The tiny ten is probably the most difficult of all species to collect with a bow. They comprise of the following animals: common duiker, red duiker, blue duiker, steenbuck, oribi, sharps grysbok, cape grysbok, suni, klipspringer and dik-dik.
Many bow hunters shoot a duiker or steenbok as the opportunity arises. Very few are successful when they specifically target these elusive string jumpers. Being so tiny, they offer the smallest of targets and they do not stand still long enough for the time you need to do a proper shot. Their way of life is very fast and jittery.
Of the tiny ten, the duikers and klipspringer can be called in on a distress call. This is the job for the PH. He must position the client in such a way that he can see or hear the animal coming in and take the shot. Most animals coming in to a call will be very alert and prone to string-jump more than they already are. In the rainforest of Cameroon we have hunted blue duiker with great success by carefully listening to them running through the heavy cover and waiting for them to come into the shooting lane at full draw.
The setup for this type of hunting must be so that the client can hold the bow at full draw for quite a while (±) 1 minute and still make a good shot. Calling is best late in the afternoon as dusk approaches. I personally prefer a setup of (±) 55lb or more with an arrow tipped with a cut on impact broad head. This is because you can not wait for the broadside shot and sometimes have to take a shot at an animal facing you or looking away. The cut-on-impact tip will ensure deep penetration through bone and still reach any vitals.
In this kind of hunting you will not have enough time to judge the animal to see if it is male or female. Just like gemsbok, the blue- and red duiker females carry horns and they all make for a beautiful full mount. If you can see the horns of a red duiker, you should have shot already as it is a top scorer.
The PH must have a good tracking dog or dogs to aid in the follow up at night. This is the time that I hunt grysbok. Very few hunters have been successful with these ultra-tough little devils in daylight. They come out at night and then frequent the areas next to heavy cover. You will see a lot of them just after dark when they start to forage. The PH has to know his story to be able to judge male from female at night. Only the males have horns and they are positioned in the front of the scull and in line with the ears. Being so short, (± 2 inches) they do not show up clearly with even the strongest light because the animals eyes shine so bright that it makes judging difficult.
By walking along the edges of the thickets and shining the light with the client in tow you might even get a shot at porcupine or bushpig. Klipspringer takes a whole lot of luck to get within bow-range. When they come in to a call you must be positioned below them and behind cover where they can not see you. I personally position the client in a spot and do the calling from another, some distance away so that the animal can jump onto a rock and look in my direction. I then let the client know via a two way radio that the klipspringer is on the rock and is a male. He then carefully come to full draw and steps out to make the shot.
This works well if the PH knows the area well and knows which rocks the animal will jump to when it hears the call. The PH has to do a lot of scouting before the hunt so as to know of a few likely spots.
Where suni and dik-dik live it is best to find a well used marking place and wait for them in a good hiding spot some 20 meters away. Do not take a shot while they are busy marking as they will jump the string. Again it is the PH’s job to judge the trophy as these animals are not hunted for meat but for the species or the trophy and it is good to have a knowledgeable PH with you to help you get the best for what you pay for.
Steenbok is a walk and stalk hunt. They are common and territorial, so it will not be difficult to spot one. The secret is to be well camouflaged and to take it slow. Most local hunters are familiar with them and do not need a PH to judge a trophy or to find them. Speak to some PH’s in order to find out how they hunt them with clients in order to improve your luck.
Oribi is in my opinion one of the most difficult animals to bow hunt. They live in areas where there is hardly any cover and they are extremely alert animals that will bolt in an instant. They often use a vantage point to observe their surroundings just like tsessebe.
In the Kafue area in Zambia, the burning season starts in May and that is a good time to hunt the biggest of the tiny-ten.They often follow the flames and feed just a few yards behind. To stalk them in a burnt area, you must be well camouflaged and it will not be long before you are as black as the newly burnt veldt.
You must move extra slow as any movement will let them depart. What sometimes work is for the PH to position himself behind cover so that he can observe the Oribi without being spotted himself. The client must then proceed alone and with extra care. Oribi like to lie down facing into the wind and become part of their surroundings. The PH must dictate the client’s approach via two way radio as to when to move and when to freeze. This will take a few hours, believe me. The client will be flat on the ground and good knee- and elbow pads is a must if he wants any skin and clothing left after a stalk.
The most difficult will be to come to full draw. This has to be done with no cover in place. A low poundage bow is the answer. The client must practice drawing the bow while lying down and then coming to a sitting position for the shot. The arrow must be kept from falling of the rest and it takes a lot of practice and modifications to his grip and shooting style to perfect.
For any specialized information, you are welcome to ask and we shall gladly assist where we can.
Please direct any questions or queries