Just completed a safari with a longbow client from America.
This was his first trip to Africa and he wanted to take a Cape Buffalo. His equipment was equal to the task. He was shooting an 86 lb. Howard Hill Longbow with Hickory shafts and 320 grain Tuff-Head Broadheads (two blade, 3.2 inches long by 1.2 inches wide, single beveled, factory sharpened with Teflon coating). Total arrow weight was 950 grains (heavy arrows are mandatory for deep penetration).
This was a 10 day safari and we were in a good area with lots of old bulls (Dagga Boys). On the third day we made contact with 3 lone bulls and the stalk was on. When we closed to within 15 meters, one of the bulls presented a slight quartering away shot. The shot placement was very good (right on the shoulder crease and 1/3 up from the belly line). We waited an hour before following up and found the arrow about 40 meters out. He had achieved about 15 inches penetration and we saw large pools of blood. We were confident that the bull was down in the close vicinity. We followed a decreasing blood trail for the rest of the day without making contact. This was a very stressful day, expecting a full charge at any moment. At the end of the day I was physically and mentally drained.
We picked up the trail on the second day. Finally, the blood trail was non-existent and we were now following only spoor. We spent the entire second day without making contact.
On the third day, we decided to drive the area were we left the spoor in hopes of seeing this bull on his feet. Our spirits were low as we now knew that the hit was not as good as we had thought. By mid morning we made contact with 4 lone bulls, all slowly feeding into the slight breeze. We tried hard to find one with an arrow wound, but could not be certain. Then one of the bulls turned and we saw what I thought was dried blood on the shoulder. He had rolled in the dirt and the shoulder appeared to be caked with dried mud. At close inspection (30 meters) with binoculars we saw a swollen spot on the shoulder with a tell tale broadhead slit in the center. We were able to finish the job and the bull was finally down. On inspection of the carcass we discovered that the arrow had sliced behind the shoulder blade, breaking a rib and cutting the top end of one lung. The blood lose was heavy, inside of the body cavity, yet this bull was walking along as if he had never been touched. It always amazes me that these beasts can take so much punishment and can keep on ticking. In reviewing the hit after the fact, we concluded that the hit was too far forward. The arrow was well placed if the bull was standing directly broadside, but not at a quartering away angle. Another lesson well learned- Always aim for the opposite shoulder to achieve a double lung hit. Something we all know, but sometimes forgotten in the heat of the moment.
We continued the hunt and the bow hunter accounted for a 24 inch Impala, huge Bush Pig, and two Wart Hogs (one with 14 inch tusks!)