6200
Trophy Fees: Amount: $2600
Permits/Licenses: Amount: $0
Commercial Airfares: Amount: $0
Charter Airfares: Amount: $0
Other Costs: Amount: $0
Total: $0


SUMMARY REMARKS
Problems of Hunt: See comments. Only Tom Banks.
Highlights of Hunt: Hunting high mast forest all night.
Equipment Recommendations: Good lights and lots of batteries.
Would You Recommend This Hunt to a Friend? Yes
Why? I would only recommend the hunt if it is booked through Morris Dougba, the Liberian partner.


HUNTER INFORMATION
Hunter Name: Rex Baker
Contact Information: Tel. 770-394-3135 - 136 Atlanta Country Club Drive E-mail: sheephuntr@aol.com
Hunting Experience: Extensive hunting experience.
Physical Condition: Good.


IMPORTANT NOTES (actions taken if hunter unhappy with hunt)
Notified Outfitter? Yes Notified Personal Guide? Notified Booking Agent?
Seeking any kind of restitution or other settlement from agent, outfitter or guide? Yes
If Seeking Restitution, What is Sought? Tom Banks forced me to pay $1,095 for my air ticket which had been prepaid to him. He never sent any of my money to Liberia and I had to pay $750 there or I couldn't go hunting.


ADDITIONAL HUNTER COMMENTS AND/OR OUTFITTER/BOOKING AGENT REBUTTAL
The Liberia hunt is one of the best hunts in Africa and it is certainly the best value (14 days plus air and hotel just $5,200).

Mr. Freeman, director of the Wildlife division of the Forestry Department told me that Tom Banks owes them $3,300 and he will not issue any more hunting licenses until it is paid. The Hotel Boulevard is also owed a lot of money by Tom Banks. The camp staff has not been paid for two months. In my opinion, all of this is the result of Tom Banks keeping most of the money he has collected and not sending very much to his Liberian partners.

Morris Douba, a Liberian partner in West African Safaris, was very honest with me. He worked very hard and was organized and on time. He wants this hunting program to work very badly but per him, Tom won't send them any money. I believe this.

There are plenty of duikers if you hunt hard. The guides are good. You need to fly camp. It is a primitive safari in a rain forest. It was great. I would hunt with Morris again any day and I would send him the money.

---------------------------------------------------------------------- NEW DOCUMENT ---------------------------------------------------------------------

To: Rex Baker From: Tom Banks of West African Safaris Date: May 17, 2000 Re: Rex Baker's Hunt Report

In a round about fashion I just received your report to Don Causey. You nor Don thought fit to send it direct to me?

Your hand written letter to Don is amazing. I owe nothing to FDA. I owe nothing to Hotel Boulevard and the employees in the camp are completely paid up. I have the records to prove it, particularly this season because I pay all the bills (which Morris objects to). Some trophy fees are owed to FDA, but I do not owe it. Past hunters owe it.

Rex, you have fallen into Morris' hands. Morris would like to take over the camp because he can no longer get his hands on the money. $31,000 of equipment I have sent him is gone and he cannot account to me for $17,000 worth of funds. I often get a sheet of paper indicating where the money goes but no receipts. An example would be $500 for furniture in the camp (the six bamboo beds and 19 rattan chairs worth about $50 total) or $1,500 for an old desk worth about $50.

No it is not your job to settle inter company disputes, however you have made a decision to blast me, contrary to the opinion of the other 14 people that have been to Liberia this season. Again I regret I could not be there with you. Morris has tried to get most of these people aside and tell them the same things he told you, but they do not buy into it.

What I am asking about your trophies is where was the nearest village to each kill, so I can pay the chiefs. There is a big argument about who received the meat. Do I understand none of the animals you killed were eaten at our camp? Normally I keep careful records about this which Morris did not despite my instructions.

Send me a picture of the royal antelope skin and skull. It is usually very obvious. Who was the native guide and what did he say?

Please fax me the receipt Morris gave you for the $750.

Be forewarned, any funds sent by any agent or individual to Morris will be lost.

