Mathews Inc.'s Live Bowhunting Adventure

Day 11

Join Pat Lefemine in the Limpopo Province of South Africa for a traditional spot and stalk Buffalo Bowhunt

day 1

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day 4

day 5

day 6

day 7

day 8

day 9

day 10

day 11

day 12

day 13

Discuss this hunt

Determined to sit a blind again, we had two options. Option 1 was the blind we saw all of the plains game at. Option 2 was the dam with the Hippos in it. Option 1 had more action around it and was much smaller. Option 2, the Hippo Dam, had more tracks but it was quite large. So the buffalo could basically water in several sections and we'd never even know it. I told Jacques to take me to the dam where we had seen all of the activity yesterday - Option 1. We got there early and before long impala and other animals were showing up. It was just Coleman and me. Jimmy and Jacques were out looking for a stalkable buffalo for us so once again we had two lines in the water.

This morning was much slower than yesterday. We saw monkeys, some impala and warthogs. But that was it. But we weren't there for very long. Not 70 minutes into our sit, the land rover was back again.

Jacques came running out to our blind and yelled, pack your stuff - quickly. It appears that while they were driving the ranch looking for tracks, they took a spin around the Hippo Dam. As soon as they turned the corner and could see the muddy area where my blind was setup - they spotted two terrific Buffalo Bulls heading straight to it. Without hesitation, they raced back to get me and like Jeff Gordon we tore up the dirt roads to try and get there in time.

However, the ranch is huge and the round trip took an hour – much too long for the buffalo to hang around. As we approached, I could only laugh. There was a brand new mud pit 25 yards from my blind. The two bulls took the exact route we had predicted only we were a day late. The good news? Buffalo do, on occasion, water during daylight hours. The Bad news? We had a 50/50 shot this morning and we picked the loser.

We drove the roads and narrowed down the tracks. We knew exactly what section the buffalo were in. And they were halfway between the Hippo Dam and the Nyala camp.

We decided to leave them be (Still no wind) and go back to the blind (option 1) until early afternoon. Knowing where the two bulls were was a great lead. We needed to focus on those two bulls and figure out a way to ambush them when they moved in the evening. You see, Jacques and Coleman had noticed a pattern with these two bulls. On three occasions they had passed the outside edge of the owners Nyala camp fence and then would take several directions from there. But the common denominator was always that outside fence corner. We were pretty enthusiastic about the setup. But we couldn't help but think that the bulls could just as easily head back to the damn. As Jimmy said, it was 50.50. I chose the fence corner. However the George Castanza voice inside me was starting to tell me to start going with the opposite instinct. After all, every choice we've made on this trip has turned out to be the wrong one. Everyone who has been up against the clock on a high-dollar, high-pressure hunt knows the thought process. You start making desperate decisions and the over-thinking becomes counterproductive. I remained optimistic and hopeful.

We set up two blinds, one for filming and one for shooting. We brushed those blinds in like you could not believe. At 4:00PM, Jimmy wished us good luck and drove the Land Cruiser a mile downwind. The 2 hour wait began. We had an excellent setup. It was so good that a duiker walked down the road, passed me at 8 feet, then turned in front of Coleman and Jacques by 10 feet. Also, a bush baby came out of his tree just a few yards from Jacques. Our blinds were awesome and if the bulls followed their pattern again this evening - I'd have a 6 yard shot and they'd never know what hit them.

The bulls never showed up.

Disappointed again, we had to know. So we drove down to the dam in the dark. There they were. Fresh tracks in the road. The buffalo had watered at the dam. We picked the wrong option again. I have two more days before this hunt ends. And I have a very difficult decision ahead of me. What to do about Kruger. ?

Where and how to shoot a cape buffalo

Cape Buffalo are one of those critters that have a reputation for being very difficult to kill. They are massive animals, approaching 2000 lbs. they have large, overlapping ribs covering most of their torso, their heart and lungs are smaller than North American animals and they are much further forward into the body cavity. To make things more complicated, a buffalo's stomach is filled with hundreds of pounds of grass which can quickly absorb the energy of an arrow or a bullet if the shot is too far back. Because of their massive frames and ribs, a quartering-away shot is not recommended. There is too much chance of the arrow getting stuck in the stomach and not reach the vitals. In addition, a quartering away shot requires the arrow to penetrate the section of ribs which are overlapping - robbing the arrow of energy. So the best shot is dead broadside, just at the back of the front leg. This is the only spot where the ribs are weak and do not overlap. But the margin of error is small.

Equipment for a buffalo bowhunt is highly specialized and extremely critical. You can argue all you want about KE vs momentum, light vs. heavy, 2-blade vs 4-blade, etc. But what you can't argue with is your PH. And if you show up with a lightweight setup to hunt buffalo you will be escorted to the kudu blind.

This is not a recommendation. For buffalo you need to shoot a heavy bow. Bows above 80lbs are mandatory. A heavy arrow is mandatory and so is a two blade broadhead. I would not consider shooting a cape buffalo with anything other than my 1000 grain arrow with a cut on contact 2-blade head. My setup last year was probably too light. I was using an 80lb bow with 1000gr arrows going 186fps. I decided to bump it up this year, shooting a 93lb bow with the same arrows/broadheads going 201fps. Even with this heavy setup, my shot would still need to be broadside and just behind the front leg.




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Next - Day 12

Our Professional Hunters for this safari is: Madiakgama Safaris
P.O. Box 138
Republic of South Africa
International Phone: 011-27-82-684222

USA Agent - Jeff Frey
Bowhunters Select Outfitters

[email protected]

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