SOUTH AFRICA: Buffalo Hunt With Ken Moody Safaris

Huntndog

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Report continued.......
We flew from Lexington to Cincinnati ,to Frankfurt Germany. After a 12 hour layover we flew ten hours to Johannesburg, got on a van and drove seven more hours to camp.
Everyone was in high spirits as we met our outfitter and his lovely wife ,sighted guns , ate dinner and went to bed.

On the first day of the hunt we walked, and walked and walked. Our tracker ( Lieutenant) led the way , followed by Christoff , my PH , then me and finally Betwell who is a tracker ,skinner ,and representative of the camp.
We were on the track of several bulls all day long ,but kept being betrayed by the wind.
The second day was the same. We got close , then the wind shifted. So we walked some more. I was glad I have a job that requires quite a bit of physical activity, because there is a LOT of walking in buffalo hunting.

On the third day of the hunt we could not find the tracks of the group of bulls we had been pursuing, but did find one good set of bull tracks which we began to follow. By “ we” I mean the tracker and PH as I was constantly somewhere between befuddled and amazed at their ability to decipher the sign I couldn’t even see.Around mid morning Chris said we were close.
The sticks went up! Chris said the buff was in range and saw us. He charged in our direction, turned and bolted. I didn’t see crap! I was hunting before these people were born, but damn if I can match their savvy on game.

So back on the track we went. On the second try I actually saw part of what looked like a buffalo but declined to shoot due to the thick brush in front of his vitals. Chris patiently explained that a 400 grain bullet shot from a .416 Rigby will punch through the brush without deflecting. My bad.

So back on the track we went. We got the sticks up for the third time. This time I was ready to shoot and was waiting for the PH to say go. He didn’t like what he saw and the buffalo took off again.

So back on the track we went. The frustration was palpable. I heard the radio check in with the camp and knew I would get one more chance before we backed off this bull.
Chris told me solemnly “ this bull is pissed. He tried to charge us once and knows we are chasing him. If he can get to us he will .. “
As we got close for the fourth time I knew it was do or die .
We were about 100 yards away as Chris said “ last chance”
I boldly retorted with something manly like “ let’s do this! “
My mind drifted to the recent past when pretty much everyone I know told me I was crazy . I wondered if they were right. The dumbass 61 year old dog trainer with some kind of death wish or something to prove gets stomped , gored and mashed by an angry Cape Buffalo. I seriously wondered if I was going to make a “ widder Woman” out of my long suffering and faithful wife.
Back to the task at hand , I gritted my teeth and tried to look absolutely confident ( to say I was crying inside, like a little girl, would be an overstatement, but not by much! )

The Buffalo was motionless in the thickest mopane in the area. He was about 80 yards away when we began our final approach. Chris told Betwell to stay putat about sixty yards as the three of us, Lieutenant, Chris and I went ahead.
The one thing I had told Chris as soon as we met was “ I cannot crawl or shoot from a prone position, because I have had neck surgery and my neck won’t take it.”
Chris said” We’re gonna have to crawl “ We crawled over gravel and sand trying to get close enough for a shot. When we were about 20 or 30 yards from the buffalo none of us could see anything but a dark blob. Chris sat on the ground and got a better perspective. He motioned me to sit beside him. There was simply not enough room in the thorns we were in to set up the sticks. Chris said, “ do you see that six inch black spot in the brush? “ Yes” I replied. “ That’s his shoulder “ he whispered. “Rest the rifle on my shoulder and aim two inches left of dead center. “
BOOM!
I had no idea if I hit him or not, but the shot felt good.
Lieutenant and Chrs were watching the buffalo which was definitely
wounded a running. Unfortunately it was running right at Betwell who we had left 60 yards behind! Betwell was running too! Unfortunately he was running toward us! He was definitely showing an athletic pro
 

Round Ball

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I just love these hunting stories!

Thank you guys so very much for taking the time to write these stories, and allowing us to relive these hunts through your story writing, and exactly what you experienced on these actual hunts.

Really looking forward to reading more!

Thank you again!

Round Ball
 

Mtn_Infantry

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I just got back from SA. This was my first buffalo hunt.
I highly recommend Ken Moody Safaris. They definitely know what they are doing. There were seven of us and every single one of us got a buffalo.View attachment 416188View attachment 416189View attachment 416190View attachment 416191
Congrats on some excellent trophies. You waterbuck looks very similar to the one I shot in June. 1 horn has the traditional forward curl and the right horn hooks and curves to the right rather than forward.
 

Huntndog

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Cont.
... wess that had not been seen before. The lumbering big dude who carried my rifle from time to time was able to move with surprising speed and agility when chased by a wounded Cape buffalo.
The buff turned and ran away from our position . The two African guys were speaking and gesturing excitedly in Afrikaans, which I am ashamed to say I do not speak, but the motion for “Shoulder hit” is universal, and all of them were doing that.
Chris explained to me that they they all did ,in fact, think we had a good hit, so I was cautiously optimistic.
We picked up the track and slowly worked in the direction the buff had fled.
After about forty yards we heard the unmistakable sound of a death bellow.
In twenty or so more yards we saw him. I finished him off.
To say we were happy is an obscene understatement!
Hugs and handshakes all around. This was truly a team effort and no one was more aware of that fact than I.
We may be separated in some ways by race, nationality, and custom, but we were all one as hunters. It was a magic moment of fraternity.

The buffalo was HUGE! I was stunned at the sheer size of the beast. He had given us a great fight and in my euphoria I felt the familiar melancholy, if just for a moment, of having taken the life of a warrior. He was a worthy adversary and then some.
I had realized a dream.

