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Africa Q&a


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#1 Leo

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 10:22 AM

All right I'm trying to start a thread with a lot of participation here. So here's an invitation to join in and ask questions about going to Africa to bowhunt.

I've only been twice so I'm not an expert but I do have some valuable experience I am willing to share with those who are interested.

So please start asking! Let's make this thread a resource.

Edited by Leo, 20 September 2010 - 03:32 PM.

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#2 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 10:52 AM

Leo thank you for opening up on this hunt. Africa for any hunter has to be a dream hunt no matter what you hunt with gun or bow.

Mathews bows just came out with a African Safari model for what I take is a specialty type bow for the selected smaller group that have an African hunt in the works. The specs are not out yet on this bow but it does raise the idea of what's really is needed for an African bowhunt. I read your specs briefly on your setup from different posts but maybe after taking the biggest antelope in Africa, and by anyones standards a huge animal, what bow and arrow combination is realistic for huntinig there?
"Keep the sun forever at your back, the wind forever in your face, and may forever God bless you out there on the trail."

#3 Leo

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 11:56 AM

Leo thank you for opening up on this hunt. Africa for any hunter has to be a dream hunt no matter what you hunt with gun or bow.

Mathews bows just came out with a African Safari model for what I take is a specialty type bow for the selected smaller group that have an African hunt in the works. The specs are not out yet on this bow but it does raise the idea of what's really is needed for an African bowhunt. I read your specs briefly on your setup from different posts but maybe after taking the biggest antelope in Africa, and by anyones standards a huge animal, what bow and arrow combination is realistic for huntinig there?


Actually anything that you would hunt elk with, would have you covered for plains game in Africa. Even your own proven whitetail setup will be adequate for the whitetail sized and smaller animals there. That would include for example, nyala, blesbok, duiker, impala, steenbok, warthog and bushbok. The eland, kudu, wildebeast, gemsbok and zebra are better hunted with heavier set ups.

That being said. You don't have to have an 80lb bow to hunt plains game in Africa. There is a lot more to the specs required than just poundage. I was able to get the job done with my bow at 67 1/2lbs and I shot clean through an eland! Broadhead style, bow speed, draw length, arrow weight, head weight, plus some more factors all come into play.

Many of you are hunting with a bow that's plenty adequate enough for most of the animals over there right now. So trust me when I say you probably don't need to think about adding the expense of a new bow to a trip over there. The only exception is if you plan on bowhunting the thickskinned stuff ie. Buffalo, hippo, giraffe... Then it's a whole new ball game.
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#4 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 12:58 PM

Leo thank you for opening up on this hunt. Africa for any hunter has to be a dream hunt no matter what you hunt with gun or bow.

Mathews bows just came out with a African Safari model for what I take is a specialty type bow for the selected smaller group that have an African hunt in the works. The specs are not out yet on this bow but it does raise the idea of what's really is needed for an African bowhunt. I read your specs briefly on your setup from different posts but maybe after taking the biggest antelope in Africa, and by anyones standards a huge animal, what bow and arrow combination is realistic for huntinig there?



Actually anything that you would hunt elk with, would have you covered for plains game in Africa. Even your own proven whitetail setup will be adequate for the whitetail sized and smaller animals there. That would include for example, nyala, blesbok, duiker, impala, steenbok, warthog and bushbok. The eland, kudu, wildebeast, gemsbok and zebra are better hunted with heavier set ups.

That being said. You don't have to have an 80lb bow to hunt plains game in Africa. There is a lot more to the specs required than just poundage. I was able to get the job done with my bow at 67 1/2lbs and I shot clean through an eland! Broadhead style, bow speed, draw length, arrow weight, head weight, plus some more factors all come into play.

Many of you are hunting with a bow that's plenty adequate enough for most of the animals over there right now. So trust me when I say you probably don't need to think about adding the expense of a new bow to a trip over there. The only exception is if you plan on bowhunting the thickskinned stuff ie. Buffalo, hippo, giraffe... Then it's a whole new ball game.


To stay on this side of the topic with equipment before going into other aspects like guide/outfitters plus other things that come to mind; is the broadhead you used something you would use again and would you consider a mechanical head for the African game animal?
"Keep the sun forever at your back, the wind forever in your face, and may forever God bless you out there on the trail."

