Predator / Varmint Hunting - South Africa:
I was introduced to Jackal and Caracal hunting in 1990 when I started to farm with my late father. Like all farmers, we try to minimize our stack losses by protecting it from jackal and caracal. We use to have an organization called “Oranje Jag” (funded by government) that used to prevent this problem causing animals to kill our livestock but they stop operating in the in 1990.
Calling in South Africa started in the early ’90 and is relatively new to South Africa, but it was still new and did not take off right away. After 1995 calling in predators really started to grow among farmers to use a caller. (In those years it was mainly farmers that had to protect their livestock). But as soon as the farmers learned how good the calling worked on problem-causing animals, they adopted it.
Predator hunting started to grow fast from 2000. You will find many hunters that are the real professional predator or varmint hunters today that hunt these damage causing animals for the farmers. These hunters offer their services to farmers and they are getting paid a fee for their work or services. It is win-win situation for both the farmer and the predator hunter. The farmer knows a professional hunter protect his livestock and the hunter knows he will receive a fee for his services.
Calling at night gives you the advantage that the predators feel safe and don’t hesitate to come to a call. The Black Back Jackal, Caracal, Cape Fox (protected) and the African Wild Cat are mainly nocturnal. Predator hunting and calling them are mostly done during the nighttime from a vehicle with your hunting chair and you as the hunter and your vehicle are obscured by the darkness. The predators feel safe and do approach the caller with less caution. The vehicle gives you the advantage to move quickly and easier from one place or stand to another. More hunting time by this method. Calling Black Back Jackal or Caracal during the daytime hour’s works also, by going out early in the morning or late afternoon works very well. Just camouflage yourself and your vehicle really well and make your stand a little bit further than normal from a waterhole. Day shoot works well when there is a carcass of a dead animal.
In South Africa in 2014 between 1.4 billion and 1.6 billion rands of damages was caused by damage causing animals that only includes livestock. At this moment we don’t have a figure in rand value for how much damage these problem animals caused to the game farming industry.
To hunt a black back Jackal or Caracal successfully at night is a challenge and I have huge respect for both these animals. They are part of nature and know their surroundings very well. They know how to survive in the harsh conditions and they are very skilled hunters. Their senses are brilliant. Caracal’s eyesight and hearing are phenomenal, where a Blacked Back Jackal smell (nose), hearing and vision are just as good or even better.
To be able to hunt these top predators successfully you will have to outsmart them and have a bit of luck as well. You must know the terrain, have the proper equipment, the wind must come from your caller’s direction, and no noise and your smell must be limited.
When you actually see them coming in to the caller, that will give you “Jackal fever”, it so exciting to see them coming closer to you and you know your hard work has paid off, you have outsmarted a top damage causing animal and your method work to trick them to come to the caller. It is just fantastic to be able to hunt them in this way.
That’s an experience that you will never forget.