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Hunting by gyvwpsjkko


                                                                                                     Ethics, like morals and manners, do
                                                                                                  change. And so it is with hunting ethics.
                                                                                                  They are clear and well summarised, for
                                                                                                  example, by the African Chapter of Safari
                                                                                                  Club International, to which I and many
                                                                                                  other hunters belong.
                                                                                                     While hunting is important — as part of
finds its way, by instinct, into my shoulder.     shaped horns, my throat closes. I am            the essential culling of surplus animals
My entire world is focused within the             overcome with emotion. I cannot speak.          within a confined area, in support of eco-
32 mm tube of my Zeiss telescopic sight. I        Tears well in my eyes. Intense sadness          tourism, in the jobs it provides, in the
track the invisible animal through the            and unspeakable joy chase backwards and         multimillion-rand industry it has created,
grass. I know how it is positioned behind         forwards through my chest. Martin looks         and in the revenue it provides to sub-
the bush because I know, because I know,          at me, understands, and hugs me around          sistence farmers who would otherwise
because I know. I visualise the shoulder of       the shoulders. “Restez ici,” he instructs as    poach animals for food and to protect crops
the bull and squeeze the trigger so gently        he heads off to fetch the rest of the team.     — none of these rational and praiseworthy
that the shot takes me by surprise. I               While I’m alone with the bongo, a             reasons really supplies the underlying rea-
automatically rechamber a second fat,             brindled, brown butterfly flutters down and     son that motivates passionate hunters.
brass cartridge and run forward.                  settles gently on the head of the beautiful        And no, it is also not, as animal rightists
   As I run past Martin, he grabs me by the       bull. It is all too much for me and the tears   would have us believe, that people hunt
shoulder and turns me to him. His face is         wash uncontrollably over my cheeks.             because they wish to kill things. Hunters
split by a massive grin. “C’est finis,” he says     No more than a handful of South               do not hunt to kill; they kill to have hunted
over and over again. Arm in arm, shoulder         Africans have successfully hunted bongo         and because it satisfies something innate
to shoulder we walk cautiously forward            and the full mount of the magnificent           and deep; something with which they
and reverently approach this most mys-            specimen reigns supreme in my trophy            were born and which is a totally natural
tical and magical of all the spiral-horned        room, complete with a full mount of a           and proper pursuit for a man as head of
ghosts. The local people will not even            colobus monkey above him.                       his household and provider for his family,
touch them as they believe they will catch          Today, a number of so-called hunters          or for a woman or child who wants to
leprosy if they do. Such is the power of this     corner bongo with dogs in the Cameroon          share not only in the wonders of the
animal that Martin makes me shoot the             and then boast of their prowess. Whatever       wildlife and places they are found, but in
dead bull a second time as it lies on its         they may be doing, it is not hunting. The       the passion of their husband or father. It is
side, back towards us. I do so willingly.         same goes for people who drive around on        as natural and as real as man’s wish to
   The 416 bullet has gone through a tree         the back of bakkies shooting at any an-         climb mountains (because they are there)
trunk before bisecting the shoulders and          imals they see, people who wait at wa-          or to drive a racing car as fast as the
spine of the bull. He is a truly spectacular      terholes and people who shoot animals in        vehicle and his skills will allow. Peter Flack
animal and, as my eyes take in the mag-           small paddocks where they are unable to         ❑ Flack is a director of Coronation FRM, part
nificence of his size, the beauty of his          lead a natural life. However you may wish       of the Coronation Capital financial services
striped hide and the elegance of his lyre-        to describe it, it is not hunting.              group

                                                                                                     Central African safari. . . the author
                                                                                                     and tracker at the height of the bongo
                                                                                                     chase in Central African Republic


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