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Occupational Qualifications

NQF 4 Certificate in Professional Hunting

A fully comprehensive PH course preceded by NQF 2 Dangerous Game Nature Site Guide – a stand-alone course for aspiring field guides and trackers, to be completed as a pre-cursor to the PH course.

The Southern African Wildlife College’s Sustainable Use and Field Guiding department will present the following certificates in 2019. All Applications to be in by 16 November 2018. The courses outlined will provide learners with a thorough understanding of conservation management grounded in sustainably utilization and conservation principles.

Course Outline

The NQF 2 Dangerous Game Nature Site Guide course starting on 14 January 2019, allows the certificate holder to act as a “second rifle” on a walking trail or as a field guide. This course provides leaners a mastery of the knowledge and skills needed to become a competent guide and tracker with a deep understanding of the natural environment. This encompasses not only a thorough knowledge of animals but also of plants, insects, spiders, birds, scorpions, trees and soils within their natural ecosystems and how they interact and affect each other. It is an important tool for guides to be able to “read” the signs of the bush including animal behavior and body language, and to act quickly when vital decisions need to be made. The training takes place within the Greater Kruger National Park, with learners going out on foot into Big 5 territory.

Twelve people will be accommodated on the Dangerous Game Nature Site Guide course, of which some places have been filled already. The NQF 2  Dangerous Game Nature Site Guide course is a pre-requirement to the Professional Hunting Course and allows learners to go on to complete the 18 month Professional Hunting Course, should they wish to do so. To enroll candidates must have a NQF 2 Nature Site Guide qualification and proof of passing the FLC literacy and math test. The test can be done with any of the service providers listed on this website.

A maximum of ten candidates will be accommodated on the Professional Hunting Course, which will enable students to acquire the skills needed to become a competent hunting guide and operator. Also taught are how to communicate with and guide a client as well as the principles of and practices of business, marketing, catering and hospitality management. The course will start on the 13 May 2019. Following the completion of the course, the students will be expected to do a full season of hunting with an outfitter(s) in order to fill in the required experience to achieve the full Certificate from the Southern African Wildlife College. Successful individuals will thus exit with two qualifications, a NQF 2 Dangerous Game Site Guide & NQF 4 Certificate in Professional Hunting.

Timing & Costs:

The NQF 2 Dangerous Game Nature Site Guide course comprises 75 working days (90 days including weekends and public holidays).

Cost: R75 000. This includes training material, three meals a day, shared accommodation and ammunition.

The Professional Hunting Course is an 18 month course, with students having a break over the month of June after completing the NQF 2 Dangerous Game Nature Site Guide course and the start of the PH prograrmme commencing on 13 May 2019.

The second semester starts on 1 July 2019 and ends on 29 November 2019.

Cost: R60 000.

The third semester will start in January 2020, ending May 2020.

Cost: R60 000.

Thereafter the students will be expected to do a full season hunting with an outfitter before qualifying.


Students will learn:

Animal studiesIdentification and description of species. Preferred habitat. Feeding, social and breeding behaviour. Water requirements. Mammal anatomy and physiology. Wildlife diseases. Conducting post mortems. Scientific classification.

Students will be exposed to wildlife (including dangerous game) from day one for 18 months where they will learn about wildlife firsthand.

Plant studiesPlant anatomy and physiology. Identification and uses of trees, shrubs, and grasses. Vegetation and veld types. Alien invasive plants. Bush encroachment. Vegetation management. Poisonous and medicinal plants. Utilization of indigenous plants. Biomes and biome management.

Students will be practically taught how to manage vegetation, how to identify indigenous flora and know how animals and humans can utilize indigenous plants. They will ID and carry out control measures on alien plants and manage bush encroachment.

Basic ecologyStructure and function of ecosystems. Biogeochemical cycles. Population ecology. Ecology of water systems. Geology and soils. Climate and weather.

Students will be practically shown how the different parts of the ecosystem work together and how nothing operates in isolation. Population ecology has a bearing on harvest and cull rates and carrying capacity. They will be shown how weather can have an effect on daily and seasonal hunting activities.

