Sitka Gear
small cats in Africa
International
Contributors to this thread:
Green Chile 18-Jan-23
Tradmike 18-Jan-23
Zebrakiller 19-Jan-23
Green Chile 19-Jan-23
JTreeman 19-Jan-23
Firehuntfish 19-Jan-23
Firehuntfish 19-Jan-23
Firehuntfish 19-Jan-23
Zebrakiller 19-Jan-23
GhostBird 19-Jan-23
Firehuntfish 19-Jan-23
Green Chile 19-Jan-23
fuzzy 19-Jan-23
Bou’bound 19-Jan-23
Firehuntfish 20-Jan-23
Buffalo1 22-Jan-23
TXCO 24-Jan-23
JIMBOW 25-Jan-23
From: Green Chile
18-Jan-23
I would like to get some of the small cats on my next hunt. How are most of them taken...last light...at night...on bait...with dogs? Also, if you're trying to get a serval or caracal, do they jump the string a lot? I was wondering if a crossbow is better on the small twitchy cats or is normal archery tackle fast enough to take them at typical distances? For those who have taken the small cats, what was your experience like?

From: Tradmike
18-Jan-23
Shot a carrical at last light over a water hole. Only one I saw in 8 trips to Africa. Good luck on your quest.

From: Zebrakiller
19-Jan-23
i also shot a caracal at a water hole 2 in the afternoon pure luck, only 1 for me also in 7 trips, I have hunted night blinds for civet genet and honey badger and bushpig

From: Green Chile
19-Jan-23
Two caracals seen and taken in 15 trips...clearly they are targets of opportunity. Any thoughts on their reaction time to arrows? Is it a factor or not really?

From: JTreeman
19-Jan-23

JTreeman's embedded Photo
Camp Pet
JTreeman's embedded Photo
Camp Pet
Gonna be a tall order getting one of any cat species if that is the target. I’d guess night time hunting would be best bet. I’ve spent close to 12 week over 4 trips and never seen any of the cat species besides leopard and lion and those were both from the truck. Sounds like a cool trip though. I’d exhaustively research outfitters being crystal clear what you want, they all like to tell you what they have, bust sometimes it on a different property or seasonal, or they saw none once, etc. Gonna be a tough one, especially with a bow.

—Jim

From: Firehuntfish
19-Jan-23
As the others have already correctly commented, caracal is most often a chance encounter at the hides and a target of opportunity. They do occasionally respond to callers and decoys, but they are a fairly rare species, so you just don't see a lot of them because of their limited numbers. With that being said, there are a handful of African outfitters who specialize in hunting them with dogs and have a pretty good success rate. It's a hunt that you would have to research and pre-arrange with the outfitter.

In regard to the other species, you have much better odds using a variety of methods. Most of these cats and other small predators are taken at night by either driving around and spotlighting (which is legal), or utilizing an electronic caller, or over bait from a hide. Species like genet (large & small spotted), civet, African wildcat, porcupine, honey badger, brown hyena, and jackals can be taken by all of these methods fairly consistently. It's not uncommon to see most, if not all of the species above in a few nights of hunting the African bushveld. You should have no problem getting shot opportunities with either a gun or bow & arrow. Most of the time, they will freeze in the light and do not react to the shot.

Hunting these small predators and varmints at night is one of my favorite things to do in Africa. Just make sure to let your outfitter know that you want to pursue some of these critters so they can prepare beforehand especially if baiting is required. Also, most of these small predators now require harvest permits and they are limited in number. You will need to have a permit to export them back home as trophies. You need to let your outfitter know well before your arrival if you want to hunt for any of these permitted species and plan to have them sent home.

I have a bow-mounted sniper hog light that works great for night hunts. I recommend getting one especially if you decide to do any hunting over bait from the hides. Bring lots of arrows with lighted nocks.

From: Firehuntfish
19-Jan-23

Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
Brown Hyena taken over bait
Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
Brown Hyena taken over bait
Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
Small Spotted genet taken spotlighting
Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
Small Spotted genet taken spotlighting
Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
African porcupine taken spotlighting
Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
African porcupine taken spotlighting
Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
African wildcat taken with electronic caller/decoy
Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
African wildcat taken with electronic caller/decoy

From: Firehuntfish
19-Jan-23

Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
Civet cat taken over bait
Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
Civet cat taken over bait
Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
Wife's small-spotted genet taken spotlighting
Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
Wife's small-spotted genet taken spotlighting
Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
Spring hare night-time spot & stalk
Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
Spring hare night-time spot & stalk
Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
African porcupine spot & stalk
Firehuntfish's embedded Photo
African porcupine spot & stalk

From: Zebrakiller
19-Jan-23
Im doing this hunt next weekend

From: GhostBird
19-Jan-23
Ever see any bat-earred fox or aardwolf?... and are they legal to hunt?

From: Firehuntfish
19-Jan-23
"Ever see any bat-earred fox or aardwolf?... and are they legal to hunt?"

I have seen lots of bat-eared foxes and a few aardwolf from a distance. The foxes are protected in RSA. Not sure about aardwolf which is actually in the hyena family.

From: Green Chile
19-Jan-23
Thanks for all of the great replies and photos. Certainly if one is seen in daylight, it should be taken. It sounds like night/bait hunts are the highest odds. I'm also not opposed to a shotgun or rifle for some hunts. To me, it's all about the experience and memories.

From: fuzzy
19-Jan-23
So many smart-ass comments I won't make....

From: Bou’bound
19-Jan-23
a porcupine spot and stalk. that's an accomplishment. well done.

From: Firehuntfish
20-Jan-23
"a porcupine spot and stalk. that's an accomplishment. well done."

Thanks, but more luck involved than skill. The odds increase if the property has crop fields adjacent to river bottom where they like to make their burrows. With some luck, you can catch them making their way from the crop fields back to their burrows at first light.

From: Buffalo1
22-Jan-23
I shot at and missed a caracal one afternoon just before sunset in Namibia. I have never seen an animal just so high, so fast in all of my life. It was a truly unforgettable experience.

My last trip to South Africa, night hunted 2 nights - saw many small cat species and other nighttime creatures. It was like another world of Africa. I did not shoot any. Just wasn’t really interested- kinda like coon hunting back home.

From: TXCO
24-Jan-23
Ive hunted caracal with dogs twice. Lots of fun and tough to get an arrow in the brush they hole up in. Ive shot a civet, genet, porcupine spotlighting which is a blast as well.

Serval are so hard to find itll be all luck any method.

From: JIMBOW
25-Jan-23

JIMBOW's embedded Photo
JIMBOW's embedded Photo
Took this African Wildcat on a waterhole, last bit of light and it didn't jump the string, shot was about 20 yards.

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