Best season for hunting buffalo at Bubye Valley Conservancy (BVC), Zimbabwe?

Mopani

AH veteran
Joined
Mar 21, 2022
Messages
148
Reaction score
227
Media
2
Hunting reports
Africa
1
I just finished hunting at the BVC, unfortunately didn‘t get a buffalo. Allegedly there are around 7,000 buffalo on the property, however during seven days we only saw 50-60, on two days none at all.

In the northern parts the bush was very thick whereas in the south one could see in any directions. Lots of zebra and giraffe, quite a number of impala. Otherwise tiny numbers of other species, i e kudu, warthog, waterbuck etc.
Who has been to BVC very recently, how were the sightings?
 

Nhoro

AH fanatic
Joined
Sep 16, 2014
Messages
747
Reaction score
1,210
Location
Harare,Zimbabwe
Media
26
Member of
Cleveland Gun Club
Hunted
Zimbabwe
I just got back from Hwange this weekend and was at Save Valley before that. I saw 1 buffalo herd in two full weeks in the bush.Game viewing was tough. Lots of miles travelled but we did have good sightings of the buffalo as well as lion,leopard and elephant. Having lived and worked in the bush through all seasons, I can tell you without reservation that rainy season and just after is hard work. All the game shuns normal waterholes and drinks at secret springs and seeps. They also move into wet season grazing areas. And then there was late rains in Zim, we had 50 mm in one day a couple of weeks ago. Sorry it didnt work out for you but all game becomes easier to see and find when the grass and leaves are gone and you can see. This year in Zim, it would be better to come late in the year-October if you can handle the heat.

BVC has great volumes of game but this time of year it would have been tough.
 

doubleboy

AH senior member
Joined
Apr 3, 2013
Messages
58
Reaction score
91
Mopani,
Disappointing to hear and my biggest fear...hunting an area or time of year where the targeted game is not reasonably populated and impacts the success rates.
Can you share more details ? Outfitter and Booking Agent, if any ?
Thanks,
Rob
 

375 Ruger Fan

Gold supporter
AH ambassador
Joined
Jun 14, 2015
Messages
5,377
Reaction score
11,049
Location
Shreveport, Louisiana
Media
259
Articles
5
Hunting reports
Africa
7
USA/Canada
9
Australia/NZ
1
Member of
NRA, DSC
Hunted
Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa (Eastern Cape & NW), Canada, New Zealand, Alaska, TX, LA, MO, OH, MT, ID, WA, WY
I hunted the BVC with John Sharp in late May 2015 and didn't get a buff. There is lots of game in the BVC, so that is not the problem. Vegetation was very dense and green in May. If I were to do it again, late July or August is when I will go. We saw buffalo everyday though, one day a herd of over 100. Most days were started by going to a waterhole and looking for tracks of a small bachelor herd leaving the watering area. We would track in the bush and bump into them after awhile. Never got a shot though. The hunter that was in camp before me got his buffalo and he only hunted in the morning and did photo safari stuff in the afternoon with his wife and kids.
 

lockingblock

AH veteran
Joined
Sep 24, 2017
Messages
248
Reaction score
382
On the topic of buffalo, is there a generally accepted “optimal” time of year? How does it vary by region? Does time of year affect trophy size or dispersion of animals?
 

Mopani

AH veteran
Joined
Mar 21, 2022
Messages
148
Reaction score
227
Media
2
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Mopani,
Disappointing to hear and my biggest fear...hunting an area or time of year where the targeted game is not reasonably populated and impacts the success rates.
Can you share more details ? Outfitter and Booking Agent, if any ?
Thanks,
Rob
There was no booking agent, I have hunted with John Sharp. John and his trackers are top, however what can one do if there is no game? I noticed fresh droppings only now and then. Being a South African nature guide I‘m familiar with places where plenty buffalo occur.