---------------------------------------------------------------------- NEW DOCUMENT ---------------------------------------------------------------------

To: The Hunting Report From: Tom Banks of West African Safaris, Inc Date: March 17, 2000 Re: Tony Guggenblicker and Rex Baker's report

Following is a letter from Tony Guggenblicker that you faxed me over one year ago.

Morris Dougba, who you are in contact with, ran this problem hunt. I was recovering from a hernia operation at that time in California.

Why do you think I took over after this? Do you think that someone who cannot take care of people's most basic needs, such as food, toilet and water, can run that camp, Don? What Rex Baker saw and does not realize is what I put into the operation before his arrival. Dougba was simply in camp as a host until I could return. My employees ran the camp not Dougba.

Dougba is the person asking your readership to send money to him. Do you see the problem? Dougba's response to Tony's letter is that he did not know what to do. These are basic human needs, Don. Only a fool created the problems Tony encountered.

During the course of my last five months in Liberia, I have discovered that $31,000 worth of equipment I shipped into Liberia to Dougba is missing and at this point, I must consider stolen. $17, 000 worth of funds I have sent cannot be accounted for. I now hand carry all cash and pay the bills myself in Liberia.

I am the majority stockholder, Don. All hunts will go onward under my management. Any funds sent direct to Liberia for a hunt are not being sent to West African Safaris, Inc and will be lost by your readership.

Unfortunately, I had had to place in motion from the United States steps to permanently solve this situation prior to my arrival May 22nd.

Hunter Note: If you would like to read Tony Guggenblicker's report concerning his hunt with West African Safaris, please contact us and order Hunt Report number 431.

Subscriber-Written Trip Report On West African Safari Hunts

Below is one sample of such a Report which is made available to you FREE of Charge.

DATE AND PLACE OF HUNT
Report ID: 1689 Weapon Used: Rifle How Hunt Was Conducted? Guided
Date of Hunt: February 14, 2000 to February 27, 2000
Place of Hunt: Liberia -
Hunt Area:


OUTFITTER, GUIDE AND BOOKING AGENT DETAILS
Outfitter (or safari company): Tom Banks; West African Safari. PO Box 234212; Encinitas; CA; 92023; Tel. 888-454-7710; Fax: 619-659-1057; Email: westafricansafaris@hotmail.com; Web www.westafricansafaris.net
Personal Guide (if any): Local callers.
Booking Agent (if any):
Trip Arrangements
(if self-guided):
License Required:


GAME DESCRIPTION
Major Game Animals Taken:
Game Sought But Not Taken:
Game Condition Comments: See comments.


SERVICE RATINGS (excellent, good, fair or poor)
Quality of Outfit: Excellent Guide/PH Ability: Excellent
Condition of Camp: Excellent Condition of Equipment:
Quality of Food: Excellent Trophy Care:
Name of Airline: Airline Service:
Airline Comments:


COSTS
Hunting Fees: Amount: $0
Trophy Fees: Amount: $0
Permits/Licenses: Amount: $0
Commercial Airfares: Amount: $0
Charter Airfares: Amount: $0
Other Costs: Amount: $0
Total: $0


SUMMARY REMARKS
Problems of Hunt:
Highlights of Hunt: See comments.
Equipment Recommendations:
Would You Recommend This Hunt to a Friend? Yes
Why? See comments.


HUNTER INFORMATION
Hunter Name: Valentin de Madariaga
Contact Information: E-mail: madariaga@macpuarsa.es
Hunting Experience:
Physical Condition:


IMPORTANT NOTES (actions taken if hunter unhappy with hunt)
Notified Outfitter? Notified Personal Guide? Notified Booking Agent?
Seeking any kind of restitution or other settlement from agent, outfitter or guide?
If Seeking Restitution, What is Sought?


