For a very long time a Buffalo hunt had been a dream of mine. I spoke to several Outfitters before I met Anja at the Jagd & Hund in June 2022 in Dortmund – and my decision where to go to was made. The hunt was supposed to take place in September 2022 but due to unforeseen circumstances on my side had to be postponed to June 2023. Thanks again to Anja & Philip for their understanding and flexibility!
The weather conditions were ideal for our hunt and when I arrived the Buffalos were in their mating time. My flight arrived late evening, therefore we went to the shooting range first thing next morning to practise with the .375 H & H Magnum of Steyr to get familiar with handling etc. After a few shots my grouping was right and we went on our first Safari Drive, looking for fresh Buffalo tracks. Our tracker Clemens spotted tracks from the last day at one of the dams and we followed them into a bushy area. By slowly walking through the bushes, following the tracks further, we heared the sound of Buffalos and could hear them running away. By getting out of the bush as fast as we could we still got a glimpse of a group of Buffalos and could make out that there were Bulls amongst them. Our attempt to get closer again was terminated by the fading light and we finished the day with a traditional Braai and delicious lamb chops arround the fireplace.
During the next days we followed this herd again and again, got a closer look at the Bulls and identified the one that met all my expectations – I wanted a character horned Buffalo Bull, a propper Dagga Boy! Even though we stalked & walked roundabout 15 km per day – REALLY – we never got a chance to get within shooting distance.
I was beginning to loose confidence as the last day broke on and saw my chances fading. We found fresh tracks of the herd in the early morning and followed them until Lunch. Our Chicken Wraps were quickly eaten while we were standing waiting for Clemens to confirm they were again in front of us, lying down to rest in the mid-day sun. As we were running out of time we made the plan to take position on the oposite side of the bush were there were lying, behind a dam wall, ready on the shooting sticks. Then we sent Clemens, our tracker, over to make noise and push them towards us. After having waited 10 min we suddenly noticed movement in the dam – and saw Cows, Bulls and Calves swimming towards us. Anja told me to be ready if the Bull we were looking for would be coming out of the water and would be standing by himself.
We watched the herd slowly coming out of the water – first the Cows with the Calves, then the first Bull and then the Bull we wanted. Unfortunately they walked together and the wind changed slightly. We could see they were looking into our direction. Philip made a whistle and the herd moved, the Bull was suddenly standing alone and I took the chance and went for the shot. The Bull went down but got up again immediately, turned and went to the right hand side walking alongside the edge of the dam. We lost sight, checked were the herd was and then slowly followed the Bull. We found the spot where he had taken the shot, the blood we found looked like the liver was hit – I was relieved and put my hopes up. We followed the blood track into the thicker bush, the blood got less and less while we walked together. Each of us ready to shoot should the Buffalo suddently come towards us – Philip with his 458, Anja with the 416 and me with the .375 H & H Magnum.
The terrain good muddy and we had to cross a small river bed – our shoes and socks beeing soaking wet now. After the river bed we couldnt find any more blood but were able to see the track very well still. Coming arround some bushes we could hear him breathing, when we got closer he stood up and started running again. Philip fired and placed a good second shot – and we went after the blood track again. The bushy part opened up for a small side arm of the dam again and we saw he must have been swimming to the other side. We held our rifles, bullet belts and cellphones up in the air and slowly walked trough, now beeing completely wet all over!
We walked another 10 min through thick bush when we heared him swimming again. He was already far away when we reached the edge of the dam to watch out for him. But we could see where he was heading to, started running arround the dam walls using the bushes as a hide and found his blood track on the other dam side again. Philip told us to take position, rifles ready, standing next to each other for the Bull to come out of the bushes again – and we agreed I would have the first shot again, whereas Anja & Philip would only shoot if we would be in danger.
A few seconds later, the Bull rushed out in front of us – I took the shot but missed, reloaded and the second one was a hit again. The Buffalo was strongly wounded now and slowing down but again heading towards the water, went in and started to swim. We watched him from the shore and when he reached a position that lifted his body towards an extent that we could aim on his shoulder again, I asked Philip to take him out. Philip took the shot, the Buffalo went towards the shore with his last power, Philip gave him a last Bullet and he laid down – finally dead.
Only as we finally approached him I saw what a beauty he was – it was worth every stalk, even though it had altogether been almost 100 km !!
Memories for a lifetime – for sure! Thank you, Anja, Philip & Clemens – I will never forget this beautifull hunt!
Johannes Koch, Germany