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Rifle and Bow Requirements

An African safari is a grand adventure. When most of us first journey to the Dark Continent it is the most exotic, most remote, most distant hunting location in our experience. So of course, we worry endlessly about making sure we have all the right gear and the perfect guns and loads. This is healthy. Laying out the gear and packing and repacking the gun case and duffel bags are an important part of any pre-hunt ritual, and add to the anticipation. The paradox, however, is that properly packing for an African hunt is one of the easiest things you can do!

                                 Equipment: pack light               Rifles: think “versatile”
HUNTING RIFLES

A medium calibre rifle (.270, 3006, 300 win mag) will be suitable, used with good quality ammunition with projectile weight from grains.

  • A high velocity bullet with a maximum force on impact is needed.
  • Telescopic sights with a 6 fold enlargement are sufficient.
  • Quality full-size binoculars in the 7x42 to 10x40 range.
  • We recommend that hunters bring calibres not smaller than 30-06 for thin skinned animals and .375 for thick skinned and Big Five hunts.

It is important that to bring a rifle that you are comfortable with!

The sheer variety of African game is daunting, and choosing the exactly right rifles and cartridges is a fascinating study. Undoubtedly there is a “perfect” rifle and cartridge for every variety of game and every type of terrain. Versatility is what you should keep in mind !

For most modern safaris, three rifles are at least one too many. Today’s safaris are shorter, bag limits are far more restricted, and in some cases (Zambia being a good example) you may be legally restricted to just two rifles on a gun permit This means that versatility is even more important, but there’s not a lot of mystery involved. Think of a two-rifle battery in terms of “lighter and heavier.” The lighter of the two will probably see the most use. It will be used for camp meat, bait animals, and plains game trophies ranging from very small antelope on up to fairly stout beasts such as wildebeest, zebra, perhaps sable and kudu. This means that your “lighter” rifle may take animals as small as a rabbits . . . and as large and as tough as a kudu. The “heavier” rifle will be used much less, but it’s very important because it will be used to hunt any thick-skinned dangerous game that is on the menu. It may also be used to hunt lion and the largest plains game, such as moose-sized eland.

Obviously the genuine need for a big-bore depends altogether on whether or not you will be hunting dangerous game. But let’s assume that your safari will include buffalo at a minimum. You need to make a fundamental choice between a true “big bore,” probably a bolt action .458 or a double rifle of .450 or larger; and a “large medium,” probably a .375 or a .416. For buffalo there are no wrong choices in this spectrum.

Ammunition

The primary considerations are what kind and how much. Because of the great variety of African game, choice of bullet is important—and the bullet you choose must be tough enough for the largest animal you plan to hunt. It is better to select just one soft point that is tough enough for anything you might run into.

A good soft point for the first shot on buffalo, but you will want a few solids for backup—and you will want solids only for elephant and hippo. The amount of ammunition you need is dictated by the amount of game you will hunt, but the overarching limit is the airlines’ five-kilogram rule. On a lengthy modern safari 60 rounds for the “lighter rifle” and 30 rounds for the “heavier rifle” should be plenty.

BOWS

When you have taken up hunting with bow and arrow you have not only defy modern times you have also commit yourself to be challenged beyond belief. The art of bow hunting putts you in the league of brave men who went before us not only for the sake of sport but survival. It is the truest form of adventure, taking on the giants and predators that have been roaming and dominating our hunting fields forever.

 The 3 most important aspects of an arrow for a successful African kill:

  • Perfect arrow flight.
  • Ridiculously sharp broad head.
  • Heavy arrow, At least 7.5g per bow pound. 65lb = 490g total arrow weight (preferably more 8g -10g per bow pound)

Category 1

Draw Mass

Kinetic Energy

Momentum

TPI

Arrow Weight

Small Game

pound

foot/pound

lbs/second

 

 

grains

Duikers, Steenbuck,Klip-
springer, Suni

40

40-50

0.3

20

300-400

Category 2

Draw Mass

Kinetic Energy

Momentum

TPI

Arrow Weight

Medium Game

pound

foot/pound

lbs/second

 

 

grains

Rhedbuck,Impala, Blesbuck,Nyala,Bush-
buck,Warthog,Bushpig
Springbuck

50-60

50-60

0.35

30

400-500

Category 3

Draw Mass

Kinetic Energy

Momentum

TPI

Arrow Weight

Large Game

pound

foot/pound

lbs/second

 

 

grains

Wildebeest,Zebra, Kudu,Waterbuck,Gems-
buck,Sable,Hartebeest,
Lion,Roan,Eland,Leopard

60-75

60-75

0.4

40

500-600

Category 4

Draw Mass

Kinetic Energy

Momentum

TPI

Arrow Weight

 

 

pound

foot/pound

lbs/second

 

 

grains

Cape Buffalo

80

80

0.45

50

600-700

Category 5

Draw Mass

Kinetic Energy

Momentum

TPI

Arrow Weight

 

pound

foot/pound

lbs/second

 

 

grains

Rhino, Hippo,Giraffe

95

95

.5 - .6

50 +

800

Category 6

Draw Mass

Kinetic Energy

Momentum

TPI

Arrow Weight

 

 

pound

foot/pound

lbs/second

 

 

grains

Elephant

105

105

0.6

50+

800+

Namibia

The importation of bows for bow hunting is legal in Namibia and no permit is required.
Longbows, recurve bows and compound bows are legal to hunt with, but no crossbows are allowed for hunting in Namibia. According to law arrows should be 20 inch/500mm and longer. Our recommendation is to hunt African game with fixed broad heads and not mechanical broad heads. The Namibian bow hunting law requires that bow hunters are accompanied by a professional hunter registered as bow hunting guide while hunting. The best season for bow hunting is during the drier months of the year from June until November.