ADDITIONAL HUNTER COMMENTS AND/OR OUTFITTER/BOOKING AGENT REBUTTAL
I read one of your reports concerning some bad news about Tom Banks and his hunting organization in Liberia. I was just there with my son Gonzalo. We enjoyed a good camp and food and good local callers. This was my fourth trip to Liberia. There was less game than on the others trips but enough to be a very interesting hunt for his exotic trophies. For the hunters looking for a big collection, Liberia is a must. There are some problems with most of the hunts because the price of the hunt is too cheap and Tom is short of money.

Subscriber-Written Trip Report On West African Safari Hunts

Below is one sample of such a Report which is made available to you FREE of Charge.

DATE AND PLACE OF HUNT
Report ID: 1204 Weapon Used: Rifle How Hunt Was Conducted? Guided
Date of Hunt: November 28, 1999 to December 15, 1999
Place of Hunt: Liberia -
Hunt Area: Sinoe River Camp


OUTFITTER, GUIDE AND BOOKING AGENT DETAILS
Outfitter (or safari company): Tom Banks; West African Safari. PO Box 234212; Encinitas; CA; 92023; Tel. 888-454-7710; Fax: 619-659-1057; Email: westafricansafaris@hotmail.com; Web www.westafricansafaris.net
Personal Guide (if any): Solo and Quae
Booking Agent (if any): Tom Banks; West African Safari. PO Box 234212; Encinitas; CA; 92023; Tel. 888-454-7710; Fax: 619-659-1057;Email: westafricansafaris@hotmail.com; Web www.westafricansafaris.net
Trip Arrangements
(if self-guided):
License Required:


GAME DESCRIPTION
Major Game Animals Taken: Duiker - Availability: Abundant - Trophy Size: Three maxwell duikers.
Duiker - Availability: Abundant - Trophy Size: Two bay duikers.
Civet - Availability: Average - Trophy Size:
Game Sought But Not Taken: Bongo - Availability: Only found tracks.
Duiker - Availability: Missed opportunity on zebra duiker.
Duiker - Availability: Missed opportunity on yellow back duiker.
Hog, Wild - Availability: Missed opportunities for bushpig.
Bushbuck - Availability: Missed opportunity.
Duiker - Availability: Missed opportunity on black back duiker.
Game Condition Comments: The game we took was in excellent shape and very tasty.


SERVICE RATINGS (excellent, good, fair or poor)
Quality of Outfit: Excellent Guide/PH Ability: Excellent
Condition of Camp: Good Condition of Equipment: Good
Quality of Food: Good Trophy Care: Excellent
Name of Airline: Air Afrique was fair to poor. Airline Service: Good
Airline Comments: American Airlines LAX to JFK was good.


COSTS
Hunting Fees: Hunting license Amount: $200
Trophy Fees: $400 per animal Amount: $2400
Permits/Licenses: One permit for all tropies CITES Amount: $25
Commercial Airfares: Amount: $0
Charter Airfares: Amount: $0
Other Costs: Amount: $0
Total: $0


SUMMARY REMARKS
Problems of Hunt: We encountered no major problems.
Highlights of Hunt: The natural beauty of the high rain forest and all of what is in it.
Equipment Recommendations: See comments.
Would You Recommend This Hunt to a Friend? Yes
Why? This hunt is for a dedicated hunter. A true African wilderness adventure.


HUNTER INFORMATION
Hunter Name: William A. Paulin
Contact Information: Tel. 805-736-8595 - 123 West Ocean Avenue, Lompoc, CA 93436
Hunting Experience: Diamond level of global hunting. I have taken 140 different species.
Physical Condition: Good.


IMPORTANT NOTES (actions taken if hunter unhappy with hunt)
Notified Outfitter? Notified Personal Guide? Notified Booking Agent?
Seeking any kind of restitution or other settlement from agent, outfitter or guide?
If Seeking Restitution, What is Sought?


