July Bowhunting Safari

Slaton

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The bowhunting area doesn’t get a lot of post so I’m going to start one that will be a blog/idea/gear of or upcoming trip.

I’ll start it where I started. I’ve always wanted to hunt in Africa since since the days of VHS tapes and seeing people hunt the dark continent. I’m 44 years old and remember the days well before the internet and YouTube and thinking I would never be able to hunt anywhere outside of the deer lease in Georgia. But now I have been able to travel all over the USA and hunt deer, elk, bear, mule deer, alligators, and wild hogs. So if y’all want to follow along on the next adventure across the world I’ll post it here.

This new adventure started last summer when we went to a Whitetails Unlimited Banquet. There was an auction for a trip to South Africa for 4 people and 4 animals. 2 hunters and 2 observers for 4 day. We could kill 2 warthogs and 2 impalas. I won the auction for very cheap in my opinion($600). We have added 2 more days of hunting and 2 more days of touring Kruger National Park. So the people going are me, my wife and our 16 year old daughter. We leave on the 4th of July and will start hunting on the 6th. My wife and I will celebrate our wedding anniversary on the 5th in Johannesburg. Then fly to polokwane the next morning to start our hunt. My daughter and I will be hunting and my wife will be there to enjoy all Africa has to offer.

So on to the bow hunting parts and our gear. I’ll make future post with pictures and better gear decisions but for now our setups:

Sara: Bowtech Soultion SD. 60lbs, 23.5” draw length, Easton Axis 500 spine with brass inserts, ironwill collars and 100 grain broadhead for a total arrow weight of right at 400 grains.

Slaton: Bowtech Allegiance( same bow and arrow set that I’ve take all over North America for a very long time. I love this bow. It’s a 2007 model and have had plenty of new bows but this one is a killer and trust will get the job done) 72# with 448 grain Easton 3/71 A/C/C’s and the same 100 grain broadheads. At 28 1/2” draw.

We will take plenty of broadheads including Iron will solids, Iron Will wides, QAD exodus, Slick Trick Mags, Grim Reaper Hades Pros, Magnus Black Hornets, Magnus Stingers, VAP’s and probably some more. We like trying different things.

The animals on the list include Kudu, Impalas, Warthogs, Gemsboks, Zebras, Baboons, and anything else Africa might offer up. Sara really wants a Baboon. It’s her #1 animal. For me I just want to sling some arrows. We have talked with the PH about culling animals and he said he would have plenty that he need gone so we are open to it all.

So if you have read this far and want to keep hearing me rambling on in our excitement I’ll keep posting as we build arrows and gather gear for our trip.
 
You're going to have a great time. I'm also 44 years old and have done 3 safaris so far. 2 bowhunting and one bow/rifle combo. I too have done a safari with my wife and 2 daughters. You're going to love every minute. Good luck and I can't wait to see your pictures of your safari.
 
Working on Sara’s arrows. Easton Axis 500’s, 24” long with 50 grain brass inserts and waiting on Iron Will 10 grain collars. Total arrow weight will be right at 400 grains.

We have upped her draw weight from 52 to 60lbs and added 35 grains to her arrows.

She has had pass throughs on pigs and deer with her previous setup.

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Your setups will work. African game will jump the string even more than a jumpy whitetail. So a quiet bow is important also. Don’t shoot past 20 yards and you’ll be fine.

Aim towards the bottom of a warthog allowing for them to drop at the shot.
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This warthog was drinking water and standing 90 degrees from the camera angle. You can see my arrow was entering behind the shoulder as he dropped and spun. Reducing penetration.

My recurve bow was 49# and even with the pig spinning as the arrow was still penetrating it still hit the off shoulder. This pig was completely distracted and drinking. And still jump the string with a quiet recurve.
 
I have that same bow and just recently had it restrung from its original string. As you say, it's a killer and I just can't make myself get rid of it.

Impala, and most every small species such as duiker, steenbok etc are string jumpers. I actually saw a video once where a duiker was drinking head-on on and PH wanted the guy to take that shot bc if it dipped, the arrow would still hit solidly between the shoulder blades going down with the angle. It worked for that guy on that shot, but not sure I'd be that confident in that shot.

Are you prepared for 12 hr sits in a "hide" or do you have other plans? On my first couple trips, I drove around safari style 7-10 am, then got into the blinds over waterholes 10am-3pm to eat lunch, then back safari style 3pm-dark. I couldn't sit all day like that.

Good luck and get us a report when you return.
 
Gear- My last hunt was with 49#. I used 400 spine arrows with total arrow weight of 500 gr. COC BH's. No problems with penetration- try to keep shots w/I 20 yds. Shot placement is key. Vitals are forward on African game.

Take plenty of photos. You will throughly enjoy the Kruger tour. Again, have good camera with telephoto lens.

This is just your first trip of many- enjoy !!
 
It looks like you are set up for success. It is sure to be an unforgettable adventure.

I just returned from my first trip to Africa. We also purchased the hunt at an auction. It was incredible and we can’t wait to go back. That being said, a lot of things did not go to plan, particularly around using a bow. Without going into the whole story, I’ll give you a couple of pieces of advice.

