SCI: What was your most memorable experience with a client?
CW: There is truly not one event as such that I remember as special. There were several buffalo charges, some close. Every time you come out of them you are a different human being.
But one safari I remember that shows the determination and focus for all of us in our company is a safari from April 2021. Uganda had gone into its first lockdown, as many other countries did in March 2020, and the safari season was basically over by then. We resumed work in November 2020 and hunted throughout the first and second quarter 2021. Then we were informed that there was a second lockdown to come from July 2021 because the Corona infections were skyrocketing.
At that time our game department had basically allowed us to carry over unutilized animal quotas from 2020 into 2021. Now we had all these buffalo tags. A dear friend of mine from Germany called asking if we would need any support. He would come, even with all these COVID restrictions, and hunt as many buffalos as he could take in seven days. In addition, at the same time we had also community meetings about the huge crop destruction and human life losses because of our ever-growing buffalo population. There was also the issue of lack of revenue shared during the lockdowns and therefore less funds available for completing already started community projects.
We booked that safari and hunted hard, focused and determined to achieve the goal of collecting 20 Nile buffalo in seven days of hunting. We got very close to our target, stopped after Day 6, started distributing the meat to the local villages around our hunting block, and looked into happy smiles.
SCI: Where were you born and raised?
CW: I was born in 1971 in a medium sized village in central Germany near a town called Muenster. After graduating high school in 1991, I had two years of army service, left after two years and went on an apprenticeship for three years in a bank. In 1995, I went to the University Georgia Augusta in Goettingen and studied business administration. During my studies I ran various businesses for my own support and set up a travel agency for hunters in 1998. The company grew quickly. In 2001, I bought a direct competitor, having created by then, one of the largest travel agencies for clients to hunt Africa. During that time, I also apprenticed under several PHs in Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Central Africa.
In 2003 I had an offer to buy a safari company in Uganda. However, I decided to set up my own business and incorporated Uganda Wildlife Safaris on January 5, 2005. We got our first block in 2008 and started with the first safaris in December 2009.
SCI: What led you to become a professional hunter?
CW: There were many hunters in my village in Germany, but I really got into it after an apprenticeship in South Africa for a German insurance company.
SCI: What species do you hunt?
CW: In Uganda, mainly buffalo, sitatunga, Uganda kob and bushbucks. All subspecies of pigs, buffalo, eland and impala in any country. Deer and roebuck.
SCI: What firearms do you carry on hunts and why?
CW: A custom made Sako in .300 Weatherby Magnum, a Streitmeier Double Rifle .470 NE made in Ferlach and a .460 Weatherby Mag built in 1956 in Germany
SCI: What other activities do you offer?
CW: Fishing, photo safaris and bird-watching tours.
SCI: How many years have you been in business?
CW: 24 years
SCI: Are you involved in local programs, such as conservation, education and anti-poaching?
CW: Yes, we are. We run regular anti-poaching programs and law enforcement activities. We share our revenue from sport hunting with local communities, local district governments and district wildlife association The revenue shared is used for school refurbishments and income-producing activities like sunflower planting to drive away communities from poaching.
SCI: In what ways are you affiliated with SCI?
CW: I am a Life Member. We exhibit annually at the Convention. We have also donated several hunts. All outfitters appreciate SCI’s work and efforts to protect our rights to hunt worldwide and the support rendered to conservation.
SCI: What’s the best piece of hunting advice you ever received and who told it to you?
CW: If you ever get charged by an animal, do what you can! (PH Jean Begurie) Never Change, remain The Man you are! (Danny McCallum)