Category Archives: Guides & Outfitters

What’s happening in the world of professional guides and outfitters.

PHASA Day 3–Success in South Africa

Ninety percent of all rhino are in South Africa. Pellam Jones from the Private Rhino Owner's Association made a compelling presentation that indicated if the current rate of poaching continues, rhino will be extinct by 2026--that's in our lifetime, folks.
Ninety percent of all rhino are in South Africa. Pellam Jones from the Private Rhino Owner’s
Association  indicated if the current rate of poaching continues, rhino
will be extinct by 2026

This morning, Professor P vd Merwe presented PHASA with the results of in-depth research into the economic value of trophy hunting in South Africa. Using sound statistics, this never before done survey provided valuable insight into the hunting industry in this important country. Some of the more interesting information included the fact that more than half of all hunters traveling to hunt in South Africa are SCI Members. That is good news, but we should strive for 100 percent. We are First For Hunters—all hunters—and South Africa is an important hunting destination. According to the survey, South African Professional Hunters are “highly regarded” by hunters, and I believe that a large part of the credit for that goes to PHASA and the professional standards of its members.
Safety is an understandable concern for international hunters, and survey respondents reported a high perception of safety when hunting in South Africa. Hunters also gave high marks to the variety of game and convenience South Africa offers, and a full 87 percent say South Africa is a good value for the money. The survey will be repeated in 2015.

Lt. Col Dolo gave PHASA the CFR Report including suggestions on how to streamline and minimize the time required for the application process.
Lt. Col Dolo gave PHASA the CFR Report

As I noted in yesterday’s dispatch, rhino poaching has escalated to alarming proportions. Today, 23 range states have lost all of their rhino, and 90% of remaining rhino live in South Africa. Clearly, the future of rhino will have a disproportionate impact on South Africa, which is just one of the many reasons PHASA is taking the issue so seriously. Pellam Jones from the Private Rhino Owner’s Association (PROA) gave a “Rhino in Crisis—The Road to CITES” presentation that made it alarmingly clear that rhino will not survive “more of the same.” By PROA’s estimation, if we stay the current course and do nothing, the rhino will be extinct by 2026–That’s in our lifetime, folks, and if that happens, it will be an inexcusable shame that you, and I, and all responsible and ethical hunters must bear because we can stop this.
On a more happy note, Toys For Africa thanked PHASA for its partnership and especially appreciated that PHASA is not only a partner, but an active one that is always involved in helping children. PHASA’s efforts beyond its own borders was recognized by Serbia’s Ambassador

On behalf of PHASA, CEO Adri Kitshoff accepted the Gold Medal Award presented by Serbian Ambassador to South Africa, Mr. Goran Vujicic, for its contribution to hunting and conservation.
CEO Adri Kitshoff accepted the Gold Medal Award presented by Serbian
Ambassador to South Africa, Mr. Goran Vujicic, for its contribution to hunting and conservation.

to South Africa, Mr. Goran Vujicic, who presented PHASA with Serbia’s Gold Medal Award for its contribution to hunting and conservation.
Tomorrow wraps up the open portions of the PHASA Convention and AGM. In a few days, the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe (SOAZ) begins its annual meetings. Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend, but SCI CEO Phil DeLone, Guides & Outfitter Liaison John Boretsky and Assistant Publisher Scott Mayer will be there to represent SCI and to continue our up-to-the-minute reports from the various professional hunter meetings in southern Africa.—Craig Kauffman

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PHASA–Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

SCI CEO Phil DeLone addressed a room packed with dedicated members of PHASA where he gave updates on the overwhelming response we are getting to the 2014 Convention, exciting new SCI Member benefits and the status on the African Lion Defense Fund and how that dedicated money is being used.
SCI CEO Phil DeLone addressed a room packed with dedicated members of PHASA.

“Yesterday, today and tomorrow” is the theme here at this years’ PHASA Convention and Annual General Meeting that officially kicked off this morning, and there was lots of good news and exciting new opportunities discussed in addition to the ongoing challenges we face as hunters–all hunters. Guest speaker Ms. Mmatšatši Ramawela, CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, explained how “PHASA has a special place” with her umbrella organization that represents the business interests of operators in the local and travel industry. She coined the phrase “hunting tourism” while here, and shared some impressive statistics that deserve notice.

Ms. Mmatšatši Ramawela of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa reported that hunting directly accounts for 1,399,500 jobs in South Africa. That's 10.3% of South Africa's total employment.
Ms. Mmatšatši Ramawela of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa reported that hunting directly accounts for 1,399,500 jobs in South Africa.

In South Africa, hunting accounts for 9.8% of the country’s GDP and 10.3% of total employment. Think about that employment number for a second–10.3%. To put that into perspective, fill any typical movie theater and the person on each end of EVERY ROW is employed in South Africa’s hunting industry.

That significance was further recognized by Dr.Moscow Marumo, Chief Director Biodiversity/Economy and Sustainable Use for South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs who explained that South Africa’s government had “woken up” to a “renewable-use economy” and that “hunting is at the center of  that.” It is through the tireless effort and great work of organizations such

Jean du Plessis has been hired by PHASA for its PR campaign. His presentation was exceptional and we anxiously look forward to watching the campaign unfold.
Jean du Plessis has been hired by PHASA for its PR campaign.

as PHASA that the government here sees the importance of hunting and the value of sustainable use.

As many of you know, SCI recently gave PHASA grant money for a public relation campaign to ensure hunting is and remains seen in a positive light. Today we heard from Jean du Plessis of du Plessis Associates, which is the public relations firm PHASA has hired to lead this PR effort. Mr. du Plessis gave a concise presentation that positively nailed all of the issues squarely on the mark and then went on to describe a comprehensive three-year plan compete with obtainable goals and objectives. PHASA appears to have made an excellent PR firm selection and we are excited and anxious to see how it unfolds.

