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Buffalo hunting in the Northern Territory of Australia

Introduced in the 1840s as a food source the water buffalo (Bubalas Bubalis) quickly became established throughout the Top Ends accommodating environment. After their release into the wild Buffalo numbers flourished as vast areas of the Top End become inaccessible during the wet season and the animals are undisturbed.

During the 1980's the buffalo were thought to be a disease threat to the domestic herd as a result were culled right back into eastern Arnhem Land. Numbers were decimated across the Territory and only left undisturbed in Eastern Arnhem Land.

Currently the Buffalo herd of around 150,000 animals can be found in most areas of the top end in different concentrations, with by far the heaviest concentration being in eastern Arnhem Land, and this has been the prominent area were most trophy buffalo hunting has been done in the past.

There are two reasons for this:

1. Good numbers of buffalo unaffected by the BTEC (Tuberculosis Eradication) in the 80's and 90's

2. The East Arnhem Land Branch of the Northern Land Council (Governing Body for the Indigenous Land Trust Areas in the Northern Territory) has been dealing with tourism development with the local government for a long time and concessions in this area are a lot easier to establish than the flood plain areas of Western Arnhem Land were some of GOE's concessions have been established.

Over population has become a real problem with buffalo in East Arnhem Region with buffalo destroying water sources and over grazing the area resulting in malnourished animals with a lot smaller average body weight than buffalo in less populated areas. Buffalo are now culled and mustered for export regularly and indiscriminately in these areas. Good heads are still taken in these areas but I have found that overall body size and animal health is lacking. Being a local resident for over thirty years I have found that floodplain areas that were culled in the 80's and 90's but border the areas of Eastern Arnhem Land are now producing the Biggest and best buffalo. A full grown healthy floodplain male buffalo is an imposing beast at 800-1000kg (2000-2200lbs) and can absorb lead from any calibre rifle.

What to expect

We usually allow around 4 to 5 days for a Buffalo hunt; this is generally ample time to secure a trophy bull. Depending on the concession and style of hunting it is not uncommon to see 5 or 6 trophy bull's one day. A hunting day can be long with the usual rise before daylight, and at times returning to camp after dark. Unlike other animals buffalo can be spotted feeding on the floodplains right throughout the day. During the heat of the day they can be found wallowing on the plain while some retreat to the shady and taller timbered areas.  During a day's hunting a hunter will often see Wild Boar, Magnificent Birdlife and Crocodiles may also be sighted.

Having multiple concessions allows GOE to tailor make hunts to the hunter's capabilities and enables us to give clients the best opportunities to take the best animals possible. Some areas offer great numbers of animals and literally 000's will be seen in a day, while other areas that are not so extensively populated produce some truly amazing bulls.  When booking a hunt it is important to be honest about your capabilities as different areas produce different animals at different times of the year. Some conditions are extreme and require fit and mobile hunters to produce excellent bulls while less mobile hunters may require different equipment and more remote camps to get them within range of a high quality trophy without the physical exertion.

All clients can expect the highest level of equipment when hunting with GOE and with a wide range of ATV's, UTV's, Trucks, boats and other equipment we have what it takes to get you to the animals, with the best equipment and concessions we are consistently taking exceptional truly wild free range animals on a regular basis. A hunter who has been honest about their capabilities and follows direction from the guide can expect to be put in a position to shoot at a 100+ sci point bulls.



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