WINGSHOOTING – in South Africa
The African continent offers a large number of species of game birds and is quickly becoming known as the “New Argentina” for the traveling wing shooter and trophy collector.
South Africa offers the wing shooter a variety of game birds as good, if not better, than those found in the Argentina but with fewer restrictions on the importation of trophies.
Many trophy hunters are keen to learn about the experience of Upland and Waterfowl hunts on the African continent and our team of seasoned wing shooters and professional hunters are eager to assist.
There is a healthy variety of naturally occurring game bird species available and it is important to take note of the fact that no pen reared or artificially raised birds are offered. The core emphasis of our shoots are variety, rather than quantity. Apart from Pigeons and doves, all game birds carry a legally prescribed daily bag limit and season.
In addition game bird shooting makes for a unique combination when added to either plains game or a dangerous game hunt as well as the options of photographic and touring safaris allowing the complete family experience.
The following species make up the majority of birds pursued:
The two main geese species available are the Spurwing, which is a large tenacious bird, up to 9 kilograms (22 pounds) and the Egyptian geese. Both of which entice trophy collectors.
Ducks consist of the Yellow Bill Duck (very similar to the northern hemispheres mallard) Red Bill Teal, White Faced Whistlers, Shoveler’s and more.
Guinea Fowl & Upland Birds
The biggest in size and number and the most widespread is the Helmeted Guinea Fowl offering very exciting classic style driven shoots. These are by far the best and most challenging wingshooting experience available in South Africa as the birds are all wild and resemble typical pheasant shooting except much larger.
Francolin species consist of the Swainson’s Spurfowl, Greywing and Orange River found in the foothills of the Maluti mountains near our Sandstone castle lodge.
Common African quail which is an inter-African migrant offers a “chance encounter” which always delivers an interesting “bonus”, as they are not frequently encountered.
Most hunts are conducted over well trained GSP’s and English Pointers.
This is specialist specie, indigenous to the arid central and western parts of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana in general. The Namaqua- and Burchells Sandgrouse are the main species targeted.
Dove and Pigeon
These shoots offer large rock Pigeon in number which are on par with any high volume shoot – expect to empty 4 bricks of shells a day (1000 rounds). Four species are hunted regularly, Rock Pigeon, Redeye Dove, Cape Turtle Dove and the Small Laughing or Palm Dove.
The bird shoots are based mainly the Free State province of South Africa nearby the rural towns of Kroonstad, Welkom and Bethlehem. About 100 000 hectares (247 100 acres) are available for shooting all the above species with a spectacular 5 star luxury Sandstone Lodge as the backdrop and base to your wingshooting safari. The lodge / property offers the entire experience with activities suited to not only shooters but also non hunting spouses and kids. The largest herd of purebred Arabians exists on this farm as well as rock climbing, fly fishing and shopping excursions to the nearby hamlet villages.
The different provincial Environmental and Nature Conservation Authorities annually pre-set legal bird shooting months. Normally in the Free state the season opens 1 May, and close 31 August. Sand grouse shooting in the Northern Cape are from 1 February –30 April for Namaqua and 1 May – 30 June for Burchells.
For any further information or additional options please email us with your questions – EMAIL Jim Koustas
African Game Bird Species – a guide for shooters
Species listed below may not all be available in South Africa however we list them as our hunting operation across much of central and southern Africa is capable of providing opportunities at all these species for the serious bird shooter and collector.
african black duck
A widespread waterfowl found in fast-moving streams and rivers as well as in dams – south africa: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Northern Cape, North West, Free State – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
A grey-brown bird that is easily identified by its long black spatulate bill – south africa: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, North West, Northern Cape, Free State – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe
Black and white birds with the males sporting a large knob on the top of their bills which enlarges in the breeding season! They are typically found in pans, dams and large rivers – south africa: Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique.
south african shellduck
A russet coloured duck found on freshwater lakes and dams. Interesting, they prefer to nest underground in burrows made by various mammals – south africa: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free Stateafrica: Namibia, Botswana trophy room
A distinctive white face and long-necked duck – south africa: Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
Often found in flocks and on any open fresh water, this duck has a bright yellow bill – south africa: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, Free State – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
A pale duck with a pink bill that lives in both fresh and saline open water – south africa: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Free State – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
Similar to the redbilled teal but has a noticeable blue bill and is found inland on small bodies of water.south africa: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Limpopoafrica: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
Found in fresh water, this common teal sports a distinctive red bill – south africa: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, Northern Cape, Free State – frica: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
Very common even in urbanised areas and around Cape Town are protected species. They are commonly seen roosting in trees – south africa: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, Free State – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique trophy room
An rare and uncommon orange-coloured goose that sits in floating vegetation and nests in holes in trees – south africa: Kwazulu-Natal, Limpopo – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
A very large black goose that likes water bordered by grasslands which it likes to come ashore to feed on. These birds have large sharp spurs on their wings for fighting – south africa: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, Free State – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique trophy room
southern african upland gamebirds
guineafowl – quail – sandgrouse – francolin – spurfowl
There are 21 species of Southern African gamebirds francolin, quails, guineafowls and sandgrouse. Recent classifications (Gamebirds of Southern Africa. Little, Crowe & Barlow. 2000. Hirt & Carter) separate francolins and spurfowls from partridges but farmers and locals still use old classifications. As a guideline, most francolins are not suitable for hunting but most spurfowl are.
