SOUTH AFRICA: Awesome Buffalo With Bos En Dal

mdwest

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Obviously I'm a little biased.. Gerrit, the owner of @Bos en Dal Safaris is a great friend, and the banner below my posts shows that I have a relationship with Bos en Dal beyond a normal client/ph relationship.. That said.. when I hunt with Bos en Dal, I get treated no differently than anyone else that hunts with them.. In fact, Gerrit goes out of his way to make sure I get an identical experience to what other hunters would get (same accommodation, same food, same hunting locations, same animals, same vehicles, same PH interaction, etc.. ) as it makes it a whole lot easier for me to share with others what their experience will be like if/when they book with Bos en Dal..

I just returned from a buff hunt (as well as a few other things) and thought I would share a bit of the story and some pics for those that might be interested..

Day 1 - Early arrival at OR Tambo.. Flights SUCKED.. but when you purchase your ticket with advantage miles on American Airlines, you cant be too picky.. I flew from DFW to London (5 1/2 hour layover), London to Madrid (4 hour layover), and then the final leg from Madrid to Joberg on Iberia (American code share), arriving a little after 10AM.

Thankfully I was able to get some sleep on the plane(s) and wasnt in too bad of shape when I landed. I had the pleasure of meeting @Gert Odendaal at the airport. He had asked if I would bring some stuff over for him for a couple of his rifle building projects and a few other items. I happily obliged. In return @Gert Odendaal presented me with several slabs of indigenous african hardwoods and some other things I can use for making knife scales (I've been toying with making my own knives lately) and gun stock inlays (I've also built a handful of rifles over the past couple of years and have been trying to improve my wood working skills on the stocks).. Spending a few minutes with @Gert Odendaal and trading stuff was a real joy and a nice way to start the trip..

While reasonably rested, I was thankful that the location we were going to hunt buffalo wasnt a long drive from the airport. Gerrit has a large concession that has some OUTSTANDING buffalo on it (the same location that @Mark Biggerstaff took his buff a few weeks back) thats about a 2 hour drive from the airport (roughly a 40 minute drive from the @Bos en Dal Safaris main property and lodge). Since buffalo was the #1 priority for this trip, we decided to stay at the lodge on the concession rather than make the commute each day until a buffalo was down..

All I can say is WHAT A BEAUTIFUL AND SPECTACULAR PROPERTY AND LODGE!

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Upon arrival I was introduced to 2 additional PH's that would accompany Gerrit and I on the buff hunt. Francois, and Arrie. Both were a perfect match for me personality wise (jovial and easy going, but serious when it was time to be), and both proved to have exceptional skills as a PH. We immediately proceeded to the range to check rifles. Zero was confirmed on the .375 H&H that I would use on the hunt, and an additional 6 shots were fired from the bench, sticks, and from the standing (unsupported) just to make sure I was comfortable and able to make adequate shots from normal buff distances (all shots taken at 50M) from both sticks and without them. Gerrit was also kind enough to let me squeeze off a round from his double in 500 NE just so I could say I've shot something like that.. That gun will wake you up and get your blood moving after 24 hours of flying and driving for sure!

After the rifle range we had a quick bite to eat, and then headed out to see if we could find some buffalo.

The property was very hilly and had a wide variety of terrain ranging from steep, rocky slopes, to barely rolling hills, and from open grassland to extremely thick/dense bush.. Tons of game was seen during our initial drive.. Zebra were observed in 3 different locations..we also saw red hartebeest, impala, giraffe, blesbok, blue wildebeest, eland (one so large, dark, and with such thick bases that we all thought it was an old bull for several minutes and contemplated taking it until we realized that he was a she... so, no walk on the wild side (in my best Lou Reed voice)..

No buffalo were seen, nor did we find any dung or tracks.. A super bright, nearly full moon was also on the rise.. and we realized that most animals would graze all night and be difficult to find after the first few hours in the morning.. so we made a plan to get to bed earlier than normal, hopefully recover a bit from the journey over, and start early in the AM the next day.. and try to catch buffalo before they would bed down after a long night of grazing..

Dinner was short ribs and a wonderful vegetable bake.. Cigars were handed out along with a couple of adult beverages by the campfire immediately after.. then we headed off to bed.. Day 1 was eventful and huge fun.. even without having a chance to pull the trigger..

More to follow.... :)
 
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BRICKBURN

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Keep it coming.
 

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Day 2 - Up early, a quick breakfast and coffee, a short chat to confirm plans to hit the high ground where it will be warm in the sunlight, and the bottom lands near streams and water sources to see if the buff are sunning or drinking early prior to bedding down after a long night grazing... then we load in the bakkie and start rolling before 630AM, getting started before the sun is fully up..

Lots of animals are seen in the early AM.. hartebeest, nyala, giraffe, warthogs, kudu, blesbok, zebra, and impala are all out int he sun warming themselves up.. but we see no buffalo in any of the high ground fields.. so we decide to go check the low ground near some water sources..

At 820AM while making our way to a small clearing we spied a couple of young bulls (Im guessing 2-3 years old).. after watching them for maybe 5 minutes, we decided to move on.. The bakkie pulls forward about 100 feet, round a corner and we see the rest of the herd! its not just the 2 young buffs we had already seen.. Its actually a bachelor herd consisting of a total of 3 young bulls, 1 large body HUGE horned guy that we guessed was maybe 5 years old (bosses still soft, etc), and 2 OLD guys that appeared to easily be SCI gold + ... it was time to "make a plan"....

We drove approximately 1/3 mile past the herd, trying not to alarm them, and park the bakkie on the opposite side of a rocky hill, put the wind in our face, and begin about a 600 meter stalk around the hill and back into the low land where the buff had been watering.. we get inside about 60 yards.. and got busted.. rather than running though the buff all move toward us about 10 yards and get shoulder to shoulder forming something that looks like a pissed off NFL defensive line.. and start the classic "you owe me money" stare combined with some snorting and blowing at us..

