Discovering a Lost Genre: Safari Stories

by Brett & Kate McKay on February 24, 2009 · 31 comments

in Books, Travel & Leisure

safari

Editor’s note: This post is from Chris Hutcheson, a former guest writer, and now official Art of Manliness contributor. His friend, Josh Parchman, helped research this article. Thanks Josh.

Welcome Hutch! The site is even manlier with you on board.

“Nowhere on earth (and possibly space either) can the senses as well as the emotions wallow in a combination of stimulate such as are found in the African bush: The whine of flies, the moan of a sway-bellied lion leaving his kill in the carmine dawn, the hacksaw rasp of a leopard in the gloom, the bowel-freezing scream of a bull elephant catching your wind. The musk of sweat-lacquered black skins blending with the smoke of the dying mopane fires; the wild, sweet decay of buffalo dung; the odd, heady cloy of cordite and the conglomerate of red, sun-raped dust mixed with the powdery fragments of crushed, dry, golden grass. The buzzing oozing, crawling rot of meat and the whorish impact of jasmine. ”

-Peter Hathaway Capstick Safari: The Last Adventure

When looking back on the adventures of the men of times gone by, no great adventure stands out more prominently than the hunting safari. The imagination quickly jumps to images of bouncing across the savannah in an open top Land Rover, scattering a herd of grazing zebra while searching out the tracks of the lion that killed less than a mile from your camp last night. Or perhaps of pushing through grass that grows four feet taller than most men, so close to the rhino you are stalking that you can literally smell him, but not even knowing which direction you should be pointing your double barreled rifle. Stories of adventures like these filled the imaginations of boys and the dreams of men for generations.

Although the modern safari (by gun or camera) is financially out of reach for most of us, the stories of the golden age of the safari are readily available in the form of fiction and non-fiction alike. Authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Peter Hathaway Capstick, Robert Ruark, and even the father of manliness himself, Theodore Roosevelt, have written volumes on the topic. From within the pages of these masterpieces of masculine literature sprout stories of man-eating lions, elephants chasing fleeing Land Rovers, hippos attacking river cruises, and so much more. Through these books we are offered a glimpse of the lives of these men and the adventures they experienced in a world that most of us will never see, a world of open savannah as far as the eye can see, or jungle so thick one cannot see what dangers await ten feet in front of him. Consider the words of Peter Capstick, one of the foremost 20th century authors on the subject:

“On safari, there is exhilaration. And fear. There’s the joy of having done a stalk properly. There’s also the terror of having done it badly or of having shot poorly, bringing the blur of hurtling lion or the avalanche of elephant down on your neck in an instant, tourist board or no. There will be the swelter of heat, the probing fingers of cold, the pleasure of exhaustion and the dry, cicada-filled hours of boredom when it’s too hot to hunt and you can baste the early afternoon away in your own juices. There will be small quarrels and triumphs, frustrations and elation. And (I rather prefer “but), if nothing else, there will be adventure.”

- Peter Hathaway Capstick Safari: The Last Adventure

Safari literature and the safari itself rose to prominence in Europe and the United States chiefly following Theodore Roosevelt’s 1909 expedition through much of East and Central Africa. During this expedition Roosevelt bagged over 500 big game animals, the large number of which he justified in the name of science by donating the hides to the Smithsonian Institute and partner museums, who were all but obliged to accept. As most would consider the life of Theodore Roosevelt to be a pinnacle of manliness, it is worth noting what he said in regards to the hunt:

“In hunting, the finding and killing of game is after all but a part of the whole. The free, self-reliant, adventurous life, with its rugged and stalwart democracy, the wild surroundings, the grand beauty of the scenery, the chance to study the ways and habits of the woodland creatures-all these unite to give to the career of the wilderness hunter its peculiar charm. The chase is among the best of all national pastimes; it cultivates that vigorous manliness for the lack of which in a nation, as in an individual, the possession of no other qualities can possibly atone.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

We too can join in on the thrill of the chase that Roosevelt so passionately described by joining these courageous men of long ago on their adventures as chronicled in the pages of safari literature. The simple yet descriptive language of many of the great safari writers such as Rourke and Capstick often imitates the style of Hemingway, where the fewest amount of words evoke the strongest emotions. When reading the description of the tracking of a man-eater who is in all likelihood tracking you, or of the tense moments before the shot is taken on a large cape buffalo who is capable of forwarding you on to your maker with a single charge, it is easy to sink so deep into the story that it is as if you are actually there. Capstick’s description of stalking a bull elephant is a fitting example:

