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Cape Buffalo(Syncerus caffer)

The Cape Buffalo, or Southern Buffalo as he is also known, is considered by many to be the most dangerous of all of the Big Five. While he seems docile enough when viewed undisturbed in the herd, when agitated or wounded this bovine can be extremely aggressive, vindictive, and cunning.

That said, some individual animals seem to exhibit aggressive tendencies for no reason at all. Found all over southern Africa in varying sized herds, the Buffalo can weigh up to 1800 pounds. He is primarily a grazer but an occasional browser who must drink every day. He favors the thick brush during the day leisurely moving and grazing as he goes. At night they tend to “herd up” to protect the young from their archenemy, the Lion.

Both sexes carry horns, however the horns of a bull can be quite spectacular in spread, deep curl and a solid boss covering the forehead. Cows lack the boss but can have a very wide spread; in fact, the world record buffalo on file in the Roland Ward record book is a cow with a spread of some 64 inches.

With a well-placed shot, a rifle of .375 caliber is adequate for the hunt of Cape Buffalo with Witkop Safaris. However, a shot from the various 40 calibers provides a much more immediate and noticeable effect when hunting Buffalo with Witkop Safaris. To place your shot from side on, follow the center line of the foreleg one third up into the body. This will impact the high heart/lung area; the buffalo will usually rock forward at impact and then turn and run off. If placed well he should not go far. Never shoot above the halfway mark on his body as unless you are lucky enough to hit the spine, you will only anger the beast and might well be in for a long and dangerous follow up. For a head on encounter, aim dead center in the chest just below the “V” of his neck. If you are faced with a charge, the brain shot is the only sure way to stop old “Mbogo”. If he charges with his head raised high, the tip of his nose will be a good aim point; if he puts his head down so as to strike with his horns, as he usually does, aim below the boss and about eye level, dead center on the forehead.  

With the advent of quality soft-point bullets, many hunters prefer to make their first shot on the Buffalo with a soft point to prevent over penetration and the chance of wounding other members of the herd. Follow-up shots are most often made with solids to take advantage of their superior penetration. Even with a well-placed first shot, once the Cape Buffalo is wounded and his adrenalin is flowing, he can be extremely hard to bring down. It has been said that if your first shot on “Inyati” as the Zulu call him, is a bad one, the next 14 will only serve to further annoy him. Be warned, hunting Buffalo with Witkop Safaris is highly addictive and you will be back for more. Remember when it comes to shot placement and your selection of rifles and bullets, always trust the judgment of your Professional Hunter.

 

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