Cape Buffalo Facts and Hunting Tips
Cape Buffalo – Cyncerus Caffer
They have drawn more dangerous game hunters to Africa than all the other African Big 5 combined. Regarded as one of the most ill-tempered animals on the face of the earth, these hunts are extremely popular, and the most affordable of the African Big Five Hunting Safaris. For that reason, the Cape buffalo is one of the most highly regarded big game animals and a member of the “big five”. Known as “Black Death” in Africa, it kills over 200 people every year. Cape buffalo are notorious as very dangerous animals, with wounded bulls ambushing hunters.
Cape buffalo are herd animals, living on the open savannah. Both sexes have horns, with males developing large gnarled bosses (bases), as they get mature. Despite their size, Buffalo are extremely well camouflaged in dense cover. It is much harder to close the distance on a herd of buffalo than on solitary bulls.
Where to Hunt Cape Buffalo
Both Mozambique and Zimbabwe have some excellent free range Cape buffalo hunting. The concessions here are sometimes larger than a million acres with no fences. Hunting Cape buffalo in Mozambique can be fairly intense, but the trophy potential is worth the effort. There are some HUGE bulls in this country. Most buffalo in South Africa are privately owned on private land.
Tips for Hunting Cape Buffalo
Buffalo are typically hunted on foot by tracking older, solitary bulls or small bachelor groups called “Dagga Boys” (mud boys). The best shot placement for Cape buffalo is to hit the vitals and break some bones along the way with a rifle of adequate power for hunting buffalo. It is not common, regardless of caliber to instantly put a mature bull to the ground unless the shot hits the spine or brain. A wounded buffalo will usually break away from the herd and head to thick cover. Buffalo are one of the only animals that will purposefully circle back onto their own trail to lie in wait for their pursuer.
Bowhunting Cape Buffalo
It is well advised that you come prepared. Bring two well-tuned bows with appropriate spare parts, as replacements can be difficult to get in Africa. Cape buffalo require an 80–100 pound bow, arrows of 700 – 850 grains and broadheads with a minimum of two blades and 1 ½” cutting edge (i.e. kinetic energy of 80–105 foot pounds is required). Arrows can be made out of wood, fibreglass, carbon or aluminum and the shaft must have a minimum length of 19.68 inches (500 mm). Broadheads must not have any moving parts, barbs or serrated edges. Here’s what we consider the best archery setup for cape buffalo.
- Bow Kinetic Energy: 65 ft/lbs
- Arrow Weight: 450 grains
Trophy Judging Cape Buffalo
Scoring buff is fairly easy. A trophy bull should have a thick, heavy boss that runs out and down (the deeper the curl the better) past the ears before curling up and back in again. The points of the horns should then raise upwards and backwards, the higher the better. As a rule, the further past the ears the outer upward curl of the horns are, the better the trophy. Rowland Ward measurement is based upon the spread of the horns while SCI measures the total length plus both bosses.
- Minimum Rowland Ward Score: 42″
- Minimum SCI Score: 100″
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