We drove a hell of a lot of distances without seeing any buffalo. Maybe will try it again end of September - hopefully with more success.
 

doubleboy

AH senior member
Joined
Apr 3, 2013
Messages
58
Reaction score
91
Mopani,
Appreciate the response.
Wondering to myself, is the Outfitter/PH responsible to outline potential pitfalls of hunting during certain times of the season ? I would think so.
Obviously not implying that is the case on this hunt.
Rob
 

Mopani

AH veteran
Joined
Mar 21, 2022
Messages
148
Reaction score
227
Media
2
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Mopani,
Appreciate the response.
Wondering to myself, is the Outfitter/PH responsible to outline potential pitfalls of hunting during certain times of the season ? I would think so.
Obviously not implying that is the case on this hunt.
Rob
John had informed me that hunting might get difficult due to late rain. In the north the vegetation was incredible thick.

The south was very open, one could look far into the bush. Nothing. Often we followed tracks from the day before because of lack of fresh tracks. Obviously I‘m very disappointed. Only once did we get close to a bull.
 

Mopani

AH veteran
Joined
Mar 21, 2022
Messages
148
Reaction score
227
Media
2
Hunting reports
Africa
1
I don't think you can blame the PH or the area. April / may is not the best time and throw in late rains and all bets are off. September would be much better.
Nobody blames the PH…
 

375Fox

AH elite
Joined
Feb 19, 2020
Messages
1,722
Reaction score
5,065
Location
Pennsylvania
Media
145
Hunting reports
Africa
2
Europe
2
Hunted
Zambia, Namibia, South Africa
Sorry to see this. I didn’t know there were unsuccessful buffalo hunts in BVC. How many days was your hunt?
 
  • Like
Reactions: CJW

Zim Fan

AH member
Joined
Jun 25, 2020
Messages
38
Reaction score
161
Media
8
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Hunted
Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe
We hunted Nengo in late September early October and were able to track the Buffalo as it had been a dry year and late in the year the tracking was easier. Saw plenty of game including Eland and Kudu. We hunted for Buffalo for 5 days, rest of the time was hanging out and had opportunities each day. In some areas it was still thick but looked over some really old Bulls.

Early June last year was different. The vegetation was thick due to the heavy rains, similar to this year. Kudu and Eland were missing which was a disappointment but three weeks later another group had no problems at all. Gave up on tracking individual Bulls after three long days. Groups were a hair easier but then you would bump them or they would wind you before you could see them.

Was extremely lucky walking and riding the many roads and doing a spot and stalk. Still had several vanish into the brush. There was a little less water so we did encounter one herd and it had an old dugga boy on the fringe. Several single bulls were covered with mud and not near any known watering holes.

I really liked Nengo and up on the northern end there seem to be more old bulls and less herds. If you can give it a go later in the year I would give it a try.
 

375Fox

AH elite
Joined
Feb 19, 2020
Messages
1,722
Reaction score
5,065
Location
Pennsylvania
Media
145
Hunting reports
Africa
2
Europe
2
Hunted
Zambia, Namibia, South Africa
On the topic of buffalo, is there a generally accepted “optimal” time of year? How does it vary by region? Does time of year affect trophy size or dispersion of animals?
For complete free range, really depends on the hunting area. Available water and grass will change game movements. One may be great early season and the adjacent block may be better late season, really depends. I personally like later season though for visibility.
 

Tanks

AH legend
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
3,307
Reaction score
9,006
Media
114
Hunting reports
Africa
1
I hunted the BVC with John Sharp in late May 2015 and didn't get a buff. There is lots of game in the BVC, so that is not the problem. Vegetation was very dense and green in May. If I were to do it again, late July or August is when I will go. ...

All my hunts in Southern Africa have taken place between July and September. Leave for Harare on July 20 and to Zambia from there on August 17 this year.
 

