Recommandations of the BBF, FWCA and FBA regarding hunting with the bow in the Walloon area in Belgium.
The BBF, FBA and FWCA strongly recommend hunting by means of bow and arrow only under the following conditions.
- All legal requirements for hunting in a specific region needs to be 100% met. No hunting, whatever the means, is permitted without a valid hunting permit as it is the case for all hunting methods including hunting with bow and arrow.
- We strongly advice the hunter to be well equiped, well informed and well trained.
- The hunting arrows need to be equiped with a broadhead specifically designed for hunting. As an organization we recommend that the hunting broadhead needs to have a minimal cutting diameter of 25 mm.
- Being well informed means that you need to know how to use the bow and arrow in an adequate way for hunting. As an organization we put a high importance on the education of hunters and bowhunters. This reflects in the elaborate courses we teach and the associated exams. As an organization we believe it is every bowhunter’s obligation to be well informed and to know in detail what hunting with a bow and arrow is. It is every bowhunter’s obligation to know exactly to how to place the arrow with anatomical precission.
- Shooting with a bow and arrow requires a good physical and mental health and constant training. As an organization we require that all hunters have excellent bowshooting skills and master their bow completely. For this reason we include a shooting test at typical hunting distances. Our course, exam and shooting test are internationally recognized and is a standard in most countries where bowhunting is allowed. As an organization we believe that bowhunting should only be permitted to those hunters that succeed in the theoretical and practical test and hence earned their Belgian Bowhunting certificate.
- The special case of bowhunting in Belgium.
- In Flanders, hunting with bow and arrow is not permitted yet. As an organization we believe that bowhuntig has significant benefits for the society as bowhunting is an additional hunting method that has its specific advantages. The use of bow and arrow has surely its benefits in modern wildlife management as it is the case in other and surrounding countries.
- In Wallonia, although bowhunting is not explicitly forbidden, and although the bow has been recognized as a weapon fit for hunting, bowhunting as such is not explicitly permitted by law. As an organization we urge people to participate in our in depth bowhunting course and only hunt with the bow and arrow after succeeding in the bowhunting theoretical and practical exam and receiving the Belgian Bowhunting certificate.
On behalf of the Belgian Bowhunting Federation (BBF), the Fédération Wallone de Chasse à l’Arc (FWCA) and the Flemish bowhunting Association (FBA).
For International bowhunting information we refer to the website of the European Bowhunting Federation (EBF): http://europeanbowhunting.org/ of which FBA, FWCA and BBF are a full member.
Welcome on the website of the Belgian Bowhunting Federation (BBF).
What is Bowhunting?
Bowhunting can be defined as a form of hunting at close distances with a different weapon, namely a bow and arrow... This is the only difference from other ways of hunting with a weapon. Releasing an arrow is done on game moving at low speed or standing still. The game can perfectly be identified and therefore the shot can be placed accurately on the vital areas.
Bow hunting is a subtle way of hunting; the stealthiness of the archer is guaranteeing its result. The game does not actually understand what happened: the absence of noise (detonation) and absence of a brutal shock (shock wave) doesnt cause an adrenaline rush in the animal, as is the case for when it is shot with a firearm.
How to hunt with a bow?
This way of hunting goes far back in time. After 1870 bowhunting started becoming more and more popular in the United States and has also found its way in Europe again.
This form of hunting is practiced in a similar way as hunting with firearms but the conditions are quite different. The bow hunting ethics impose a discipline that only on much shorter distance can be shot. (e.g. 20 m)
Because of the proximity and the peaceful behavior of the game, one can come to a perfect identification and focus on the shot placement.
Bowhunting can be practiced at the bers, the high seat (high seat or on the ground), silent battue with other bowhunters or a mixed battue with firearms.
Where can you hunt with a bow?
Anywhere where hunting is allowed and is practiced in general is suitable for bow hunting.
Unlike hunting with firearms, bow hunting can be exercised in urban area, where the game has found quiet places, and where the use of guns could be dangerous.
What game can be hunted with a bow?
All game that may be hunted legally, from a rabbit to a buffalo or even larger, as far as they are within the reach of the bow’s capacity.
The equipment must of course be adapted to the type of game, a heavy arrow launched at sufficient speed from a strong bow will be needed for the hunting on larger game such as moose, buffalo, etc.. The power of the bow gives the arrow the required kinetic energy.
All European game species can be hunted by motivated bow hunters who wish to deploy themselves mentally and physically with this technique.
Who can hunt with a bow?
Anyone who wants to enter the challenge, who has a valid hunting license and has followed the specific education program.
Although a required high physical strength is often cited as being necessary for bow hunting, nowadays modern and efficient bows can easily be adapted to the archers strength without losing efficiency.
