Bow Hunting in Namibia

Namibia has a long tradition of hunting with a bow and arrow. Practiced by various rural communities; the most well-known of these is the Kalahari Bushmen, who traditionally hunts with poisoned arrows. Bow-hunting for trophies in its modern form was legalized during 1997 and is thus a recent development.

The predominant drive behind this development was the ever-growing trophy hunting sector. Modern-day trophy hunters, who would like to hunt in Namibia with a bow, can select from a large variety of registered Bow-hunting outfitters. Due to Namibia's natural habitat, types of game and seasonal changes in vegetation, bow hunting requires the highest standard of hunting skills and ethical behavior.



  • Long Bow - being a straight, one piece or take down bow 
  • Recurve Bow - being a bow with curved tipped limbs which bend away from the archer when the bow is held in the shooting position
  • Compound Bow - being a bow which uses a cable and pulleys to increase its power or the velocity of the arrow shot from it, by means of the storing of energy
  • Cross Bow - Illegal in Namibia


  • Bow-hunting in Namibia is practiced using a number of techniques. Hunters may lie in ambush in areas frequented by game, or they may stalk their prey.

    Bow hunting from blinds is preferred during the Namibian winter months, June until August and the drier months September and October. The majority of hunting takes place from permanently constructed blinds i.e. ground blinds, tree blinds and temporary pop-up blinds on game trails. Animals have to be within 20 m -30 m from waterholes and salt lick stations, relaxed and unaware of the hunter. Normally only "side-on" shots are taken.


    This method is preferred during the green season months, February until May as sufficient cover exists and the green bush is softer on the foot and reduces noise while stalking. Spot and stalk hunting is also used for the "more difficult" game species or those that do not frequent waterholes. Due to the difficulty of achieving the above criteria, bow-hunting in Namibia is technically a highly selective sport and requires above normal self-discipline and physical fitness. Surrounding game species are disturbed very little and are often not even aware of the hunt that is taking place.


    Arrows can be made out of Wood, fiberglass, carbon or carbon compounds and aluminum   The shaft must have a minimum length of 19.68 inches (500 mm)



    Broadheads must Consist of at least two fixed cutting blades    A minimum cutting edge length and width of 1 inch (26 mm+)

    Broadheads may not Have barbed or serrated edges Contain poison or narcotics

    Mechanical broadheads are legal in Namibia. Special arrow points such as judo points, bird points or blunt points may be used for the bow hunting of game bird species only, a hunter may take no more than two members of the permitted bird species during the hunt, which will be listed in the trophy permit.


    Namibia offers a large variety of plains game species for trophy hunting. These include the following with the minimum Bow energy restrictions:

    Small game

    Rock-rabbit (hyrax), Rabbits, Porcupine, African Wildcat, Caracal, Black-backed Jackal, Damara Dik-Dik, Steenbok, Duiker, Klipspringer, Springbok, Letchwe, Blesbok, Bontebok, Bushbuck and huntable game birds.
    Energy less than 33.9 joules (25ft/lbs)
    Weight less than 22.68 gram (350 grain)

    Medium game

    Chakma Baboon, Warthog, Black-face and Southern Impala, Nyala, Spotted Hyena and Cheetah
    Energy less than 54.24 joules (40 ft/lbs)
    Weight less than 25.92 grams (400 grain)

    Large game

    Gemsbok/ Oryx, Kudu, Red Hartebeest, Roan antelope, Sable antelope, Tsessebe, Waterbuck, Blue and Black Wildebeest, Hartmann's Mountain Zebra and Burchell's plains Zebra, Cape Eland and Giraffe.
    Energy less than 88.13 joules (65 ft/lbs)
    Weight less than 29.16 gram (450 grain)


    The following Dangerous Game species CANNOT be hunted in Namibia with the Bow:

    Elephant, Hippopotamus, Crocodile, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard

    It is illegal to hunt any of the above-mentioned Dangerous Game species with the bow and export the trophy on a Special (Rifle) permit from MET, Ministry of Environment and Tourism.


    A Hunting Guide, Master Hunting Guide or Professional Hunter with additional qualifications for bow hunting must guide trophy hunters visiting Namibia. Bow hunting shall be conducted exclusively in the company of a registered hunting guide/ master hunting guide or professional hunter with an additional bow hunting qualification at all times in the bush or blind, and not more than two trophy hunters per guide at any given time. Bow-hunting may only take place on special game farms and areas which are registered for this purpose with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Respect Landowners rights Bow-hunting may only be conducted for the sake of trophy hunting.

    Licenses/ hunt permits for various game species may be organized by the outfitter.MET licenses/ hunt permits must clearly stipulate Bowhunting at the top of the page.

    No animal will be viable for inclusion in the NAPHA Top Ten List if said animals have been harvested with a permit not clearly displaying the Bowhunting stamp at the top of the page. The onus lies with the trophy hunter to check and ensure that the correct permits are in possession of the outfitter before hunting commences.?

    No person shall without the permission of the Cabinet hunt any game or other wild animal during the period from half an hour after sunset on any day to half an hour before sunrise on the following day.?

    The practice of shooting from a moving vehicle is prohibited; ethical principles of hunting determine that any animal must have at least an equal chance to escape. A hunting guest may only take two animals of a kind each year, irrespective if the trophies are exported or not.

    All Trophies must attain the minimum points of trophy quality.
    (Exceptions are allowed only with old, setback or very abnormal trophies.)

    Bow-hunting is guided by the Code of Conduct as set out below:

    • Hunting to take place on the principles of fair chase, as defined hereunder.
    • When bow-hunting, the hunter makes use of stalking as well as lying in ambush
    • Use of correct hunting methods and equipment to harvest animals in the least traumatic way possible
    • Bow-hunters should practice and train continuously to enhance their bowman ship.
    • They have to abide by the relevant laws, other legal requirements and recognized codes of conduct.
    • They must actively enhance the survival of wildlife populations, protection of biodiversity and the promotion of sustainable utilization.
    • Ensure humane practices in the utilization of wildlife.
    • Engage at all times in fair and honest , practices
    • Educate others regarding the benefits of sustainable use, conservation procedures and the ethics of hunting.
    • Recognize indigenous rural community needs relating to sustainable natural resource utilization.


    Every sport hunter should pursue an animal only by engaging in a fair chase of the quarry.

    Fair chase is defined as the pursuit of a free roaming animal or enclosed roaming animal possessed of the natural behavioral inclination to escape from the hunter and be fully free to do so.

    • Said animal is to be hunted without an artificial light source, not from a motorized mode of transportation.
    • No ethical hunter while sport hunting must take female animals with dependent young.
    • A sport-hunted animal should exist as a naturally interacting member of a sustainable wild population located in an area large enough for it to breed and forage or hunt freely.
    • Hunted animals should be sustained within a natural state of balance between forage, predators and prey.

    The above definition may be modified by the regional hunting associations based on legal, customary and necessary circumstances which may be unique to each country or area.

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