A Case of Problem Buffalo
A Case of Problem Buffalo
By: Tim Herald
It’s no secret that human wildlife conflicts are on the rise. That is true of our western US states with grizzly and cougars, as well as Africa with all the dangerous game. As human populations grow, people spread out, and we invade traditional wildlife habitats. It’s only natural that there will be human wildlife conflict.
A little while back, Trijicon’s John Trull and I were on safari in Uganda. We had just had a very successful sitatunga and bushbuck hunt on the Kafu River, and we moved camps to Aswa Lolim that sits right on the Nile River very close to Murchison Falls. Our main quarry was Uganda kob as the area literally holds thousands, and it is one of the only places in Africa to hunt these beautiful antelope.
We arrived in camp in early afternoon, got settled in, and around 5pm we headed out to take a look around. When we picked up our game scout that would accompany us on the hunt, he informed us that he had calls from 2 villages that had problem buffalo bulls that were harassing the local inhabitants. He asked if we would try to sort out these buffalo, and we were more than happy to help.
We drove into the first village, and one of the local men told us there were 3 bulls that had been hanging around close to the village and they had charged and chased people on a number of occasions. He had seen them earlier would take us to the area.
In less than a half a mile, one of our trackers saw two bulls bedded on the opposite side of a small ravine. We had to maneuver around to get the wind in our favor, but after we had only gone 150 yards, we came around a big clump of brush and ran straight into an ancient old bull that was only about 40 yards away. He saw us, squared up, and was not scared in the least. I guess he was used to people running from him, and he was definitely standing his ground.
We still had an hour and a half of daylight left, so Christian decided we would go to the next village and see what was going on there. It was the same story only this was a single bull that was harassing these folks. Again, one of the village men told us he could take us to the area where he thought the bull might be, and we were off.
We stalked around for a while not finding anything but fresh sign, and then we came over a small rise on a ridge where we could peer into a small valley. When we looked over the edge, the bull was standing at 50 yards staring right at us. He grunted and threw his head up as to tell us we better back off, but John quickly hit him with a .416 in the chest, and he was down before he could get out of sight. It was a super quick hunt, but it was very intense.
We again took a few photos as the locals showed up to butcher the bull, and we provided a feast for another village that night. The locals thanked us profusely as this bull had been really aggressive, and he had been hanging around for a number of days basically terrorizing them.
The next morning we went kob hunting and took four beautiful rams. On the way back to camp, we had an accident where John’s 30-06 and my .300PRC were thrown off the top of the truck and hit the road at about 50mph. That’s a whole long story for a different time, but in the afternoon we left camp around 5pm to go to the shooting range and see if my rifle was usable and sighted in. John’s stock was broken completely in two, so we knew his was out of commission.
On the way to the range, we passed a small village where we were flagged down by a couple of guys who were very animated. They informed us that there were two mean old buffalo bulls within 250 yards of the village and asked us to please try and sort them out. We literally walked 100 yards on the other side of their huts and we could see the two bulls. One was feeding and one was lying down, and both were really old.
Christian left me and cameraman Dan MacDonald there to keep an eye on them while he went and retrieved a game scout. Dan and I watched the bulls as eventually both were up feeding, and I saw that of the two, if I had a choice, there was one I would definitely take over the other.
After half an hour, Christian, the rest of our crew and the game scout returned, and I showed him where the bulls were. The one I wanted was lying down quartering away from us, and we stalked into about 60 yards as the wind was perfect.
I got on the shooting sticks and told Christian to bellow or clap or do something to make the bull stand. He whispered that he wanted me to shoot the bull in the head or neck to anchor him on the spot so there was no chance of him running into the village that was so close. I am very apprehensive of head shots on buffalo, and I was not going to take that shot unless I was 100% sure I could make it perfectly.
I dialed my Trijicon AccuPoint scope up to 8-power where I could really pick a spot just behind the bull’s bosses at the back of his skull. The little green aiming point settled in perfectly to my chosen spot, and I had complete confidence that I could make the shot.
When I squeezed the trigger of my .416, the bull’s head just fell to the ground, and the cattle egrets that were feeding around him took flight. The other old bull wasted no time getting out of there, and though Christian followed him for a few hundred yards, he had vacated the area. It was a perfect shot that anchored the old dagga boy where he laid.
Immediately the villagers showed up, and we had to rush through photos as they were anxious to butcher the bull and start cooking him for their evening meal. He was yet another old and worth bull that I would have shot anywhere as a trophy buffalo. It was just an added bonus to be able to help out the locals.
So in two days along the Nile River, John and I had been able to take 3 problem buffalo that were also very good, old trophy bulls. We hadn’t even made our way to Karamoja yet, and that is where we had planned our buffalo hunting portion of the safari as Karamoja is likely the top destination in all of Africa for buffalo hunting. Like the broken rifles, Karamoja is another great story for another day.
BUFFALO SCOPE OF CHOICE
Our buffalo hunt was planned for Karamoja that is fairly open savannah, and you can often get shots at buffalo at 100 yards, so John and I both chose Trijicon AccuPoint 2.5x12.5x42 scopes. These mid-sized scopes are not heavy yet they are very versatile since you can dial down to 2.5-power for up close shots, but if you want to make a bit longer shot on a buffalo or a plainsgame animal, you can dial up to 12.5x and be more precise.
John’s scope has the post with aiming point on top, and I had traditional crosshairs with an aiming dot in the middle. On all my buffalo shots on this hunt, I basically used the aiming point like a “red dot” type site. When I took follow up shots, I had super-fast target acquisition, and I find the dot very easy to use on running 2nd or 3rd shots. I think the AccuPoint 2.5x12.5 is the perfect buffalo scope.