The legalities of hunting in Mozambique (MOZ) are different than the legalities of hunting in Republic of South Africa (RSA). It is important for safari enthusiasts to understand some of these differences as explained below.
To begin, lets review some of the precepts of the North American Model of Game Management. Most Americans and Canadians are familiar with this model which includes, in part, some of these commonly held principles:
(1) The government has a sovereign interest in the wild game resource. This means no private individual may harvest a game animal, on either private land or public land, without first obtaining permission (a hunting license) from the government having regulatory control over that resource. Thus, the government intensively regulates nearly all aspects of hunting on both private and public land.
(2) Commercial sales of harvested game meat by individual sportsmen or women is disallowed.
(3) The government specifies a certain hunting season with established beginning and ending dates, and sets bag limits for each species.
(4) The government, through regulation, takes extensive measures to promote “ethical hunting” and “safe hunting” by legislation. For instance game meat may not be left in the field, most game may not be hunted at night, game may not be be shot from a vehicle, hunters must wear safety clothing (blaze orange), etc.
These are just some of the common precepts, and certainly not all of them.
Hunting in South Africa
The legalities of hunting in RSA may appear as starkly different from the North American Model as well as to existing conditions in MOZ. Here are some principle differences in RSA as compared to the North American model.
(1) The government does not hold a sovereign interest in the wild game resource. Rather, the private landowner owns the resource. Therefore, for the most part, permission of the government is not required in order to harvest game animals on private land; that is, no actual “hunting license” per se is required to harvest these game animals. Instead, the hunter pays the landowner a “trophy fee” for each animal brought to bag*. The management and control of the game resource is primarily the responsibility of the private landowner, thus the private landowner has a financial incentive to manage the resource well for the long term. Government oversight, for the most part, is limited to regulations ensuring that stocking levels are reasonable for the habitat and that the habitat is not irretrievably damaged.
(2) Commercial sales of harvested game meat is legal, producing further economic incentive to the private landowner to maximize stocking levels and off-take, which produces high-volume hunting opportunities for the hunting clientele.
(3) There is a specified “hunting season” for residents of RSA, however outfitters/professional hunters in the business of hosting hunting clients are issued an “exemption” from the hunting season. Thus, the length of the hunting season is dictated mostly by climate and weather conditions and not government regulation. There are no government regulations limiting bag limits. For example, If the client wants to shoot 10 impala he may do so, so long as he can afford the trophy fees and so long as stocking levels of mature animals allow this possibility.
(4) The government exerts little, if any, influence in the manner in which animals are harvested. Game meat is not left in the field simply because there is a distinct economic disincentive for doing so (loss of sale of game meat). Many game species are only hunted at night because they are nocturnal in nature (e.g. like the racoon in North America). Also, it is perfectly legal to shoot from a vehicle. In many biomes in South Africa at certain times of the year vegetative growth is so high that certain species could never be harvested if shooting from the elevated bed of a truck were illegal. Because the number of hunters allowed on specific hunting concessions is strictly controlled by the outfitter (most often no other hunters other than those booked by that outfitter, and limited to one vehicle) the outfitter has control over the location of the hunter and so there is no requirement for blaze orange hunting wear.
This is just illustrates some of the distinctions between the two models of game management. The narrative is not meant to be all-inclusive.
*NOTE: While a “hunting license” per se is not required, the payment of fees to harvest specific animals may come into play. These fees are regulated by the separate provinces within RSA and possibly by CITES. In the first instance, provinces maintain lists of what they consider to be Threatened Or Protected Species (TOPS). There is an advance permit and payment required to harvest animals on that list. In addition, the harvesting of certain animals regulated by CITES treaties also require an advance payment to secure the export documents for those animals.
Hunting in Mozambique
The legalities of hunting in MOZ are made distinct by the fact that our hunting takes place on government-owned hunting concessions. Therefore, the government definitely has a sovereign interest in managing the wild game resource. Toward that end, it does establish a hunting season, which typically runs from July through the end of November. It sets bag limits through the issuance of a “quota system” per hunting concession. Therefore, by regulation, we are only given legal permission to hunt so many lions, leopards, cape buffalo, etc. each season for the hunting concession assigned to us. Thus, once a client pays a monetary deposit to secure a hunting reservation with us for specific animals, when the assigned quota is used up for that hunting season there is no further opportunity to harvest any additional numbers of that particular species until the next hunting season. By way of example, if we have quota for two leopards, when the right to hunt those two leopards is reserved by clients making a monetary deposit, there are no more leopards to be hunted that season. Two important points to make here: (1) this is different from RSA where, for the most part, the client may shoot whatever he can afford, and (2) it emphasizes the importance of the client making hunting reservations for MOZ as early as possible before the quota is taken by other hunters.
Other distinctions about hunting in MOZ are the following: The government requires the hunter to purchase a general purpose “hunting license”. Currently, the cost is $350. A license is also required for each specific species, however we include this in our trophy fee quote, so it is not listed as a separate item. The government requires the visiting hunter to apply for a “temporary firearm importation permit”. Presently, RSA does not have such a fee requirement, but MOZ does. Currently, the cost to process and issue this permit is $250. These documents must be procurred in the capital of MOZ, which is Maputo. Someone has to complete the required applications for these documents, file them in Maputo, pick them up in Maputo when issued, and then ferry them to Nampula to deliver them to the visiting hunter upon his arrival. We must engage a courier for this service who currently charges a fee of $250 for this service. Finally, if the client intends to harvest animals governed by CITES regulations there are fees associated with the procurement of the necessary CITES export documents. None of the previously described fees go to Chacma Hunting Safaris, and they all must be payed in advance.
DISCLAIMER: The narrative description, as written above, is intended merely to distinguish between some of the long held cultural differences known to historically exist between the named countries as pertains to hunting. Cultures, and certainly laws, tend to vary over time, so some of the distinctions made above may not be fully accurate as time passes. The narrative is intended merely to give the prospective client a better understanding of the existing differences as we know them to be at the time of this writing. Fees listed may change at any time.