Bad Buffs

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The limitations of a handgun didn't prevent Dr. William Firman from taking this Cape buffalo from the RSA during an April 2006 hunt with Madubula Safaris. It scored just over 111.

Although ranked in the "Big Five" of deadly African big game animals, few people who have not hunted Cape buffalo appreciate how tough, and dangerous, they are. With hide nearly an inch thick; bones as large and tough as prison bars; and horns so massive they can deflect even the largest high-powered rifle bullets, the Cape buffalo is a formidable foe. Cape buffalo are notorious for soaking up big rifle lead, and escaping into dense thickets, where they wait silently for hunters who seek wounded animals. Many have charged and killed sportsmen; and hunters who survive often are crippled in the skirmish. Safari Club International (SCI) has updated records ( on the biggest Cape buffalo collected by hunters. Ranked by category of weapon used, the following are some of the best "buffs" downed by SCI bowmen, riflemen and handgunners.This enormous Cape buffalo ranks No. 1 among SCI crossbow hunters. Donald Wilson took it in early September 2005 on a hunt to the Republic of South Africa (RSA), guided by Ingogo Safaris. The bull has a tip-to-tip horn spread of nearly 87 inches, with 15-inch width boss. It scores 117.
If a Cape buffalo can be beautiful, this one with full-curl matching horns taken by rifleman Len Guidman would make the grade. Shot in August 1997 in Tanzania, it's the No. 6 largest buff taken by a firearms hunter, with a score of just over 135.
This number one SCI archery animal by Gregory Williamson has horns only a Cape buffalo could love. Its boss is almost unfathomable in width at over 18 inches. It scores 135 4/8s and was taken from the RSA in June 2006 with Madubula Safaris.
Butch Meilinger arrowed this No. 2 SCI crossbow Cape buffalo in July 2008 with Ingogo Safaris in the RSA. It scores 110 6/8s and has a horn tip-to-tip measurement of nearly 85 inches.
This is the No. 1 SCI handgun-taken Cape buffalo, shot in 1995 by Richard Butler in the RSA. With a score of 121, it has an impressive boss, with a tip-to-tip horn measurement of over 90 inches.
Bradford Johnson's Botswana bull has near perfectly-matched horn curls, and boasts a score of 135 6/8s, No. 6 in SCI for rifle-shot Cape buffalo. The horn spread is over 107 inches, with 16-inch width boss.
Well-traveled archer Ricardo Longoria dropped this No. 6 SCI bow-and-arrows Cape buffalo during a July 2007 hunt to Tanzania with Bundu Safaris. It scores 123 4/8s and has a 95-inch horn spread.
With perhaps the best-ever name for a crossbow hunter, Robert Stuck holds the No. 3 SCI record crossbow Cape buffalo with this 106-inch animal, taken in August 2005 from the RSA.
You'd be all smiles, too, like rifleman Jack Brumbelow if you'd taken this No. 3 SCI trophy, scoring 136 6/8s. He traveled to Tanzania in August 1999 to up-end the bull with a 105-inch horn spread.
Zimbabwe is where Dr. Adrian de Villiers shot this No. 12 ranked Cape buffalo with his bow and arrow. It scores 116 2/8s, and is a massive beast by any measure.
Rifleman Andrew Borrok tagged this No. 8 SCI Cape buffalo in RSA, with guide Darren Baker in June 2002. The bull scores 135, with a tip-to-tip horn spread of well over 106 inches.
This near-perfect Cape buffalo bull is one for the ages, and at one time ranked No. 1 in SCI for all methods of hunting. Robert Ferrero took the bull with a rifle in 1993 from Tanzania. It scores 134 3/8s.
Archer Lew Webb has the 17th ranked Cape buffalo by a bowman with this Zambia bull that scored 112 5/8s. It was arrowed with outfitter Charlie Harvey in August 2007.
Peter Bruckmann used a heavy rifle to tumble this rugged No. 8 SCI bull. It scores 135, and was taken in July 2006 in the RSA with Coenraad Vermaak Safaris.
This 12th-ranked rifle buff came from the RSA, via Madubula Safaris. Rayford Massey was the fortunate hunter who dropped the 134-inch bull on Aug. 17, 2000.
Here's another impressive buff that at one time was the best ever by an SCI hunter. Taken way back in January 1973, Dr. Karl Flick's 134 5/8s-inch bull still ranks No. 10 in the record books, with an impressive horn spread of over 108 inches. Kenya is where it happened.
That's a lot of bull – dangerous bull – to face with only a bow and arrow. And while Richard Flynn's RSA Cape buffalo only ranks No. 9 in the SCI archery records, with a score of 121 2/8s, it's still a terrifying one-ton man killer.

They can weigh a ton; are faster than an Olympic sprinter; and kill 500 people annually in Africa. Beware the Cape buffalo.