First Plains Game Hunt - Bow or No?

masonmc

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First time post so id like to thank all for the great amount of info I have gathered on this site so far. I have had so many questions answered just browsing the site but now must ask a couple.

In June 2016 I will travel to RSA to hunt an area in the Northern Cape near Kimberley. The area will be over 100,000 acres. This is my first safari, a plains game hunt with my wife. I whitetail hunt with rifle and bow and had intended to take my bow along. Our PH says there will be opportunity to bowhunt but I informed him I would prefer to mostly rifle hunt and occasionally bowhunt depending on how the week goes. In addition to the bow I plan to take my 300 WSM and a 308 I recently purchased to have something a little more recoil friendly for my wife. Our desired game includes Gemsbok, Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Springbok, Impala, Steenbok and Warthog. My concern for two rifles is more time at the airport/customs. I have a double rifle case so extra luggage is not an issue except for the large bowcase if taken.

I am beginning to feel if I normally hunt with whatever weapon is allowed I should leave the bow at home and take both rifles. I am doing two nights in Johannesburg before flying to Kimberly so ill have to lug the additional bowcase around again and pay extra baggage on that SAA Kimberley flight.

I enjoy the thought of taking any plains game with my bow but would I be better served to leave the bow at home and spend more time with the advantage of the rifle pursuing more quality species? Does the flexibility of two rifles outweigh additional time at airport if there even is any?

Any thoughts appreciated.
Mason
 

BRICKBURN

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Welcome to he Posting side Mason.

I took one rifle and my bow in one case this last trip. I used them both.

One rifle or two will not matter.
I have never spent more then twenty minutes getting my SAPS permits on any trip.

If you are only going for a week. Hmmm.
If you really love bow hunting and it must go along then take it.
It seems like an after thought the way you are presenting it.
Mine was used specifically on some hunts and not others.
If the place is not really set up for bow hunters then you may be taking it along as extra weight because you will never get close enough walk and stalk or you will be sitting at a blind.

Decide how you really want to hunt.



The Outfitter may have a smaller rifle for your bride. Save you the issues.
If she is not really fussed about which rifle she uses.
 

JamesJ

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Just my thoughts, I would take one rifle and the bow, but buy one of the combo bow/rifle cases and only have one bag. Just my thoughts. If you are a serious bow hunter, you will regret not taking it.
 

dobber

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There is good news to the choices, because after your first trip it will make planning for the second trip that much easier, and yes you will plan for a second trip. Take the bow, worst case is a few extra pounds to carry, best case, you get to fling arrows
 

JimP

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On my safari this last May we had a dedicated bow hunter in our group. He didn't even bring a rifle but planned on renting one from the PH as the need dictated. Every day he headed out with the plans on using his bow but the PH had the rifle as a just in case. The hunter did manage to take a impala and a diker with his bow and the rest of his animals with the PH's rifle. So it worked out quite well for him.

One question for the experts on here. If the OP does take two rifle with his wife using one of them and goes off in a different direction than he does how does he handle the permits if they are in his name? I know that the permits need to be with the rifles at all times and if there are 2 rifles on one permit that could be a problem if one was checked.
 

Bos en Dal SAFARIS

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If the property is set up for bow hunting with hides over water/feed you may just as well take the bow, spending a day or two in a hide will surely get you some nice quality trophies!! If not and you need to walk and stalk i think seven days are going to be too short of a time, you have a pretty "full" list of critters you are going after, you might just as well spend time in the field with the rifle with a bit of an advantage on your side!!
Best is discuss it with your outfitter, he should be able to give you a good idea of the possibility to use the bow successfully!
Enjoy the last bit of planning!!
All the best
 

Bert the Turtle

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If there is a problem with the permit office or a problem with your permits, it will take time. If things go as they generally do, it will be a matter of an extra minute to record an extra serial number. The 308 is adequate (dare I say ideal?) for the game you have listed. Take the second rifle if you want a spare or if you and your wife will be rifle hunting at the same time; don't take it because you think you need more than a 308.

If you really enjoy bow hunting, take the bow. You know the deal with bow hunting- you will be in a blind at a water hole. You will see lots of animals and may get to kill some of them. With a rifle you may hunt water holes and you will also spend time spot and stalking. You'll see more country with the latter. All depends on what you want.

I don't know your age or economic situation. For some people, the first trip really is a "once in a lifetime" deal. Consequently, they try to pack a lot of doing into the trip and pack too much stuff in their suitcase. Reflect long and hard on whether this is or is not really a once in a lifetime trip. If it isn't, don't try to do it all in two weeks. One of the greatest if not the greatest thing about Africa is that the pace of the world is different there. "In Europe, you have a lot of watches, in Africa, we have a lot of time". Don't shortchange yourself on that end of the experience.
 

