Long Time Member
Does anybody have any experience with an outfit that hunts leopards, preferably with dogs?
Damn. You seem to know your sh!t!I don’t have any experience with hound hunts, but do have a decent amount for the more traditional leopard hunts. I’ve shot a couple nice Tom’s and will be hunting them again in a few months.
For a hound hunt, Namibia is where you’ll focus with an outside chance for Zimbabwe. I’m simply not up to speed on the hound hunts as they don’t particularly interest me.
Perhaps the main thing you want to focus on is the PH and area, with time of year also being a consideration. A good leopard PH in a good area is more important for leopards than probably any other aspect of a successful hunt.
For a traditional bait hunt, some good options to consider include Zimbabwe, in particular the big conservancies including Bubye, Save & Nuanetsi. Humani, part of the Save Valley Conservancy, has been excellent of late. Some really good leopard PH’s include Thierry Labat, John Sharp, Cliff Walker and Alan Vincent. I’d be far more inclined to hunt on one of the conservancies than cattle country in the lowveld, as even though they kill some huge leopards there, those cats are very switched on due to being constantly pursued. Conservancy cats are a bit less wary.
Your other options are mostly in Zambia or Tanzania (where ill be hunting with Alan Vincent). Zambian leopard hunting is mostly in two regions; Kafue in western Zambia and the Luangwa Valley in eastern Zambia. Richard Bell-Cross is very good in his Lunga Luswishi concession in the Kafue region. Over in Luangwa Valley, there are several good leopard PH’s and I’m partial to Johnny DuPlooy of Muchinga Safaris. He hunts Chifunda, but will be moving to Upper Lupande in 2023. Both very good areas. There are other good options as well.
In Tanzania, there are multiple good operators who take excellent leopards. I’ll just mention a couple with whom I’m personally familiar. Mike Fell hunts Maswa North and takes some fantastic cats. It’s a very scenic area with lots of buffalo and various plains game that leopards thrive on. Alan Vincent, whom I’ll be hunting with in a few months, has Mlele South which is also a scenic area with tons of buffalo, leopards, lions and various plains game. One nice aspect of hunting here is that, even though it’s western Tanzania, a charter flight is not necessary. You can fly from DAR to Mpanda, then a 4 hour drive to camp. Maswa is an expensive air charter.
If you can avoid the charter flight into Tanzania, it might be the better value as you can shoot a couple buffalo for bait and the trophy fees are not too high. I think Tanzania in general probably has the best success rate.
From a per cost perspective, Zim would be the way to go. CAelknuts mentioned some great cat guys with good areas and a great reputations.
You can use hounds in Zim but I believe the license to do so is 5k. Namibia you can't use hounds anymore unless it is wounded. I believe Botswana you can use hounds though I am unsure of the costs (I just saw one advertised but didn't pay much attention since I am not in the market). The rules seem to change yearly on these types of things.