Dan Nix has lived in Grain Valley for 41 years and is a lifelong hunting enthusiast. He regularly hunts deer in Missouri and has hunted quail, coyotes, and hogs. He never had a desire to take his hobby beyond the States, but after winning a hunting trip to Africa six years ago, he was hooked.
“I knew some people that had gone and they said you need to go. I never had any desire to go. I figured there was enough hunting in North America,” Nix said.
Since his initial trip to South Africa, Nix has traveled to Namibia, and back to South Africa this past July. While some recent national stories have focused on hunters who go on big game hunts, Nix participates in managed hunts of specific animals that are processed and shared with local communities and orphanages. In his most recent hunt, Nix harvested a number of animals, including two wildebeest, a blesbok and steenbok (both antelopes native to southern and eastern Africa).
“I wish I had gone 30 years ago. The hunts are really regulated and managed well by local professional hunters and guides. We had an opportunity to hunt specific animals that were no longer breeding. We went out and picked a specific female wildebeest out and they processed her. I stopped by the orphanage where the meat was donated and was able to take a tour. They were getting ready for lunch when we arrived. Their kitchen was impressive and looked just like a professional kitchen you would see in the states. The orphanage served 167 boys and girls.”
Nix said that meat processed from the managed hunts is shared with the lodge hosting the hunts, the guide and hunters in charge, and then with the local communities. Most of the farming communities he has encountered share a communal kitchen and meat is shared among community members.
“Every place that I’ve been and the people that I know that have gone have all experienced the same thing. Local families and orphanages all get a portion of the meat. Nothing is gone to waste,” Nix said.
Nix was able to travel with his father, who is in his 90s and still hunts, to Namibia. During a separate trip his father took to South Africa, a member of their group was able to assist in the hunt of a lioness who had been killing livestock and attacking people.
“Cats are a real problem in a lot of areas, and the conservation officials work with farmers and safaris to manage these hunts,” Nix said.
“Every time I get over there, I think this is how the garden of Eden had to be. You could be out in the plains or bush, and 10 miles away you’re in mountains. It is absolutely beautiful there.”
Nix plans to return for another safari in 2021.