SOUTH AFRICA: Just Returned From Cape Buffalo Hunt With KMG Safaris

Dudders

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One question, and I guess this is for Marius, I really like the shirt your hunter is wearing! How many times do you have to book to qualify for a shirt! :LOL:
Must be more than four I still get a cap just.
 

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Great bull, congrats !
 

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It all started in July 2017 when I hunted with Marius at KMG Safaris and I managed to wound a buffalo bull and lost it. I had hit the bull to high in the shoulder with my 375 h&h.
We tried to find the bull for the next 4 days without success and I was totally devastated to say the least.
So this is the story of my return to Africa to fufill my dream of taking a Cape Buffalo bull.
I was determined to achieve my goal and made a commitment with Marius that I would return in two years time (July 2019) to try for another bull.

The following two yearsseemed to take foreverto pass and there wasn't a week go by where I didn't revisit shot placement and all things buffalo on the AH forums.

My son was accompanying me on this trip and it would be his first trip to Africa, so we were hoping for it to be a special experience for both of us.

16 - July 2019
The overnight stay in Sydney and 14 hour flight to Johannesburg with Qantas next day went smoothly.
On arrival at Johannesburg (17- July) we we greeted with a handshake and big smile from our mate Mr X from the Afton Hunting accommodation and half an hour in the SAPS office seen all permits taken care of.

On arrival at Afon we put our bags in our room,went and had a couple of beers and the famous BBQ steak dinner before calling it a night.

18- July 2019
Marius arrived at the Afton around lunchtime to pick us up and we loaded the vehicle for the 4 1/2 hour drive to our hunting area.
We arrived at the hunting lodge just on dusk so Marius said we would check the rifles next morning as we would have plenty of time.
We were shown our rooms,put all our gear inside,went had a few rums and dinner then discussed the plan for the morning, then retired for the evening.

Day 1 -19-July 2019

Up at 0530 and a quick cuppa and rusks then onto the range to check the rifles.
I was using the same rifle from the previous trip, my Sako 375 h&h with Barnes 270gn TSX and my son Rhyan had brought along his Browning 300WSM with Barnes 168gn TTSX for hopefullt Kudu Bull.
With rifles zeroed we headed off to look for our first buffalo tracks.
We scouted a couple of waterholes for fresh bull tracks and then countinued in the vehicle looking for fresh tracks crossing the road.

Before to long we spotted dust in the distance and could see a herd of buffalo containing cows,calves and what looked like young bulls.
We parked the vehicle and put in a stalk to get a closer look and in doing so only found young soft bulls in the herd.

Back to the lodge for brunch and then headed back out at around 2:30 and before long we come across fresh buffalo bull tracks crossing the road.
We parked the vehicle and proceeded to follow up the tracks and before long we had a visual on the bulls at around 150m but they were already alert, so it was off with shoes and socks and started crawling and managed to close the distance to around 60m.
We could see a good bull through the cover who was definetly a shooter but couldn't see enough of him to get a shot.
Suddenly the bulls sensed something was up and bolted.
It was getting late and we decided to head for home at around 6:00pm via a water hole and as we arrived we spotted a group of 7 bulls close to the waterhole.
We stopped the vehicle and had a look at the bulls in the fading light at about 80m and could see one hard boss bull stood out from the rest both in body and horn size.
Unfortunately it was past last shooting light and putting a stalk in or taking a shot was to risky this late in the day so it was decided to make a plan to not pressure the bulls the following day, and to be near the water hole a bit earlier the following evening to see if they return.
To be continued...
 
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YancyW

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Best of luck, keep us posted.
 

CAustin

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Looking forward to the rest!
 

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Keep it coming...
 

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Enjoyed the start, look forward to more!
 

