London gunmaker John Rigby & Co. is calling on hunters around the world to take part in its new Dagga Boy Award, which will in turn aid a new scientific study initiative providing invaluable data about the populations of African buffalo across the continent.
Designed to gather scientific data whilst highlighting the importance that a buffalo’s age is more important than its ‘inches’, the biennial award promotes ethical hunting and a healthier, stronger population of all six species of African buffalo.
Only bulls which have surpassed breeding age and are wild and free-ranging from self-sustaining herds, hunted in an ethical, fair chase, track, walk-and-stalk manner are eligible for entry. To take part, hunters are requested to email a detailed description of a hunt as well as photos of qualifying bulls they have taken in the past 10 years up to the end of the 2021 hunting season.
For the first time ever and with Rigby at the forefront, this initiative will enable leading buffalo scientists to compare first molar tooth wear with signs of aging for all species of buffalo from all over the African continent and determine at what age other species of buffalo, from other parts of Africa, attain Dagga Boy status. The information collected will ensure more sustainable hunting and the betterment of the species overall.
As African buffalo reach sexual maturity, hormonally induced changes occur to their appearance, the most significant of which, is the development of the boss. Available nutrition, the result of annual rainfall, has the greatest influence on an animal’s growth rate and consequently its age when sexual maturity occurs. There are five species of African buffalo and they occur over a range of geographically diverse areas with vastly different rainfall patterns and climatic conditions.
The Taylor First Molar Teeth Aging Method allows aging of some populations of Southern buffalo very accurately; for example we know a 12-year-old Southern Buffalo from the Zambezi Valley can be regarded as a post breeding age Dagga Boy.
The Rigby Dagga Boy Award will enable comparisons between first molar tooth wear with ‘signs of aging’ for all species of buffalo from all over the African continent and determine at what age other species of buffalo, from other parts of Africa, attain Dagga Boy status. The information collected from all entries will provide species data for scientific study; ensuring more sustainable hunting and the betterment of the species overall.
Signs of age in African buffalo which will be part of the judging criteria for the Dagga Boy Award are as follows:
- Boss development/wear/hardness
- Horn tip position and sharpness or lack thereof
- Degree of muscling in the neck and shoulder region
- Overall body colour
- Ear condition
- Facial markings
- The development of chinlap
- Size of the front hooves
Terms and conditions of entry:
- Bull African buffalo from all six Syncerus species (Cape/Southern, Nile, East African Savannah, Central African Savannah, West African Savannah and Dwarf Forest) are eligible for entry into Rigby’s Dagga boy Award.
- No cows from any of the species are eligible.
- Only wild, free-ranging bulls from self-sustaining herds, hunted in an ethical, fair chase, track, walk and stalk manner are eligible for entry. (wild and free ranging implies that such buffalo populations are sustained solely by what their environment provides for them. In some such instances, concessions operators drill wells/boreholes and build dams to increase the areas water supply. This is acceptable. Also, at the end of the hunting season, some operators clean out their skinning sheds. The old, dirty and already used salt is sometimes given to the areas wildlife as a means of disposing of it. These practices provide nil nutritional value and are also acceptable).
- Ranched, captive bred, artificially managed, handled, sold or traded bulls of any species, are not eligible for entry.(Regardless of the geographical area, its size or whether it is fenced or not, buffalo populations that are given any form of nutritional assistance during the year – usually the dry season, where access to improved or irrigated pastures is allowed, or where hay, alfalfa, protein supplements or licks, or complex mineral mixtures might be provided or fed for a period of time so as to maintain body condition, enhance reproductive performance or improve growth rate, are considered to be ‘managed’ – and as such are not eligible for entry into the competition.)
- The emphasis with be on ‘old’ and ‘broken-horned’ bulls who have surpassed breeding age.
- All bulls which qualify, and were hunted over the previous 10 years (and up until the end of the 2021 hunting season) are eligible for entry in the 2021 award.
- All entries must be submitted by 15 December 2021.
- All entries will be reviewed by the panel of judges (Dr. Kevin Robertson, Robin Hurt, Marc Newton) who will collectively decide on the winner.
- The winner will be announced at a cocktail reception to be held in Dallas during the 2022 Dallas Safari Club Convention. All qualifying entrants to the inaugural Rigby Dagga Boy Award, will be invited to the reception.
- The winner will receive the Dagga Boy Cup and a Rigby .416 Big Game rifle worth £9,150. The Professional Hunter that guided will receive a Rigby .450 PH rifle worth £8,340. It will be presented by Rigby MD, Marc Newton, at the function.
- All finalists will be invited to attend this function.
- The judge’s decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into in this regard.
- Entries must be accompanied by electronically supplied, good quality photos of the hunter and his buffalo. Photos of the ears, teeth, body should also be submitted if available.
- Also to be supplied are the name/s and contact details of the PH and outfitter who outfitted and guided the hunter, along with a detailed description of where and when the hunt took place.
- Equally as important as the ‘age’ of the buffalo being entered, will be the ’story’ of the hunt.
- A detailed description of the effort and experiences which resulted in the hunting of such an old bull will be an essential part of the application and judging process.
- While not a necessity for entry into the 2021 competition, all future competitions (the competition will be run bi-annually) will require the submission of the two, lower jaw, 1st molar teeth (third teeth from the rear on each side). This will be for aging and research purposes. Should any such teeth be available for the 2021 competition, they can be mailed/sent to Dr. Kevin Robertson, 101 Glenn Oaks Drive, Boerne, Texas, 78006, USA. This will not influence the judge’s decision and will be for the purposes of research only.
- Entrants must agree to allow their photos and ‘story’ to be printed in magazine/book/online format should this be deemed worthy at a later date.
- The Dagga Boy Cup remains Rigby’s property and must be returned two years following its loan as part of winning the previous award.
- By entering the award, the applicants agrees not to sell their prize and enjoy using it for its intended purpose. Failure to comply with this condition will result in disqualification from entering any future Rigby competitions.