A non-trophy elephant hunt in Namibia could be your cure if you love hunting elephant but don’t want to deal with the trophy importation. Back in Nov. 2016 we shared two subscriber reports on non-trophy elephant hunts (see Article 3905), highlighting these safaris as a good option for those who want to hunt elephant despite the ongoing holdup on import permits or for those who can’t justify the expense of a trophy hunt. With elephant populations at or above carrying capacity in much of their habitat, a number of operators have a quota of cull animals available.
This month, subscriber Aaron Adkins sent a report (11000) on a non-trophy elephant hunt in Namibia’s Caprivi Strip in early Sept. with PH Emile Kirchner of Jamy Traut Hunting Safaris (406-261-1222; www.jamyhunts.com). Adkins harvested a younger bull elephant as well as hippo, kudu and red lechwe.
“My primary species on this safari was the non-trophy elephant. These hunts are called ‘own use’ in Namibia, as the elephant is for the use of the conservancy, with any ivory going to the government. This is much more affordable than a trophy elephant hunt, and the success rate is higher. The target is a tuskless elephant, an elephant with a broken or single tusk or a bull elephant with tusks that are less than 40 pounds. For someone who does not want to commit to the cost and time of a trophy hunt, this hunt is a great option. The additional game taken was a bonus after the elephant hunt. Traut seems to have a large quota compared to some outfitters, giving him some wiggle room on safaris.”
Adkins detailed his hunt in an email. “Traut has three concessions in Caprivi. Our camp was at the Kwando concession. Although I shot a lechwe there, the other three species were taken at the nearby Myuni concession.
“On day one, elephants had crossed over to the Kwando concession during the night. We went to look for them, but they had gone back to the national park. We were diverted from our elephant hunt to take out a problem hippo. This animal had been mauled by a bigger hippo and retreated to water next to a village where he was not wanted. He was a real beast and covered in wounds.
“At dusk we glassed elephants in the nearby national park heading toward the Myuni hunting concession. We hoped that they would stay the night in the concession. The next morning we got up early to try to find them, and we located them just in time, as they were heading back to the park. We had to really scramble for almost two miles, sometimes jogging, sometimes wading through water, until we caught up with them about 300 meters from the boundary. We cut off an elephant in the rear, and I took the shot. He had short tusks but was quite a big fella, and the hunt was a tremendous thrill. I should note that there was a bigger bull in the group with tusks more than 45 pounds.
“After we took the elephant, we focused on plains game. In addition to taking kudu and lechwe, we spent many days trying to get a roan. They were around but in low numbers and wary. We sat at water holes hoping to catch one early in the morning or late at night, and twice we tracked them for several hours but could not catch up.
“I hunted with professional hunter Emile Kirchner. He is a Namibian of German descent, 28 years old and in his fourth year as a dangerous game PH. He works for Jamy about six months of the year. He’s very good, and I would gladly hunt with him again. Camp was great, too, with an excellent chef. For a remote area, it was quite comfortable. They have solar panels and a backup generator, so the electricity and Wi-Fi were always on.
“Jamy runs a solid operation with good staff and equipment. I rented guns from Traut, including a Ruger .375 with open sights for hunting elephant and hippo. The concessions are pristine, wild, and Traut manages them well, which includes the prevention of degradation from excess elephant populations. I have no reservations about recommending this hunt, and would not hesitate to take another safari with Traut. I’ll add that The Hunting Report was one of the sources that led me to this hunt. I read about Traut in Craig Boddington’s book Elephant, and I remembered reading in The Hunting Report that Traut had left Eden Hunting to form his own operation. I’ve wanted to do this kind of hunt for a long time, and I’m glad I did it with Traut’s operation.”