Learn about the ancient skill of hunting, which has turned into a weekend sport and pastime in modern times.
Tags:Explore Bow Hunting ,bow hunting,bush hunting,hunting animals,hunting tips,south africa archery,The Club
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Male Speaker: The ancient skill of hunting is now mostly a weekend sporting pastime and has come under much criticism from those who would rather see the hunting club as a thing of the past. As Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, 50 kilometers south of Johannesburg, just about every species of animal roams freely throughout the 13,000 hectares to make up one of the country's largest game parks. When bow hunters in South Africa took the ancient sport of archery back to its origins, the sport attracted much criticism from animal rights groups.
Instead of shooting a stationary object, they began using live animals as targets. Archery, a sport very popular in America and featured more prominently at the Olympic Games, today has a following worldwide. Vernon Maritz is one of South Africa's best bow hunters. The Archery World Champion insisted his favorite sport has been misunderstood by the outside world.
Vernon Maritz: When an arrow does strike an animal, basically the animal gets afraid of the arrow hitting against the skin that's what causes the thump noise. And usually the arrow passes clean through the animal and the animal will run 15-20 yards. You know we've had so many incidents where the animal turns around and as it looked, what caused the noise, and you'll be standing looking to see what's happening and next moment it'll fall over. You know, it doesn't realize his busy dying, because of the energy inside the body. So, to me, it's a very humane sport; it is not what it's made out to be.
Male Speaker: This was the kind of sentiments that didn't go down well with the animal rights activists. But that was not to diminish the popularity of the sport. Professional Bow Hunter, Bernard Desouza, had been seeking kills for over six years. He says stalking an animal for days, and finally killing it from a few meters away was a great source of satisfaction for him. But he admitted there was one animal that is considered the ultimate price for all hunters.
Bernard Desouza: The Kudo is one of the most graceful animals in the bush. He is got a nickname that calling him the Ghost of the Bush because he appears and he disappears. It is a challenge, even for a rifle hunter to shoot a Kudo. So if you can achieve it with a bow, I think it's one of the world's most greatest achievements to say that you have actually shot a Kudo.
Male Speaker: Desouza got his chance to go Kudo hunting after paying the required local fee of a thousand dollars or six thousand for foreigners to hunt in the reserve. This is what the hunters refer to as walk and stalk. The two professional hunters stalk their prey very much the same way a predator would, only this time using camouflage and bows and arrows rather than rifles.
Half way through Day 1, the two spot their prey in the distance. The hunt was now in full swing, every move from here on was critical. As they approach their prey, suddenly the Kudo saw them and took off. But the hunters were just as quick. An arrow tip with the razor sharp steelhead traveling at a speed of 90 meters per second is enough to do the job.
Bernard Desouza: Feels great! I don't know, I can't explain it. I waited for many years for this and I have never shot one off the rifles before and it's been a challenge and a very successful one. Bow hunting power!
Male Speaker: Park officials insisted a ranger is required to be with the bow hunter at all times, with his rifle on hand
Nomvula Mokonyane: Now we've found the bow hunting as an alternative to other forms of hunting where the hunter is able to be at quite a close range within the target and also the means that is being used; it feels less pain. And more importantly, where there is always a support from a nature conservation assistant.
Male Speaker: Still a number of organizations, among them the Animal Anti-Cruelty League, fell that the governments are letting them down when granting licenses to individuals who hunt for pleasure. This sport may have as many opponents as it does supporters, but one thing is clear, with all the money paid towards the various park fees, it does provide a useful addition to the national park's scarce resources.