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When hunters talk about bow hunting, arrowheads, strings and sights come to mind. Bow hunting is an age-old method of hunting that already started during the ice age. Primitive civilization used this method to feed themselves and to protect them from dangers.
But bow hunting is not just pointing a bow and shooting an arrow. It is a fine art that perfects with time and persistence. Bow hunting can also be described as a humble and patient kind of hunting.
This method of hunting is widely used around the world. America and South Africa being two of the biggest countries making use of this method, may it be hunting or as a sport.
Bow hunting in South Africa can be extremely challenging and at the same time, intensely rewarding. All of the plains game species of South Africa can be bow hunted. Even dangerous game, like the Cape Buffalo and Hippopotamus, can be bow hunted in South Africa. In contrast to rifle hunting, where one is able to shoot effectively from ranges in excess of 200 yards, archers usually take shots from 2 yards to 40 yards. This, however, depends on individual ability, the target animal – regarding body size, type of animal and accessibility to animals, the bow strength, terrain, arrow and weather.
Bows and draw weight
Three types of bows are legally permitted in South Africa, namely the compound, re-curve and longbow. The compound bow being the choice of most hunters who pursue game animals of South Africa. The minimum draw weight required for hunting plains game in South Africa is 50lbs. The minimum draw weight permissible by law when hunting dangerous game such as Lion, Buffalo, Hippo, etc is 80lbs.
The hunter should be comfortable with his/her equipment. Enough time should be spent on the practice range honing your skills before the start of your safari. This normally makes the difference between a well-placed shot and a day spent tracking a wounded animal. Calmness and self-confidence is also a huge factor especially if you are a first-time bow hunter in South Africa.
Of the three main types of broadheads, namely fixed blades, removable blades and mechanical expandable blades, the fixed blades, have proven to be most effective in pursuing African game, but each hunter will have his or her own preference.
A variety of blinds are used from which to ambush animals. These range from elevated blinds in strategic areas to ground blinds. Tree blinds are placed strategically along game paths or in areas where trophy animals are most likely to be encountered. Ground blinds are normally in close proximity to waterholes, ensuring a high success rate during the early morning and late afternoon.
Planning your safari regarding duration and time of year
A bow hunting safari should normally be longer than a rifle hunting safari. The reason being that it takes more time and persistence. It is ideal to bow hunt during the winter months of South Africa which are from late May to early September. Water sources are limited during this period and game concentrations around waterholes greatly increase the success rate of your safari.
If you are a bow hunting enthusiast wanting to come to South Africa to hunt truly magnificent animals, do not wait too long! Being under the African sky, feeling the sun on your face might just be one of the best and most memorable things to experience and remember.