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Leopard Hunting


Large leopard track under the bait tree with a .375 cartridge.

Nick Nolte Hunting Safaris have selected prime concessions with a very productive leopard population, as result Nick Nolte has taken 30 leopards in the last 3 seasons!


Nick, Isabel & Ben Nolte with Nick's Damara trackers Matheus & Johannes

During the 2003, 2004 & 2005 Safari Seasons, Nick had a 100% success rate on leopards! 

Nick guided 30 leopard hunters during the last 3 safari seasons and 29 of them, including his wife, Isabel, got their leopard! 

The 1 hunter who didn't go home with a leopard had 3 opportunities.  He scared one away from the bait, missed another one, and finally wounded one that was never found.

This amazing success rate is due to the large number of leopards in Nick's concessions and his life-long experience at baiting and hunting them. 

If you really want to get a leopard, book your hunt with Nick Nolte Hunting Safaris!

Click the photos to enlarge the images.

Clients are encouraged to enjoy combining their Leopard hunt with plains game hunting.

A C.I.T.E.S permit is required to hunt Leopard and it is the client's responsibility to apply for the C.I.T.E.S permit, which ideally should be applied before the Leopard hunt takes place (it is of significant importance, to check that all information is correct on the C.I.T.E.S permit, in the case of incorrect information, the client would have to reapply for a correct C.I.T.E.S permit, and this would cause a delay of trophy importation).


A leopard fed on this bait in the night, now it is time to build the blind and wait!

Baiting and setting up blinds in key locations, takes place 1 & 1/2, weeks before the arrival of the client (we mostly make use of warthog and baboon meat).


Here is Isabel's exciting story about shooting her first leopard!


Isabel's beautiful tom leopard.  It's bigger than she is!

Andre Pretorius, Nickís nephew, phoned us on Tuesday, 28 of February. That morning a leopard had caught a calf. Nick promised we would come and his wife Isabel would shoot the leopard. They had friends over for lunch, finished up and dropped their son, Ben, at the minister's house to keep an eye over him. Isabel continues the story...

"The earliest Nick and I could get away was at 4:30 pm from Omaruru to go to Nicky's nephew,  Andre.  His ranch, Erundu, has been owned by the family for four generations. It is a hunters paradise: game is in abundance, very little hunting has taken place on this land. Nick is the first outsider to hunt on Erundu.  Over the years Andre had only hunted for personal use. 

The farm was a 40 minute drive. When we got to the house, Andre and his wife, Tilla, were very gracious and always most polite. They insisted that we have a quick cup of coffee. At this point Nick was becoming very anxious, as we had to find the location of the dead calf and build the blind, whilst Andre needed some reassurance from Nick that this 28 year old mother of a toddler could take this leopard down. Nick reassured Andre that I had succeeded in previous hunts.

Jozef, head of Andre's staff, who originates from an Oshiwambo tribe, and Bernard, our driver, took us to where the leopard had made the kill. Nick has trained Jozef over the years to tell the difference between a brown hyaena and a leopard track as well as what to do when he finds a fresh kill. Many farmers make this mistake and get confused between a brown hyaena and a leopard track. The brown hyena's back paw is larger than the front paw, and otherwise looks similar to a leopard track.

We all got out of the cruiser, and walked behind Jozef. I was right behind him. I have to mention that we have had an incredible rainy season. The grass is standing at least a metre high. As we got close,  he pointed out to my left where a large area of the grass had been clearly flattened. This is where the leopard had rolled around.  By the flattened grass the leopard had made his droppings. Nick and I took a look at each other and knew this was a big one.  Jozef said the leopard had also urinated there (marking off his territory), I asked him how he knew this. I could only think he could know this by seeing the leopard in action, but no, Nicky and Jozef said they could smell it clearly.  He took me closer. It is a very distinct smell. The leopard had marked the area around the calf and even marked the calf.  The leopard had dragged the calf into a hollowed out area under two nearby trees.

Nick tied the calf against the trunk of one tree. This tree looked like a fork. I decided this is what I would keep my eye focused on. We set up the blind then we had to cut a lot of grass to clear the way for me to take a shot. Nick had built a quick stand for my rifle using branches and wire. The rifle was in position aiming at the calf where the leopard would be feeding. Bernard went back to the cruiser and drove to the dam. We would radio him to fetch us. Nick and I sat down in the blind at 6:10 pm. There is still clear day light at this time, the sun only goes down at 8:00 pm.  It was a night with a dark moon!

