What is a "perfect" buffalo hunt?

Rubberhead

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More that most other game, it seems that every buffalo hunt is different and the combinations and permutations are nearly endless.

Bang-flops do happen occasionally. Lost buffalo happen occasionally. Pin-cushion buffalo happen probably more often than most will admit. I image the most common scenario is an initial shot and a quick follow-up shot by the client as the buffalo turns to run which leads to a tracking job where a dead or incapacitated buffalo is found and the PH never fires his gun.

I don't expect that I'd ever buffalo hunt and if I did it would probably be only one time. I'd want that one time to be a perfect hunt. So, it got me thinking, “what is a perfect buffalo hunt”?
 

shotgungibbs

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A hunt where you take a nice representative animal, in a fair manner, enjoy the whole experience, and get back home safe!
 

375Fox

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I could think of many different scenarios that describe a perfect buffalo hunt. My last buffalo in Zimbabwe met every condition for me. It was a free range buffalo that traveled between Zimbabwe and Mozambique and evaded lions and poachers it’s entire life. My PH and tracking team were very experienced, worked very well as a team, and were great professionals. We found buffalo tracks at water early in morning and tracked several miles. We bumped the small herd of mainly bulls once, then found them in very very thick brush mostly bedded down. We scooted in around 150 yards to get 30 yards away using the wind gusts to move with. We used a tree to allow me to stand. My PH said shoot as soon as he stands if you have a shot. He stood and I shot, visibility a shoulder shot. My PH said we would wait 20 minutes, but then we heard him fall over about 100 yards away. We moved in, fired a few insurance shots, had our buffalo down at 9 am. Nice 11/12 year old bull. This met every condition of perfect to me.
5797F73E-8737-4AEA-8EAB-3A0FA1B6CFD6.jpeg
 

shotgungibbs

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Nice Buffalo 375Fox!
 

revturbo9967

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I could think of many different scenarios that describe a perfect buffalo hunt. My last buffalo in Zimbabwe met every condition for me. It was a free range buffalo that traveled between Zimbabwe and Mozambique and evaded lions and poachers it’s entire life. My PH and tracking team were very experienced, worked very well as a team, and were great professionals. We found buffalo tracks at water early in morning and tracked several miles. We bumped the small herd of mainly bulls once, then found them in very very thick brush mostly bedded down. We scooted in around 150 yards to get 30 yards away using the wind gusts to move with. We used a tree to allow me to stand. My PH said shoot as soon as he stands if you have a shot. He stood and I shot, visibility a shoulder shot. My PH said we would wait 20 minutes, but then we heard him fall over about 100 yards away. We moved in, fired a few insurance shots, had our buffalo down at 9 am. Nice 11/12 year old bull. This met every condition of perfect to me.
View attachment 492506
What he said.
 

Sika98k

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A hunt where you take a nice representative animal, in a fair manner, enjoy the whole experience, and get back home safe!
“And get back home safe” is a very important part of it !
 

WAB

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I love to cover many miles following trackers through the bush, then work in tight, sorting through the bulls looking for an old dugga boy. My favorite hunt was not the biggest bull I have shot, but it was by far the best hunt. We covered 100 miles in 9 days of hunting in the Zambezi valley (Dande). My wife and I each took mature bulls and I managed to connect on a huge old warthog. Our PH on that hunt, Len Taylor, is a good friend, which really adds to the experience.
 

mrpoindexter

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Hard to say what would be perfect because each person has their own goals and their own motivations. My perfect hunt if I were single would involve dangerous game like a buffalo, lion or leopard and Kate Upton as a hunting buddy. I am married now, so that perfect hunt would also have to include a "hall pass" as well, I suppose.

In all seriousness, some people want a charge for the excitement. Others want a perfect shot and a quick drop. Others want a complex stalk. Others want a really old bull that has reached the end of his life but still has fight in him. And others might really want a 45"+ spread. Good luck getting all those into one hunt. For many, you don't have to check every one of those boxes to reach "perfection" but for me, perfection is a concept, not a reality. It can always be different and in some ways better, so if it can be better, then it isn't perfect.

All I want is to be satisfied with the hunt and how I did. For me, that would end with a single arrow kill and not a long track afterwards.
 
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BeeMaa

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IMO - Free range buffalo or at least a self-sustaining herd if on a large ranch to provide a "fair chase" scenario. Picking up spoor from the bakkie and tracking on foot. Most important to me is that it's an old bull...really old. Worn down and rounded horn tips (if not a scrum cap), solid bosses with no hair in between them, grey weathered skin with hair slip and battle scars...etc. Ideally a one shot kill at less than 25 yards, but as long as the hunt was good and shot at less than 50 yards...I'd be happy with in the salt results.