“As he gets closer, it will dawn on you that there is simply no place you can go to avoid his six tons of murder. He can easily outrun the fastest sprinter with his deceptive shuffle, and if you’re thinking of climbing a tree, don’t bother. He’ll either knock you out of it personally or toot up a couple of chums to share in the festivities. If 12,000 pounds of screaming, screeching, infuriated elephant bearing down on you has somehow rattled your nerves to the point that you miss the six-by-four inch spot on his forehead…then you may as well forget it. The most talented mortuary cosmetician in the world couldn’t rewire you so your own mother would know if you were face up or down.”

-Peter H. Capstick Death in the Long Grass

Below is compiled what may be considered a “starter pack” for those interested in this most thrilling of literary genres. Encompassing a couple hundred years of history, these books detail exploration of the last wild places, thrilling hunts, tribal warfare and the expenditure of copious amounts of gunpowder by day and scotch by night.

Author: Peter Hathaway Capstick

Books:

Death in the Long Grass

Death in the Silent Places

Death in the Dark Continent

Safari: The Last Adventure

Peter Capstick’s Africa: A Return to the Long Grass

These books are just a few examples of the works of Peter Hathaway Capstick, considered by many to be the greatest writer of the genre. His uncanny ability to break the reader out in a cold sweat while describing the stalking of a man-eater is not to be missed. His first work, Death in the Long Grass, should be first on the list of someone interested in exploring the genre, as it is unsurpassed both in its conveying of the thrill of the hunt and in its humor. Capstick serves as an example to those who are bored in their humdrum lives; a successful Wall Street stock broker in his twenties, he walked away from his career to take up professional hunting, and he never looked back.

Author: Theodore Roosevelt

trsafari

Book: African Game Trails

What can be said about Teddy Roosevelt that readers of this site would not already know? The epitome of manliness, Roosevelt chronicles his first African safari, embarked on just days after leaving his post in the oval office. Peter Capstick says this of African Game Trails:

“African Game Trails has been a standard item in every library of hunting Africana since it first appeared in print. It represents the success, from the American viewpoint, of someone who sowed a dream in the American psyche to go to Africa and experience the hunt and to bring back qualities that would enhance the hard-care manliness, love of the outdoors, and the strength of person and nation that became America.”

-Peter Hathaway Capstick

Author: Ernest Hemingway

hemingway-safari

Books: The Green Hills of Africa

True at First Light (Autobiographical Fiction)

Under Kilimanjaro

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber (Fiction/Short Story)

Papa Hemingway was a master with the written word, producing classics such as For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. He was also an acclaimed big game hunter and spent much time in East Africa where he rid the area of problem animals at government request and also did his fair share of trophy hunting. In The Green Hills of Africa and Under Kilimanjaro Hemingway weaves the tale of his life in Africa, including surviving two separate plane crashes in the latter. True at First Light is considered both autobiographical and fiction, in that it is assumed that Hemingway mixes memory with imagination along the way. The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber is one of the finest short stories ever produced and follows a man and his wife on guided safari, detailing the man’s struggle with cowardice and his breakthrough, revealing his true courage.

Author: Robert Ruark

Books: Horn of the Hunter

Use Enough Gun

Labeled as “the poor man’s Hemingway,” Rourke’s style is similar to Papa’s, and is all the better for it. Horn of the Hunter details his first safari in the early 1950′s. Use Enough Gun is a compilation of Rourke’s safari stories, including some found in Horn of the Hunter.

Author: John Henry Patterson

patterson

Book: The Man Eaters of Tsavo and Other East African Adventures

Another classic of the genre, this is the 1907 account by Lieutenant Colonel John Henry Patterson, who was dispatched to Kenya by the British East Africa Company to build a railway bridge over the Tsavo River. During construction, workers were regularly killed by a pair of man-eating lions later known as the Man Eaters of Tsavo, or as the locals called them, the Ghost and the Darkness. Patterson set out to rid the workers of this threat, and the story is thrilling. He kills one unsuspecting man-eater with reasonable ease, but this is only the beginning. Before the end, the man-eaters seem almost supernatural in their ability to survive all of Patterson’s best laid plans. Indeed, one of the man-eaters escaped unscathed from being trapped behind steel bars and fired on by trained soldiers at point blank range. Patterson recalls this when he writes:

“Altogether they fired over a score of shots, and in the end succeeded only in blowing away one of the bars of the door, thus allowing our prize to make good his escape. How they failed to kill him several times over is, and always will be, a complete mystery to me, as they could have put the muzzles of their rifles absolutely touching his body.”

