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Old 06-12-2017, 12:08 PM   #1
Buff
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Outback Buff
It is far to Australia. I figured I should get that part out of the way up front. Two hours from Longview Texas to Atlanta, a four hour layover, then seventeen hours across the ocean. With the first part of our trip behind us, we flew another two and a half hour on to MacArthur River where we were picked up by Mick Baker, owner and operator of Trophy bowhunts Australia. The last leg of our journey was a one hundred and fifty kilometer ride down a one lane tar road that turned into dirt after twenty miles or so. The last ten miles into camp was on a two track through the high grass. Dropping over the river bank we were greeted by a sweet camp. Open cots cover with mosquito nets overlooking the Limon Bite River, just below a water fall. It was a great setup and about as far away from civilization as you could ever hope for. Growing up in East Texas I never really worried about getting lost. No matter how far back into the bugger woods you thought you were, if you set still for a little while you would hear cars off in the distance and be able to walk out to a road. That would not have helped much here. In my week there I never even saw a plane fly over.
My close friend and running buddy Mark Johnson was with me on this trip. Mark has a way of making everything funny so I knew before we started I was in for a fun week. Marks guide for the week was a young African named Andy Ivy and as soon as the gear was stowed the four of us broke out the bows and went to playing. That is one of the great things about hunting with traditional equipment; four grown men can pass away an afternoon if you just give them a coke can and a dirt bank.
We were after Water Buffalo and Scrub Bulls. The plan was to skirt the open flood plains hoping to spot a good Buff. Then follow him in hopes he would eventually wander into a place with enough cover to put a stalk on. The first morning was a blast. I had two different stalks that ended up with me within thirty yards of buffalo only to have things fall apart at the last minute. Any doubts I had about it being impossible were erased when I returned to camp. Mark had killed a dandy one on the very first stalk.
That afternoon Mick and I crossed the river to hunt a new area. We had not gone far when we spotted a good buff feeding straight away from us. We slipped into about one hundred and fifty yards in a hurry. Every time the buff stopped to feed we would gain ground on him, only to give it back when he picked his head up and walked on through the plain.
We had been following him for a half hour when he dropped over the bank of the river. Mick whispered ďThis is our chanceĒ and took off in a trot. We figured the buffalo would be straight down the bank drinking.
When I eased up over the bank I was surprised to find the buffalo nowhere in sight. It was as if he had flown away. I was scanning the opposite bank with my binoculars when I heard a swirling sound from the river. The buffalo surfaced down the river fifty yards away. With just his head showing above the water, he leisurely strolled down the center of the river, stopping from time to time to dunk his head. After the initial shock wore off I took after him. Every time he dunked his head I would run down the bank and set up for a shot only to have him surface out of range or at a bad angle. After a couple of hundred yards of this I took a chance and ran past where I thought he would surface. Between the excitement and the running, both of them hard on old people, my heart was about to jump out of my chest. I felt the muscles in my back begin to bunch up as I watched him surface 20 yards away facing me. He slowly made his way past me but his chest was just out of sight in the water. At twenty yards past me he turned to start back up stream when his chest suddenly appeared above the water line. In an instant the arrow was buried into his chest to the feathers. The whole world stopped. The buffalo slowly turned his head away from me then back. I donít think he even knew he was shot. He had no doubt heard the loud crack when the arrow hit him but that was it. Between the swishing in the water and the super quite bow he didnít have a clue what happened. After a tense couple of minutes he spotted me above him and went crashing up the other bank. I donít even remember reaching for another arrow but as he cleared the other bank I hit him again. He made it about two hundred yards before giving up.
When we walked up to him I was amazed at the size. He was way bigger than the Cape buffalo I had killed last year. I would guess he was easily over a ton.

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The next day was a learning experience for me. As I blew half a dozen stalks. I did have some excitement. I used a tree to block the sight of a great bull, close to 100 inches. After crawling up to the tree, I was within ten yards of him but the way he was laying; his massive shoulder blocked the shot. After a few minutes, he figured out something wasnít right and leaped up dashing thirty yards before I could raise my bow. He spun back around facing me and it was touch and go whether he was going to run away or over me. I finally decided to let me go and marched off with his head turned sideways, showing off his horns.
The next day I preformed much better. The stalk took over an hour as the only cover available was the waist high grass. I was able to get within twenty yards of him. He never knew I was in the world until the arrow smacked him. That afternoon I had the most exciting stalk of my life. We spotted a good buff traveling with three smaller ones. We followed them for an hour or so before they lay down to chew their cud. The grass was only knee high and I had to lay completely down and slid my bow in front of me. The hair was standing up on my neck as I crawled within ten yards across the front of one of the smaller bulls, trying to get in position for a shot on the big boy. Luck was on my side as the smaller bull was sleepy and would close his eyes for a few minutes before perking up to look around again. Every time his eyes slipped close I would slid forward on my belly until I was able to get within fifteen yards of the bull I wanted. It was quite a rush when the four bulls rose up out of the grass after my shot and milled around me before heading for the river bed.
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My last bull was we believe the same one I spooked the second day. Mark was with us on the camera and we spotted the Buffalo close to camp out in the open flood plain. We cold trailed along behind him hoping he would lay down in the shade somewhere to avoid the mid day heat. After an hour or so he turned back towards us, we hit the ground. It was a stale mate. He stood in the shade facing us chewing his cud. We were trapped out in the open, lying in the grass slowly cooking in the Australian sun, not a cloud in the sky. It went from tense, to hot, to funny as the time slipped past. After a long hour and a half the bull started walking straight at us. We had no cover and the grass was only about knee high. I tried to bury myself deeper into the little grass we had. I wish I could explain the rush of emotions laying there as he slowly made his way to us. The hot sun on my back, my trusty Black Widow in my left hand, it was one of those moments we practice for. All the hours standing out in the back yard were for this, thousands of miles from home with a giant black beast making his way towards us I slipped into auto pilot as he passed forty yards away. Rising up on my knees and drawing my bow in one motion the world blurred over and the only thing in focus was a small clump of mud on his ribs. The string slipped away and I watched as the arrow arched above his back then dropped down into his chest with a solid crack. It was one of those moments I will carry with me forever. It is mine and no one can take it away from me.

