My Springbok from Magaliesburg South Africa
By Johan DeJager
I was sitting in my easy chair drinking a cup of coffee and reading a local hunting magazine. It was late April 2020 when my phone rang.
It was my bowhunting buddy, Chris Trollope, of whom I had hunted with for nearly four years. He simply said, “Get your stuff together; I have found you a South African Springbuck we are going as soon as your Mathews VXR 31.5 arrives in South Africa.” My initial respond was I so hope my bow arrives soon without any further delay.
Some time had passed, and while out at the local shopping centre doing my grocery shopping I got a call from Archer’s Edge, it was the owner on the line Redge Grant “Your Mathews VXR 31.5 has arrived in store” with great excitement I replied “I‘ll see you first thing tomorrow morning!”. I wasn’t going to waste a minute of time and I knew the first thing I had to do was get my bow built and arrows chronographed.
I washed my Treezyn Camo Gear in my No Scent Laundry Pods, packed my hunting backpack, and got all our hunting permits in order.
The long-awaited day finally came, I was on my way bright and early to Archer’s Edge to collect and have my new Ambush Mathews VXR 31.5 setup. After a heart-warming welcome from the team at the shop and taking some unboxing photos, Bow Technician Bradley Matthysen got straight to work on my Bow. As minutes went by my ‘clean bow’ started looking like a mean rig and 75.2# pounds on the scale. My bow was fitted with the following items:
Sure Sight V6.1 Multi Pin
Easton Wrist Sling
VaperTrail Limb Driver Pro-V Rest
Easton Stabilizer Component
Mathews Arrow Web HD Series Quiver
It was mid June 2020 now when I got awakened by my bowhunting buddy Chris with a steaming hot cup of coffee. I had a quick hot shower and then we were off to meet up with Tristan Phillips to follow him to his dad’s farm near by Magalisburg, Gauteng. After a short drive we arrived at the gates of the farm, we had encountered Common Blesbuck in quantity and some Fellow Deer while driving to camp. However, I was after a magnificent South African Springbuck ram.
After unpacking my gear and enjoying a quick cup of coffee I checked my arrows were still flying true. After flinging some arrows at various distances I was happy with my current selected program on my Sure Sight.
Once you have the correct program selected on the Sure Sight, it will give you the exact shooting Dot with precision accuracy for what ever the distance is that you input, and if needed, with the press of a button you can switch to multi-pin mode.
After a short walk-through various amounts of trees, we arrived at our elevated hide. To our surprise we saw it was going to be a tight fit, but we would make the best of it. It wasn’t long after settling in when we spotted a herd of Common Blesbuck in the distance coming our Way. While Chris was in the standing position and me in the sitting, we glassed them through our binoculars and rangefinder till they had passed. It was a cold crisp morning but luckily, we had our Treezyn Late Season Gear, Gloves, Buff and Beanie on to keep us warm. There was also an icy breeze blowing on and off that morning. With the icy breeze blowing on and off we made sure to spray our No Scent Field Spray to cover our scent. As the morning hours were ticking by,
Chris and I took turns rotating from the sitting to standing position. Suddenly my eye court movement to our right in the distance. There was a Common Blesbuck ewe that was making her way into the clearing in front of us.
To our surprise there was the Springbuck ram exactly what I was after, tailing her. They started slowly grazing from the shadows of the border trees into the warm sunlight, ever so slowly making their way to a pile of feed in the distance. While glassing them you could see how cold they were by their “fluffy” coats.
Later on, another large herd of Common and White Blesbucks joined them, slowly grazing and warming up their cold bodies in the sunlight. They kept a good 50-70 yards from us. Suddenly the wind shifted, and they all ran off into the distance out of sight. We both “cussed” under our breath. By this time, it was possibly around 10am and both our faces were pink in colour from the cold.
It wasn’t too long till the next Common Blesbuck herd came back into the clearing and started slowly grazing and making their way to some feed. While that was happening the other Common Blesbuck ewe and my targeted Springbuck ram appeared back into the clearing to our right. But they still kept their 50-70 yards from us, as time passed by, we noticed that the Springbuck ram decided to go lay down in the sun.
A Spike Fellow Deer Stag appeared to the left below our elevated hide and kept us company while the Springbuck ram was relaxing in the sun. I must say I was very tempted taking that ‘Spike’ but I stayed focused on getting my first Springbuck with my bow.