Before it was all said and done, the Man Eaters of Tsavo killed over 140 workers and injured many more, as well as essentially halting the power of the British Empire by completely stopping construction of the railway line. The film The Ghost and the Darkness starring Val Kilmer is loosely based on this account.

Author: Jim Corbett

Books: The Man-Eaters of Kumaon

The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag

Jim Corbett is another legend of the genre, though he never wrote of hunting in Africa. Corbett’s adventures all took place in India, where he was employed by the government to hunt man-eating tigers and leopards. His first book, The Man-Eaters of Kumaon, is a classic that describes his hunting of several of the most deadly man-eaters in history, including one tiger responsible for over 400 deaths. The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag details his pursuit of a leopard who was responsible for over 125 deaths.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 J. Gehringer February 24, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Capstick told some tall tales, maybe even used some other men’s stories as well as his own, but that doesn’t make his safari tales any less incredible and manly.

I may just have to dig out my “Blood Sweat and Fear” VHS and watch it now that this has reminded me.

2 qfwfq78 February 25, 2009 at 4:27 am

I do not deny the primal emotion and thrill of the hunting, or question the literary value of the works referenced, which I have not read.

However I find it extremely irritating that shooting animals for fun is praised as something “manly” without any contextualization (a vague mention of “gun or camera” is certainly far from enough).

I normally enjoy the articles on this blog a lot, but this one is extremely dissapointing.

I find killing for eating survival ok (and how about focusing on non endagered species?). But killing life for fun is not ok. It is not manly. Exterminating biodiversity “for the kick of it” is not acceptable and luckily we are growing out of it (not fast enough though).

I still think you can somehow be aware of this and enjoy the reads. But this article is a pure praise of it.

3 Tim February 25, 2009 at 5:03 am

The stories are indeed inspiring. And, no surprises here, it took only two posts before someone mocked the fun and manliness of hunting! Good job!

4 qfwfq78 February 25, 2009 at 5:31 am

Tim you are clearly twisting my words. There is no mocking.

I express my disappointment, since this post promotes destruction in a opposite direction from the usual line of this blog (“manvotional 4: spend some time with nature; “4 ways nature restores your manly vigor”, and a long etc)

Regards

5 Charles February 25, 2009 at 5:54 am

I have to agree with qfwfq78; given what we know about the various impacts of safari hunting, this is disappointing. What’s next, a post about the joy of spreading civilization to the savages?

6 DaveM February 25, 2009 at 6:11 am

qfw is right. While there’s a lot to be said about men hunting for food, or hunting together in a season (with permits and sound ethics and all that; hunting in a way that can actually honor the animal), there’s very little that’s masculine or honorable about the orgies of destruction that were the unregulated, turn-of-the-century safaris. Wealthy white men employed dozens of “black boys,” as they were called, to lead them to places they could kill whatever animals they wanted to. And they kept doing it until the money ran out. This is manly? This I should aspire to, or be impressed by?

Then again, this blog does seem a lot more obsessed with an often laughable version of eye-rolling “manliness” than actual honorable masculinity, sadly, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by this post….

7 Pat February 25, 2009 at 6:20 am

Is it really a virtue to celebrate trophy hunting? I think it is immoral and pointless and men should hunt for food not to show dominance and control over the natural world.

8 shortstack February 25, 2009 at 8:00 am

Did everyone miss the part where this post was about literature?

9 Brian February 25, 2009 at 8:29 am

I’ve known 2 different people who have been lucky enough to go on safari, and I would like to talk about a couple of points that were brought up here.

1. Safari hunters are not there to hunt endangered species. Even the elephants are becoming overpopulated in certain areas. In fact in some areas they are looking for hunters to cull the elephant herds. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4392800.stm

Plus, Africa is not the place you want to break the law. So the PH’s (professional hunters; ie guides) do not want to lose their license so you are not going to be breaking the law under their watch. Hunting in Africa is actually very tightly regulated, one of the reasons the expense is so great.

