Rigby Dagga Boy Book story
To encourage sportsmen to shoot the oldest buffalo possible, Rigby started a competition to recognise a client for shooting the oldest and most characterful dagga boy possible. The prize – best made Rigby firearms for both client and PH. As you can imagine, it garnered much interest and a slew of submissions, the applicants ever hopeful to win a weapon of the finest craftsmanship from one of the best names in the gun making business. There could be only one winner, but the judges decided to showcase some of the other contenders in a delightful book, available from Rigby.
Photo source - https://www.johnrigbyandco.com/shop/rigby-dagga-boy-book
The story below is from a buffalo hunt I conducted where my client submitted the story and photos, and we were privileged to make this Rigby publication.
The Hunt Report
“This hunt found me in the Niassa Reserve of Northern Mozambique on a 10-day Buffalo and crocodile hunt. I was hunting with Dave Langerman of Dave Langerman Safaris and we were hunting in the LUWIRE/ L7 concession. This was my third trip to this area and as ever it was hot and dry.
The safari had started well with a cracking bushbuck taken on the first morning and it had been non—stop since then. Buffalo were my primary target and although we had been able to get into groups of dagga boys on a daily basis (in three trips I have never taken a bull anywhere near a herd) we were either busted (once by a herd of 50 elephants which is good to see considering the pressure they’re under across Africa) or we could not find the old trophy bull we were looking for. We found a lot of bulls and were generally on tracks by 0530hrs and most days we got into the buffalo before the shifting midday breeze but try as we might, we could not find the ancient warrior we were looking for. We did more than our share of crawling on hands and knees and bum shuffling but to no avail and the conditions were made all the more difficult by the dry leaves which seemed to be everywhere and when stepped on seemed to make a noise loud enough to alert every buffalo in the district to our presence.
Twice during the first few days we had sneaked into range and Dave had got me up onto the sticks, we could see hard bossed, shootable bulls but not the old warrior we wanted. So, then we would do the whole stalk in reverse. It felt really special to both stalk into buffalo and then away from them again without them having any idea we were there.
I should mention that buffalo hunting for me has always been a close contact sport as I use a double rifle with open sights, so there is a necessity to get in close enough to be confident of delivering an effective humane shot. Following up wounded buffalo always sounds exciting, but I have always done my very best to ensure that I have deprived myself of that particular adrenalin rush. Forty yards would be a long shot and when you are trying to get in that close to buffalo sometimes, they smell you, sometimes see you or hear you and sometimes they just seem to sense that you are there but that is all part of the experience.
On the morning of day five, we found spoor at 0530hr and made contact with three buffalo bulls at 0700hr, there was one older buffalo with a broken horn and one that looked really quite old but try as we might we could not get into position to really see them. As we followed on their spoor, once they undoubtedly saw us and we heard them thunder off through the bush but as they departed, we glimpsed an old ragged white-faced bull and we were sure we had found out buffalo. Much as I love buffalo hunting, I was struggling that day, even though I was drinking plenty of water, I was convinced that I was suffering from dehydration, the heat was suffocating, with the temperature in the low 40s and I was sweating profusely.
We broke off our pursuit just before midday and left the buffalo to sit out the early afternoon heat with the swirling breeze. We were back on the spoor just before 1400hr and made contact with the bull almost immediately.
The final stalk was torturous, each step needed to be checked for a dry leaf or stick which if stepped on would give our position away to every buffalo in the district not only the ones we were stalking. The whole stalk was compounded by the fact that not only did I not feel very well but I was also getting cramp in the hamstring of my right leg. As we sneaked in towards a small tree 30 yards in front of the buffalo which we had identified as our shooting point, I was really suffering. It didn’t matter if we were crawling or bum shuffling every few yards I had to stop to stretch out my leg to combat the cramp. Dave Langerman is a patient PH and very happy to put in whatever effort it takes to make your hunt successful, but I could tell that even he was struggling to sympathise with my need to keep stopping and keep waving my leg around when we were on the final approach less than 50 yards away from our quarry. Surprisingly we made it to the tree and in our practiced fashion we both slowly rose as one using the tree for cover, Dave then ever so slowly set up the sticks and I eased the rifle forwards and got into position. The buffalo was standing 30 yards away and ever so slightly quartered towards us, I squeezed off the shot sending a 480-grain soft point through the front on the buffalo’s right shoulder. At the shot the buffalo headed to the right and I fired the left barrel sending a 480-grain solid after the departing buffalo. The other two buffalo went left and then there was silence, we waited but heard no death bellow which to my mind was bad.
We waited for ten minutes and then formed our extended follow-up line and set off on the spoor, I was on the left and the trackers Bilale and Sidi took the middle slots with Dave on the right. We went forwards slowly but we could find no blood spoor and even though we all thought the first shot had been good I started to get that empty feeling in my stomach. The bush was thick and progress was slow, 50 yards into the bush we stopped, I do not speak Portuguese but decoded that the trackers were saying that either the shot was bad or the bullet performance was not up to scratch because we should be seeing blood by now. To say I was getting nervous was an understatement, when your PH and trackers are unsure only a fool would be complacent. We edged slowly forwards and I was nearly overcome with relief to hear a low whistle from Bilale which indicated he had seen the buffalo. Even better news for me was that it was lying dead close to a clump of trees. We approached cautiously and I delivered the insurance shot through the shoulder blades.
The buffalo was everything I could have hoped for – a real old warrior with a white face, torn ears and battered neck - the type of buffalo I had come to Mozambique to hunt. The horns were nothing, but the character of this old boy was evident. Back at the skinning shed we found that Bilale's concerns about shot placement were half true, the first bullet was spot on and had killed the buffalo but there was no sign of the second bullet, I still consider it quite a feat of marksmanship to miss a buffalo at 35 yards.
Skinning also revealed a lump of ‘pot iron’ just behind the buffalos left shoulder undoubtedly shot there by a poacher. I have made this into a keyring and it sits with me now as a memory of a great buffalo hunt resulting in the taking of a real old warrior.”