Being a South African, and throughout the past couple of years being fortunate to have been able to spend quite bit of time in the field hunting plains game, I could have never imagined the experience chancing buffalo.
So the story starts about August 2015 after engaging with quite a couple of outfitters, we decided on Bos & Dal Safaris. Our criteria included , that it must be a big five area, free roaming buffalo and that we want to really hunt the buffalo, and O boy did we hunt them hard !
We walked no less than 75 km's (46miles) until the first shot was fired on the Thursday morning. (Monday Afternoon was when the hunting began).
We ( myself and a hunting Friend Cornelius ) shot at least 150 shots each preparing for this hunt, myself with a 416 Rigby, and Cornelius with a 500 Jeffery The 416Riby loaded up with Barnes TSX and Barnes Bandid Solid, and the 500 Jeff with Rhino, expanding and Solids.
Monday late morning we met up with Gerrit from Bos & Dal Safaris in Hoedspruit, a town in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Approximately a 20 minute drive from town we arrived at our camp.
At Camp we were greeted by the Camp Staff as well as the Camp Manager, everything taken to the rooms for us, and the Chef introduced himself.
As I am, couldn't wait to get into the field, our rifles were checked, and we started the walk immediately . That first afternoon we bumped 2 buffalo a mere 20 meters ahead of us in the thick stuff. It was then when I really got the feeling we are hunting dangerous game.
So the mornings started before sunrise, with a cup some goof coffee and rusks,
The first morning we walked from camp, and engaged with the group of buffalo after approximately 2 hours of walking. That feeling when you get close for the first time, smell them, see how majestic these animals actually are, are an image that will be imprinted in my memory for ever " I can actually smell the buffalo as I am typing " At that stage I got so excited that Gerrit at on stage turned around and asked me if I was ok, due to the , let’s call it something like an asthma attack, not that I do have asthma. I was breathing like I just completed a 50km run, running flat-out the entire time.
That same afternoon we did not find any buffalo, but still any time in the field is precious time.
Here we are taking a break one afternoon in some scorching heat :
500 Jeffery, 416 Rigby and 375 H&H
From this point on, we did find buffalo's quite regularly, stalked up close, very close at times, but could not get a shot in on a proper cow.
While in the field Gerrit took some time to show us, and even teach us some facts surrounding the field, animals, plants , birds etc, which I really appreciate.
We were fortunate enough to walk up to Rhino and Hyena while hunting
and one afternoon on our way back to camp saw a Leopard - What an experience !! Unfortunately to quick for any photo's.
Thursday Morning arrived, we driving looking for some fresh tracks and found them. This was my turn to hunt as myself and Cornelius made turns, one afternoon session, and one morning session, and then swap around again. We found tracks , and started tracking, about an hour later we found the buffalo's .
Myself and Gerhard left the rest of the group and started the stalk. Moving slowly, bended forward, crawling, sliding on our backsides, and almost every king of closing method possible were used.
We closed to about 0/40 yards' got on to the sticks, and waited for an opportunity for a shot to present itself. We were in a very good position, although could not get a clear shot. The buffalo were grazing, and were in front or behind one another the entire time. We stood there for no less than 20 minutes until the wind turned and they smelled us, and run off. The entire stalk was no less than one hour.
We had a "smoke and a coke" and started tracking again. Approximately half an hour later, we caught up to the group of buffalo with one presenting a shot at close to 100 yards. Gerrit asked me if I was comfortable with taking a shot and I agreed. The buffalo dropped dead in her tracks on the spot, with a 400grain 416 bullet at 2225 fps , penetrating the animal. We walked closer , put in an insurance shot, and that was the end of it. 3 Days of hard work, many miles walked paid off.
This picture was taken by Cornelius just before I shot :
That afternoon we started hunting earlier than normal to try an find a buffalo cow for Cornelius as well , but with no joy.
The next morning we found tracks and started tracking, only to bump the buffalo again. Just before 10am, we got on to a group, and Cornelius took his buffalo at 20/30 yards with a frontal shot. The buffalo ran 50/60 yards, and a death below followed. He took quite an impressive old cow.
5 Days of extremely hard hunting, paid off with 2 buffalo. What an amazing experience it was , from the day the booking was finalized, until the last buffalo fell. The food, the all-round service, the field, and the people made this my most treasured hunt this far.
With the exception of the hunt, the knowledge that myself and Cornelius took away from this hunt, is most probably the most gained.
Thank you Gerrit from Bos & Dal Safaris for a exceptional experience, we learned so much !! The way you handled us even as fellow South Africans , really made this hunt, all that we ever wanted, and exceeded all expectations !!