2. The meat is usually not wasted. Africa is not a densely populated continent, but usually there are small groups close enough to where the hunters are that are more than happy to take the food. Both of the following links show what happens to the meat on a safari. http://www.mayogi-safaris.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5&Itemid=6
http://bighornsafarico.com/questions.htm

10 Brian February 25, 2009 at 8:33 am

Something else to add,

“One kills in order to have hunted; one does not hunt in order to kill.” – Jose Ortega y Gasset

11 Brucifer February 25, 2009 at 9:04 am

Some of you chaps seem to have missed the point that this post was mainly about a bygone genre of adventure literature. And although some of these safaris indeed had their excess, they in one way, shape or form, paved the way for many conservation movements. And how manly by the way, is it for we moderns to sit all-so-smug in the 21st century and vilify men who were merely products of their own “unenlightened” time. I venture that future men will eventually give we 21st century villains our own just deserts in kind.

Back to literature, these old safari tales, even the fictionalized accounts, are at least a damned site better than the “Bubba shoots a deer and then go’s has him a beer” hunting tales common to today’s outdoors magazines.

12 Jeff February 25, 2009 at 9:27 am

Great post. And I’m glad Mr. Hutcheson is going to be a regular contributor.

The density of some commenters never fails to amaze me. I don’t see anything in this article encouraging men to go out and slaughter animals. It’s about a genre of literature. It’s about reading! I would think any liberal animal lover could get behind books!

13 Kyle February 25, 2009 at 9:46 am

I think I am going to go out and get some of these books, I buy hunting magazines to read stories about hunts, I love the genre. But magazines get old and you hear the same old story over and over. There is nothing wrong with hunting or reading stories about hunting, it is pure manliness to be in the outdoors and to hunt. I look forward to reading some of these books. Great Post!

14 Lee February 25, 2009 at 10:07 am

Meh, I have been through the back parts of Kruger park in South Africa over a 3 days span. We saw lions hunt, we saw lions mate. Saw the solitary elephant as well as the herd. We found the fresh kills of Leopards high in the tree. We even shot a sleeping lion with a sling shot. We had baboons climbing on the vehicle and felt the breath of the water buffalo(was most scared then)

It was amazing, it changed my view of nature and the world around us. I am thankful that the only thing I shot with was a camera.

Thankfully, for the most part, those times are gone when it was most manly to hunt anything that lived just to prove yourself. But the idea of finding yourself in nature is still there.

15 Chris February 25, 2009 at 3:35 pm

While I greatly appreciate the passionate comments of many of you in protest to this article, I ask you to consider what shortstack and Brucifer have already pointed out, that this article is written in praise of the literature and not the sport.

The point of this article is not to encourage men to go buy an elephant gun and head off to Africa, it is to encourage them to go down to the bookstore and discover a genre of literature that may be new to them. It is my sincere hope that these stories will inspire in other men what they have inspired in me, an even more profound respect for the natural world. Staring at a caged lion in the zoo, sleeping in the corner, simply does not foster the same wonder that is instilled when you read firsthand accounts of what old simba is really capable of.

This summer I am off to Tanzania to experience my first safari, my first photo safari. I can thank my good friends Capstick, Hemingway, Ruark, and Roosevelt for instilling in me the awe for the magnificent and powerful creatures that I go there to see.

16 Josh February 25, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Seriously, at no point did this article suggest that you go out and shoot anything. It simply implies that you might enjoy one of those awesome books. I’ve read something from most of the authors listed in this post and all of them are exciting to read. They really get you pumped up. There’s danger and risk around every corner…genuinely enjoyable material to read.

If you don’t like to hunt, that’s your prerogative. If you don’t like to read, that’s another story entirely.

17 Charles February 25, 2009 at 7:09 pm

“The density of some commenters never fails to amaze me. I don’t see anything in this article encouraging men to go out and slaughter animals. It’s about a genre of literature. It’s about reading! I would think any liberal animal lover could get behind books!”

While I must obviously not be as sharp as you are, I still think that the complaints against this post are justified. After all, there is a great deal of interesting literature that glorifies terrible things, and you can’t separate them. The context is an important aspect of what they’re recommending. For example, what if we got a post about the manly art of rhetoric, and it was people making capable, reasoned arguments for some sort of evil or harmful cause (what cause I’ll leave up to the reader, to avoid any additional controversy)?