Ethology (Animal behaviour)Identifying, understanding, and interpreting animal behaviour. Aggression, submission, predator and danger avoidance, social groupings, play, social grooming,  meeting and greeting, care of the young, communication and senses. Daily and seasonal rhythms. Breeding behaviour and seasons. Feeding and drinking behaviour. Territory and home range. Inter and intra-specific behaviour. Reading danger signals. Strategies for survival. The behaviour of wounded animals.

The key to being a successful hunter – with all its facets – is an understanding of an animal behaviour. The ability to track, stalk, approach, avoid or predict what an animal will or won’t do largely rests on one’s ability to understand and correctly interpret animal behaviour. Students will be taught on a firsthand basis how to identify and interpret animal, bird, reptile, amphibian and insect behaviour and how this relates practically to hunting.

History of professional huntingThe origins of the hunting profession. Hunters that made history. Contemporary professional hunters.

Students will be taught about the rich history of the hunting profession and be introduced to the many colourful characters and their exploits that have left their mark on hunting in Africa.

Hunting ethicsLaws pertaining to property rights relevant to hunting. Common law as it pertains to hunting. Hunters, non-hunters and anti-hunters. The danger of the animal rights movement. Hunting code of conduct. Hunting ethics and the concept of “fair chase”. A justification for hunting. Ethical guidelines for hunters.

Hunting is and always will be controversial. The major argument that revolves around hunting is whether or not man has a moral right to take the lives of animals. Hunters are viewed in a poor light by a large segment of society. It is the responsibility of hunters both to the general public, the environment and to the animals they hunt to abide by a set of rules (called “ethics”) to govern their moral behaviour. Students will be taught how to conduct themselves ethically and with integrity and how to defend hunting with sound arguments and logic.

Role of hunting in conservationManaging safe and unsafe wildlife populations. The fallacy of endangered species (mis-) management. Tools of wildlife management. Productivity of animal populations and its management implications. Threats to Africa’s wildlife. Establishing and managing quotas. The hunter’s role in anti-poaching.

Students will be taught how hunting forms an integral part of conservation and that it cannot operate independently of it.

Introduction to wildlife & vegetation managementVegetation management (Use of fire, stocking rates, bush clearing, combating alien invasives, ripping and sowing). Vegetation processes. Animal management (water, licks, burning, harvesting, culling, game capture, re-introduction, disease monitoring and management). A new conservation model for Africa.

Students are taught practical wildlife and vegetation management and will physically assist with a variety of reserve management tasks.

Reptile studiesIdentification and description of  snake, tortoise, turtle, lizard species and crocodiles. Preferred habitat. Feeding, social and breeding behaviour. Water requirements. Anatomy and physiology. Scientific classification.

Students will be taught to ID reptiles and know which are venomous and non-venomous. They will also attend a snake handling course. During practical bush excursions they will be exposed to reptiles and must learn how to deal with and avoid those which pose a physical danger to themselves and clients.

BowhuntingThe advantages and limitations of bowhunting. Bowhunting equipment. Types and characteristics of bows. Setting up and tuning bows. Bowhunting techniques. Bow maintenance and repair. Archery and bowhunting safety. Bow and arrow dynamics. Shooting techniques. Hunting mammals, birds and fish with archery equipment. Maintaining and repairing archery equipment.

Student will each be issued with a fully equipped compound bow and will also shoot with hunting recurves. They will have access to an archery range and a 3D target range.

Basic first aidBasic human anatomy and physiology. Vital signs. Assessment and examination of a patient. Airway management. Rescue breathing and CPR. Recovery position. Choking. Heart attack. Seizures. Strokes. Bleeding. Shock. Fractures. Burns. Temperatures disorders. Epilepsy. Bites and stings. Allergies. Poisoning and envenomation.

The basic first aid course, as with the later more advanced course, will be focused on rendering medical help to the sick and injured in a remote environment where the PH will be responsible for stabilizing and treating a patient, preparing the patient for transport and getting them to a hospital or doctor. A lot of emphasis will be laid on improvisation.

Arachnids, insects and myriapodaSpiders and scorpions. Millipedes and centipedes. Insects.

