BAYLY SIPPEL SAFARIS

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Hunter: Scott F. aka @Fotman
Calibre: BRNO .375 H&H
PH: Dempsey Bayly
Tracker: John "Big John" Mtshaise
Concession: BAYLY SIPPEL SAFARIS Madikwe East Home Base, Limpopo, South Africa.
Time of year: April 2021


One of our first AH member hunts for the year was a gentleman named Scott who was joined by his lovely lady G.. Scott was one of our clients who made use of the Forex offer we had available during the 2020 lock down when the Dollar was reaching sky high records and managed to save himself a good bit of money by paying in full for a Cape Buffalo and Spotted Hyena hunt for the 2021 season. Needless to say after much looking at dates and plenty of time to plan we were finally scheduled for the month of April 2021. Scott was in a great position, as even though it was still relatively green after the superb rains that Limpopo received during summer, he would be the first person hunting buffalo for 2021 at our Madikwe home base. These bulls are notorious for being some of the hardest to hunt in our experience, so being the first buffalo hunt of the season was definitely a big advantage to him!

Scott and G. landed in Johannesburg after a few relaxing days at Sabi Sands and it was without hesitation that we headed off to our home base! Meeting up with Big John the conversation was flowing all the way to camp, setting a very positive tone for the safari that was coming up. Arriving at camp we quickly unpacked the vehicle and gave the tour of camp. Settled in, Scott and G. retired to bed whilst Big John and myself went out to drag roads in the hopes of getting some good tracks in the morning.

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We awoke that first morning feeling fresh and ready to tackle some buffalo! We headed out in the direction of the shooting range, so as to quickly check the zero of the rifles before following some tracks. To our absolute shock and amazement, halfway to the range we turned a corner and there feeding in the open was a beautiful old Dugga boy. We watched him as he slowly lumbered into the sekelbos. Saying to Scott that this wasn't how we wanted to hunt his bull we quickly marked the spot where the old bull had gone into the brush as we drove past. We raced to the range in anticipation of jumping on the bulls extremely fresh tracks. Guns checked, we immediately went back out to try and find the buff.

Stopping the vehicle a good 500m away we loaded up, had a small team talk, and slowly walked up to where he had vanished. Walking slowly I could see the mark I had made in the road when all of a sudden I caught the flick of an ear! Unbelievably the bull had not gone far and had bedded within 20 yards of entering the sekelbos. I immediately set up the sticks and once I knew Scott was on him I gave a soft bellow to get him to stand up. He slowly lurched to his feet and the shot broke! The bull took off slowly, looking very hard hit. Listening intently, Big John indicated he could hear raspy breathing. Eventually, straining my ears, I picked it up as well, but no death bellow was heard. Calling in some back up for the follow up we had some time to gather our thoughts. We could scarcely believe our luck! I suppose this is what can happen when you leave a hunting area untouched for a whole year!! However, with no death bellow the buff was far from presumed dead. Walking carefully into that wall of bush we needn't have worried as the bull had barely gone a further 20m after taking the shot. He must have been hit too hard to produce a death bellow! What an incredible start to day 1! After cutting a road in to assist with the loading of the buffalo we had a quick lunch and headed out for the afternoon session feeling totally relaxed.

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Spotting a huge herd of Zebra we decided to attempt a stalk on them. With so many eyes in the herd and feeding out in the open we decided to use the old trick of showing yourself to your target and then slowly trying to work angles to get yourself into range. Eventually, we managed to make it within 100 yards and after picking out a beautiful zebra with a darker coloration than the rest Scott put a perfect shot in and much to our relief it expired right next to the road! What a perfect end to day 1!

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When Scott arrived for his safari he had not had a Tsessebe in mind, but after seeing the countless herds we have on our Madikwe concession he agreed that if he was ever to hunt one, it was to be here. With that in mind, we agreed that we didn't want to shoot anything unless it was spectacular! On the morning of Day 2 we headed out and during our usual rounds spotted a herd of Tsessebe with a bull that definitely required a second glance. Climbing off the bakkie and planning an intricate stalk to get ourselves into range we proceeded to close the gap. The cows however were not tolerating our approach and had us pinned early on in the stalk. The bull on the other hand had other plans and was too busy trying to impress the cows to pay proper attention to us.

