Bow Hunting Failure

Elton

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Good day

Earlier today i posted where i am asking which bow would work. Since then a few buddies of mine and the guys i went hunting with last year have been knocking bow hunting (no pun intended). Mostly how unsuccessful bow hunting is and how nobody ever talks about the failure rate. Now i am sure there are just as many rifle fails as bows (more or less) but this has edged some doubt into my mind.

Just taking the average hunter who is proficient it does seem that bow hunting will deliver less success? Obviously if you practice like an obsessed maniac it would help, but lets just say we stick with average Joe here.
The last thing i want to do in any circumstances is to wound an animal. I would like the death to be as fast and ethical as possible, that being said isn't a rifle the better option for Mr newbie?

As stated in other posts i am new to this and love the idea of bow hunting. This together with the issue of actually getting a firearm and TOTAL costs involved, a bow just seems logical. But the likelihood of ethically killing an animal vs a rifle does present a good question.

Your thoughts please..
 

lpace

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I'm assuming that by failure or success rate you are referring to a wounded animal (or lack thereof). What you are asking is very difficult to get accurate data on. The numbers I have seen are wildly different. I have hunted with both a rifle and bow, and have been fortunate enough to take quite a few animals with both. Sadly I have lost animals with both (there is no worse feeling). From my personal experience I would say that in the early stages of archery hunting the wounding rate with a bow is higher than with a gun - it takes more practice to become proficient with harvesting an animal with a bow than with a gun (in my opinion). However, after becoming proficient (whatever that means) with harvesting with a bow, I would say that recovery rate with a bow and a gun is not markedly different. I have seen data that suggests this is true. I have also seen data that suggests 50% of animals shot with a bow are not recovered (which I think is nonsense).

In either case, practice, practice, practice. With a bow, the best practice for hunting is (again in my opinion) is a 3-D target (an actual animal target). Get one and shoot the hell out of it! Like I said, I have hunted a lot with both a rifle and a gun - now I'm virtually exclusively a bow hunter.
 

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Hi Elton,

I get what you are asking and thought as your friends did at first. However, I am not so sure, given reasonable effort, the idea is correct.

As you know hunting is not as straight forward as non-hunters would have us believe and there are many skills you must develop to be successful. Bow hunting adds a couple more variables and requires you do it all at very close range.

The primary consideration is practice. Whether you use a firearm or bow if you don't practice your chance of wounding an animal goes way up. Assuming diligent practice with both I would fully expect you will have less chances to take an animal when hunting with a bow because of how close you have to be and the particular body mechanics required to get a shot off.

From my limited experience bow hunting requires a lot more from the hunter. But I wouldn't dissuade a newbie from doing it so long as they put enough practice in to understand their limitations.

Not sure if I answered your question but I hope it gives you a useful perspective.
 

Elton

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Thanks for the reply. My biggest fear as a new hunter is how to deal with the failure. Not retrieving the animal as the worst. And this is causing doubt even before i begin. As there are 6 to 8 months before my hunt(still planning) i might give the bow a miss this year and practice more. As to what the guys had to say im sure they are just partial
 

Shootist43

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I've been a bow hunter for almost 60 years. Have I lost a few, yes, I'd be lying if I said anything different. I'm positive most, if not all avid bow hunters would say the same thing. That being said, the operative word "few" is what we are talking about. Over that same time frame I've also lost a couple of deer that I hit with a rifle. Get and practice from multiple positions including sitting with a good "high end" bow 300 +/- fps, limit your shots (at least initially) to 30 yds. or less and don't shoot through any brush or branches. Bow hunting requires that you be in close proximity with your quarry. That brings another whole set of factors into play i.e. wind, location, scent control, concealment, etc. For me there is a lot more satisfaction in taking an animal with a bow than with a rifle.

I hope this helps. Good luck.

By the way welcome to AH.
 

lpace

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Thanks for the reply. My biggest fear as a new hunter is how to deal with the failure. Not retrieving the animal as the worst. And this is causing doubt even before i begin. As there are 6 to 8 months before my hunt(still planning) i might give the bow a miss this year and practice more. As to what the guys had to say im sure they are just partial

Sadly, there is a lot of 'my way is better than your way' in hunting. The fracturing, or lack of unity, that results concerns me greatly as I doubt the ranks of anti-hunting groups are even remotely close to as splintered as we are (spend a little time on Archery Talk, the bickering that goes on there is frightening).

The doubt you are feeling is the enemy of any type of hunter, big time! You must have confidence when drawing a bow or taking aim on an animal! That said, six to eight months is plenty of time to get all dialed in with a bow. Nothing like Africa to gain confidence in harvesting animals with a bow. She will provide you with many opportunities. Also good PH is also a great asset in developing confidence. Fortunately there are a lot of those around too.

Whatever you decide, enjoy. There is NOTHING like hunting Africa!
 

gillettehunter

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I'm going to start by addressing cost. That was one of your last items of concern. A GOOD fast bow will run you close to $1000. Then there are good quality arrows, broadheads, field tips and a quiver. Expect to spend around $1500 to get set up. You can get a good rifle, scope and ammo for the same money. Don't let that be your deciding factor.
You might consider a crossbow as a inbetween. You still have to get close, but the practice required is less than a bow requires. Just like a rifle you wou would need time to become proficient. Something to consider.
Seems like we had someone give a hunt report in the last 6 months that hunted with a bow. He had only started with it like 3 months before he left?? A well tuned bow with proper components will reduce the learning curve. Africa is a great place to get a good start to being experienced with a bow. After all, you will have shoots at multiple animals on virtually any Safari that you take. Good luck. Bruce
 

BigJohnx13

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Hi Elton.

