THE BUFFALO AND THE .308

SA Jagter Hunter - - BRIEWE | LETTERS -

I ha­ve re­cent­ly dis­co­ve­r­ed t­hat my hunting ex­pe­rien­ce of mo­re than 45 y­e­ars did not ne­ces­sa­ri­ly turn me in­to a good buffalo hun­ter.

My daug­h­ter has be­co­me a keen hun­ter, so I de­ci­ded to buy her a rifle in .308 Win for her birt­hday. We vi­si­ted a rifle shop in P­re­to­ria and to our di­sap­point­ment we­re told t­hat they do not ha­ve stock. Ho­we­ver, they said they we­re ex­pecting a Tik­ka T3 in .308 Win within the next two weeks, be­fo­re the end of No­vem­ber. T­hen it be­ca­me the end of De­cem­ber and t­hen the end of Ja­nu­a­ry. Finally, mid-Fe­bru­a­ry the rifle ar­ri­ved. In the me­an­ti­me I de­ci­ded to buy a te­les­co­pe du­ring one of their “spe­ci­al nig­hts”.

We we­re anx­i­ous and im­me­di­a­te­ly af­ter pay­ment draf­ted all the ne­ces­sa­ry do­cu­men­ta­ti­on, ma­de an ap­point­ment at the SAPS which re­sul­ted in a­not­her three weeks’ wait. T­hen bad news... The of­fi­cer at the fi­re­arm de­part­ment in­for­med us t­hat the rifle is not re­gis­te­red on the SAPS fi­re­arm re­gis­ter un­der the na­me of our pro­vi­der, let’s call him Buffalo (it was still un­der the na­me of a­not­her pro­vi­der in K­waZu­lu-Na­tal). W­hat hap­pe­ned he­re­af­ter can hap­pen at any gun shop. We had to “hunt” Buffalo do­wn for mo­re in­for­ma­ti­on. OK, bad luck, we mis­sed the first shot and had to re­think our ap­pro­ach. We went back to our pro­vi­der to con­firm the si­tu­a­ti­on. Now the tacti­cs of the Buffalo chan­ged and it was very dif­fi­cult to fol­low. They do not ha­ve access to the SAPS fi­re­arm re­gis­ter and on­ly work via e­mail cor­re­spon­den­ce with an of­fi­cer al­lo­ca­ted to them. They can­not call this per­son to fol­low up.

For the next two mont­hs we di­li­gent­ly hun­ted this Buffalo, but kept on mis­sing. Un­der most ci­r­cum­stan­ces the best met­hod of at­tack is to bla­me so­meo­ne el­se. A lar­ge and wel­l­kno­wn da­gha boy, ob­vi­ous­ly one of the Buffalo le­a­ders, sud­den­ly laun­ched a char­ge from a shado­wy di­recti­on: “It is the SAPS t­hat ha­ve a plan with rifle u­sers” (po­li­ti­cal­ly cor­rect from a Buffalo’s point of view). A fair- hai­red la­dy Buffalo ca­me to the fol­lo­wing con­clu­si­on: Tracking the com­mu­ni­ca­ton sy­stem can­not be do­ne, it is im­pos­si­ble to de­ter­mi­ne which rifle (by num­ber) has been sold and paid for but is not yet on the re­gis­ter (good bu­si­ness practi­ce?).

W­hat if e­very hun­ter on the list as­ks for a re­fund and you ha­ve a­not­her 100 rifles on im­port or­der? How ma­ny rifles are on the list, ha­ve any ot­her rifle been pla­ced on the list af­ter I boug­ht the .308 in Fe­bru­a­ry? Al the­se “dif­fi­cult” que­s­ti­on had to­tal­ly baf­fled the Buf­fa­loes, they we­re stam­peing and kicking up dust, but no one could pro­vi­de an an­wer.

To cut the hunt short, I ha­ve been at the pro­vi­der al­most e­very week, fol­lo­wing the tracks (they can­not call you, re­mem­ber com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on is not part of the ma­keup of a Buffalo, they on­ly de­fend and at­tack). Du­ring my last ex­pe­di­ti­on I was re­fer­red to a “se­ni­or gui­de” who ca­te­go­ri­cal­ly sta­ted in front of all wit­nes­ses t­hat he would per­so­nal­ly call the “of­fi­cer” (which they pre­vi­ous­ly said they can­not do) and re­vert back to me the next mor­ning. Yes! The hunt is on at last! Or is it? It has been days now but the pho­ne is still si­lent.

It just ma­kes “good bu­si­ness sen­se” to im­port rifles, t­hen sell them and on­ly on­ce the mo­ney is se­cu­red in your bank ac­count do you do the re­gis­tra­ti­on whi­le the pur­cha­ser waits. I won­der how ma­ny rifles are on the­se lis­ts, is it on­ly the Buffalo t­hat ha­ve this pro­blem or do we ha­ve ot­her spe­cies al­so trap­ped in the sa­me “bo­ma”? T­he­re is still ho­pe; I will hunt this Buffalo do­wn, e­ven if I ha­ve to chan­ge to “bak­kie hunt” tacti­cs.

If you want to pur­cha­se a rifle: Ask for p­roof t­hat the rifle is re­gis­te­red on the SAPS fi­re­arm re­gis­ter in the na­me of the sel­ler be­fo­re you re­pur­cha­se. Do not ma­ke any pay­ment until you ha­ve pro­per ve­ri­fi­ca­ti­on in hand. The “of­fi­cer” at the SAPS is mo­re help­ful and pa­tient than w­hat most Buf­fa­loes think.

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