PH Dylan Homes – From camera to gun
African Hunting Gazette: Tell our readers a little bit about your personal background and where/how you grew up.
Dylan Homes: I was fortunate enough to be brought up in a farming environment. Hunting and fishing was the highest priority from a young age. I spent some time in the Eastern Cape as well as Natal for most of my life. I began my career in the hunting industry in 1998 and have enjoyed all of it.
AHG: How and why did you become a PH? Who have been your most influential mentors?
DH: I answered an advertisement in the newspaper for a position as a videographer. I had never seen or used a video camera, but I answered anyway. A few days later I was filming my first safari and the rest is history.
I have been very fortunate to share a camp fire with a lot of great people in my time, but I have to say that most of what I know and have achieved in the hunting industry is all through Mark Haldane.
AHG: What countries have you hunted and where are you currently hunting?
DH: I have hunted Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Australia, Alaska, and South Africa. I am currently hunting in Mozambique as well as wing shooting in South Africa. I will be doing a wing shooting safari to Zimbabwe later this year.
AHG: What is your favourite animal to hunt and why?
DH: Bushbuck – they are special animals. You must know what you doing to get your clients good trophies consistently. I personally enjoy hunting them as well.
I am also very keen on wing shooting. Conducting good wing shooting safaris is no easy task, but I believe we have the right formula.
AHG: What guns and ammo do you use to back-up on dangerous game?
DH: I have a Merkel 140AE in 470 and use Hornady DGX, 500-grain ammunition.
AHG: What guns and ammo do you recommend for clients for dangerous game? For plains game?
DH: A .416 REM with Hornady ammo is a good combination for clients on dangerous game. On plains game, the rifle he shoots the most at home. A well-placed shot with a familiar rifle is hard to beat, within reason, obviously.
AHG: Tell us about what you consider to be the greatest trophy you’ve taken with a client.
DH: A bushbuck we hunted in an open area in Natal. Saw him on the first day and could not get a shot at him. Three days later we found him again and he gave us an opportunity. Paul took him on 11 September 2001. He was a beautiful bushbuck. He measured 18 6/8 if memory serves me correctly, and had a wonderful shape.
AHG: What has been your closest brush with death while hunting? As you look back, is there anything you should have done differently?
DH: I was helping a professional hunter look for a buffalo that his client had wounded. After several hours of tracking in thick vegetation the buffalo charged from 10 metres. I was fortunate to drop him at four paces with a shot to the brain. I do not believe there is anything I would have done differently, the situation ended well.
AHG: What qualities do you believe to be most important to achieving success as a PH?
DH: Honesty, Reliability and Dedication.
AHG: And what qualities go in to making a good safari client?
DH: Practice shooting off shooting sticks, be prepared, and ask as many questions as you like before you leave home.
AHG: What one thing would you suggest to your hunting clients to help improve their safari experience?
DH: Try to relax, experience the beautiful places you have paid a lot of money to get to. Trust your guide – he wants you to have a good time.
AHG: Have you noticed any significant changes in the hunting industry over your years as a PH? Any changes in the clients over that time?
DH: Safaris are much shorter; time constraints are creating pressure-cooker safaris. I think clients have not changed much – the industry has changed the client’s expectations, especially in South Africa.
AHG: What can the hunting industry do to contribute to the long-term conservation of Africa’s wildlife and of hunting itself?
DH: Stand together, clean our act up properly, and root out those who disrespect nature and give our industry a bad name.
AHG: What advice would you give to a young man or woman interested in a career as a PH?
DH: Find a reputable outfitter and request to spend some time in the industry first. Find out if it is really what you want to do because it’s not all “charging buffalo and big tips”.
AHG: Any final words to our readers?
DH: Respect nature. Respect the animals we are making a living off, and respect each other.
Keep safe and happy hunting.