Lion hunting in Zambia is reopening after a few years of closure, this is according to Chairman of the Professional Hunters Association of Zambia Roland Norton.
Mr Norton explained that there are clear prospects for lion hunting coming back this coming year.
“Zambia is an amazing destination for lion,” noted Mr Norton as he described the exclusively open range hunting opportunities.
“You can be very confident that if you are going with a reputable outfitter, that you are going to get a really, really good lion,” he emphasized.
Mr Norton’s positive outlook reflects an increased number of older lions in Zambia.
Those lions that were two years old when the ban took effect are now five years old, three-year-olds are now six and four-year-olds are now seven.
Mr Norton explained that originally the government tried to set the minimum age for a huntable lion at seven years, but there is no irrefutable way to determine the age of a live wild lion.
“We agreed with government to a compromise,” said Mr Norton, “and we agreed that a lion that was five years old or older would be permitted.”
Mr Norton explained how male lions have a productive age, and a post-productive age at which time they become a target for the hunting industry.
“When a lion has gone beyond his productive age,” explained Mr Norton, “he becomes a liability to the under lions who are trying to come in and take over his pride and breed his females.”
While nature often moves post-productive male lions aside, Mr Norton pointed out that was a waste when instead hunting such a lion can draw so much revenue into a country and do so much good to a community.
According to Mr Norton, Zambia has always had very good populations of lion and they always considered that they managed the lion populations very well.
“The setting of a quota and the harvesting of the lion in a sustainable way is what’s absolutely of paramount importance,” he explained.
The quota for the upcoming hunting season is 24, “…and the lion we have coming up are really, really good quality trophy lion,” said Mr Norton, adding that in his experience, it’s the Professional Hunters’ professional duty to try and shoot the oldest and most viable trophy he or she can find.