After going from bow shop to bow shop looking for a traditional recurve, I was disappointed to find Namibia did not stock traditional archery equipment.
After speaking to Jan and Driekie van Bergh I settled to get a compound bow. I told them that I wanted a bow for target purposes, but they read me better than myself. They said to rather get a hunting kit as the bow hunting bug will definately bite, then I would be sorry with a field bow.
And they were right, after loosing some arrows on the range and Driekies and Jan's son giving me a lesson, the bug bit.
Due to my work I never had off time to go on a hunt till I went to South Africa for leave and went with a friend to Botswana. The clients we were supposed to assist had cancelled and as we were 100km to the border we decided to go and camp anyway. My bow was packed, and now that the clients were no longer coming, it became a good time to break my bows hunting virgin.
At first we saw that warthogs enjoyed the edge of the lettuce fields and that there was a few stalking points we could use to get close. I held up behind a small thorn "shrub" (not big enough to be called a tree yet). My buddy Viktor went around the other hedgegrow to direct the warties into my hiding point. But due to a misunderstanding on my part, I was laying up in the wrong position (we all have to learn somehow). The warties come out running past me, but out of range! The first dissapointment in my hunting career...
Shortly after my failed attempt, my buddies phone rang and it was the land owners son and daughter, their mother was having medical problems, so he jumped into his landy and chased to her aide. He treated her and luckily nothing serious was wrong. In the same breath we got permission to go varmint hunting to protect her lettuce fields from the demonic rabbits and aggressive warthogs and other varmin.
That night, with the field guide with us to keep an eye over us, we went to test my hunting prowess.
The first thing we saw hiding behind a lettuce was a rabbit, we pulled the vehicle over and I jumped of the roof where I was sitting to have visual vantage. I took my bow from the car and listened to the field guide telling of how he had brought many a bowhunter out. They all failed to shoot rabbits and now I'm trying at night without illuminated sights. His words hadn't even come to an end of this failure of other bowhunters when I released the arrow. It hit home, on the spot I aimed and the rabbit was pinned to the ground. I quickly dispatched the rabbit as I believe no animal should suffer. Also, you should only shoot what you will eat. The field guide exploded from the landy in disbelief, he couldn't believe that I had shot a rabbit with a bow and at night....
The hunt continued for more varmin as the night was still young, 22h00. The next animal we came across was a beautiful porcupine. I've always been told by my african colleagues and friends what good eating the porcupine is...
This is where the hunt turned into hysterical laughter for me and the field guide. Viktor also knows about the good eating of the porcupine, so he hopped out the landy with panga in hand. He was shouting at me to shoot it, but each time I raised my bow to line up the shot and the porcupine took a stride or two he would panic that it was getting away. But after a few steps the porcupine would stop again. Each time as I lined up ready to loose the arrow he ran infront of me. After the third time I told him if he couldn't control himself the next arrow would be in his thin calf-muscles...
The porcupine started to move again and again Viktor ran out in front of me wielding his panga, this time the porcupine carried on running and me and the field guide burst into laughter as we realised he couldn't control his excitement. We left him running after the porcupine into the thickets ahead. He was concerntrating so much on the porcupine he forgot of all the thorn trees. After a cursed yell and a sharp realisation of the thorn trees and most probably our laughter he returned to the landy upset that he had lost the porcupine...
We decided to pack the bow away and pull out the silenced .30-06 and take out some varmin with that. We decided some rabbits on the braai would be good for moral and that I would take them with the bow if they were in range. We saw a rabbit in the distance, but far out of range for the bows pin setup.
So Viktor yanked out the 30-06, the field guide and I both told him that the rifle would obliterate the rabbit. He was convinced it wouldn't and that we needed another two rabbits for the braai. So he lifted the rifle, aimed at the rabbit and then pressed the trigger. He said it was a hit, just look at all the dust. I said "Viktor, that's not dust, that's the rabbits fur!". He put the rifle in the landy and ran across the dry river bed to the rabbit. He was so assured that we had bagged one for the braai grid.
When he got the rabbit he lifted it into the light. Most of the meat was gone. He came back to the landy very timidly and admitted that we were right and blushing from embarrasment we rode back to camp...
Because there wasn't enough rabbit for us all, we gave the rabbit to the farm hands and went down to the river to braai our kurpers (tilapia) that we had caught earlier that day...
What a memory... My first hunt with a bow, and my first time seeing a rabbit obliterated by an over confident hunter.
What I learned is: never let yourself be talked down by others' faults and that hunting has it's humilty and that we should learn from that.
Botswana, what a wild place.
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'Uitspan' is an Afrikaans word that means place of rest.
When the Boer settlers moved inland in Southern Africa in the 1800's, they used ox carts. When they found a spot with game, water and green grass, they arranged their ox carts into a circular laager for protection against wild animals and stopped for a rest.
They referred to such an action of relaxation for man and beast, as Uitspan.
(Picture above of our ancestors.)
Did you know?
Greater Southern Kudus are famous for their ability to jump high fences. A 2 m (6.56 ft) fence is easily jumped while a 3 m (9.84 ft) high fence is jumped spontaneously. These strong jumpers are known to jump up to 3.5 m (11.48 ft) under stress.
Did you know?Some animals have one sense more than man!The flehmen response is a particular type of curling of the upper lip in ungulates, felids and many other mammals. This action facilitates the transfer of pheromones and other scents into the vomeronasal organ, also called the Jacobson's Organ.
This behavior allows animals to detect scents (for example from urine) of other members of their species or clues to the presence of prey. Flehming allows the animals to determine several factors, including the presence or absence of estrus, the physiological state of the animal, and how long ago the animal passed by. This particular response is recognizable in males when smelling the urine of a females in heat.