Landing a well placed Cape Buffalo headshot with a big bore rifle is a sure way to quickly put down even the largest and toughest buffalo bull.
What do you do when you've got a great opportunity to take a monster cape buffalo, but it doesn't present a broadside profile? Shot placement on a buffalo can be a little tricky when it is directly facing directly toward you. Gunner McDonnold just ran into that problem on a hunt in Zimbabwe's Save Valley Conservancy and decided a Cape Buffalo headshot was the answer.
Conventional wisdom says that you're supposed to aim slightly to the right of the center of the bull's chest, about one-third of the way up his body, to hit the heart and lungs in this situation. However, buffalo have a very sturdy rib cage, and it's not uncommon for bullets that impact even slightly off center and hit the ribs to deflect and miss the vitals entirely at an angle like this. In this particular case, the buffalo also had some bushes further obscuring his vitals.
Watch the video to see how it all went down. You can skip ahead to the 2:20 mark to go directly to the shot. If you pay attention, you can actually watch the bullet strike the buffalo in the head!
Warning: this video contains some explicit language.
What a hit! Down goes Frazier!!!
Most guides do not recommend trying for a Cape Buffalo headshot on an unwounded buffalo. But, it will clearly work if you do it right. If you screw it up, though, you could be in for a really long and potentially dangerous day.
In this case, things worked out great and the hunter safely took a really big bull with his double rifle. Nice work Gunner! That's a heck of a bull!
If you ever find yourself in a similar situation on a cape buffalo hunt, keep two things in mind before attempting a headshot.
First, make doubly sure there are no other animals behind the one you're shooting at. Bullets do not always exit on shots into a buffalo's body. However, they often do on a headshot. If you watch closely, you can see the bullet exit in this video. Unintentionally wounding another buffalo with a passthrough is not only unethical, but dealing with an angry, wounded buffalo can be extremely dangerous, especially when you're not expecting it.
Second, put an "insurance" shot or two into the buffalo once it goes down. This is especially important if it drops immediately, as this one does. In cases like that, the buffalo may only be stunned instead of mortally wounded or dead. It's always the "dead" ones that you've got to worry about. Trust me when I say you don't want to have a "dead" buffalo stand back up and run off or charge.