Why certain species?

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Africa' started by Fritz Rabe, May 29, 2012.

  1. Fritz Rabe

    Fritz Rabe AH Veteran

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    Bow hunting - why certain animals.

    Looking at some articles of hunters with the animals that they successfully hunted, I started wondering why we hunt certain species. Why do we dream of releasing an arrow at a huge this or monster that?

    Specifically, why do we all dream to hunt a Buffalo or others members of the Big-5? What is it that makes us talk about it around a camp fire? Is it because we want to test ourselves against a dangerous foe? Is it because of the extra adrenalin in our bodies?

    This I do not understand. If the reason is because the animal is potentially dangerous and that it can stomp, bite or gore you to a painful death, then why do we have a PH or someone with a big gun at the ready for just such a possibility? Why is it that we see hunters that have taken a member of the Big-5 or all of them in a different way as the ones that have not?

    Are they better hunters? Have they reached the ultimate in hunting and the rest still have to get there? Why do we always say that you have to work your way up to the Big-5? Who decided on that? I have spoken to many hunters over the years and 99% of them said that they will not rest until they have hunted a Buffalo or Lion or Elephant. Why not a Kudu bull or a big blue Eland?

    To hunt a Giraffe with a bow you need a stronger setup than for a Buffalo. A Giraffe is double the size and his skin, bone and muscle tissue is much harder to penetrate with an arrow. Why do we see a Buffalo then as a better trophy than a Giraffe?

    If the reason is because of the potential danger and men do have a testosterone problem then I am confused. If you hunt a Buffalo and a suitable rifle is also nearby, then you are preparing for disaster.

    Besides it being the law and you cannot hunt outside it, why then do we long for it? I have seen many wounded Blue Wildebeest turn on a man when wounded. There are cases on record where a wounded Bushbuck or Gemsbok attacked and sometimes even killed a person. What about a huge male Baboon that is wounded and cannot get away from you? Are they less dangerous? I do not think so.

    On a farm near the small town of Mopane close to the Limpopo River a young lady was killed in 2010 by a Giraffe cow. She did not hunt it and neither was the Giraffe wounded or injured in any way prior to the incident. The lady was merely enjoying a walk in nature.

    These days we all strive to be as ethical as we can while hunting so as not to be frowned upon. If that is the case, then we must not invite danger because we will make sure that the animal we shoot will die fast with as little pain and stress as possible. Why then do hunters want to put people's lives at risk just to fulfil their desire?

    I think that it might be because of the price tag. I might be wrong. To hunt the Big-5 is expensive but people like to attach some un-explained emotions to the hunting of them. For most of the normal hunters out there the cost of such a hunt is more than they can afford. If that is true, why then does a Sable or a Roan Antelope not command the same feelings or respect then?

    Hippo kills more people in Africa every year than all of the Big-5 combined. Why does it not rate in the same category as a Buffalo? I personally think that any hunter that has hunted the Tiny-10 has got more (bragging-rights) than someone that bagged the Big-5. That is just my opinion. It is more difficult. The target is a thousand times smaller, they string jump like lightning and it is easier to wound them.

    Maybe we are looking for that feeling of adventure of a bygone era. An era where animals roamed free and their numbers were not declining and some were not extinct. Those were also the days where even the dangerous animals did not see us humans as such a big threat as today. The animals can feel the pressure of a declining habitat and human encroachment.

    Can we reverse the trend? We as hunters have an obligation to our sport/hobby/career to be as professional and ethical as the times demand. We owe it to ourselves and more so to the animals that we hunt, to put our ego,s away and do the right thing.

    We must hunt for ourselves and not to impress others. The worst thing we can do is start to compete by killing. I personally think that this is the reason why the anti-hunters cannot/will not understand what we do. The constantly read about trophies. A trophy is something that you win in a competition.

