Safari 2018 #41 Three smiles from Mother Nature

by david on September 18, 2019

Picture is from a previous trip but imagine trying to pick out one particular buffalo, get into position without any of those eyes seeing you, and get a clear shot without any other buffalo in front or behind of your candidate. Picture is from a previous trip but imagine trying to pick out one particular buffalo, get into position without any of those eyes seeing you, and get a clear shot without any other buffalo in front or behind of your candidate.

 

Wednesday, September 26

Up at 5:00 and breakfast at 5:30.  We are after cape buffalo today and Mother Nature smiled at us, not once but three different times this morning.  Her first smile was in the form of cooler weather — not jacket cool, but at least not sweating in short pants cool. Her second smile stopped some buffalo and left them contentedly feeding about a mile and a half behind camp.  Bellies fed and rifles in hand, we walk out the back of camp and towards the buffalo at a good clip. The coolness of the air allows us to walk at a fairly fast pace and we cover the distance in about 20 minutes. We could have perhaps made it quicker, but the uneven ground and dust did their best to delay us on our way to the herd.  Her third smile enticed the buffalo behind some unburned reeds as we closed in on their location. The reeds gave us enough cover to sneak to about 60 yards from the group. Johann glassed the herd of about 50 animals, and he found an older bull that does not sport headgear large enough to be considered a trophy. We found an opening in the reeds and set up the sticks.  Johann makes sure I know which animal to shoot. The only problem was he was looking straight at me, and if I moved to get on the sticks, he might have run. He finally looked away for a moment and I was able to get my 416 Rigby solidly positioned on the sticks. I settled in, placed the front bead on his shoulder, released the safety, and squeezed the trigger. I heard the whack of the bullet hit and he hunched up into the air.  I knew that the hit was a good one. He bull bellowed and stumbled as he returned to the ground. I worked the bolt to chamber another round. As I tried to get a new sight picture, the bull moved left and went back behind the reeds. This left me with no chance at a second shot. I could see enough movement through the reeds to tell the bull had turned to face our direction. He was curious to see who had so rudely interrupted his breakfast and very possibly wanted to thank the interloper in an up-close-and-personal way.  Johann and I have long had an understanding, when in a potentially dangerous situation, that I wish him to take the backup shot. So it did not surprise me in the least that, as I was moving to my right to try and at least get into a position for a second shot, his 458 Lott roared and put the buffalo down for good.

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