Normally hunted in the mornings and afternoons, Pigeons and Doves offer hot-barrel shooting, with birds approaching quickly in singles, pairs, and flocks as they come in to feed around harvested corn and sunflower fields with regularity. Flying in high, low and at every angle in between, with a zig-zagging flight pattern just to confuse things even further, Rock Pigeons are rated by many world shooters as the most sporting birds on the planet, and their ability to change direction mid-flight makes them an extremely worthy quarry. Flocks are often a mixture of Doves and Pigeons, especially over the sunflowers. As they are considered agricultural pests, there is no bag limit or season. Their numbers peak in April and May, but the hunting quality is sustained throughout the bird shooting season of June, July and August.
Numerous duck species are shot from grass blinds at the edge of ponds and marshes; while on some occasions flighted duck are shot in wetlands. Our main method of shooting duck is over decoys on small ponds, where they come in to feed in the late afternoons. They are counted and observed the night prior to shooting and seldom let us down. The majority of Ducks shot are Yellow-billed Duck, which call and fly very much like a northern hemisphere Mallard. Red-billed Teal are the fastest, and will test your reflexes, and normally the last species to come in are the White-faced Whistling Ducks. South Africa has 15 species of waterfowl on offer for the collector. Our Duck season is between May and August.
Francolin and Spurfowl over Pointers – For those who enjoy a brisk walk in the morning, Francolin and Spurfowl offer some great sport. Swainson’s Spurfowl are the most abundant, with the faster and more compact Natal Spurfowl found in smaller numbers, and the rare Red-billed Spurfowl occurs in our Sandgrouse areas. The cunning Crested Francolin occurs alongside the Spurfowl, with the diminutive Coqui Francolin found in smaller numbers. Our Pointers use the wind to scent the birds and pin them with a solid point, before the birds explode into the air in a noisy flurry and offer the guns some exciting shooting.
The Greywing Partridge is considered by many to be one of the finest upland game birds, and is often referred to in the same sentence as the “the Scottish Red Grouse” when compared to the quality of shooting. Occurring at an elevation above 5,000 feet in equally rugged and breathtaking terrain, a lot of hard walking and English Pointers are required to shoot Greywing. Hunting is sometimes done in windy and cold conditions, so a state of good fitness, good health and a good pair of boots is a pre-requisite. Living in coveys of six to eighteen, these fast-flying birds flush swiftly ahead of the English Pointers and use the wind and terrain to their full advantage, offering the discerning hunter very challenging shooting. Most hunts run over the duration of the morning, where a shooting party can expect to see in the region of 60 birds, and bag about 15 depending on their shooting ability.
Southern Africa boasts the largest goose in the world, the Spur-winged, with ganders often exceeding the 20lb mark, making them a remarkable bird to shoot. Together with the cunning smaller Egyptian Goose, they are shot out of pop-up blinds or standing blinds, over decoys, either first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening. Our Goose season is between May and August.
Guineafowl are often cursed and admired in the same breath by those who have gone after them in the past. Extremely wary, a flock of guineas prefers to run before flying when disturbed. Once they take flight on a fixed escape route, they will stick to it, with the challenge being to get the beaters to drive them towards the waiting guns, or to run them into thick cover where the pointers can work them up. When everything goes according to plan, the shooting is spectacular, as well as fast and furious. If the flock can be fragmented and mixed with Francolin and Spurfowl, the birds tend to come out in small groups instead, and offer extended shooting over the guns. It is quite thrilling to stand at your position and listen in anticipation as the beaters drive the birds towards you. Guineafowl season between is May and August in South Africa, and July and September in Botswana
Southern Africa’s central Kalahari Desert, as well as Botswana, truly offers some of the finest Sandgrouse shooting Africa has to offer today. This is the bird that Hemingway wrote about so passionately and loved to hunt. Burchell’s and Namaqua Sandgrouse arrive at waterholes at a gentlemanly hour of 09h00. The strategy of Sandgrouse shooting has been carefully worked out and honed at each waterhole: the guns will form an outward-facing circle around the waterhole about 400 yards away, leaving an un-shot area in the middle large enough for incoming Sandgrouse to land and drink. Once the birds have passed over the guns, they drop down to the waterhole to get their fill and then fly out to run the gauntlet once again. All in all, they offer fantastic shooting and great table fare.
Snipe are shot in and around wetlands and marshy areas.
As they are an Inter-African migratory species, they are very sensitive to rainfall and only occur in shootable numbers in our hunting areas in wet years, which is normally every second year. They are probably our most challenging game bird.
We use dogs and beaters to flush them out of the marshes, as they sit very tight and when they flush, they get up at your feet and zigzag away at an alarming rate.