Peru Outfitter Takes Client on Illegal Deer Hunt

Continuing subscribers will remember our reports about the reopening of hunting in Peru in 2009 (see Articles 2114 and 2181). At that time, J. Thomas Saldias, Safari Club International’s South American representative, spearheaded an effort to legalize sporthunting and create the systems necessary to regulate hunting, establish requirements for outfitters and issue hunting quotas and licenses. Before this, the only legal hunting available was with a small, private hunting club called El Angolo, which was able to secure only a limited number of hunting licenses for VIPs. The new laws opened the way for more sportsmen to travel to Peru and legally hunt South American whitetail deer and waterfowl. We have received a few reports from subscribers who hunted there (see Reports 8317, 9231, 9261).

What occasions this mention is an email we received from South African outfitter Holger Jensen, who says he took all the necessary steps to research an outfitter in Peru and still got burned. He hunted with Angelo Tavera of Chaku Peru. Three references Jensen checked all spoke very highly of their experiences with him, but Jensen now suspects they were plants and not real clients.

Although Jensen paid Tavera for deer hunting licenses for him and his friend, he says Tavera never produced them. And after paying a trophy fee of $2,500 when his friend killed a buck, he was informed that he would have to smuggle out the trophy, as no export permit could be obtained.

As for the actual hunt, Jensen says where they hunted, the deer were under heavy pressure from poachers and landowners. “During five days of hunting, we saw very few deer, and only two decent bucks,” he says. Locals told him daylight hunting was a waste of time. Subsequently they were taken on a number of spotlight hunts, often driving for two or three hours, and only spotting one or two does. Jensen and his friend began to suspect something was not right when Tavera hid from other cars in the area, and one night even the landowner and two of his friends went into hiding after mistaking the outfitter’s pickup for a police vehicle. “It was truly a nightmare hunt which I could never recommend to anyone.”

We corresponded with Saldias about Jensen’s hunt. He confirmed that a cursory investigation showed Tavera never bothered to acquire hunting licenses for Jensen and his friend, and had taken them hunting illegally. “It’s a shame,” he told The Hunting Report over the phone. “Tavera had shown promise as an outfitter and he squandered his opportunity.” A full investigation and legal action were pending when we spoke with Saldias, who is still very involved in the efforts to develop the hunting industry in Peru.

We asked Saldias if there were any new developments in this regard and whether Peru would ever offer hunting for other species. He said they were exploring the opening of jungle areas and hunting for brocket deer and peccary. He hoped that would happen sometime in 2015. For now, hunting is only for deer in the highlands and waterfowl. He says they are also still working on parameters for legal hunting outfitters and guides. His advice to hunters wanting to hunt Peru was to check references carefully and make sure you have a hunting license and authorization from the regional government in hand before hunting. You will need to provide a copy of your passport and a copy of your hunting license from your home country. Night hunting is illegal. Previously, you needed to import your own firearm to get a license but that has been changed. A new law going into effect by the end of this year will allow operators to loan clients a firearm. For an outfitter recommendation, Saldias suggests contacting the SCI chapter of Peru at informes@sciperu.org