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This group of birds formerly classified as Francolin have now been split into Francolin and Spurfowl. However, as hunters, we still refer to them as Francolin. Globally there are approximately 40 species of Francolin of which 35 occur in Africa. Twelve of the most commonly hunted species occur in Southern Africa. Francolin may be hunted in the countries that offer hunting and even in Kenya where plains and big game hunting has been closed for many years. Bird hunting Outfitters are found in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, with the majority being South African.
Specialised bird hunts are mainly offered in Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Numerous Outfitters in South Africa specialise in hunting over dogs. These combination upland and waterfowl hunts range in price from $600 per hunter to $2,200 for 4 hunters. The price of the hunt is often determined by the number of people in the hunting party. Ideally, for Francolin hunting the minimum group size should be no less than 4 guns. Individual birds may be hunted for the pot and specialist bird collector safaris may be arranged as tailor-made safaris
When to hunt Francolin?
Francolin may be hunted year-round in some countries but for the true sportsman, the season is often limited to the non-breeding season. Outfitters who are serious about their bird hunting also will not hunt out of season to make sure that young birds have an opportunity to reach maturity and breed, thus ensuring Francolin covey numbers remain huntable for future hunters. It is not recommended to hunt after a drought as local bird populations will need time to recover from the natural selection that takes place during these dry times.
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The best and most successful way to hunt Francolin is over well-trained dogs. These hunts may be conducted under numerous field conditions, whether it be shooting Red-wing and Grey-wing Francolin in the high altitude grasslands or Swainson’s Francolin near cornfields to the mixed bushveld hunting for Crested, Coqui and Natal Francolin. Most importantly you need an Outfitter who has access to good and well-managed habitat. Individual birds may also be hunted for the pot during the safari.
Why hunt Francolin?
Upland bird hunters always enjoy the challenge of shooting birds in flight and marvel at the skills of a well-trained gundog working in the field, pointing and flushing birds on command. For the dog owner, there is nothing so gratifying to see all that time spent training your dog(s) come to fruition. This is also more of a social adventure than a conventional plains game hunt, a bit like a round of golf with your buddies. Some hunters are also keen collectors and go to great lengths to collect a specimen to full mount in their collection.
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