My job as host and producer of the Outdoor Magazine television show has taken me to some very interesting places, but no trip has ever raised my excitement level like a recent bowhunting safari to South Africa.
When my good friend Chad Stearns of Jay’s Sporting Goods first asked me to join him on an African hunt I was reluctant. After all, I still had plenty of North American game to pursue. The more I though about it though, I became increasingly intrigued…and I eventually agreed to go along.
I knew that African big game animals were beautiful and exotic, and I’d heard they were extremely tough to bring down, especially with a bow.
I practiced shooting all summer because I realized this hunt would be a true test of my archery skills and equipment. By the time I left for Africa I was shooting better than any time in my life. I was cautiously optimistic my gear would do the job, but because I hadn’t yet taken an animal with my new setup, I still had some nagging doubts in the back of my mind.
An old elbow injury forced me to set my Diamond Liberty bow at just fifty eight pounds. That Liberty is a very smooth shooter and because of my long draw length I was confident I could generate enough kinetic energy to get the job done.
Besides, I was shooting top of the line Carbon Express Maxima Hunter arrows. Those shafts had performed very well for me in the past.
Most of my concern was directed at my broadheads. I was shooting a new broadhead from the American Broadhead Company. The 100 grain Sonic Pros looked great, and they flew like my field points, but there’s no way of knowing how a broadhead will perform until you shoot it into an animal.
We didn’t have to wait long to find out. On our first day in the African bush Chad shot a very nice zebra stallion. His 100 grain 7/8 inch cut Sonic head dropped the big animal it it’s tracks. That drew lots of attention from the local guides and trackers because they’d never seen archery equipment do that on a zebra
Day two of our South African safari saw my first opportunity at African plains game when a nice wildebeest turned broadside at 18 yards. I put the Sonic in the right place and that herd bull ran just forty yard and died within sight. Again, our PH was shocked. He’s seen wildebeest shot multiple times with a rifle that didn’t go down as quick.
That wouldn’t be the only wildebeest to fall from a Sonic. The next day Chad made a great shot on a big bull that ran only about a hundred yards.
Our next opportunity came two days later. I had been watching a small group of zebras for over an hour, but just as they started to come into bow range a male ostrich decided to go into a flamboyant courtship dance for a nearby female. Needless to say the zebras went the other direction. That would be the last date that ostrich ever went on. I shot him head on, putting an arrow the entire length of his body. He went just ten yards.
With that amorous ostrich out of the picture it cleared the way for me to take a zebra. The next day a beautiful stallion presented a broadside shot at just sixteen yards. I put the Sonic though the bottom of both lungs and took out the top of his heart before passing out the far side of the animal. He went just over fifty yards and dropped. Again, our guide and Professional Hunter Jacques Senekal of Africa Maximum Safaris had never seen a bow shot zebra die so quick. It was also the first time he’s seen an archer shoot through a 600 pound zebra.
Now it was time for Chad to get back to work. The next evening he put an arrow through a nice Blesbok at 27 yards.
In all, the hunting was a little harder than I expected. Unseasonable rain and cold temperatures slowed wildlife movement for a couple of days. We still managed to come home with some trophy animals, and great memories of a wonderful hunt.
Perhaps I’m most pleased with the performance of our equipment though. The Diamond bows held up well to the bouncing rides along rough, dusty roads and the Maxima Hunter arrows flew well and provided great penetration.
I think the most important piece of gear on this trip though was our broadheads. The cut on contact Sonic heads hit where we aimed them, and the strong steel blades did a tremendous amount of damage inside the animals.
If Sonic heads can take down tough African game that fast,
I can’t wait to use them on North American game this fall.
To play videos you must have Windows Media Player,
if you don't have the latest Windows Media Player please click here to get it, thank you.