I can't answer definitively, but I'll add my 2 cents worth (2 cents worth seems to be a hot topic). Many RSA Game Ranches supplement their income by breeding and raising disease-free buffs (I believe diseases from domestic cattle probably played hell over the years on the once vast buff herds). I assume these are then sold to various ranches, probably many without buffs, and ultimately the population expands and reintroduction into areas where buffs once existed occurs. On our family safari last year, we saw two such operations in the Limpopo Region. One was on a relatively small enclosure, one was on a huge ranch. There was no hunting on the small enclosure (by small I mean roughly 40-60 acres, it would not have been sporting). There was buff hunting allowed on the large ranch, which also had a healthy population of white rhinos, black impala, golden gnu and a sub-species of sable that I can’t remember but was apparently very special. In the off chance you don’t know, most hunting in the RSA is conducted on high-fenced ranches. If one of our PHs was accurate in his description of the system, the landowner is entitled to do whatever he/she wishes with “most” of the game on their ranch provided their fence is in good condition. I say “most” because some animals are probably protected or more tightly regulated. Some think this is unacceptable, others see it as an important part of the overall health and survival of many species. I grew up on a farm in Ohio, and the thought of hunting inside a high-fence seemed like a joke to me when I was young. Over time this changed, especially after moving to Texas where high-fences are very common. A whitetail on 200 acres can disappear just as easily as one on 5000 acres and they behave the same.
The game farms in the RSA have been vital to the survival of many species in my opinion, and it is only because the animals they manage have a greater value than the cattle or crops they have replaced. These animals have this value because of us, hunters. I have since high-fenced three sides of our property in the Texas Hill Country (4’ fence on the front) and introduced blackbuck antelope. For whatever reason, they will not jump a 4’ fence. There are probably more blackbuck antelope in Texas than in their native country of India. Because they are considered an exotic species, there is no closed season, bag limit or hunting restrictions. They can legally be hunted at night from a vehicle with a spot light on private Texas property if one wishes. Despite this, they continue to thrive. They thrive because of their value to hunters. Even on our relatively small property, they are quite difficult to take.
Sorry to go off on a tangent, but reading between the lines, this bull was “protected” so that he had a chance to spread his genes (46” are some impressive genes). We crossed paths with a very impressive young buff on the large ranch in the RSA (only a few years old with an absolutely massive spread and soft bosses). He was too young to shoot, but he was also “off limits” due to his potential and the hope he would sire similar offspring. The same held true for an absolutely beautiful eland bull (most incredible facial markings I have ever seen). He too was protected and designated as a breeder (not confined to some small pen). The description of this buff says he’s among a herd of approximately 150, is close to 11 yrs old, is being pushed out (he looks like he’s on the downhill slide), and the enclosure is in excess of 5,000 acres. 5,000 acres is big by any standard. Now that he's being pushed out, his chance to spread his genes have ended. Now his only value is as a trophy, and 46" is impressive. This buff has probably not been harassed by lions his whole life and has seen humans on a regular basis, but that does not mean he’s tame. The one I shot in the RSA had probably never seen a lion in his entire life and had seen humans constantly. This did not make him less dangerous. In fact, no one bothered to tell me he had a reputation for charging anything that walked on two legs until after I killed him. He squared off against me, and we were a long way from the truck when we crossed paths. After the dust settled, everyone came up and shook my hand and thanked me for killing it. I felt more intimidated by that buff than any bear I have encountered.
Anyhow, everyone has their own idea of what is acceptable and what is not. Personally, I applaud the efforts of the South African ranchers who are expanding and improving the buff herds. They can only do this with the financial support that comes from us. Based on what I saw last year, the price quoted is quite attractive for a RSA buff that sports a legitimate 46” spread. As for the quality of the hunt, who knows. It may be ridiculously easy or it may be life-threatening.
I fully understand the concept of high fenced ranches having hunted them in TX and Nambia and next year probably RSA.
And I personally think you are wrong about one thing....a high fenced 200-600 acre plot jammed with deer like "The Sanctuary" and others here in MI is completely different than a high fenced ranch in TX of 5,000 acres plus and is nothing like a high fenced ranch in Namibia or RSA that is 11,000 acres to god knows how big.
High fencing anything less than 600 acres (ONE SQUARE MILE) and jamming it full of bucks is pretty much a joke of a hunt and the fact that SCI will score those is one reason I am no longer a member. In fact, I could get a buck with great genes, hand feed it every day in a dog pen and give it mineral supplements for antler growth and when he got to be 200+ inches I can promise you I could post pictures on the internet advertising a "hunt" for this buck and some dude with too much money would pay me way too much money to come shoot it in my dog pen and get in the SCI Book.
So all I want to know is if THIS particualr Buffalo lived his life in the wild or lived in a pen and was released into the wild when he was of no more breeding use.
But I guess nobody really owes me an answer because I won't be dropping $18K to go "hunt" him.
I also have 'breeder' bulls and rams. They are in 2ooo acre fenced area. Two kinds of breeder groups: one where only one male are allowed to breed, so the remainder males are removed (very selective breeding. In my case a bought in bull). Secondly: Have a group of animals with very good traits with especially one showing lots of potential and in most cases born from already introduced gene’s. In this case this specific male is not to be shot until past his prime. While this selection is going on the herd are left in its natural surroundings with more than enough space to be happy and prolific. Maybe this is the case of the bull in question. Do you still get 46 inch bulls in Tanzania?
