by Willem Pretorius
Bush Pig Hunt At Night With A Bow
As hunted by THINUS PRETORIUS and written by WILLEM PRETORIUS
‘The history of the bow and arrow is the history of mankind’. - Fred Bear
It so transpired that my cousin Thinus got the urge to hunt a bush pig the brave way, alone, at night, armed with only his bow and arrow.
In preparation we discussed different bait, tactics, how to make a red light with a dimmer switch and just generally how to ‘out-think’ a bush pig…
A suitable spot were found in the rugged mountains about 5 km from Donkerpoort dam in the Limpopo province. Typically for him, he has done a lot of leg work, research and preparation for this adventure. A small feeding station was also made in the rocky mountain slope, with a mixture of well fermented mealy and ‘maroek’ (King Corn, Malted Sorghum).
A trail camera was strategically placed to observe the feeding patterns and monitor the comings and goings (if any) of these ‘ghosts in the darkness’, and then the wait began….
The trail cam started to show feeding on the bait after about a week. It also shown that there were no less than three different sounders feeding on the mealy concoction. One photo even shown two of the sounders feeding simultaneously!
Now this was great news and the matter of suitable arrow heads for night shooting was investigated. (Huge internal damage and a clear blood trail was required). In the end he decided on a Rage 125gr twin blade broad head with his Bow Tech Invasion bow set at 78 pounds.
With only a dim red light illuminating the feeding station in the moonless summer night, the peep sight was not very clear. As a result he decided to practice shooting at a very short distance relying heavily on the kiss button until he got the ‘feel’ and his sense of direction perfected. You all know that old hunting saying...'Luck is when preparation meets opportunity’. Before sunset one December evening in 2011, Thinus was in his blind, ready for some action sometime during the night. At about 19.20 he saw four bush pigs jogging past the bait without seeming to take any notice of it! Patiently and hopeful, like any good hunter, he sat and waited for the next sounder.
At about 20.15 he could hear them coming through the bush and then it became dead quiet. It took about another 20 minutes before they could be heard, noisily eating about 20m (65 feet) away.
Slowly he turned up the power of the red light that he had hung over the bait. (See photo)
The bush pigs took no notice of the light at all and continued to feed, well, like pigs! The chosen boar stood at about 18 m (58 feet) quartering towards him.
As anticipated, the dim light did not give enough illumination for the peep sight, but the kiss button and all the practice helped and worked to perfection. At the shot the bush pig stumbled, scrambled to its feet and passed at about 5 m (15 feet) from where he sat. After about 15 minutes of sitting very quietly in the dark, he decided to go and search for 'his' bush pig.
Now, here this story becomes really interesting!
Leaving the cumbersome bow behind (as he could in any case not shoot with it in the pitch black dark or with a torch in his hand), he took up his sturdy 'kierie' (staff) for the coup the grace, and with his flash light went in search of his prey. As already mentioned, he had observed that these bush pigs made a lot of noise when they came in to feed and he was not at all quiet at that stage. After just a couple of meters, he found a lot of blood and the tail end of his arrow that had broken off when the pig stumbled a second time after the shot.
Suddenly, he could distinctively hear a noise, very close by, in the dark. Thinking immediately that it was the wounded bush pig coming back, he frantically looked around for some sort of shelter, but only saw a smallish tree to his left.
As the noises came nearer all the time, and not wanting to confront a wounded bush pig in the dark armed only with a knob kierie, he decided that his only option was to climb into this small tree. He could only get up to about shoulder high (+/- 5 feet) from the ground when the tree couldn't take his weight anymore and started to bend! He decided not to try and get any higher and wait him out. When the noise was under the tree, he switched on the torch to see what was going on.
To his surprise he saw a lot of bush pigs! It was a second sounder coming in to feed. Some of them were by this time so near that if he bent down he could almost touch them!
Amazingly they were not at all scared of the white torch light above them! Breaking off small twigs, he proceeded to drop them on the pigs until they lazily walked and some jogged away into the night.
Thinus afterwards told me that he was a bit annoyed with himself for not waiting another 15 minutes or so before going in search for his bush pig, as he then would definitely had another shot at a big boar in that second sounder.
Well, that’s hunting for you, you can try, but you will never second guess or predict exactly what wild animals will do next!
It seemed that the shot was a little bit high, and it should have been anticipated from the angle from where it was shot from. Anyhow, the bush pig only went about 10m from where it was shot to where it died. It seemed as if parts of the lung were protruding from both the entry as well as the exit wound. Further examination showed that the arteries around the heart were severed and others very badly damaged, with the arrow piercing the heart nicely.
Afterwards some more bush pig and warthogs were shot with the RAGE set-up, and although bone was hit each time (shoulder blades and ribs)], these arrow points performed flawlessly when used correctly.
As can be seen on the photo of a second bush pig’s heart two nights later, the Rage arrow that destroyed this heart also caused massive damage by severing arteries on the way.
This bush pig ran about 30-35m before it died.
The replaceable RAGE blades were slightly damaged where it hit bone, but the rest of the arrow point didn't look any worse for wear. To replace the used blades doesn't take much time.
Always remember, that if you use a bow set-up (like any other equipment) carefully and within its designed specs, there is no reason why it should not perform flawlessly.
Well, to some, there is really not anything else that calms the soul, sharpens the senses and gives you a feeling of time well spent, than going out into the wilds with your bow!
"If Elvis Presley had been a bow hunter, he'd probably still be alive today!" Ted Nugent, rock star.
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