The radio crackled with excited chatter and soon a recovery team drew near. We took a ton of pictures ,of course, and the guys loaded the buff on the truck with a winch while I bravely recorded their labor.
Back to camp we went in the highest of spirits!
Cont...
 

Huntndog

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Huntndog

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Report continued.....
The official weight of the buffalo carcass was 445 kg. Chris said that would translate to around 800 kg. live weight. Horns measured 44 1/8 “.

A grand celebration was at hand. The seven of us , several of whom had never met, were all , I think, genuinely thrilled with each other’s success.
I was roundly congratulated on the kill and the story got better as the night went on!

Day 4
We all got up at the usual hour. I was very concerned that there might have been something wrong with the ice at the camp. Perhaps it was tainted in some way. At any rate , despite copious amounts of scotch applied ,whatever the pathogen may have been , persisted and I was suffering from a headache and general malaise. Africa can be a dangerous place.

Some of my compatriots even reported that at one point I showed back up around the campfire in gym trunks ,and announced that my glasses had been lost in the shower, but that I was still able to do my stretches learned from Jack Lalane when I was eleven years old. This was apparently a source of great mirth for those who not only are less limber, but whose veracity is often in question!

We decided to go for a sable. Thankfully most of the day consisted of driving along the endless roads of the massive property and stopping from time to time to examine spoor. ( tracks, for the uninitiated.)
We saw lots of giraffes and warthogs and duiker ,impala, kudu etc. but no sable.
As the day was winding down we passed an opening in the brush and Chris told Lieutenant to stop and back up. He had seen a sable.
They All caucused on the situation, which was a constant source of consternation and irritation for Chris, because in the end it was his call ; and after much animated discussion we usually went with the plan he had in the first place. I NEVER guide the guide. Dude , he knows this stuff better than you . Let him do his job!
Chris said that we would not follw the track, but that a water hole was close and he reckoned ( my word) that the sable was going to water. So we booked it for the water hole.
There was a permanent blind there . We got inside and waited.
We had settled in for Maybe 5 minutes when Chris carefully peeked through the burlap covering the opening in front of him. I, on his right, was dutifully watching the water hole in front of us.
He looked at me and pointed to his left while whispering “ he’s right here”
I said “ OK”
He said again, this time more emphatically ,”HE’S RIGHT HERE! “ and pointed just to his left.

I again said “ OK “
In my defense, what we had here was a failure to communicate. I understood that the sable was right outside the blind , but I thought I was supposed to wait for him to go to the water hole. He was 20 feet away and hard to my left for crying out loud.
Sooo... I whispered “ do you want me to shoot him? “
This is where the P H earns his money. If ever a look could convey “ yes you damn moron “ , that’s what was on Chris’ face.
He simply nodded yes.
I gently eased the rifle barrel out of the opening on my side and looked through the scope. Luckily it was on a very low power because the sable was at spitting range.
The shot rang out. The sable made it maybe thirty yards and dropped.
Lots of high fives.
Another fun celebration at camp.
I texted a picture to my 86 year old mother who was happy but asked “ are you getting more than your share? “
It was another good day in Africa!
Cont.......
 

Huntndog

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Report continued.......

On about the fifth or sixth day I made a very il advised shot on a nyala. He was with cows and Chris said “ wait until he gives you his shoulder” I thought he meant that since the bull was with cows ,as soon as it was clear of the cows and I saw shoulder I should shoot. What he really meant was wait for a good broadside. I shot with the animal quartering to. I should have known better. 100% my fault. We started with very good blood,but after about a half mile it began to peter out.
We searched for three days with as many as ten people and eventually did a grid search. No luck. I had told Chris the day before that I had never lost an animal shot with a rifle. That was the kiss of death. It cost me a third of the safari and $2500. No trace was ever found. I am satisfied that we did everything within our power to retrieve the bull, but in the end we simply ran out of options. If they ever find him they will send me the horns. It is also possible the shot was not fatal. Definitely a low point.

On the ninth day we were after water buck. We had seen several in an area,so we drove that area,glassing and looking for tracks.
Late in the afternoon we spotted one below us in the dry river bed. The sticks were set and Chris whispered “ he’s a really good bull but his horns are unusual. If it were me I would definitely take him ,but you have to decide if BOOM!
I didn’t miss this time. We were all excited when we got to him, and I think he will make a cool trophy.

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Huntndog

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On the last day we didn’t have any opportunities at anything, but I was happy anyway. A few of us just drove around with beer and joked and talked.
The final morning we took a group photo, hugged our new friends goodbye and got in the van.
The trip home was brutal. Long, frustrating , and tiring. 40 plus hours later we landed in Lexington. AND IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT!

I do have some final thoughts..

1. If you want to go, DO IT! It’s expensive, frustrating and tiring. It also is an experience you will always treasure.
2. There are no doubt any number of good outfitters . Without taking anything from anyone else, I will vouch for Ken Moody. He is honest and likable. He and his gracious wife Virginia know how to run a reputable business. They hire top notch people, and I GUARANTEE Ken will do everything in his power to help you be successful. I recommend them without any reservation.
3. Get in shape. You will walk a lot!
4. Buffalo hunting is far more difficult than I thought. Practice hitting very small targets shielded by brush.
5. Get a good taxidermist;and marry someone who who loves you in spite of your insanity.

It was a great trip. A big thank you to everyOne who helped make it possible! Jim
 

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Good story, Huntndog. Thanks for sharing.
 

PARA45

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Bummer on the Nyala, and what a unique and beautiful water buck. Congrats on a wonderful safari.
 

cls

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Congrats to all on a successful safari, Some nice critters.
 

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