The leopard is one of the most sought after hunting trophies, but also one of the hardest to come by. Here are a few leopard hunting tips for you:
Leopards are solitary, and predominately nocturnal. They are clever and very wary. Success rates in leopard hunting is much lower than with most other species.
If a professional hunter does five leopard hunts in a year and shoots four, that is only 80%. That by the way is an outstanding year. So your chance when hunting is only 80% at the very best. When you see at the conventions people advertising that they are 100% on cats, what they are really saying is 100% on quota, i.e. five cats, seven clients.”
~Lou Hallimore -noted Zimbabwean leopard hunter
There are two ways to hunt leopards. “Bait and blind” is the most common, but hunting them with hounds or Bushman trackers is increasing rapidly in popularity.
Every PH will have his own methods of baiting leopards, and something can be learned from Lou Hallamore who advises – “This is probably the most critical part of the hunt. On reaching an area a good pro will work out pretty quickly what the leopard population is surviving on. Some areas for example do not have big populations of impala and so the leopards feast on duiker.”
Hunting leopard with hounds is certainly one of the most exciting forms of sport hunting available.
Shot Placement and Caliber Selection for Leopard Hunting
You don’t need a large caliber rifle or even premium bullets for leopard hunting. A 7×57 or .308 with standard soft point ammo is perfect. If you are shooting from a blind you will require a good quality scope on your rifle though, and ‘scope choice is probably more important than caliber used. A high magnification ‘scope is unnecessary. The leopard will not be shot at long range, but will probably be shot in poor light. An illuminated reticule of some sort is an advantage, but definitely avoid too fine a cross hairs.
As for shot placement on leopards, the only trick is to remember is to place the bullet through the heart you have to shoot behind the shoulder.
Never shoot a leopard facing you – there is too much room for error
Never shoot a cat standing on its hind legs eating a bait
Never shoot a cat lying down – the room for error is ZERO
Always test fire before going into the blind