Newbie Cape Buffalo Question

browens

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Hey guys, I've searched the site to try and find the answer but haven't quite found a picture of what im looking for.. I read the judging cape buffalo thread and learned a lot about it but my question is basically is a 37 inch cape buffalo a small bull? Average? I ask because on our upcoming trip my dad has a buffalo hunt for a 37 inch bull and can upgrade but I believe it's about $7000 to go from a 37 to a 40 inch bull. Ive come to understand that width doesn't equate to a trophy especially when the bull is young and his boss isn't hardened and wide but width is obviously impressive. So I guess after all the rambling I am hoping someone has a pic of a 37 inch bull for me to see vs a 40? Would it be worth $7000 to get an extra 3 inches? Are there 37 inch bulls that are still impressive trophies to take home? Thanks for any help and sorry if this has come up before!
 

Mark Biggerstaff

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I have only hunted 1 Cape Buffalo. Width played no part in decision to take this one. Maturity, drop and mass play a part also. But maturity is the most important. Mine was in the size range you are taking about and I am proud of him.
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browens

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Plenty of reputable Safari Operator sponsors here that would gladly let you hunt a 40" bull for no cost difference over a "37
My brother won this safari package at an auction for a pretty good price last year so thats why we are going with this outfitter. They seem to be pretty reputable but we haven't asked them about how serious they are about sticking to the 37" bulls vs the 40" bulls. Their price list just shows an increase for every inch over 37. I guess asking them about it would be the best thing to do.
 

Kevin Peacocke

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Hi Browens, in Zimbabwe the cross over point from non-trophy to trophy is usually 36inches, so your dad seems to be getting a good deal. I am no expert and have one buff bull to my credit, but I studied the subject long and hard before my hunt. To me the shape, and therefore the character is far more important than the width alone. In fact some very wide bulls can look out of proportion and 'odd', As it happens an older bull may actually wear to be quite narrow, but boy does he look good! Here is my trophy, he is 35 inches and I think he looks great. I believe this guy was about 11 years old, hence the whitening too.
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browens

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Velo Dog

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Hello browens,

With my apology, I have no photo of the buffalo you are curious about.
To answer your question, I agree with Kevin Peacocke on this (and often on other topics for that matter).
I can think of many things I’d rather spend $7,000. on instead of 3” more horn.

Respectfully, I suggest you reconsider looking for an elderly bull, with a heavy, thick boss, chipped and battle worn, one horn broken off, ears split, face scarred and with patches of hair missing.
Also, if you can get a look at his backside you could hope for long crooked scars, showing that he had been attacked by a lion and survived by kicking his way free of the powerful, prehistoric sized cat.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
And so, I fully realize my spin on what makes a fantastic looking buffalo is different than some members, (perhaps many) here.
It is yours and your father’s Safari, not mine.
Therefore, my suggestion is only that.

Parting Shot as it were:
I’m not a tape measure guy whatsoever.
Therefore in my opinion, no matter what any buffalo horns measure up to, (including your mentioned 37” one) provided that the bull is past his breeding prime, it is a very fine buffalo to shoot.

I look forward to your report on the impending hunt.

Best Regards,
Velo Dog.
 
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Red Leg

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This European pricing model is becoming ever more popular on the South African game ranches (regrettably). I definitely would not pay a premium for a bigger bull.

Age and character are, at least to most these days, what define a trophy bull. The two below, one from Mozambique and the other from the Limpopo, are both 38" or below. I have taken a couple larger, but would never consider trading the experiences associated with these two old bruisers for simply a few more inches.

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Cam Moon

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I have not hunted one yet, but I'd certainly love to! So, I'm no expert and won't pretend to be! What I do know is that $7000 of my money would not be spent to "upgrade" to a 40 inch bull. Hell, you/he should be able to get another buff for that! And I totally agree with the comments above about character and age..... Past breeding prime being most important.
 

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To each, his own. Some hunters are looking for strongest possible trophy. I dont blame them. But this is not my cup of tea.
Is your father looking for top trophy?

Personally, I dont hunt per inch, and I am unwilling to pay exponentially per inch of horn in top class of trophy. I am not interested to get my trophy in the record book.
(I am speaking for all my hunting, not specifally for buff, but buff is included in description)

With Buff, I would be looking for old bull, hard bosses, overall size not important. I dont mind 45 inch, and i dont mind 36 inch. I am looking for experience. Furthermore, I wouldnt mind even hunting old buffalo cow.
Recently I managed to get a buffalo rifle, 375, and buff is on my future list.
 

machinistbutler

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What would happen if you happened to shoot one that was bigger than 37? How the heck do they know the exact size until you get them on the ground?

Are they microchipped or have a number on their ear tag to know the size? Let me scan this buff quick to see if it falls under the 40 inch premium....

Three inches does not seem much. I wouldn't pay a bunch more for a bit bigger either. I agree an d beat up scarred bull , smaller horns or not, would be the best trophy. For myself anyways.

I have only one hunt so far. Buffalo next year I hope as well. My. PH on my first hunt pushed for the biggest animals the whole hunt, and got me in a position to take beauties. Never once did he say, wait a.minute, that one is a couple inches too big you must pay more. That would have soured the whole hunt .

I hope your dad gets a bull of his dreams!



