Wildlife trophy hunting is a multi-million dollar industry that is legal in Zambia even though it is regarded by many as primitive in this day and age. Why would a country like Zambia allow the shooting and killing of its precious lion and leopard populations? It is the need for foreign currency in order to fund sustainable wildlife programmes, which can be costly, and also to benefit local communities. There is no doubt that the beautiful banks of the Zambezi River in Livingstone and the Victoria Falls are still a draw for international tourists but it is trophy hunters that brings the lion’s share of the much needed foreign currency. This is highly regulated by the government and you need a licence to hunt and shoot in Zambia.
In Zambia hunting is permitted in three different types of areas including Game Management Areas, private hunting areas and conservancies. The sum of these areas covers over 6.5 million acres, all of these territories are non-fenced and open. The best time for hunting in Zambia extends from June to November. Trophy hunting may take place within the hours of daylight during the hunting season, no hunting is allowed at night and no hunting is allowed with artificial light.
Species to hunt in Zambia
Zambia offers over forty-five species for trophy hunting, including four of the big five which consist of elephants, Lion, Leopard and Buffalo. You can also hunt the Livingstone's Eland, Lichtenstein's Hartebeest (Alcelaphus Lichtensteinii), Greater Kudu, Bohor Reedbuck, Sitatunga, Tsessebe, Common Waterbuck, Defassa Waterbuck, Blue Wildebeest Chobe Bushbuck, Impala, Klipspringer, Puku ), Warthog and Bushpig. Hippos and Crocodiles are abundant in most of the rivers and can also be hunted.
Weapons and ammunition appropriate for hunting in Zambia
While hunting in Zambia it is very important to have a rifle equipped with a quality scope. The most ideal ones are those with a variable and high zoom magnification, including 3-9×42 or 3-12×42 objective lens (the working aperture is not important). Since African games is hard-skinned, it's recommended to use cartridges with heavy bullets of 12 g and above. For antelope hunting, cartridges of minimum calibres are needed, examples include 30–06 Springfield, 300 W Magnum, 8×68 and more. Minimally the 375 H-H calibres is required for buffalo, elephant and other beast hunting.
The hunting season in Zambia
The hunting season begins at the end of June, at the beginning of July and lasts till the end of October. The months between June and August are excellent mainly for the beast of prey, crocodile and hippo hunting; however, buffalo and antelope hunting are very hard during these months because of the high grass. On the other hand, the months between August and October are the best not only for buffalo and antelope hunting but also for leopard and crocodile hunting.
Necessary clothing and equipment
Light safari clothing in neutral colours (mainly grey, yellowish, khaki, not dark green), long-legged stogy boots or hunting boots with rubber soles, for cold mornings warm jacket or coat, hat or cap and warm trousers. Considering the wide thorn thicket, short trousers are not suitable for hunting in bushland. You will also need sunglasses, lip balm, high-SPF lotion and insect repellent.
Hunting rules and regulations in Zambia
The Zambian government strictly controls the minimum number of days for a hunting safari based upon the species being hunted. Above and beyond the government regulations, the hunting outfitter may also impose their own guidelines as to the minimum number of days required to hunt certain species or a combination of species. A hunting license is issued for a specific number of species in specific hunting areas.
Here in Zambia, strict rules apply to hunting activities and hunters have to abide by them. Therefore, it is vital that hunters follow the professional hunter’s instructions who are guiding them.
Wounded game is counted as bagged one and the shooting fee is charged in full. The game is wounded if it has left a blood trail or the professional hunter becomes convinced of the actual wounding of the game by other means (blood trail is not always left over since the game may be only lightly wounded). If the client refuses to ascertain the veracity of the wounding, he has no right to challenge the professional hunter’s opinion, (for example, he refuses to go to the place of the alleged wounding to check the blood trail). So, if you decide to discharge a firearm, you have to take into consideration all the possible eventualities.
Hunting from a vehicle is not permitted, though the vehicle can be used to reach the area from where hunting on foot can begin, shooting an animal from a vehicle is also not permitted.