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BUFFALO HUNTING - shot placement & trophy judging - brought to you by SafariBwana

buffalo shot placement - engine room

buffalo shot placement - shoulder

I really like this angle on Buffalo because you know it is going into the engine room. Take care not to shoot too high and hit the horn which has happened to me on more than one occasion. This is a mature bull, look at the dewlap (or wattle) beneath its chin, the curved bridge on the nose and the bosses are well formed.

This is a misleading shot as you tend to aim too far forward, forgetting the bull is quartered away and putting the sights behind the shoulder. I've done this many times succeeding only to break the shoulder. Also, you have to be sure of your ammunition. I have seen a bullet hit the thick wide rib bones and run along the ribcage lodging under the shoulderblade. 
buffalo shot placement - heart shot buffalo shot placement - broadside

This is a perfect shot with the heart exposed as the animal steps forward. Take care not to wait too long, shoot as soon as the leg is placed forward otherwise you'll be too late. Look at the nose and wattle of this bull compared to the one on the right, notice the curved bridge on the right. This one is still young, a straight nose and horns still shooting upwards, not curling back much.

Another perfect broadside. Here I tend to shoot more to the right of the dinner-plate going for the shoulder bone. As your bullet hits this mighty beast will absorb the impact and is likely to crash through the bush like a bulldozer.
buffalo shot placement - boiler room buffalo shot placement - chest centre

Into the boiler room, don't shoot too far to the right as this seems like the obvious shot, remember the angle of the bulls body. This is going to be an exceptional trophy in another 2-3 years the spread and depth to the curls are good but the boss is still soft and still has hair growing down the centre. His face is also young.

A very young bull and older cow, probably his mother. For both shots, remember the angle of the body as you would tend to aim more into the centre of the chest.
buffalo shot placement - oxpeckers buffalo trophy judging - large boss

Buffalo are notorious for their accompaniment of Oxpeckers, sometimes called tick-birds. Often one of the clearest indications of buffalo ahead is the sudden shrill "chirrrr chirrrr" of these vigilant companions. Once you hear this be sure the buffalo is on its feet and looking around expectantly. Sit tight for a while if the wind is in your favor and let the animals settle.

This bull has an excellent boss and when I took the photo stood 20 yards away giving me the beligerant "can I help you" stare. BUT he is not a shooter unless you have an aversion to being challenged like this. His horns barely go past his ears - he came from the shallow end of the gene-pool. Take care not to hit him in the nose if you do shoot.
buffalo trophy judging - older bull, large boss, deep curls
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A very young bull BUT a good example of what a good set of horns should do on an older big bossed bull. If they sweep back like this on a bull that has a fully formed boss and deep curls then it is a real trophy.

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