I'd like to give a special shout out to you as I recall reading your buff hunt report at Mbizi. It really helped me to make my decision and I was glad I made it happen.Great start to your report, those pictures bring back some great memories of August 2017. Can't wait for the rest of the story.
Great report. Thank you.We're back in camp just in time for a sundowner and we're still on the deck watching as our celebrity puku is bedding on the sandbar below us. Two elephants have just crossed the river and are coming over our side of the river bank.View attachment 366965
We notice some impala towards the same bank becoming spooked and they take off. Something has scared them and our friendly puku is completely unaware of what is happening. With his back to the river bank and sitting at the edge of the peninsula. All the sudden, a pride of lions reveal themselves and are hunched low and moving onto the sand bank. We get the camera out just in time and put 2 and 2 together with what's about to happen. The puku is still unaware and the lions have now begun their sprint towards the puku.View attachment 366966
All of us on the deck are thinking this puku is toast but he miraculously skirts the edge of the river in full sprint just in time before the lions can cut him off from his escape. The young survivor makes it and seems to taunt the lions from a distance as he looks back. The lions realize its over and quickly head up the river bank back into the brush. Great wild life viewing.
We have another great dinner and I float the thought by Michael that I'd be okay with taking a shot (from a fee standpoint) on a second buff if we can't get a shot opportunity on my first one. My thinking is that what's happened has happened, it's terrible, I can't turn back time, I owe the trophy fee, but I'm also certain I'm coming back one way or another. If I'm already here, I might as well try again on this same trip. Michael says he agrees it's the best chance for success as we may come across the herd and there will be no guarantee I get a shot at my original bull. I'm glad we're on the same page so that the issue has been discussed but the understanding is that we have to go after the same herd. Off to bed we go and I'm stewing about my poor performance today.
Day 8 -
Much of the same as before in the AM and we pick up the tracks from the previous afternoon. I can't help but think we're way behind these buff though... Michael tells me not to be too sure about that as they didn't stop yesterday and maybe finally slowing down a little bit today. We're persistent and sure enough, we make contact with the buff late morning and bump them. They don't see us however, and are only being spooked from our steps in the thick brush. We decide to back off and revisit these tracks after lunch.
Back at camp, we've moved on a little bit from yesterday's disappointing outcome and finish our lunch feeling a little more relaxed. We're optimistic that at least we've made contact this morning and left them in a good place. As we leave the deck, Michael famously says - "Its not over until the fat lady sings!"
We're back on the tracks in the thick stuff and not more than 30 minutes before we got out of the car, we hear the herd thunder off and over a hill just in front of the thicket. We sit tight as we know they haven't seen us so maybe they'll settle down a bit further away. I'm having a hard time believing we are making contact like this on Day 8 of the last afternoon. Surely this is not going to pan out on our Hail-Mary?
Michael says we need to go for it and we need to get to the top of this hill NOW to see if we can spot them in a clearing. We work our way up and it's dead quiet with no sight of the buffalo. Stephen works the tracks with Charles for a bit and then stops to look back at us. He is aggressively signaling Michael to come forward behind some brush as he is seeing the herd about 100 yards staring in our direction from another hill separated by a dry creek bed. The sticks come out and I know it's time for me to move up.
Michael is telling me there's really only one bull that is presenting itself for a shot and it's the one in the front. The rest are all too bunched up and he can't confirm if this one is the one I hit originally. I accept that this is going to be my best chance to connect on a buffalo on my last day and I lay my rifle on the sticks. The bull is quartering towards us and I tell Michael that front shoulder angle is too hard and I need to wait. I'm a little too spooked from yesterday but my patience pays off as the bull turns for a perfect broadside presentation. I don't even have to ask Michael and the shot goes off.
I hear the impact myself and can see through my scope that the bull has completely buckled from it and is now staggering back to his feet and beginning to run with the herd. I'm thinking about connecting on a second shot but he is wobbling hard and the rest of the herd is too close to him. We have no choice but to wait and listen. Everyone is giving each other hysterical looks in the meantime. Maybe we've pulled this off after all?! Michael begins to ask me how I feel about the shot and before he can even finish asking I tell him 100% I hit him exactly where I needed it go. I'm that sure of it.