Jeremy Anderson reported on WESSA and its program to combat the serious matter of rhino poaching in South Africa
Jeremy Anderson reported on WESSA and its program to combat the serious matter of rhino poaching in South Africa

Unfortunately, not all the news on this first day was good. Last year there were more than 800 rhinos poached in South Africa alone, and those are just the rhino we know of–there are certainly many poached rhinos that are never found. Jeremy Anderson from WESSA (Wildlife Environment Society of South Africa) reported on its program to combat rhino poaching in South Africa. WESSA has provided information that has lead to the arrest of more than 20 people involved in poaching, and Anderson shared the results of their 2013 SWOT analysis. One of the threats that must be addressed is that the price of rhino horn continues to rise. We must increase

SCI President Craig Kauffman (r.) and CEO Phil DeLone (l.) are currently at the 2013 PHASA Convention and AGM Program and are reporting as the convention unfolds.
SCI President Craig Kauffman (r.) and CEO Phil DeLone (l.) are currently at the 2013 PHASA Convention and AGM Program and are reporting as the convention unfolds.

the sustainable value of rhino in communities so that the long-term value of rhino is seen as more than the short-term value of its horn in grams. If we don’t, the possibility of CITES re-listing the white rhino exists. One of the more alarming threats Anderson shared is donor fatigue. Don’t be that person who tires of fighting for the rhino and gives up. It is too magnificent an animal to let the poachers win, and that is why PHASA has given R200,000 over the past two years to help support WESSA. Tomorrow we are scheduled to hear more about the rhino crisis and see the results from a hunter survey that asked about the benefits and advantages of hunting in South Africa. Stay tuned, I will continue to try and bring you as much information as I can from PHASA as it happens.–Craig Kauffman

SCI Addresses PHASA Executive Committee

Craig Kauffman and Hans Vermaak President PHASA
Craig Kauffman and Hans Vermaak President PHASA

This afternoon at its annual meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, CEO Phil DeLone and I addressed the 10-member Executive Committee of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA),

There, we renewed our support of PHASA in its commitment to protect hunting and maintain the professional image of huntng in South Africa, and ensured open lines of communication so the important efforts of PHASA are heard by all SCI Members. PHASA President Hans “Scruffy” Vermaak thanked SCI for its support calling it, “vital to the PR drive that is underway.”

As the leaders of professional hunting in South Africa, PHASA sees what is happening to hunting in Botswana and Zambia and hopes its effort to protect hunting in South Africa also impacts its neighbors to the north.

We expressed how well Convention is shaping up for 2014. At its current pace, 2014 is rivaling 2012, which was our biggest Convention ever and also SCI’s 40th anniversary–2014 could prove to be a new record and we look forward to welcoming and seeing many PHASA members exhibiting in Las Vegas.

Craig Kauffman and Hermann Meyeridricks PHASA President-elect
Craig Kauffman and Hermann Meyeridricks PHASA President-elect

Lions and lion hunting remain on the front burner as a major concern of SCI and our efforts will have an effect on lion hunting in South Africa. Last December the anti-hunters filed a petition to uplist the African lion to “endangered” through the Endangered Species Act.

The African lion is not endangered, and SCI has already raised more than $1.2 Million dollars to prime a war chest for the coming battles over lions. We reported to PHASA that some of that money had already been spent for on-the-ground studies of lions and, as this battle could be one that is fought publicly, we have also conducted focus groups on what the public thinks of lion hunting and how to fight this battle so that facts prevail over emotion.

We still have several days of important meetings ahead of us, plus more in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia, and I look forward to bringing you regular reports as the information and Internet connections are available.– Craig Kauffman

Professional Hunter Spotlight – Liliana Saccomano

Liliana Saccomano
Liliana Saccomano

Though she owned a successful business, Liliana Saccomano launched a second career to fulfill her aspiration to be a professional hunter.  The Argentina native has been guiding hunters since 1992 when she and her husband, purchased their first hunting ranch, Algar Safaris.  Explaining her motivation she said, “I wanted to utilize my expertise focusing on enhancing clients’ opportunities for successful, memorable hunts.”  Interest in improving the quality of species and dedication to conservation were additional motivating factors that led her to this new venture.

Saccomano guides for 18 species including fallow deer, axis deer, Pere David deer, mouflon sheep and the majestic red stag, which is the most popular. On Expedition Safari, Saccomano guided host Mike Rogers, Jr. on his red stag hunt and appeared on the show.

When afield, Liliana carries rifles chambered for .270, .30-06 or .300 Winchester Magnum, which she regards as optimum for their hunts.  She also guides for bowhunters and often hunts from horseback to cover the vast unoccupied private ranch in Neuquén province in northern Patagonia.

Saccomano’s decades of days afield with clients have provided many memorable experiences. She shared her cherished recollection of guiding the late, iconic exhibition shooter, Tom Knapp, on his red stag hunt. “My experience with Tom was fabulous during the several days we spent finding his trophy. The first day, we saw the red deer far away. On several occasions, we had to crawl, but despite the effort and fatigue, Tom with his characteristic good humor, always lifted everyone’s spirits. Finally, in a forest, we found the red stag surrounded by several females at about 120 yards. We communicated in sign language to get Tom set up and he made a clean one shot kill.”

An active member of the Argentina SCI Chapter, Saccomano offers a program for youngsters designed to give them the chance to get interested in hunting and learn about conservation. She also participates in the Sensory Safari program.