Post Author: Rance Safaris
April 8, 2019
Our last days hunt turned out to be another cold, misty and rainy morning. The bad weather had no ill effect on our spirits though, and we set off with high hopes of what the day was to present us with. We were on our way to the cliffs of Rapness to look for bushbuck when we spotted a small herd of buffalo off in the distance, about 12 animals in total. They were out in the open grazing and very relaxed so I turned and looked at Denise, she looked at Brian, and Brian’s response was “If you want to hunt a buffalo honey, lets go get em!”. Denise needed no more encouragement, we loaded rifles and set off to get a closer look.

We used some big boulders and a clump of thicket in an otherwise open grassland as cover and closed the distance relatively easily. It was apparent that 2 old dagga boys had joined up with this small breeding herd for some conversation. Both dagga boys were of similar age, the one slightly wider than the other. Denise slid onto the shooting sticks just like we had practiced and done so many times together before. The buffalo were now only 60 yards away so in a whispered breath I instructed her which animal to shoot. He was slightly quartering towards us so told Denise to aim on the point of his shoulder.

At the shot the buffalo’s reaction was good. The herd milled around in confusion and moved closer together but now hidden by that clump of thicket we used as cover. I was hoping and expecting that he was down. Our bull was still out of sight behind the herd. Still only 60 yards away and not aware of our presence, we didn’t move a muscle. It took an eternity for the herd to slowly start moving off to our right, by this time I still hadn’t laid eyes on him again since the shot. Finally a bloodied nostril appeared from behind the thicket and I knew that was him. As he took a few more steps forward showing his vitals Denise had another crack and all hell broke loose. The herd stampeded off to our right and down back into the safety of the dense valley bushveld, and our bull ran directly away from us also down into the thick stuff.

After analysing the tracks, we found a small pool of blood that must have been dripping out the buffalo’s nose when they were all mulling about. There was only the slightest of blood trails, one drop every 10 yards are so. As we tracked to the edge of the thicket common sense prevailed and Gus the legendary English Coon Hound cross Bluetick was called in. We let the buffalo be for about 2 hours before commencing on his tracks.

Again Gus was immediately quick on the trail and after 100 yards down some steep thick thorny terrain he had the bull bayed with one hell of a commotion. Trees were breaking, the buffalo was growling and Gus was going wild. In order to get Gus and the buffalo within sight we had to literally crawl on all fours through the dense brush. As soon as we could make out where the buffalo was merely 15 yards away, a small war broke out and the buffalo was down. Without the help of Gus, we would have seriously been in a spot of bother!

Hunting buffalo in this kind of terrain and vegetation is totally different to what we were used to up in Tanzania. The buffalo here tend to stick to the safety of the thicker vegetation during the day and only come out into the open to graze early morning and late evening. Generally the hunting method is spotting them from a distance out in the open early in the morning, or knowing where they have bedded for the day and ambush them as they start grazing in the evening. Picking up tracks and following is also an option but less successful due to the thick vegetation they bed down in. Makes for exciting close quarter hunting that’s for sure!

We thoroughly enjoyed our last evening together, recapping the past 7 days as well as years past of our many adventures in Tanzania. It’s always sad to say farewell to Denise and Brian, they have not only become a part of my family now, but also have joined the Rance Safaris family. Brian, I wish you all the best with the rehabilitation of your quadricep operations and can’t wait to go chasing grumpy old buffalo with you and Denise again next year! Thank you Rance Safaris for your awesome hospitality, you guys have created an exclusive wilderness hunting experience second to none! See you in 2019!

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