Probably Africa’s most famous gamebirds with their bare heads and bright necks. Interestingly, this nakedness helps the guineafowl to forage in the heat of the day. There are several other species in west, central and northern Africa as well.
crested guineafowl – Known for their curly feathers on top of their heads, these guineafowl prefer forests and eat fruit and insects – south africa: KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo – africa: Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique trophy room
helmeted guineafowl - This is the most widespread upland gamebird. Recently, there has been quite substantial interbreeding with feral or domesticated guineafowl which results in white feathers and a similar loss of colour in legs and neck – south africa: country-wide except for Limpopo – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
These are the smallest gamebirds in the region and are also nomadic and migratory.
african blue quail – This quail is the rarest, its numbers being dependent on the amount of rain in a season – south africa: Kwazulu-Natal- africa: Zimbabwe, Angola, Kenya, Ethiopia, West Africa
common quail – Migrating long distances at night and moving in large groups these birds prefer grassland areas. Unfortunately, hunting them in large groups co-incides with their breeding season – south africa: country-wide – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe. North African populations Congo, Angola, Namibia, Zambia
harlequin quail – Prefering wetter grasslands, the harlequin quail form large coveys of around 20 birds in the non-breeding season – south africa: Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Free State – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia
Sandgrouse are good hunting birds and have been harvested regularly since the first European settlers arrived in the 1800s. They provide fast and furious shooting action especially in the mornings around watering points
burchell’s sandgrouse – These sandgrouse are well adapted for the desert’s intense heat – south africa: Northern Cape, North West, Limpopo – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Angola
double-banded sandgrouse – Preferring wooded areas, the double-banded sandgrouse are usually nocturnal – south africa: Limpopo, Northern Cape – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola
namaqua sandgrouse – Named for the desert area that they frequent, the namaqua sandgrouse forms large coveys in the non-breeding season – south africa: Western Cape, Northern Cape – africa: Namibia, Botswana
yellow-throated sandgrouse – This is the largest of the sandgrouse and is found mainly in wet areas such as swamps and rivers – south africa: Limpopo – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia
coqui francolin – The coqui francolin is the smallest francolin in the region and is also the most widely spread, although its grassland habitats are under threat of destruction. They have a particularly late breeding season is late and most hunting takes place in the late winter and spring months to accommodate this – south africa: Kwazulu-Natal, Limpopo – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
crested francolin – Most commonly known as a partridge to local farmers, this bird responds well to calling. It is found in woodlands or thick bush and is fairly widespread in the area – south africa: KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Gauteng – africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe,Mozambique
greywing francolin – The most hunted species and the only southern African francolin to really withstand commercial shooting, this is one of South Africa’s most successful commercial wingshooting ventures, particularly in the Eastern Cape -south africa: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Free State
orange river francolin – A prolific gamebird in the Northern Cape up until the 1930s, this francolin prefers both sandy areas and grasslands – south africa: Limpopo, Free State, Northern Cape – other: Namibia, Angola, Botswana
redwing francolin – This is the largest of the francolins and frequents grasslands, much of which is under threat – south africa: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Free State
shelley’s francolin – Shelley’s francolin is found mainly in more moist grasslands – south africa: Kwazulu-Natal, Limpopo – africa: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
cape spurfowl – This is the largest of the spurfowl family and is unique to the heath vegetation areas of South Africa – south africa: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Karoo, West Coast
hartlaub’s spurfowl - The smallest spurfowl, the Hartlaub is found around stony outcrops and in sandy areas. It is endemic to Namibia.
natal spurfowl - Forming coveys of about 10 birds, these birds are found in a wide variety of areas. They have been known to search elephant and rhino dung for seeds – south africa: Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, Free State – other: Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique
redbilled spurfowl – Often referred to as “wild” chickens because of their scratching for food on the ground, these spurfowl frequent dry and sandy areas – south africa: Northern Cape – other: Angola, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana,
rednecked spurfowl – Found mainly in dense forests and wooded areas – south africa: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo – other: Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia
swainson’s spurfowl – Still known as Swaison’s Francolin, these birds have responded well to changes in their environment and encroachment by habitation and agriculture. They live in tall grasslands and have been seen to feed in the moonlight – south africa: Free State, North West, Gauteng, Limpopo – other: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique
Require further information – please don’t hesitate to contact us