Moments later the Spike Fellow Deer Stag decided to go into the clearing to the feed in the distance. The Springbuck ram got up and decided to go join him. That was my chance, probably the only opportunity I’ll have. I got up slowly from the sitting position while the Springbuck ram was making his way slowly to join the ‘Spike’.
Chris moved to my left as far as he could without falling out of the elevated hide and started getting his cellphone out to attempt recording the shot. The phone was ready, and Chris started ranging the Springbuck ram. The Springbuck ram turned and stood about 90° degrees from our elevated hide while Chris whispered, “his at 40, 40 yards, if you have a shot take it”. It wasn’t long and I was at full draw. Counting down to my 3rd pin, I let my 40-yard settle on his shoulder.
I squeezed my Scott Samurai release and ‘THWAP’. The arrow flew and disappeared on the Springbucks shoulder and dropped into the dirt. As the arrow hit the dirt as well did the Springbuck ram. We called on the radio to Tristan and said, “we got him, he is down”. We all arrived about the same time by my Springbuck ram trophy.
On this bowhunting adventure I used an Easton FMJ .300 5mm 490 grain arrow tipped with a Swhacker 100 grain Mechanical Broadhead.
iIts Just So Easy
By Vick Venter
Sometimes you acquire a piece of technology that you just can’t get enough of. The Sure Sight Automatic Bow Sight is such a piece. There are two versions available, one with a build-in range finder known as V6 (Version 6) and then a second one that does not have a range finder, known as V6.1 (Version 6.1)
I have been using V6.1 now for just over a year and have to say, the more I work with it the more impressed I am.
V6.1 offers the user two modes, a multi pin mode that will display 5 pins, 20 to 60 yards and a single pin mode where you have to enter the distance you want the pin to be set at. All pins are blue LEDs with 6 levels of brightness for all lighting conditions.
What I like most of it is how configurable it is. It allows me to shoot arrows of different weights within seconds from each other once configured.
The sight has preprogramed “Sight tapes” based on arrow speed. Step one is to get your arrow’s actual speed then select the right program. Once selected it took me 4 arrows to get my 20y pin set correctly. This is done by adjusting the actual sight housing up, down, left or right. Then to confirm the selected program is correct, I shot 2 arrows at 40y. Sight set-up done and dusted!
And this is where the fun starts. Now armed with a computer and the supplied USB cable you can configure the sight to shoot other weight arrows without having to move the sight housing again.
If you like a multi pin sight but only want 3 pins and not the standard 5 pin, no problem, can change that too.
In short, the most versatile and easy to use Bow Sight. Worth way more than it’s weight in Gold.
Huge shout-out to the Sure Site Team
bY STRAN MIDDLETON
My Sure Sight Journey
My journey with the Sure Sight V6.1 model started off on my Mathews TX-5 bow, adjusted to 53lb draw weight due to a still healing shoulder injury. When switching out the old sight for the Sure Sight I found the process to be as easy as one-two-three. The method of adjusting the sight position I found to be outstanding, the marked vertical and horizontal mounts enables a greater precision when setting up the sight and the position could be adjusted with ease. It took a few practice shots, but I effortlessly adjusted the sight to the perfect position which I would be using.
I used one of the pre-installed programs, which I determined would be the most appropriate for my arrow speed, to my surprise the complete process only took about four arrows in total to get my arrows to hit the mark at 20 yards. In my case, shooting with lower poundage and a 525gn arrow, I had to use the 27-yard LED shooting at 20-yards to ensure I maintain vane/fletch clearance.
It took round about 10 minutes in total to copy my chosen sight program into MS Excel to manually adjust the LED configuration in such a manner that the current 27 yard LED becomes the 20 yard LED. With a simple move of the cells all distances now have the correct LED assignment. After the file was saved, I used the Sure Sight application to write the new custom program to the sight via USB and to make it the active program. After applying the new LED pin out to the Sure Sight, my 20-yard LED was on the mark and it was determined that all the ranges out to the 63-yards were spot on. This meant that in less than an hour I completed the entire process of one: switching sights; two: positioning the Sure Sight and three: ensured that it was sighted in perfectly.
