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Proposed New Method of : Scoring The Horns Of The African Buffalo

This is a discussion on Proposed New Method of : Scoring The Horns Of The African Buffalo within the News forums, part of the AfricaHunting.com category; It appears there is great concern about the impact of Sport Hunting on Buffalo. I have not read all the ...

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    Default Proposed New Method of : Scoring The Horns Of The African Buffalo

    It appears there is great concern about the impact of Sport Hunting on Buffalo.
    I have not read all the critical articles referenced but from recollection the SCI scoring system (The measuring air comment) is being held up as somewhat accountable for this pressure on younger bulls.
    For those of you who have or have not hunted a Buffalo what do you think?

    I just happen to like the look of the Buffalo on the 100 Rand note myself.

    Anyway, food for thought.

    AFRICAN INDABA 12
    Scoring The Horns Of The African Buffalo
    Kai-Uwe Denker


    Editor's Note: It appears that the present scoring methods induce hunters to taking bulls which are yet to achieve their prime. The shooting of these buffalo bulls is far from desirable as the goal should be those which are at the threshold of crossing into, or are already in, post-prime status. Consequently, many buffalo bulls are harvested before they have achieved dominant breeding status or, worse still, even before they have participated in the breeding process. Yet nothing definitive came from earlier proposals and criticism (see Kevin Robertson, Winston Taylor, Craig Boddington) and the scoring methods remain by-and-large the same and thus the harvesting of sub-prime bulls has continued. It is therefore encouraging to see a group of highly experienced professional hunters led by Kai-Uwe Denker suggesting an alternative measuring method which takes into account what the previous authors mentioned. African Indaba is proud to have permission to be the first to publish their proposals in English.
    The original German article appeared in Erongo Verzeichnis f? afrikanisches Jagdwild? No. 1/2011, published and edited by Kai-Uwe Denker (for more details see www.erongo-recordbook.com). Peter Flack assisted with the translation.

    In April 2010, the trophy working group, consisting of Kai-Uwe Denker, Gerhard Liedtke, Ronnie Rowland and Ernst-Ludwig Cramer, engaged in a number of lengthy discussions. They finally developed what they consider to be the most objective way of measuring bovine horns, stating that this method focuses on tangible horn growth and not on measuring air as is the case where the length of both horns is measured from tip to tip with the gap between the bosses being included. As such, the most appropriate way was considered to be the sum of the length of the longest horn plus the width of the bosses.

    The conclusions led to the following proposal:

    The length of both horns and the width of both bosses are measured and recorded on the score sheet.

    The width of each boss is measured at the widest point, at right angles to the skull axis, following the natural curvature of the horn material, from the lower edge of horn material at the front to the lower edge of horn material at the back.

    To measure the length of each horn, a carpenter's square is placed in the gap between the horns so that the inner horizontal edge touches the lower edge of horn material. The starting point for the length measurement is the intersection of the 45˚ angle with horn material. The measuring line starts at this point, follows the lower edge of horn material to the outer edge of the horn curve and, from there follows the line of the curvature to the tip.

    Boss width and length of the longer horn are added

    The next step is the determination of the approximate age in order to determine the multiplication factor.

    Multiplication factor 0.0 i. e. buffalo bulls of less than 8 years of age which show an incompletely hardened boss will not be ranked

    Multiplication factor 1.0 for mature bulls in the age group 8 to 10 years, which have a completely hardened boss, but where the boss still shows vigorous live cell growth,

    Multiplication factor 1.1 for prime bulls in the age group of 10 to 13 years old, which show distinct signs of cell aging, like deep corrugations and a rugose surface on the boss as well as the start of horn surface deterioration such as the flaking of smaller horn sections, apart from a completely hardened boss;

    Multiplication factor 1.12 for post-prime bulls estimated to have exceeded 13 years of age where there is an observable shrinkage process of horn material between the bosses with a corresponding wider gap covered by thick, horny and hairless leather skin, as well as conspicuous flaking of horn material over the surface of the bosses
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    And the Tanzanian $500
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    Bert the Turtle is offline AH Veteran
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    Sounds like a good idea. It is ridiculous to use a scoring system that encourages killing young bulls.

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    This is the link to SCI's cape buffalo records. Click the camera icon to see the photos. There are some very nice buffalo. There are also some that appear to be young.