One thing is for sure, there was not one dull moment the entire time.  There is so much night life and activity, it is very exciting. Oryx came to graze next to the blind. Such a situation makes you hear your own heart beat, as you cannot always see what is out there, a little while later Nick and I heard the cattle becoming very restless. Nick and I saw this dark object appearing  just a little way from the entrance of our blind, it disappeared, Nick has exceptionally good eye sight. I have sat with Nick in total on four different nights in a blind. He looks through his binoculars. I looked through my binoculars and all I saw was the dark of the night. Nick signaled that I must get ready to take my shot. He switched on the spot light. We saw movement and caught a glimpse of the leopardís tail.  We both knew by the length of his tail and that amazing colouring that this was a mature male. Nick switched off the light and waited about 5 minutes finally whispering in my ear that I had to be certain and quick with my shot.  Oh Man,  this was a lot of pressure and knowing if I mess up, this could be a serious situation: a wounded leopard is not to be taken lightly in this tall grass.

Nick gave me the signal to shoot, when he switched the spot light on. First of all a leopard is a very well camouflaged animal even at night, never mind in the yellow grass during the day.  I had fixed my eye on the tree that looked like a fork.  I remember seeing the back of his head. I aimed just behind his right front quarter and pulled the trigger. The leopard growled fiercely and Nick and I both saw how he jolted up in the air and came down. We clearly heard as he ran to the right of us, stopped and ran in the opposite direction. We heard him giving three deep shallow grunts. It was clear that he was hurt and wounded. We looked on our watch. It was 11:20 pm and very quiet.

 Nick and I just sat for a while and listened, to hear if he is still moving. Sit is all you can do after this type of excitement. Nick and I excitedly discussed what had just taken place. Nick asked me if I was sure of my shot. I said for sure, if anything, my shot could have been a tad lower than what it should have been.  Nick called Bernard on the radio to come to the fence. This is as close as he could stop with the cruiser. It was a fair distance to the fence and we could not see a dead leopard. I said to Nicky that it would be nice if Bernard could cut the fence and drive up to the blind to pick us up. He said to me that I have been living long enough in this country to know that you do not cut the fence on a cattle ranch, therefore we had to walk! 

When we heard the cruiser, we got our things together. Nick loaded his .470 Krieghoff and we stepped out of the blind. Nick, of course, needed to take a pee! Oh Man, I said to Nicky, this is really not the appropriate time and place for taking a pee. He said he could not wait Ďtil we got to the cruiser. So there I stand watching for anything looking like a wounded leopard!

Finally we walked towards the calf.  There was blood and a reasonable amount of it. We would be back the next morning with Bullet, Mauzer and Ruger, our Jack Russell hunting dogs. Walking from the blind to the cruiser, was the longest walk I ever remember taking, not in distance, but in anticipation!

We drove back to Andre's house. I was very disappointed in myself as Andre has lost so many calves to this leopard; but in the back of my mind I knew my shot was good. Andre was waiting up for us as they always do, with all our clients. The most gracious folk you could think of. Andre warmed some soup for us and the tracker. Nick and I drove back to Omaruru.

It was now 1:30 am, we picked Ben up and drove back to our farm, slept until 7:00am and arrived at Andre's at 9:30 am the next day. We picked up Andre and drove to the blind. When we stopped to get out the cruiser, Andre saw me getting my rifle ready. He asked Nicky, in a very surprised tone, as this is a very dangerous situation, if he was taking his wife along. Nicky said to Andre, that if the leopard was still moving, I must take it down. Luckily my husband knows me well enough that I would not have it any other way, The fact that I hunted with Nick up in the Caprivi for 3 years had been a good learning curve and is still an unforgettable experience for me!

Nick had his Krieghoff, Andre had his shotgun, and I had the .300 Win/Mag. I noticed that our two trackers, Ananias and Bernard, had their big knives attached to their belts. Two of Andre's men came along as well. The dogs were very exited as if they knew exactly what was going on and what they had to do!

I was very aware of everyone's safety as well as the dogs. They are like children to us,. We started walking towards the blind, Nick had the dogs sniffing around the calf where the drops of blood were. In no time they took off. We could hear them getting very excited. Mauzer started barking and Bullet returned to Nick. That is Bulletís signal of ''lost and found". Bullet and Mauzer are the perfect team: Mauzer keeps the trophy busy and Bullet fetches Nicky. This was Ruger's first leopard hunt.

Nick got the shooting stick ready. It  was very nerve wracking, but the fact that the dogs were growling and excitedly crying and of coarse seeing the tip of the tail, was a good sign and a relief that the leopard was dead. The leopard had gone eighty yards from the calf to die.

I have been on so many hunts with Nick: elephant, buffalo, lion, and many others.. But leopard is one of Africa's most difficult animals to hunt and it is a 100% privilege if you succeed in such a hunt and that feeling of satisfaction remains!

It is such a privilege to hunt with my husband, he has so much skill and knowledge. I could not have asked for a better hunt or Professional Hunter!

Isabel Nolte

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African Wildlife Sounds used by permission of the South African Broadcasting Company Sound Archives
 

 

 

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