After a few months of exercise and training, and with my shoulder injury becoming less and less of a hurdle, I was in a position to Increase the draw weight of my bow up to 63lb, this thus meant that the whole process needed to be repeated and a new program needed to be used, however with the same arrow weight of 525gn shooting at 260fps, it was as easy as choosing program 93 and I was back on track shooting X’s. All that with no need to adjust the sight position, meaning I will always have fletch clearance, and the accuracy will remain.
Although the process may look daunting at first, I personally would recommend everyone to at least give this sight a try. The amazing technology that comes with the Sure Sight, the ease of using the Sure Sight and the endless possibilities with all the different LED layouts (sight tapes) makes the Sure Sight a sure thing.
Written by: Iewan Venter
My exciting transition from rifle to bow hunting after 34 years: By Karel.
I’ve been hunting with a rifle since the age of about eight years old and spent a lot of time with my dad in the bush, where he taught me the values of life and how to hunt. He taught me about respecting the animals and the bush, which we so often take for granted. Part of my lessons with my dad were safety, and how to handle a firearm. We hunted every year as often as we could, so I had a great time growing up and hunting.
Now that I am 42 years old, by simply putting the crosshairs on the hunted animal and pulling the trigger on a rifle, doesn’t do it for me anymore. I don’t feel the excitement, or my heart pumping in my head like I used to feel. The challenge of rifle hunting has unfortunately disappeared. It got to a stage that I went hunting just because there were annual hunting trips pre booked.
I went on the last couple of hunts just because my friends were going, and I felt obliged to go.
I bought a bow two years ago, thinking I would be able to try and bring the excitement back into the hunt by using a bow. I started off shooting up to 50 arrows a day practicing as often as I could, but I never had enough confidence to do an ethical walk and stalk hunt with a bow. This year, while hunting with a rifle, I specifically went out on a walk and stalk to see how close I could get to my quarry. I didn’t shoot anything, but after 2 days and more than 30Km, I knew that with a reliable set-up, I would have had an awesome hunt with a bow. I spoke to the PH, Nickus an avid bow hunter from Wilton Valley Hunting Safaris where we were hunting, and suggested that I would like to give it a try with a bow.
The next day, Saturday, after many practice shots, we went out with a bow to quite a busy hide. Within half an hour I had an opportunity on a pig, and could not even draw the bow, the adrenaline rush (Bokkoors) was so intense that I was even shaking. This shot would have been a formality with a rifle. That afternoon I knew this is what I needed to do but lacked the confidence hunting with a bow.
When I got home, I took my bow out and started practicing with my 5-pin sight, after three weeks I was still not fully confident or accurate with the set-up of my sight. I was going hunting the coming weekend and started doubting if this would even happen. I had seen the Sure Sight (a locally developed and manufactured product) at Wildebees hunting and accessory store where I bought my arrows. I heard how amazing this sight was (it is an automatic bow sight that ranges the distance to your target and automatically presents the correct shooting pin to you ) I arranged a test run with the sight.
What happened next totally blew me away. I could not believe it, after about 20 minutes to set up the Sure Sight, I was shooting 4-inch groupings from 20 to 70 yards, which I could never dream of before. The sight is easy to use, easy to set-up and deadly accurate. All of a sudden I was filled with confidence, and knew this is what I needed to complete the bow hunting package.The afternoon of the first day out, I had the privilege of feeling the blood rush and my heart pumping in my head when I confidently went to full draw on a 25,1/4 inch Impala ram at 30 yards. It was a great shot, “double lung heart” and exactly where I positioned the little blue shooting dot.
The speed and ease to range, aim and shoot, using the Sure Sight, gives you supreme confidence to hunt with a bow. Since then, in this year I have confidently hunted Waterbuck, Pigs and Impala.
I would say that having the security and confidence when using Sure Sight, and knowing that after ranging, where you put your clear, tiny blue shooting dot is where the arrow will hit. Sure Sight is the key, which gave me back the adrenalin and absolute confidence to achieve this.
Now, when you walk and stalk with a bow, you don’t have to waste time, or separately carry and use a range finder, and then adjust your sight or take a chance on a fixed pin in the excitement of the hunting moment. Sure Sight gives you the opportunity to now Ethically and consciously put your rifle away.