Eventually, quartering away from us at about 150m he paused, looking off towards the cows. Scott didn't waste any time in shooting and put in a perfect heart shot with my trusty .375 H&H and the Tsessebe was piled up within 60 yards! Upon walking up to him I was happy to see he was every bit of what I hoped he would be! He stretched the tape all the way past the magic 16 inch mark! After loading the Tsessebe we headed off to a waterhole to see if we could intercept a big pig albeit a bit early in the year and not quite the Warthog rut yet. We had an eventful sit with many animals paying us a visit.

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Eventually out of the corner of my eye I spotted a baboon making its way in! Immediately I had everyone seated on the ground so as to avoid accidentally exposing ourselves as these cunning animals eyesight is just on another level. Slowly moving Scott into position he picked out the biggest male in the group and sent some lead on its way! The baboon went a short way before offering a second shot which we duly took. Upon walking up to him it was evident he was the leader of the troop as his body size and teeth were just immense. You certainly wouldn't want him getting a hold of you! Photo session complete, we hunted for the rest of the day without success as we were being incredibly picky on what we were hunting and in trophy quality. After all, it was early season and we could afford to be!

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On day 3 whilst doing a long stalk on some Wildebeest close to one of the most isolated waterholes on the property we bumped into no less than 4 big pigs that looked like tiny Rhino’s as they took off from their beds! With this in mind the logical conclusion was that they weren't travelling to the other waterholes in the day as they were too far, thus they must be drinking there. With that in mind and knowing full well that big pigs drink basically at dark this early in the season we readied ourselves for a late afternoon sit. We climbed into a very hot blind blind at about 3pm. The afternoon was slow, with a warthog sow and waterbuck making appearances. This encouraged us that our wind was indeed good. Just before dark 2 giraffe bulls came in cautiously to have a drink. As I saw the sun setting and the moon starting to rise I was just about to turn to Scott and say this is prime time when he said “Big pig!!” Readying the gun I saw a massive boar making his way confidently into the waterhole.

Arriving on the scene he began drinking at a heavy quartering away angle with the giraffe's foot right where the bullet would exit. I confirmed with Scott that as soon as the giraffe moved his foot to take the shot. The .375 would have no issue with penetration. The Giraffe, now finished with his drinking, turned and began to walk away. Scott is always ready on the trigger (I must say I did enjoy this!) and the shot went off as soon as the pig was in the clear. Needless to say the giant boar didn't move from where he was! I love it when a plan comes together! Walking up to this giant it was obvious he was right around the 100kg mark and based off his cold carcass weight it is very likely that he would have broken the 100kg mark on the hoof. We called Big John to tell him of our success and to come and fetch us under the full moon! It was a late supper but who cared! We were hunting, hunting hard and enjoying ourselves thoroughly!

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One thing which is great fun to hunt is the Golden wildebeest who compete with our normal blue wildebeest for leadership of the herds. They are very intelligent and seem to know they are a different colour to their Blue brothers. After being given many a slip by these beautiful animals we got a message the one morning that some golden Wildebeest and blue wildebeest had been spotted not far from where we were. We raced over there to see if we could find them.

Spotting them we started a painstaking stalk with a very questionable wind. Moving slowly with the feeding herd we eventually worked our way into about 60m over a period of 30 minutes. We realised that it was a bachelor herd with good numbers of blue and golden wildebeest. However there was only one golden bull that had caught our eyes and we couldn't ignore him. A giant in every sense but rarely showing himself. Eventually the fickle wind couldn't help itself and we felt it hit the back of our necks. A blue wildebeest started snorting, causing a bit of movement within the herd. Thankfully our bull finally revealed himself and I gave a quick snort to stop him. Scott, like a well oiled machine shot quickly and accurately. The bull was down within 50m! After an interesting recovery we managed to get him out and enjoyed the feeling of satisfaction that comes with a good honest stalk.

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Scott had mentioned to me during the safari that he really wanted an Eland bull to complete his spiral slam. The Eland bulls on our home base are absolute brutes but often need to be hunted like buffalo by taking tracks as they are quite spooky. With this in mind we had one encounter where we managed to track within 30m of a lovely bull but Scott just couldn't make him out in the thick sekelbos. Going back to the drawing board we realised that the eland bulls seemed to be making the odd mistake in the late afternoon period due to the full moon. Sightings were slim but they were happening. Finally one evening at last light we managed to bump into (or rather they bumped into us!) a bachelor herd of bulls holding an absolute giant old bull with a gorgeous ivory colour to his horns and a heavy set dewlap. Easily singling out this bull Scott managed to put 2 quick shots in with the second shot being the one that really counted and just like that we had completed Scotts Spiral Slam!