A bow hunter will have to equip himself with a bow that fits perfectly with his physical abilities.
A minimal strength for big game is perfectly obtainable after some exercise. The technical possibilities of the modern bow also offer us a remarkable accuracy.
A number of female hunters also have taken the step towards bow hunting, and specially-adapted equipment ensures that there is no gap between male and female hunters.
What are the additional benefits of bow hunting?
The additional benefits of bow hunting are:
• It can safely be practiced in urban areas as seen in controlled and successful studies such as one performed around Madrid, Spain.
• It is very much appreciated in natural reserves because of the limited disturbance of the fauna. Pilot projects with positive results are realized in bird sanctuaries to relocate or repress wild boar populations that chose their stay at the protected areas. The boars, who find eggs and nests a true delicacy, are significant predators, and can inflict large damage to this type of habitat.
Bow hunting is safe, why?
Bow hunting is a form of hunting where accidents rarely happen. It concerns a "contact" hunt where a shot is placed on well recognized game. The success of the hunt depends on the accuracy of the shot and the stealthy skills of the hunter to approach the game to short distance or to let the game come to him (treestand).
The hunted game is in a relaxed state and shots at game animals at random or at long distance are prohibited.
The shots at close range, usually from top to bottom, bury the arrow in the ground; the arrows, equipped with broadheads, will only rarely show ricochet, which reduces the risks further.
The training that is given to the archers focusses on security, both for themselves and for others and on responsibility.
Bow hunting, a hunt for poachers?
No, the basic rule for poachers is to spend as little time as possible in the forest or in the field. The vast majority of poaching happens at night, from a vehicle, using a lamp or with night vision equipment.
The game is usually shot straight between the eyes so that it drops dead on the spot and can be collected as soon as possible by the poachers.
Although the bow is quiet, the hunting bow cannot be considered to be an arm of choice of poachers. The hunting bow is not the easiest solution available for poachers. Using a hunting bow requires lots of practice and thorough preparation. The bow is efficient, but certainly not suitable to obtain as much game as possible in the shortest time.
In order to commit their crimes, poachers choose more efficient methods that can easily be used from their vehicles. The reports of the ONC (Office National de la Chasse; France) are very clear and do not mention the use of bows during poaching.
Why hunting with the bow?
This is a personal choice, which is driven by the sense for a hunting method that is very close to nature and the game itself and using a weapon that is demanding and requires regular exercise.
You may also be attracted by the fact that this ancient hunting method, within close proximity of the game, immersed in the silence and tranquility of the forest that is linked so strongly with this way of hunting, brings us closer to nature.
The bow hunter quickly forgets the stress of modern life from the first step into the forest and enjoys the magic of being immersed in nature.
The responsibility of the bow hunter.
Every hunter must take his responsibility whether he hunts with the bow or with a firearm, and must be proficient enough in order to achieve sufficient precision to ensure a quick respectful dead for the game.
There are in Flanders and Wallonia many places where archery can be performed and where a bow hunter can improve his skills and become a true marksman.
Education and training?
Profound knowledge and understanding of the equipment used, the hunting methods and safety aspects help the bow hunter to experience this way of hunting in the most optimal way.
The Belgian Bowhunting Federation (BBF) has established an internationally recognized education and training platform and has a staff of experienced and well trained bow hunting instructors. Successful candidates receive a certificate that is accepted in most countries in the world where bow hunting is practiced.
The program that is offered in Belgium is very complete and has proven its effectiveness already for many decennia.
A typical bow hunting education session lasts a weekend and includes:
- A course with a theoretical part, a practical and a part focusing on safety.
- A theoretical test (multiple choice)
- A practical test with material in accordance with European bow hunting conditions.
The aim of the practical test is not to exclude people, but serves to make people aware of what it takes to hunt with a bow.
In case of failure, the test may be done again after additional exercise or any correct adjustment of the equipment. The participants in the practical test must have their own equipment: a hunting bow and arrows with hunting broadheads or mechanical practice points.
What equipment to choose?
If you don't have your own equipment yet, the education and training can be done with equipment of the federation. The practical test can then be passed later when you have your own equipment that is fully adjusted to your physique and bow hunting conditions.
You may contact the Federation if you need advice on selecting the right bow hunting equipment. If this is the case, please mention this when you register to the course.
Where can you find information?
For the Flemish speaking part of Belgium, please do contact the Flemish Bowhunting Association (FBA):
For the French speaking part of Belgium, please do contact the “Fédération des chasseurs à l’arc”(FWCA):
The Belgian umbrella organization : The Belgian Bowhunting Federation (BBF).