Sports & Fitness

Bows & arrows

Bows & arrows

Home is where the heart is. After travelling the world and playing rugby professionally, Danie Rossouw has returned to the Lowveld. He tells us about his passion for the outdoors and his new venture in the field of archery with his partner Morne Pelser.

Danie Rossouw was born in Sabie and went to primary school in Secunda. Returning to the region just opened a whole new world for him. “I love the Lowveld and that is why I came back. I went to Hoërkool Rob Ferreira and hunted from a young age. I became interested in bow hunting after finishing school. I worked at SPAR and used the money to buy my own PSE bow.

“I love being in the bush and the hunting was part of it. We always went to the Kruger National Park and I always wanted to become a game ranger. These days it is a highly specialised job. But it always sounded great to say, ‘I want to be a game ranger’ because you’re always out in the bush; every day of your life you are in the park, in the bush.”

That is also a reason why he came back to the region; the outdoor lifestyle and open space have always been in his blood.

The story goes that during his days as a Springbok rugby player, he would recruit teammates such as Pierre Spies and Bakkies Botha to join him on outdoor fishing and hunting trips. Much to the chagrin of those anti-hunting and vegetarian fanatics on social media.

Thus archery became his form of relaxation and enjoyment in the outdoors. Bow Pro Archery near Elawini Lifestyle Estate, just outside Mbombela, is a one-stop shop for archers and bow hunters alike.

We would like to have archery as a sport in all the schools in the Lowveld. So that everybody can compete.

 

Not all kids like to take part in team sport such as rugby, hockey or netball. Archery is for individuals. ”

“You can take part in tournaments presented by the World Archery Federation, specifically with a compound bow,” Danie says. What’s more, it is also an Olympic sport. “There is a definite growth possibility for it in South Africa, more so at school level,” he smiles.

“We’ve had kids as young as four years old who have come to shoot at our range. We would like to go all the way from primary school level to high school. My laaitie is only three. He still struggles a little but will get there. I would say from about four years they start to get the idea.” Danie explains there are bows and arrow sets that are specific for kids.

Being able to take part internationally is a reward for going to all this effort. This dad has his eyes set on promoting this excellent sport. “We also want to grow the sport through other events such as parties and exhibiting at the Mpumalanga Show at Mbombela Stadium this month,” he says.

With the parties they hope to get the ladies interested. Archery has never been only for men and having the deli butchery-cum-restaurant and driving range will be a bonus.

There ladies can try their arm at drawing the bow, shooting a few arrows, and enjoying a good cup of coffee and a welcome snack. “The restaurant, The Crafty Butcher, is a small deli-type butchery that stocks matured meats. The theme will be family-orientated,” says Danie.

“I’m not the crafty butcher, but the other guy is. We’re not aiming for a pub-like atmosphere. We want a more family-favoured, butcher’s block-type restaurant. And there will be a jungle gym to keep the kids occupied,” he laughs.

This bow pro tells us that the basic longbow is one of the oldest weapons used for hunting and warfare. It is the most common historical bow and the recurved one is more advanced. Modern-day bows are made of more modern composites such as carbon fibre and are more versatile. The most common wood used in the making of bows is the English yew or willow – both incredibly flexible.

Compound bows have a pulley-and-cam system that makes it easier to draw or flex the bowstring. It reduces the effort needed to draw the bow and allows the archer time to focus on the target. Modern bows are versatile and anyone can use them, whether they’re eight or 80, male or female. Every bow needs to be customised for the archer according to his or her draw length, eye height and so on. The setting will change as they gain experience.

“Prospective archers are welcome to hire a bow. We will give them basic coaching. We also do personalised – from beginner to professional. We would like to invite groups of people in parties, this is when it is fun and easy to learn,” says Morne, an accredited SANAA and World Archery Federation level 1 coach.

“We want people to get into the sport for the fun. Hunting is only a small part of archery,” he laughs.

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