BUFFALO HUNTERS, PART 4
Cape Buffalo, Hunting in the Selous Game Reserve
DVD, running time approx. 58 mins
This is the fourth and final installment in a series of DVDs on hunting buffaloes throughout Africa. We have loved these DVDs in the past because Tanzanian PH Rainer Josch, the producer and narrator, has been scrupulously honest in his descriptions. If the hunting was hard, he showed it on camera. Failed shots, no game? It was all there. This time Josch probably ran into his toughest assignment yet because once they started hunting in the world-famous Selous Game Reserve, he found the hunting blocks there were having serious poaching problems. So much so, in fact, that he had to come back and make another attempt to get good footage, but I am getting ahead of myself. . . .
Hunt No. 1. In the opening segment we are told there are 120,000 buffaloes in the Selous, but as we will find out, apparently our hunters were not in the hunting bocks frequented by these bovines. In the first hunt, PH Paulo takes a group of three hunters to the northwestern part of the Selous. However, once the hunt starts, it quickly becomes evident that the hunters are not easily going to find mature buffalo bulls there. The first hunter accidentally hits a small tree trunk, and this diverts the bullet, wounding the bull. The hunters search but cannot find the bull. Next day they pick up the tracks of the wounded animal but have no luck in finding the bull. Halfway through the safari, there is still no buffalo in the salt. They suspect the unseasonably late rains have made the buffalo move out of the block, and then there is the poaching problem. In the end, only one buffalo is in the bag.
Hunt No. 2. One year later (2014) Josch is back in the Selous, this time in the southwestern part of the Selous Game Reserve. He has two client hunters that year, it is later in the season, and he feels that the conditions should be better. The outfitter has three adjacent hunting blocks, so there is a lot of terrain in which to roam. Just like in the first hunt, one hunter shoots a double. A few other animals, such as wildebeest and reedbuck, are also shot. Early on in the hunt everything comes together with a difficult shot and . . . a good old bull is downed. But now, again, the hunt becomes a struggle, and it is soon evident poaching is again the problem. Luckily, PH Richard can call buffalo—yes you heard that right—and this gets our second hunter a shot.
Toward the end there is an introspective recap and a short interview with Dr. Rolf Baldus. The focus of the discussion is what can be done to bring the Selous back to its old glory, like what was done in the 1990s after the elephant population had collapsed fifteen years earlier. We discover that already the Tanzanian government, in conjunction with the CIC, is starting a new serious antipoaching effort.
All in all, this is an excellent, realistic film on hunting in the Selous as it is now. It is well worth watching.
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