Bow hunting lions in South Africa

Bow hunting lions in South Africa with Mkulu African Hunting Safaris.


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Bow hunting lions in South Africa

Bow hunting lions in South Africa has become controversial after the Cecil incident in Zimbabwe. In the time since then the USF&W authorities have placed two sub-species of lion on the endangered list which makes importation of legally hunted lion trophies to the USA very difficult.

The effect of this is going to be two-fold:

  1. we have to start bow hunting wild lions as opposed to hunting captive bred lions, which will up the cost of bow hunting lions considerably
  2. hunting wild lions will, along with depletion of natural habitat, lead to a further decline in the population of wild lions

If we are issued tags for bow hunting lions in South Africa, we will endeavor to offer our standard walk-and-stalk lion hunts.

Approaching a growling lion with a bow in hand is understandably not anyone’s cup of tea. We have been fortunate enough to have bow hunted lions in the past and would recommend it to anyone who has a notion to hunt a lion with a bow and arrow.

Please read the note of caution below. This caution became true on a dangerous game hunt with Hunting in Africa Safaris. Fortunately, the hunter released an arrow prior to the charge.

Below are a number of suggestions with regards to draw weight, shot placement and tips for bow hunting lions in South Africa.

Good luck on your African lion bow hunting safari.

Note of caution when bow hunting lions

You will be guided by an experienced Professional Hunter for your lion bow hunt. We cannot determine prior to the hunt if there will be a dangerous situation where the PH needs to step in and save lives. In the event of a lion charge where the bow hunter cannot release an arrow before the personal safety zone of the hunting group is breached, and the PH needs to take preventative action and shoot the lion, the lion will be considered your trophy as per industry standards.

Hunting in Africa Safaris has never had such a situation but please be aware of the possibility.

We need to apply for a special permit from our authorities to bow hunt lions in South Africa. Please allow an extra week for the permit to issue.

Information on bow hunting lions

Lion bow hunting prices

African lion bow hunting prices 2018
Lioness : $ 7 750
Category 1 lion : $ 14 750
Category 2 lion : $ 19 750
Category 3 lion : $ 24 750
Category 4 lion : $ 29 750
Category 5 lion : Price on request

Draw weight

Any draw weight equal to or greater than 80 lb is recommended for bow hunting lions.

Kinetic energy (KE) required

The minimum kinetic energy (KE) required for bow hunting lions is 60 ft / lb

Arrow information

A minimum arrow velocity of 245 fps / weight of 450 grains (gr) is suggested for bow hunting lions in South Africa.

Average shooting distance

The average expected shooting distance when bow hunting lions is 30 – 50 yards.

Broad heads

Minimum of 125 grains (gr). The best broad heads for bow hunting lions in South Africa would be a cut-on-impact 3-blade-broadhead. These would include, but will not be limited to:
Rage II mechanical broad head  (we prefer mechanical broad heads)

Shot placement when bow hunting lions

Broadside shot

Lions have a rather small area covering the vital organs for adequate shot placement.

Place the shot right behind the shoulder, slightly less than one third of the way up from the bottom of the chest to the top of the back.

This shot should result in a high heart / lung shot leading to the lions expiring in the least amount of time.

Quartering to shot

On a quartering to shot it is recommended to place the arrow midway between the angle formed by the front legs, approximately where the neck joins the brisket. These shots are mostly risky and should only be attempted by experienced bow hunters. If such is shot can confidently be taken wait for the lion to look sideways before releasing the arrow.

Quartering away shot

On a quartering away shot care should be taken not to attempt to have the arrow penetrate through too much stomach content. Place the arrow in a spot bisecting the angle formed by the front legs into a position slightly less than one third of the way up from the bottom of the brisket to the top of the back.

Tips for bow hunting lions in South Africa

The following tips for bow hunting African lions are done from the perspective of walk-and-stalk hunting.

Lions are usually active during the evenings, early mornings and late afternoons. It is during the heat of the day that these felines rest up in a comfortable shady spot. This is mostly the best time of day to find them.

Our experienced trackers stick to the tracks until we find your trophy lion that will be fully aware of our presence. Lions will give a warning growl when we enter their comfort zone letting us know we should only proceed with caution. Once we are in range you will be offered a shot. Bear in mind there can be brush and twigs that may deflect your arrow so be at the ready to take a shot at a moment’s notice when the lion moves into the open.

Best time of year for bow hunting African lions

Lion hunts can be conducted year round. December, January and February are usually very hot which may lead to some discomfort if you are sensitive to heat. The lodges we stay at all have air conditioning and swimming pools allowing one and all to cool off when things heat up.

Our recommendation for the best time of year for bow hunting African lions would be from April to October / November.

African bow hunting packages 2018