Students will be taught about the above. There will be a lot of focus on how to identify potentially dangerous species, where they are likely to be found, how to avoid them, and how to treat bites or stings. They will also be taught how a knowledge of spiders, scorpions, millipedes, centipedes and insects can be of help to the hunter.

Tracking skillsWhat is tracking? Tracking principles. Sensory optimization and logical reasoning. Identifying and interpreting sign. Qualities of a good tracker and basic tracking technique. Qualities of a good tracker. Identifying mammal tracks and sign. Teaching yourself to track. Understanding animal behaviour – the key to tracking wild animals.

Students will physically track and interpret sign on a day to day basis in a “big 5” training area and thus gain on the ground practical experience in tracking, approaching and stalking plains and dangerous game.  ID and interpretation of mammal scat. Id and interpretation of mammal calls. ID of  bird tracks and sign.ID and interpretation of bird calls. ID of reptile tracks and signs. ID of invertebrate calls and signs. Blood trailing. Track, stalk and approach techniques.

Students will physically track and interpret sign on a day to day basis in a “big 5” training area and gain on the ground practical experience in the ID and interpretation of mammal scat, mammal, insect and bird calls, reptile and invertebrate signs and how this all relates to hunting. They will physically follow and interpret blood spoor. They will physically track and approach mammals, reptiles, and birds and interpret their signs –  visual, olfactory and auditory.

Shot placementAnatomy and position of vital organs. How an animal is killed by a bullet or arrow. Shots disrupting the CNS (brain and spinal shots). Heart/lung shots. Insurance shots. Anchoring shots. Stationary and moving targets. When to shoot. Wound tracks and consequences. Bullet and broadhead design. Physiological responses to bullets and broadheads.

Hunting is generally done with firearms of various types or with archery equipment. It is therefore necessary to look at the way the projectiles launched by these weapons – bullet or arrow – work and the effects they have on a target animal and how these effects are determined to a large degree by shot placement. Every hunter, culling officer, field guide, ranger or wildlife worker should attempt to dispatch an animal, when it is required, in the most humane way possible. Students will have practical experience on shot placement  with firearms and archery equipment on, computer simulators, 2D and 3D animal targets and when they assist in culling programs and problem animal control.

Hunting lawLegal definitions. Biodiversity Act. TOPS regulations. Provincial ordinances. Firearm Act. Hunting categories / schedules. Bowhunting regulations.

Students will familiarize themselves with legislation governing hunting so that they know how to abide by the prescribed laws, regulations and statutes. This is to ensure that they operate within a defined legal framework.

Second semester 
Introduction to firearms and ballisticsThe Firearm Act. Legal and illegal use of firearms. Firearm safety. Parts of a firearm (bolt action, shotguns, handguns). Ammunition (components and types of ammunition). Firearm actions. Cleaning. Storage of firearms and ammunition. Firearm calibres. Choice of weapon and calibre. Fault finding and repair. Basic shooting skills. Internal, external and terminal ballistics.

Students will be taught how to work safely and competently with firearms. At this stage of the course they will shoot with air rifles and light calibre firearms and shotguns. They will comply with the training required for the basic competency in the use of rifles and shotguns. Practical shooting will take place on two accredited ranges in the Kruger National Park.

Bird studies and bird huntingThe ecological value of birds. Bird conservation. General characteristics of birds and bird orders. Identifying bird species and calls. Game birds. Description, habits, preferred habitats, feeding, nesting and reproduction. Bird hunting with firearms – rifles and shotguns. Choice of calibre/gauge. Waterfowl hunting (species, hunting methods). Hunting terrestrial game birds (species, hunting methods, dogs. Hunting birds with archery equipment.

Students will learn to ID bird species in the field both visually and by call. They will practice bird shooting with trap and skeet, shotguns and clays using both shotguns and appropriate archery equipment.

Fish studiesEcological importance of fish. Fish anatomy and physiology. Understanding fish behaviour. Sport angling. Fishing equipment. Freshwater sport fish of South Africa. Cleaning, skinning, filleting and deboning a fish. Fly fishing. Fishing knots. Bowfishing.

