Boddington's Adventures

Buffalo are tough, and one-shot kills are rare. If you have the chance, keep shooting.

By Craig Boddington

The herd was huge, but most had passed and stragglers were drifting through. An old bull cruised by, but he was narrow so we let him go. All seemed over when brush cracked to our right and a lovely bull-—wide, heavy, fully mature—-walked straight toward us.

I shot him frontally at about 20 yards and he lurched forward, as buffalo often do, then ran in a half-circle in front of us, perfectly in the clear. The rifle was a left-hand Dakota .375. I kept shooting—and at such close range hitting well—until he vanished. One of the trackers was carrying a double .470 so I switched for the followup. The bull lay still just into thick bush, no movement; it had taken four Swift A-Frames and was done.

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Sorting out the complexities of getting meat and trophies home from your hunt.

By Craig Boddington

If you do all your hunting close to home, game recovery is pretty simple: After field preparation and perhaps quartering or boning, you put the animal in your vehicle and drive it home. Once home, you butcher it yourself or take it to a meat processor. If it’s an exceptional or special animal, it probably winds up at a local taxidermist. No problem!

Things are different if you’re a long way from home. We all hate “hidden costs,” and the business of getting meat and/or trophies home can create some really nasty surprises. If you’ve done it a few times chances are you already understand some of the pitfalls. If you’re among the majority who have only hunted close to home, but one year decide to branch out, getting your game home is something you need to think about and have a plan for.

Game Recovery in North America

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Non-magnifying red dot sights are a great option for fast, close shooting.

By Craig Boddington

Some years ago an acquaintance of mine waltzed into an African hunting camp and announced that the “essence of dangerous game hunting was open sights at thirty yards or less.” Nice thought, but it’s unwise to tempt fate like that. Toward the end of his hunt, with time growing short, this guy, with his open sights, took an errant shot at his buffalo at eighty yards. He wounded it, and it was taken some hours later in a full-out charge. Fortunately nobody got hurt, and just as fortunately his bull was recovered, since the most likely result of a bad shot on a buffalo is the animal is never seen again. Under ideal conditions, and with practice, it’s very possible to shoot accurately with iron sights well beyond a hundred yards, but realistically, for most of us, even eighty yards is pushing it, and shot placement will often suffer.

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Onerous new rules for international travel with firearms are on hold--for now.

By Craig Boddington

It almost seems like it was just a bad dream! Effective April 3, 2015, the rules changed for Americans traveling outside the United States with firearms. Some customs officers and airports attempted to implement the new procedures a couple of weeks prior. Other officials never got around to implementing it, because just twenty days later, on April 23, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) went back to the old system we’re familiar with: the U.S. Customs Form 4457.

The reversal is a big win for our team, with the charge led by our most powerful friends: National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Safari Club International. The situation remains worthy of discussion, however, because what we really got was not a reversal, but a reprieve while CBP figures out how to properly implement a new system for temporary export of firearms by hunters and shooters.

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California's Central Coast is a great place to hunt big pigs.

By Craig Boddington

On the eve of a pig hunt on California’s Central Coast I was talking to a friend, an experienced hunter with broad African experience. He admitted that pig hunting is one of his favorites. I understand that, because I also like pig hunting.

As a young editor I was trapped in Los Angeles for fifteen years. California’s Central Coast was an easy place for an occasional getaway, and it seemed a natural place to settle when, twenty-odd years ago, I finally escaped the editor’s desk. Back then we had good deer hunting, but a main attraction was the year-round hog hunting, and remains so today. Yes, it’s sort of in my backyard, not exactly a far-flung adventure. However, like the concept of “trophy,” what constitutes “adventure” is open to interpretation. Wild hogs yield excellent pork, and a big boar with good tusks is a rare creature, and in all ways a most underrated trophy.

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