Hunting Mature Cape buffalo!


“It’s not always about the inches, it’s about the age of the bull, and quality of the experience.”

Craig Boddington

What makes a mature “trophy” Cape buffalo?

A Cape buffalo bull is mature at 8 years old and is in his prime.

How ever when it comes to the term “Trophy bull” a lot of PH’s and experienced African hunters look for old dugga boys that are past their prime, they are out of the big herds normally and in smaller bachelor groups.

People get too caught up in the width and unfortunately with the SCI scoring system wide bulls with big drop score high and most of the time that means younger bulls are being taken to please the scoring system.

Now that doesn’t mean you can’t find a full mature hard boss bulls that are wide. What I mean by hard boy is that on top of the head where the horns seem to meet and build a helmet like mass. Younger bulls will have a grey spongey matter in-between both horns in almost like a V shape that starts at the top and widens towards the bottom. This grey matter is horn that has not developed yet meaning he is a soft boss bull (young bull) a hard boss bull might be completely solid horn to horn or there might be a gap in-between but there is no soft matter, there will be a defined line where the nerving ends and goes into the scalp NO soft grey matter. Older bulls generally have much bigger bodies with pronounced muscle definition, big study like nose, and huge heavy necks. Older bulls will have grey patches of hair loss, can be almost bald on the face, the ears are tattered from a hard life in the bush.

Horn tips are another great indication of a bulls age.

If the horn tips are still going strongly up it will most likely be a young bull. Older bulls will general be level or below the top of the bosses.

For most experienced African hunters a true dream bull is a scrum cap ( scrum cap is what is worn by rugby players that acts like a helmet) for the buffalo its a super old bull with horns completely worn down and broken to the boss. It looks just like a hard helmet onto of the bulls head. These bulls are few and far between due to old age most bulls will be taken by lions, or die of old age.

A really good old bull is 10-12 years old anything older is a really old bull that is well past his prime and on his way out. These are the best bulls to take with them being past the breeding prime living out on their own and on the way out.

All proper PH’S will work hard to look for that magical 40” bull for their client but in a 7 or 10 day safari you might only be presented a shot at a solid boss 38” that makes a great trophy or a solid boss 35” bull that makes a great trophy. You must look at it as a true experience of getting behind the trackers spending time searching for tracks, circling the herds, following the tracks of single or double bulls that might not pan out.

Buffalo hunting the right way is something you might just go to experience once but I promise you, you’ll be planning your return trip before you have even left.

Everyone should take pride in properly hunting old mature bulls that are past their prime.

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