We were anxious to hear about Hurst's hunt, because Chitwood had told us the water buffalo he saw were domesticated animals that would be turned out for hunting. We had asked Hill about that, and he said that was not at all correct. He wrote: "All of these animals originated from two buffalo ranches, one in Orange Walk District, the other in Toledo. I'm not sure if there are any truly feral breeding populations, as the male calves are castrated right away. But over the past 20 years, many adult water buffalo have escaped and become "free-range," even though technically they still belong to the ranches. Once the buffalo go free, they cannot be reincorporated into the ranch, as they are too dangerous to capture, transport and work with. "It has been suggested that our buffalo are somehow caged, penned, fenced or otherwise contained. Nothing could be further from the truth! We are hunting these free-range buffalo on wild and completely unfenced land, contiguous to more than 1,000 square miles of absolute wilderness. To facilitate hunting, we employ cowboys to follow the herd and keep track of their daily location."
So what was Hurst's experience? First of all, he says he had no expectations for this hunt. He approached it as an adventure. He says the buffalo acted wild, and the hunt felt like it was for wild animals. He reports seeing buffalo tracks in remote parts of the jungle when he was hunting for brocket deer. When he........(continued)