Custodians of Professional Hunting and Conservation - SA

Third annual general meeting held in Johannesburg on the 25th Nov 2020

2020 started with a bang, most of the membership attended the shows across the globe. There was much positivity and a new season was looking as good as it had ever been. A number of early season hunts took place and then it all changed and for some, forever.

COVID 19, an acronym that will be engraved on our industry and the world into perpetuity. Who could have predicted what would unfold in 2020 and create so much pain, suffering and turmoil around the globe?

Yet, in all this CPHC’s membership stood strong and we continued with our goals in much of the same “business as usual”. Zoom meetings became the order of the day and Exco built on this. During the early stages of the impact, it was pretty much assured that a convention would be out of the question. There was simply too much stacked up against this happening. Time passed and as with all things, improvements were seen and our country opened up into a state of a new normality. A normality that would eventually lead to the planning of our third convention since the inception of CPHC-SA. Fondly known as “Custodians”.

The gathering was held at a venue in Fourways, Johannesburg. The turnout was commendable and the outdoor venue offered a safe and sensible meeting place.

It was fitting that our guest speaker was Sisa Ntshona, the CEO for SA Tourism. His presentation to us was powerful and underlined the mantra that we, as Custodians, follow daily, that South Africa’s wildlife offering needs to be “wild” to attract the foreign visitors to our shores, after all, zoos are common place elsewhere and why come to a zoo? It was a discussion of identity, of where we as hunters wish to place ourselves in a modern, social media driven society.

What we do and how we project today is of an importance that sadly is missed by some. For us to achieve the acceptance we seek in the world of conservation, where “preaching to the converted” is something we are good at and often waste so much time and effort doing, we need to be getting a message out there, a message that we intrinsically believe in and we know is the right one, yet many of the ignorant do not. For much of this we can only lay the blame at the feet of our own.

As we move into 2021, the “reset” button that 2020 has pushed so hard, needs to be taken into huge consideration for us as hunters. We need a new awareness, we need a new look at how we act, how we engage with those that decry us. We need to project the correct message, one that will soften the discord that is currently so powerfully depicted in print and social media.

We need to show why hunting is so vital for conservation; we need to show the results, not the act. Hunting is not and never will be a spectator sport, the result of hunting is powerfully intoxicating and that is what we must drive from now on in.

A massive amount of kudos should go to our chairman since inception, Stewart Dorrington, whom has led us with aplomb. This year his workload was added to incalculably by his position on the High-Level Panel, advising Government on the road ahead with regard to legislation and policy on all facets of hunting and game ranching. The results of this panel are to be announced in the near future and we, as Custodians, wait with bated breath, for much good is hoped to sprout from the interactions of 2020.

CPHC-SA membership has increased to 180. This is a massive achievement in these torrid times, and we believe that our organization will only grow in time. Our criteria are fair and proper, we strongly urge those that believe in our mission statement to contact us and apply for membership.

Financially CPHC- SA is in a very strong position, Rupert Brown, our reappointed financial officer has done a sterling job managing all.

This year due to the situation we found ourselves in, travel, for the most part, was impossible for our international guests. Video messages were hugely appreciated, notably from Corey Mason of DSC. We appreciated their efforts and their unwavering support for Custodians is always a high point for us during the course of each year. We too would like to thank DSC for the very generous donation made at a time when finances for all are stretched. That was not lost on us.

Danene Van Der Westhuizen the President of the Namibian Professional Hunters Association, narrated a beautiful message, originally it was to be transmitted on a zoom platform but due to very weak Wi-Fi she spoke on a WhatsApp call, with a microphone attached to a cellphone and run through the speaker system and what a winner!

A personal journey from Danene with a very clear message that one must always stand up for the truth and what is right and good. Even in the face of much adversity the truth will always prevail.

Jens Ulrik Høgh travelled to South Africa to come and attend our meeting, he is the communications officer for Nordic Safari Club.

Jens message was one of what they intend to achieve in their own society and beyond into the Greater EU. Their goal is to inform the “fence sitters” as they are where more potential support for hunting lies, radicals will remain radicals no matter how we present the facts. His offer too in tackling bad press, wherever it might arise, was appreciated and we could well take him up on that offer.

Richard Sowry delivered yet another superb performance with his “Responsible Resource Use” presentation. Richard is becoming synonymous with incredibly well-researched information on how to tackle our detractors. He is highly recommended as a speaker in our drive to overcome the adverse knowledge out there and replace it with fact and real time examples.

Adri Kitshoff a woman of massive talent and experience in our industry, thank you for your presentation to Custodians. Once again so good to have you with us and sharing your past experiences – we do hope we learn much from them.

We also express a huge show of gratitude to Mpho Tjane from the DEA for coming to our AGM and presenting the 2019 hunting stats. We appreciate that it is often hard in current times for Government to get to all the necessary engagement and that Custodians was privileged to host him. We always appreciate his hard work and constant support for our organisation. Our collaboration will be for the betterment of hunting in South Africa.

