BAYLY SIPPEL SAFARIS

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Heading out that hot summer day in January to meet up with Frikkie, I had the feeling that something good was about to happen. We were going to meet up with my good friend Alex Scheuer near Greytown in KwaZulu Natal. Alex had recently received trail camera pictures of a massive white bushpig boar at one of his bait sites. The bait site was in a fantastic spot at the very top of a mountain, surrounded by indigineous bush and in the middle of a timber plantation. In other words: pig-heaven, but in a hellish place to reach! Arriving at Frikkie’s house, we quickly packed all the essentials and after a quick tour of his impressive trophy room, we were on the road!

The trip went by quickly as we shared hunting stories both new and old, the excitement of a new hunt fuelling our conversation. Before we knew it, we had arrived at Alex's beautiful house, surrounded on all sides by sugarcane. Ryan, one of our professional hunters, was already there to meet us. Unloading everything, we hurriedly got our night hunting gear together, lit a fire for a quick braai and talked through our strategy for the night. Over the last few days, the boar had been consistently seen accompanied by a single normal coloured sow. Often, he came onto the bait during daylight hours, making the possibility of not having to use the thermal scope, a reality.

On the way out to the blind, we quickly stopped next to one of Alex’s sugarcane fields to test the zero of the two weapons we had brought along with us. A 9.3x62 for if the pig appeared in daylight and a .308 with a thermal scope for if he came in the dark. After checking the zeroes we were all smiles as we finally headed out to the hunting area. We slowly ascended the massive mountain, its base bordered by sugarcane. As we climbed, the dense cane field gradually transitioned into indiginous bush and timber forests: a pig’s paradise, with virtually no human contact.

Typically, when it comes to bushpig we as humans, have made it ever more accessible for them to live in places they previously were not found or would not have been able to occupy. We have not only created a food source for them, but we also go as far as to unintentionally create a home for them in the form of timber forests and even sometimes maize or sugarcane fields. It is however, a perfect setup for the passionate bushpig hunter and has allowed many hunters the opportunity to learn more about hunting these elusive animals.

Typically, when it comes to bushpig there are a few variations or common traits, normally dependent on region. When hunting bushpig in the Limpopo province one can often expect a bright orange coat and a clear white mane down the back. In KwaZulu Natal, you can expect a dark, dull and almost black pig in most cases. The Eastern Cape is well known for its very shaggy and hairy pigs, often sporting a greyish coat. Then, in some extremely rare cases, you may be lucky enough to stumble across a white coloured pig in any of these regions and that is exactly what we were hoping we had on our hands!

Leaving Frikkie’s vehicle far away from the bait site, we quickly transferred our equipment to Alex’s bakkie, which was a normal sight and smell at the bait site. Not changing a single factor is of the utmost importance when hunting these wise old boars. As we drove through the overgrown roads into the bait site, we almost expected to see a pig on the way in - the forest was truly breathtaking! On the way to the blind, we drove past the bait site and the signs of bushpig activity were evident. The ground had been heavily ploughed by the bushpigs’ strong noses and every piece of bait from the night before had been cleaned off or churned into the mud. Alex quickly replenished the bait site with his own secret formula of bushpig feed, consisting primarily of maize and hominy chop, however, the real secret ingredient is not to be revealed! Every person has a different belief and recipe when it comes to creating their bushpig feed, but it doesn't really matter too much how you make it, just so long as the pigs in your area can't resist it!

We arrived at the blind roughly 120m away from the bait site and hastily off-loaded our gear. Although 120m sounds far when hunting at night, it is a huge advantage when working with a less than desirable wind direction. You also get away with a lot more noise, in case you accidentally bump something in the dark. Climbing into the blind we quickly packed out all our gear around us while all the necessary preparations were made to ensure we could operate and find everything in the dark for when the moment of truth arrived.

The sounds of the forest never seemed to die down as darkness slowly crept in around us. Never knowing when to expect the boar, we constantly remained vigilant. As dusk set in, a jackal howeld a mere 50m behind us, adding to the incredible echoing atmosphere the forest was creating. Just before total darkness fell, we heard a few branches breaking and something moving in the back behind the bait site. Watching with my binoculars in the rapidly fading light, I managed to make out the white of a bushpig’s mane stepping into the clearing. My heart skipped a few beats and for a few excited moments I believed this was our pig! However, as it turned broadside, something did not look right. Frikkie looked through the thermal and commented that its warts were either small or not there at all. I sent a message to Alex, who was receiving the trail camera pictures on his phone, and he confirmed that it was indeed a young normal coloured boar. Relaxing a bit, we wondered what this boar was doing here, as he definitely wasn't part of the usual schedule. However, when hunting Bushpig in KwaZulu Natal, always expect the unexpected!

