Cape Buffalo (Sycerus caffer)
Buffalo have earned the reputation of being Africa’s most dangerous bovine. When wounded, Buffalo seek revenge and many a hunter has experienced this fate already, sometimes with fatal consequences. Buffalo stand 150cm/59” tall at the shoulder, with both sexes having horns. The horns of bulls are thickened at the bosses with deep curls, whereas the cows have a thinner horn structure, often curling slightly backwards at the tip. Good sign of nearby Buffalo is the ‘tch-r-r-r-r-r…tch-r-r-r-r’ of the oxpecker bird flying straight up into the air from the back of Buffalo. Buffalo are quite well tempered and would, under normal circumstances, rather flee than charge. Buffalo looking straight at you, with the upper lip curled backwards, are testing the air for scent – a technique called flehmen utilizing the Jacobson’s organ situated between the throat the nasal channels. It is also in this position that Buffalo charge; once wounded, this killing machine has the tendency to move in perfect circles, ending up on the trail of the hunter. The most impressive looking trophies are from the ‘dagga’ boys – old outskirt bulls that wander alone or sometimes in small herds of three to four bulls. The term ‘dagga boy’ stems form the tendency of Buffalo to mud wallow. It is especially the case during the heat of the day. Grazers, Buffalo prefer long grass habitat in open woodland.
A thick skinned bovine. Adequate penetration is vital. Wounded animals may survive for days on end, leaving a dangerous animal at large. Use heavy arrows and high poundage. Broadside and quartering away shots are advised. A good shot would be in line with the front leg, halfway between the ridge of the back and the bottom of the chest – the heart protrudes downwards in the middle of the chest. A problem with Buffalo lies in the rib layout. Buffalo has thick ribs that overlap, reducing penetration to a large extent. Another excellent shot would be the quartering away shot, slipping the arrow past the ribcage on the inside. Aim for the opposite leg in this case. Do not attempt frontal shots. A back-up rifle is advised.
SCI - 100”
Rowland Ward - 42”
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