By Jim Thorn
I hunted with Monterra Safaris in May 2021. On that hunt I had an opportunity to take a Cape buffalo that was giving them some problems. Of course, my only bad shot of the entire hunt was on this buffalo. Not nervous, not in a bad position, the PHs set me up perfectly – I just flat out pulled it to the right. I felt terrible as the PHs had put me in the perfect spot at the right time, and I blew it. On top of that, I felt bad for the animal that was now wounded and hurt. My shot went too far forward, entering and exiting his brisket. He bled enough, though finally it was down to very small droplets that stopped all together, but we were able to track him for three days until the blood trail quit. We bumped him twice, but no shots were taken as he ran away instead of towards us. I even hired a helicopter for half a day to try to find him. My time ran out and I had to leave with him still out there.
The PHs and I decided that if the lions or hyenas hadn’t taken him, or they found him hurting, that they would shoot him. Or, if they found his skull, they would let me know. About two months later I received a call from Almayne Hughes (PH), and Ross Hare (PH and owner of the property) that they found the buff. Alive! And thriving! They recognized the distinct bosses and horns, and the oxpeckers on the entry and exit wound sites confirmed. He had rejoined the herd and was fat and sassy. Their question to me was: “Shall we shoot him for you or do you want to shoot him?” Now my budget was stretched with my first trip in May, but he was thriving and not in pain and I was obsessed with having left him there, so I said I would go shoot him! (I have a most understanding wife).
Arrangements were made and I made the trip the first two weeks of October. It took about three days, but we found him crossing a large plain. After our squat running and then sneaking from bush to bush, the buff came into range. At about the 50-yard mark Almayne set up the sticks and I brought the .458 Win Mag to bear. I didn’t pull to the right this time. The bullet hit his shoulder and both lungs. He ran about 30 yards and turned to face us, but he was dead on his feet. Another opposite shoulder shot knocked him down and then the finishing spine shot brought the final bellow. Close inspection showed the healed scars from my errant shot months before. It was an emotional close to the world’s longest buffalo hunt.
He green-scored 42”. Because I was there, the guys put me on a really nice 51” kudu for icing on the cake.
I can’t speak highly enough of the way Monterra Safaris treated me on this odyssey of mine. Not only in their hunting knowledge and professionalism but in their kindness and compassion towards me and their conservation ideals.
Sixty-three-year-old Jim lives with his wife of 40 years in southwest Louisiana, about 60 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and 30 miles from Texas, in the path of several natural disasters. He has hunted unguided in Louisiana, Texas, and Kentucky and in the USA, and taken guided hunts for bear and wolf in Alberta, Canada. Jim dreamed of hunting Africa for decades, researched and planned for years, packed for months, and then lived his dream for 23 days. The tattoo on his arm is the motto of the East African Professional Hunter’s Association: “Neither fear nor foolhardiness”