For many years now the hunting stats for each year have been questionable in the sense that they do not capture the total value that is spent in the safari industry, so the actual value that hunting brings to South Africa is conceivably way more than the stats suggest. In the future an electronic submission by outfitters, as Mpho suggests, will go a long way in rectifying this.

Doug Cockcroft of Splitting Image Taxidermy presented the future of the 3D scanning of game animals. A very interesting option that will no doubt be of immense use in the future, not only for hunters in having what would almost be immediate replicas of the game they took by passing the long, tedious and expensive manner in which game momentos are brought home today, especially those who love the European mount but also the conservation practice of data collection in the ageing process of buffalo, as just one example.

2020 will remain a year of sadness and devastation for many around the globe. Custodians too was not spared such, recently one of our most loyal supporters Clive Curtis, lost his wife Tarryn, in a motor accident. The shock reverberated through our membership and messages of support were the order of the days that followed. Clive, Hannah and Connor you are in our thoughts and prayers, RIP. In addition to this we lost one of our founding members Johan Van Den Berg. A stalwart in the industry and a loyal friend to many. John Luyt, one of our shadow members sadly lost his father recently. Our condolences, thoughts and prayers are with these families currently.

Benjamin Franklin said “out of adversity comes opportunity” and at this AGM such opportunity was born. An auction item of a carved elephant donated by Rupert Brown and originally from the Don Lindsay Collection was bid on by Custodians that were physically present at the meeting, the funds raised to be handed over to Clive Curtis, in support during such difficult times.

It was a huge success and the following morning during the first Exco meeting of the new executive, an idea was put forward to name the auction item after Tarryn. We soon built on this idea and now have the “Tarryn Curtis Memorial Foundation” 

Each year, from here on in, we will present the item for auction, all funds raised will be then placed in the fund and utilised for future members that require assistance from Custodians in times of distress. A detailed description will be soon released.

A heartfelt thanks for all whom donated auction items and made sponsorships for the AGM, it is people like this who make our association the home it has become.

In 2019, a new idea was put in place, succession for most committees is always a hard achievement. An idea was put forward to create a “shadow committee” this was to have younger blood become prepared for a possible seat on Exco in future years. 6 members were elected as such and were invited to all meetings held during the year. Their contribution was twofold, it gave them an idea of the work and time that is sacrificed by Exco and it gave them opportunity to contribute to all ideas and the future of Custodians, it was a huge success.

We say goodbye to Matt Greeff, Mark De Wet and Hermann Meyeridricks who have all stepped down from the Executive after serving their terms, we would like to thank you for your massive effort in your service, building such an amazing association. We will miss you but know that you are merely a phone call away from support. To Dave Davenport who stepped down from the Shadow Exco, we too thank you all for your help during the year.

To Alex McDonald and Izak Kirsten welcome to the Executive Committee, we look forward to your input and new ideas as we move forward into 2021.

Many congratulations to Sean Kelly who has been duly elected as the new chairman for Custodians. We wish you all the success in leading Custodians going forward.

Your full Executive committee for 2021:

Sean Kelly (Chairman)

Stewart Dorrington

Paul Stones

Rupert Brown (Vice-Chairman / Treasurer)

Willem Theron

Jacques Senekal

Alex McDonald

Izak Kirsten

Shadow committee of 2021:

Craig Maartens

Clive Curtis

John Luyt

Cullen Kelly

Mark Ivy

Mike Currie

In closing, hunting worldwide is under immense pressure, it is being targeted by many and the fight grows harder each year. Africa is targeted more than most, simply due to the fact that we hold what today are regarded as “iconic” species. Rightly or wrongly it is a fact. Elephant, lion, leopard and rhino are the most threatened species in Africa and their threat lies with hunting bans and the like.

We need to be clear in that the world is watching us daily. We cannot afford to drive agendas that are for personal, minority nor regional gain. Africa as a whole, needs to fight the good fight, we need to work together, we need to drive partnerships for the greater good of African wildlife.

The vast majority of the hunting fraternity understands this, and we need to build on these principles to create credibility in the public eye. We need to reach out to all, and we need to unite for the greater good of our African wildlife heritage and its survival. This will take sacrifice by all, of some description and commitment. Nonetheless, sacrifice that will ensure our habitat and wildlife future is followed by our own futures in conservation hunting.

Together, we cannot erase the past but we can look to a brighter, inclusive future. It has to be the right future and that is all about our wildlife heritage, all else is secondary.


To promote ethical and responsible hunting.  To demonstrate and enhance conservation and ecologically sustainable development through the responsible use of natural resources in order to ensure that South Africa’s biodiversity and conservation heritage is protected for the benefit of present and future generations; and to

To enhance and promote the contribution of professional hunting to the livelihood and socio-economic development of all South Africans.

Paul Stones 
CPHC-SA Executive Member

Custodians of Professional Hunting & Conservation – South Africa

Unit 7, Ground Floor, West Block 7, Stratford Office Block,

Valley Road, Broadacres, Sandton, Gauteng 2021

Tel: +27 81 036 1151

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