I have been fortunate to hunt Karamoja four times over the past five years, and as an international hunt consultant for Worldwide Trophy Adventures, I have sent many clients there. The region we hunt is operated by Christian Weth and UWS, and it is situated in the extreme north of Uganda where South Sudan, Uganda and Kenya come together. The hunting concession borders the Kidepo Valley National Park, and is a picturesque locale mostly consisting of fairly open savannah, interspersed with acacia trees and some low brush, and you are virtually surrounded by mountains in every direction. Buffalo surveys of the area have estimated the population to be almost 10 000.
With the area being quite open, buffalo hunting in Karamoja is more of a spot-and-stalk affair rather than a traditional tracking hunt. There are generally so many buffalo around that you cover as much ground as possible by vehicle and glass as many buffalo as possible until you find what interests you. Then you try to formulate a plan to stalk within reasonable shooting distance, which in some cases is made quite difficult because the area is so open. That is not to say that there will not be situations where you can get close, but I would say the average shot on buffalo is from 80–100 yards.
The area’s buffalo are classified as Nile buffalo, and though they are supposed to be a bit smaller in body than Cape buffalo, there are some real tanks around. The first buffalo I ever shot in Karamoja back in 2017 was a beautiful 40″ bull with heavy, chipped bosses and classic Nile buffalo shape. He had a huge body, and when I got him home and mounted, the taxidermist told me that he had to use the largest Cape buffalo form made to fit my bull’s skin.
Generally, Nile buffalo have flatter horns than typical Cape buffalo but as in most species, this can vary a lot. I have seen a number of Karamoja buffalo with very typically-shaped horns, and even a few with a beautifully deep drop.
In 2020, I was hunting with my good friend, Tom Niederer, and PH Edwin Young one afternoon, and we ventured up into some foothills. The terrain is more broken than on the main valley floor and there is a fair amount of cover in that specific area. We eventually spotted two old bulls feeding a few hundred yards away and as we glassed, Edwin told me he thought one bull was a “scrum cap”. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, a scrum cap is a bull that is so old, he has basically worn away all of his horns except the bosses. To me this is the ultimate trophy, and I told Edwin I was more than game to pursue the bull.
We dropped into a dry creek bed, snaked our way closer to the feeding bulls and crawled up a steep bank. That put us about 40 yards from the unsuspecting buffalo, with the wind in our faces. Edwin put up the shooting sticks and I settled the green aiming point of my Trijicon AccuPoint scope low on the oldest bull’s shoulder, and sent a 470 gr Cutting Edge Bullets’ Safari Raptor straight into his heart.
The bull bucked and lunged forward and though he was dead on his feet, I put another in his backside as he retreated. That put him down for good. When we walked up to the ancient old bull, I couldn’t have been more pleased. I think the old boy had to be over 15 years old and although he was obviously the smallest buffalo I had ever taken, he is still hands-down my favourite. To take an animal that has lived that long, evading the area’s lions and hunters, is something special, and the bull’s body was worn down just like his horns. He was on his way out, many years past being a breeder, and in my opinion is the perfect type of buffalo to take out of the population. There just aren’t many of those old guys to be found.