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High Noon on the Caprivi

By Bob Powell

Sometimes, like the actor Gary Cooper had to do in the classic movie ‘High Noon’, a man is faced with a showdown of which only one can walk away. Marshall Kane had to face Frank Miller…. a man who had sworn to kill him. My ‘Frank Miller’ was an enraged buffalo bull in the remote Caprivi Strip of North Eastern Namibia.

After one of the rainiest seasons in many years the hunting had been difficult to say the least. We finally did spot a good bull but he had us pegged and was walking straight away. This is no kind of shot, of course. However at about two hundred yards, he stopped, turned broadside, and I quickly shot him behind the shoulder, though perhaps a wee bit high. The 450/400 Kreighoff was loaded with 400 grain Hornady solids.  The bull galloped away, paralleling the river we had arrived on. He was soon out of sight.

We got into the boat and travelled about three quarters of a mile in the direction that the bull had gone. A native lady was spotted and the tracker found out that she had seen the wounded bull a short while earlier. It was walking and we hoped by now that it was dead. As my fellow hunter Jamy and the tracker talked to the woman I moved off a bit in the direction that the buffalo had taken. The other men shortly followed. In a very short distance we came upon a bush. Perhaps at fifty feet, the bull suddenly stood up behind that absurdly small bush and came around it in a full charge…right at me. By the time I got off the first shot, it was only ten or fifteen feet away. The chest shot knocked the bull to his knees but he got right back up. The buffalo came again but this time I wasn’t in his direct line. As he came by me I shot him through the shoulders. His head went down and he did a complete somersault.

Jamy and I each shot the bull one more time… but it wasn’t really needed. It is something that one has to do...