A new forest hunting area has opened up in Cameroon. Arjun Reddy of Hunters Networks (845-259-3628; firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote us about Zone UFA 27 and 28, controlled by operator Patrick le Parc of Celtic Safari. Reddy hunted there last June and also arranged for subscriber Mark Hampton to hunt there (Report 10969). Reddy took bongo, yellow-backed duiker, Peters duiker and Bates pygmy antelope. Hampton took dwarf forest buffalo, as well as Peters duiker and Bates pygmy antelope. Hampton, who hunts with a handgun, gave the experience an excellent rating and says le Parc is a good operator with a good area.
Reddy says le Parc obtained the hunting area only last year, adding forest hunts to the savannah hunts he has provided for 20-plus years. If you haven’t heard of le Parc before, it’s because he’s a French operator who has catered to mostly Europeans, but Reddy hopes to expose more North American clients to him.
The new hunting camp is located 42 miles from the Congo border and was constructed from scratch just this year. It has four guest chalets, each with tiled bathrooms with shower and toilet facilities. There’s also a lounge and dining area, staff quarters, kitchen, generator room, skinning shed, and so on. A generator powers the entire camp. The chalets have electric fans that run off the generator and also by battery power.
The area had never been hunted before and was only opened to hunting due to recent logging that opened access to the remote forest areas. Although Reddy says he didn’t see much game in active logging areas, the other places he hunted had a “huge number” of small duiker and other game.
“We had duiker come in to nearly every calling session with the Pygmy trackers,” Reddy says. “Having a large number of duikers is a sure sign that an area hasn’t had much local poaching pressure. Another great sight was the gorillas we saw on two different occasions!”
According to Reddy this is one of the few concessions in Cameroon with yellow-backed duiker on license. He took one that responded to a call. “We also saw one run across the track one evening when we were headed back to camp, and another hunter told me he saw three yellow-backed duikers. So, it’s safe to say there’s a good population of them in this area.
“We also saw a female sitatunga from a machan and saw tracks of others. The outfitter has constructed quite a few of these (machans) over natural salines and marshy areas but is still figuring out which ones are productive.
“We also saw quite a few fresh tracks from forest elephant and dwarf forest buffalo, but we were not hunting them so did not follow tracks.”
Reddy reports following bongo three different times before shooting his trophy, hunting in the traditional manner with Pygmies and tracking dogs. He notes an overall lack of rain in the area made some of the hunting challenging. It rained only three times during the 15 days he was in camp. He also warns that too heavy an overnight rain can make the roads too wet to drive the following day.
Prior to his hunt, he says le Parc’s European clients were successful taking bongo, giant forest hog and smaller duiker species. The following clients, a Spanish hunter and his family, also took bongo and other smaller duikers.
As for the dwarf forest buffalo, Reddy warns that this is not a hunt for everyone. “This is not an easy trophy to come by, and several big-time hunters have yet to take one,” he says. “It’s a tracking hunt in thick equatorial forest, and the shooting is at point-blank range, which makes it both exciting and dangerous. Certainly not a hunt for first timers or those who don’t have an appetite for adventure.”
Le Parc plans to open up roads in order to access a major river and floodplain system that’s in virgin jungle about a seven-hour march through the forest. Reddy says initial scouting of the area shows great promise for elephant and sitatunga. Additionally, le Parc has acquired two more new zones, 13 and 14, where he’s constructing a new camp for the 2018 season. Reddy anticipates this addition to zones 27 and 28 will give his clients plenty of good access to hunting.
“A forest hunt is truly an amazing experience. The forest is unique and so different you could be in a different world there. The experience of just being there and appreciating it is, to my mind, more important than the trophies that you return with.
“There is active logging taking place in many zones in Cameroon and that disturbs the forest, but without the logging roads, it’s impossible to hunt those dense areas. Of course, once those areas are opened up, they are also now accessible to poachers, so establishing hunting concessions is the only solution for the welfare of wildlife in Cameroon.”
Getting to zones 27 and 28 requires a 10-hour drive to the camp from Yaounde. The first five hours are on tarred roads and then dirt roads. “It’s really not too bad a drive,” he says, “but one has to be careful when passing the logging trucks that are heavily laden and do not slow down!”
Postscript: Mark Hampton’s report is only the second report we have on Celtic Safari in Cameroon. The other is from Bill Kneer (10130), who hunted le Parc’s savanna concession for Lord Derby eland in 2015. “Patrick le Parc was outstanding, a man who loves to hunt eland and an excellent PH,” writes Kneer. If you decide to hunt with Celtic Safari, make sure you file a report.