    For lack of a better word we must continue to use it but we have to be careful in the way that we portray it. There are too many awards that are being competed for. Hunting is not a race. It is an adventure. It is a way of life. It is something we do that makes us a breed apart.
  2. mudslinger

    mudslinger AH Veteran

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    Good post Fritz. I have killed 13 of the plains game and am going after a lion or lioness in Sept and still want a Cape with a bow along with a mature Sable. I have also seen other plains game and the "hog slam" in AFrica i would like to do with a bow. I guess the reason for the Cape is in 2010 I had my first ones come to water and I thought then I would really like to hunt one with a bow. I was in an elevated hide at the time and knew they were dangerous, but at that time, I sure wanted to shoot one, but the wife said NO! I guess it is an adrenalin rush for the DG, but not sure why we want to go after the DG. I have no desire at this time to shoot a giraffe, hippo or elephant, but that may change. Some of my "wants" to shoot a Cape and lion or lioness is from seeing the wonderful mounts at hunting shows. I just look and say "I sure would like to have one of those in my house".

    On another note, could you please send me the specs on your Easton DG arrow set up. I am looking at the Cape hunt in 2014, but want to start figuring the arrow/BH combination well in advance. I am wanting something in the 800 to 900 graain range with high FOC and possibly a single bevel COC head. I sure would like to know how you got your arrow to the 1000+ grain weight. Thanks.
  3. Fritz Rabe

    Fritz Rabe AH Veteran

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    Mudslinger:

    My arrows are Easton Dangerous Game 250.
    31 inch shafts with 4 inch feathers.
    210gr German Kinetic broad head
    With the insert it gives me 865gr.

    For the heavier 1050gr I use a weight tube but recently I obtained a very long and heavy insert that pushed the weight up to 1050gr without the weight tube.

    We have shot many Buffalo with the standard 865gr arrow and GK broad heads. If they fly at 230fps they will do the job every time.

    If you want to go with a heavier arrow, it will work great as well. Just be careful of the Ashby broad head. I have seen a few that broke off at the tip when they encountered the ribs and then penetration suffered. I think that they are tempered to hard.
  4. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I think certain hunts trigger certain feeling for every individual hunter. I do think hunt price does effect the bottom line or satisfaction of a hunt. FOR ME it's a huge part of the hunt. I guess I'm old enough to realize, you can't hunt everything you want to hunt. You have to be happy with what you can afford.

    I'm happy hunting plains game...whether it's common duiker to the majestic kudu!
  5. mudslinger

    mudslinger AH Veteran

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    Fritz, thank you so much for your reply. It wil help me tremedously on my search for my perfect arrow. I have also seen reports of the Ashby heads failure. I am going to make a copy of your post and keep it with the info I have collected for determining what set up I want for my Cape hunt.
  6. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    This is a tough one and a great topic. Why do "dangerous game" hunts get more time in the spotlight? Especially in the days of captive bred buffalo and lions...

    Don't get me wrong, I enjoy hunting and all aspects of the pursuit (it's not a "sport"). But it does make you wonder why the "hierarchy" is the way that it is.
  7. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    The more I ponder it, I think you are right Fritz. It almost has to be the price tag. If animals like Roan didn't have such a high price tag I really doubt they would be considered such "trophy animals" in a lot of peoples minds. They aren't particularly pretty, just less common and more expensive in a lot of areas.

    I think a lot of it comes down to the history around the BIG 5, the perceived or real danger, and the cost of the hunt.

    Will there eventually be a significant shift? Who knows. Will Big 5 animals be broken up further into captive bred versus "wild area" creatures of the same specie?

    I've never been a guy for the hunting awards as they just don't make sense to me and make hunting more of a "sport" obsessed with results instead of the process. I have a problem with that.
  8. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    This is certainly a very general statement. Yes some do hunt for big horns with little or no regard for quality of the hunt, 300-500 acre Elk "hunting" ranches stocked with monster bulls bought from breeders prove that. However there are those who hunt for horns that do not deserve to be lumped in with these collectors, people like myself who put in huge effort and are happy to go home empty handed rather than harvest a lesser animal or shoot a put and take animal. I personally take offense when trophy hunters are slammed for pursuing thier idea of hunting, only when you have put in 20 10 hour days in a treestand 3 years in a row and passed on many fine trophies in pursuit of one spectacular animal and finally feel the elation of putting your hands on his horns will you understand why some choose this hunting ideal. It is no better or lesser than the guy who shoots the first legal animal he sees, hunting is an individual endeavor and each person must choose his own challenge and find whet satisfies him the most.
  9. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    I do not know why certain animals intrigue us. Sometimes it is the challenge, sometimes an experience that has touched us makes one more dear to us than another. At the end of the day they are all special in their own way and in the moment, I just cant say why some rank higher than others.
  10. Fritz Rabe