Dangerous game isn't dangerous at 100 yards. Gotta keep that blood pumping to feel the excitement. For me it's less than 50 yards. If I had a good hunt and saw good buffalo but wasn't able to line up a shot...I'd still be happy. Sometimes that's how hunting goes. There's more to hunting than the harvest.

EDIT - Having someone to share it with. Spouse, friend or a PH you are acquainted with can add to a hunt as well.

In the end you should get the hunt YOU want. Not what I want.
 

Safari Dave

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For me, the perfect buffalo hunt would have to include:


- completely free range animals, where they have had to evade predators and poachers all their lives
- sleeping outside in a tent where you can hear the nighttime sounds of Africa
- getting a mature male, slightly past his prime (doesn't have to make a record book)
- finding the right bull, targeting him, pursuing him
- doing a lot of walking to get the perfect shot
- having an element of real danger involved (Not shooting one at 500 yards with a 50 BMG. Being completely involved and in the mix if it came to a wounded animal situation)
- you and your PH are completely "on the same page" with hunting philosophy


Fortunately, I got it last year hunting with Reinhardt Fourie with Legadema Safaris in their Mozambique concession last year!

1664582017760.jpeg


Oh, I would have like to have shot it at 30 yards with my double, instead of 70-80 with my bolt-action. I would have liked for it's boss to be more solid and thicker. I would have liked for him to be with a couple of old dugga boys on the Serengeti plains, where I had to belly crawl for a hundred yards or more to get a shot, etc....

But I, realistically, couldn't have dreamed of a better hunt.
 

Mopani

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To me it would be an excellent hunt if there are buffalo at all. I have had booked two buffalo hunts so far, both in Zimbabwe.
During the first hunt of seven days I didn‘t see a single buffalo, on the second safari I admired a single bull for a split second then it was gone.
Fair chase, huge area, some very old bulls of at least 12 years, that‘s what are to me part of an excellent hunt.
 

zephyr

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My 3 Cape Buff hunts were like 375Fox .... pick up tracks of a couple of Bulls, a 4-5 mile track with some drama along the way get close than closer... All of my Buff have been shot with Iron sights ..I've been fortunate.. of the 3 cape Buff I have shot I have fired 3 initial times and 2 insurance shots ...
 
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Edge

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Wild area with naturally occurring buffalo, throw in natural predators who are also hunting (lions), picking up dugga boy tracks at first light and track them for as many miles as it takes and finding an old dugga boy at the end of the trail…

Just a few weeks ago, 16 Sept 2022, Mozambique. 8.5 miles of tracking…

DA635668-890A-48E0-87C6-252E64043E4D.jpeg


101EEF50-885E-4554-90A1-4B493C71809D.jpeg

I’ll be working on posting the full hunt report soon…this was Buff #2 of 3.
 

thi9elsp

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I've been fortunate to hunt buffalo twice free-range in Zambezi Valley Zimbabwe and Niassa Province Mozambique. I experienced multiple days of tracking for hours and miles after miles through grass above your head and burned / dried out forests only to catch a glimpse as the buffalo crested the hills or we never saw them. Time to meet the truck and try again tomorrow. Seeing a tail swish through the bamboo thicket at 30 yards, then feel the tickle of the wind on your back and buffalo busting out the other side. You run around to maybe get a shot and they're already up the hill 3-400 yards away. Of course one stops, the old dagga boy and looks back at you with disdain. Another day circling around a herd of Elephant cows and calves to pick the track back up on the other side. Having a buffalo move back across the dry creek bed that you've just crossed and hear him charging where we were walking less than a minute earlier.

1st buffalo was on day 3 and 2nd buffalo was on day 11. Neither was huge nor spectacular in any way. But they were both perfect hunts. Great land, excellent PH and team, and my wife was with me every step of the way.
 

meigsbucks

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First of all, if you think you’re going to hunt buffalo only once…. Those big bad boys get into your soul.
The perfect buff hunt: Hunt a good area with numerous buffalo and a PH that loves hunting buff. Enjoy the experience. Do the prep work: a.k.a. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE and prepare to walk.
I wanted to take a buff since I was 15. I finally got one at 56. I hope to hunt them two or three more times.
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Angelo_orygun

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Great stories in the posts above, your hunts are making me reminisce on mine!

Pre-hunt discussions with my PH involved finding a mature solid boss Bull, and I wanted as authentic of a hunt as I could get, on as large of a property as possible being that I was in RSA.

A little dumb-luck fell on me after chasing a bull for two days, and on the middle of day four, my first Buff hunt was now a celebration.

Although the actual shooting was rather uneventful on my hunt, and it was over with one round(he got an insurance shot), the experiences leading up to that point will always be what I remember about my first Buff.

Following your tracker and PH as they work through the thick stuff, with no idea how they kept the track, while being busted time and time again over multiple days is something that everyone should desire to experience, that’s whey you’re paying for.
 

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