Hunting the Spiral Horns - Bushbuck
The Little Big Buck
|Limitation:||Standard Edition & Limited Edition|
|Binding:||Hardcover with dustjacket or Quarter bound in leather with a slipcase|
|Photographs:||450 Colour, 33 black & white|
|Published by:||Peter Flack Productions|
|Stockist:||Peter Flack Productions|
It is odd that the smallest of the spiral horns, bushbuck, should end up being the third and biggest book in the five book series on all the 30 members of the extended spiral horn family but I guess that says something about this beautiful but pugnacious yet compact buck. Yes, the book is nearly 400 pages and contains exactly 450 colour and 33 black and white photos. This is 46 pages longer than the Eland Book which was, in turn, 36 pages longer than its predecessor, the Kudu Book. Twenty five contributors have written brand new pieces for the book and, in my humble opinion, it is the best of the books we have done so far and succeeds in our goal of making it THE definitive book on hunting bushbuck.
The contributors read like the Who’s Who of hunting and include South Africa’s very first professional hunter, Coenraad Vermaak, North America’s top African PH and outfitter, Jeff Rann, as well as people like Don Cowie (author of An African Game Ranger on Safari), Kai-uwe Denker (author of Along the Hunter’s Path) and Pierre van der Walt (author of African Dangerous Game Cartridges), so they can write as well. The photographs are truly outstanding and we have been lucky to receive excellent examples of the work of a number of top class professional wildlife photographers, including Jofie Lamprecht, Cath Robertson, Robert Ross, Brendon Ryan and Michael Viljoen, as well as hundreds supplied by the contributing authors themselves, including one taken by Adam Parkison in C.A.R of a huge python swallowing a fully grown bushbuck ewe.
The works of these authors have been complemented by those experts of yesteryear such as Cornwallis Harris, the first recreational hunter to visit South Africa in 1834; the eccentric Scotsman, Roualeyn Gordon Cumming, who was the first to describe the Limpopo bushbuck for science; Selous as usual; the wonderfully descriptive prose of Vaughan Kirby, the first Game Conservator in Zululand; the Danish Chief Game Warden, Count Ahlefeldt Billie; the young James Chapman who died not long after his book was published but was the first to describe the Chobe bushbuck for science; and many more. There are chapters on rifles and ammunition, clothing and equipment, field preparation of the trophy, how to hunt bushbuck and, in particular, how to hunt the plus 18 inch super rams, as well as an important one on dangerous encounters with these feisty, little buck who seem to have no reverse gear when confronted and especially when dogs are thrown into the mix. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that the book contains everything you can learn about bushbuck and the hunting of them in print.
BOOK REVIEW BY KOOS BARNARD
This book is the third one of the five-part series on spiralhorned antelope edited by Peter Flack – the first two being the kudu and eland books. Still to come are the books on sitatunga, the bongo and nyala.
Peter does not need any introduction. He is arguably the most experienced amateur South African hunter. He has basically hunted all of Africa’s huntable species, has written several books and made a number of CDs on African hunting. Peter’s infatuation with the spiral-horned antelope species of Africa began many years ago after reading an article written by the late Sherwin Scott. That article inspired him to form the Spiral Horn Antelope Club (SHAC).
The kudu and eland books were great hits and after reading the Little Big Buck I am sure this one will even be more popular, because it is perhaps even a better attempt than the previous books. The eland is majestic because of his size, die kudu regal because of his posture and great horns. But the bushbuck... ahh, he is different because of his big heart. This pugnacious little big buck has no fear. When cornered or wounded it will attack bravely and often sells its life at a very high price. In the Zulu language a big ram is called nkonka – a name that stirs fear in the hearts of those who have been on the receiving end of those sharp horns... a name that conjures up images of thick-necked brutes, hiding in dark shadows where even the sun’s rays fear to enter.
This richly illustrated book contains all the information you will ever want to know about bushbuck. Peter has written some of the chapters himself and he has made extensive use of the expertise of bushbuck and other hunters to compile this impressive work. No less than 27 people contributed to this book, among them well-known professional hunters such as Coenraad Vermaak, Kai-Uwe Denker, Jeff Rann, Jason and Nassos Roussos and Tony Tomkinson. Peter also called on very experienced bushbuck hunters such as Trevor English, Fanie Naudé, Peter Kennedy and others to share their knowledge on bushbuck hunting.
The 350-page book has 17 chapters and is divided into three sections, Part I (chapters 1 to 10), Part II (chapters 11 to 14) and Part III (chapters 15 to 17). Chapter one starts off with general information on tragelaphus scriptus, the bushbuck, and covers among other things subjects such as its habits, food, reproduction and habitat preferences. None of the spiral-horned antelope is found in more African countries than the bushbuck. They occur in some 40 countries – from West Africa around the rain forests of Central Africa into Sudan and Ethiopia, and down through East Africa all the way to the southern tip of the continent.
Chapters 2 to 10 cover the nine subspecies of the little big buck (South African – Cape and Limpopo; the Chobe; Nile; East African; Abyssinian; Menelik’s, Shoan, Somali and the harnessed bushbuck). To me, the harnessed bushbuck is probably the prettiest, but there is just something about a dark, old Cape bushbuck ram that sets him apart. It is important though to realise that there is only one bushbuck species in Africa – it may vary in colour and preferred habitat, but apart from that, all the bushbuck on the continent is the one and same species.
Part II (chapters 11 to 14) starts with a piece written by Peter Kennedy on how to hunt bushbuck. Peter included lots of practical advice, such as determining trophy quality; preferred rifles and ammunition; the use of binoculars; what to include in your daypack; the best time of the year to hunt bushbuck, as well as how to deal with a wounded ram and even how to carry it out if you have to do this yourself. Fanie Naudé tells hunters how to hunt those super rams with horns in the 18” class while Peter Flack writes about driven hunts which, for many years, was the only way people hunted bushbuck in certain parts of our country. An old bushbuck guru, Trevor English, of the Umkomaas Valley in KwaZulu-Natal also shares his thoughts and experiences on this hunting method. He has shot about a 1 000 bushbuck in his life and during his most successful year, took 53 rams.
Part III (chapters 15 to 17) covers clothing and equipment (by Peter Flack) rifles and cartridges (Pierre van der Walt) and field preparation and trophy care by Rodney Kretzschmar. The chapter on trophy care was taken from the first of the five-book series, Kudu the Top African Antelope. The reason for reproducing this chapter (it will eventually appear in all five the books – with the necessary changes where needed) is because some people may not buy all the books.
I have really enjoyed this comprehensive work on our little big buck. It is a must read for all hunters, whether the bushbuck is your favourite animal to hunt or not. This book has definitely set the standard for the two remaining ones to come. I highly recommend Hunting the Spiral Horns – Bushbuck, The Little Big Buck, it is a gem!