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One of the youngest female hunters to take Africa's 'Big 5'

March 21, 2011 | 12:01 pm

Liz Caddell is one of the youngest female hunters to have completed Africa's "Big 5." Liz Caddell knew since she was a youngster what she wanted to do, something many girls likely don't even think about.

"I was probably 8 or 9 when I wanted to start hunting," Caddell says on her website. "It seemed like boys always got to have more fun -- riding four-wheelers and going hunting."

Caddell has taken that interest and run with it, and at 20 years old she became one of the youngest female hunters to take Africa's "Big 5" -- a lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and Cape buffalo. (Since it's illegal to kill rhinos, Caddell used a dart gun to tranquilize it. A veterinarian was with the hunting party to ensure the animal wasn't harmed.)

The Fort Smith, Ark., resident and her hunting accomplishment will be featured on an episode of "Christensen Outdoors," airing Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and again on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on the Sportsman Channel.

Caddell got her leopard in Namibia in 2008 and in 2009 bagged a lion. Caddell returned to Africa in 2010 needing a rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo to complete her Big 5.

The elephant, deemed a "problem animal" by local government officials because it had taken to raiding and damaging villager's crops, turned out to be a memorable hunt for Caddell for an unforseen reason.

"Thirty minutes after I shot the elephant, hundreds of villagers showed up," Caddell told the Times Record. "They came over to me saying something in their language. Somebody told me they were all thanking me for the food.

"That was the trophy to me, to see these villagers so happy they were getting this food."

Caddell states on her website that, although enjoying all types of hunting, she prefers to hunt the more dangerous game. She is quick to add that "shooting something" is not what the hunts are all about and that the trips are just as much about the fun of traveling to new places, observing nature and wildlife up close, practicing "the art of being quiet and listening," spending quality time with her father and making memories that last a lifetime.

"Having the opportunity to complete the African Big 5 is an experience I'll treasure forever," Caddell said. "I realize most hunters never get this opportunity, and I am very grateful for everyone around me who helped make it possible."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Liz Caddell is one of the youngest female hunters to have completed Africa's "Big 5." Credit: LizCaddell.com