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  • Writer's pictureOliver Wettstein

Handing Down Traditions

I was raised in a family where my father would travel a lot for his passion of hunting. He would go to Argentina for doves, to England for ducks and pheasants and to Africa for big game. He was also part of a consortium of people that had a hunting concession in the forests outside of Zurich, Switzerland. This is where I would go with him whenever I could from as early as I could walk. At first I just went with as a spectator, and later on I would join on the driven hunts as a beater. My father seemed to only be successful on driven hunts when I was there as a beater, maybe he felt the pressure, with me there, to show what he is capable of. Unfortunately I was never able to join in as a hunter, as I left Switzerland before I was old enough to do my professional hunting license there.

As I grew up, and we went to our property in South Africa more, I wanted to start to hunt myself, so my father bought me a pellet gun. But not before he was sure that I knew all the firearm safety rules. I was 6 years old when I started to shoot with the pellet gun and shot a couple of pigeons in our yard on the farm and from then on I was hooked. With 8 I got a .410 shotgun and could pursue “bigger” game, and shot guineafowl, partridges and rabbits with it. I loved plucking and skinning what I shot and then having it cooked up for me. It gave me a sense of accomplishment, and to me it tasted like the best 5 star gourmet meal in the world (I would have given everything 3 Michelin stars). Not soon after I upgraded to a .22 hornet and .222 Remington, with which I started to pursue ever larger game animals, like impala. I quickly progressed to larger calibers, like 8x57JS, and larger quarry.

These days I mainly shoot 3 rifles and 1 shotgun:

A 8x68s, which must be my favorite caliber of all times, and I love renting this rifle out to clients, as I know that when we go out hunting with her she will always perform.

A .308 which is custom built for long range shooting. We have got a 600m shooting range on the farm just for sport and to see who is the best shot when we have clients hunting with us.

And my trusty custom built .470NE Krieghoff double, which is my gun of choice when I am guiding or hunting any dangerous game. This gun is like an extension of me and it almost feels like the gun instinctively knows what to do in any hairy situation (and there have been a few, but more on those in a later post).

My shotgun of choice is my Beretta Silver Pigeon in 12 gauge. Wingshooting is a huge passion for me, even though I don’t get to go out nearly as much as I would want. Luckily I can always go to our clay range on the farm and practice.

South Africa has some great pigeon, waterfowl and upland hunting, and I will be writing about some of my experiences on this in posts to come.

I have been fortunate in that I have been able to hunt a lot of different species in Southern Africa from a very young age. I hunted my first DCA (Damage Causing Animal) elephant when I was 14, my first buffalo and hippo with 16 and my first leopard (which was a DIY solo hunt) with 19. I feel it has been a great part of what has shaped me as a hunter and guide, and given me the confidence to be able to guide dangerous game with my clients from all around the world.

My dream hunts these days are the sheep and goats of the world, and I am hoping that one day I can be lucky enough to be able to go and hunt some of these magnificent kings of the mountains in the far reaches of the world.

Sign up and Login and let us know who got you into hunting and what age you found the passion for this magnificent lifestyle that we live!

Until next time!

Yours truly,

Oliver Wettstein

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