Before answering your question, I will just add there is really a big six these days if you count the hippo which kills more people than any of the other five. There is no answer to your question as it really is subjective. One man's trophy is another man's trash, so to speak.
I think in terms of popularity of hunting, the cape buffalo is probably number one, but how can you not consider the lion or elephant as number one. It would be extremely tough if I was given a free hunt and could pick just one of these animals to hunt. Which one would I choose? After thinking about it for a few moments, I'd have to go with the cape buffalo. Not because it is the greatest trophy, but the manner in which you hunt it. I prefer an active stalking hunt to sitting over bait like you would for a lion or leopard.
I'm actually still torn on this whole Africa thing. I think it's cause I was brought up to kill only what i will eat, and since you can't bring back any of the meat, then it seems like a waste. I had a buddy who shot a giraffe and a babboon, not sure why......
But, not knocking anyone who does it, as it looks like a beautiful trip. And, I guess I have seen how some of the guys eat some of their kill over there. Come to think of it, I remember watching a show a couple of years ago where they shot an elephant. Later, there were about 200 villagers that showed up with every type of container they could find, and sort of had a butchering party. So, I guess if the locals, who don't have alot of food as it is, get the meat, that's not too bad.
See, I just convinced myself it's a good thing...
As for the Big 5 or 6, i would go with a Cape Buffalo. I seem to hear more dangerous stories about them than anything.
Ca you made my point about the meat not going to waste and feeding, literally, a village. I like eating what i kill, but for an African hunt it doesn't seem feasible. Part of the reason my friend and I drove two and half days to BC for our mountain goat hunt was so we could bring the meat back. I've made stew with it so far and it has been great. Tastes like beef actually.
Someone needs to tally the replies and figure out who BGH's number one is.
I believe of all the big 5 or 6 that the buffalo would have to be number one. Granted a lion will get your pucker factor up there if you do not do your job but the buff will increase it ten fold. It is the only one of them that will actually start to think of what it is going to do with you after he catches you. He will also start to stalk you if he doesn't go down along with moving to a posistion to where he can check his back trail to see just what is after him. Then after he get you he'll make a grease spot out of what use to be your body.
I have a friend that went hunting plains game last year and while he only brought back the heads and capes he said that none of the meat went to waist. He did say that after he would shoot an animal that for the evening meal they would usually have some back straps and tenderloins off of that animal. That and along with the local villagers having a fiest that they don't get all that often from the meat that was donated to them. He did say that one of the hunters in the lodge took a elephant and that all the meat was taken to a village, and he said that all of the meat was taken from the trunk to the tail. Not just what we would consider to eat.
I've seen shows where the villagers come out and dismantle an elephant. It truly takes a village to butcher an elephant and like you said, none of the meat goes to waste. This is one of the untold stories of hunting and not only what hunters do for an economy of a hunting destination and what hunter dollars do for conservation, but hunters feed the world. There are many programs for hunters to share their bounty in this country, but for countries in Africa, the meat provided by the hunters is often the only protein the villagers receive in their diet.
If not for hunters, many of the animals in Africa would be endangered falling to poachers. Because of hunters, these animals have value and are protected. Look at the elephant and rino, once endangered the elephant has rebounded to the point where it can be hunted again.
Hunters do so much more for conservation than people realize and I believe more than the so-called animal lovers that want to stop hunting.
There are still some who insist a scope is not needed for the type hunting they do, ignoring the advances of the last 150 years in optical sights. (Even the ultra-conservative US Army has adopted optical sights.) The idea that in some special circumstances open iron sights or aperture (peep) sights might be more useful is not lost on me, but with the inevitable advance of age comes the reduction in visual acuity needed for using iron sights.
I believe that many who completely resist the idea of...