THE BUFFALO AND THE .308
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.