From the Desk of Sandy McDonald – 2016 Highlights and News

Every now and again I see the cumulus clouds building up and the heavens
threaten to open after a drought of more than two years on our beloved
continent, yet the big rains stay away with a reprieve every now and again
of small showers that keep us positive that the big rains will be on their
way shortly, providing us with the much needed filling of our lakes, rivers
and dams
For now the green flush suffices to keep the herds adequately nourished
belying the savage harshness of Africa and its drum beat of feast and famine
The 2016 hunting season is by a long margin one of the more successful that
we have had in the recent history of McDonald Safaris
We have concentrated on quality safaris, maintaining the high standard of
ethics and fair chase that is synonymous with our operations both in South
Africa and Mozambique and I quote from Alex McDonald – “What I will
guarantee you is that you will not shoot a bull from a herd, nor will you a
bull that is under aged, nor will my professional hunters and trackers give
anything less than their best skill and effort in finding that bull for
you…This is our guarantee, once you are on the shooting sticks, the rest
is up to you”
To me the most gratifying aspect of the season is how we have been able to
prove once again that sustainable hunting remains one of the key elements
that constitutes the basics of conservation, an undeniable and proven fact
that we have been able to showcase to the world by ensuring that through a
sustainable and highly ethical hunting program our business model is able to
compliment our social responsibility programs, anti poaching and further the
tourism factor of our areas, where else can you drive through a herd of 600
plus buffalo, idle next to a breeding group elephant or witness a veritable
sea of springbuck on the Karoo plains while providing much needed protein
and income to our local communities and by so doing providing to the world a
fuller understanding and account of the professional hunting industry’s
contribution to community development, food security and rural development
The total contribution of professional hunting to these programs in Africa
has been significantly understated – all of these need to be measured so
that we can give the public a proper account of our positive impact
Unless we properly account for our humanitarian and conservation work we
risk not only our profession but also the livelihoods of those who depend on
hunting
In our hunting areas the World Wildlife Fund through the Southern African
Wildlife College and ourselves have been involved in a community based
natural resource management C.B.N.R.M project since 2015
The aim of the project is to reduce the incentive of community involvement
in illegal wildlife trafficking and poaching and to ensure that our
communities legally benefit from wildlife and its utilization and has been
highly successful
Anti Poaching has today become one of the key components’ in a successful
conservation model, more so than ever with the onslaught on our rhino,
elephant, lion and leopard, paradoxically the very species that are key to
Africa’s hunting industry where we legally and sustainably harvest same, a
very hard sell to the uniformed but vital to their survival and Africa’s
wildlife in general, that being said we as conservationists, and I class the
responsible professional hunters as some of the best conservationists in the
world have a duty to perform that we are normally not qualified to be doing
and that is paramilitary anti poaching operations, but at very least we are
in a position to augment these operations by applying funds from hunting
income in addition to gathering donor funding from like minded people to
engage the services of Colonel Dyck and his men who have certainly set the
gold standard of how anti poaching is done in today’s Africa
Our expansion into providing an upmarket and service orientated Bird
Shooting experience in Southern Africa is something that I am looking
forward to in 2017 and have sourced excellent areas with above average bird
numbers and with my passion being training and working bird dogs expect warm
barrels and tired dogs to be the order of the day
Bush Greetings
The McDonald Clan
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‘ye – xi bhejani’
Mobile +27 83 227 9709 (all hours)
Tracey McDonald +27 83 659 1517 (emergency contact)
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        <http://www.donate.iapf.org/>; IAPF donation page
<http://www.wildlifecollege.org.za/index.php>; Southern African Wildlife
College
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