Boarding a Sling 4 to fly to Hoedspruit in is a very interesting experience as it is a small plane, being the PH on a dangerous game hunt you need to pack a bit more than the clients. After my one piece of luggage, rifle, ammo camera and laptop we were pretty much at weight limit on the runway as we left the tarmac for the quick hope of 2 hours to the landing strip on the farm. Upon landing and being met by the ground team we enjoyed a comfortable game drive and scout then the evening was spend discussing hunting stories calibers and an ice-cold whiskey and soda.
We were greeted by the calls of a Swanson’s Francolin and a cup of coffee in the pre morning light, being October it was not cold at all which made for wonderful mornings and evenings but was much hotter during the day. We headed for the shooting range and the 375 H&H was shooting dead on, every body satisfied and on the vehicle we started the tedious job of checking the waterholes and favorite haunts of our intended quarry Cape Buffalo Cows. As the day grew hotter we had perused several herds but not found what we were looking for we passed them up and returned to the camp to meet the rest of the hunting clients and cool down a bit.
The Sling 4 a locally build South African four seater airplane runs on 95 unleaded petrol and preformed beautifully, and touched down in about 300meters of the airstrip on the farm the clients brother and pilot we all greeted with cool drinks and hearty hand shakes. It is always great to spend time in the bush with such great people it makes the whole experience that much better.We headed back to the camp enjoyed a quick snack before heading into the field for the afternoons hunt.
We found a great Cow buffalo, old past her prime in a herd that had bedded down in the heat near a water hole and started our stalk from some distance away. After a long approach we ended up about 40 meters from here but due to the fact there where animals behind here we where never really presented with a shot not long after the wind swirling in the stifling heat sent our scent towards them and bust our plans right open sending them heading for the open ground where there are no bushes only a few trees no grass and no cover making a stalk not really possible. When the sun had started to sink behind the Drakensburg Mountains we turned and headed for the vehicle.
That evening the lot of us were invited by the property’s team to join them in a birthday celebration for one of their manager’s birthday, which was an absolutely great time for every one. Returning home a little later than what we expected.
Again the Swainsons called the morning of the second day at 5:30 and the coffee was great this morning however it was overcast and looked like it could have rained which is much needed up in the North of Limpopo as there has not been much rain at all this year, so when we received the light mist rain if you can call it that we were all a little damp when we left the vehicle for the second time to make a stalk on the bigger herd we found that morning.
After getting ahead of the heard and positioning ourselves next to a rather large anthill we waited and not long after we settled down we were rewarded with the first bull arriving, but we also found a old Dugga boy rolling in the mud not far from where we had set up. These two bulls did not enjoy each others company and that was immediately evident, when the young herd bull walked into the clearing the old Dugga boy stood up they both snorted at each other and the Dugga boy started moving off in the direction of us. Now frustrated the young heard bull that is known to have a very inquisitive and aggressive disposition was watching the dagga boy and caught sight of us. The swirling wind didn’t help by now though, the whole herd had bunched up to our left behind the anthill, now stuck between a rock and a hard place and not wanting to caught in the wrong predicament I gathered up everyone and after what felt like ages we started backing out, the young herd bull watching our every movement and the Dugga boy advancing in that gate of an annoyed Buff swaying his head from side to side, we managed to get off the anthill while the Dugga boy was about 30 meters away. As we cleared the anthill two our amazement the whole herd was so intent on the going on’s between the two bulls they didn’t see us. I immediately set up the sticks and picked out a good-looking dry old cow standing to the left of the herd in a clear shooting lane. We took our time to let the animals behind her clear as soon as it was all clear the 375H&H boomed in the morning air. I saw the cow take 300gr Peregrine VGR-3 just to the right of the left shoulder and she stumbled and then arched her body and started running with the rest of the heard, however the old Dugga boy start in our direction as the young heard bull made good his trot and this forced us out of the area after a quick glance at the direction of the cow and hearing her go down and a giving a slight bellow we got out moving. After about 15 minutes we came around the corner from where we where sitting on the ant hill and saw the cow laying stone dead not 30 yards from where she had stood. The bullet had entered from the front between the center of the neck and the left shoulder continued through the heart and stopped in the rumen about two thirds back this we found out after the autopsy. There where high fives hand shakes and censure congratulations all round, My good friend mentor in the hunting industry, client and amazing human being Jaro who has hunted his whole life had his fist Buffalo after an exhilarating hunt.
Not to be out done by his brother Stephan picked up the 375H&H after loading the buff we were back in the routine looking for sign and checking the watering holes. We found the first herd still at a water hole so we crept in from some thick bush and ended coming up over the dam wall to be faced with the whole heard milling about we considered the animals and could find only one really nice shooter cow the balance looked pregnant or too young once again the wind swirled and they took off in a gentle gallop in which they cover so much ground your awe struck each time. We left that heard and took a chance to move to another area, when we started approaching we found that there was a heard that had just moved off and were following an favorite game trail we chanced the wind and hurried around the heard and set ourselves up on a big ant-hill in the middle of an open patch of savanna with no grass, only a line of a few trees and dotted with ant-hills. The wind would hold steady and then every few minutes it would swirl our scent around for the buff to pick up. We had to take the chance how ever, then out of thick bush on the opposite side of the open area between us, they stood about 160meters away only a line of acacia lay between us.
The wind kept swirling and the buff kept looking in our direction but could not see us, then as if the god of sport herd us the wind swung in our favor and held for a bit, this gave us the gap we needed, we got in a line and moved straight behind the line of acacia to the next ant-hill. Then again over the anthill to the last acacia between the Buff and us. The whole herd was looking in our direction when we stood up just to the right of the bush, some of the animals had not seen us and where walking towards us, as the cow third from the right stopped and lifted her head, I could see she was an old matriarch and had supplied the herd with many calves but now was dry, she stopped we set up the sticks the range was 89meters and she looked to the bull on her left and Stephan placed the Peregrine VGR-3 300gr bullet just to the right of the trachea and left of the shoulder, the cow felt at the impact but recovered swiftly but a jet of arterial blood spouted from the entrance she turned and made 15 meters before going down in a heap. The bullet entered from the front went through the lungs and was recovered in the rumen two thirds back. She gave a short death bellow which stopped the heard and then a long mournful long death bellow which was at the time some thing unique to hear, as we backed away slowly the rest of the heard surrounded her and would not let us get any closer.We called the vehicle and there were much congratulations and handshakes and a bit of shaking hands too. We approached about 15min later and chased the remainder of the herd off and we had our second buff.
We were all ecstatic and after the photos and loading of the buff we all started a celebration that will not be forgotten.
The two brothers who hunted the two Buff on the last day what a mementoes day for all of us.
Both the bullets preformed perfectly and retain 94% of their weight keep an eye out in the magazines for these photos.
October 2015 will go down in the record books for me we hunted 5 buffalo and caught 2 marlin all in one month. This is why I became a PH and outfitter.
I am now looking forward to a bit of paddle-ski fishing and a family beach holiday.