Bowhunting in SAHGCA

Bow hunting has grown tremendously in the last few years. Anyone interested in bow hunting is advised to gather and consider relevant information from reputable sources before making decisions on purchasing archery equipment. This information serves as a guideline to novice bow hunters towards making the correct decisions.

Bowhunting ethics

Ethics of bow hunting is a very important factor, considering that the physical ability of the hunter determines the equipment that he/she uses. The choice of arrow weight and speed influences the transfer of energy required to kill your quarry. There are limitations with regard to draw length and draw force, which depend on the physical ability of the hunter.

Shot placement with a bow and arrow is critical because arrows cannot penetrate bone with the same force as a bullet can. Arrows travel slower than speed of sound (subsonic), which means that a nervous animal may hear the arrow and tense up or start moving, which could result in wounding instead of killing it. Therefore, the effective shooting distance with a bow should not exceed 30 meters. Killing your quarry depends largely on the physical ability of the hunter to use his equipment. Physical fitness, strength and lots of practice are essential factors a hunter should maintain to ensure effective use of equipment with confidence.

Selecting the right equipment

Selecting the right equipment, when purchasing a hunting rifle mainly depends on personal choice, however it also has a lot to do with the hunting application and the financial ability of the hunter. Choosing bow hunting equipment is no different but an additional aspect comes into play, being the physical characteristics of the hunter. This can make the choice of bow hunting equipment complicated and even frustrating. Most bow hunters today will be using a compound bow however there are also preferences to use traditional bow hunting equipment. The later is much more difficult to apply and therefore requires even more skill and practice to master and must be used often and a high level of skill must be developed before being used to hunt with. Due to physical differences in people, such as strength, size and physical dimensions, a bow is set up for a specific person. Therefore it is not possible for any person to “quickly” use the bow of a friend or family member during a hunt. Any intentions to share a bow for hunting purposes should be nipped in the bud immediately.

Choosing a bow for a junior hunter, still in his growth years, is also a challenge as the bow is quickly outgrown.  Soon dad will have to lay out additional funding to replace or upgrade the bow.  Choosing a bow that can be used for a number of years due to its adjustability is therefore an important consideration.  An experienced bow specialist will be able to advise the parent adequately, to make the right decision in this regard. If in doubt, get a second opinion.

A word of advice to any parent, or guardian, would be to refrain from using junior bow hunting equipment on larger game as the arrow penetration, due to lack of arrow weight and speed will be cause for the arrow not reaching the vital organs and result in a wounded animal.  This is an ethical matter and must be adhered to at all times. The SAHGCA shooting exercise used for bow hunting contains information with regard to arrow application on different sizes of game.  Please consult this to ensure that you are using “enough bow”.

Bow shooting activities in your neighbourhood

There are SAHGCA branches countrywide with some of them offering  bow shooting and related activities. If not, then numerous other bow shooting clubs and associations offer activities and opportunities to practise and compete. Bow hunting competency development courses are also available from reputable organisations.

For more information, contact:

African Bowhunting Organisation at
South African Bowhunters at
South African Bow hunters Magazine at

Contact your nearest SAHGCA branch to enquire about bowhunting activities.
Download SAHGCA’s Bowhunting shooting exercise here,

Carl Hager

  • Last modified on Tuesday, 23 June 2015 13:24
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