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Excellent bull. Congratulations sir.
 

cperso

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Day 2- 19- July 2019
Up at 5:30 , rusks and coffee then we headed out for another "Dagga Boy".
Before long we sighted a couple of bulls watching us up ahead on the side of the track and as we approached they crossed the road and at least three other bulls followed.
The plan now was to find the running tracks and get the trackers to follow up the bulls while we headed to a vantage point ahead where we expected the herd to cross.
We dropped the trackers off and headed off on the tracks and headed off in the vehicle to the spot where we thought the bulls would emerge, set up on the sticks and waited quietly.
We only had to wait 20 minutes or so before the bulls crossed in front of us but it was at 150m and they were on the move.
Quickly we ran around at an angle to try and head the bulls off and hopefully get into a position of ambush.
Once in position a nearby Marula tree was climbed to try and get a view of where the bulls were heading.
From the tree two bulls were sighted slowly walking toward us at around 70m but we couldnt see them from our position on the ground due to the thick cover.
Marius got me set up on the sticks and we waited as the two bulls slowy approached our position.
The two bull came into view and adrenaline started to flow as Marius quickly assessed the bulls and said to wait as one of the bulls was soft.
The bulls approached to within 10m of our position before a whisper cam from Marius that we could do better than the hard boss bull that was in front of us.
A shout was given and both bulls stopped,looked up and thankfully headed for other parts That was close.
We waited a further 15 minutes to see if the other bulls were following but the trackers comfirmed that they had split from the herd soon after crossing the track.
We went back with the trackers and picked up the tracks of the tree bulls that had split and followed them until we could see that they had joined the two bulls we had encountered,it was then decided to let them settle for the remainder of the day.

That afternoon at around 3:00pm we headed to an area where the seven bulls were sighted the previous evening and set up position behind a fallen tree to wait and see if they came in to the area on dusk again.
At around 5:30pm a big lone bull approached from cover at around 80m but Marius quickly assessed him as a young bull and still soft.
It was at this point Marius spotted a cloud of dust rising above the the thicket in the distance and said that it was most likely a herd of buffalo approaching and thing would get interesting.
Before long a herd of around 50 buffalo came into view and the herd contained cows,calves and a few young bulls.
The buffalo walked past our position within 10m heading toward a water hole. The herd watered and proceeded to head on out and that was when a couple of cows caught our scent. At this point the herd didn't bolt but proceeded to surround us ,snorting and raising,lowering their heads indicating they weren't happy with our presence.
Things were a little tense in our little camp at this stage with four of us huddled back to back facinig 50 or so pissed off buffalo.
Some of the buffalo apprroached within 6m and at this stage Marius called the trackers who were waiting in the bakkie nearby to bring the vehicle to our position quickly.
Within minutes the trackers arrived and brought the bakkie within 3m of our position behind the tree and the directive was given by Marius to quickly get in the bakkie.
The buffalo continued to surround us and had no fear of us or the bakkie and had to be persuaded to move on by shouting and manouvering the bakkie and eventually they trotted of into cover.
 

Lmcquin

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Day 2- 19- July 2019
Up at 5:30 , rusks and coffee then we headed out for another "Dagga Boy".
Before long we sighted a couple of bulls watching us up ahead on the side of the track and as we approached they crossed the road and at least three other bulls followed.
The plan now was to find the running tracks and get the trackers to follow up the bulls while we headed to a vantage point ahead where we expected the herd to cross.
We dropped the trackers off and headed off on the tracks and headed off in the vehicle to the spot where we thought the bulls would emerge, set up on the sticks and waited quietly.
We only had to wait 20 minutes or so before the bulls crossed in front of us but it was at 150m and they were on the move.
Quickly we ran around at an angle to try and head the bulls off and hopefully get into a position of ambush.
Once in position a nearby Marula tree was climbed to try and get a view of where the bulls were heading.
From the tree two bulls were sighted slowly walking toward us at around 70m but we couldnt see them from our position on the ground due to the thick cover.
Marius got me set up on the sticks and we waited as the two bulls slowy approached our position.
The two bull came into view and adrenaline started to flow as Marius quickly assessed the bulls and said to wait as one of the bulls was soft.
The bulls approached to within 10m of our position before a whisper cam from Marius that we could do better than the hard boss bull that was in front of us.
A shout was given and both bulls stopped,looked up and thankfully headed for other parts That was close.
We waited a further 15 minutes to see if the other bulls were following but the trackers comfirmed that they had split from the herd soon after crossing the track.
We went back with the trackers and picked up the tracks of the tree bulls that had split and followed them until we could see that they had joined the two bulls we had encountered,it was then decided to let them settle for the remainder of the day.

