Africa's Bowhunter
Image Credit: Africa's Bowhunter
Image Credit: Africa's Bowhunter

Bowhunting Chacma Baboon

The chacma baboon is one of Africa’s most intelligent and entertaining mammals. The name “chacma” is derived from the Khoi name for baboon – choachamma or choa kamma. They have a well-ordered and well-developed social order with a wide variety of social behaviours, including a dominance hierarchy, collective foraging, adoption of young by females and friendship pairings. They are widespread throughout South Africa.

Cleve Cheney

Because they are always on the lookout for potential dangers and predators they are difficult to hunt. Sentries posted on high ground or tall trees will be quick to sound the alarm at the approach of any perceived danger. The real challenge to a bowhunter will be to stalk up close enough for a shot or induce a baboon to approach close enough to offer a shot from a concealed position.


Chacma baboons are large primates with a dog-like face, prominent muzzle and long canines, which may be as long as 5 cm. A mature male measures 1.5 metres from head to tail and weighs on average 33 kg, but can weigh as much as 45 kg. Females are smaller. The fur is coarse, the colour may be grey to nearly black with grey-brown being the most common. There is a patch of rough hair on the nape of the neck. The tail is long (up to 84 cm in length) and is held in a characteristic arch. Males have a pad of naked hard grey skin on the buttocks. The female’s buttockpads are pink in colour and become bright and swollen when they are on heat. Baboon have long limbs – the front being longer than the hind – and have hands and feet with long, dexterous fingers. Baboon are active during the day, spending most of the time foraging. They sleep in trees, cliffs or where they are safe from predators at night.


Preferred habitat

Chacma baboon are widely distributed in South Africa and oc

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