“While I greatly appreciate the passionate comments of many of you in protest to this article, I ask you to consider what shortstack and Brucifer have already pointed out, that this article is written in praise of the literature and not the sport.”

Again, I don’t know that you can keep the two apart. I mean, I imagine dogfighting or cockfighting are very exciting and in their ways manly sports, but you’d rightly be appalled at a post that used bear-baiting or something like that as its basis.

18 Greg Throne February 25, 2009 at 11:10 pm

To the opponenets of hunting and the overly PC folks who commented. Please note that the vast majority of the works mentioned were written prior to 1960. For example, the Maneaters of Tsavo is a 19th century work. Hemingway and Ruark have been dead since the Kennedy Administration. The authors describe events dating from the 1950′s and earlier. Read The Green Hills of Africa…the quest is all. You do have to put up with Papa Hemingway’s uber-machismo, but there’s a lot to be gleaned from the book. Ruark’s Horn of the Hunter and Use Enough Gun are quite practical, leavened with more humor than Papa and eminently readable. I admit to a long-lasting affection for Ruark that began when I first read his memoir, The Old Man and the Boy about 40-odd years ago.

19 Brett February 25, 2009 at 11:20 pm

@Charles-

“After all, there is a great deal of interesting literature that glorifies terrible things, and you can’t separate them. ”

Classifying safari hunting as a “terrible thing,” is interesting, but a debate for another day. What I question is such a narrow-minded avoidance of any literature that speaks of things with which you disagree or find distasteful. Should we not read books about WWII because war is a terrible thing? Because they glorify war? Is there no reason to read Mein Kamp or the Communist Manifesto if you deeply disagree with their contexts and arguments? Should we avoid any literature of the past because it may glorify attitudes and behaviors that are now deemed unacceptable? I would hope not. That would certainly eliminate a wide swath of the greatest books in history. I would hope that a man could read a wide range of things, dark things and light things, books with which he agrees and disagrees, and take the good things from those books and leave the bad. That a man could read stories of bygone safaris and be inspired to journey to Africa not with a gun, but with a camera. That a man could read a book about war and be both inspired by the stories of courage but disgusted by the violence. I would hope that such a level of maturity would not be too much to ask for among today’s men.

20 Charles February 26, 2009 at 6:09 am

Brett,

“Classifying safari hunting as a “terrible thing,” is interesting, but a debate for another day. What I question is such a narrow-minded avoidance of any literature that speaks of things with which you disagree or find distasteful. Should we not read books about WWII because war is a terrible thing? Because they glorify war? Is there no reason to read Mein Kamp or the Communist Manifesto if you deeply disagree with their contexts and arguments? Should we avoid any literature of the past because it may glorify attitudes and behaviors that are now deemed unacceptable? I would hope not. That would certainly eliminate a wide swath of the greatest books in history. I would hope that a man could read a wide range of things, dark things and light things, books with which he agrees and disagrees, and take the good things from those books and leave the bad. That a man could read stories of bygone safaris and be inspired to journey to Africa not with a gun, but with a camera. That a man could read a book about war and be both inspired by the stories of courage but disgusted by the violence. I would hope that such a level of maturity would not be too much to ask for among today’s men.”

There’s a difference between saying that one should be exposed to a wide variety of experiences through books (I have made my students read slaveholder speeches and Nazi writings) and holding up a particular genre as a way to vicariously participate in (what the article calls) a “great adventure.”

You could point to, say, military literature, and say that this is something from which men can learn about courage and comradeship. But if your examples were the sacking of an undefended town, or the massacre of some weaker foe, people would correctly say you’re glorifying those causes.

If, to use an earlier example, this was about dogfighting or bear-baiting, and how powerful the winning dogs are, and how their tenacity and strength should be a model to any man, would you still think that we should just take the good from that, and ignore the bad?

Or to use another example. You know who was manly? The great slave-holders of the antebellum South. They were powerful and responsible for the well-being of dozens or hundreds of dependents. Many adhered to, even based their lives on, notions of honor and gentility. But if tomorrow somebody posted an article describing how men should learn from the example of southern patriarchs, I think (or hope) your tune would be different.

21 Paul-Joseph Stines February 26, 2009 at 7:39 am

May I also suggest reading “Hunting the Hard Way” by reknown archer Howard Hill. Howard is an icon in the archery world having done all the archery stunts for many of the movies of the 1930s and 49s including Errol Flynn’s famous film “The Adventures of Robin Hood.” Howard took over 2,000 animals on his safaris – all with a bow and arrow and was the first man to ever take a full grown elephant with a bow. His book “Hunting the Hard Way” detailing his own hunting adventures was a best seller in the 1950s and has been reprinted several times. There have also been numerous books written about the man and his exploits.