ADDITIONAL HUNTER COMMENTS AND/OR OUTFITTER/BOOKING AGENT REBUTTAL
There is something I overlooked when I made my report that is important, especially for the next hunters. The village hunters hunt for meat! Their concept of a trophy is the amount of meat on the table. Usually they hunt in pairs, one to call and one to shoot. They have absolutely no concerns as to who shoots. Only the end result of meat on the table. As a result, when you are hunting with them they will try to take the shotgun out of your hands to help you make the kill. You must explain up front that you are shooting and they are only to point out the animals. A couple missed opportunities for me were when the guide was trying to take my shotgun. I would not turn loose. If I missed the shot or the chance to shoot, I feel that is part of the challenge. I personally don't want my guide shooting for me. I will do it myself or it won't be done!

The rain forest possesses some of the world's most beautiful hardwoods. The high rain forests of Liberia are under contract for logging with the Malaysians, Spaniards, Americans, French and the Lebanese.

A very unique and beautiful place, as it stands there are 710 million acres of high rain forest, the largest left in Africa. Liberia is a country of no infrastructure. There is no power, water or sewer system. There is very limited telephone communication and no postal system. This African country has been set back 100 years due to the war. The bush people live like they have for hundreds of years, living off of the land. It is extremely difficult to put together any kind of business.

My hat is off to Tom Banks. He set up a great camp and conducted safaris into the forest. We have talked at length about how things can be improved. The edges of the forests are being hammered hard by the locals for bush meat. With no cows or goats the bush meat is the only meat they have. Therefore, to have successful hunts, Tom will have to penetrate deeper into the forest. We discussed using the river as a main highway, and setting up spike camps along side the river. Then hit an area for two to three days and move down river to another area. There are pockets of different duikers in different areas. The areas we hunted were heaviest in Maxwell duikers and second heaviest in black back.

Tom Banks is just getting started as he has only been hunting for approximately one year. I feel things will only get better and hunters will find a great variety of top quality trophies. I encountered bushhog, yellow back, Maxwell, black back and zebra duikers and bushbuck. We also got on bongo tracks, which my tracker said were a day and a half old. Later a local village woman who sighted them the day before confirmed that.

The hunting is done both during the day and at night. When hunting at night, I found the callers are afraid of calling in the Devil. Therefore only a few will call at night. Solo and Quae were my caller and guide from second village. They were good. I think Gabriel will be a top-notch caller from the village by the camp.

I was the only one in our group to sight a zebra duiker. I questioned why we did not see more, as I know hunters in the past have taken them. I talked to Morris, a board member of West African Safaris, who told me that the zebra duiker likes areas of higher ground. The road was totally impassable where the other hunters were successful.

I put a lot of time in the forest hunting with the results of two black back duikers, three Maxwell duikers and one civet cat or what the locals call a tree raccoon. I shot and missed a zebra duiker. I missed the opportunity on a yellow back duiker, a bushbuck and a black duiker where the guide sighted it and I never did sight it. I was just too slow.

There were endless hours of walking under totally wet conditions both by rain and humidity. One night in the forest as the humidity grew, I could see my own breath just as in the very cold. It was stifling! It was hotter and more humid that any sauna I have ever taken.

One reason I enjoyed this trip was because it was different from any other trip I have taken. This high rain forest was for me a totally different experience. The large trees of well over 200 different species were each a masterpiece of the great Creator. The West Coast of Africa is truly beautiful and has a great variety of trophy game animals very unique to only this part of the world In addition to the hunting. There is some outstanding big game fishing, mainly sailfish.

HIGHLIGHTS

The very remoteness and wilderness areas we hunted. Forty-five minutes off a dirt road we crossed the main river, at night, in a dug out log. We went into a family village of 25 people. We met the Chief, Elder and Camp Hunter. After we all had eaten and had our meeting, we were blessed by the Camp Hunter. That night we encountered two bushbucks and bongo tracks and bongo trails that the guide and caller said were a day and one-half old. Later the next day we spoke to a village woman on our way out and she saw two bongo. That night after taking a black back duiker and returning to the village we slept in the village from 3:30 until 7:00. Then off again hunting. When we returned to the village, the women fixed lunch, consisting of cassava, rice, palm butter and duiker with hot pepper gravy. Very good.

