PH Petrie Boshoff – Buffaloes, Baloo and Boshoff!
African Hunting Gazette: Tell us about you and your family. When and where were you born?
Petrie Boshoff: I was born in August 1981 in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. I am married to Janine and I have a Jack Russell called Baloo.
AHG: How did you become a PH? How did it all begin?
PB: It all began when I was about 10 years old, accompanying some of my friends to their farms on weekends. When I was about 15 I had my first meeting with overseas clients, and at age 17 I decided, “this is what I want to do for a living.”
AHG: Which countries have you hunted and where are you hunting these days?
PB: I have hunted alone in Namibia, but with clients only in South Africa.
AHG: If you could return to any time or place in Africa, where would it be?
PB: I would have loved to hunt East Africa, with Bell and those guys, or in the Sudan for big elephants.
AHG: Which guns and ammo are you using to back-up on dangerous or wounded game?
PB: I use a Winchester model 70 chambered in .416 Remington Magnum. The ammo I like is Soft Barnes-X 400gr, and solids are also Barnes Solids 400 grain.
AHG: What are your recommendations on guns and ammo – for dangerous game and for plains game – to your hunting clients?
PB: For plains game I recommend .30-06 with 180-gr good quality soft-nose bullets, or .338 Win Mag. with 225-gr or 250-gr soft-nose bullets. On dangerous game I recommend .375 H&H with 300-gr bullets, or any of the .416 calibers with 400-gr bullets.
AHG: What is your favorite animal to hunt and why?
PB: Cape buffalo! I just love tracking them and getting a client into a good shooting position to make a good shot. And the danger factor surrounding a wounded buffalo might have something to do with it as well.
AHG: Looking back, which was your greatest trophy and why?
PB: It was a mountain zebra that I hunted myself in the Khomas Hochland in Namibia. Telling the farm owner I would like to try to walk and stalk it, and seeing the expression on his face was priceless. Just for some of the readers that don’t know the Khomas Hochland, it is a very mountainous area and the mountain zebra is a very wary animal, that will run for miles once spooked. At last he agreed, and off I went. It took me a day and a half to get a zebra standing still within shooting range. I eventually shot one at 288m up in the mountains, and it took a loooooooong time to recover it. It was still one of the toughest hunts I ever did.
AHG: What was your closest brush with death? Looking back: Anything you should have done differently?
PB: So far, I’ve only had one close encounter with a Cape Buffalo. We were tracking a herd of seven buffalo bulls from sunrise, and eventually caught up with them at about 11 o’ clock, when they were making their way down to the river for a drink. We decided to get between them and the river, and see if we could ambush them on one of the gametrails leading to the river. We set up in some thick ravine area and could see two game trails, one at 17m and one 44 metres. My client was shooting a .458 Win.Mag. with open sights and wanted a shot closer than 50metres. The local tracker told me the buffaloes always use the game trail at 44m, so everything should work out perfect…
Well, the seven buffalo bulls came out on the 17m trail. I told my client to shoot the second bull from the front, but as I stepped out next to my client, the lead bull stopped, turned towards us and started to drop its head. I told my client, “it’s gonna charge” and that he should shoot him.
He gave the buffalo a perfect top of the heart/double lung shot, but he still came charging. I tried to brainshoot him at 14m, but he stumbled over a dead stump and it resulted in him picking up his head and me shooting too low, only stunning him momentarily. My client shot him again in the heart/lung area while he was stunned. He continued the charge, and at about 3m my client shot him through the right horn and grazing his neck. At about 2m he was starting to drop his head to hook me and I spined him by shooting him where the neck joins the body. He ended up about 3 feet in front of me.
Not much I could or would have done differently.
AHG: How has the hunting industry changed over the years? And the hunting clients themselves?
PB: The industry got a lot more competitive. Everybody wants to have a piece of the pie. And clients? The average hunter is a lot older then say 10 years back.
AHG: Which qualities go into making a successful PH and or a successful hunting company?
PB: Patience, and being a people’s person. Also, you have to know how to communicate with your clients.
AHG: And which qualities go into making a good safari client?
PB: Trust and patience. Trust your PH’s judgement and wait till he tells you when and where to shoot.
AHG: If you should suggest one thing to your hunting clients to improve their experience of their safari, what would it be?
PB: Plenty of practise shooting fast off shooting sticks – sitting, kneeling and standing up. You never know what shot is going to present itself, so be ready for anything.
AHG: Based on your recent experience in the field, do you think that any species should be upgraded to Appendix I or downgraded to Appendix II or closed all together?
PB: I think the ban should be lifted on the hunting of leopard in South Africa. Every day we see more and more leopard activity. Leopards are going to lose at the end of the day, because cattle farmers are going to start poisoning or shooting them illegally for killing their livestock.
What can the hunting industry do to contribute to the long-term conservation of Africa’s wildlife?
PB: We have to look at the image we are putting out there. Photos of any animal covered in blood with guts hanging out, is not a good advertisement for the hunting industry. Look after the animals, and keep poaching in your specific area under control.
AHG: Ask your wife, if she could do it all over again, would she still….? What is her advice to future wives of PHs?
Janine: Yes, I would do it all over again. The downside is long times away from home, but to share his passion for hunting makes up for it. My advice for future wives of PHs? Support your husband in his work and let him live out his dream and passion for hunting.
AHG: Anyone you want to say thanks to? Or to GTH (Go to Hell)?
PB:To all the bunny- and tree-huggers out there. Remember that my food, poops on your food.
AHG: Any Last Words of Wisdom?
PB: Shoot straight and always use enough gun!