First, communicate with the outfitter themselves before your trip. You are already talking with your pH, which is really going to help. We said, from the very beginning that we wanted to bow hunt, which the US representative and their website said they welcomed. When we got there we had a pH who had never bow hunted ever. Our first meeting with the outfitter, he spent the whole time trying to convince us not to bow hunt at all, and just use rifles. I think part of this was because this was a donated hunt. The only way the outfitter was making money was with a lot of additional trophy fees. Easy to do with a rifle, much more difficult with a bow.

Find out what species are available on the outfitters property versus what needs to be arranged or reserved. This was a big issue on our trip. Options were very very limited on the outfitters own property. Because of weather, searching for a wounded animal, and other landowners not answering their phones we did not get an opportunity to hunt several of the species on our list.
 
Last summer I took a very nice bull giraffe with a 68# Mathews shooting 805gn total arrow weight with 250gn Iron Will buffalo (no bleeder) broadhead. With a lighter arrow using 175gn Iron Will (with bleeder) I got a clean pass-through on a kudu cow (for a rifle case) and on a blue wildebeest it went through rib, lung, heart, lung, and far rib, puncturing the hide on the far side but the shaft not exiting the animal.

Have a ton of fun. Shot placement! Good luck staying awake in a blind while jetlagged LOL.
 
I’m really excited for you guys. It will be life changing for all of you. My only advice would be to stay away from the mechanical broadheads.

Also, you have to really fight your natural instincts with regards to aiming. The vitals sit more forward than whitetails. A perfect behind the shoulder shot on a whitetail is a lost impala.

Baboons are tough with a bow. They have eyes on the front of their head like us so they have depth perception. The can straight up see you in the blind. I’ve killed several by dropping completely out of sight and coming to full draw. I then pop up and shoot the instant my pin hits the target.

Great call on adding Kruger days.

There is a really good curios shop in poloqwane for buying trinkets to take home. Much better prices than Kruger or the airport.
 
I did a lot of bow hunting on my first safari in 2007 and had tremendous luck, it is fun to really sit out in the African wilderness for extended periods of time, the wind changing can clear a waterhole very quickly.
 
All our arrows are built and bows are shooting awesome. I think we have everything we need for the trip. We are just a little over 3 weeks out before we are there.

We went to the Whitetail Unlimited banquet again last week and it looks like we are going to be going back to South Africa again for a second safari in the next two years. I won the auction again for the same hunt. Sara has 2 more years of high school so it will be a good graduation trip.

Im hoping knowing I’m going to have the opportunity to go back might keep me from getting to trigger happy and maybe be patient. I know me and I like to see arrows fly.
 
Sounds awesome. I looked up the math on your bow and believe you will be shooting 78 ft-lbs of K.E. - easily enough for anything short of Cape buffalo. Sara appears to be shooting about 45 Ft-lbs. Impressive for a young girl with only a 23.5" draw length.

As to the warthogs and their speed and reflexes, I recall showing my daughter a video before I took her to Africa. In the video, a 15-year-old girl with a 40 lb draw weight shot a warthog and got a pass through. The pig spun so fast that when the arrow came out, it was headed back in the general direction of the shooter. It literally spun a full 180 during the time the arrow was in it!! They are QUICK.

If you have the opportunity to hunt exclusively bow hunted property, animals will be far less jumpy, in my experience.

I didn't start hunting until 45 years old and my first time was bowhunting in South Africa. I have done 7 safaris there now. Trust me, you will be going back. Also, if you are frugal about which species you shoot, it will be more affordable than almost any guided big game hunt in the USA.

Take a good camera with you. An SLR or better. Don't rely on an iPhone (I do try to take one photo on each animal with my iPhone just for the GPS tagging). While they take good photos now, they still don't have the lenses and options a full-sized camera does. Since you likely will be spending a lot of time in a blind, you can take some absolutely amazing wildlife photos and that will reduce your desire to put an arrow into everything. Plus, you can shoot the camera while your daughter is shooting her bow.

Finally, you may consider having your safari filmed. It is cheaper than taxidermy, you get the finished video back faster than anything you will have stuffed, and the film companies are already over there so you save on travel, and you are paying South African wages, not American ones. I have had 7 of my safaris filmed so far (5 African ones and 2 outside of Africa). My only regret is not having them film the 2 I didn't hire them on. I am even looking to bring them with me to Europe next year. I have used iGala Production from Jeffrey's Bay. I am sure there are other film companies as good also.
 
Thanks for your input!! We are going to be carrying a couple of Sony 4k video cameras with us and I also have a A6400 Sony for pictures. We have taken turns videoing each other on deer hunts and have some cool memories on film. We are nowhere close to professionals but hopefully we can put something together that is decent. We are right at 10 days away from takeoff. Trying to make sure everything is in order. I’ve got a packing list I’ve been working on so hopefully I will not forget anything.
 
You doing any night hunting? If you are or think that might be an option, get some glow in the dark paint and put it on the back of your limbs and the bottom of the back of your riser so you can find your bow in the dark. Also, put a dab on the top of your peep. That helps orient you when you try and shoot in the dark.
 
Good luck, safe travels, and shoot straight!
 
Y’all have fun. Don’t forget to take in all the non hunting things.

Kids seem to like the variety of different chips and candy. Make sure she gets to hit up the junk food aisle at the gas station at least once. For drinks I’m a fan of the appletiser and grapetiser. Spar Letta Cream Soda (it’s green) was one of my favorites when I went to Africa as a kid.
 

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