The over night stay was a great experience. For breakfast I had coconut milk and coconut meat, a banana, walnuts, cherries and another nut called a breadnut. It has a very soft and sweet covering over a hard shell. I found the village people very loving and warm. They all love to have their picture taken!

Taking care of bringing your own skins and skulls through customs is no problem. Here are the steps to follow:

Fill out Form OMS-l0l8-0012 Declaration of Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife. FAX form to New York before your hunt. Along with the Import form FAX your airline schedule to 516-825-1929. After sending your Fax, you may want to call and confirm. It will help to have that little bit of personal contact. The phone number in New York is 516-825-3950. Take extra forms with you to redo as needed for deleting or adding animals.

Return from your hunt on a work day so the Fish and Game will be there working. Remember the Fish and Game does not work on weekends or holidays. Remember that the Fish and Game have a job to do and these easy steps will help them and spare you a lot of headaches.

Make sure you dip your skins, salt and dry. A good dip is Lindane Dip available at cattle feed supply stores. It may be necessary to sun dry with even the assistance of a hair dryer.

THINGS TO BRING

Lightweight canvas boots with good tred for walking on muddy trails (not smooth sole).

I used Altama Jungle boots from War Surplus, 929 Liberty Aye, Pittsburgh PA 15222. 1-800-745-404l or 412-391-3331. They were about $59.00 and I found them to be a good choice.

Sandals or other shoes (Tevas) for canoeing and for drying off your feet at camp. Around camp I used Cabelas Birkenstock Milano Sandals.

Small daypack for hiking to carry lunch, camera, water. I used Cabelas Boundry Waters II Backpack $29 99.

2-3 pairs of long trousers for hiking in jungle (should be lightweight cotton, not Levis. Levis will not dry out in humidity)

Two pairs of shorts for around camp or hiking or canoeing.

5-6 Cotton shirts.

5-6 pairs of boot socks (dark color).

Camera with zoom lens and film. (Bring something to keep your camera dry Zip Lock bags work well).

Flashlight with extra batteries and bulbs. They use two cell flashlights with D batteries.

Valid passport with Liberia Visa Stamp.

Bug Ban Bracelets are recommended (l-888-6BUG-BAN). I recommend also bringing Vitamin B-1 to help with bug bites.

6-7 pairs of underwear.

One roll of toilet paper. African airports like Abidjan and Monrovia do not supply toilet paper.

Comfortable clothes for first and last day in Monrovia and traveling to and from home.

Toiletries -- toothbrush, comb, toothpaste, etc.

Headlamp for night hunting (bring several extra batteries and bulbs). I used Cabelas Mity Max Camo Lite $75.00. It came with a 6-volt battery pack, which has belt loops. The light has a high low beam. Also get the charger for 110 adapter.

Laser pointer for your guide to point out animals.

Sheath Knife.

Duffel bag and large plastic bags if you are hand carrying trophies home.

Tags of where to ship trophies.

Large clear plastic bags and biohazard tags for primates.

CDC permits for primates.

12 gauge cartridge belt.

Cash to cover trophy fees (in money belt).

Head sweat bands.

Iodine tablets for water purification if you end up being away from camp longer than expected.

One roll of good duct tape.

One roll of strapping tape.

Subscriber-Written Trip Report On West African Safari Hunts

Below is one sample of such a Report which is made available to you FREE of Charge.

DATE AND PLACE OF HUNT
Report ID: 435 Weapon Used: Rifle How Hunt Was Conducted? Guided
Date of Hunt: March 1, 1999 to September 4, 1998
Place of Hunt: Liberia -
Hunt Area:


OUTFITTER, GUIDE AND BOOKING AGENT DETAILS
Outfitter (or safari company): Tom Banks; West African Safari. PO Box 234212; Encinitas; CA; 92023; Tel. 888-454-7710; Fax: 619-659-1057; Email: westafricansafaris@hotmail.com; Web www.westafricansafaris.net
Personal Guide (if any):
Booking Agent (if any): Tom Banks; West African Safari. PO Box 234212; Encinitas; CA; 92023; Tel. 888-454-7710; Fax: 619-659-1057;Email: westafricansafaris@hotmail.com; Web www.westafricansafaris.net
Trip Arrangements
(if self-guided):
License Required:


GAME DESCRIPTION
Major Game Animals Taken: Duiker - Availability: - Trophy Size:
Game Sought But Not Taken:
Game Condition Comments: See comments.


