Draw weight for African game

Draw weight for African plains gameDraw weight when bowhunting the African Big 5

Recommended bow draw weight for Africa plains game

Bow hunting African game has minimum draw weights associated with it. Here is a list of the recommended draw weights when you decide to bow hunt in South Africa. The guide is based on the body mass of the animal, the arrow having a minimum mass of 7,5 grains / lb draw mass, and a minimum two bladed, steel cutting edged broadhead of minimum 28 mm width (1,1”). With compound bows delivering more kinetic energy (KE) as they develop, the draw weight table below can be used as a guideline.


Here is a list of bow draw weight for African plains game bowhunting

Any increment greater than suggested draw weight may be used to bow hunt the following African plainsgame animals Recommended minimum draw mass
> 40 lbs   > 55 lbs   > 70 lbs   > 95 lbs  
Baboon   X X X
Blesbok   X X X
Blue wildebeest     X X
Bushbuck   X X X
Bushpig   X X X
Duiker X X X X
Eland       X
Gemsbok     X X
Giraffe       X
Jackal X X X X
Impala   X X X
Kudu     X X
Nyala     X X
Ostrich   X X X
Red hartebeest     X X
Roan     X X
Sable     X X
Steenbok X X X X
Tsessebe     X X
Warthog   X X X
Waterbuck     X X
Zebra     X X


Draw weight for African Big Five and bowhunting African dangerous game

The following table is an indication of the bow draw weights for bow hunting dangerous game in Africa in South Africa. Please note that it is illegal to bow hunt pachyderms (thick-skinned animals) in South Africa. The pachyderms you may not bow hunt are the African elephant and white- and black rhinos.

With the advancement and development of technology with regards to bow hunting in general, the average draw weight required to hunt African dangerous game and African plains game is becoming less relevant. With Kinetic Energy (KE) playing an ever increasing important role in the art of bow hunting, bows with lesser draw weights can inevitably deliver more KE with more killing power. Please do not ignore draw weight completely, but use the following information as a guideline.


Dangerous game to bow hunt Recommended minimum draw weight
Legal or illegal > 70 lbs   > 95 lbs  
Cape buffalo Legal to bow hunt Cape buffalo in South Africa   X
Elephant Illegal to bow hunt elephants in South Africa   X
Hippo Legal to bow hunt hippos in South Africa   X
Leopard Legal to bow hunt leopard in South Africa X X
Lion Legal to bow hunt lions in South Africa   X
Lioness Legal to bow hunt lioness in South Africa   X
Rhino – black Illegal to bow hunt rhinos in South Africa   X
Rhino – white Illegal to bow hunt rhinos in South Africa   X