    Safari Club International - Record Book

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    Agree completely. Still at the end of the day it is up to the hunter when it comes down to shoot or not.

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    I like this idea at least in principle. There are those hunters who hunt with a goal of getting into the record books if not getting their name near the top. Personally I'm not that hung up on that, though I was at one time. Found it became too much of the focus and that it took away from enjoying hunting just for the sake of being out there. But there will always be those who want to chase the records. Changing the standard for making the record books such that it puts more emphasis on age seems to make sense.
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    When a client go on safari to hunt Cape Buffalo he is looking to get one. Heck he may never get another chance and is willing to shoot anything that come by. Now scoring it is another matter.

    Deer hunter go into the field every year and very few shoot mature animals. Most doe's and small bucks. same could be said here.

    The difference is that young cape buffalo will sometimes score higher that a old mature bulls
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    Here is what I posted when this topic first came up. Score them like NA sheep and the more they break or wear the bigger all the circumferences get equaling or exceeding the score of an unbroomed or worn horn. No need to try to estimate age (a guess at best unless tooth rings are counted under a microscope) and no complicated calculations to roll around in your head whie in the feild.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondhitch View Post
    I just read the proposed scoring changes article on African Indaba as well as the commentary article acompanying it. While I have never scored or placed my hands on a Cape Buffalo, I have a few thoughts having scored and judged many sheep for myself as well as clients. I am interested in what others think.

    First of all a quick bit on NA scoring of horned animals. the system is quite simple and once you know how to identify certain charicteristics a very close rough score pops into your head almost instantly and can be fine tuned quite close in most cases if time allows. The Lenght of both horns is measured then added to the circumference of the bases as well as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarter circumferences of each horn. While that sound difficult it is actually very simple with minimal practice. When feild scoring the quarter locations are not actually calculated they are simply estimated by eye and can be amazingly accurately done at a glance to those experienced at it.

    The advantage is this - older animals usualy wear or break the tips from their horns. Younger animals are more apt to have similar length horns with bases marginally smaller than a real old ram. The R&W system would rank these animals similar in score despite the obvious huge potential difference in actual size. By taking mass measurements at each quarter the overall size of the animal is more accurately reflected giving the older animal a big advantage score wise.

    An interesting fact is that if an old ram is for example 40" on both horns and he brooms 4" off of each horn, by this system his score does not drop by 8" but actually remains nearly the same as if he had broomed nothing. This is due to the fact that the mass measurements are now taken closer to the base and are correspondingly larger making up for the lost length measurement. I have wondered how well this system would work on Eland which are notorious for extreme wear as they age, maybe this method would put those old blue bulls, that are so desired as trophies, back on even ground with the younger long horned bulls?

    But this post is about Cape buffalo so here are my thoughts for a simple system of measurement that would give those old duggaboys credit for being old and worn, thereby placing value on the bulls age without the confusing hard to calculate multiplication factors being considered (which I beleive would fail simply based on lack of simplicity). Measure the length of each horn from the center of the boss to the tip of the horn following the grain of the horn on its top edge. Calculate quarters based on the length of the longest horn. Add the length of both horns to the width of the bosses and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarter circumferences to calculate total score. If the 1st quarter lands on the boss then it would be taken at the closest place to the boss taht a full circumference can be taken.

    After harvesting and scoring a few animals PHs as with NA guides would be able to "see" score of a head at a glance. Actual feild tests would obviously have to be done but I beleive that this system would have great merit and would certainly do those old worn down animals far more justice than R&W or SCI does currently.

    Comments or thoughts?
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    I agree with the sentiment however the process listed above seems overly complicated. Why not simply eliminate the "air" from any measurment and leave the rest as is and maybe stipulate that an obvious soft, immature boss cannot be scored. This would leave room for those who dont care if they score their bull or not and for those who will, the PH will have to take the boss into consideration before letting the client bang away.

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    Interesting idea Ses, That would make it easy.

    I guess the folks are attempting to shift ideas about "what is a trophy".
    May just lead to less pressure on some herds breeding bulls.

    During my Buffalo hunt we spent a good amount of time trying ensure I was not enamoured with taking the breeding bull. I understood why from a smaller herd perspective and the impact I might have but never contemplated it on the large screen.

    Diamond, "The first time around" was several years ago and no action has taken place, hence CIC, et al are revisiting the subject.

