Starting from scratch

Edward Wright

AH veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 2016
Messages
109
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109
Location
Ohio
Member of
NRA-life
Hunted
Quebec, Newfoundland, Wyoming, Kentucky, South Carolina, Indiana
My plan to hunt buffalo is coming to fruition . I want to ask the hunters here, who have made multiple safaris . My first question is my search for a PH. I want to find a PH that I can trust, and who I can hunt future game on my wish list.
Would it be best to attend the SCI, Dallas convention , and just cruise PHs with the hopes of finding the right chemistry?
Or, should I spend time getting references from other members on what they know?
Word of mouth is valuable, but so is chemistry. Maybe someone here can give firsthand advice how they found the right guy?
I still contemplating if I want traditional tracking hunt, or swamp buffalo, etc. So, location to me is second to PH in my opinion.
 
Usually the lodge owner is the one who attends the shows. He may have several PHs guiding as well as himself. To be honest, I never knew who my PH would be till I got there. Not quite true. I was fairly certain I was getting the same guy the second safari. PH kinda made sure of that.

What is important to you? I've had one PH that wasn't so great but I can't say that I didn't trust him. Untrustworthy PHs don't last with a reputable safari operation. Do your homework re the operation itself and trust that the owner of a reputable outfit will give you a good PH.
 
My plan to hunt buffalo is coming to fruition . I want to ask the hunters here, who have made multiple safaris . My first question is my search for a PH. I want to find a PH that I can trust, and who I can hunt future game on my wish list.
Would it be best to attend the SCI, Dallas convention , and just cruise PHs with the hopes of finding the right chemistry?
Or, should I spend time getting references from other members on what they know?
Word of mouth is valuable, but so is chemistry. Maybe someone here can give firsthand advice how they found the right guy?
I still contemplating if I want traditional tracking hunt, or swamp buffalo, etc. So, location to me is second to PH in my opinion.
@TSALA HUNTING SAFARIS Safari is who I trust given three hunts. They are always at SCI. I highly recommend you look them up. I took my 43 inch Cape Buff and am hunting the last of my big 5 with leopard with them
 
Thank you for a good reference. I’m studying the best areas . Reading books to get a good idea of what’s possible. I want my first buffalo to be my best, if my investments blossom I’ll be looking at elephant as my second DG, but leopard is on my list too. My heart has been in Africa a long time, since childhood actually. So all these hunts will be dreams come true.
As the buffalo hunt goes, it will always be an add on license to all my hunts going forward. I may sound wishful, but my rifle battery is in place. Next is the planning for the buffalo that’s got my name on him
 
My plan to hunt buffalo is coming to fruition . I want to ask the hunters here, who have made multiple safaris . My first question is my search for a PH. I want to find a PH that I can trust, and who I can hunt future game on my wish list.
Would it be best to attend the SCI, Dallas convention , and just cruise PHs with the hopes of finding the right chemistry?
Or, should I spend time getting references from other members on what they know?
Word of mouth is valuable, but so is chemistry. Maybe someone here can give firsthand advice how they found the right guy?
I still contemplating if I want traditional tracking hunt, or swamp buffalo, etc. So, location to me is second to PH in my opinion.
I took my first buffalo while hunting with Clive Lennox in Zimbabwe in 1983. After I retired, I decided I needed to hunt buffalo again. I was able to track Clive down and we put a plan in place. Then Covid got in the way. We got my second buffalo 39 years and 2 months after the first one. We also took quite a few PG during those two hunts. If that's not a good recommendation I don't know what is. Clive is a great PH as well as a great guy to share a camp with.

PM me if you want Clive's contact information. I'll be happy to make the connection for you.

Doug.
 
Usually the lodge owner is the one who attends the shows. He may have several PHs guiding as well as himself. To be honest, I never knew who my PH would be till I got there. Not quite true. I was fairly certain I was getting the same guy the second safari. PH kinda made sure of that.

What is important to you? I've had one PH that wasn't so great but I can't say that I didn't trust him. Untrustworthy PHs don't last with a reputable safari operation. Do your homework re the operation itself and trust that the owner of a reputable outfit will give you a good PH.
The lodge owner.......??? Eish you never cease to amaze.....
 
@TSALA HUNTING SAFARIS Safari is who I trust given three hunts. They are always at SCI. I highly recommend you look them up. I took my 43 inch Cape Buff and am hunting the last of my big 5 with leopard with them
I second @TSALA HUNTING SAFARIS!!! Here's a large bossed buff taken in May.

IMG_0847.jpeg
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Hi Edward. I have hunted with several top-notch PHs. I would be happy to introduce you. Before we get to that, are you looking for completely wild and free-range (no high fences) experiences like those found in Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique? There are also free range areas in Namibia and I’ve heard of some in South Africa. Or is your budget and starting point more inline with South Africa and Namibia high fenced ranches? I have not hunted high fence areas so my help would only be useful for wild free range areas and PHs. Let me know.
 
Love that big bossed bull, beautiful by any standard. Yes I’m looking for free range hunt, and a good bull for a first buffalo. My thought is go all out for my first buffalo hunt. Then concentrate on other species on my next hunt, with buffalo as a second tag, my buffalo madness has been brewing for years. But I’m a free range guy, not to say good hunt’s not in South Africa. I talked to a PH a few years back. He hunted SA on a concession along Kruger , and it was free range. Never came together tho , my divorce got in the way.
 
