PRO­FES­SI­O­NAL HUN­TER – JOHN SHARP

SA Jagter Hunter - - INHOUD -

LIZ EDGAR/RIG­BY & CO

Tho­se of you who ha­ve had an in­te­rest in A­fri­can hunting o­ver the past 30 y­e­ars, will need litt­le by way of in­tro­ducti­on to pro­fes­si­o­nal hun­ter (PH) John Sharp, kno­wn to ma­ny as the A­fri­can ver­si­on of Cro­co­di­le Dun­dee. With freeflo­wing hair and skin tan­ned by y­e­ars spent hunting un­der the gla­re of the A­fri­can sun, he’s of­ten found wa­ding a­cross so­me re­mo­te ri­ver or trek­king the Zim­bab­we­an plains with his Rig­by .470 N.E. dou­ble ba­lan­ced o­ver his shoul­der.

In his three-plus de­ca­des of hunting in A­fri­ca, John says the Bu­bye Val­ley Con­ser­van­cy (BVC) in the south of Zim­bab­we, w­he­re he’s now ba­sed, is tru­ly the fi­nest a­rea he has en­coun­te­red. John is a pas­si­o­na­te con­ser­va­ti­o­nist, with a deep un­der­stan­ding of the na­tu­ral wor­ld, a true am­bas­sa­dor for the s­port and has a li­fe­sty­le we all se­cret­ly as­pi­re to.

Li­zEd­gar(forJohnRig­by& Co) spo­ke to this le­gen­da­ry PH to find out a bit mo­re a­bout his trus­ted rifle, as well as his ex­pe­rien­ces in the A­fri­can bush.

John, tell us a bit a­bout your­self.

I got my Le­ar­ner Pro­fes­si­o­nal Hun­ter’s Li­cen­ce in 1978. Soon af­ter that Zim­bab­we gai­ned its in­de­pen­den­ce from B­ri­tain, so I de­ci­ded to re­turn to Ca­pe Town to wa­tch from a­far w­hat the new go­vern­ment would do. In Ca­pe Town, I boug­ht the Hard Rock Café and ran that for three and half y­e­ars be­fo­re I sold it in De­cem­ber 1982. E­ar­ly in 1983 I re­tur­ned to w­hat had be­co­me Zim­bab­we and did my pro­fi­cien­cy test, kick-star­ting my ca­reer as a full-ti­me PH, and I’ve been hunting e­ver sin­ce.

Ha­ve you al­ways hun­ted in Zim­bab­we or ha­ve you hun­ted in ot­her parts of A­fri­ca as well?

I’ve hun­ted ex­ten­si­ve­ly in Tan­za­nia, Zam­bia, Mo­zam­bi­que, Botswa­na and Zim­bab­we, and be­fo­re I was a PH, in Na­mi­bia. You could say I’ve been a­round, but Zim­bab­we has al­ways been my fa­vou­ri­te coun­try and I’m pret­ty much sett­led the­re now.

Tell us a­bout the Rig­by you’ve hun­ted with.

I ha­ve a Rig­by .470 N.E. dou­ble, which was built in 1927 but re- bar­rel­led by Hol­land & Hol­land in the 1960s, so it lost its col­lec­tor va­lue. A client of mi­ne boug­ht it for me a­bout 20 y­e­ars ago and I’ve been u­sing it e­ver sin­ce.

How of­ten ha­ve you had to use your Rig­by in a pro­fes­si­o­nal con­text? Ha­ve you e­ver had to back anyo­ne up?

Yes, ma­ny ti­mes. The­se t­hings are in­e­vi­ta­ble in the li­fe of a PH and ha­ve hap­pe­ned mos­t­ly with buf­fa­lo and e­lep­hant, and the odd li­on o­ver the y­e­ars. For le­o­pards I use a three-and-a-half inch 12-gau­ge shot­gun. A le­o­pard can co­me from any di­recti­on, and with a few pe­op­le mil­ling a­round on the fol­low-up, I don’t want to be fi­ring a he­a­vy pro­jecti­le that could wound or kill mo­re than the le­o­pard.

How has your Rig­by per­for­med for you?

My Rig­by is an ex­ten­si­on of my­self – as much a part of me as my arm. If I am in the bush and not car­rying it I feel na­ked, and I’ve been told that I look na­ked too. It has ne­ver let me do­wn.

Can you re­call a ti­me the Rig­by .470 N.E has e­ver sa­ved your li­fe?

E­ach and e­very ti­me I shoot an in­co­ming dan­ge­rous a­ni­mal, that rifle sa­ves my li­fe, and the li­ves of ot­hers, and I ha­ve shot ma­ny. In the e­ar­ly sta­ges of a PH’s ca­reer plen­ty of mis­ta­kes are ma­de, and luck is too of­ten a fac­tor, but one le­arns. As the y­e­ars be­co­me de­ca­des in an ol­der PH’s li­fe, that ex­pe­rien­ce trans­la­tes in­to a rich sa­fa­ri wit­hout un­hap­py dra­mas – on­ly the

Le­gen­da­ry PH John Sharp.

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