May 2018 Issue – By Barbara Crown, Editor-in-Chief
If you’re about to spend $10,000 – $70,000 and burn up to 21 days of your personal time on a first-time safari or dangerous game hunt in Africa, wouldn’t you first want to pick the brain of someone with 40 years of experience hunting there? That’s what Craig Boddington says he is offering in his new Expert Safari Preparation Courses. These are a series of online video courses that basically boil down all of Boddington’s books, magazine articles, DVDs and television shows on African hunting into easy-to-digest presentations that are also fun to watch.
In five different courses covering plains game to dangerous aquatic species, Boddington covers everything you need to know to prepare for experiencing the African bush. The Plains Game Hunting course is, obviously, the most basic of the courses, but even it is full of insightful details that will improve your chances of success, whether you’re new to Africa or preparing for a follow-up trip. It introduces the viewer to a range of species in their various habitats, their characteristics and the techniques used to hunt them, plus shot placement and angles. Boddington also covers selecting the right firearm for the versatility to shoot whatever you may come across on a particular hunt, from a duiker to a gemsbok. And he reviews the equipment you’ll need for plains game hunting, based on his numerous outings. A preparation and packing segment includes tips research, conditioning and paperwork, advice on planning your travel, suggestions on clothing and equipment, and packing tips that will save you if your checked bag doesn’t make it to your final destination.
According to Boddington, nearly as many PHs and trackers are injured by accidental gunshots as by dangerous animals. So, there’s a segment in every course covering gun safety, shooting on sticks, and carrying your rifle in a situation where you aren’t only accompanied by a guide but possibly by several trackers, an observer or a cameraperson. He even covers safety when you’re crawling or butt scooting with a loaded rifle.
Then there are the courses on African Buffalo (covering all five subspecies, not just Cape buffalo), Africa’s Great Cats, Elephant, and Aquatic Monsters (hippo and croc). Each course covers conditions specific to the species, such as what to expect in habitat and behavior, trophy judgement and shot placement. The buffalo course, for example, includes working with your PH, how to hunt buffalo and techniques to locate them, selecting your bull, approaching and stalking, shot preparation, placement and angles, follow-up and back-up shots, as well as dealing with wounded buffalo.
Because the courses are online and neatly divided into compact segments, each one can be done at your own pace- all at one sitting or over several days. The application keeps track of your progress, so you don’t have to remember where you left off. Each course usually takes just a few hours. You can check them out and sign up at Safari-ed.com. The application is fully mobile friendly, so you can take the courses on any device- smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. The fee for each course is $150.