Love that big bossed bull, beautiful by any standard. Yes I’m looking for free range hunt, and a good bull for a first buffalo. My thought is go all out for my first buffalo hunt. Then concentrate on other species on my next hunt, with buffalo as a second tag, my buffalo madness has been brewing for years. But I’m a free range guy, not to say good hunt’s not in South Africa. I talked to a PH a few years back. He hunted SA on a concession along Kruger , and it was free range. Never came together tho , my divorce got in the way.
High fences and ear tags were definite "no go" for me too.
 
"Maybe someone here can give firsthand advice how they found the right guy?"

God puts me on the path to found the right guy, and great PH.
One a right moment came to shot the Buffalo, he put the rifle on his shoulder
@Bossie Mostert Limpopo BIG GAME Safaris
Screenshot_20240623_184444_Gallery.jpg
 
Agree. Much of the answer depends on your desire to hunt free range or high-fence areas. For me, a concession in the Caprivi was the answer and it all finally came together in 2022. It's probably more expensive that way, but it was a hunt I'll never forget....... PM me for details if you'd like.

Dreaming of the next adventure already.......
 
Research outfitters and PHs, decide what's important to you (very remote - Caprivi, Zambezi Valley, Niassa, Selouse, etc. or something else), along $'s, then attend DSC or SCI where you can look the PH in the eyes and figure out if you want to spend 10 - 14 days in the bush with them or not. Many of the sponsors here attend the conventions, in person and will talk you through the process and whether they or another PH would be the one to hunt with you depending on your dates and their availability.
 
Trust has many facets, to me in a PH they would include:
1. His/her bush competence, so you get to find what you are after.
2. His/her field craft to be able to read situations to keep you out of potential trouble.
3. His/her leadership qualities to not only make sure you have a great social experience, but also receive precise and correct instruction when needed.
4. His/her rifle, particularly it's reliability as well as ability to shoot it properly.

I would say for me No4 is the most important. It is hard, maybe even unfair to generalise, but to me a young PH who couldn't afford a decent rifle out or training and hasn't used his/her business skills to grade up will end up with a mess sooner or later. An old PH who still hasn't got their act together in later career is also a yellow flag at least. I know of one who went for a ride on a buffoloe's horns because of old ammo because he couldn't afford decent stuff. I once said on AH and got a bit of a pummeling for it that I think PH'S should all carry good (as in totally reliable) double rifles. It is more the tool they need to complement the skills they hopefully have.
 
Love that big bossed bull, beautiful by any standard. Yes I’m looking for free range hunt, and a good bull for a first buffalo. My thought is go all out for my first buffalo hunt. Then concentrate on other species on my next hunt, with buffalo as a second tag, my buffalo madness has been brewing for years. But I’m a free range guy, not to say good hunt’s not in South Africa. I talked to a PH a few years back. He hunted SA on a concession along Kruger , and it was free range. Never came together tho , my divorce got in the way.

I’ve killed quite a few buffalo and respect every PH I have hunted with. However, if I’m going back after buffalo I will be hunting with Len Taylor in Zim. Happy to provide contact info if you have interest.
 
I strongly recommend going to either the SCI or Dallas Safari Club conventionsf to talk to outfitters. Lots of the outfitters have PH's in the booth with them. You can talk with them and get a feel for how they operate.
I interviewed about a dozen in 2017 before selecting Quagga Safaris. Eric Visser is the outfitter and a PH and he was involved in tracking on all of my buffalo hunts. My PH was Eon and I have been back to hunt with him three more times. Eon was recently named PH of the Year by PHASA. Great lodge, great food, excellent game on the 57,000 acre Manketti Reserve in Limpopo. They will put you on a big buffalo. Eric runs a first class operation.
 
My plan to hunt buffalo is coming to fruition . I want to ask the hunters here, who have made multiple safaris . My first question is my search for a PH. I want to find a PH that I can trust, and who I can hunt future game on my wish list.
Would it be best to attend the SCI, Dallas convention , and just cruise PHs with the hopes of finding the right chemistry?
Or, should I spend time getting references from other members on what they know?
Word of mouth is valuable, but so is chemistry. Maybe someone here can give firsthand advice how they found the right guy?
I still contemplating if I want traditional tracking hunt, or swamp buffalo, etc. So, location to me is second to PH in my opinion.
I can highly recommend Tsala Safaris and PH Brandon Van Zyl! They far exceeded expectations, I'm hoping to go back to africa in a few years and I will definitely be going back with them!
IMG-20240609-WA0009.jpg
Here are a few pictures of the buffalo I harvested hunting with Tsala Safaris (6-9-24)
IMG-20240609-WA0014.jpg
 
Good day mr @Edward Wright

From a HO/ PH I would say definitely word of mouth is a very good reference and the PH/HO you go with needs to have that passion for Dangerous Game hunting. Knowing the hunting area, knowing what he can offer you.
And having good bush knowledge, animal behaviour.

Pick the right area to go and hunt your Dangerous Game.

Regards
Derian Koekemoer
 

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