Discussion in 'Judging Trophies' started by Buff, Mar 1, 2009.
FOR SURE, crouch, touch, set!!!
I have always been fascinated with Africa's Dangerous Game. The Cape Buffalo seems to be the most prolific and popular of the Big 5. A mature bull with hard bosses seems to be the benchmark for an average Buff hunter.
My question... At what age does a Bull achieve maturity, and a fully hard boss. Does the bull also achieve maximum width, and mass when he hits his prime age. Do those super wide bulls we see in pictures and videos, always have a hard boss, or could they still be younger bulls that haven't reached their prime.
Got the pleasure of speaking with a veteran of a Buff hunter a while back and picked his brain a bit. You are 100% correct. There is just something about hunting Cape Buffalo that gets me going. It is my personal favorite of the big 5.
A good age for a buff would be FROM about 8years old, which is the age where he will have a hard boss.
The bosses is what we would look at first. Even if a bull is very wide, and his bosses are still soft, we would pass him up. It's just not what hunting is about if you are for conservation.
I'm not sure if you are referring to any specific photo, but it is not impossible for a very wide bull to still be soft. If you have a photo that you have seen and were wondering about, post it here under this thread, and I will be happy to comment on it.
Thanks Marius. I am a very conservation minded person. Good conservation certainly benefits everyone.
I will see if I can find that article/discussion that I came across quite awhile back. It was about a very wide bull that had been shot, but was said to have a soft boss. I don't know much about the age characteristics of different bulls.
Here in the West we deal mostly with animals that shed their antlers every year, and usually, but not always, will grow a bigger set the following year. Then they will start to go downhill after they reach their prime.
Those dugga boys with the "helmet head" horns are pretty unique. Old Bush warriors with worn out headgear.
Marius agreed....but it is very possible for a 45" bull to still be soft it is all about genetics there is no length connected to age, ( I would think of a 45" bull as very wide....)
Case in point 44" bull at 4 years in this case the bull would be a "soup" head. As another add on to Marius not all bulls have "fused" bosses this is also gene related.
I agree with every single point that you made though.. bosses are the first criteria when judging age...
They also develop the dulap at around 7 years of age.
My very best always.
Great subject Brent. Below is a pic I just recently saw of some great trophy Buffalo skulls. Personally, and I understand people may think I'm nuts, but given the choice of all of these, I would take the one being held by the gent second from the right on the back row. A close second would be the one in the middle in the front row.
Now I'm sure many hunters would want to jump all over the one second from the left in the back row. Hugely wide bull. But to me and what little I know of buffalo, he's still a bit young as his tips are still a bit above his bosses. So from a purely conservation point of view, he's still a breeder.
Holy smokes. Those are some Mack Daddy bulls Phil. I agree. That 2nd from the right with big bosses and deep drops, would be a trophy of a lifetime.
Those are the kind of bulls that seem to come out of the Maswa and Massailand, from what I have seen on the net. Do you know where that photo was taken....
Somewhere in Tanzania I believe, not sure exactly where there though.
I fell in love with Cape buffalo on my first trip after them with Spear Safaris and the next best thing to my great old big bossed buffalo that I got out of the deal was a first rate education on identifying trophy bulls by my great PH Mr. Koos Moulder.
I'm a bit busy now but I'll try to share some pics here later of bulls that I didn't shoot from my trip.
I have seen some of those hunts on the preserves around Kruger, where only 12 years or older bulls are harvested. Sounds like bulls are mature by 8 years and breed up to about 12 years, more or less.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not the type that carries a tape measure while hunting. A huge bull is just a very impressive sight.
Brent, very good point made by Jaco about the fused bosses.
I'd go back after this one!
Not so sure on this one.
Notice the Dewlap?
This one is far too young to harvest
What some freakin' Beasts!!
Makes me want to go back after another one... and then another... etc...
Thanks Jaco. Appreciate the input from you PH's. I have seen photo's of the fused bosses, and those that aren't fused. All were mature hard bossed bulls. Lots of different character, based on genetics no doubt.
I like that term "soup head", although I don't know if I would call the bull a soup head to it's face.
They have that effect on you.
Fantastic photo's guy's. This is good stuff! I need to wipe the drool off my computer
Some day I am going to hunt these beasts.
Those old white, and scar faced bulls, are awesome.
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