    Fritz Rabe AH Veteran

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    I understand you perfectly. Hunting is something that we as hunters should enjoy and pursue - not to gain fame but to get satisfaction for a job well done. Be it spending days on end after a specific "thing" or miles of walking. It does not matter. For some it is all about the tape measure. For others it is about the whole experience. To each his own.

    My job as a PH is to cater for all. It is our responsibility to do as much as we legally can to give the client what he expects.
  11. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    What I was trying to communicate is that for some it can be about both the experience and the tape measure. We tend to separate them but it is possible to desire both. I would not sacrifice the experience of a good hunt for inches and usually would not sacrifice inches simply because I had a good hunt, I am just as happy with a good hunt whether I kill or pass on an animal or work hard and have no opportunity. I understand that the few who do not enjoy the experience if the inches dont add up or if they are unsuccesful leave a strong and lasting impression but I think they are in the minority.
  12. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Very good topic Fritz :)

    I like all sorts of hunting and I enjoy hunting all sorts of animals, but there are some animals and sorts of hunting that appeals more to me than others.

    Spotting and stalking animals on the ground is my favorite way of hunting.

    When it comes to what animals I prefer to hunt, it has nothing to do with how dangerous, expensive, popular, rare or how much "bragging rights" they give.
    What is important to me, is how beautiful, fascinating and challenging they are.
    I don't care about what an animal will score at all, but with some I think bigger is more beautiful. And I hate broken tips or tines.

    Some animals I really want to hunt with a bow, but will never consider to hunt with a gun.
    A Giraffe is a good example of this.

    I am not interested to hunt a DG because it is a DG.
    Realistically will the only DG I will ever hunt, be a Buffalo and hopefully I will do it with a bow.

    I really would like to hunt a Leopard too, but I will not spend lots of money and time on sitting in a blind looking at a bait to get it.
    If I could afford it and it could be done, I would like to hunt it by tracking and stalking. Any other way doesn't appeal to me.
    Some animals have a ridiculous price tag and I have problems to see why a daily fee suddenly becomes so very much higher as soon as you are hunting DGs.
    I rather spend my money on hunting different rather non-expensive PGs by spot and stalk

    I also think after 1 to 2 more trips to Africa I will prefer to hunt non-trophy animals by and spot and stalk with my bow if that can be possible.
    I hunt for the hunting experience, not to fill my house with trophies.
  13. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    My personal belief is that if the hippo was hunted on land in small herds, where they are running around between water sources, they would have a lot more respect. When you watch all these hippo hunts with the head barely sticking out of water and then the "BIG BORE" goes off...hoping for a brain shot and then the hippo floating in the water or sticking out of the water in some way, kinda takes the excitement out of the hunt. It becomes a shooting game. The whole things turns me off. I can see why people like hunting cape buffalo. It's just expensive in my opinion. Most of the exclusive species are not cheap. Sable and roan are not running everywhere.....either are lesser kudu!
  14. Wolverine67

    Wolverine67 AH Fanatic

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    Spot on!

    The only DG I would consider are the buff. Not because they are expensive or dangerous, but because they appeal to me as game. For me its the shape of the animal and its horns and the nature of the game. A leopardhide would have been nice too, but I want pay thousands of dollar for sitting in a hide for a couple of weeks.
    My favorites are the spiralhorns and the tiny ones. Another one that appeal to me are the rehbuck because of the nature and the difficult of the hunt.
    Besides all of this, I have a collectors mind, where size doesnt mater that much as the diversity of quarrys.
  15. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Hard to explain, Fritz, after two hunting trips for PG, I went for buffalo on my third, and the feeling was different.

