ZIMBABWE: Hunting The BVC In Zimbabwe For Buffalo, John Sharp Safaris Exceeding Expectations

Bullthrower338

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So many times in life it seems that you spend money on something or anticipate how great something will be only to feel that you could have done better or made a different choice and got a bit more bang for your hard earned buck. This trip was definitely not one of those times. My expectations were far exceeded on this hunt, here are the details and it may take a few days to complete.

I have wanted to hunt Cape buffalo since I first read Ruarks Horn of the Hunter, I devoured books on the subject from the sixth grade on and still can’t get enough!
I have had the means to do a buff hunt for a long time but I wanted a perfect hunt, my way and with a double rifle.

Had Tim @tarbe not asked me to join him on a hunt with John Sharp in the BVC, I may very well still might be trying to figure out where I would hunt. As it was we booked our hunt with John and Dave Langerman for August 14-26th and paid deposits at DSC.

Tim and I had spent almost every weekend for the better part of a year at the range, working up loads, checking velocities, doing reload drills, in some cases one of us changing DG rifles like underwear! We burned a lot of powder and placed a bunch of lead into the backstop. I’m sure that we probably pounded what little bit of good sense we had in our heads with the religious diet of recoil we were feeding our selves. But knowing that it was going to all boil down to one shot that if placed correctly would end up with a smile and a handshake from a happy PH, poor placement and we would needlessly place that PH into harms way as he cleaned up my mess. I prayed nightly before and during the hunt to guide my bullet where the ivory bead met the black shoulder.

I had purchased a Merkel 470 NE for Buffalo and shot it well. I had excellent luck with factory Federal Premium 500 grain Trophy Bonded and a load I worked up with A-Frames. I was content until Tim bought a Searcy 470! Instant wood envy set in! Somehow in the flurry of gun trading I end up selling the Merkel and work out a deal with Tim on the Searcy! My A-Frame load shot perfectly in it as well so I was in business hunting buff with the Searcy!
Three weeks before the hunt we make a range trip. I want to do some shooting at 50 yard range just to shoot some groups. We place two targets up side by side, I shoot a right and a left at the right target. Tim says you are about 8” to the right and high. Well this is odd because I’ve shot plenty at 50 yards and it shoots about top of the bull 2-1/2” apart. I look through the spotter and find Tim was correct, right where he said only I wasn’t shooting at the left target!!!
Panic Now? Not Yet! Call Butch Searcy before panicking! Sent an urgent email to Butch letting him know that the top rib had separated and the wedge was loose! Butch sent a reply back within an hour on a Sunday telling me to overnight the gun to him and he would get on it.
Gun was back in my hands within a week! Re-regulated and reblued, back in business!
One more trip to the range and all is good, confidence back, ready to hunt. Went home and cleaned the gun, all is good. Two days before wheels up, I’m going to fire a couple rounds to foul the bore before I pack the rifles into the TuffPak, front trigger BOOM rear trigger NOTHING! PANIC NOW! Call Butch, Call Tim, a lot late to change guns now, not for lack of DG rifles but lack of time and I want to hunt with the double. I try Butch’s suggestions to no avail, I am thinking broken firing pin! One last idea, I blast the living hell out out of the action with cleaner and blow it out and repeat the process a couple more times. Still nothing! So I’m my experience in the construction industry if it doesn’t work hit it harder. I slammed the butt on the bench, broke the action dropped a couple snap caps in and Shazam workin! Called Tim back and test fired both barrels with him and Kathy on the phone. Fired another 10 rounds and all was fine. I’m thinking it was just full of trash. Will ship the gun back for a going through soon but at least I’m hunting with the 470 again!

We depart Houston on the 12th and everything goes smoothly for me, I will let Tim tell his side of the story.lol

Uneventful flight to Atlanta, good flight on Delta 200 to Johannesburg and a great meal at Africa Sky and a good nights rest after a bottle of wine and a few Castles, finally back in Africa! Life is good, one more flight in the morning to Bulawayo and on to camp.
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John was waiting for us on the tarmac when our SAA flight landed, got our luggage(Tim has additional story) cleared customs and off to camp.
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I load up with Dave and off for our 4 hour drive to Nengo Camp in the BVC!

We arrived close to sunset and put up our gear. The accommodation was wonderful, large chalet over looking the water! Definitely a great operation with great staff that attended to anything needed. Tongi the camp boss was a pleasure to be around and was very eager to keep us pleased. Although when you have a couple guys that are used to a spike camp on an elk hunt being normal and think that a wall tent is upper crust, we aren’t to hard to keep happy in a place like this!
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Dining area at Nengo Camp.