Hank2211

Gold supporter
AH legend
Joined
Jan 12, 2010
Messages
3,162
Reaction score
7,995
Media
188
Articles
4
Hunting reports
Africa
12
Member of
SCI, DU, Pheasants Forever
Hunted
Canada, United States, Zimbabwe, South Africa (Eastern Cape; Northern Cape; North West Province, Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo), Namibia, Cameroon, Benin, Ethiopia, Liberia, Argentina
I hunted BVC in 2018 or 19, and we saw buffalo every day. I could have taken all sorts, but was looking for a scrum cap, which I got on the last day.

BVC is high fenced around the slightly less than 1MM acres, so if there were buffalo there, there is no reason they shouldn't still be there. But - and this may be a big but - BVC is internally divided into various blocks, and when you hunt, you are hunting one block and you cannot stray onto other blocks (unless you were hunting lion).

Did you look at other blocks or ask if you could look at other blocks? I found the management (Blondie then) to be pretty helpful.
 

Mopani

AH veteran
Joined
Mar 21, 2022
Messages
148
Reaction score
227
Media
2
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Did you look at other blocks or ask if you could look at other blocks? I found the management (Blondie then) to be pretty helpful.
Yes, I believe the area to the south was another block. Blondie is still there and helpful as ever.

Apparantly there are now lions in the region of 500 (!). Well, they are quite fond of buffalo…
 

meigsbucks

AH legend
Joined
Feb 5, 2011
Messages
2,119
Reaction score
3,649
Location
Central Ohio
Media
24
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
SCI, NRA Life Member
Hunted
Zimbabwe and Namibia
In 2013 I hunted the BVC the first two weeks of September. Saw buffalo at least five days. I took mine on day four. by then, I’d seen a large heard on day one, a group of two (one we almost shot) on day two, two on day four (one I shot), a large heard on maybe day eight and a small heard a couple of days later.
 

C.W. Richter

AH legend
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
2,066
Reaction score
2,963
Location
PA USA
Media
60
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
PA SCI, Various Endless Mtns., PA Region Clubs
Hunted
Zimbabwe 3x, Namibia 2x, RSA 2x, USA, Canada
Later in the year would be better due to the reduction in cover and water. 'Hunted there when they still referred to it as the Liebig's Extract of Meat Company (LEMCO). Saw plenty of buffalo, PG, the largest impala ever seen in S. Africa, and lion tracks everywhere (est. 250 at that time, then 500....it must be even higher now!) All those animals are there. They can't go anywhere. 'Fondly recall speaking with Davies' elderly mother in the old 1800s house just inside the gate. We were watching warthogs decimate a garden (and waterbuck standing behind waiting to do same after the warthogs left!)

ZimbabweLemco20070726 010.jpg
1652197567356.png
1652197594546.png
 
Last edited by a moderator:

BRICKBURN

Super moderator
Contributor
Lifetime titanium benefactor
AH ambassador
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
24,218
Reaction score
21,161
Location
Canada
Media
419
Articles
26
Hunting reports
Africa
8
USA/Canada
2
Europe
1
Hunted
Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Canada, USA, Mexico, England
Later in the year would be better due to the reduction in cover and water. ...............
That reduction in cover makes a huge difference.

John had informed me that hunting might get difficult due to late rain.

The better questions to ask thread comes to mind. What does "might get difficult" mean?
 

Forum statistics

Threads
46,775
Messages
953,188
Members
80,464
Latest member
wildmantn
 

 

 

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

Inline6 wrote on Chris Sells's profile.
PM me when you get a chance, have a few questions for you.
steve white wrote on Pheroze's profile.
Pheroze: I was intrigued by the blog on 400, 465 H&H in which you stated you were having a rifle reamed out to accomodate the larger bore. Who is doing the work for you, do they then provide cut rifling or buttoned. Will a 375 H&H rechamber to the 400 H&H. Is there much ballistic difference between it and the 404/375
My Most beautiful Trophy

IMG_20230125_071102_530.jpg
Bush Duiker shot in the free state just shy of 6 inch

1674577328003.jpg
DonT wrote on OLB's profile.
Just checking to see if you got the second package of shells I sent you?
Don
 
Top