When does your Archery/Bow hunt really begin?

jeff

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Thought I would open a discussion on when preparation for your hunt should start. Lets say you are booked for 7 days archery, would it be reasonable to expect that hides be put up a week or two in advance or put up the morning of your arrival? How about a night hunt for bush pig , civet , badger, ect.? When is reasonable to expect bait to be put out for your hunt? How about trail cams, should they be in place for some time before your hunt? How about going to another concession, should the outfitter check it out just before your hunt or just go on past experience or the opinion of the land owner? What's everyone's opinions and thoughts on the matter. I've had hunts where things were done well in advance and some that had no pre hunt preparations in both cases the outfitter thought what they were doing was acceptable. What is reasonable? Maybe the title of the thread would be better as, When should your hunt begin?
 
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BRICKBURN

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These concepts could certainly be added to the “better” questions thread.
A lot of assumptions are made when we book hunts.
 

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My 2¢
I would surmise it would depend on the animal being hunted. May not be relevant but for eastern whitetail, I set cameras four months in advance of hunting season and blinds a month ahead. I use wireless cameras so as to not disturb the area before hunting season opening day.
 

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My 2¢
I would surmise it would depend on the animal being hunted. May not be relevant but for eastern whitetail, I set cameras four months in advance of hunting season and blinds a month ahead. I use wireless cameras so as to not disturb the area before hunting season opening day.
I think it depends more on the hunting pressure than anything. I have killed a lot of eastern whitetail bow hunting just by sitting still next to a tree. They will sit and watch you draw sometimes.
Heavily hunted areas you set up stands 2 months in advance, and don’t leave the stand for 2 days. Honey pots suck, but it is better than trying to slip into the woods in the dark waiting fo sunrise.

On the subject of bait, I have always thought bait needed to be out for a week before animals start coming to it regularly.
 

brandondd24

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I’ve hunted Africa twice, Namibia and sa, I’ve trusted my ph judgement both times, that being said, there’s been no need to prebait or build blinds, did walk and stalk both times, so maybe I’m not on the subject?
 

jeff

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I'm surprised that no outfitters have chimed in?
 

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Those are some pretty tough questions actually.
How many PH's actually have the money to head out and tour a concession before your arrival for a plains game hunt? Unless, they have already been hunting it immediately before.

Some places it is illegal to bait before the hunter hits the camp/ground.

So many circumstances can come in to play. They are good question get answers to though.
 

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I'm surprised that no outfitters have chimed in?
Jeff, it's horses for courses. On a rifle hunt, no to very little pre-work needs to be done.The pre-work basically gets done as the season goes on. A Kudu or Bushbuck gives you the slip in a particular valley on more than one occasion, which does not take a genius to figure out that you have found his main home range. That would be a good place to start when you go looking for him the following week, hopefully having learnt from the mistake or approach you made the previous week.
Regarding bow hunting, it depends on species. Are you hunting from a blind or walk and stalk. Not much needed when walk/spot and stalk hunting to be had, except maybe scouting a particular herd that you wish to target if its species specific.
If hunting will be from a blind, the next question is what species are you targeting? Are you targeting a species that are water dependant or do you need to use food/salt lick to lure them. If its a water dependant animal, a trail cam at a couple of the water points, about a month out, will give you the data you need on which blind you need to sit. I don't think you should expect photos every day from the outfitter. Maybe every two weeks, in order not to disturb the area too much.
If it's food/lick, two weeks is usually sufficient. ( Within what is under control, like the season.)

Those are some pretty tough questions actually.
How many PH's actually have the money to head out and tour a concession before your arrival for a plains game hunt?

So does this not come back to cheap deals?
 

jeff

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Thanks for input. Excellent points! I stated in the original post that I was talking bowhunting but maybe the thread would have been better in the the bowhunting section.
 

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I changed the thread title for you. Perhaps that will help.
 

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You bring up some great points for discussion @jeff ..... I agree with Brickburn that some of the questions you raise are difficult to answer with a few simple statements. I could write an entire article just on my personal opinions on some of these points you raised.

In my opinion, the hunt should begin when the outfitter conceives the notion of going into business offering bow hunts. I believe it is the outfitter's responsibility to spare no effort in maximizing every possible opportunity to increase their bow hunting clients' chances for success. I also believe that the biggest factor in facilitating that concept must include that the outfitter/PHs are experienced bow hunters themselves.

So many factors must go into the equation for consistent success that it is really impossible to address them here in one short post. Every single outfitter in Africa offering bow hunts will have you set up at a water, mineral, or food source. Most will have hides pre-set to some extent. The better ones will regularly utilize trail cameras to ensure you are in the right place at the right time. In regard to serious night hunting targeting specific species, without pre-baiting sites and monitoring trail cameras you are wasting precious time.

