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Pat Reeve and Nicole Jones on Their Australian Water Buffalo Hunt

Editor’s Note: Pat Reeve and Nicole Jones’ TV show, Driven with Pat and Nicole, airs on the Outdoor Channel Tuesday nights at 8:00 pm and Friday nights at 10:00 pm EST. For the last 3 years, this husband- and-wife duo has won a Golden Moose Award for excellence in TV production from the Outdoor Channel. “Driven” features big-game hunting around the world, but its main focus has been whitetails. Pat and Nicole wear the Mossy Oak Treestand and Break-Up Infinity camo patterns.

We were hunting water buffalo in the northern territories of Australia, with George Stewart  of Leithen Valley Trophy Hunts in Australia and New Zealand. Nicole and I never had hunted in Australia. I think hunting dangerous game takes your hunting and your video skills to another level. Water buffaloes and Cape buffaloes are animals that can and will hunt you, instead of your hunting them. On this hunt I planned to film Nicole first, and then she would film me, if we didn’t run out of time. We had been told to bring lightweight Mossy Oak camouflage, since the weather would be cool in the morning and get extremely hot during the day. We notified ScentBlocker, and they sent us some lightweight Mossy Oak Dream Season clothing to wear. Most of the time we just wore our base layer t-shirts, with a light jacket in the mornings. Each day, we got up at daylight and drove down the roads in the outback in an open jeep, hoping to see a big water buffalo to stalk. The property was loaded with free-ranging buffaloes but finding a really-big shooter bull wasn’t easy. The bigger bulls, known as “duga boys,” are loners. They don’t hang out with the females and the younger bulls. 

George left the road from time to time and drove over trees, rocks and creek banks. The jeep’s front bumper had two guard rails, so if he got stuck during the rainy season, he could lay the guard rails under the tires of his jeep to drive out of the mud. George had spotted one really-old trophy bull he wanted Nicole to take. That’s the bull we looked for on the first few days. Late in the afternoon on the first day, we saw a different trophy bull. George and Nicole stalked him, and I was filming. The wind shifted, and the bull got George and Nicole’s scent. He started acting like he would charge. Nicole came to full draw with her Mathews bow, but he was quartering to her as he walked toward them. I could tell by the bull’s body language that he was really upset. He was kicking dust, started trotting and then ran toward George and Nicole. I thought to myself, “This will be great. I get to film George and Nicole being charged by the water buffalo.” They tried to hide behind some brush, so the big bull couldn’t see them. Finally, he stopped his charge and looked around but couldn’t find them. He turned and ran away. If Nicole had taken this bull, he would have been a true trophy. If he had charged Nicole and George, I would have gotten some outstanding footage, however he didn’t charge. 

The next day we returned to the same area. George and Nicole stalked him close but not close enough for Nicole to get off a shot with her bow. On day two, we had a few more encounters but still failed to take a bull. Each day we packed a lunch, left before daylight and got back to camp after dark. On the third day, we were still searching for this big bull that George wanted Nicole to take. The bull’s nickname was “Houdini,” because he vanished every time we got close to him. We’d already spent 3 days of our 7-day hunt without getting a shot. On day 4, I told Nicole, “Let’s change up. I’ll hunt, and you video. Maybe this will change our luck.” Over the years, we’ve learned that when we change the hunter, our luck seems to change. On the fourth morning, I stalked within 40 yards of a nice bull but turned him down because he wasn’t quite big enough. 

In the middle of the day, we spotted a big bull feeding in tall grass. I knew I could stalk up and get close to him, but he had his head down feeding, and we couldn’t see his horns. There were big termite mounds in this area, so I tried to stay behind the termite mounds and get close enough to judge his antlers. By this time of day, I was wearing a short-sleeved ScentBlocker base layer t-shirt in Mossy Oak camo and shorts. Moving slowly and quietly, I got within 25 yards of this big bull. The wind was in my face. I was carrying my Mathews Monster bow with 90 pounds of draw weight. My arrow was actually one arrow inside another arrow, and including the broadhead, I was shooting about 1,000 grains total. My broadhead was a Muzzy 225-grain Phantom. The bull was feeding on grass. He didn’t know I was anywhere around or that Nicole and George were about 50-yards behind me, filming the hunt. 

Finally, the bull turned broadside and put his leg forward as he was feeding. I got up on my knee, came to full draw and made a perfect shot on the bull at 25 yards. When the bull took the arrow, he jumped up, ran about 25 yards, turned around and looked back. I could see the arrow sticking out where it had penetrated almost all the way to the fletching. Then the bull started chewing. I quickly nocked a second arrow when he was about 50-yards away. That arrow hit right behind his front leg on the opposite side from the first arrow. He started running and ran right past me. I couldn’t believe the buffalo didn’t go down. After he got past me, he wheeled around and began looking for me. I could hear Nicole behind me saying my name. She was prompting me to be ready to take a shot if the buffalo charged me. However,  then he turned, started to run and fell over. This bull was called a sweeper bull, because his horns swept back. 

Day 1: Taking New Zealand Tahrs with Pat Reeve and Nicole Jones

Tomorrow: Nicole Jones’ Water Buffalo Bull

Jun 11, 2013

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