Crossbow Hunting in Africa – Legal Information & Game Species

There is no doubt that crossbow hunting African game species can be a rich and rewarding experience! In fact, South Africa has what is perhaps the largest variety of plains game species in the world as well as several dangerous game species for those archers who prefer a somewhat more challenging hunt. Plus, they also have the legendary “Big Five” which every avid trophy hunter secretly aspires to at one time or another.

Diversity of the Animal Population in Africa

In addition, it should be noted that Africa has one the most biodiverse animal populations on the planet and thus, crossbow archers hunting in Africa may encounter one or more of the over thirty species of wild deer and antelope that inhabit the African plains as well as giraffes, cheetahs, hyenas, wild dogs, wart hogs, and much more. Then of course, for those intrepid archers for whom hunting grazers on the open plains is not enough of a challenge, South Africa offers various dangerous game species such as lions, leopards, buffalo, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and crocodiles!

Plus, last but not least, Arica is host to the world famous “Big Five” which consists of leopards, lions, rhinoceros, cape buffalo, and elephant; all of which are widely considered to be among the most dangerous game species in the world. However, if you are a non-resident, not only you must purchase the appropriate hunting license and game tags for the province that you will be hunting in, you should also be aware that you cannot legally hunt in Africa unless you are directly under the supervision of a licensed professional hunter. Also, your hunt has to be under the direct control and organizational capabilities of a licensed outfitter and, both the professional hunter and the outfitter have to be licensed in the province where the hunt will take place. The Big Game Hunting Adventures website offers Mozambique safaris that we can happily recommend to anyone looking for a professional, legal service.

Last, it should also be noted that it is not legal to hunt elephant, white rhino, black rhino, cheetah, lion, leopard, spotted hyena, brown hyena, wild dogs, or nile crocodiles with a bow and arrow which, unfortunately, excludes crossbows as well.

Legal Hunting Situation in South Africa

However, it should be noted that although hunting in South Africa is governed by the BIODIVERSITY ACT, 2004 (ACT 10 OF 2004) in respect of THREATENED OR PROTECTED SPECIES and, ostensibly regulated by a “Nature Conservation Authority”, the country of South Africa consists of 13 individual provinces and each province has its own particular hunting regulations. Thus, regulated bow hunting first began in the old Transvaal province in 1984 and quickly grew in popularity with the last of the original four provinces, Natal, joining the coalition in 1986. Now, bow hunting is allowed in all 13 of the South African provinces but, certain rules and regulations do apply.

Of course, archers with a desire to hunt African game with their crossbow should first be aware that both the terrain and the climate in South Africa are very different from most environments where American and Eurasian game species are hunted and, that there is also a significant risk of injury or even death from African predator species as well as from some African prey species.

However, because the North and South American continents as well as the Eurasian continent have relatively few mammal species that are capable of harming a human, much less consuming one, hunters used to hunting game on these continents often lack the necessary instincts, knowledge, and skills needed to avoid the many dangers associated with hunting African game. But, the fact is that African predators have had millions of years to become familiar with Man and thus, rather than fearing humans, they tend to view them as just another food source!

Fortunately for crossbow archers, while there is still some open range hunting available in South Africa, most hunting these days takes place on private property within “high fence” preserves where the game population is carefully managed but, is allowed to roam free within the enclosure and fair chase hunting is practiced. But, it should also be noted that when hunting both the plains and the Bushveld in South Africa, you will not only encounter a very arid environment, you will also encounter significantly higher ambient air temperatures than what you are likely used to and thus, “savannah weight” camouflage clothing is a must have item when hunting South Africa.

South African Bow Hunting Minimum Kinetic Energy Restrictions

It should be noted that kinetic energy in relation to archery is a measure of how much momentum your arrow or bolt has as it leaves the bow and, the more kinetic energy your bow generates, the flatter the arrow or bolt’s trajectory will be. Also, the deeper it will penetrate the body of the game animal. Consequently, many South African provinces have minimum kinetic energy requirements (kinetic energy equals 1/2 the mass times the velocity squared) when hunting African game species within their borders and, the following chart displays these minimum requirements for each game species.

Wrapping It Up:

So, although hunting African game species with a crossbow can certainly be an exciting experience, before planning and booking your trip, you should first familiarize yourself with both the terrain and the climate (YouTube, Google Earth, and The Weather are all excellent resources for this purpose) as well as the particular hunting regulations that govern the province that you will be hunting in. Furthermore, you should converse extensively with both your outfitter and your professional hunter about what to expect when you arrive as well as what to expect while hunting and what type of license and tags you will need to purchase in addition to game processing, taxidermy, and trophy shipping services. That way, you can avoid unpleasant surprises and instead, concentrate on enjoying your hunt!

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