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thinking about taking the plunge

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08 October 2006, 18:11
brass thief
thinking about taking the plunge
hi all,
I"ve been rifle hunting for about ten years on big game, but had a crazy notion lately to buy a bow.
I know virtually nothing about bows/archery, and I live in the UK, where bow hunting is illegal. If I ever reached a standard where I was confident enough to hunt, I would bring a bow along on a hunting trip, most likely in the US.
There"s a big archery club near me, but if I took the time to go along and get some tuition I"d be keeping quiet about any intentions to hunt with a bow as archery is purely a target sport here. The bows used seem to be primarily recurve, but I"m assuming that the basics are the same?
I would just buy a bow and practise, but I just don"t know the basics.
If I was to get started, how much would I need to spend to buy a "deer capable" bow, and anything else I would need?(I know anything from a recurve is capable, but I want something easy to shoot!)
What is the effective range of a bow, assuming known range and plenty of practise?
Aluminum or carbon fibre arrows?
What kind of cams? Single or double? Can I buy DVD"s or video to learn the basics?
Or should I just be sensible and stick to the rifle!!
Any advice appreciated,
good shooting
08 October 2006, 19:10

The advice on which bow to get is easy (but you'll get a million different easy answers!)

Whether to advise you to get one or not is a tougher question. The major centers of bow hunting today are the USA and Africa. In Africa only a few countries encourage bow hunting. I just came back from Tanzania where a bow doubles all the government daily and trophy fees.

On a bow trip to RSA you typically sit in blinds at waterholes, and your success rate is fairly high. I have never seen published numbers, but I'd say you might get 50% of the species you go for with a bow there.

In North America game is much lower density, and only in a few areas are there well-defined naturally occurring equivalent of RSA's water holes. Most free range bear, deer or elk bow hunts here have about a ten percent success rate. That can get to be an expensive proposition from England.

You can hunt on private ranches here where the game density is artificially higher. Some of these are sporting hunts and some are not. It may be hard to tell which is which until you get there. (I have no experience with them.)

Baited bears come to mind as high-percentage free range hunt - mostly in Canada, I believe.

Overall I'd say your best bet would be to go to a reputable farm in RSA. You'd still need to do some homework to ensure that you didn't wind up in a paddock in RSA, as some of them are like that also.

As to equipment: I'd suggest a Mathews Switchback. They are easy to tune yourself, and they stay in tune. That's a big plus if there is no pro-shop in your entire country! Parts, sights and strings are easily available, and will be for years.

Do not overbow yourself. A 70# bow can be turned down to 60#, and will cover all NA and African hunting for critters smaller than cape buffalo. If you need a heavier bow for specialty hunts, get it later.

I like to use fixed two-blade broadheads of 125 grains or more, in combination with tough, heavy carbon arrows. I like to wind up with an arrow in the 500 to 550 grains for my 70# bow. Good factory screw-on two blade broadheads are available from SteelForce, Magnus and others. I like the 12 grains per inch Carbon Express Terminator Hunter or TH Select. I add my own 6 degree right helical 5 inch vanes. Any arrow that weighs 12 gpi and has the BuffTuff coating is the same arrow under a house brand name. Cabelas and basspro both have them at a discount.

I see that Carbon Express has a new Bulldog nock that protects your arrows from Robin Hoods. I need to get some to try out, because that is the leading cause of breakage. I have never broken one of these shafts while hunting -even on a miss. You will be shooting Robin Hoods within a week or two, yourself. These new bows are very easy to shoot.

I like my QAD Ultra-Rest a lot. Get the largest aluminum peep you can find. Sights are a very personal choice, but I like the brighter one-pin sights.

I have a TRUball release that I like very much, but they don't make that model any more. Here is the one I'd get now.

Here in the States, where you can easily shop around it would cost you more than $1000USD to get set up properly = maybe $1200.


...from Texas, by way of Mason, Ohio and Aurora, Colorado!
10 October 2006, 02:50
brass thief
thanks Don,
Can"t afford to do anything right now anyway, and it"s the kind of thing more suited to starting in the summer with long hours of daylight!
$1000 would go a long way towards a rifle hunt on your side of the pond, and I already have a moose/bear hunt booked for 07.
I will look at bowhunting again in the new year.
I had been thinking about a slightly cheaper hunt for 07/08, maybe hogs and turkeys. Would the success rate be any higher there, esp with turkeys?
Thanks for your advice,
good shooting
10 October 2006, 05:41
Sorry, I don't know much about turkey hunting. Did it back in Texas, but the things were inedible, so I quit.

Hogs are a good bet, especially with a reputable outfit. Again, make sure you are not getting set up with a put-and-take deal on the hogs. There are some outfits here in Ohio that are criminal. Hog hunts on 80 acres!

Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida all have thriving populations of truly feral pigs. Wish I had time to go after them!


...from Texas, by way of Mason, Ohio and Aurora, Colorado!
10 October 2006, 21:28
Brass, one thing to remember is that many states in the US require some form of proof that you have been certified to hunt with a bow (which in most cases is simply attending a course in which the fundamental safety aspects are taught). This requirement applies to both compund and traditional shooters. Unless you engage in a preserve hunt of some type permits and licenses will require your having been certified.