Bird Shooting
Flighted duck and geese
Our waterfowl are shot during the late afternoons, as they come in to feed on harvested grain fields. Meticulous planning starting months before your arrival will ensure that your butt is placed right under the flight line.

The variety of birds on a duck and goose shoot is incredible, where shooting seven species of waterfowl by a single gun in an afternoon is not out of the norm. The birds range, amongst others, from the gigantic spurwinged goose which can reach a weight of up to 25 pounds with a wingspread sometimes reaching six feet, to the Egyptian goose, the white faced duck, the yellowbilled duck which is about the size of a mallard, to the swift little red billed teal.

Butts are needed to keep you out of sight of the geese which has extraordinary eyesight. The butts can be either from cammo netting, built from straw bales, or dug into the ground. We make use of suitable decoys to lure the birds closer to the guns.

The shooting is normally fast, with the wide variety of birds coming in at different flight speeds and heights, making for some challenging shooting. Decoys are often used and bird pickers assist each gun.

Driven guineafowl and francolin
Our guineafowl and francolin shoots are driven, trying to mimic the classic English shoot but with distinctive African spice. We make use of up to 120 chanting African beaters. After the customary safety briefing, the guns are ushered into their shooting positions by guides and assistants, and the action starts. Wild guineafowl flies deceptively fast for its size, and you can easily be caught off balance. The guineafowl is a bit bigger than an English pheasant and flying in much the same way, while each of the three species of francolin you may encounter is a little smaller.

Unlike the driven pheasant shoots in England, where you might not see the 15 or so beaters, this colorful, chanting singing bunch will come right up to you, and many a bird will be flushed right at your feet. Don’t be surprised when other creatures like kudu, warthog or duiker break through the line. If you were a bit out of breath after drawing the last peg, you will understand the odd pearl of sweat on the beater’s brow because they often cover up to three kilometers driving the birds towards you. The flock has to be flushed several times before the birds reach the gun line in order to confuse the birds and to disperse the flock. We try and provide at least nine drives in a day, resulting in the beaters covering on foot around 30 kilometres. As the sinister chorus of the African beaters draw closer, be sure that your hair will stand on end.

A great priority of Timkulu Safaris is to let benefits derived from shooting filter through to everybody and everything involved in the gamebird cycle. Not a single bird goes to waste. More than 300 working days are created by a single day’s driven shooting which will go a long way towards paying the school fees for the local children.

Dogs are used on our shoots to ensure all wounded birds are found, and to follow small coveys into the rough. At the end of the day the bag will be counted, the data also to be used for the enhancement of gamebird management, and pictures can be taken while happy Tswana beaters sing to you about the guineafowl, and of the ephemeral nature of life on the continent of Africa.

Flighted pigeon and dove
The rock pigeon is endemic to the Eastern Free State where they breed naturally on the sandstone cliffs. With his high buildings in the cities, man created artificial cliffs and cultivated fields around the cities provide an abundance of food. Couple this with their ability to breed all year round, and the result is predictable - a population explosion.

Our pigeon and dove are shot flighted, from butts. With the aid of decoys. These birds will keep the best of shots humble, as they rocket over your butt in their hundreds. Here the shooting is more instinctive than a matter of calculating lead. Five different species of pigeon and dove are encountered. Real hot barrelled stuff.

Flighted sandgrouse
For our sandgrouse shoot we move North to the Kalahari desert. This handsome little bird is merely bigger than a dove, but with a skin no human fingers can tear. Every morning the Namaqua sandgrouse gather in flocks and fly up to sixty miles to water. It is the only bird known where the male bird’s breast feathers act as a sponge, taking in water which he then takes to his chicks, and they drink it from his feathers. Of course this happens out of the shooting season. These birds are beautifully coloured in shades of olive green and brown with black and white bars and spots.

The guns are placed in a circle around the waterhole, far enough to allow birds not shot at to come in and drink and to ensure that they are high and fast when they come over the guns. The shoot starts about one and half hours after sunrise dictated more by rising temperature than by time. The shoot starts soon after the “spotter” is over. The spotter is the first bird of the morning, flying high and straight over the waterhole, uttering the crystal clear “kelkiewyn” call that gave these birds their Afrikaans name. Sometimes you can’t even see it, you just hear that melancholic sound from the crisp blue desert sky. Soon afterwards the birds start arriving. Jinking, twisting, swirling and dashing over your butt providing excellent sport. After about two hours they vanish.

These birds offer incredible shooting, with hundreds of birds jinking and dashing over your butt, resulting in some of the highest adrenaline rushes and barrel temperatures in the shooting world. Great fun for a group of good friends.

Walked up partridge and francolin
Enjoy the company of field trial champion dogs and their handlers as we work picturesque areas that have been scouted weeks in advance for bird densities. Experience the adrenalin rush as the partridge explode in a feathered flurry at your feet.

The grey wing partridge and the red wing partridge are regarded as two of the most sporting birds in South Africa. They tend to live in exposed, hilly areas which tend to be windy and the birds are experts in using the wind to their advantage and fly extremely fast. This together with their agility in the air make them a challenging bird to hunt. The normal method to hunt is to use extremely well trained pointers and to shoot them over the point. It is best not to miss as their flight is long and birds are seldom followed up for a second attempt. It is challenging for both the pointers and the hunters as the method of hunting involves walking in some mountainous areas above 1800ft, which means that every bird bagged is a prize hard won.