Why A Bow Hunt To Africa Should Be At The Top Of Your Bucket List
For a middle-class kid from Texas, a safari to Africa seemed like a big dream. As I grew older and did more research, I discovered the trip wasn’t so out of reach after all. Through diligent saving and planning two years in advance, I made my rookie trip as a newlywed. In July of 2005, my wife Amy and I spent our honeymoon together hunting plains game in South Africa. Before that trip was even finished, I knew I’d be back. In July 2009, I returned with three bowhunting buddies. On that return trip I shot a beautiful 55-inch kudu, zebra, impalas and warthogs. I’m already daydreaming of another African adventure.
So what’s so special about bowhunting in Africa? I asked Neil Summers, a man with 30 trips to Africa under his belt since 1986, all done to research bowhunting opportunities for his business (Bowhunting Safari Consultants).
“One of the big draws for Africa is the game densities and species diversity that are encountered on a plains game bowhunt. North American bowhunts just can’t compare. Added values of the cultural experience make Africa an attractive option. Specially if you look at the costs versus the value.”
It seems like I find myself explaining more and more often to fellow whitetail hunters in the States considering such a trip. Here are 10 reasons why hunting plains game should be on every bowhunter’s list of things to do before they kick the bucket!
Diversity of Game
During deer season at home, whitetails are the primary target. Occasionally a coyote or turkey might pass my stand, but there are no big surprises in the deer woods. Africa is different. On a well managed ranch you might see more than a dozen different species of game up close. That’s exciting. You truly never know what will be inside bow range. On my 2009 safari I saw wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck, kudu, impala, warthogs, red hartebeest, tsessebe, sable, gemsbok, eland, nyala, ostrich, giraffe, rhinos and jackals from my pit blinds near water. Bird life is also diverse. Francolins, hornbills, doves and guineas are everywhere. When the big game activity is slow around the blinds, there’s always a plethora of colorful birds on the ground and in the trees to keep things interesting.
Quantity of Game
The diversity of wildlife is impressive, but so are the quantities of animals. On Melorani where I’ve hunted twice, there is no livestock. Native species like kudu, impala and warthogs are especially plentiful. Two times on my recent safari herds of 20-30 impalas surrounded my blind before i managed to shoot a big ram. In fact, impalas were so abundant, I arrowed four big rams with horns measuring 23-25 inches long in the course of 10 days of hunting. I passed shots at others.
During my 2005 safari, warthog numbers were at their peak. According to the notes I kept in my journal on that trip, on my busiest day in the blind I had 200 animals inside bow range; 132 of those were warthogs!