#5 Leo

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 02:12 PM

First off let me say that grouping fixed and mechanical heads together as "good" and "bad" is an unfortunate mistake too many folks make. There are crummy mechanicals and crummy fixed blade broadheads. I'd rather hunt with a good mechanical than a crummy fixed head or a good fixed head than a crummy mechanical.

I have in fact taken african animals with both mechanical and fixed heads.

Here's the breakdown

Duiker 100 grain G5 Montec
Impala 100 grain Rocket Aerohead Sidewinder
Kudu 100 grain G5 Montec
Zebra 125 grain Rocket Aerohead Stricknine
Nyala 125 grain Slicktrick Standard
Bushbok 125 grain Slicktrick Standard
Eland 125 grain Slicktrick Standard

I moved to the 125 grain heads because I got better arrow flight with the heavier head and better penetration with the heavier head with my set up. I would definitely use both the Stricknines and the slicktrick standards again. In fact I plan on continuing to use them in the future.

These are all good choices. But I would certainly pick the 125grn Standards as the best penetrators. They penetrated everything I shot like drills. The Stricknines get plenty of penetration to get the job done and cause an immense amount of damage. They are very good mechanicals. I would also give the Slicktricks the edge in durability. As long as you don't loose them all the ferrules on the slicktricks need is dressing up the tip a little on a stone and fresh blades. The ferrules on slicktricks are super tough.
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#6 woodhick

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 06:32 PM

Change of subject. What is the weather like? Is it hot? Does it rain a lot? I'm sure that depends on the time you were there but what did you observe.

#7 Leo

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 07:12 PM

I was there in August both times. This is the end of South Africa's winter. Temperatures were 50F first thing in the morning to almost 80F in the heat of the day. A jacket was a good idea for the morning and evening rides to and from the blinds. In all, the weather was great! Not much rain that time of year usually but it can happen. For the most part it stays quite dry there.

If you are used to high humidity be sure to bring some saline nose spray. I learned that too much dry air will give me a nose bleed unless I use the saline spray. Use that and no problem!
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#8 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 12:09 PM

I was there in August both times. This is the end of South Africa's winter. Temperatures were 50F first thing in the morning to almost 80F in the heat of the day. A jacket was a good idea for the morning and evening rides to and from the blinds. In all, the weather was great! Not much rain that time of year usually but it can happen. For the most part it stays quite dry there.

If you are used to high humidity be sure to bring some saline nose spray. I learned that too much dry air will give me a nose bleed unless I use the saline spray. Use that and no problem!



Weather and clothing kind of is a connected question in how much clothing to bring and what to bring for a week or so of bow hunting. Do you need to bring camo or should you bring darker clothes for inside the blinds. How many sets did you go thru one or two or more. I know layers is always the way to go like you were referring to with the cool morning and evenings. Is there something you'd bring next time or leave at home? And I am not asking or interested in either about your underwear Leo or socks. :blink: :unsure: :rofl:
"Keep the sun forever at your back, the wind forever in your face, and may forever God bless you out there on the trail."

#9 Leo

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 12:37 PM

First off you don't have to bring as much clothing to hunt Africa as you normally would on a multiday trip. Reputable outfitters have your laundry done EVERYDAY! Absolutely take advantage of daily laundry and save on luggage weight. Bring two good hunting outfits, light jacket and insulated long johns. Camo is a good idea. Also darker camo will serve you better both inside and out of the blinds.

Socks are actually an important item. Especially if you are going to hunt pit blinds. Thick comfy wool socks are the ticket when hunting a pit blind. It's recommended you remove your boots when you get in a pit blind and just move around in sock feet. I can personally tell you this reduces the noise you make in the blind tremendously! The warm wool socks keep your feet warm too. Pit blinds take a little longer than tent blinds to warm up. I brought a couple pairs and was glad I did.

For boots I wore Georgia Boots, Georgia Giant Romeo Style pull on boots.

