We wondered. Where have Syren shotguns been in the wide world of shooting and hunting? So, we asked women in the Syren Owners Group on Facebook to tell us about their experiences. We heard from Tiffany Dawn right away, who traveled to South Africa with her Tempio Sporting last June for her first Safari.
Tiffany grew up whitetail hunting with her father in Indiana. As an adult, she wanted to “dip her toe” into bird hunting. She bought her first bird dog eight years ago, a German Shorthaired Pointer named Oakley. “I wanted extreme, high drive. I knew I wanted an alpha female type because I had a history with working dual purpose Malinois in the past … so I wanted that high drive and the German Shorthair fits that bill.”
As to bird hunting in her home state of Indiana, she said, “With being an ag-first state, our habitat for wild birds has been in decline. The local Ruffed Grouse Society has been working hard to try and instill in Hoosiers an understanding for the need for forestry work and building habitat for grouse.” She has found some pockets for pheasants in northern Indiana, and hunted with her two bird dogs there. She said there are bobwhites in certain parts of the state, “but in a state that farms road-to-road, there’s no room for fencerows and habitat in farmers’ budgets.”
“I hunt solo,” Tiffany continued, “for me, it’s really just what is easy access and where to I know – so for that it’s going to the U.P. [upper Michigan] every October for grouse. The Ruffed grouse is a bird that’s dear to my heart. My first bird dog was obsessed with grouse from the minute I put her down on the soil, and my second dog has come into her own up there. … That’s the one date on the calendar that I tell my bosses ‘Come Hell or high water, I’m not missing the U.P. in October.’”
Tiffany is an account manager for a national pharmaceutical automation company, and she handles the Midwest region. About taking time off to hunt, she said, “It’s one of those things – you have to turn off the inbox and turn off the office line and get away.”
The Gun for the Job of Hunting
Tiffany carries a Syren Tempio Sporting in 12 gauge. “The Syren was my first top-notch gun. I had other guns, which I loved, and one in particular … I put so many rounds through it that there was no bringing it back and it was time to make a purchase.” She found a dealer near her where she could try out several shotguns. Sha said, “That gun, it fit well and it handles recoil like a dream. For a 12 gauge gun, you can put 200 or 300 rounds through it on the sporting clays course and not regret it the next day. It’s so balanced. It’s become my #1 gun.”
As for favorite ammo, she said, “I find that Fiocchi rounds are so predictable with what their pattern is going to be … if I can find it near me, I buy as many as I can.”
Tiffany mentioned how much her professional hunter (PH) admired the Syren. “Whenever I pulled it out of the case and put it together, when Peter, my PH, saw my gun, he was in awe – the workmanship, the beauty, the quality of the wood and the way it swung – and to see someone who had hunted since he was six-years old be so awestruck by the gun, it put a smile on my face.” She said that after she shot a few birds, she handed the Tempio to Peter and asked him to shoot it. “To me, wingshooting is a social event and that what makes it great, and I asked him to shoot it.” He took it, shot it and brought down some birds and according to Tiffany, had a big smile on his face.
Journey to Africa
“I had looked at Africa for years, and it always seemed unattainable. I come from humble roots and I have had to work for everything I’ve ever gotten; Africa, that’s what Hemingway did. It’s a different life.” She continued, “The silver lining in COVID is that when things opened back up in Africa, there was a window where it was extremely cost-effective. I called my representative from Kirabo Safaris and said, ‘Book my flight!’” That was only 107 days before her departure, which isn’t a lot of time to prepare for the experience.
Her outfitter from Kirabo looked at her Facebook profile, noticed the dogs and upland hunting, and said, “Well, if you’ve got room in your case, and you’re only bringing one rifle, you might as well bring a shotgun.” She said she was their first wingshooter and first solo female hunter when she booked.
“As our week came to the end, the owner took me aside and let me know that he had reservations about booking a solo female because he might not be able to accommodate me, or what I’d want or that I wouldn’t feel comfortable in camp. He said, ‘You’re just one of the guys. I’d have you back any day.’ And to me, that’s the biggest compliment that I, as a woman, can go into a situation for the very first time and prove that I’m a hunter first, and not unique in any way because I am a woman. … I didn’t need to be treated any differently. I’m used to being in a boys’ camp … I always say, ‘I am a hunter. The fact that I am a female is second.’”
While in South Africa, Tiffany went hunting for sand grouse, francolin, guinea fowl and doves. “Wouldn’t luck have it, while I was rifle hunting, I saw all of those species every day, and then whenever I got the rifle hunting out of the way (she took a blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, impala, Gemsbok, Burchell’s zebra and blesbok), and we got into wing shooting, I could not a sand grouse to save my life. So, now I’m left with this pang of ‘I’ve got to go back and I’ve got to get a sand grouse.’”
Advice to Others Regarding Hunting Out of the Country with a Gun
This was Tiffany’s first international hunt. “I really depended on my outfitter … there is the U.S. Border Patrol form 4457 that you’ll need, and you can get that signed at any local airports – where they affirm that you have possession of your firearm(s) in the United States. Depending on where you’re going in Africa, they have different forms and regulation. I used the South African government’s website for guidance along with the previous experience of my outfitter.”
She continued, “For example, I could take an over/under or side-by-side, but you cannot take a semi-auto shotgun into South Africa. I also took my rifle ammo with me, but I did source my shotgun shells over there. It’s a little questionable. You get a cardboard box with no markings, but it was just fine.”
Tiffany says upon arrival in Johannesburg, she cleared her firearms through the South African police department and presented SAPD form 520, which has a station in the airport. “I used a broker on their end, who knew the lay of the land, and he did all of the talking with the police on my part. All I had to do was open the case, compare the serial numbers and away we went!”
“Doing your homework and reading the through the government regulations, even though it’s terribly dry reading, you’ll reap the benefits on the other side,” Tiffany added.
What’s next for Tiffany? “Honestly, my next hunt is in Arizona on the White Mountain Apache Reservation with Trophy Outfitters. I’m going to chase my first predator; it’s going to be a mountain lion hunt.”
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*This article was originally posted in our column on WomensOutdoorNews.com written and edited by WON Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird.