Saturday, 28 March 2020

BUFFALO HUNT, PART 3

HUNTING BUFFALO IN THE EASTERN CAPE.

As we continued our descent a new plan was formulated, we would climb the hill side above the thicket, this would hopefully give us a chance to see the buffalo with out us having to enter the very thick bush, but like all best laid plans they came to nothing, as the buffalo had other ideas.  When we were still half a mile from the thicket the buffalo could be seen exiting the thicket, putting more distance and more altitude between them and us.  As the buffalo were on the move we drove to the corner of the thicket which was where the buffalo had entered, the thicket was roughly square and we were at the bottom left hand corner, the buffalo had been seen exiting the top right hand corner.  Rather than try and push through the thick tangle of thorn bushes we opted to walk around the thicket in a clockwise direction.  The hill was steep and it wasn't long before I was puffing and blowing, but at least we did not have to contend with the mud.  


The buffalo after leaving the thicket.

The ground was strewn with rocks, from the size of your fist to the size of a hundred weight sack of potatoes, needles to say this was not a silent aproach, but the buffalo were still a long way off.  We carried on climbing, weaving our way round the many thorn bushes and large rocks, our tacker moved ahead of us a little way while I stopped to catch my breath and rest my weary legs.  A minute later he signalled we should move to him quickly.  Devan, Pololo and I moved as stealth fully as possible up to the tracker, Devan looked through his binoculars and told me the buffalo were coming our way.  The sticks were deployed and I got ready, Devan whispered to me that the buffalo were going to emerge from the right, as at this point I had not seen them.  We were positioned behind a large acacia tree on the edge of a shallow gully.  The gully was about fifty yards wide with the opposite side being slightly higher than ours.


A minute later the first buffalo came into view, it was a cow flanked by a bull, behind them was another cow and behind her were a mixture of bulls, cows and calves.  Devan whispered shoot number three, we had already discussed this, young calves didn't count, so there was no question as to which animal I was to shoot.  I aimed at number three but she did not offer me an immediate shot, so I waited a few seconds, then the bull that had been flanking the lead cow stopped and number three walked behind him, number one however was now clear, and Devan said shoot number one, she was almost on the edge of the gully when she stopped, I held steady and shot for the centre of the left shoulder, she hunched up and brought her left front leg up sharply.  She now ran about ten yards and the rest of the heard gathered round her, I chambered another round and waited for a clear shot, the buffalo were stood with their noses in the air, when suddenly they must have smelt blood, because they turned on their heels and ran.  The cow was the last to move, and as a clear shot presented its self I fired again, and two seconds later she was down.  I chambered another round and stayed on the sticks, but it was not required, after five minutes we approached.  The first shot had been perfectly placed and the follow up shot had also finished up in the chest, a raking shot as the animal quartered away from me.  From the first shot until she went down was no more than twenty seconds, twenty seconds I will never forget.







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