Grumpy Buffalo In The Thickness 2

Grumpy Buffalo In The Thickness

This happends in the Coutada Luabu (Zambezi) with a Norwegian hunter and his PH last week.

It was still early morning when Briton, my right hand man and tracker extraordinaire, taped quietly but persistently on the bakkie roof. We had just come across the tracks of two dugga bulls this early, still cool and wet morning of the 26th day of September 2019. It had been raining for two days already. The typical Mozambique coastal persistent light rain. Never letting up, never hard or harsh. Just always there like a Chinese torture method I’d heard of.

Earlier that morning as we prepared to leave camp, we already knew we were in for another full day of rain and it was looking to not disappoint. The light breeze was in the Bulls favor and they made sure to keep it that way. Leaving the bakkie and tracking on foot, we first bumped them in tall grass after an hour or so of tracking their spoor, fresh and deep in the sodden soil.

With a distinct rustling of the grass and thudding of hooves they left deep tracks in the soft sand. This is a combo of sounds I’d learned to recognize so well, we knew we had caught up and they knew we were on their spoor. We had to work hard to keep up with them, making sure the spoor was fresh before it could melt away under the rain. My client Stefan and I knew the pressure was on. These bulls had clearly been hunted before. They were sneaky and smart, keeping the wind on their tails and their tracks showing they had been stopping and looking back often before taking off again.

We continued to keep the distance tight and never let the bulls get to far ahead. In this sort of rain it is vital to keep a tight rein on the old boys since the tracks were melting away as fast as we were able to follow. We followed through 3 rivers and many pans. Into and out of thick brush all with little excitement and high frustration as we bumped them time and time again.

Late in the afternoon they held up, waiting for us in a thicket of palms trees on the edge of the Piongwe River, no longer keen on dealing with the persistent two legged creatures that they just couldn’t shake that day. But with a sudden rush they bust out, through the Piongwe, away from us again. As we crossed behind them I realized this was no easy crossing. With water to my chest. Every step meant sticking in the reeds and it became a swim rather than the thigh high river crossings we were now well used to. Swimming with my heavy .458 African Express big bore rifle is not an easy task but we get used to things being hard on these – undoubtly some of the toughest and dangerous hunts on the planet.

Eventually we made it across and the tracks we found on the other side showed the old boys behavior becoming erratic, more agitated and less planned. We could feel the sun leaving this side of the Earth and a slow darkness started closing in around us. Cautiously, but with fair urgency we crept through the thick grass towards them. We could now smell their familiar scent, hear them breathing. Exchanging glances, we knew, it was immanent. At that very moment, the older of the two bulls decided he had had enough. He gave a solid buffalo bark and bust through the thick brush towards us, just 5 meters in front of us. A surprise it was but I managed to get my trusty .458 AE to my hip and squeezed a round off instinctively. It struck the bull in the head, hard and just off centre which had him collapsing on top of me and knocked my rifle from my hands. It felt like I had been hit by a truck and was now stuck under its wheel.
For a split second I felt a calm coming over me thinking it had been a kill shot since I had seen the bull collapse to the shot. Just as quickly I realized this was not the case. The bull was still moving forward with me under it and my clothing attached to horn somewhere above me.

Stefan managed to gather his screaming nerves and followed up with a body shot. This was enough to send the bull off and away from us. I took a few seconds to check my body for serious damage. fortunate to find my innards and man-tackle was still there and in the right places.

One of my boots had been flung somewhere during the process and I lay down for a little while the trackers tried to find it. We never found it and, in a hurry now, continued the hunt – clothes torn, single booted and both of us somewhat shaken.

We followed the tracks slowly. Stefan and I, side by side, watching, listening for the slightest movement or sound. Fingers on triggers. I could feel the warm spread of my own blood down my side together with a sharp persistent stab, like an African thorn somewhere in the same area. No time for tests and checks we continued with our very slow, very purposeful follow up.

We knew we had an angry, wounded bull somewhere just up ahead of us and the possibility of a second nearby. He was laying under some palm trees and Stefan shot him again before he could rise, with a few insurance shots to make absolutely sure. Checking he was now truly dead, we could afford a few moments to celebrate that we weren’t.

Grumpy Buffalo In The Thickness 3
Grumpy Buffalo In The Thickness 4

Original Article by Hallgeir Gravråk, September 29, 2019 Africa Hunting

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