Editor’s note: Avid bowhunter George Flournoy has made six safaris to Africa lasting more than 30 days and several other safaris with other hunters, videotaping their hunts. He helps hunters find the types of hunts they’re looking for on the Dark Continent. He advises them on what to take and what to leave at home, tells them what to expect and helps bowhunters pick the hunts that fit their pocketbooks.
I strongly recommend that you go to a Safari Club convention before you book a trip to Africa. Talk to a wide variety of outfitters, and a large number of hunters who already have been to Africa–the quickest and easiest way to get the most information on outfitters and hunting opportunities in the shortest time for the least amount of money. Be sure to talk to several different booking agents the first day of the convention. Then, narrow your choices down to the two or three booking agents you’re most comfortable with and that you believe will reduce the number of hassles you may encounter on your first African trip. Many South African outfitters are very friendly, and their hunting concessions are set up well for bowhunters. When you get off the plane in South Africa, you’ll be able to get Pepsi, Coca Cola, Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s hamburgers. Plenty of people in South Africa speak English, and this country is safe. I always advise bowhunters, on their first African safaris to consider the country of South Africa, because the possibility of having problems of any kind has been greatly reduced there.
After you’ve picked where you’ll hunt in Africa, and who you’ll hunt with, the next question that comes to mind is what do you need to take. One big difference between hunting in Africa and hunting in the United States is you don’t need to take as many clothes on an African hunt as you do for a 10-day bowhunt in the United States. Every day when you return from hunting, your clothes are washed, ironed, folded and put on your bed. For a 10-day safari, a bowhunter only needs two changes of hunting clothes, a pair of gloves, a light jacket or vest, sunglasses, personal items, a light pair of trail boots (don’t take heavy hiking boots), a pair of tennis shoes or running shoes and a pair of sweat pants or a jogging suit for sitting around camp.
You need to put all your gear in one duffel bag. Carry a camera and one change of clothes for the trip to Africa in your personal gear with you onboard the airplane, because it is a 22- to 24-hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. You’ll need one big bow case that’s designed to carry two bows and have both bows set up exactly alike. I always include arrows in my bow case and try to take a few more arrows in my carry-on bag. For instance, when I was hunting in South Africa one time, one of my broadheads fell off a table, bounced on the floor, came up and hit one of my bowstrings, cutting three or four of its strands. When you’re in Africa, there’s no time to set up your bow, replace strings and shoot so that it is reliable. By carrying a back up bow, if you have a problem, you just can pick up your back up bow, shoot it two or three times to make sure it’s still on and be ready to go hunting.
I’m often asked questions like, “what kind of food do I need to expect on an African hunt? Should I pack three or four cans of sardines and a small pack of soda crackers, just to be safe?” I always smile and say, “No.” The food in Africa is very good and is very compatible with the American diet. One of the things that I’ll take is some jerky, because it is lightweight and easy to carry. If you like chewing gum or candy, take it with you, because you won’t find it in Africa. Don’t forget your sun block and any medicine you must have. Make sure what type of vaccinations you need to get for the country where you’re hunting.
For example, if you’re hunting in Zimbabwe, you’ll need yellow fever and malaria vaccinations. South Africa doesn’t require any vaccinations. Pack your range finder and a small compact pair of binoculars. Take a complete back up system for everything that may go wrong with your bow, including a spare release, extra sights and any other equipment you think may get damaged or broken. Most South African game ranges have very good bow targets for sighting in your bow once you get there.
Since 1971, Flournoy, who has shot PSE bows for 30 years, has been helping hunters find the type of African hunt and African game animals they want to take. For answers to any questions you may have about an African hunt, whether, you’re a first-timer or a veteran of many African bowhunts, Flournoy will be happy to help you. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 1-755-673-5513.
You’ll learn more-intensive hunting information and tips from nationally-known hunters in the new Kindle eBooks, “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros” and “Jim Crumley’s Secrets for Bowhunting Deer” by John E. Phillips. Go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.
Images courtesy John Phillips