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

tarbe

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That's awesome Tim! As you know I have been skunked many times by those buggers. Next time though for sure! Full body mount for that or a rug?

Honestly, I want to do a full body mount (it really does have nice fur) but...gulp! The pricing on a full body mount is YIKES!
 

sestoppelman

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Honestly, I want to do a full body mount (it really does have nice fur) but...gulp! The pricing on a full body mount is YIKES!
Should I be lucky enough to get oneo_O:rolleyes:, I have always envisioned a half mount on a small pedestal. Sort of coming out of the long grass, mouth open nose into the wind:eek:. All I need is the hyena!:rolleyes::D
 

Bullthrower338

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After we got the buff back to the skinning shed and had lunch we went back out to look for tracks for the next animal on my wish list, Livingstone Eland. In the 4 days of checking drink pans and wandering all over we had yet to see a bull Eland track. We had seen a group of 5 cows and I was a bit skeptical of success on Eland at this point but Mr. Langerman and the brain trust on the back of the cruiser were not about to disappoint. Dave got ahold of another PH that was hunting Dyers camp adjacent to our section and coordinated access to the south end of their section for the next day.
The next morning we were up running tracks looking for buff for John and Tim and Eland for myself. I was enjoying looking at some new real estate when the guys pounded on the roof, beautiful Eland bull to our left. We bailed out and the Winchester was in my hands without asking for it. We ran up the track a ways and I was on the sticks, no shot! Eland runs, Dave and I run, bull stops and I’m on the sticks again. The bull is wonderfully broadside but some thick brush made the shot to risky and we pass the shot. Off again! We follow dutifully catching glimpses of him until we get to far into the dyers section and we don’t want to interfere with the hunters who so graciously let us work the bottom of their area. We back out, my Eland hopes are at a high now!
On the way back to camp for lunch we drive into a group of buffalo bulls laying in the shade off of the lightly traveled road! I saw 8 bulls with at least one that was a real snorter! We marked the tracks to relay to John and Tim, I’m excited to tell Tim about the big bull in the group. We start back to camp but are rudely interrupted by a few Eland bulls! On the sticks and Dave says the one on the left, at that moment they pull the old Eland shuffle and change places in the bush. Fearing that I shoot the wrong one I hold off. Now Dave spots a fourth bull to the right and instantly looses interest in the other three, he wants this new bull and away we go. Three or four times we bump them and fear pushing them into the Limpopo So we back off to let them calm down. My first taste of Eland has been one I will never forget. This kind of stuff makes me feel sorry for people that don’t hunt!
Another excellent lunch and we told the guys about the bulls we had found.
We headed back out to pick up the tracks where we had left them before lunch. After following the tracks for a while we finally caught sight of the bulls in the shade of a few trees on the edge of an opening. We slowly moved forward and our bull walked out then quickly into the bush! We played cat and mouse like this for about 1/2 hour before the old bull offered up a shot. I placed a 200 grain A-Frame in the pocket behind the shoulder with the bull slightly quartering away and a second into the left rear quarter as he was running away from us. He had stumbled upon the first shot and I was amazed he was still going. We briskly made tracks behind him as the sun was getting lower by the minute. We caught up to him at the edge of a Small riverbed and I fired several more rounds rapidly into the bull and he was finally down! I was amazed at the size of this old beast as I walked up on him. I have seen plenty of cape Eland but have never killed one nor been around one on the ground. The size just blew me away as I admired this fine old bull, well broomed right horn from years of use. It was an amazing moment.
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We cleared trail quickly to recover the old guy. I felt badly that I had to shoot this bull so many times. I wondered what I could have done wrong on that first shot? As we cut the bull in half we determined the bullet had done its job, entering and taking the bottom of the near lung and stopping in the far shoulder. I believe a second bullet had taken the other. As tough an animal I have met for sure. I knew I was on the light side of firepower for Eland and believe a 338 would have been much more effective. But Old Clayton’s Winchester has killed its first animal on the continent and I felt great about that. I thanked the bull and had a little conversation with my old friend thanking him for being part of our hunt and wishing he was still around so I could send him some pictures and tell him a tale.
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Castle tasted pretty good that evening!
 
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Ridgewalker

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I’m sure Clayton is reading this from the heavens and enjoying every episode!
One fine old eland bull!
 

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I'm enjoying every update of this thread, thanks for sharing!

I hope to take my first buff with a double in a few years, just as I've envisioned doing it since I was a kid..
 

