It’s very unusual for me to produce two Newsletters so close to one another but one of my closest friends unexpectedly contracting inoperable, fourth stage, lung cancer has prompted me to do so as I realised that, at 72, there is not an infinite amount of time to spare. And so, if I am ever going to complete the production of what will be my last hunting book, this one on three of the hippotrages (horse-like antelopes) – sable (four subspecies), roan (six subspecies) and oryx (five subspecies) – Africa’s glamour game, I better get a move on.
When one of my hunting heroes, William Cornwallis Harris, the first recreational hunter to visit Southern Africa in 1832, published his book on the trip, 449 copies of the first edition were ordered by subscribers and subsequently printed. While not wanting to compare the forthcoming book to his magnum opus, I have decided to follow his example. A maximum of 449 copies, similar in style and content to the Spiral Horn Series and subsequent Buffalo Book, will be printed, numbered, signed and sold only to those who subscribe in advance for the book. Subscribers will be allocated numbers from 1 to 449 on a first-come-first-served basis and no more editions or books will be printed.
The downside is that the small number of books will increase the costs quite significantly and so, reluctantly, the price of the book will be $295.00, payable on notification once the book has been printed and is ready for delivery. Postage will be extra and, as per usual, destinations in Africa will be serviced from Johannesburg and destinations in the rest of the world from Pennsylvania.
So, right at the start, let me make my first request – if any of you have a good story about hunting any of the hippotrages, will you let me know, begin writing the story and send it to me? And, of course, photos. Can never have too many of those so please scan them on at least 400 DPI and email them along with their captions and your story please. Thank you so much.
If I can divert for a minute, I initially thought to have a sale of my books in July 2020, but have been persuaded not do to do this by Ellen Enzler-Herring of Trophy Room Books in California. The main object of my books has not been to make money but more to share my love of wildlife, wildlife habitat and hunting with likeminded people and to leave a miniscule legacy of what hunting and conservation have meant to me. So, a sale, while it might make me a little money, would more than likely have the effect of reducing the value of books already sold and I did not want to do that, especially to those who have loyally bought all my books.
I may be mistaken but I do not believe that anyone is likely to produce similar books for many years, if ever, and thought (hoped) that, in time, the books might increase in value, something which has already happened, particularly insofar as the limited editions of numbered and signed books are concerned. If so, it might be nice for your grand kids to sell them one day to help pay for something meaningful in their lives, as I did with my grandfather’s stamp collection, which helped cover the costs of my sojourn at Cambridge University.
So, if you want to subscribe for Hunting the Hippotrages – Sable, Roan and Oryx – Africa’s Glamour Game, please click on the link below and complete and submit the form.
The book will be similar in style to the previous six books i.e. the Spiral Horn series and subsequent Buffalo Book, but not exactly the same. Although it will carry stories by hunters of yesteryear and current professional and amateur hunters I will, at the request of one of my readers, be more selective about the stories included and choose only the ones I really like the most. In this sense, it will not be about trying to give the reader all the information he or she may want or need to hunt these animals but more about my selection of what I consider the best stories – previously published but with an emphasis on the unpublished – regarding these wonderful beasts.
I also do not intend to include chapters on rifles and ammunition, clothing and equipment and trophy handling, unless I hear from a number of you to the contrary, as they will effectively be duplicates of what has been written before in one or more of my other books. Ellen Enzler-Herring says I should still write one on rifles and ammo so we will see. You all have a vote!
I will also not differentiate between Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game and the SCI Record Books or include world record measurements and minimums for entry into either book. Both are now produced in North America and, in my humble opinion, no longer serve the original purpose which Rowland Ward, the world famous taxidermist, intended i.e. a recording of game details as opposed to biggest and best. The object of both books now is primarily to generate revenue for their publishers and this has given rise, in my humble opinion, to more harm than good in recent times. The competitive element engendered by the books, particularly the SCI book with its emphasis on awards and biggest and best, has led, once again in my humble opinion, to more unethical and illegal conduct, which has provided even more ammunition to animal extremists and anti-hunters, than any other single cause.
I do not want to appear holier than thou when I say this because I too was consumed by the collecting bug at one stage and entered animals in both record books because I was proud to have successfully hunted such quality game and in the belief that recording these animals was an aid to conservation. I was also proud to have received three hunting awards – none of which was or could be applied for – but, despite this, I have come to recognize and believe that hunting was never meant to be a competitive endeavour and the attempts, directly and indirectly, to introduce this aspect or element to it, has resulted in a series of possibly unintended and certainly unwanted consequences.
Let us hunt for the sake of hunting, not for bragging rights or for the ephemeral pursuit of awards. They do neither the hunted nor the hunter any good in the long run.