Georgia Giant Romeos

These boots were perfect for Africa. They don't get stones in them, are pretty light and provide decent ankle support. If I was going to be doing more walking around I my have wore something different. But for hunting elevated hides, pit blinds, tent blinds and stands these are perfect. You can wear them on the plane to and save more weight on luggage.
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#10 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 02:58 PM

Thanks Leo you hit the clothing thing for me. That's pretty cool deal to get laundry service. The air fare for heavy or over weight baggage is important to avoid. I was headed in with that question next but you covered my next question about the luggage. I have run into it and I know how important it is to not over pack especially since you have a weapon carrying case also to check in. That's why I ask cause it's hard to leave stuff at home.
"Keep the sun forever at your back, the wind forever in your face, and may forever God bless you out there on the trail."

#11 Leo

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 03:08 PM

Thanks Leo you hit the clothing thing for me. That's pretty cool deal to get laundry service. The air fare for heavy or over weight baggage is important to avoid. I was headed in with that question next but you covered my next question about the luggage. I have run into it and I know how important it is to not over pack especially since you have a weapon carrying case also to check in. That's why I ask cause it's hard to leave stuff at home.


You only get 50lbs per bag and can check two bags on an international flight at this time. I say this time because that limit changes so make sure you have up to date info on your airlines baggage policy. Weigh your baggage as you pack. It's worth it! You can also take a carry-on and a personal item. What I did was carry-on my laptop and camera. I had an extra set of underclothes and ALL my medications in the camera case and laptop case. I also actually wore one hunting outfit on the flight there. You are a long way from home if your baggage is delayed. Keeping all your medications with you is crucial!
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#12 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 08:13 AM

One thing I have been doing is throwing some clothing items in my bow case. To me it helps prevent the bow or arrows from being bumped around because the clothes act as a cushion. This helps balance out the weight a bit between the two luggage check in pieces. I have a rigid bow case with a metal frame and it has built in ASA approved locks. It's worth the money to buy something like this in my opinion to protect your weapon going through all the handling of it.

The other thing I've been doing is using a back pack for a carry-on and it has all my electronic, camera, range finder, book and meds. I could throw in some under clothes too. It frees up my hands for carrying my luggage or any other task and I can use the pack out hunting or hiking. It goes past security without to much of an ASA inspection.
"Keep the sun forever at your back, the wind forever in your face, and may forever God bless you out there on the trail."

#13 Leo

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 08:54 AM

I pack some clothing in the bowcase too. This is mine that I modified from a golf club case.

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One thing about carrying electronics on a plane. Loose spare batteries are not allowed and will be confiscated! Found that out the hard way and said bye-bye to four loose lithiums I had them in my camera case! Put your spares in checked baggage.

Edited by Leo, 22 September 2010 - 08:54 AM.

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#14 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 09:34 AM

Looking at your bow case brings up another question for me and I have heard this one ask on another site way back when; how many arrows should one bowhunter bring and how many broadheads should you pack with you for the hunt?

Other than that ----- that is a way cool looking bow case.
"Keep the sun forever at your back, the wind forever in your face, and may forever God bless you out there on the trail."

#15 Leo

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 10:22 AM

I brought 18 arrows 12 broadheads and six sets of extra blades. I also brought a Smith's S-DCS4 sharpening stone.

S-DCS4

Even if the ferrel is undamaged on the broadhead, the tip usually needs dressing up before adding fresh blades. The S-DCS4 will even sharpen blades in a pinch (Note: you need hemostats to hold the blades and it takes practice!)

I only planned on shooting three or four animals on this trip. The reason I brought so many arrows and heads was because sometimes things go very wrong. You will shoot some practice arrows often while in Africa. In my case, I did every day. Loose or break an arrow in practice and you can't hunt with it. Also expect to be practicing with broadheads. "Flies like a fieldpoint" doesn't impress all PH's, so expect to prove you are sighted in for broadheads. Also don't be surprised if you have to make some sight adjustments after the trip. Stuff happens in the belly of a plane.

Generally, bring at least twice as many arrows and heads as animals you plan on hunting. More than that is better. Both the eland and bushbuck hunts resulted in broken arrows. There are rocks behind those critters in africa, so even getting a pass through is no guarantee your arrow will be intact. If you don't get a pass through, chances are extremely high that arrow will broken before you retrieve your animal. Miss the target and you could very well find your arrow in pieces. Bottomline, expect broken arrows.
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