I think it can be summed up pretty easily. Some hunters want a "trophy size" animal. Others want a specific "experience". So, that being said, there is nothing wrong (in my opinion) with either camp. Some might want to hunt different areas, some might want to know for sure that there is an animal with X number of inches on the property. Whether that be bull, buck, etc. To each his own.
The Sea of Grass of Tanzania the Moyowosi game reserve concession area produces some monster cape buffalo bulls each year...with some years a cape buffalo or two that will take you into the 50" range.
The Selous Game Reserve also produces some large Bulls in the mid 40" mark.
If you are looking You should shop the different outfitters to see what size bulls are being produced for the past few years.
You should note that not every one wants there heads scored for record books status. however the current record books are a good guide to use.
If you have an outfitter who harvested 20 cape buffalo bulls and 12 are greater than 40" with the biggest being 45" last season. ask about the season before to see what they have taken. Those are the questions you ask. if your goal is to get a 46" cape buffalo bull you will need to make a lot of phone calls to do your research to find a outfitter and PH that has attained that goal..
When i went i wanted a chance to hit the 40" mark...if i was able to have shot at a 40 inch-er that was great, however my safari would not be a bust if i did not have the chance. that is hunting also knowing that i gave it my all.
I went for the experience and just let each day flow by the PH directions...i was just a small peg in the experience i was able to have...
Memories are what you will bring back above all else...
I think there are big buffalo taken in a number of Southern Africa's fine countries...from Namibia, Botswana, RSA, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania. I think the best deal for the dollar might be Zimbabwe and Mozambique. I think there are plenty of fine 40+ inch cape buffalo taken.
I don't think you have to tape a cape buffalo to find he's a fine trophy. But if you are looking for inches, you will have to hunt and put your time in Africa. Masailand and the Selous in Tanzania are pricey....but if I was a true cape buffalo fan...which I'm not...I'd save my money and go there.
I have seen a ton film on the swamps of Mozambique, and truly have seen lots of monster cape buffalo on film!
I think Zimbabwe is affordable for cape buffalo...have seen plenty of nice cape buffalo pictures.
I'm not a cape buffalo hunter....it's not my thing. I would rather hunt sable, roan or kudu any day of the week. And even that is not possible due to the economy. I love plains game hunts, they are more affordable. And bushbuck hunting is to die for!
I think $18,000 is a lot of money. I saw Bushwack post a cape buffalo hunt in RSA around $9800 US and thought that was a awesome deal for RSA.
I would think long and hard before I opened my wallet to spend $18000. What kind of memories will you have at the end of the day?
South Africa is a long way off from Namibia and is one of the reason's they have a been getting a bad wrap. Kind of the way here in Texas we are getting a bad wrap for high fences, whitetail breeding programs, etc.. And I would bet money he was/is in a small enclosure. However, the places I have been over there where there wasn't high fences and a value on the game... there was none. The locals run dogs and poach until there is nothing left. I don't agree with every method of hunting out there and there are some things that just aren't for me, but as hunters we have to stick together. Otherwise, instead of fighting against the people trying to take away our hunting rights, we will be wasting time fighting amongst ourselves.
Your experience has been more favorable than mine. I have been to S.A. many times and my airport experience, especially involving firearms, isn't good. Yes, the personnel have always been friendly but friendly only goes so far. The last time I was there they correctly recorded my shotgun's serial numbers but, unnoticed by me, they listed it as a 'rifle'. Therefore I wasn't able to buy 12 gauge ammunition I needed for dove shooting. In that I enjoy pass shooting, it put a real dent in my experience. If my permits had been checked by the police, I could have gotten into significant trouble.
I don't know if things have been better at the Joburg airport since the Olympics, but the high pressure tactics of the many would-be 'porters' verges on the criminal. Because I have business and hunting interests in SA I probably should go there nearly every year but, recently I haven't gone largely because I hate to subject myself to the airport experience.
I'm so down on the airport deal that I've considered other remedies. I've seriously looked into the possibility of purchasing and registering a couple of rifles/shotguns in SA and leaving them there--probably at a police station--for my future use. The permitting process is nearly impossible, though. It's even tough--really tough--for South African citizens trying to obtain a new permit or new weapons. The official governmental policy is to reduce the number of firearms in circulation, not to increase them.
There is one exception, however. Muzzleloaders aren't regarded as firearms. In-line ignition systems using shotgun or rifle primer are, however, illegal. The primer cap MUST be a musket cap. For a person wanting to import a muzzle loading weapon and leaving it in S.A.--which is theoretically legal--might prove technically impossible, anyway. I doubt that the Joburg folks, on entry to the country, would distinguish between a muzzleloader and any other gun. They would require a serial number [which many muzzle loaders don't have] and, once the serial number is recorded, you would have to bring the weapon out of the country.
There is one option, which I am considering. There is a muzzle loader manufacturing company in S.A. known as --I think--M'konto Arms. They make in-line systems that comply with S.A. legal specifications and could be purchased and held in the country.
Greetings all! I've been a hunter for 50 years, but only now planning a trip to Africa. I was fortunate and successfully bid on a couple hunts for plains game in SA later this year and next. Also a rare Native Texas (5th generation) and USMC Vet. Hunt safe y'all!