SABLE HUNT WITH SOMERBY'S SAFARIS BY BRIAN BODE
In June of 2019 I joined Somerby Safaris for my 4th safari with them. I was using the Sable hunt that Somerby had generously donated to KC SCI at the 2018 Expo. I was also seeking a Nyala and a Honey Badger (no, not the KC Chiefs kind).
I was alone on this trip as Lori had to stay home because of grandchildren issues. Charles Humphries met me at the airport and we were off on my adventure. Once again hunting the Tilodi reserve in Limpopo province, Charles led me to a great property with rugged, steep hills, covered with heavy forest in many places. It was a giant cattle ranch, (the owner showed us his helicopter used to monitor the land), seemingly covered in wildlife. About 3 hours into our hunt we spotted a young sable bull headed for a salt lick. Charles somehow picked another sable out of the dark underbrush and led me on about an 80 yard stalk, uphill, until he put up the sticks and explained where it stood. I finally found it (bad eyes) and one shot of the 30-06 and he ran about 10 feet and plowed into the ground. We walked up on a beautiful, mature bull who measured over 40 inches of horn on both sides and scored SCI Gold. I was elated, and so thankful.
That night we sat in the cold, cold weather awaiting honey badgers. Even though they had both horns, great mass, and a dark, mature body. What a beautiful animal. Months later, after his 60 day drying period and another measurement, SCI notified me that would be listed as #16 in the SCI record book. More than I deserved, and another tribute to Somerby’s ability to find great areas to hunt.
That night we sat in the cold, cold weather awaiting honey badgers. Even though they had been seen in the area before, none showed before I gave up because of the cold. The next day we spent the day hunting Tilodi for Nyala. We saw one good one, unfortunately he had broken one of his horns and I wanted a better one. We did see numerous buffalo and the massive hole in the fencing where the hippos had decided to come onto the property to get to the lake. Scary deal standing on their tracks, their path to the lake. Glad none showed up. However, a nice impala crossed our path and was just too good not to take. A big upgrade from my previous impala.
That night we went back to the honey badger sight, but as we were walking up to the area, Charles spotted a group of bushpigs on the bait. It took nearly an hour to stalk about 100 yards out in the open and in the dark of night. When we were within about 40 yards, Charles pointed out a large sow and again one shot of the 30-06 and I had a bushpig instead of a honey badger.
We left Limpopo and drove to Free State to the Somerby farms. I had a great 6 days with Drom and Sune’ and their boys. While there, Drom spoke to a friend who knew a friend who knew a guy with some large irrigated fields close to heavy covered hills. He had Nyala ! We arrived in the afternoon and just at sunset a large Nyala came out of the brush and offered about a 90 yard shot. I hit him too far forward, high on the shoulder. He ran about into the brush and the tracking job was on. About 40 into the brush he came off the ground with a roar, headed straight away. A quick, offhand shot put him down right there and we were stunned. Over 30 inches on both horns, great mass, and a dark, mature body. What a beautiful animal. Months later, after his 60 day drying period and another measurement, SCI notified me that would be listed as #16 in the SCI record book. More than I deserved, and another tribute to Somerby’s ability to find great areas to hunt.
Thinking I was done hunting, I spent several days with Drom monitoring the corn harvest. Felt like Nebraska as a kid again. But, leave it to Drom, he found a hunting place that had Vaal Rhebuck. I can’t climb hills or mountains anymore, but we found a series of plateaus where we could hunt from the top down. At the third one, we spotted 6 in the back end of a box canyon. We stalked as close to the lip of the canyon as we could, the very last cedar tree to hide behind. Drom had me get in the prone position and slide forward to the rim. He ranged the ram, and reached over and turned the elevation dial on the scope and told me to hold dead on and shoot. I hit him, but too far back. After 2 misses over his back, I aimed a little lower and finally put him down. Those were the first 4 shots I ever took from a 6.5mm Swede he had borrowed from his cousin. It was a Blaser, and damn is that straight pullback bolt nice. But the long range scope with thin wires was difficult for me to use. After it was all done, Drom told me my first shot was 384 yards, the final one at 421. That is the farthest I have ever shot.
While with Drom, I also took 2 duikers for meat for his crews and a couple of guinea fowl. They humbled me with my bad shooting, but I finally got one.
Once again, Somerby treated me like family, and just so great. I loved my trip, as much for the friendship as the wonderful animals they found for me. I will be back, and encourage all to support the great outfitters who support KC SCI. Thanks Drom and Charles !!!!!!
P.S. Charles Humphries was honored as Professional Hunter of the Year by the South African Professional Hunters Association for 2019. A great honor for a great young man.