G Skinner

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Take the bow ! I did have problems at customs in both Namibia and Canada . In Namibia my bow came out with all the other rifles , even though it was shipped as sporting equipment .... so because it was such an unusual looking case compared to the others ...it was held till they could x-ray it . My PH said they held it back to prove their authority and so as to not look stupid . Then upon my arrival back to Canada ...our Custom agent was convinced my compound bow was a crossbow and that my broadheads were indeed considered to be knife blades ....then they had the gall to ask for my PAL . All in all would I do it again ....HELL YA ! Take the bow you get what I like to refer to as "BBR" (Bigger Bragging Rights ) .Trust me you won't ever regret going to Africa no matter what you decide to take . Good Luck and Play Safe !
Glen
 

UKHunter

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Take whatever will provide you with the most enjoyment and you can shoot accurately with.
 

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^^^^^^ What he said. Take what you are most proficient with and practice, practice, practice.
Same goes for your spouse.
 

masonmc

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Thanks for all the responses. Think I will take the bow. Sitting in a blind at some point may be a nice change from moving around all week long and the PH said in this area he can safely set my wife up in a another blind to take photos (which she would rather do anyway). I suppose ill ask the PH what type of backup rifle he may have. Then decide to take one or both. Ive stocked up on Partitions for the 300 WSM and Barnes TTSX for the 308 so either one is ready to go. I suppose I may just take everything. My list of critters is big but I don't expect to take everything on the list. Knowing how much effort it takes to plan a safari I am now of the opinion it would be a shame to learn how this all works and only go once.
 

petrusg

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One rifle and one bow - even if you dont use it. But dont get here and regret not bringing it.
 

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As others said, take what you want to shoot and feel most comfortable with.

As for something for the wife it seems like every one I met in Africa had a 6.5x55 or even a .270 win or 243 any of which will be enough for most of the plains game within reason with a well placed shot. Just talk ahead of time with the outfitter and make sure you can line it up.

As others have said though you're only talking about a couple of extra minutes in dealing with the SAP's per rifle. Going into other countries with rifles is a much bigger deal but there at Joberg it wan't a big deal in or out.
 

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.........Knowing how much effort it takes to plan a safari I am now of the opinion it would be a shame to learn how this all works and only go once.

It is best to spread the investment in your education over several trips.
 

kathy

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Take your bow. bow is all I hunt with ,but that is me.
study the anatomy of African game it is different from our North American game.
I haven't read how many days you are hunting, 10 days minimum & 14 being better. Forrest
 

masonmc

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The bow is going. After all when I bought this bow a year ago I also purchased a new SKB hard case so I could fly out west and hunt Elk. After looking how much it cost to Elk hunt...yeah you all know... here I am planning a trip to Africa and skipping the Elk hunt. So really this bow is the reason im here, although id like to think it would have happened eventually anyway. Since taking the bow I think Ive decided to take only the .308. Something capable of our plains game wishes but something we are both comfortable shooting. She is fine with this rifle on the bench. Next come the sticks and I hope to actually have her shoot at least one whitetail this fall with this actual gun.

The problem is the only real experience she has was taking a whitetail with an old remade Mauser her father and I made together (he is practically a gunsmith but not by trade). The experience was not a good one. Bad shot (possibly the gun I told her), numerous follow ups and finally after four shots (last two mine) we were done. She commented to me recently she is somewhat uncomfortable because of this experience. (has not hunted since but that's due to kids etc).

Luckily we talk often about what we expect out of this trip. She feels if she goes all the way over there she would like to hunt something. She loves the look of Gemsbok as do I, but admitted she doesn't want the pressure associated with taking one of our top list animals. "Keep an open mind" seems to be a theme for first time plains game so I figure if we come across something on our list worthy of taking and it is a close or comfortable shot I can offer her the gun and if its the .308 she will be ready. It also seems that day in day out it will be simpler to be hunting with the same gun. oh and its only a 7day hunt. Short I know but already researching a Cape Buffalo/Plains game hunt so I dont feel completely pressured to "get it all" this time. Actually had the opportunity to add Buffalo to this but didn't think I should given the short duration. And I think Id rather go to Zim or Moz for Buff. Guess that's enough of my excitement for now. Oh boy but there is more...
 

masonmc

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and just to add, this new .308 is a Savage. The most accurate gun I've ever owned. I topped it with a Leupold vx3 4.5-14 and feel like it is perfect. I really bought it for this trip, thinking the wife and I can both use it and will be great for our boys (ages 3 and 5) down the road when they are ready and any excuse to shop and buy a gun! Shopping now.. Sako or CZ in .416 rigby or .375? 10 yrs from now maybe the whole family will be ready for Elephant/Plains in Namibia or back in RSA.
 
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thriller

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id say take both it cant hurt and you may end up getting an opportunity at a nice trophy with it.
 

kathy

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Do your self a favor and add on at least 3 more days if not 5. 10 days goes TOO fast when you are in Africa. Forrest
 

masonmc

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I understand. Wife first thought we would do 5 days. i was glad the min was 7. we will spend a couple nights in Joburg as Lena (my wife) insisted we look around the city for a day. overall it will be the most lengthy trip we have taken since the kids were born. Im just happy for 7. Next will be 10+
 

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