Hunting leopards in Africa
Hunting leopards in Africa is to complete the coveted Big 5 collection. Leopards are by far the most difficult of the Big 5 to hunt. These are extremely secretive animals more interested in avoiding human contact unless forced to do so. Leopards are highly intelligent animals consistently patrolling and defending their territories against any intruders of the same species.
On a pound-for-pound basis, leopards are considered to be the strongest, most agile and by far, the most adaptive of all African big cats.
Hunting leopards in Africa
A leopard hunting safari in South Africa is not a package deal. This is a hunt in the sense of paying a daily rate for a minimum of 14 days with a trophy fee on top of the hunt. The trophy fee for a leopard is payable once the leopard is successfully hunted, or if the leopard is wounded and not retrieved.
You can combine a leopard hunt with hunting other additional plains game species. Alternatively, you can add a Cape buffalo with no additional daily rates. Of course, we can negotiate some on the price of a Cape buffalo if you do decide to add one to your leopard hunt.
You can start smelling a rat if a guaranteed leopard hunt ever makes it on the market place.
Leopard hunting tags South Africa
Hunting leopards in Africa with some of the best leopard hunting guides in Africa is a dangerous game hunting experience to look forward to. Our leopard hunting opportunities are popular because of the effort involved from both the hunter and the Professional Hunting Guide.
Our main drawback is the availability of tags issued in South Africa. Tags for hunting leopards are highly regulated and can only be hunted with a pre-issued CITES tag.
What it takes to hunt a leopard
This is not a glorified hunt and can become monotonous if you allow it. It is our sincere opinion to allow pre-baiting even before you arrive. This allows us to monitor the movement of the animals with our trail cameras. We start pre-baiting approximately 3 – 5 days ahead of your arrival
Baiting is the most common form of attracting a leopard into a position where the hunter will be able to take a shot. Bait animals are mostly impala (cheap and plentiful!) that are hung in trees accessible to leopards. Wind direction and blind placement are other factors to consider.
Scent trails are laid and trail cameras are strategically positioned to allow a date and time stamp. Leopards have a tendency to arrive at a bait station at more-or-less the same time. However, this is not a given fact that it will always be the same. At least a schedule can be determined.
Once a leopard strikes a bait, the blind is built to accommodate the hunter and guide. Depending on the time established for the arrival of the cat, the blind can be entered a couple hours before dusk. All night sits are not uncommon.
Good leopard hunting outfitters will have some form of night vision equipment.
Be assured we will do whatever it takes for you to successfully hunt your prized trophy leopard.
We only offer 1 X 1 leopard hunting safaris and no 2 X 1 leopard hunts. It is too time consuming to attend to two hunters with one Professional Hunter.
Requirements for hunting leopards in Africa
- A good attitude and enough patience to work at hunting a very elusive animal for 14 days non-stop.
- A copy of your passport and your permanent physical address will be needed to complete your application for a leopard tag.
- Your time schedule for the hunt must be confirmed when you do decide to book a leopard hunt.
- Accurate shooting ability under any conditions up to 60 yards.
Leopard hunting prices
The cost of hunting leopards in South Africa are determined according to availability of leopard hunting tags.
Our leopard hunting prices in South Africa are set according to daily rates and a trophy fee.
We recommend you only use premium grade ammunition.
Our preferred ammunition manufacturer is Woodleigh and Federal Premium in just about any weight. You can use 270 grain projectiles with confidence.
If you are going to spend the money on a leopard hunt seriously consider investing in a high quality gun scope. Get a Swarovski, Leupold or Leica scope to assist when possibly hunting in low light conditions.
The single most important issue would be for the gun scope to be able to withstand the recoil once you squeeze the trigger.
Caliber for hunting leopards
We suggest the following calibers as being the best calibers for hunting leopard:
- 375 (minimum legal caliber)
- You will also be in the ballpark with any 416 caliber.
- Follow this link for a comprehensive list of recommended rifle calibers
What is included and what is excluded from a leopard hunt
Included in your daily rates
- Pre-baiting in the form of 5 impala females is included. An additional $ 1 000-00 will be charged if you prefer to have 10 impala females as bait.
- All meals and beverages in the form of locally available beer, wine and Scotch. Bottled water and soft drinks are included.
- Accommodation for the agreed time period is included.
- Pick-up and drop-off at the international airport in Johannesburg is included.
- Services of your dedicated PH, skinner and tracker are included.
- Delivery of the trophy / trophies to our preferred taxidermist is included.
Excluded from your daily rates
- Trophy fee of $ 5 000-00 is excluded from the daily rates and becomes payable once a leopard is successfully hunted, or wounded but not retrieved.
- Travel insurance and medical insurance is not included.
- Gratuities are not included. Gratuities are not mandatory but always appreciated.
- All taxidermy work and taxidermy-related work is payable direct to the taxidermist of your choice.
- Any and all international or domestic flights, if preferred, are not included.
Shot placement when hunting leopard in Africa
Shot placement diagram for hunting leopards
Try to break the shoulder by placing the shot right on the shoulder slightly less than one third of the way from the bottom of the brisket to the top of the back.