That afternoon at around 3:00pm we headed to an area where the seven bulls were sighted the previous evening and set up position behind a fallen tree to wait and see if they came in to the area on dusk again.
At around 5:30pm a big lone bull approached from cover at around 80m but Marius quickly assessed him as a young bull and still soft.
It was at this point Marius spotted a cloud of dust rising above the the thicket in the distance and said that it was most likely a herd of buffalo approaching and thing would get interesting.
Before long a herd of around 50 buffalo came into view and the herd contained cows,calves and a few young bulls.
The buffalo walked past our position within 10m heading toward a water hole. The herd watered and proceeded to head on out and that was when a couple of cows caught our scent. At this point the herd didn't bolt but proceeded to surround us ,snorting and raising,lowering their heads indicating they weren't happy with our presence.
Things were a little tense in our little camp at this stage with four of us huddled back to back facinig 50 or so pissed off buffalo.
Some of the buffalo apprroached within 6m and at this stage Marius called the trackers who were waiting in the bakkie nearby to bring the vehicle to our position quickly.
Within minutes the trackers arrived and brought the bakkie within 3m of our position behind the tree and the directive was given by Marius to quickly get in the bakkie.
The buffalo continued to surround us and had no fear of us or the bakkie and had to be persuaded to move on by shouting and manouvering the bakkie and eventually they trotted of into cover.

Awesome story. Would love to see buffalo like that someday (assuming they have the same disposition to snort rather than charge). Great read!!
 

cperso

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Day 3 - 21 July 2019
We were out early again this morning and were headed for a more remote area when two bulls were spotted in thick cover. We drove a bit further on a on,parked the bakkie,walked back in on the bulls and got our tracker to climb a near by Marula tree to see if he could spot the bulls. On climing tree immediatly indicated to us that he could see the bulls standing up ahead so we headed off in the general direction.
The breeze was swirling and before long we heard the sound of animals galloping , then after a short while a commotion back toward where we left our tracker up the Marula tree.
As it turned out they were two young two bulls and had double backed to the Marula tree that the tracker had climbed and he was trying to move them on so he could get down.
A bit more yelling had the young bulls moving on.
That afternoon we headed back to where we saw the herd of 50 buffalo the previous evening and sat until dark hoping the 7 bulls would return to the area but they were a no show.
 

cperso

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Day 4 - 22 July 2019
Up and about early,quick cuppa and out in the bakkie looking for tracks. Straight away we spot what looked like two nice bulls standing on the edge of the track and he turns and heads off to the right of the track into cover. We park the bakkie and once more proceed to follow up the tracks in the soft sand. Working against us was a group of Guinea Fowl that were making a commotion at our presence and our every move.
The tracks indicated that the bulls had been walking but would be on alert with the performance the Guinea Fowl were putting on so it was decided to pull out of there and head around and see if the bulls had in fact crossed the next track and into the next block.
After checking the track it was concluded that the bulls were still in the previous area. We decided to give them time to settle and hopefully catch them walking back to their feeding areas in the evening,this would be our last oppertunity in this area as we had planned to move camp to a new property and area the following day.
Marius had suggested we have one last try in the evening and so all the gear was packed and my son Rhyan was to head to the new camp and have a hunt for Kudu and after our hunt Marius and I would drive there after dark.
Later that afternoon at around 3:00pm we headed out for a scout before heading to our evening hunting area and before long we spotted two big bulls from the track so we kept driving and the bakkie and slowly made our way back to where the two bulls were last seen.
We moved slowly scanning ahead trying to minimise noise and eventually seen some movement ahead. We managed to close the distance to around 40-50m. The bulls were standing and one was a soft bull and the other was a big hard bossed bull with great bosses and width.
Up on the sticks and we waited for what seemed like the eternity for them to move or the big guy to present a clear shot oppertunity.
The bulls eventually moved forward in front but there was no oppertunity for a clear shot before they both moved out of sight.
We waited awile hoping they would come back into view but it didnt happen.
All ofa sudden our tracker pointed ahead and the bulls were now walking ahead directly away from us at around 180m so we scrambled to close the distance for a shot on the big guy.
At around 125m we ran out of cover so up on the sticks. The bulls were now walking away unaware of our presence.
I was waiting for the big bull in the lead to change direction and turn broadside while all the time Marius is wispering "don't shoot until he turns". Just then the bull started to change direction and started to turn to the left. Marius whispered do you have a shot and I replied "Yes". I tried to stay steady on the sticks with my heart pounding and took aim on the bulls shoulder and fired.
At the shot both bulls ran off and no reaction from the big bull of a hit.
Marius asked if the shot felt good and I immediatly replied "No".
In all the excitement I had jumped on the trigger big time.
My mind was racing, have I wounded another buffalo?
Have I hit the buffalo at all?
How could I miss a buffalo bull at 125m?
You could have cut the air with a knife and I'm sure I could feel Marius's eyes burning a hole in the back of my head (felt that before on an Eland hunt).
We proceeded to walk to were the buffalo were standing and followed the marks looking for signs of blood or a hit.
At this stage I felt gutted and angry with myself that I had let everybody down. It had taken four years of hard work to get a second chance and I just blew it.
Everbody was speachless,then Marius shared with me his direct and honest feedback on the situation.
Quote " Do you know we will never see a bull of that quality again on this hunt, he was a Chief " Enough said.
We called the trackers to bring the vehicle got them to do a skirt of the area to make sure we hadn't missed anthing but they come up with nothing, it was a clean miss.
By this time it was around 5pm and we decided to head to where the seven bulls were seen watering late on day one.
Things couldn't have got lower other than having actually wounding that big bull.
 