We are warned that the drought has made the area difficult to hunt but we’re also told that they had just shot a 49” bull recently! I wanted to put Langerman at ease and let him know that my expectations were not nearly that high and I would be plenty happy with a solid 46 inch bull.:A Banana Sad: Then I told him that as long as we had a great hunt I really could care less about the size as long as he was a mature old bull and hunted properly. Dave would realize after 12 days that I am borderline retarded and pretty much more about having a good time than anything else. I knew the first time I met Dave at DSC that I was going to enjoy hunting with him and over the next two weeks my first impression proved correct and I left with the utmost respect for this man, he will be one of the great PH’s in Africa lore.
Yeah, Yeah, I will get to the hunting shortly!:D Cheers:
 
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BnC 04

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Great start to what sounds like an epic adventure. Keep it rollin Cody'
 

IdaRam

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:A Banana:
Yeah buddy! I’ve been looking forward to this! Excellent first chapter :)
 

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Oh come on! Let’s get this moving! Another restless night waiting on the next episode. I’m excited to read this about the BVC! Another dream location!
 

sestoppelman

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About time!! Lets hear it!!:rolleyes::D:D
 

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Good start, looking forward to this one! :A Popcorn: :D Cheers:
 

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Yes finally!! All sounds great and familiar so far. Nengo is my favorite camp and location there! POPCORN IS GOING STALE!
 
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PHOENIX PHIL

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375 Ruger Fan

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Looking forward to this and @tarbe report too. Glad you both lived to tell about it!
 

Bullthrower338

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Our first supper in the BVC on arrival day pretty much set the standard for each subsequent meal, excellent and way to much food! If you go to bed hungry there it’s your own damn fault! I looked forward to the dinner table every night almost as much as I did to the next days hunting. Great food, wine and conversation every night and all starting with grace most eloquently said by Tim every evening. I’ve sat at many tables and bowed my head in prayer but never have I believed the conviction as sitting at this table, we truly are blessed to be able to go do these things, enjoy God’s creation and spend quality time with and have been graced with the quality of friends that we have been given the opportunity to share these blessings with. We put in our breakfast request and wake up and enjoyed a final beer at the fire before bed.

First morning breakfast at 0600 then off to check zero on the rifles. One shot with the Pre-64 30-06 and verified, two at 50 and two at 25 with the 470 and we were happy(let Tim tell his part on this too).

We headed out hunting after topping the Cruisers off with diesel. We looked for tracks and really weren’t seeing much for buffalo tracks. Tons of other game was prevalent and I very much enjoyed the day learning so much from Dave about the trees, birds and animals. Day one went by without a shot and I was just fine with that ending!
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The view from up on this Kopje was amazing and well worth the trip up. At this point I realized Dave was much younger and damn sure I’m much better shape than I.
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Leopard Tortoise, first one I had ever seen and thought it was very cool!


Dave and I headed up to the northern section of Nengo to check the drink pans for tracks. We actually cut a set of three tracks crossing a road and after consulting the trackers, I was strapping on my cartridge belt and dropping two of those beautiful 470 rounds into the chambers of the double. Now I’ve always thought that the “thunk” of cartridges dropping into a double was a beautiful sound, but to hear it for the first time about to follow Cape buffalo in Africa was probably sweeter than the sound of Jennifer Anniston Whispering sweet nothings in my ear. Although I can’t say that with full conviction because Jen won’t ever whisper in my ear, it’s my damn story and I will tell it how I want! We followed the bulls as they were meandering through the bush feeding. This was my first taste of watching our trackers work, amazing is the only way to describe the way these guys work! I will be damned if I could figure out exactly what they were following in that hard dirt and grass, often times I found myself wondering if I was following blue ticks back home as they wander back and forth locating a not so hot cat track. It didn’t take to long and we were at a screeching halt. Buffalo! And it turned out I was the only one that couldn’t see the 3 tons of black bovine flesh in the bush 40 or 50 yards ahead of us! Guess my Buffalo vision hadn’t set in yet! Pretty soon Doobi was patient enough to almost draw a damn circle around where the buff were and at that point I was saying to myself they were there the whole time and you couldn’t see them, you suck at this! We followed behind them for quite awhile before Dave could get good looks at their heads. At that point you could tell he wasn’t impressed with any of them and was just having fun stalking buffalo. The moment I realized that this guy was going to put every effort into my success was right then. There was a bull that was standing there broadside at 35 yards with a beautiful set of horns, drops, mass and an old white face. Dave said 37” and we could do much better. Although I went into this hunt worrying that I would shoot a bull the first couple days and really miss out on what I came for, buffalo hunting. Had Dave said shoot, I would have in a second. He was beautiful in that ugly old buffalo sorta way.
We backed out after Dave embarrassed them by letting them know that their goose was cooked if we had chose!

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I was excited to tell Tim about my first stalk and admitted how badly I wanted to shoot that old bull! Glad I didn’t though, I was still hunting buffalo!

Day 3
We followed 6 bulls and got a look at them, one good bull in the bunch but still not what we are looking for! Glad I’m not the one judging these guys because they all excited me! I guess it would be the same if we took a PH on an elk hunt, he would probably be wondering what kind of idiot would pass up on a 320 bull to look for a better one! Lesson one I learned in Africa is listen to the PH!

Almost to where a gun goes off finally!
 
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Bullthrower338

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johnnyblues

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Dream location. Best of luck.
 

rinehart0050

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Great start to the report! Looking forward to the rest of the story!
 

Bullthrower338

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What! No mention of the cozy 15.5 hour flight in the Honeymoon suite at the back of Delta 200?
It was much to special to ruin on a public forum!
 
 

 

 

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