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Getting towards the back end of the safari we were starting to think about what we wanted to target besides the Spotted hyena of course. Bear in mind up to this point we had been hunting Spotted Hyena almost every night thus meaning long hard days. We had seen hyena on the border line but nothing on our side. We were fairly confident an elephant or something had died on the Madikwe side as we had never struggled on a spotted hyena hunt like that before.

We decided it was time to target a Golden Gemsbok that afternoon and headed to our neighboring concession. This is a more open area and things such as Gemsbok, Ostrich and Red Hartebeest thrive there. Right off the bat we started seeing Gemsbok but planning an approach in this open terrain was another story altogether. Scott and I had a failed attempt on a fairly large herd and were walking back to the vehicle when the farm manager phoned me and asked if we were coming back or stalking the herd in front of us. Glassing into the distance I saw the previously unseen herd and immediately changed plans and started the approach. The only problem with this open area was the sheer number of Aardvark holes and Scott and I disappeared multiple times much to the amusement of our audience back at the vehicle! Thankfully we came out the end of the ordeal with all limbs still intact!

Making good progress we snuck into range of the Gemsbok. The only problem unknown to us was that on the previous attempt I had told Scott to aim about an inch and a half below the top of the Gemsbok’s back to compensate for the drop of the bullet. Now a lot closer to this second herd, that information was still fresh in Scotts mind. At the shot the Gemsbok immediately dropped on the spot. Suspecting the worst, I immediately told Scott to reload and stay on the Gemsbok. Like a bad movie the Gemsbok stood up at the exact moment that the herd ran past. Blocking us from taking a second shot. Here began a lengthy process of trying to stay in contact with the herd and lots of falling in holes. To simplify a very long afternoon with a huge amount of walking we were able to finally get our Gemsbok and what a beauty it turned out to be!

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Officially entering the relaxation part of the safari we continued hunting but with a lot less intent as we were enjoying the successes of the previous few days' efforts. We continued with the Hyena hunting but still had not had any luck unfortunately. One afternoon whilst cruising around I spotted a big pig feeding into a field and quickly asked Scott if he wanted to go and have a look. He confirmed he did and me, him and G. moved slowly up towards the pig. Stalking closer to the pig I saw he was a serious boar and asked Scott if he wanted to take him. Nodding in the affirmative to me, he turned to G. who was stalking along with us and asked her if she wanted to shoot the boar? I need to add in here that G. at this point was a total newbie, having done very little prior shooting let alone off the sticks. She agreed and sensing a potential problem on the horizon I voiced my opinion briefly but kept quiet and watched what was about to unfold. Luckily I need not have worried in the slightest. After a patient build up where Scott did some wonderful coaching, the big pig rolled onto his side at the shot and gave the classic kicks of a pig well hit. Walking up we could see he was a beauty of a pig and a stunner first African animal for G.! May it be the first of many more! The last animal we needed for the safari was a Copper Springbok ram to complete Scotts grand slam. Phoning a good buddy of mine we arranged a day to come and try our hand at it. After a slow morning we eventually managed to get ourselves a beautiful Copper ram and just like that Scotts safari was in the bag! We went back that afternoon and enjoyed a world class game drive with good conversation and some ice cold beverages. It was truly a phenomenal safari filled with many great laughs, many memories and new friendships. A big thank you to Scott and G. for being such great sports during the safari and for always being so positive! Until next time!

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Congrats to Scott, he had a great hunt! Thanks for sharing!
 
That is an incredible group of animals! Every single one a true trophy! Congrats for running such a great hunt and congrats to Scott and G for making it happen!
 
Great write up. Thanks. Wheels up in 9 days!
 
Love the Warthogs.
 
Great write up. Thanks. Wheels up in 9 days!
Looking forward to the pics! Enjoy every second!

Kind regards,
Dempsey Bayly & Michael Sippel
 
Congrats all around, thanks for posting.
 

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