The minimum legal requirements for bow hunting in Namibia:

Small Game

25 ft/lbs and an arrow weight of 350 grains
e.g. African Wild Cat, Blessbuck, Caracal, Rock Rabbit, Damara Dik-Dik, Grey Duiker, Jackal, Klipspringer, Springbuck and Steenbuck.

 Meduim Size Game

40 ft/lbs and an arrow weight of 400 grains
e.g. Warthog, Baboon, Cheetah and Spotted Hyena

Big Game

65ft/lbs and an arrow weight of 450 grains
e.g. Eland, Oryx, Giraffe, Red Hartebeest, Kudu, Roan Antelope, Sable, Tsessebe, Waterbuck, Wildebeest species and the Zebra species

Dangerous Game

The following Dangerous Game species cannot legally be hunted in Namibia with the Bow: Elephant; Hippopotamus; Crocodile; Buffalo; Lion; Leopard

ARROWS: Arrows can be made out of:

  • Wood, fiberglass, carbon or carbon compounds and aluminum
  • The shaft must have a minimum length of 19.68 inches (500 mm).

BROADHEADS :Broadheads must:

  • Consist of at least two fixed cutting blades
  • A minimum cutting edge length and width of 1 inch (26 mm+).

Broadheads are legal but may not:

  • Have barbed or serrated edges
  • Contain poison or narcotics

Mechanical broadheads are legal in Namibia.

Special arrow points such as judo points, bird points or blunt points may be used for the bow hunting of game bird species only, a hunter may take no more than two members of the permitted bird species during the hunt, which will be listed in the trophy permit.

SPOT AND STALKING:

This method is preferred during the green season months, February until May as sufficient cover exists and the green bush is softer on the foot and reduces noise while stalking.

Spot and stalk hunting is also used for the "more difficult" game species or those that do not frequent waterholes Due to the difficulty of achieving the above criteria, bow-hunting in Namibia is technically a highly selective sport and requires above normal self-discipline and physical fitness. Surrounding game species are disturbed very little and are often not even aware of the hunt that is taking place. 

LEGAL REQUIREMENTS:

  1. A Hunting Guide, Master Hunting Guide or Professional Hunter with additional qualifications for bow-hunting must guide trophy hunters visiting Namibia.
  2. Bow hunting shall be conducted exclusively in the company of a registered hunting guide/ master hunting guide or professional hunter with an additional bow hunting qualification at all times in the bush or blind, and not more than two trophy hunters per guide at any given time.
  3. Bow-hunting may only take place on special game farms and areas which are registered for this purpose with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Respect Landowners rights.
  4. Bow-hunting may only be conducted for the sake of trophy hunting.
  5. Licenses for various game species may be organized by the outfitter and must clearly stipulate Bowhunting.
  6. No animal will be viable for inclusion in the NAPHA Top Ten List if said animals have been harvested with a permit not clearly displaying the Bowhunting stamp at the top of the page.
  7. The onus lies with the trophy hunter to check and ensure that the correct permits are in possession of the outfitter before hunting commences.
  8. No person shall without the permission of the Cabinet hunt any game or other wild animal, other than a problem animal, with the
  9. aid of artificial light, or during the period from half an hour after sunset on any day to half an hour before sunrise on the following day.
  10. The practice of shooting from a moving vehicle is prohibited; ethical principles of hunting determine that any animal must have at least an equal chance to escape.
  11. A hunting guest may only take two animals of a kind each year, irrespective if the trophies are exported or not.
  12. All Trophies must attain the minimum points of trophy quality. (Exceptions are allowed only with old, setback or very abnormal trophies.)

Bow-hunting is guided by the Code of Conduct as set out below:

  • Hunting to take place on the principles of fair chase, as defined hereunder.
  • When bow-hunting, the hunter makes use of stalking as well as lying in ambush
  • Use of correct hunting methods and equipment to harvest animals in the least traumatic way possible
  • Bow-hunters should practice and train continuously to enhance their bowman ship.
  • They have to abide by the relevant laws, other legal requirements and recognized codes of conduct.
  • They must actively enhance the survival of wildlife populations, protection of biodiversity and the promotion of sustainable utilization.
  • Ensure humane practices in the utilization of wildlife.
  • Engage at all times in fair and honest , practices
  • Educate others regarding the benefits of sustainable use, conservation procedures and the ethics of hunting.
  • Recognize indigenous rural community needs relating to sustainable natural resource utilization.

Zimbabwe

A bow with a draw weight of not less than 35kg and an arrow weighing not less than 45 grams is required for Giraffe and Eland and draw weight of not less than 35kg with an arrow not less than 40 grams is required for most antelope. Bow hunting may onlly take place on private hunting areas or communal hunting areas, NOT in a Nation Park or Government controled Safari Area.