You can now go out there with a bow, experiencing that old adrenalin rush that you felt on your very first hunt. The sight also has the instant and unique ability to switch between various weighted arrows. So, if you are, for instance, stalking an Impala with a +/- 450 grain arrow and you come across a herd of Eland, you can immediately switch to your +/_ 700 Grain arrow, and within 2 seconds have changed your set-up with pinpoint accuracy and total confidence.
Thank you, Sure Sight, for such an awesome, easy to set up and use product, that has now allowed me to make the transition after 34 years, from boring rifle to exciting bow hunting. This has changed my life, and I have the excitement back to hunt again.
Hi there, my name is Martin Cowan, I started bow hunting approximately 18 months ago. I would consider myself an average beginner bow shot. I enjoy not only the hunting part, but also shooting my bow for relaxation after work or weekends. I preferred a one-pin sight up until now, I found it more accurate than multi-pin sights, however, it is time consuming to adjust for various distances. In 2017 I went for my first bow hunt where I shot two buck, a Gemsbok at 18 meters and a Rooibok at 15 meters. I felt a bit rattled every time, having to try quickly and get the distance with my range finder and then swapping back to the bow.
During the 2018 Hunt Expo, I decided to look at the new Garmin sight. When I had a view of it, I decided to wait because I felt it was overpriced, a bit bulky and it also seemed rather complicated to set up.
In July 2018 we planned another hunt in Kalahari, the Thursday before the hunt a colleague of mine told me about a new sight developed in South Africa, that can not only do what the Garmin sight can do, but even have better capabilities than the Garmin sight. I decided to give Roger and Bevan at Suresight a call that afternoon. They invited me to come and look at their new product.
I was not sure what to expect when I drove to their premises. I arrived at their premises late in the afternoon and they immediately offered to fit one of their earlier prototypes on my bow so that I could try it out. I was a bit sceptic as it was late in the afternoon, there was not a lot of daylight left and I was leaving the next morning for my hunt. I had just set my current one-pin sight up the way I preferred, but I decided to go for it in anyway.
To my utter shock and surprise, it only took 30 minutes to mount the sight and have the basic settings sorted. In another 10 minutes the final settings were done, and I was ready to start shooting. I immediately felt very comfortable with the site and was very impressed how easy and uncomplicated it was. Within the first 10 arrows I was already shooting the same groupings I shot previously with my one-pin sight. It just got better and better, shooting from any distance accurately became as easy as pushing a button, getting the laser on the target and off you go.
Bevan and Roger then suggested I keep the sight on my bow and go and try it out for the hunt. I felt as excited as a kid on Christmas eve.
The next morning long before the first sun, we took the long road to the Kalahari. Seven Hours later, including two hours on a very bumpy and dusty gravel road, we arrived at our destination. As one does, out came all the rifles for the traditional sight setting and brag rights as to whom can kill the bullseye and gong the best at long range before the hunt. We were a group of around 16 hunters and everyone stood around the shooting range waiting patiently to get their rifles sighted.
I decided It would be a good idea to get my new Suresight re-sighted as well, because surely it would need a lot of readjustment after the gruelling drive, but to my surprise, the first shot I took at 20 meters I found the bullseye without any issues, so did the second and third shot. The Suresight felt like a trusty old friend and I felt at ease from the word go. It was not long before I noticed a small crowd that had gathered around me, almost like everyone was hypnotised by the beautiful green laser coming from my new friend. Of course, everyone had to have a look and a try. They had a lot of questions, I suddenly, sounded and looked like the pro I most definitely was not.
The next morning it was time for the big hunt to begin. By 09h00 we were in the hide and ready to seize any opportunity that came along. The conditions were far from perfect, windy as hell and blowing right across us. Low and behold, in came a group of Rooibok, but alas, we were asked not to shoot any Rooibok as the farmer was trying to build up his stock. It did not stop me, from testing if the beautiful green laser would affect or scare the buck in anyway. Sure enough, the herd of buck did not even flinch as I ran the laser up and down and across the herd.
After no more action in the morning session we packed up, went for lunch and then went straight back to the hide after lunch, hoping that the wind would die down a bit. Unfortunately, the wind did not die down, if anything, it had just intensified. The wind made all the animals skittish and we saw no more action for another 2 hours at the watering hole.
