Leopard Hunting in Zimbabwe
Leopard hunting is done in three different ways with Pro Safaris Africa, however all Leopard hunts are conducted in the cooler months of March – Mid August. This is due to baits lasting longer, cats being more on the roads and riverbeds, due to tall grass and thick bush and therefore more predictable. At Pro Safaris we will only book hunts during this time and that has contributed to our huge success rate. Further we believe that our success has been due to our focus on sustainable utilization. Cats range from 110-170lbs on average with bigger cats mostly being a myth. However we have over 20 years of hunting taken 2 of over 200lbs. Any MATURE male is a superb trophy as seeing one and being able to harvest one is a challenge in itself.
Leopard hunting over bait in day and night time
These hunts are done over bait and blind, but the leopard can be hunted at night with artificial light. These hunts are conducted on private land or communal land, where this practice is permitted. Typically the first few days are spent hunting baits, putting out baits and building blinds. Hunts are booked at 14 days and on average, leopards are taken between day 9 – 14. Lots of driving is done during the day in checking baits and moving baits as this the most important aspect of the hunt. So it can get tedious but is most certainly worth it. Most cats are taken during the early hours of the night. The reason for this, is there tends to be more human activity on these game ranches and areas and the leopard therefore only feel comfortable under the cover of darkness.
A rifle of 270 – 300 caliber is best. A good scope with a large optic is essential for those low light conditions.
These hunts are also offered to Bow Hunters.
Leopard hunting over bait in day time only
These hunts are done over bait and blind, but the leopard can ONLY be hunted in daytime, in our Zambezi Valley safari area , where night hunting is NOT permitted. This means legal hunting time is 30 minutes before daybreak until 30 minutes after sunset. The major advantage of this hunt is you get to observe the beauty of this secretive animal during daylight. An experience not easily matched! It further allows you to experience this wonderful event under little pressure and gives you time to make the correct shot. This hunt is more difficult for the PH but due to our sustainable offtake, our success is unprecedented. The vastness of the area and little human pressure, means these cats are more likely to come to bait in daylight. Typically the first few days are spent hunting baits, putting out baits and building blinds. Hunts are booked at 14 days and on average, leopards are taken between day 9 – 14. Lots of driving is done during the day in checking baits and moving baits as this the most important aspect of the hunt. So it can get tedious but is most certainly worth it. Cats are taken 50% during the early hours of the morning after daybreak and 50% during and after sunset. Due to this be prepared to put in the hours and typically your day starts at 3:30 am.
It is hard work but worth every minute when you get to see these beautiful creatures.
A rifle of 270 – 300 caliber is best. A good scope with a large optic is essential for those low light conditions of early morning and last light.
These hunts are NOT offered to Bow Hunters as it is illegal to hunt with bow in a safari area. The Zambezi Valley Leopard tend to be shorter than their cousins in the south but stockier. Expect cats to be 115-155lbs.
Leopard hunting with hounds
These hunts are specialist hunts and are for clients that love watching hounds work, or those that don’t have the patience to sit in a blind. More often these hunts are booked by hunters that have hunted everything Southern Africa has to offer but have yet to get the elusive Leopard.
These hunts are conducted in areas that don’t offer much other game and are mostly in cattle ranch areas in the South-West of the country. Leopard populations are not high, but fair. Due to diet and genetics these cats tend to be larger than cats in most other areas in Zimbabwe.
Hunts are sold on 10 days due to the hounds. But will include 4 days of pre-baiting by your Professional Hunter and his crew.
The hunt is different in the sense that the baits are laid out. Baits are close to roads or on roads so they can be checked easily and fast. All you are trying to do is to find a track.
Hunting typically starts around midnight or in the very early hours of the morning.
Generally you are done checking baits by mid-morning and you will return to camp to rest. The afternoons are spent dragging roads and bait with scent drags.
Leopard with dogs require a special permit and an official from Zimbabwe Parks to accompany you. This is a substantial extra cost but is worth it when you get close and personal with and angry Leopard. These hunts are conducted in our West Nicholson area. These cats tend to be about 10Lbs bigger than our other areas and expect cats to be 130-170lbs