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Professional Hunter Spotlight – Q&A with PH Scot Burchell of Frontier Safaris

SCI: What is your most memorable experience with a client?

SB: The first time I guided Craig Boddington and his wife Donna on a plains game hunt in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. I was young and an inexperienced PH. Never did I expect to guide the legendary Mr. Boddington, especially on one of the last episodes of Tracks Across Africa, a TV show I grew up watching. What made it so memorable was the countless lessons I learned from Craig. He shared his incredible hunting stories, exquisite caliber knowledge and simple but effective glassing tips. Seven years later, I hunted with Craig several more times, but it was that first hunt that created lifetime-lasting memories.  

SCI: Where were you born and raised?

SB: I was born and raised on my family ranch in the Eastern Cape South Africa, an hour north of Port Elizabeth. With over 75,000 acres of land to explore, it was the greatest upbringing. I moved to Namibia and managed our two family ranches in both North and South Namibia.

SCI: What led you to become a professional hunter?

SB: Growing up on the ranch in a safari outfitting environment, hunting came naturally. It was our way of life. Becoming a professional hunter was not a matter of professional choice. I am extremely grateful it was chosen for me.

SCI: What species do you hunt?

SB: Frontier Safaris specializes in the plains game species of South Africa and Namibia. My favorites are the spiral horned kudu, bushbuck, nyala and eland. They invoke a challenge few other plains game species do. Whether it is because of the terrain in which they live, their generally shy persona, or perhaps their sheer beauty, there is something unique about them. My favorite species to hunt is the Cape buffalo. The look of intimidation on their face, cunning attitude and keen sense of smell makes them the most exciting animals to hunt, especially in the thick brush of the Eastern Cape.

SCI: What firearms do you carry on hunts and why?

SB: On plains game hunts, I rarely carry a firearm, besides my side arm, but I always have a spare rifle just in case my client falls and damages his or her rifle. My all-around plains game rifle is my Blaser R93 in .300 Win. Mag. On a dangerous game hunt, I carry my Zanardini .577 Nitro express, an Italian-built double rifle my father gave me on my 21st birthday.”

SCI: What other activities do you offer?

SB: A safari is not only about the hunt. We offer a wide range of day trips such as deep-sea fishing in the Indian Ocean, elephant interactions and photographic safaris at the famed Addo Elephant National Park. For non-hunters, there are many activities available.

SCI: How many years have you been in business? 

SB: My father, Barry Burchell, established Frontier Safaris in the 1980s, being one of the first safari outfitters in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. We extended into south Namibia in the 1990s and north Namibia in the early 2000s. At age 17, I became a qualified and registered professional hunter, guiding part time my final two years of high school. When school was finished, I became a fulltime PH. Seven years later, the love for the hunt and adventure is stronger than ever.

SCI: Are you involved in local programs, such as conservation, education and anti-poaching?    

SB: I believe sustainable hunting is the greatest conservation method practiced today. We practice extensive genetic diversification by taking only animals that have reached or surpassed breeding maturity. We support anti-poaching with a team patrolling our ranch 24/7.

SCI:  In what ways are you affiliated with SCI?

SB: As a Life member of SCI, I am extremely proud of the work SCI does for hunters and outfitters.  Our niche industry is targeted by all who are against hunting, so it is important we support each other.

SCI:  What is the best piece of hunting advice you ever received and who told it to you? 

SB: I’ve never been afraid to take chances and learn, taking advice no matter who it came from. However, the advice I have always remembered may not have been intended advice, but as a simple gesture my father told me before one of my first hunts. He made sure that although it may be just another hunt for me, for the clients it is an experience they may have been saving for years to fund, or their whole lives. In simple terms, he could have said, give it your best, but I understood what he was trying to say. This motivated me to ensure I give my best on every safari for it is what I can do, as a professional hunter, for my clients.

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