Fresh and saltwater angling are probably more popular the world over as a sport and pastime than what hunting is. It is also a fact that many hunters are also keen fishermen and hunting clients coming on a hunting safari to Africa often would like to do some fishing as well. It is important for the PH to know something about fish and angling so that he can speak to and advise a client on local fishing conditions, fish species and fishing techniques. Students will be taken on freshwater fishing trips to put their theoretical skills into practice.

Hunting planningSecuring hunting concessions and quotas. Hunting planning (booking, travel, medical, transit of firearms and ammunition, transit of archery equipment, tipping, suggested clothing and footwear, insurance, meeting and departure etc.). The hunting camp (situation, accommodation, ablutions, layout, equipment, catering and provisions, duties, routine etc.). Hunting administration (terms of business, permits, staff etc.)

Students will learn about all the planning and administration that goes into running a hunting operation. They will physically set up and operate a hunting camp in the training area giving attention to all the facets that go into establishing, operating and maintaining a hunting camp. They will also be taught how to interface with and inform potential clients on how to prepare for a hunt, advise them on travel arrangements, transportation of weapons, medical and insurance issues etc.

Infrastructure maintenanceErect, monitor and maintain electric fences. Control soil erosion. Construction and maintenance of roads. Pumps and power supplies. Water infrastructure. Vehicles. Building and construction. Waste management. Basic welding and brazing. General equipment maintenance.

Students will be practically taught how to maintain hunting and related equipment and infrastructure. How to service a vehicle and carry out basic repairs. How to braze and weld, fix pumps and engines, erect fences etc. etc. Running a hunting operation always involves the use of vehicles, pumps, and equipment. The competent PH must know how to maintain and repair whatever may be found in a hunting camp. He should also know how to site roads so that they do not damage the environment and how to repair eroded areas.

Trophy estimation and recordingWhat constitutes a trophy? Estimating trophy size. Measuring and recording trophies (SCI and RW methods). RW and SCI records and minimums for inclusion. Registering trophies for entrance into record books. Additional measurements.

Students will be taught how to recognize and estimate potential trophies in the field. They will familiarize themselves with and practically measure different trophies using appropriate SCI or RW methods.

Trophy managementTypes of trophies. Field dressing and trophy preparation. Trophy storage and maintenance. Dipping and packing. Legal issues. Conducting disease surveillance.

It is the duty of the PH to ensure that trophies are correctly processed so that when they are sent off to the taxidermist they are in excellent condition. During this module students will practically skin and process trophies  – horns, shoulder mounts, full mounts, rug mounts etc. – according to prescribed protocol.

TaxidermyAn introduction to taxidermy. Mammal taxidermy. Bird taxidermy. Fish taxidermy. Storage and trophy maintenance.

Students will visit a number of taxidermists to see on site how work is done. They will receive lectures from taxidermists on what they expect from PH’s in terms of trophy preparation, packaging and administration (permits etc.) before being despatched to the taxidermist.

Meat processing 
Human resource managementManagement practice. Management skills and principles. Human resource management. Manpower planning – sourcing people. Job descriptions and man specifications. Performance management. Labour relations. Developing an HR strategy and plan. Training and development.

Students will be taught the importance of how to work with staff so that a business can be run efficiently, legally and profitably. How to motivate staff, how to discipline when necessary and how to get the best out of people are dealt with. The importance of training and development are also highlighted.

Catering & hospitalityMeeting and orientation. Table attendant. Drinks service.  Carvery and buffet. Cooking. Hygiene. The role of housekeeping in hunting operations.

The PH is a host. He must see to it that his guests are made to feel welcome are comfortable and well fed. Students will set up and run a hunting camp and give attention to all its facets from making beds, keeping ablutions clean and hygienic, setting tables properly, having a knowledge of wines, cooking “5 star” bush dishes, keeping the camp well stocked etc. etc.

Marketing & business managementThe marketing mix.  Marketing and management process. Marketing yourself as a PH. Hunting marketing. Small business and financial management. Principles of financial management. Budgets. Auditing. Communication skills etc. etc.