We sat on quietly and watched him feed contentedly for about an hour or so. The wind was perfectly in our favour and not once did he even look in our direction as he calmly moved about the bait site. Watching closely with my binoculars, I realised that I could no longer see the pig in the darkness, but that I could still make out the two white piles of maize that were being used as bait. With that in mind, I was sure that when our ghost pig came in I would be able to see him, even in the dark. As the young boar eventually started to slowly move off we had renewed hopes that he was making way for our giant to come in. Alas, we sat listening only to the symphony of nighttime sounds, hoping to hear the breaking branches of a bushpig coming in to the bait.

Deep in the bottom of the valley we could hear the odd logging truck working late, but at about 9pm they kicked off for the day, leaving the forest in complete silence. If the ghost pig was waiting for privacy to make an appearance, then this was likely his moment. As we sat on into the night, every so often, I subconsciously felt Frikkie raising the handheld thermal to check if anything had arrived onto the scene unbeknownst to us. We were all trapped deep in our own thoughts, when Frikkie suddenly whispered excitedly: “there's a pig there”. Then, a few short seconds later: “there's a really big pig there!”. Trying to keep calm (which is not an easy feat as anyone who has hunted bushpig will understand) we got Frikkie into position while he handed the thermal to Ryan. Looking through the binoculars, I could actually see, even in the pitch darkness, a white shape out in the distance standing by the two maize piles! Realising this, I confirmed with Frikkie that this was indeed the right boar! With Ryan on the handheld thermal, we quickly realised the sow was standing with boar. That meant Frikkie had no shot with his thermal scope as they were, for the moment, blended into one animal. Frikkie readied himself patiently for the moment of truth when they would separate.

After waiting for what felt like an eternity, the boar eventually turned around and stepped towards the forest. For a moment our hearts sank as it looked like he was about to leave. Getting to the edge of the trees, he paused for a second. This was all the time Frikkie needed. The .308 rang out in the darkness and all hell broke loose. The sow rushed off into the forest making one helluva noise, while the boar did the typical squeal of a pig well hit.

Watching him on the thermal, Ryan confirmed the boar had just made it into the bush! All three of us broke into excited chatter discussing the events that had just transpired. We hastily exited the blind and gathered all that was necessary for the follow up. Arriving at the scene, we quickly found some good looking lung blood where he had been standing at the point of impact. But when we started looking through the thermals into the direction we had seen him head off in, we picked up nothing. Our nerves were shot as we started searching for blood in the direction he had taken off in.

Searching for blood whilst scanning with the thermals, we started to get that sinking feeling as we just couldn't seem to pick up the blood trail. All of a sudden, Ryan, as calm as anything, called over to Frikkie and me: “there he is...'' We hurried over to where he was standing and realised the pig had run a completely different line to what we had thought; almost straight back towards us! Shining the light onto the pig as we were walking, we quickly realised that this was indeed a very special boar. He had massive facial warts, a tank of a body and a white coat which showed us that everyone had indeed been right in their estimation of what this incredible boar might be! After much back slapping and celebrations, Alex soon arrived with some very cold and very welcome beers for us. After a lengthy photo session, where we did full justice to the magnificent boar, we loaded up our gear and spent about an hour in the forest just enjoying the moment together, sharing a few drinks and reliving the experience. Time was forgotten as we swapped stories and savoured the success we had worked so hard for!

The boar was prepped for a full mount and a place of honour in Frikkies trophy room, affording this special pig all the respects you could bestow upon such a unique animal. Hunting pigs in KwaZulu Natal is always a special experience, as the area is so spoilt with the sheer volume of pigs that they have. A big thank you must go out to Alex for his hospitality, all the hard work leading up to the hunt and for allowing us to share in his pig-heaven he is privileged enough to live in every day! We look forward to the next one!

Written by Dempsey Bayly - Bayly Sippel Hunting Safaris


White boar on bait in daylight
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White boar on bait in daylight
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White boar and his sow on bait in daylight
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A rainy night
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White boar and his sow
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The view from the hide
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The view from the hide, the two maize piles visible
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The 9,3x62 ready to go!
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The boar as we found him!
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What a specimen!
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All smiles!
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The Business end!
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What a moment!
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What a pig!
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Typical KwaZulu Natal giant!
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A special animal indeed!
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Big fat lips so typical of a big boar!
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Prepping the cuts for the full mount!
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Even cleaned he filled the back of the vehicle!
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BAYLY SIPPEL SAFARIS

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gillettehunter

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Very nice write up. Congrats on a successful hunt. Great looking boar. Any idea what he weighed?
Bruce
 

Anbessa Gedai

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Congrats! . . . A GREAT TROPHY, not only a big mature boar which are hard to come by at any time, but also a rare color phase. Should be nothing less than a full mount . . and if so, please post the mounted photos when possible . .
 

BAYLY SIPPEL SAFARIS

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Very nice write up. Congrats on a successful hunt. Great looking boar. Any idea what he weighed?
Bruce
Thank you @gillettehunter it was one helluva fun hunt! We didn't unfortunately stick him on a scale but he was in that 90kg to 100kg range we are fairly sure.

Kind regards,
Dempsey Bayly & Michael Sippel
 

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