Warthog With Bow And Arrow

Last year on one of my regular warthog hunts, I decided to give my bow and arrow a chance again. I hunt with an older Jennings 60 pd bow, with aluminum arrows tipped by 125gr razor sharp broad heads.

A friend of mine who farms intensively with Red Afrikaner breeding cattle have a big problem with the warthogs on his property. He has a huge farm [5000ha] but most of the camps are 'dry'. There is no natural water, and the water must be pumped by pipes under the ground for very long distances to the Bushveld camps where the cattle graze.

As a consequence the wild animals are also making use of these water troughs in the remote areas of the farm, where there are no human activities for most of the time.

Warthogs on the other hand, have an uncanny ability to 'smell' these water in the pipes buried underground in the harsh dry and hot Bushveld bush. They will dig in the hard ground with their tusks, and even push big rocks out of the way until they find the water pipe. In a very short time a big boar will worry the pipe to such an extent that water will soon start leaking out where two pipes are joined together.

This eventually becomes a 'mud bath heaven' for more warthogs and other wild animals which are abundant on the farm.

[Kudu, Impala, Waterbuck, Blue Wildebeest, Baboon, Duiker, Bush pig, Hyena, Jackal, Game birds, etc.]

It's all fine to make life easier for these wild animals living under these harsh dry conditions, but the resulting loss of pressure in the pipe make that not enough water reach the water troughs of his prime breeding cattle. These constant battles to fix the water pipes were driving my friend up the bend!

Well, one evening when the call for help came, how could I refuse?

When I reached the Bushveld farm on the Friday afternoon, I immediately went and check for warthog sign, and man were there a lot of visible evidence of the culprits!

Everywhere along the unearthed pipe were spoor, dung and marks on the surrounding trees where they rub themselves after a luxurious mud bath!

Well first things first. After scouting the area, I decided on a suitable spot for my hide. Things to take into consideration when you want to construct a hide in the wild, are animal footpaths, wind direction-[which can change between the kopjes as it heat up], sun and shade spots, and of course to conceal your own movements and visibility etc.

One of the biggest challenges for a bow hunter is patience! And wheelbarrows full of it! Big warthogs won't become that big and old if they were stupid!

You must take them on in their own natural environment, and to get them up close and personal in bow range, you must be able to outthink a hog and become a better 'hog 'for the moment.

It also helps tremendously if you got some 'hunters luck' as well-and heaps of it! In the bush you must always expect the unexpected; a sharp-eyed guinea fowl on your blind side, an unseen bush crow in the trees near you, a heard of impala sniffing the wind behind you, kudu with their radar ears who hear every minute noise not akin to the bush, like your bush shirt accidentally brushing against a tree trunk etc. I will not even mention how hard the ground becomes, or cramps, or a leg going to 'sleep'.

O, and did I mention ethics? Hogs will come in at an impossible angle, or just too far away for a bow, or it will be a sow with a litter etc., then the urge to try a shot must be curbed with a lot of will power-hunting ethics!

From six am the next morning I've sat in my hide as quiet as possible, and have visibly confirmed that there was indeed a huge warthog population explosion in that particular area that year. After more than 7 hours I finally got my opportunity for a shot at 1:50 pm.

I carefully draw the bow, waiting patiently for the warthog to turn, hold the aim, in the heat sweat started to drip slowly down my forehead, and in a moment it will be in my eye, then I carefully squeezed the trigger meganism. After the 'recoil' I saw to my horror the bright arrow fletches on the far side of the hog!

For a moment I was stunned, thinking how it was possible that I could have missed after such a long and patient wait. In that first millisecond after the release the hog even turned its head away from me, looking at the noise the arrow had made when striking the ground on its far side. It then started running, and reached full speed inside of 5 m with its tail in the air that is so characteristic of them! The arrow had gone straight through the hog's heart from just behind the front leg and had then stuck into the ground on the far side! The mad head long rush through small shrub and not around it was a good sign of a solid hit.

Then the real hunt for blood sign begins. At first there were only a few drops of blood at the point of impact site. Gradually this become less and less, until only a drop here and a spot there were to be seen.

After some 50m the blood spoor completely vanishes. It apparently has something to do with the peculiar characteristics of the hemoglobin in the blood of a warthog to seal a wound quickly to give it a better chance for survival in the wild.

By this stage the spoor could be seen to veer to the left, which is another sign of a 'death run'. Then all sign completely disappear .The sun was down and the full moon just appeared when I finally found the big 90kg boar under a thick thorn bush near an ant bear hole where he presumably usually slept at night.

I was ecstatic and fortunate that I could help out my friend who gave me this to dream of opportunity. I realized that this hunt has again given me so much food for thought to help me through the 'lean' times until the next hunt, when I will definitely again answer my friends call for help.

Now, isn't that what good friends are for?

Author: Willem Pretorius

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