Yet with all of these factors in place, it really does the hunter no good if the smallest of details are not considered well before any hunters enter into the bush. Being in the right spot when that dream animal walks in isn't enough if the the animal does a 180 in a cloud of dust when you go to draw because the hide you were in let in too much back light and you got picked off. Or, if the animal got your wind because the predominant sun and wind directions were not considered when the location for the hide was chosen. I could list example after example, but as a bow hunter, you get the idea of what I am saying...

During one of my last safaris, we had trail cam photos of a huge warthog coming regularly to a particular water hole. The problem was that there was that the wind was completely wrong for that hide location. Instead of chancing it, my PH and I decided to hang a ladder stand in one of the trees adjacent to the trail in that the hog was using. We put the stand up at lunch time in a perfect tree down wind with the sun setting sun on my back, and I had that giant warthog in the salt by late that afternoon. I killed a beautiful bushbuck out of a very similar scenario on another occasion. During that same safari, we also had 3 different bait sites going for me to get my brown hyena at night (which I finally did).... Would every outfitter have the knowledge and make the effort to provide these kinds of opportunities for their bow hunting clients? Of the handful of outfitters I have hunted with in Africa, only one consistently does that I am aware of, and that is why I return to them time and again. But, as you know, I am biased because I also happen to represent that outfitter here on this forum. Now, you know some more of the reasons why...

Back to your original question of "when the hunt begins?", is a pretty subjective answer depending who you ask I suppose... For me, it begins in the details long before I arrive....
 

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Triple Amen to this ^^^^^^^

"down wind with the sun setting sun on my back". I don't know what it is but 90% of my fellow hunters don't know or ignore this tactic and some PHs seem clueless about it too (my experience also). Setting up properly and waiting until those conditions exist exponentially increases one's odds of killing their quarry. I set all my tree stands facing east or west and wait for the wind to be right to hunt.

On another note, this is a battle tactic used in biblical times. Start fires, let the enemy know where you are and when they attack, they are blinded.
 
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Ryan Wilson

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Outfitters have a duty of being prepared before your hunt. It's their duty to make sure their clients are successful. Now, it's up to us clients to determine what "success" really is to us as individuals. I've been on hunts where the area has been overhunted and little pre-arrival preparation had been made. I've also been on hunts where we were in a certain area looking for an animal that the outfitter knew was visiting regularly and of good quality. I've had outfitters stick me in stands that have been there for years and outfitters that had to make adjustments on the fly and set new stands. It's all part of hunting and doing your homework is a must. If you want to find out how good your outfitter really is, send them a list of animals you want to shoot and see how successful you are. I've seen people arrive in Africa with a 5 animal "wish list" and go home with 2. All common species for a first time hunter.
 

jeff

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Outfitters have a duty of being prepared before your hunt. It's their duty to make sure their clients are successful. Now, it's up to us clients to determine what "success" really is to us as individuals. I've been on hunts where the area has been overhunted and little pre-arrival preparation had been made. I've also been on hunts where we were in a certain area looking for an animal that the outfitter knew was visiting regularly and of good quality. I've had outfitters stick me in stands that have been there for years and outfitters that had to make adjustments on the fly and set new stands. It's all part of hunting and doing your homework is a must. If you want to find out how good your outfitter really is, send them a list of animals you want to shoot and see how successful you are. I've seen people arrive in Africa with a 5 animal "wish list" and go home with 2. All common species for a first time hunter.
I had a 8 animal wish list and all

were common plains game although some were tougher to get than others and came home with one, so 2 out of 5 would have been great!
 

Ryan Wilson

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I had a 8 animal wish list and all

were common plains game although some were tougher to get than others and came home with one, so 2 out of 5 would have been great!

I'd say it would be a safe bet to not go there anymore. That's not worth the financial cost of logistics alone. Not knocking Africa, but, its target rich. I think the mindset of some outfitters is that you there to spend money and not hunt specific species. Shoot whats in front of you. And that's not the way us single species hunters in USA minds work.
 

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There are plains game outfitters who specialize in archery hunting. I would start there. Any outfitter can post pics of some big animals with a guy and a bow behind them over a period of time. Plenty of outfitters are really good at both, but unless you have some good references from bowhunters it may be better to stick with a specialist. On the flip side, as a client, your job is to be able to place a broadhead exactly where you want...and often there is only a short window to shoot even when hunting bait or water. In my opinion, unless your shooting was off or you took too long preparing for shots, you should have gotten more than one species of common plains game.
 

jeff

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I've booked 17 African hunts and 4 were with archery only outfits but all the others but two provided good hunts and were prepared in advance!
 

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