Who Is Sean Nel?
I am the typical “Biltong Hunter”
I am essentially a target archer and archery enthusiast that loves my bows and love throwing arrows around on the range, and I only get to hunt once or twice a year, mainly for the pot. I am not a Trophy Hunter, and I am not a Big Game hunter, but should the opportunity present itself, I want my gear to be able to handle it without too many changes.
I also take out new hunters for their first hunts as well as my own children, so my equipment selection is geared towards being able to accurately “clean-up” should something go wrong with a shot on one of the juniors or new bowhunters.
Hunting style: As I mainly hunt for the kitchen, I have no qualms about shooting from hides or treestands. I do enjoy the challenge of stalking an animal and running them to ground, but my first concern is to get food for my family, so I will almost always ensure that my first attempt out will fill the freezer (or at least some of it) So, whichever way gives me the best chance of doing that, is the way I will start out on that hunt.
Animals hunted: Waterbuck, Wildebeest, Warthog, Impala, Blessbuck and Kudu
I shoot the Bowtech Reign 7. The reason I selected this bow was so that I can ensure better long-range accuracy. The Reign started a new era in “aimability” and is still one of the softest shooting and quietest bows out there.
The Bowtech bows have the PowerShift options on the modules. I shoot mine on the performance setting. I can shift it down to the comfort setting, but it is such a smooth drawing bow, I hardly see the need.
Draw Weight: 70lbs
Draw Length: 30”
Arrow Speed: 264fps
KE: 87.3 ft-lbs
Momentum: 0.661 slug-ft/s
My sight is a Sureloc Lethal Weapon SLDR three pin “Over/Under” sight. I never really got the hang of a 5-pin sight, I always seemed to make a parallax error, or worse, accidentally pic the wrong pin. The single-pin sights I used before did the job perfectly, but once you are on a walk and stalk, and nothing really stands still for longer than a few seconds, the over/under just makes sense to me.
The fact that I have a centre pin, dead on the actual distance I expect the animal to be at, and a 10-yard short, and 10 yard long pin, means that when I range, I have a 20yd window, in which I can gap shoot much more efficiently! (…and even I can count three pins accurately!)
My rest is the trusty Ripcord Code Red. I got mine soon after they were released and it’s been on every hunting bow I have owned. I like the fact that I can have a full containment rest that leaves a really big gap as it drops out of the way for feathers (flu-flu’s) should I be shooting them.
Drop away rests make sense to me… get out of the way and let the arrow fly. The fact that the Code Red is about as fast as you can get in the drop away rest selection, is just a bonus!
I know it makes my bow heavier, but I am willing to pay the price for the extra confidence in my accuracy, ESPECIALLY when the adrenaline is pumping! I run a 6” Beestinger Extreme Hunter in front of my bow with 10oz of extra weight. The package is bigger, but worth it.
This year I wanted a heavy, High FOC arrow. There is really very little that I hunt that will not string jump you if it’s looking your way when the shot breaks. and conversely, if you watch the animals behaviour, and let them settle a bit, and wait for your chance, you will probably have zero movement even from a much slower bow.
The fact is that the heavier arrow is giving me good penetration without stealing too much of my speed. The arrow I chose for this year is the GoldTip Velocity 300 and I shot it pretty much full length. Its a standard shaft arrow with a thin sidewall to make it as light as possible. I added a 100gr brass insert plus 50gr weight (gotta love the GoldTip system!) that gives me a 275gr front weight when I screw in my 2″ Ulmer Edge broadheads
Arrow Weight: 564gr
Arrow Speed: 264fps
Even though I have found the VaneTech HP Fletches to be noisier than the standard 3″ fletch, I seem to group just ever so slightly tighter in adverse weather. I doubt whether the fletch noise will make much of a difference in the end… will have to test and see!
Good old 125gr Ulmer Edge’s was the sharp stuff on the front of my arrows. With a 2” cut, I have taken too many animals, and I have yet to have problems. Yes, I broke a few blades, and I did bend a tip (rocks are hard!) and unfortunately I did bend a ferule, so that one was toast, but every time I think about switching, I always go back to the Ulmer’s and tell myself that I will try a new point… next time.
I do not go in for long range shots unless I really have to. But if I have to, I have tested the Ulmer Edge 2” broadheads up to 80yds and still get a good grouping. I have confidence in them. Enough so that I took my longest hunting shot with them on a Blessbuck at 64yds, tightly quartering away.
I use Nocturnals. I rarely shoot in bad light, but I have found that the arrows show up better on the video.
My quiver is a stock standard Octane 5-arrow side mounted, slide release quiver (I think I got it with my Diamond Razor Edge? ) It works… and it’s paid for… and needs to be replaced next year, I think. Maybe it will last a bit longer…
My Bowtech BT-Mag is giving me around 83ft/lbs of Kinetic Energy on the 560gr GoldTip Velocity arrow. More than enough for pretty much anything I can afford to hunt, but still smooth on the draw. My arrow speed is around 260fps. If I load up on a 750-850gr arrow and flip over to the Performance setting on the modules, I will easily be able to hunt Buffalo or Giraffe with it.
I prefer a thumb release when I hunt. When I get into a treestand, or a hide, the arrow gets loaded, and the thumb release gets clipped onto the D-loop…. ready to go. My release is a STAN Just-X.
This is not a conventional thumb release. It works best if you actually hook the release against your pinky, so that the shot breaks when you squeeze the thumb AND pinky together. It slows down your shot sequence a bit and it’s not the traditional “perfect” release technique, but the really big benefit there is that you can easily shoot with gloves or without, and not really know the difference.
As a backup, I always carry a Scott Wildcat wrist release in my backpack. It’s not IF you ever forget your release in your truck or on the dining room table, but rather WHEN…
Rangefinders and Game Cameras
I don’t use game cameras right now, but my Rangefinder is the Nikon Laser 550 AS. It’s a bit bulky, but foolproof and has the extra benefit of giving me angles as well as distance. Always handier than you think!
I always have my Sniper daypack with me when I hunt. It carries extra batteries for the cameras (and phone) as well as the extra action cams. It has lunch, a small medi-kit and some snacks and quite a bit of water.
If I am the cameraman and not the shooter on the day, I also carry a K-Way Day Walker fannypack. It’s padded with two waterbottle slots and a biggish pouch. I carry a small extra handycam in there as backup, plus extra cards and batteries I need quick. It also means I can drop my backpack and extra gear on a stalk should I need to and still be good to go. I generally then also have a Canon EOS 80D still cam in there (with a small 40mm STM Pancake lens) or the Canon EOS-M with a 20mm pancake.
My camo of choice is the Sekelbos range from Wildebees. A local South African brand that has proven to be remarkably robust. It layers well when cold, but if you hunt mid-day in the lowveld of South Africa, you are going to get hot, so I often go out in the light ripstop pants, and a t-shirt covered in their Mesh Hoodie Top. It’s a brilliant and light peace of camo gear. Can’t think how I ever lived without it!
I wear a beard, so not really into facepaint, although, I do carry a palette with me in case I am hunting with someone who needs it, which might very well be me! Rather have it and don’t need it, than need it and don’t have it!
The areas I generally hunt are thorny… Sekelbos mainly. And if you know anything about sekelbos, its that it makes awesome fires for the campsite, and the thorn is tough as nails and will go through anything, so a decent sole is the thing to have.
I wear the Hi-Tech Lima Sport hiking boot when I hunt. It’s not as tough as some others but a climbing accident when I was younger left my right foot in a bit of a mess, so I do concede some durability to comfort. There are some really great boots out there that just doesn’t work with my dodgy foot, so I am sticking with the Hi-Techs!