SERVICE RATINGS (excellent, good, fair or poor)
Quality of Outfit: Guide/PH Ability:
Condition of Camp: Condition of Equipment:
Quality of Food: Trophy Care:
Name of Airline: Airline Service:
Airline Comments:


COSTS
Hunting Fees: See comments. Amount: $0
Trophy Fees: Amount: $0
Permits/Licenses: Amount: $0
Commercial Airfares: Amount: $0
Charter Airfares: Amount: $0
Other Costs: Amount: $0
Total: $0


SUMMARY REMARKS
Problems of Hunt: See comments.
Highlights of Hunt:
Equipment Recommendations:
Would You Recommend This Hunt to a Friend? No
Why?


HUNTER INFORMATION
Hunter Name: James Martin
Contact Information: Tel. 510-654-9199 - 105 Sheridan Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611
Hunting Experience:
Physical Condition:


IMPORTANT NOTES (actions taken if hunter unhappy with hunt)
Notified Outfitter? Notified Personal Guide? Notified Booking Agent?
Seeking any kind of restitution or other settlement from agent, outfitter or guide?
If Seeking Restitution, What is Sought?


ADDITIONAL HUNTER COMMENTS AND/OR OUTFITTER/BOOKING AGENT REBUTTAL
Per your FAX request I am submitting the following on the subject. This is a rush memo as I am between hunts. Please, feel free to edit as you see fit.

A hunting buddy (Bill Taylor) and I went to Liberia on a hunt I booked through West Africa Safaris. The hunt was in Mid March 1999.

In general we feel that the hunt was successful. Bill took four different duikers and I took a total of four duikers of three different species.

The hunting itself is strictly walking and very fair chase provided you want to do your own shooting. Apparently some previous clients elected to have the "callers" shoot some of their game for them. Both Bill and I are in our mid-sixties and at the end of the day we were both 'bushed".

The camp was excellent. Each tent had shower and toilet with running water. The food was well prepared and also excellent. West Africa Safari personnel were eager to please us and were open to suggestion.

A typical day began about 7:30 a.m. We would either walk from camp to the hunting areas, or take a short drive to other areas and then proceed on foot. Much of my hunting was done off old trails which had been unused for several years, as we had to cut our way through. This was gratifying in that I knew that we were the first in the area for some time. Usually we were accompanied by two local people, a "caller" and another person from the area we were hunting in. Game was plentiful but difficult to see and to hit. It was also difficult to distinguish horn size or sex because of the heavy brush.

In summation:

1. The camp and food was excellent. 2. The local guides (callers) were competent. 3. A hunter should be in good condition and be ready to walk high temperature and humidity. 4. The only game I saw was duikers. They are plentiful but not easy to distinguish or to hit. 5. Care of the trophy was fair. Bill and I did additional work on hides and horns. 6. The company has the normal startup difficulties of any new operation. We had prepaid our airfare from Abidjan to Monrovia. Unfortunately, the tickets were the Abidjan to Monrovia segment. We are still waiting for the promised reimbursement. 7. We also prepaid our hunting license in order to have them available upon our arrival. They were not available and we had to wait one day for them to be provided. 8. We were promised air transportation from Monrovia to camp. The plane was, supposedly, inoperative necessitating an eight-hour jeep ride each way.

All in all, it was a great trip. The negative comments in paragraph six, seven and eight above were relatively insignificant. I am sure corrective action has been taken. The staff, especially Ms. Wilson and a chap by the name of Earnest, did everything possible to mitigate what few problems we had.

I recommend the hunt and am considering another trip to pick up the duikers I did not get this past trip.

Please feel free to contact me at 510-547-4166 for further information.



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