We don't hear the herd running anymore and it's totally dead quiet. Just as we begin moving up. We hear the first death bellow and out of all of us, Merriam is sighing so hard at the sound. Everybody is sharing and feeling a tremendous sense of relief given the effort that we've put in and it's beginning to look like I have my bull down for good. He gives us a few more bellows and we proceed to follow the tracks. We pick up on the blood and it's very heavy. We spot him and Michael makes the first approach with his 450 Rigby and I stand to his left with a close eye of the bull. He's dead and we can't believe we rallied the way we did until the very end. Michael is obviously ecstatic for me and we're all pumped. We aggregate our miles from the counter my phone and we're right at 100KM over the past 8 days. You're right Michael - it's never over until the fat lady sings!View attachment 366968
Thank you to Michael, Stephen, Charles and Merriam. No quit from any of them.
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We get the bull back to the skinning shed and we're greeted with a nice ceremony from the entire staff. It seems like everybody genuinely feels the suspense being lifted and is extremely happy to see the bull come in at the last second like this. I'm sure everyone thought it was over but we're all incredibly positive now. Mr. Benson advises us that he'll have the buffalo tenderloin prepared for dinner.
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Needless to say, you can probably guess where Michael and I end up next.
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I put on my "lucky" hat and my girlfriend joins us for a much needed round of everything.
Michael agrees to try some of the Dos Artes Extra Anejo that I brought. We've been saving it for the victory toast and it's definitely fit for the occasion. Gratuities are given out and it tugs at us to know that the staff haven't had any hunters this entire year besides us.
Dinner couldn't be more jovial and our last evening ends as good as I could've asked for. I'm sad that we have to depart at 5AM tomorrow for Lusaka. Our trip to Mbizi has been spectacular.
A few final words/thoughts:
1. Stephen, Charles and Merriam are expert hunters. I could go into this forever but you will appreciate their work and intuition if you ever get to hunt with them.
2. I didn't get a chance to go into detail here as the write up was getting too long but the lions on the property were an interesting element to our entire stay. Every other night they'd be roaring close by or right outside our chalet. They are present and will remind you and help you to appreciate how truly wild Mbizi is. There are some interesting stories from our stay but perhaps Michael can share this in further detail if he so chooses.
3. Dyson, Mr Benson, Sadrina and Angeline all took great care of us while we there. Excellent staff and always very friendly.
I hope this hunt report has been enjoyable for you to read. It was not intended to be this long but it became very difficult to exclude certain events as I was flipping through all the pictures. We are living through some very interesting and challenging times right now and I've taken the time the write this review as I feel it was a genuine treat for me to escape and to be able to enjoy a hunt like this. The very same reviews others have posted on here have helped me to pass the time during these lockdowns. I think many of us hunters treat these excursions as very special events so these experiences mean a lot to us. To those of you getting to hunt this year in Africa, my best of luck to you on your trips and please stay safe!
Thanks for that, Mbizi and the people there are truly special, I hope to make it back there again some day as there is a hyena with my name on it there.I'd like to give a special shout out to you as I recall reading your buff hunt report at Mbizi. It really helped me to make my decision and I was glad I made it happen.
Thanks for that, Mbizi and the people there are truly special, I hope to make it back there again some day as there is a hyena with my name on it there.
Big congrats on the successful outcome to your buff hunt and thanks for the great report. Reports like yours are what keep us all going through these trying times.
Thank you for your feedback. I wish the edit button were active for longer as I didn't know it would cut me off. I'm glad I put pen to paper on it as the details are still very vivid.Great report. Thank you.
You have done the hard work of taking your notes and putting them into a daily narrative. Now edit it into an event driven story of about 2500 words and submit it somewhere for editorial review and potential publication. You write well and I am confident that either SCI or DSC journals or African Hunting Gazette would run with it . You won't get a check, but your grand kids will be amazed when rummaging through your things someday, and a copy will be perfect on the coffee table of the trophy room. More importantly, your PH will be thrilled.
This is a great question and I should've made it clearer somewhere in my final post.Were you able to confirm if the buff you killed was the same one originally shot?