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Great read so far. We need to have a Hou Happy Hour some day
 

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............... This kind of stuff makes me feel sorry for people that don’t hunt!
...................

That describes this hunt report quite well.
 

huntermn15

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Great reports gentlemen! I look forward to reading the rest. Great Eland and Buff! Love the hyena, that is an animal on my short list.
 

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Great bull, congratulations!!!
 

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Nice old bull Cody, a real veteran. (y) And I see stripes there. Cape E. don't have them, so like mine I suspect a Livingstone hybrid at least.
 

tarbe

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Now that my ammo has finally made it to the BVC (and we were fortunate enough to stumble into a Hyena) we can truly turn our full attention to Buffalo for the first time.

Before we go Buffalo hunting, it might we worthwhile for a gun nut to talk a little about bullets and loads.

As you recall, I started my hunt planning intent on using my 450-400 Nitro. I wanted to shoot the 400gr North Fork, but John convinced me that the A-Frame was less likely to create an exit wound, important in thick cover/herd animal situations.

Next I was onto the .470 Nitro…but I never got to the point where I had decided on a bullet (but I did have 500gr A-Frames and likely would have used them).

Then a brief interlude with the .458 Lott…and finally settling on the .450 Dakota.

For those not familiar with the Dakota, it is essentially a .416 Rigby necked up to .458. It actually predates the .450 Rigby by a few years. The two cartridges are not identical, but are very nearly so. And of course, they are both essentially a beltless .460 Weatherby with a normal shoulder (vs the trademark double-radius) with lower SAAMI/CIP pressure ratings.

Being a bit of an oddball who likes to live on the fringes, I decided to use a bit of an oddball bullet – the 550gr Woodleigh Weldcore Softnose. I had heard more than a few stories of Woodleigh bullets being “on the soft side”, but I reasoned that often those reports were the result of folks not adhering to Woodleigh’s impact velocity recommendations. One thing I was NOT going to do, was risk an impact velocity at or above Woodleigh’s 2,200fps maximum!

I also felt that with an SD of .375, I was not going to see anything other than a nice big ball of lead and copper bulging the skin on the far shoulder! Likely a ball that would weigh at least 475gr.

On John’s recommendation, I also loaded up some Woodleigh Hydro Solids, just in case.

My final load for the 550gr was 99gr of IMR 4350 for an instrumental velocity of 2,170fps at 15 feet. I was not always able to extract all the usable accuracy from this load, but when I could, it would keep all the holes touching at 50 yards. The Hydros were doing 2,180fps with 98.2gr of IMR 4350. The loads I took to Zimbabwe used once-fired Dakota cases and Federal 215 primers.

Buff or Bust!

Cody and Dave are having great fortune in the north of Nengo, seemingly always into the Buffalo…but the pickings seemed to be a little slimmer down south. Consensus was that the drought had animals heading into the northern reaches of the BVC, where the grass and browse was just a bit less stressed.

Our first serious look for Buffalo tracks resulted in finding where a few bulls crossed the road. After a 5 minute recon, the guys came back with a thumbs-up that we should follow.

It felt great to finally have the AHR in my hands. The weather was pleasant, the wind was a little shifty, but we were following Buffalo!

I had a bit of a mantra that I continually repeated to myself during the hunt. It consisted of my job description – Keep Up, Keep Quiet, Keep Alert, Shoot Straight! Pretty sure I failed on each of the first three points, at least a few times, on every stalk. But on this particular stalk, it was the wind that got us. Twice we bumped the bulls without getting a good look at them, and a decision was made to back out and stop spooking them with our scent so as not to chase them out of our area.

We spent a good bit of time checking numerous water holes for Buffalo tracks, choosing not to bother whenever we found a large, breeding herd.

That evening in camp, Cody and Dave gave us the good news of the large group of bulls they bumped, and John and I were jazzed to go chase them in the morning. Dave gave very good (perfect, in fact) instructions on where to go and what to expect.

One of my key learnings from the first stalk? The minimum distance I needed to stay behind John, so as not to eat the butt of his Rigby whenever hit hit the brakes!

Well, that...and the shifting winds of the Zimbabwe lowveld will really give the Buffalo an advantage!
 

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So I keep reading about this impala, it’s time to:

 

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Hyena, great old eland bull... you guys are doing great! Keep it coming.
 

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Congrats, Cody on your Cape buffalo!

Congrats Tim, nice hyena and an old eland! I would have full mounted that hyena too!
 

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