Buffalo hunting stories
Australia’s water buffalo are the premier big game animal of that continent. Government plans to eradicate them were never realised and a sizeable, and growing, population still exists, particularly in Arnhem Land. They are not native, but were introduced as part of an agricultural experiment in the 1800s.
Like so many Australian agricultural experiments, this one went badly awry as well. The introduced water buffalo went feral; invading the top end wet lands and breeding up into huge herds. About a hundred years ago there was a thriving industry in buffalo hides and various wild characters hunted the buffalo from horse back across the vast, remote flood plains. Tom Cole’s books tell the stories of those wild old days as well as any and are recommended reading.
While the buffalo certainly contribute to the Wild West atmosphere of the Northern Territory that prevails even today, they are a serious pest that does enormous damage to the wet lands. Acknowledged as growing to about 1,200 kilograms in weight, they are large, robust beasts. Hunting them on foot in the humid, tropical heat of Arnhem Land is a memorable experience.
I have had the opportunity to indulge in a wealth of buffalo hunting over the last two decades and, while I would shy away from proclaiming myself an expert, I have certainly had enough experiences to let me form some firm opinions on the hunting of that beast. While my opinions have evolved a little over time, I still unreservedly favour heavy calibres for taking on bubalus bubalis.