SCI: What is your most memorable experience with a client?
MS: Hunting two 47-inch buffalo bulls in one week with the same client. Out early one morning looking for a decent kudu bull, we stirred up a buffalo bull sleeping less than 10 yards from us. The client got off a perfect snap heart shot. The bull crashed through some thick bush and expired within 30 yards.
Still hunting the elusive kudu, we found a second bull a few days later halfway up a mountain. He was too good to pass up. The client shot him through some thick brush. He turned and charged downhill in our general direction. After three more shots, he died in the most inhospitable place possible. Six hours later we had a happy client and a buffalo bull back at camp.
SCI: Where were you born and raised?
MS: I was born in the bushveld town of Warmbad (now Bela Bela) in the Northern Transvaal (now Limpopo), 190 kilometers North of O. R. Tambo International Airport and 110 kilometers from my current farm. I was raised between Komatipoort, Witbank and Pretoria, where I attended the University of Pretoria and earned a BSc degree in agriculture.
My best childhood memories were in the Lowveld areas around Komatipoort, which borders the Crocodile and Komati rivers, the Kruger Park and Mozambique. In those days it was wild country with elephants, hippo and buffaloes, sometimes followed by lions, crossing out of the Kruger Park into sugarcane fields. My friend’s father was the problem-animal control officer whom we accompanied on many excursions.
SCI: What led you to become a professional hunter?
MS: I have been hunting since childhood. My love for nature and the outdoors led me to farming. My wife and I were involved in the hospitality industry, which made hosting clients a natural progression. Owning a 7,000-acre game farm with 600 buffaloes on it, we find hunting to be the most effective management tool. My wife, Else, was born and raised in Tanzania from parents who farmed and hunted. She brings her experience, catering and caring for clients in the hospitality industry, into our business.
SCI: What species do you hunt?
MS: Cape buffalo, kudu, sable, roan antelope, eland, nyala, bushbuck, impala, springbok, mountain reedbuck, gemsbok, klipspringer, great duiker, steenbok, warthog, bush pig, giraffe, zebra, blue wildebeest, lynx, brown hyena and leopard (when permits are available).
SCI: What firearms do you carry on hunts and why?
MS: A .375 Holland & Holland. Mine is a Musgrave, produced in South Africa on a Mauser K98 action. We use them on dangerous and big game. It is very effective at short distances and thick bush, and it is a pleasure to shoot all day. It also leaves little meat damage. All components for reloading are freely available.
We also use a 300 Win. Mag. for smaller animals over longer distances. It is a very versatile and accurate caliber. For the really small animals, I use a 6×45 and a .223.
SCI: What other activities do you offer? Fishing, photo tours?
MS: We offer day photo safaris to surrounding game parks or longer excursions to the Kruger Park or Botswana or Namibia. Elephant interactions and riding. Visits to a rhino breeding farm. Balloon flights. Horseback riding. For the ladies, day spa and shopping trips.
SCI: How many years have you been in business?
MS: In 2000, I first did a PH course and visited the SCI Convention. That year, our game farm was taken in a land claim. I took three more years to find and buy an alternate farm. While developing the new farm, my PH license expired, and I renewed it in 2018. I would call myself a start-up business even though we were hunting buffalo and plains game with PHs for the last 20 years.
SCI: Are you involved in local programs, such as conservation, education, anti-poaching?
MS: We belong to a Bavaria, which is an area of roughly 200,000 acres belonging to several private owners. Anti-poaching and firefighting by the members, for the members is part of the deal. I’m also involved in maintaining national roads and bridges around the Bavaria.
SCI: In what ways are you affiliated with SCI?
MS: We recently rejoined SCI but have not exhibited because of the COVID restrictions. I became an SCI member because I’m totally aligned with SCI’s mission to protect hunting and conservation. Most of my clients have been SCI members.
SCI: What’s the best piece of hunting advice you ever received and who told it to you?
MS: “Use enough gun.” Robert Ruark. And “Speak softly, tread lightly and carry a big stick.” Theodore Roosevelt. Also, “We are not the owners of the land and animals on it, we just borrow it from our children.” Author unknown.