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Bowhunting has a long tradition in Africa and in Southern Africa. Many tribes in Africa has made use of the bow and arrow, of which the San Bushmen and the pygmies of central Africa, both using poison arrows, are probably the best known.
In Southern Africa, the San and the Ovambo have until recently hunted with bow and arrow and there are probably a few of these people who still do so. The Ovambo does not use poison arrows, though. They make short, but strong bows consisting of sapwood and heartwood.
Olympic archery has been a sport in South Africa for many years and recently bowhunting has become very popular as well. Although archers have continued using recurves, most bowhunters have taken up the modern compound bow. Traditional archery and the traditional shooting style; i.e. using no sights, still does not have a big following in the country. It is African Archer’s quest to promote traditional archery in Southern Africa and to entice traditional bowhunters from other countries to visit Southern Africa and to hunt the more than 50 available species... >>Introduction
New articles this month
A surprising hunt on foot
By Rean Steenkamp
As I came down the mountain, I noticed a tree trunk with a shape that reminded one of a buck. I stopped in my tracks. Could it be an impala or a duiker? I slowly moved forward, trying to make as little movement as possible. Fortunately most of me was hidden behind a bush a few metres in front of me and I was peeking over the top of the leaves. Step by step I went closer, making sure where I placed my feet. My Wildebeest boots made no sound.
Yes, it was an animal and not a tree trunk! I could just make out the eyes, the black nose and the darker colour of the glands beneath the eyes. The animal was standing quartering away from me, while looking over its shoulder – and the back seemed much higher than the front. It was a duiker... >> A surprising hunt on foot
The "pod" revisited
Archery and bowhunting have an intriguing and fascinating history, writes Cleve Cheney. The bow has for thousands of years been an instrument of survival, a weapon of war and a means of recreation. It has progressed from being a bent stick to a highly sophisticated technological marvel of ingenuity.
I made bows of a sort, or attempted to do so, as a young lad but acquired my first manufactured bow at the age of about 12 (48 years ago!) – a laminated bamboo longbow which was very effective and a great improvement on my home-made attempts. I remember the sad day when I broke it. Standing on top of a hill, looking down on our farmhouse in the distance and holding the bow at a 450 angle I was of a mind to see how far I could shoot an arrow from my elevated position. Having outgrown the draw length of the bow I drew it back as far as I could – CRAAAACKK! The bow shattered and all I was left holding was the string – each limb half having gone its separate way down the mountain! I was devastated, but my interest in things archery never wavered and I read everything about it that I could lay my hands on. I bought my first compound bow in 1979 – a Martin Warthog 50-pound bow with 33% let-off and six cedar arrows, shooting glove, pin sight, stick on arrow rest, and quiver all for just under R400 (new!) from Jack's Archery supplies in Pretoria... >> The "pod" revisited
Testing a horsebow
By Rean Steenkamp
I am not a horsebow archer and not much of a horseman either, but I do appreciate the design and beautiful lines of the horsebows that were designed to shoot from a horse's back.
It was with great enthusiasm that I recently received a finely crafted horsebow made by Pierre de Wet from Cupido Bows to test. The bow is made in the style of the Turkish horsebows from ash, Cecato Petro from Brazil and action bamboo. The grip and siyah are ash wood and the limbs have been made of three layers of action bamboo, while the dark line running through the grip is the Brazilian wood. The bow has a draw weight of 48 pounds at 28 inches. For those who do not know, "siyahs" are the non-bending tips at the end of the limbs… >> Testing a horsebow
A chip off the old block
By Clive Cheney
Medic by profession – bowyer and survival specialist by passion. Hunt Cheney was born and raised in the Kruger National Park where the bush was home (Figure 1). In the company of his father he learnt bush skills and the ways of the wild from a very early age and by the time he reached his teens he was an accomplished and very independent outdoorsman.
His intention was to become a game ranger like his dad, but political changes in the country more or less closed this door for him. He studied and qualified himself in the field of agriculture, but later went on to study for and become an intermediate life support paramedic – a profession he still practises. His love of the outdoors, however, never diminished. Hunt is a super-fit individual clocking a Comrades Marathon silver-medal time of just on 7 hours and a standard marathon best time of 2 hours 33 minutes. Trail running, skydiving and rock climbing are also favourite extreme sports he participates in… >> A chip off the old block
Pumba's traditional bows
By Rean Steenkamp
Louwtjie Louw is a new bowman in South Africa who recently visited the Africa's Bowhunter office to show me the three models of bows he builds. Louwtjie asked me to shoot the bows and give my opinion. This, of course, is "work" that I like to do.
The three styles of bows he builds are a reflex-deflex longbow, which is a nearly Scythian-style longbow. Louwtjie named this his Pumba Mark 1 series. He also builds a standard longbow, the Mufasa Mark 1 series, and then he builds a Scythian-style bow, which is called the Timoan Mark 1 series. All three of the bows are beautifully made and well finished off… >> Pumba's traditional bows
Ancient blinds and hunting practices
By Rean Steenkamp
I get quite a few reports about hunting from all over the globe. The headline of one such report attracted my attention: “Ancient caribou hunting site discovered under Lake Huron”.
According to the report underwater archaeologists had discovered an ancient hunting site at the bottom of Lake Huron. The site, complete with what are believed to be ancient hunting blinds and storage structures, was found on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge underneath 121 feet of water…>> Ancient blinds and hunting practices
A bow for survival
By Rean Steenkamp
When I looked at the object I removed from the package, I would hardly have said it was a bow. In fact, it looked more like a car jack of some kind! But I could make out bow limbs… and I knew this was it… the survival bow that was to be sent to me to test.
The bow was sent to me by Doug Shadwell from Survival Archery Systems (SAS). Doug says SAS is a company dedicated to developing properly engineered equipment that will not only get the job done out in the field, but will withstand the elements over a long term – to ensure that you get through whatever disaster or situation you may find yourself in. He says SAS has recently introduced the SAS Tactical Survival Bow, the first of a range of products dedicated to long-term survival usage and also suited to the high demands of tactical equipment...>> A bow for survival
Sable, stick and string
By Fritz Rabe
During July of 2014 I had the great joy to host and guide Dale Karch, the owner of 3Rivers Archery, accompanied by his lovely wife, Sandy, and his close friend, Greg Szaleuski, during a great ten days of hunting.
Now most of you who know me also know that I get a severe headache, stomach cramps and an instant “sense-of-humour failure” when clients arrive armed with traditional bows and expect to hunt seven animals in ten days, all of them trophies... >> Sable, stick and string