    There was supposed to be action on this from ALL the scoring systems and a meeting was called and apparently SCI was invited and could not show up because of "lack of available funding"!
    More likely felt like they were going to be subject to a "witch hunt." Their scoring system was at issue underneath it all.

    The jist is, people are still concerned about the impact of hunting on various populations of species, including Buffalo, and the conservation minded folks would like the hunters ( a major tool in conservation) to help with the rethink of the subject.
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    I don't know about all that scoring I just wish we could bring the meat home, love the taste of Kudu.

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    [QUOTE=BRICKBURN;43655]Interesting idea Ses, That would make it easy.
    Diamond, "The first time around" was several years ago and no action has taken place, hence CIC, et al are revisiting the subject.

    There was supposed to be action on this from ALL the scoring systems and a meeting was called and apparently SCI was invited and could not show up because of "lack of available funding"!

    More likely felt like they were going to be subject to a "witch hunt." Their scoring system was at issue underneath it all.
    [QUOTE]

    Brickburn, I think more likely the daunting task of re-scoring thousands of already entered animals is the root of SCIs lack of co-operation. I too am a fan of eliminating all air measurements but unfortunately those of us who are are the minority. Most people want as much score as possible even if it comes simply from the direction the horns/antlers grew instead of how much they grew otherwise the Buckmasters system would be the standard here instead of a little known afterthought.

    As a scoring system unto itself I beleive what I proposed above would put those old worn down trophies up in the book and make them the desirable animals for inches hunters just as it has with NA trophies. This in itself would help just as you have suggested is needed. No, this would not end the hunting of younger animals but it would sway the inches of score crowd toward more mature trophies without re-inventing the wheel. We have a time tested system that does exactly what we are trying to accomplish already, why not use it?

    I agree with sestoppleman, if the hunting industry as a whole set the standard at only old mature bulls and PHs enforced this standard the problem would be solved.
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    I was asked a couple of years back to provide some input into this debate by some of those responsible for debating the issue.

    I too reccomended a system similar to that which Diamondhitch has outlined in his reply above.

    Im my view any scoring system for horned game such as Cape buff, as well as our own Asiatic buff, should place precedence and reward on maturity of animal.

    At least in our own buff (Asiatics) this maturity is displayed in girth, both at the bases of the horns as well as along the horn length. Often mature age buff horns will be chipped, splintered and broomed off in the ends.
    Younger aged bulls will carry long, thin, pointy tips with less mass over-all.

    Amongst Asiatic buffalo a 100 point (s.c.i) bull is considered the quitessential Trophy, but I can assure you that there is a HUGE difference between a 100 point 7 year old bull (who will accumulate most of the score in horn length) and a 100 point 12 year old bull who's horns may be shorter but MUCH thicker, with bases 18" or more.

    As bulls age and enter the various different stages of life they will grow (long and thin) begin to increase in horn weight, then begin to use their horns for the intent (at least one of) that they were meant for.. and that is fighting. During fights they will break, chip and splinter. In between fights our buffalo will take out their frustrations on termite mounds, trees, other buffalo (sometimes my vehicle !) and other obsticles in an attempt to feel better about their strength and dominance.
    Decades of this level of use (abuse) will show tellingly on a buffs horns and in my opinion cannot be replaced by any particular score or record book placing.

    Where it is possible we try and steer, advise and educate our clients towards the more mature Trophies, thick bases, scared and chipped-thick horns on a well aged post dominant bull, but at the end of the day we cannot dictate what the client wants, or is prepared to take as HIS Trophy.

    To suggest that it is the responsibility of P.H's to create a new focus on a long held traditional way of veiwing/rating Trophies is a bit of a long bow to draw.

    The general hunting public needs a drastic change in perception/value of Trophies, (generalisation ofcourse) more towards the Eureopean way of valueing age above any score before we see a radical change in this aspect of our sport.


    Regardless of any of the above, the generally used and accepted current means for scoring these animals does not promote and reward the taking of the correct age class of animal that is conducive to proper long term Trophy management/propogation.


    Things do need to change.
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    Regardless what we use for a scoring system - you will never stop shooting of immature animals. Try as you like some hunters & or outfitters just won't follow the unwritten rules on taking trophy animals. Education is the only way & it won't happen 100% of the time. Money will always have a big part in it. Unless the system really subtracts points or penalizes the hunter for immature animals the process will never end.

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