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It would be hard for me to say enough good things about Mickís operation. He has the hunting rights to miles and miles of remote country. As a longbow hunter his self he under stands what it takes to get us in close for a sure shot. Australia is a great place to hunt as well. The country is beautiful with some of the coolest looking birds you will ever see.
The Water buffalo are just made for bow hunting. While I had several during the week convinced me that they were not particularly afraid of me, they are a challenge to get within bow range. If they smell you or catch you moving they are gone. I had a few come back, head held high, staring down their nose at me. It is quite a rush to have a one ton beast stomping towards you as you lay in the grass trying to disappear.
My setup for this adventure was a eighty three pound Black Widow iron wood recurve. I was using a duplex shaft that consisted of a Heritage 350 shaft with a Beman flash shaft inside. I had a 125 grain brass insert combined with a 210 grain German Kinetic head. The total weight was 980 grains. This setup proved very effective on the four buffalo during the week with all the arrows penetrating through the near side ribs and sticking in the off side ribs.
Years ago Australia was a faraway place that most folks could never visit. Today it is just a matter of manning up and getting on the plane. For those who chose to make the trip, you are in for a treat. New lands, new friends and new critters to chase.


Marty Thomas

Video http://buffsblackwidow.com/videos/Aussypromoquick.qt
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Old 06-12-2017, 12:19 PM   #2
Phillip Fields
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Great story.
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Old 06-12-2017, 12:26 PM   #3
N.DaWoods
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Awesome story. Congrats on a great time down under.
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Old 06-12-2017, 12:32 PM   #4
Saltyag15
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That was a great read! Thanks for taking the time to share all that.
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Old 06-12-2017, 12:50 PM   #5
thorthunder
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Just wow. Congrats....
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Old 06-12-2017, 12:52 PM   #6
hoythunter28
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What a story!
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:16 PM   #7
RatherBhuntin
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What an adventure! Congrats
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Old 06-12-2017, 02:20 PM   #8
kruppa24
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congrats, cool story
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Old 06-12-2017, 02:29 PM   #9
SwampRabbit
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Awesome!

I have missed your story posts on here... glad to see another one

I know a bunch of guys talk about hunting Africa and all the exotic game they have there and all the Africa threads, etc. I must admit, that for me, if I had a choice of another continent to hunt on, I would choose Australia. (I also hear they have a rabbit problem over there )
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:20 PM   #10
DRT
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The legend continues. Great hunt and great story.

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Old 06-12-2017, 03:43 PM   #11
Briar Friar
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Very cool story. I learned something from this story...never knew of duplex shafts. Now I do. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:58 PM   #12
Mesquite Archer
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Amazing, I'm not sure what would have my adrenaline higher crawling within 15 yards of the WB with a bow, or watching for one of Australia's deadliest snakes while crawling thru the grass. Congrats on a great hunt!
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Old 06-12-2017, 04:01 PM   #13
tradtiger
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Larger than life adventures there, with equipment to match -- 83-lb bow and 900-grain arrows! Serious! Congrats and thanks for sharing the story and video.
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Old 06-12-2017, 04:12 PM   #14
yleecoyote23
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Great story and awesome hunt Marty!!
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Old 06-12-2017, 05:13 PM   #15
DRT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tradtiger View Post
Larger than life adventures there, with equipment to match -- 83-lb bow and 900-grain arrows! Serious! Congrats and thanks for sharing the story and video.
Seriously. It's like reading stories of the greats of old. But he is one of the greats living in our times. Awesome.

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Old 06-12-2017, 05:22 PM   #16
CRM_95
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Thanks for sharing Marty!! Love hearing your stories.
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Old 06-12-2017, 05:34 PM   #17
stickfigure
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I enjoy your stories. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 06-12-2017, 06:14 PM   #18
Bisch
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Yep! Australia is an awesome place, and Mick is good folks. I had a blast when I hunted with him.

Great storytelling, as always, Marty!

Bisch
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Old 06-12-2017, 07:04 PM   #19
Drycreek3189
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Great story and the video wasn't too shabby either !
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Old 06-12-2017, 07:12 PM   #20
Whosure
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Congrats and great story
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Old 06-12-2017, 08:06 PM   #21
Dry Bones
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Thanks for the read. Awesome Hunt.
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Old 06-12-2017, 08:25 PM   #22
RascalArms
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Cool story...large animals!!! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-12-2017, 09:24 PM   #23
pondboss
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Wow!
Thanks for taking us along.
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Old 06-12-2017, 09:36 PM   #24
shortstroke 91
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Thanks Marty, always wanted to meet Andy. I miss seeing all of his pics. He's an awesome photographer.
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:43 AM   #25
EnW
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What an adventure! Thanks for sharing!
-Eric
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Old 06-13-2017, 09:26 AM   #26
MedicineMan7
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Thanks for posting up another awesome tale!

I've got to many things lined up the next couple years (if all goes as planned), but I want to go to Australia after buffalo BAD!!!!! Those critters are awesome!
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Old 06-16-2017, 10:31 AM   #27
caughtandhobble
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Great hunt!!! You two have done some things
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