I think about buff every day.

Craig
 
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What would happen if you happened to shoot one that was bigger than 37? How the heck do they know the exact size until you get them on the ground?

Are they microchipped or have a number on their ear tag to know the size? Let me scan this buff quick to see if it falls under the 40 inch premium....

Three inches does not seem much. I wouldn't pay a bunch more for a bit bigger either. I agree an d beat up scarred bull , smaller horns or not, would be the best trophy. For myself anyways.

I have only one hunt so far. Buffalo next year I hope as well. My. PH on my first hunt pushed for the biggest animals the whole hunt, and got me in a position to take beauties. Never once did he say, wait a.minute, that one is a couple inches too big you must pay more. That would have soured the whole hunt .

I hope your dad gets a bull of his dreams!



I think about buff every day.

Craig

I was thinking the same thing reading this thread. It’s not like you can put it back if it doesn’t (or does in this case) measure up like some sort of trout.
 

curtism1234

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What would happen if you happened to shoot one that was bigger than 37? How the heck do they know the exact size until you get them on the ground?
Exactly, this is a red flag to me. I would not a hunt a "pay by the inch", but if i did that number better be quoted by the ph when its still alive. If says its 38 and it turns out to be 41, I better be paying the 38. And then you run into trust issues if the operation / ph isn't on the up and up.

You better find out in writing how this is calculated.
 

mark-hunter

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My views are described above, but it doesnt mean I do not understand the background of gameranching in South Africa.
As long as there are hunters willing to pay top dollar for record book entry trophy, game ranchers will invest in breeding bulls. Moreover, in desease free breeding bulls.
Rancher must invest in top gene pool, and then young buffalo must be bread and managed to age, to be shootable - 10 years old or so.
Investement must be paid off, and it takes time. So, it depends on game farm marketing policy.
In any case such breeding program will probably have respective pricing per inch of horn
For example:
 

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375Fox

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It would be a good idea to ask the outfitter for examples of what his 37” buffalo look like. There can be a huge difference in buffalo genetics from one property to next because of fencing and the genetics that were originally introduced to the property. We don’t know if there is a specific buffalo the outfitter has in mind or if you’ll have a selection from a self sustaining herd. They are not all as nice as mark biggerstaff’s buffalo with big bosses and deep hooks. There are a lot of variables in what a 37” buffalo means depending on outfitter and where hunted and age they are taken at.
If you hunt hard for a 37” buffalo I think you will be very happy with it regardless. If you drive up and have a 37” bull and a 40” bull standing next to each other as soon as you enter property you may be a bit disappointed. I think the hunt is more important than the trophy.
 

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Any place I'm aware of, the pH calls the size on the hoof. They are pretty damn good at it! If it happens to be over and inch or two, you don't pay. You shot whatever animal your pH told you to. I guess the exception would be if he said something like that one is a beauty but it might be over the 37 in. Do you still want it?
 

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Hi Browens, in Zimbabwe the cross over point from non-trophy to trophy is usually 36inches, so your dad seems to be getting a good deal. I am no expert and have one buff bull to my credit, but I studied the subject long and hard before my hunt. To me the shape, and therefore the character is far more important than the width alone. In fact some very wide bulls can look out of proportion and 'odd', As it happens an older bull may actually wear to be quite narrow, but boy does he look good! Here is my trophy, he is 35 inches and I think he looks great. I believe this guy was about 11 years old, hence the whitening too.
View attachment 385531
I really want my next buffalo to be just like this. I really want to hunt a lone old bull by himself. The mount looks great too.
 

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Let me put it to you this way:
You would not feel the difference of a 35" spread bull's horn up your behind as opposed to a 40". Buff are buff. I would shoot a 37" bull any day of the week.

You will get a fright if you see how big that sucker is once your feet are planted on the same piece of earth as his. Enjoy!
 

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41 inches, but width is not everything, a wide hard boss, deep curls, make for a good trophy, at least for me.

This one was not priced per inch, I was quoted a price for the best we could find, and this is what I found and liked, on the fourth day of my hunt.
 

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What would happen if you happened to shoot one that was bigger than 37? How the heck do they know the exact size until you get them on the ground?

Are they microchipped or have a number on their ear tag to know the size? Let me scan this buff quick to see if it falls under the 40 inch premium....

Three inches does not seem much. I wouldn't pay a bunch more for a bit bigger either. I agree an d beat up scarred bull , smaller horns or not, would be the best trophy. For myself anyways.

I have only one hunt so far. Buffalo next year I hope as well. My. PH on my first hunt pushed for the biggest animals the whole hunt, and got me in a position to take beauties. Never once did he say, wait a.minute, that one is a couple inches too big you must pay more. That would have soured the whole hunt .

I hope your dad gets a bull of his dreams!



I think about buff every day.

Craig
Yes, this is the problem with high-fenced ranch hunting. I have only hunted open concessions on my seven safaris but wouldn’t be opposed to hunting on a LARGE fenced ranch. Then I hear stories like this and I am turned off. Pay by the inch? Don’t these types of operators get that? At least offer it as 36”-39” is a certain price and 40”-43” is a bit higher, not inch by inch! This operator’s inch by inch approach makes me highly suspicious that they know every bull on this likely small property. That’s not hunting. It’s shooting.
 

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