Editor’s Note: On Fridays we dig through the Safari Club archives and dust off a story from the past. Today we follow a hunter and his crew as the search the thick and tangled underbrush for leopard. This story first appeared in the Jan./Feb. 1998 issue of Safari Magazine.
The light tap on my shoulder startled me at first. As I looked to my right, the animation in the tracker’s face told me that something was about to happen. I looked in the direction of his pointing finger and quickly realized the source of his excitement. Eighty yards ahead, directly under the tree where we had hung an eland quarter, stood a magnificent male leopard. With just seconds to shoot, I raised the .338 Winchester Magnum to my shoulder and fired an off-hand shot. Continue reading Hunting the Hunter→
Leopard! The mere mention of this big cat conjures up the image of the master of stealth, the terror of the night. While the lion is certainly bigger and a dangerous prey to be sure, the leopard’s stalking skills, nocturnal habits and unpredictable nature make it a force to be reckoned with. Here are the top ten leopards as recorded in the SCI Record Book. Enjoy!
#9B David Tofte took this beauty near Limpopo, RSA in 2014. It measures 18 2/16″
#10B This 18 1/16″ Leopard was taken in 2013 near Shangani, Zimbabwe by Paulo Augusto De Maria Botelho.
#4 In 2009, Phillip Hoisington took this spotted beauty near Windhoek, Namibia. It measured 18 15/16″.
#2 Rodney A. Klein poses with his leopard taken in 2001 in Kalahari, R.S.A. It measures 19 10/16″.
#10A Kirk Kelso took this 18 1/16″ leopard at Malipati, Zimbabwe in 2005.
#1 Steven Chancellor took the number 1 leopard in 1997 in Okavango, Botswana. This magnificent cat scored 19 11/16″.
#9A R. Jody Adams tied the number 9 spot with this nice leopard near Khomas, Namibia. It measures 1802/16″.
#8B B.H. Smith took this number 8 Ranked cat in Khomas,Namibia in 2008. It measures at 18 4/16″.
#8A William Mosesian took this magnificent leopard in 1975 in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia. It measures 18 4/16″. Mr. Mosesian is also tied for the number 5 leopard taken in 1986 measuring 18014/16″. Unfortunately we have no photo of his number 5 leopard.
#7 Dr. R.E. Speegle took this leopard in central Tanzania in 1963. It measured 18 8/16″.
#6 Juan Renedo Sedano took this leopard in 1982 in the Republic of South Africa. It measures 18 10/16″.
#5 Kris Johnson scored this beauty in 2010 near Mabula, R.S.A. It measured 18014/16″.
It is impossible to properly count wild leopards, but estimates range from a low of nearly 700,000 to as high as two million. Either way, there are a lot of leopards. The sport-hunted harvest is not significant and clearly sustainable, and I believe there are a lot more leopards today than when I started hunting in Africa. Certainly this is absolutely true in Namibia and South Africa! With more leopards, I also believe leopard hunting is better than it used to be—but it has changed quite a bit. Continue reading The Right Leopard→