It seems as if many in the South African hunting fraternity are hell bent on driving another nail into the coffin of ethical hunting.

Firstly we had the using of dogs in leopard hunting, then came the infamous 'canned' lion saga, an issue still ongoing. Next the breeding of numerous colour mutant antelope species, which has angered many hunting organisations in Europe especially but also in the USA. In fact in our view it has reached ridiculous levels but the 'bubble' at least on this has burst. Then there is the captive breeding of high value trophy species such as Buffalo, Sable and Roan. They receive high value food and rumour has it, hormone treatment. All this to produce animals with unnaturally large horns in as short a time as possible to make them available to high paying hunters.

Now comes a report in the latest Farmer's Weekly (early Nov. 2017) on 'A step-by-step guide to intensive bushbuck breeding'. Several things worry us about this report:

1.       Bushbuck were sourced from several geographical regions to ensure a diverse gene pool. A problem is that how wide apart were these regions as several recognized subspecies occur in South Africa alone?

2.       Rams are being selectively bred for horn length. Claims are made that there is a shortage of trophy rams in some areas because they are selectively hunted. Years of observation have proved this is not the case, as anybody who is familiar with bushbuck will know. A relatively small property we are very familiar with in the Eastern Cape has several good trophy rams taken off each year and no captive breeding is necessary.

3.       The bushbuck are kept in small camps and fed 'a steady supply of balanced nutrition...' We have to ask the question, once the rams reach trophy horn length do you sell them to game farmers for shooting by hunters? If so, they are hunting hand raised animals used to people. Ethical hunters will turn down the opportunity we expect. So now we will have 'canned' bushbuck hunts.

4.       The article claims a trophy ram with 18" horns could sell for considerably more than R 100,000. We doubt if this would be realized as ever fewer overseas hunters come to South Africa because of the number of issues here. They favour Namibia in large part because 'canned' breeding is not permitted and colour mutants seldom feature.

It seems as if many of our game farmers and breeders, are on the same trajectory as our incompetent government:  destroy 'the goose that lays the golden eggs' at all costs and bugger the consequences!