why the black giraffe?
A Challenge After successfully hunting various wild game in the U.S., and Plains game animals in South Africa, I decided it was time to push myself out of my comfort zone. Up until this point, most of the animals I had harvested were the average size of an axis deer or whitetail deer. I felt that I was ready to push myself and challenge my abilities by hunting larger animals. Why was this a challenge? Because a good hunt always is. What to choose? Today’s hunting industry focuses on managing animals properly -- no matter how pretty and innocent Hollywood has made a specific species, we can't discriminate. It has to be done in order to keep herds healthy, numbers flourishing, and a value on that animal helps to protect the entire species from poachers. So, I made the decision to hunt a giraffe! Crazy, right? Whatever your previous opinions are -- one fact remains, management hunting saves habitats and ensures the future of these animals, where they otherwise might not have one. Preparing for the Hunt While planning this hunt, it was important that I made sure population numbers were up, that there was a herd that needed to be managed, and more specifically a bull that needed to be culled. The cull bull is identified as a male giraffe that is no longer reproducing. These cull bulls also tend to prevent other healthy males from reproducing with females in the herd, slowing down any growth. I also found out that the darkness in giraffe color is a sign of old age. The darkness in giraffe color is a sign of old age. Photo courtesy of Tess Talley Not long after, the news came from Africa. Every characteristic I was looking for was found in one specific dark bull giraffe. I told myself that this was a sign, and without a doubt an ethical hunt. This opportunity was not only was meant to be for me, but needed to happen to ensure the future of this herd. The Hunt Arriving at the airport, my emotions were all over the place! From being tired, straight to excited! After a several hour drive, we arrived at the location the giraffe had been. We settled into our sleeping quarters for the night, and I found myself sleeping in a barn stall;cold, dark, noises off in the distance, and bathroom facilities in a separate building. It’s all a part of what made this specific hunt memorable. Being the first American to hunt this specific area will always stand out in my mind.
Around 2am, everyone is still asleep in their areas, but I can no longer sleep. I’m ready to get this hunt started. With a flashlight, I make my way to the bathroom facility to get dressed and ready. I’m not always smooth and swift at what I do! Lol! After getting dressed, I find out I’m – wait for it - LOCKED INSIDE! Let me just say, I’m not a pro a using skeleton keys and that’s all I had to work with. My only option was to climb a toilet and squeeze through a window that I never imagined fitting through. But I got out! I just had to admit what I’d done and laugh that now everyone is LOCKED OUT of the bathroom.
Come morning, its time to load up and head out into the bush! After a while of driving around and walking the area, we spotted him off in a distance. Even though he was far off, he saw us first and took off. In my mind, I’m trying to figure out how to sneak up on an animal that is as tall as a two story building, and it not see me first. Much later, we spotted him again, and I’m finally given a clear shot. Nerves are shakin’, and everything is going through my mind. I had to make one clean shot. Under no circumstance do I want to wound this animal, then have to track for hours, or worse, cause him any suffering.
One shot and he’s down!!! Thank you, Jesus! I knew then that every prayer I prayed had been heard. It’s a lot on a hunter to take a life, regardless of the impact it has on you. We as hunters can relate in that way on every hunt!
The Backlash Vile! Scum! Murderer! These are just a few new titles given to me by anti-hunters and Hollywood for my recent giraffe hunt. First, I get that there is a large population of people who don’t hunt and can’t wrap their mind around how conservation and management hunting really work. Even some hunters do not understand. But that’s ok, big game hunting and Trophy Hunting is not for all hunters. I see all harvested animals as a trophy, it’s something I set out to do, worked hard to accomplish and a goal I reach. I will never have any regrets of being a hunter, traveling the world or providing for myself and many others. I don’t mean for my hunting to offend anyone, but I’ll NEVER apologize for being a hunter! Keeping the Species Alive. Joyful news!! We did it!! I received a message from my Outfitters after harvesting the old bull, the young bulls were now able to join the herd and impregnate the females. This new baby, is the first they have seen in 2 years. Hunting in Africa provides one of the only sources of conservation for the animals there. The first reason I’m a hunter is conservation, the future development of the species. It’s a proven fact that hunting works, and I have the pictures to prove it! New baby born after harvesting the older male giraffe. Photo courtesy of Tess Talley