My advice is “Do the right thing the first time right”

Make sure your equipment is good (not the most expensive). Entry level bow and equipment will also kill an animal. Make sure the bow shoots where you aim. Practice quality (not quantity). Only take shots that will give you an edge over the animal (looking away, relax etc). Aim at the right spot. Wait after the arrow struck. The old bowhunters always come back with a kill.

If you want more info pm me your email
 

Savage Hunter

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if you are talking archery in africa, then I think that most shots are at waterholes and only 20-30 yards.
not saying one can't miss at that range, but it will be a known distance and short shot.
It should be no problem if you've practiced. Just make sure you shoot low, not high.
 

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I would like the death to be as fast and ethical as possible, that being said isn't a rifle the better option for Mr newbie?

A rifle takes significantly less practice (relatively speaking) to gain reasonable proficiency for most people.
The fast or slow death from either methodology will be determined by shot placement. You can screw up and wound animals with either method.


.......... This together with the issue of actually getting a firearm and TOTAL costs involved, a bow just seems logical.

Many folks replying here may not comprehend that your reality in RSA obtaining a firearm vs a bow are two different worlds. No license application, etc etc for the Bow. The Bow is cheaper and easier to access.
For the North Americans (most jurisdictions) we can walk into a store and walk out with either in the same day.


But the likelihood of ethically killing an animal vs a rifle does present a good question. .

If you don't practice and become truly proficient you can certainly wound animals.

I'm going to allow you a slight advantage on one of the three pictures I have attached here. Which one's are the bow kills?

This Elk ran 120 yards before he dropped. Heart shot.
IMG_5123.jpg


Caracal dropped INSTANTLY from a Heart shot.
IMG_8020.jpg


Mule Deer ran 60 yards with a Heart shot.
P1010246.jpg


The first two are bow kills, the last is a rifle. The Bow killed the animals just as quickly as the rifle. In one case much faster.

...My biggest fear as a new hunter is how to deal with the failure. Not retrieving the animal as the worst. And this is causing doubt even before i begin. .................

That is why you practice like a maniac and make sure that you do everything to get it right the first time with a bow or rifle. It takes muscle and technique to shoot a bow properly and effectively. If you lose the muscle, your technique will suffer.
The nice thing about a bow is that you can practice in your back yard in the city. Try that with a rifle!


Practice and develop then maintain your proficiency and don't listen to the rifle whiners. Woundings can happen with either method. There is a policy in place about wounding and it was in place long before a compound bow ever hit the ground in RSA.
Find a drop of blood, you pay!
Rifle hunters do lose game.

Don't take crap shots, get sneaky and practice a lot.
 

Elton

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Thanks Brickburn really appreciate all the input. Fortunately when i get into something i get obsessed and thats the motivation behind the choice for the bow. I like the idea that i can spend every day (be it after work) shooting arrows at home or the nearest "veld" The same can't be said for the rifle. I also don't want something that just sits in the safe 11months of the year(sadly the case with the people i know) and only gets taken out before the hunt. I'm sure you get rusty after not shooting for 11months. Will keep that last line in mind next time they give me grief
 

Savage Hunter

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I have lost 2 whitetail with my bow, one was a gut shot when the deer spooked as I was releasing. The other was a failure to penetrate well enough on an almost straightdown shot. Both were about 25 years ago. I've probably close to 50 kills with my bow including whitetail, rabbits, and a couple other critters.

With my rifle, I remember losing 2 whitetail bucks between 25 and 30 years ago. I don't remember any since then. I have probably shot well over 60 whitetails in my life with a rifle, muzzleloader, +shotgun.
In the past 6 or so years, I lost a gemsbuck on 1st trip that was a mental error on my part. After I slipped on the sticks, I rushed my shot as I was getting back on him.
And, I lost a blue wildebeest on my second trip taking a front on shot at about 200 yards. I've since learned that a front on shot on a w.b. is not the best shot to take.

I shot poorly on my 2nd trip as I had a couple of misses from elevated shots. Funny thing is, on my quick 2nd shot, my bullet found the mark each time. Since I had no experience shooting in mountains at angles, I took the advice that I've always read and that is to shoot low. I began to figure out that my first shots were missing low and that my follow up shots I aimed dead on and hit where I was supposed to.
So I tested out ME AND MY RIFLE. Guess what? Less than 300 yards I have no business aiming low.
Since then I've had the opportunity to kill a mule deer at well over 400 yds and made a perfect shot (on an angle down shot) by aiming where I wanted to hit.
And I've killed an elk on an angling up shot aiming where I wanted the bullet to hit.
And, I've shot targets level and angling, and I do better aiming where I want to hit.
(as an archer, though, I throw out my rifle experiences on where to aim because archery, for me, is different and more like what other people recommend).

I see that I've rambled. But, my points are:
1. I've not lost more animals with my bow. Actually, I've likely done slightly better.
2. Know your weapon and yourself and your limitations.
3. a good range finder that takes angles into account is an awesome tool.
 

billc

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People like to talk so let them talk. If you practice and know your limits a bow is a killing machine for sure. Animals get away sometimes and that is with rifles or bows and it will happen once you start hunting.

One thing to think about is to have some kind of rifle also for follow up shots if it is needed. As your tracking a wounded animal you may not get another bow shot and you owe it to the animal to finish it off as soon as you can.
 

Elton

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I don't think that is remotely possible for me
 

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lpace

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Pheroze

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Lee M

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Has anyone even noticed she actually shoots a bow... LOL It's tough being a middle aged man.
 

BRICKBURN

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Has anyone even noticed she actually shoots a bow... LOL It's tough being a middle aged man.

She certainly managed to shoot an arrow.
 

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