    Two days in the Kwazulu/Natal hills looking for the right animal. On the third day we found him after tracking a small group through trees and bushes, and finally, we saw three old bulls in a clearing. Choose the right one, make a good shot.
    A totally different experience from my previous hunts, one I will never forget.

    My fourth african experience was a lioness hunt, in RSA, close to Botswana, sand under your feet, and bushes all around you, that was also quite an experience!
  16. Stretch

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    Good topic Fritz,
    Inherently man tends to seek out and value objects that are rare. Rare can have various meanings. When used in the context of hunting, rare can mean hard to obtain, scarce, not widely available, or maybe because it's expensive to hunt certain species, that species may be considered rare. Because of cost, many hunters seldom have the opportunity to frequently pursue dangerous game, thus the craving to seek out these critters is intense, feeding the want and desire within oneself. Then there is the rush one feels when presented with real or perceived danger. Many people come to enjoy or seek out the surge of energy that comes with a rush of adrenaline and actively search out hunting situations that will stimulate this stress response. To take risk is a thrill and makes one feel alive. No matter what the species, dangerous or not there is the satisfaction each hunter acquires from a perfect shot or the challenge of the chase. These reasons motivate an individuals desire to hunt and should not be judged based on an animals lineage or measurements. We should all be happy for, and celebrate each others personal accomplishments no matter what breed is chosen. As you stated...hunting is an adventure. Enjoy the journey.
  17. 35bore

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    Very well put...
  18. sestoppelman

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    For me locale is as important as the quarry. In my 6 trips to Africa I have gone with a different outfitter on all and only repeated one country, Zimbabwe, 15 years apart. Have taken many different species and try to plan a hunt around those not already taken somewhere else and I dont take the more common stuff every time. For those reasons my dream hunt at this point would be a Western African country hunt for bongo and or Lord Derby Eland, possibly western buffalo etc. It would be a totally different hunt than those I have been on in most respects and thats what makes it most attractive to me, though not necessarily affordable.
  19. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    A few rambling thoughts inspired by this thread......

    1. Whose standards are more important to you? Yours or someone else's? If you meet someone else's standards for a "good" hunt, but not yours, is that satisfying? If you meet your own standards but not someone else's, does that make the experience less enjoyable?

    2. Buffalo: Never thought I'd want to hunt them. Then while on the photo tour before the hunting safari, we came quite close to an old bull that must've known I was a hunter. He gave me "the look" and now I MUST hunt them someday. Don't ask me to explain it beyond that, they're an impressive animal but certainly not the prettiest.

    3. Sable: Is they're a more beautiful antelope? Not in my mind, I just hope to hunt them someday.

    4. Hippo (and I'd add crocodile) : I agree with Eric, it's a shooting game when they're in the water, it just doesn't interest me.

    5. Bushbuck: Another animal I hadn't given much thought too. But while I was hunting, they kept giving me the slip and now I'm hooked.

    6. Impala: To me one of the most beautiful species with a grace matched by no others. The fact they're so plentiful does not make them a lesser species in my mind.

    Well enough of that. Fritz in your original post you wrote the following:

    We must hunt for ourselves and not to impress others. The worst thing we can do is start to compete by killing. I personally think that this is the reason why the anti-hunters cannot/will not understand what we do. The constantly read about trophies. A trophy is something that you win in a competition.

    I could not agree more, spot on.
  20. Second Wind

    Second Wind AH Enthusiast

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    Oh Phil, I kind of agree with you, this whole "trophy" thing got way out of hand a long time before you and I showed up

    For me, its not a "trophy" but a focal point for a memory

    The last hunt with your dad...not a big Mule Deer but the memories it carries, likewise with the antelope, E's first kill, and Kati's first deer... she was 7 and cried for a week

    Some will tell you that "every picture tells a story" personally, those heads on the wall recount memories of 1/2 a century of memories. Each special, unique and endearing

    So for me, its not what you kill or where you kill it; its that rush of memories and emotions that never fade and come flooding back each time you look upon it

    That's why I hunt

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