After about a 2-3 minute stand off, the buff decide to move out, turn hard right, and run into the thick stuff about 100 meters away.. Its obvious they want to continue to sun themselves in that open patch by the water though.. so we wait them out.. about 5 minutes later they start to return.. They are noticeably skiddish but they dont see, smell, or hear us.. and slowly make their way back to the clearing.. Arrie found a nice place to set up the sticks that provided a clear shot between some trees at about 30 meters from where we believed the herd would walk.. another minute or so goes by.. and we finally see them again.. the biggest/oldest bull is leading them back to the clearing, and provides a quartering toward broadside shot for just a few seconds before the others catch up to him.. so I get on the sticks quickly, place the cross hairs in the crease in front of the right shoulder and squeeze..

The .375 300gr A-Frame did its job well.. The buff took a single shot, ran 30 yards, and went down..

The hunt wasnt over yet though.. What occurred over the next 15-20 minutes was a pretty intense experience..

Once my bull went down, the second old bull immediately went to him.. He didnt try hooking the old bull or anything like that.. he simply stood over him in a protective stance and scanned the area looking for threats.. this went on for a full 20 minutes until Francois fetched the bakkie and drove to within 20 feet of him honking the horn, and Arrie threw rocks in the general direction.. finally the #2 bull moved on.. but even then he only moved about 100M away into the bush, and occasionally would motion like he intended on coming back.. We ended up having to put someone on guard to watch him for the rest of the time we were there so that we could take some pics, get my bull loaded, and taken off to the skinning shed, etc..

The other thing that happened that was unexpected is the downed bull refused to die..

I was 100% certain the shot I took was good.. This was later confirmed at the skinning shed where we found both lungs shredded and the heart center punched by the .375 A-Frame.. But clearly this old guy had enough O2 and testosterone coursing through his veins that he was able to continue to live for at least another 10-12 minutes before delivering the "death bellow"..

Several times I tried to fire a follow up shot into him to end things.. but the second bull standing guard wouldnt let that happen.. he stayed literally on top of, or within 2-3 feet of the first bull the entire time until several minutes after the first bull expired.. (and then still wouldnt leave)..

By 10AM on the first full day in country, a hunt that had been getting planned for 2 years was over.. I couldnt be happier with the results.. The rifle and all other equipment worked perfectly.. The PH team did an incredible job not only knowing where to look and find the animal under less than ideal conditions, but also in getting me set up to take a shot under difficult conditions/circumstances.. while I would have been happy with any old, nasty, hard bossed bull.. this one was a monster (roughly 39" with some of the tallest/thickest bosses I've ever seen)..

Now that the pressure was off, we decided to see what else Africa might offer hoping to maybe see a nice zebra stallion, an eland, kudu, or a big warthog.. We continued to see a lot of game all day.. but everytying was too far off across valleys, or not quite old enough, etc.. so about 1230 we headed back to camp for lunch..

On the afternoon hunt we decided to leave the truck behind and just walk for a few hours.. we got some serious steps in, covering more than 5 miles through some fairly thick brush at times and saw giraffe, a young eland, a warthog sow with a couple of toddlers in tow, a decent nyala, vervet monkeys, a few zebra mares, and blue wildebeest... but nothing that begged to become a shoulder mount.. we also saw bushpig and jackals.. a rare treat during daylight hours.. but in both cases they are hundreds of yards away and already on the run when we saw them.. so we headed back to the lodge and got out kit ready for a night jackal hunt instead..

After just about 20 minutes in camp we went back out again, now armed with a .243, high lumen red lights, and a fox pro.. in search of jackals..

As the sun began to set the jackals immediately started coming in to the call.. the first two never presented a shot opportunity.. they would just dart over a ridge for a brief second.. a third jackal spent about 10 minutes very slowly coming in.. but finally stood still long enough at about 150 yards to give me a shot.. a round was loosed... we all heard the distinctive "thwump!" of a solid hit, and Gerrit observed the jackal go down after being struck.. but after about 45 minutes of myself, Gerrit, and Francois all looking for him, we couldnt even find a blood trail, much less a dead jackal.. perhaps the darkness played a trick on all of us..

Back to camp for an excellend and well earned dinner of nyala kebabs, 2" thick ribeyes, curry rice, and a freshly backed load of sweet corn and cheese bread..

Beers and cigars by the fire until about 1030 PM then it was time to call it a night..

Tomorrow morning we head to the main Bos en Dal lodge and property in the morning... today was a good day... most definitely the most exciting and best hunting day I have ever had in Africa..

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cagkt3

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Well done on the buff! Congrats
 

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Outstanding buff!
Jackal, my luck exactly! Same scenario multiple times!
 

cpr0312

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Awesome!! Congrats on the buff!
 

mdwest

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Nice Buff!.....The beer & cigars also caught my attention!

I carried 15 cigars with me... most were just "daily" smokes.. but for the buff hunt I intentionally packed my last two Hooten & Young Gothic Serpents ( www.hootenyoungcigars.com ) to smoke in celebration once the buff was down..

Still my absolute favorite new cigar in 2019.. I havent found anything finer released this year..
 

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Congratulations.

Look forward to the rest of the report.
 

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Nice bull and thanks for sharing the story and pictures!
 

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Thanks for your report. Sounds excellent! What size property were you Hunting.
 

Bos en Dal SAFARIS

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gesch

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Bos en Dal SAFARIS

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Thanks for the information. I would enjoy going on this hunt one day!

My pleasure, once you decide the time is right you know where to find us(y)
 

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