The leopard is one of the most tricky quarries. While lion is hunted with your heart, leopard is hunted using your mind. A mature Tom is typically master over a vast territory, which he constantly patrols and covers completely over a period of one to two weeks. It is unusual to spot a leopard in the daylight in Africa, because they usually operate at night, which makes them nocturnal animals.
Leopards can usually be found while they travel along riverbeds and hunting roads. During the day, they will rest under thick cover provided by trees, or on rocky outcroppings. They can go without water for extended periods, as they will extract it from their prey, but when water is available, they will drink regularly.
A leopard can eat up to 20% of its body weight in a single feeding. Their food includes all meat sources, and they are not picky about the quality of their feed. They love impala, but they will gladly eat scavenged, rotten meat as well.
The smallest of the Big Five, the leopard should never be underestimated. He is shy and solitary, but extremely cunning and elusive, thanks to his exceptional senses. Mature male leopards can weigh anywhere from 120-200 pounds, with the more slender females weighing up to 130 pounds and measuring a shoulder height of approximately 30 inches.
This big five animal is a rare and popular trophy desired by many hunters.
A rare and popular trophy desired by many hunters
|Scientific Name:||Panthera pardus|
|Gestation Period:||90 - 105 days|
|Male Weight:||31 kg|
|Female Weight:||23 - 27 kg|
|Male Height:||60 - 70 cm|
|Female Height:||57 - 64 cm|
Only two things can throw off this big cat's schedule: females and food.
Most often, your professional hunting team will set up bait in a climbable tree branch along paths the leopard frequents. In fact, the baiting will start weeks ahead of your hunting trip. The scent of blood, guts and decaying flesh will attract the leopard to the bait. It may even encourage him to feed during the day time.
During the hunting trip, your hunting team will watch his approach from a nearby hunting blind.
Shots are typically fired from a set position, approximately 50-70 yards from the leopard and accuracy is paramount, because a wounded leopard will not hesitate to charge. They are strong enough to carry carcasses up to three times their body weight into high tree branches. Leopards are also incredibly fast, with sharp nails that can easily kill a hunter.
The minimum lawful caliber for hunting leopard is .375. If you have to follow a wounded leopard into the bush, have a large caliber double rifle handy. A wounded cat is extremely dangerous, so exercise caution in your follow up.
Only professional experienced hunters or cullers should attempt headshots, and not by meat hunters.
The high heart / lung shot is ideal if you want to spoil as little of the meat as possible. Aim directly up the foreleg, just a couple of inches below the horizontal mid-line, and just slightly to the rear.
A neck shot can be placed at any point along the length of the neck.