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Local business owner hunts dream prey
Safari pic
Paul Mincey shows an animal he hunted during a recent safari in Africa. - photo by For the Dawson Community News

Dawson County is home to many hunting enthusiasts, but not many get a chance to say they have hunted down the likes of zebras, impalas and elephants.

Dawsonville Gun & Pawn owner Paul Mincey recently returned from a two week safari in Africa where he got to do just that.

"I've wanted to go since I was 3 or 4 years old, watching PBS and seeing the abundance and diversity of wildlife," he said.

Mincey finally took the jump and booked the trip, which included several stops over a long, 30 hour journey.

"It was a 16 hour flight to catch another flight, so it was close to 30 hours total," he said. "The lack of sophistication in Africa was shocking."

Mincey landed in Windhoek, which, according to his estimate, was about the size of Gainesville. Windhoek is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Namibia.

From there, he met up with the professional hunter assigned to the trip. They then loaded up and drove for six hours into the bush for hunting.

Mincey said the experience wasn't intended to hunt one specific animal, but the overall thrill of the hunt.

"It wasn't one particular animal on the hunt, but constant stalking," he said.

Mincey brought home the likes of an impala, zebra, black wildebeest, greater kudu, eland, warthog, three orxy, a baboon and an elephant.

"I had no ambition to kill an elephant because they are very expensive and there is a long waiting list - up to five years now," Mincey said. "But while I was there, an elephant killed a villager and, like at parks here, if an animal kills somebody, they have to be put down. Namibia, instead of having a federal ranger putting it down, they offer it to the hunters at a discounted price. They discounted this one about 75 percent."

Mincey said he thought long and hard about going after the bounty, but said he couldn't resist the 9,000 pound prize.

"Because I have a wife and two small children, I had to really consider going after the elephant. It's a dangerous game animal that had killed someone," he said. "I thought about it and decided that I wanted to be the guy that did it and not the guy that could have done it and never did. You'll never have that kind of opportunity again."

But the kill wasn't just for himself, Mincey said. This kill meant a lot to the villagers that had lost a friend and family member.

"To see the villagers rejoice to know it was put down - they wanted the elephant before the funeral so it could be part of the three-day funeral celebration," he said. "Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend, but it meant a lot to them."