Cape Buffalo – Cyncerus Caffer
The Cape buffalo is a large African bovine whose aggressive, unpredictable nature makes it highly dangerous to hunt. 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. 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
Although they can be hunted in much of Southern Africa, but most Cape buffalo are taken in South Africa. Most buffalo in South Africa are privately owned on private land.
Zimbabwe has 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.
Tips for Hunting Cape Buffalo
The best shot placement for Cape buffalo is to hit the vitals and break some bones along the way. It is not common, regardless of caliber to instantly putl a mature bull to the ground unless the shot hits the spine or brain. A wounded buffalo will usually break away from the heard 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.
Recommended Rifle Caliber for Hunting Cape Buffalo
Buffalo are thick-skinned animals and the minimum safe caliber is the .375 Magnum… you can never have too much gun. Most P.H.’s prefer the 416 Remington or Rigby, 458 and of course the 470 and 500 double rifle. It is advisable to load a soft-nosed round for the first shot, followed by solids.
Hunting Cape Buffalo with Archery Equipment
It is well advised that you 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.
- Bow Kinetic Energy (ft/lbs) 65
- Arrow Weight (grain) 450
Trophy Judging Cape Buffalo
A trophy Cape buffalo 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 RW score is 42″
- Minimum SCI score is 100