At last a beautiful Springbok ram made an appearance, but it was clear that he was very weary with the wind blowing so strong. For almost 2 hours he teased us, walking up and down, then going down for a light afternoon nap, getting up for some grooming, then strutting up and down again, just staying out of range all the time.
Then at last, he came a bit closer, in a flash I had the laser sight on him, 34 meters, I looked at my hunting partner, an experienced bow hunter of 17 years. He shook his head and said it would be a very difficult shot in this strong cross wind, but then he said the words I wanted to hear “But if you feel comfortable and confident, then go for it”. Did I feel confident, hell yes, I did, with my new trusty friend, I sure did. Yes, I took the shot, and even to my own surprise, the most perfect shot, straight through the engine room, through the heart and lungs, through and through. Perfect kill shot.
That night around the braai, my hunting partner could not talk enough about THAT perfect shot. And the star of the show, my new old trusty friend - Suresight. Suddenly, I was a suresight sales person, everybody wanting to know, how do they get their hands on their own trusty old friend.
On Monday, 17 September 2018, my husband gave me the excellent news - I was going to shoot my first Kudu!!
He had seen a beautiful Kudu bull on a property where he hunted with clients & he wanted me to shoot it. He went on to say that this property had really thick brush & a lot of thorny bushes, which meant that walking & stalking would be next to impossible, thus we would have to put up a blind. I have never shot from a blind & immediately thought that I would love to use a bow! There was just a slight problem - I had never shot with a bow before & didn't even own one.
Luckily my husband was able to arrange a bow that I could borrow to practice & even hunt with.The idea was for me to take a few shots to see whether I liked it, then practice & decide whether I would shoot the Kudu with the bow or rather with a rifle (which I have more experience with).
On Tuesday, 25 September, I took my first shot with a Bowtech Destroyer 350 set at 40 pounds. The bow was fitted with a new automatic bow sight called a Sure Sight.
To be honest, before I took the first shot I was nervous about two things (with the little knowledge I had on bows).
1. That I wouldn't be able to draw 40 pounds.
2.That I wouldn't know which sight pin to use when I aim.
Thank goodness the 40 pounds ended up being much easier than I anticipated!
As for the sight - well that was a "no-brainer". How amazing to just push a button, range your target with the laser & "Bob's your uncle"!! I'm pretty sure that using the Sure Sight as a beginner has spoiled me for life - I wouldn't want to use any other sight ever! It is so quick & easy, user friendly & in no way confusing at all.
My first few shots felt a bit shaky, but I hit the target & quite liked the feeling of shooting with a bow.
On Wednesday & Thursday I practiced, shooting 6-10 shots each day at 15 yards with field points. On Friday I took 12 shots at 20 yards using broad-heads. On Saturday, 29 September, we were in the blind by 09:30 - sight ranged at 17 yards from the feed.
We barely got settled in when the first Kudu cows arrived at the feed, followed by some younger bulls & then the big bull.
At first he was out of sight for me, but my husband could see him coming closer & closer to my viewpoint. I thought that the moment I see him, he may be too big & that I would get too excited & nervous to shoot, but when he finally stepped into view it was just amazing! Such a majestic & beautiful creature, I was in awe. I took a few deep breaths & just watched him.
At first he stood to the left of the feed, broadside, perfect for a shot! Unfortunately though, there were several other animals behind him & couldn't take the risk of the arrow passing through & wounding another animal. So, we waited. After about 10 minutes, he got spooked & jumped to the side. When he returned to the feed, he moved in on the right hand side & was slightly quartering towards us. We waited for another 15 minutes before I asked whether I could take a shot.
My husband leaned over to see the bull from my point of view, then explained where I should aim.
I lifted the bow, took a deep breath & drew my bow slowly to make as little noise as possible. It felt surprisingly steady.
A moment later I squeezed the trigger & let the arrow rip through the air! What an amazing feeling!
The arrow hit 3 inches below the center of the body, on the shoulder with a complete pass through, hitting both lungs.
The Kudu ran about 70 meters before he went down. By 12:00 we had him loaded & were heading home.
What an amazing experience!
earlier tests on sure sight version 4
Sure Sight asked Harry Marx, who is the president of SABA (South African Bowhunters Association) If he would test the earlier Version, V4 bow sight. This version had the range-finder and green laser in a separate compartment.
Harry published this article in the "Africa's Bowhunter magazine.