You Don’t Want a Charge! by Tim Herald
You Don’t Want a Charge!
by Tim Herald
Cape buffalo are high on many hunters’ bucket lists, and for those of us who have been fortunate enough hunt them, it becomes almost addictive. One thing I have heard a hundred times from people who want to hunt Cape buffalo for the first time is, “I want to hunt Cape buffalo up close and experience a charge. That looks like it would be a real rush!”
While a buffalo charge will surely be an adrenaline filled encounter, for anyone who has hunted buffalo a lot or has actually experienced a charge, it is something that you definitely do not want to happen. I have hunted buffalo a lot, and I have experienced a charge, and believe me, it can be a nightmare.
The number one way to avoid a buffalo charge is to make a good first shot. If you shoot a buffalo with a quality bullet, hit him in the heart or lungs, he will usually run 20-100 yards and die quickly and without incident. The problem generally comes from a poor first shot, and then you have to deal with a wounded, and usually very mad, ton of black death.
The first two buffalo I ever killed were with a single shot rifle. I would highly recommend that no one ever take a single shot on a buffalo hunt. Yes, that first shot can do the job, but it’s just not a smart move to go dangerous game hunting having only one shot without needing to reload.
Speaking of good sight pictures, I can’t stress enough how important quality optics are to making great shots on buffalo. I hunt with both a double rifle chambered in .470 NE and a bolt action .416 Rem. Both are serious buffalo killers and have taken many buffalo and elephants.
I have installed a Trijicon RMR Type 2 reflex sight on my .470 double. The tiny red dot gives me a precise aiming point, provides incredibly fast target acquisition, and I can shoot with both eyes open which really helps on follow up shots. It extends my comfortable shooting range with my double rifle from about 40 yards with iron sights to 100 yards with the RMR2 (but I wouldn’t shoot a buffalo that far with it).
On my .416 Rem bolt action, I have a Trijicon AccuPoint scope. Mine has regular crosshairs with a green illuminated aiming point in the center. It is illuminated by fiber optics and tritium, so you never have to worry about it going out. That little illuminated dot sure shows up well against a black buffalo’s hide and makes aiming at a precise spot a breeze. The AccuPoint comes in a number of great options for safari hunting depending on what your preference is. Some top choices are the 1-4x24, 1-6x24, and 3-9x40 models.
These quality optics will make a big difference in acquiring the correct site picture to help you make a perfect first shot on buffalo and avoid a very dangerous charge situation. It may sound cool or romantic to face down a charging buffalo, but believe me, it is something to be avoided at all costs. Make that first shot count!