Aiming High, Aiming Low in Africa
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Aiming High, Aiming Low in Africa

By Rean Steenkamp

Feb 8, 2006, 07:01

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To read more on Africa:  Africa’s Bowhunter



For more African Adventures:  African Bowhunter Magazine

spot must be a warthog highway crossing, I thought as another group of warthog
visited the blinds, but I wasn?t interested in pigs today.

I was on a weekend hunt with five other bowhunters
at Moselesele Bowhunting Game Lodge. All were shooting with traditional bows. I
was hunting with my compound, but I had also brought my recurve along.

Sooner or later every animal comes for a drink

I had chosen to sit in a blind
because I was on a special mission for a non-hunting friend who had asked me to
hunt a kudu cow or impala, as he wanted to make biltong. There was certainly
abundant game on the ranch and although I knew I would not have to wait long
before I got a chance at my quarry, I wanted to make sure I did not return empty-handed.

I wasn?t wrong about not having to wait long.
After about an hour in the blinds two kudu bulls walked in. Soon afterwards a
couple of zebra walked past, followed by a duiker. Between these visits the
warthogs kept coming in. I could have taken a shot more than a dozen of these
handsome pigs had I wanted to.

After about two hours a group of four impala rams
finally came in. I wasn?t hunting for a trophy, just a big ewe or sizeable ram.
Two of the rams had Rowland Ward-sized horns, but I wasn?t interested in them,
as it would cost me an extra R200, which my friend would certainly not want to
pay. One of the rams was a ?knypkop? (a young ram, with small horns nearly
touching). He looked a bit small and would not produce much biltong. The fourth
ram had fine horns and a full body. He would be my target.

Aim Low

estimated the ram to be standing at between 16 and 18 yards, so I placed the
20-yard pin a little low on the killing area and pulled the trigger. The arrow
bolted out of my PSE Firestorm Lite and hit low ? exactly where I had aimed.
The ram jumped high into the air and ran off.

I was a little worried. If I had missed the heart or
lungs, the impala would run for a long time. I looked at a spot, which I knew
to be at 20 yards. The impala had stood far to the left. With my eyes I drew a
line towards the spot where it had been standing when I took the shot. Uh-oh,
it was 20 yards, not 16. The shot was low, for sure.

Pieter McCord, the owner of the game ranch, arrived
half-an-hour later. We picked up my arrow. It had run right through the ram and
was covered in bright red blood. At least that?s a good sign, I thought. We
found the blood spoor and began to follow it. I need not have worried. The
impala was lying about 30 yards from the blinds.

This Impala Ram didn’t go far after a heart shot

On later inspection we found a hole in the impala?s
heart. By aiming low I had unintentionally shot a better shot than I had
planned. Aiming low at an impala or springbok, which are notorious string
jumpers, is probably never a bad idea. We also found that the arrow had struck
the side of a rib on one side and split a rib on the other.

Aim High

that day I had a shot at a guinea fowl with my recurve. This time the arrow
struck too high, neatly severing the neck in half. I planned on frying the bird
on the fire that night, but was stopped by Christiaan, one of my hunting

?No,? he said, ?Guinea fowl have tough meat and
require special preparation. You have to boil it in the pot, like oxtail.?

Guinea Fowl need some cooking to taste right but if done right they are delicious

My guinea fowl

skinning the bird and removing the innards, I cut up the legs, wings and torso
and placed the pieces in a number-three cast iron pot, adding water, a glass of
wine and about half a cup of olive oil. I also added salt and some barbecue
spice. I would have added some cloves if I?d had some. I then filled the pot
with more water and placed it on the coals.

I cooked the guinea fowl through the night, adding
extra coals just before going to bed. The next morning I placed some new coals
on the fire, added a cup of Coke and cooked the bird for another hour, until
only about a centimetre of sauce was left in the pot. Everyone who tasted the
dish was very impressed.

It was one of the finest meals I had had in a long
time. From now on I am a guinea fowl hunter.

wingshooting chapter

I shot the guinea fowl while it was
sitting on the ground, although it would have been more sporting to shoot it
from the air. Wingshooting birds with bow and arrow may still become a popular
hunting activity, especially among traditionalists. The South African
Wingshooters Association has invited bowhunters to start a bow wingshooting
chapter, and the first steps to this end have already been taken. Bowhunters
who are interested in wingshooting are invited to contact Africa?s
Bowhunter for more information.

Bowhunting Game Lodge
caters for local bowhunters. The daily rate for hunters
and non-hunters is almost half that of most other game ranches. The camp has
three neat Wendy houses, of which two are sleeping quarters, big enough for six
people. The third Wendy is a kitchen with freezer, fridge and the necessary
cutlery for self-catering hunters. You only need to take your own food, drink
and bedding. The houses are built around the barbecue area. In the evening we
enjoyed a hot shower with water fuelled from a donkey boiler.

ranch boasts six blinds, of which one is an elevated blind and one a pit blind.
All are well designed and very effective. Moselesele is only 50km from Pretoria in the Pienaars
river area. There is abundant game on the farm and hunting species include
impala, kudu, warthog, gemsbok, red hartebeest, blesbok and blue wildebeest.
Pieter McCord can be contacted at 014 736 2609 or 082 564 2749.

For more African Adventures:  African Bowhunter Magazine

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