The student will be taught the importance of marketing and how to go about marketing hunting at shows, through the media, on the Internet, through brochures, personal communication etc. He will also be taught basic business and financial skills such as budgeting, managing cash flow, invoicing, banking etc. so as to ensure that a hunting operations markets itself effectively and manages its finances on sound fiscal polices.

Mathematics modulesRevision of basic mathematics. Calculations. Graphs. Interest. Percentages. Volumes and areas etc.
English language modulesLiterature reviews. Making summaries and reports. Etc.
Students will have the opportunity to wright the National FLC Test. Failing this test, the learner will have to do ten weeks of the above modules in math and English.
Hunting with a clientWorking with a client. Pre-hunt administration and procedures. Hunting equipment. Hunting dangerous and non-dangerous game with firearms and archery equipment. Dealing with emergencies. Communicating and giving instructions to client and hunting staff. Meet and greet and departure procedures.

The student will be taught the practical skills of hunting with a client and will implement this on a day to day basis dealing with issues such as pre-hunt briefings, positioning and communicating with a client during the hunt and final stalk, indicating potential trophies and shot placement, hunting procedures, what to do after the shot, who shoots when etc,. etc. It also deals with pre-hunt issues such as marksmanship evaluation., sighting in of firearms/bows, suggesting appropriate calibres and bullets / broadheads, equipment checks (first aid, water, survival gear, navigation and communication), vehicle checks etc. Planning the days hunt. Post hunt protocol and administration. Emergencies and contingency planning. Trophy management etc. etc.

First aidHuman anatomy and physiology. Patient examination and evaluation. Airway management and ventilation. Trauma. Haemorrhage. Shock. Soft tissue trauma. Burns. Head and spinal trauma. Thoracic trauma. Abdominal trauma. Musculoskeletal trauma. Allergies and anaphylaxis. Diabetes and diabetic emergencies. Electrocution and drowning. Bites and stings (snakebite, scorpion and bee stings, spider bites, animal bites etc.). Heat disorders. Gastrointestinal disorders. Seizures. Poisoning. Cardiac emergencies and stroke.  Pharmacology venous access and medication  dministration and medical kits. Patient transport and evacuation. Infectious and communicable diseases.

The advanced first aid course will go into much more detail and will be focused on rendering medical help to the sick and injured in a remote environment where the PH will be responsible for stabilizing and treating a patient, preparing the patient for transport and getting them to a hospital or doctor. A lot of emphasis will be laid on improvisation. Students will participate in a number of staged practical scenarios where they must deal with a variety of medical emergencies in a remote environment.

4×4 driving skillsVehicle components. Vehicle maintenance checks. Trouble shooting emergencies. Vehicle accessories. 4X4 driving. Water crossings. Hilly or rocky terrain. Gravel roads. Sandy conditions. Muddy conditions. Muddy conditions. 4×4 jacking and snatch recovery. Trailer handling and towing. Off road driving – environmental aspects.

Students will be taught to drive and maintain 4×4 vehicles under different conditions. How to pack vehicles. Vehicle checks. Equipment that should be on a hunting vehicle. Getting stuck vehicles out of deep sand or mud. They will also be taught to tow a trailer and how to respect the environment when driving off road. They will also be taught how to improvise during breakdowns.

Pursue a dangerous game quarryKnowledge of dangerous game. Hunting techniques for dangerous game. Firearms for dangerous game. Hunting law related to dangerous game.
Plan a dangerous game hunt.Administration and logistics. Permits. Communicating with , preparing and testing client.
Occupational Health and SafetyOccupational health and safety in the hunting environment. Communicating and implementing safety. Assessing and controlling risks. Drills and procedures. Training needs. Safety inspections and records. Personal hygiene.

The hunting environment is potentially dangerous. There are numerous sources of potential danger and the situation may be exacerbated by remoteness. Help may not be readily available and it is essential therefore that extra care is taken to mitigate for or avoid unnecessary hazards. The student will be taught how to identify potential dangers, assess risks and within the framework of the hunting environment operate as safely as hunting conditions will allow.


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