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enysse

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Wow, that hurts missing an opportunity like that on a grand Cape buffalo.
 

cperso

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Day 4 -22July - Continued..
We headed off in the bakkie and made our way toward the waterhole and as we come around the bend we could see a group of bulls and it looked like the same group of 7 that we saw late in the evening on day one. There was one big bull that stood out from the rest so we slowly kept driving out of the area,parked the bakkie and came up with a quick plan to try for the big bull.
There wasn't a lot of cover between us and the bulls so there was a high risk that we would be spotted so we made use of a couple of shrubs and some fallen tree branches between us and the bulls.
We managed to sneak in and close the distance to around 80m when Marius called me forward to get me in position. I opted to try and crawl a little further into some fallen tree braches and use them as a rest.
As I started to make my way forward the biggest bull, who was now broadside, sensed something wasn't right,looked straight at us and turned slightly quartering toward me. By this time the other bulls were making there way back to toward the cover.
I raised my rifle and placed the crosshairs on the lower part of the bulls shoulder and fired.
This time the shot felt good and with it came that thump you like to hear reverberated back indicating a solid hit.
At the shot the bull lurched forward,was unsteady on his feet and slowly trotted off with the rest of the bulls and then stood at about 120m with the other bulls surounding him and he wasn't well.
By this stage I had reloaded,ran forward and Marius set up the sticks.
The bull was unsteady on his feet and I waited for what seemed like eternity for the remaining bulls to move from behind,then suddenly a clear shot presented and I hit him again just behind the shoulder.
The bull wobbled some more then went down and with that the other bulls proceeded to horn him from behind to try and get their brother to stand.
I reloaded and we waited a short while then proceeded to approach the bull cautiously all the time looking for any sign of movement.
The other bulls were reluctant to leave the downed bulls side so we proceeded to make a heap of noise and wave our arms and eventually they trotted off into cover.
We moved in on the bull and Marius instructed me to put in an insurance shot to the spine,then checked him and he had expired.
Then came Marius's words I will never forget "Do you know you have just shot that big bull you missed an hour ago"
I was estatic and so was everybody else. The trackers arrived with the vehicle and it was hand shakes and congratulations all round.
What a fantastic hunt and effort put in by everybody involved.
Big thanks to my mate Marius at KMG for making this happen as I he was as determined as I was to make this dream a reality.

We spent the next 4 days just taking it all in and chasing a big Kudu for my son Rhyan.
Late on day 5 Rhyan wounded a monster Kudu and we spent 2hrs after dark traking a good blood trail before calling it a night.
We headed out early next day with dogs to pick up the trail but the blood trail dried up not far from where we left off the previous evening.
We went back the following day and the trackers walked the slopes while we set up on the opposite face in case they flushed the wounded Kudu but nothing was found. This was very disappointing but thats hunting.
We also saw some cool critters in the daytime,Bat Eared Fox,Bushbig and Brown Hyena.
The next chapter surely must be a return to KMG in 2021 to get that big Kudu for my son Rhyan
 

cperso

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Wow, that hurts missing an opportunity like that on a grand Cape buffalo.
Enysse, at the time that would be the lowest point of my hunting career given I had wounded and lost a bull two years previous
 

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Great write up, thanks for taking us along on the emotional rollercoaster. Congratulations on sealing the deal on a great bull! I hope to try for one in a couple of years, and there is no doubt I will book with KMG again.
 

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