The leopard is one of the most beautiful big cats in Africa and is also a great challenge to hunt. Hunting leopards in Tanzania and Zimbabwe means hunting over bait. The bait is hung in a tree near a hunting blind and then the waiting begins. Scent trails are also created by dragging the bait towards the location where it will be hung. This helps to lead the leopard to the bait and offer a shot to the patient hunter.
Patience is key when hunting the leopard and a hunt lasting 14 days is often required to have a successful hunt. Leopards have very large home ranges and predicting when they will be in a certain part of that range is very difficult.
Leopards are very beautiful cats. They have a tawny colored base coat that is covered in black rosettes and random splotches of black fur especially near the head and chest area. The coloration of a leopard’s coat can vary depending on the terrain in which it has chosen to live. For example, a leopard living in a desert region will be paler to blend in with the sand while a leopard living in a colder climate will appear to be grayer in color.
The male leopard will reach seven feet in overall length and weigh anywhere between 60 and 200 pounds. Leopards will eat just about any animal that is small enough for them to catch including antelope, monkeys, warthogs, rabbits, and even livestock in some areas. They usually stay in their rock cave dens during the heat of the day, but may also be spotted relaxing on a large tree branch. They are adept climbers and use trees for safety and relaxation. They become active hunters once the sun sets behind the horizon and the temperatures cool down.
A wounded leopard is incredibly dangerous, so careful attention must be paid to making an accurate shot to the animal’s vital areas. The last thing you want to do is have to track a wounded leopard to finish the job. Rifle optics are usually not necessary as shots are usually between 30 and 50 yards and are taken from a solid rest. The minimum required caliber in Tanzania for leopard is .375 H&H. Zimbabwe regulations require a minimum caliber of 7mm. Any rifle chambered in a .300 caliber will do well when paired with a soft bullet.