Quartering to shot
Leopards are soft skinned animals that seldom retain bullets from high powered rifles like the minimum caliber 375. Aim at the inside of the closer shoulder in line with the opposite leg slightly lower than usual. Make sure your first shot counts.
Quartering away shot
Leopards are soft skinned animals that seldom retain bullets from high powered rifles like the minimum caliber or 375. Aim slightly lower than usual at the opposite front leg. Make sure your first shot counts.
Facing to shot
Shot placement on a full frontal shot should be in the center of the chest where the throat joins the body. Limit such a shot to when the leopard is sitting on its haunches.
Interesting leopard facts
Below are a few interesting facts on leopards. This may assist when you finally decide to hunt your own leopard.
The information supplied is from personal observations over 24 years, but more scientifically from:
Smithers, R.H.N. 1983. Die soogdiere van die Suider-Afrikaanse substreek. Universiteit van Pretoria: 369 – 374
Although leopards usually prefer rocky hills, mountains and forests they also occur in semi desert areas. In the Kalahari region leopards depend on their prey for hydration.
This shows leopards are not dependent on permanent water sources. However, they will frequently drink water if permanent and reliable water sources are available.
A safe shelter during the day and to hunt from is important in their habitat. With enough shelter in the form of hills and forests leopard will survive even alongside human developments.
Leopard easily adapt to their environment and habitat making them found widespread across the continent.
Leopards become sexually active from between two and a half to four years. On average a litter of 3 cubs are born in caves, sheltered places in rocky outcrops, hollow logs or holes in the ground.
Gestation period for leopards is about 100 days.
Cubs may be moved every two or three days by their mother as a precautionary measure against other predators smelling them. Cubs are blind at birth and weigh between 1,8 oz and 2,1 oz. Their eyes start opening after 6 – 10 days.
Weaning takes place after about 42 days when the mother starts regurgitating meat for the young.
It has been noted that happy reunions can take place long after the cubs started fending for themselves. Such reunions do not last long when they start moving on again.
Leopards are loners barring mating season or when dependent offspring are accompanying the female.
Although leopards are mainly nocturnal (active at night) they are seen many times during the day.
During the heat of the day they will seek shelter in cooler places like caves, rocky outcrops or stretched out on tree limbs.
At the crack of dawn leopards love to perch on lookout points on boulders, basking in the sun while seemingly enjoying the view.
Males defend their territories from other males but will tolerate females sharing their territory.
Both males and females mark their territories by spraying urine. Females have separate territories that are smaller than those of males.
Several female territories can overlap with the territory of a male.
Leopards are Africa’s largest spotted cat. No two leopard look the same as the pattern and color differ from individual to individual.
As a general rule leopards have black dots on their limbs, sides, rear quarter and head. Rosettes occur on the rest of the body.
The tail is more than half of the length of the body and head combined. It is covered with spots or rosettes and is white or broken white on the underside.
Leopards have 5 toes on the front feet like all other cats and 4 on the rear feet. The claws are curved, extremely sharp and retractable.
Rounded ears seem small in comparison to the size of the animal. The insides of the ears are covered with fine long hairs.
The whiskers are very long with two or three very long eyebrow hairs assisting the animal in avoiding obstacles at night.
Hunting leopards in South Africa general information
Hunting leopards are like buying a lucky packet. You are full of confidence you will be getting your long desired trophy, but you know for a fact you are unsure of when.
Leopards are shy animals that notice the faintest lipstick smudge on a man’s collar like a jealous wife. Anything different from the ordinary and they will refuse to revisit your bait. And when it gets cold in a leopard blind, it gets very cold.
Hunting leopard in South Africa is a challenging hunt. Seriously consider pre-baiting even before your arrival.
Enjoy your hunt. Be sure. Be safe.
Tips for hunting leopards in Africa
Hunting leopards in Africa is traditionally done in one of two ways:
Leopard hunting with dogs – hunting leopard with hounds: a dog handler (in many cases a houndsman) is rented who brings in his dogs and puts them on a fresh track. The leopard hunting dogs follow the tracks to where they tree the leopard from where the hunter delivers the shot. Hunting leopard with dogs is now only done in Zimbabwe.
Baiting – of the two methods this is the more traditional. Bait, in the form of a game animal is hung in a tree and drags are created leaving scent trails to where the bait is. Soon as the leopard starts feeding on the bait a hide (blind) is set up from where the hunter waits until the leopard starts feeding. In clear moonlight no artificial light is required but a good telescope is essential. On the dark moon a red light is essential to illuminate the target. Leopard can also feed during the day.
Some countries, and even some regions within the same country, prohibit the use of artificial light while others do not allow hunting leopard after one half hour after sunset, or earlier than one half hour before sunrise.
Leopard hunting average shot distance
The average expected shooting distance when hunting leopards in Africa is 50 to a maximum of 60 yards.
Best time of year for leopards in Africa
Leopards adapt to many different terrain types and can be found in a wide variety of areas all over southern Africa. It is our recommendation to hunt for leopards during the coldest months in South Africa, namely June, July and August.