A good way to learn about Howard Hill and his exploits is to check out the website,
http://www.howardhillarchery.com/

22 David C. February 26, 2009 at 10:17 am

Two things:

First, very good post highlighting some fine literature. Great work.

Second, to echo what Brian said, the notion that safaris in foreign lands are conducted solely for the purpose of achieving a trophy-kill is incorrect. It is illegal to transport meat harvested in Africa back to America (and to many other countries, from what I understand). As a result, most–if not all–of the game killed in Africa is donated to the local citizens.

Many of the citizens who benefit from this are very poor, hard-working, under-nourished people who often lack the means to effectively hunt and kill large game on their own. Additionally, oftentimes the animals harvested on safari are “problem” animals who have either begun attacking humans, destroyed local crops (which are lifeline keeping many poor villages alive), or otherwise become a serious threat. Hunting these animals and donating their meat to the local population is a form of charity that helps sustain many needy people, and I consider that very manly.

So, spineless poachers notwithstanding, the literature referenced in this post + the adventure of going on safari = very manly, in my book.

23 maya February 26, 2009 at 10:46 am

I would just like to challenge David C’s assertion that hunting can be a form of charity for local village people in Africa. While I cant comment on the validity of the idea that the hunted animals were pushing these villages to the brink of extinction (although…seriously?), I struggle to see how using up vast tracts of land in the service of game lodges helps to sustain local populations. In South Africa, for example, many local communities have been pushed off or marginalised from their land by game lodges, who take up most of the local farmable resources as well as the water and privatize them. Additionally, thinking that the odd ‘charity’ from a foreign hunter helps to sustain these local populations is pretty condescending. Wouldnt it be more manly to allow them to regulate their own environments and be fully empowered?

Secondly, the tracking methods and mathematical modeling currently being used by those who monitor animal populations (including elephant populations) are actually now being challenged by many environmentalists. There is work being done to refine the process and bring it into the 21st century and the bad news is that elephant populations have been grossly exaggerated for quite some time now.

24 Mike M. February 26, 2009 at 4:57 pm

There’s one other point that gets lost. Hunting represents a tremendous amount of revenue for these countries. We’re talking several hundred dollars per day – and if you’re after lion or elephant, you can’t get a license (for several thousand non-refundable dollars) without booking a full month on safari. It provides employment to the locals, sustenance for their families, and gives value to land and game. Without it, everything gets put to the plow.

Not to mention that they are fantastic adventure stories. Capstick is nothing short of brilliant.

25 Eric February 26, 2009 at 10:59 pm

I would love to see a similar article focused on arctic and antarctic adventures. I recently read “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing (1959) and it was tremendous. I’ve done a little looking around but I haven’t yet been able to find another highly recommended arctic/antarctic story.

If anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear them.

26 Bubba March 1, 2009 at 1:25 am

I’m a licensed nuisance alligator hunter and a licensed nuisance wildlife control operator, and the next time I go on call where there’s an alligator that won’t take a line, I invite some of the crybabies here to come along and explain to me how “unmanly” it is while you are kicking mud in five feet of water trying to find an alligator that had to be shot 20 yards from the bank.

I kinda expect that my invitation will go unaccepted, if for nothing else but the fact that under five feet of water, their little silky lace panties may get wet.

Hunt hard.

Shoot straight.

Make no apologies.

27 Bubba March 1, 2009 at 1:40 am

Read:

Crocodile Fever: A True Story of Adventure (River of Eyes) by: Lawrence Earl

28 Steve March 3, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Thanks for the reminder. I have read a couple of these books and they were great stories. I will find some of the other suggestions as well.

As usual, the PC crowd thinks that they know what is best for all. They fail to recognize that hunters and outdoorsmen make great contributions to the conservation movement around the world.

29 Steve August 12, 2009 at 1:16 pm

My sentiments are very much in line with Charles. This is not about the “PC crowd” thinking they know best for all, some of us simply find this genre of literature to be dated and simply not very inspiring or ‘manly’ in the 21st century. I don’t think hunting is such an appalling act at all, but personally consider the thought of killing a magnificent animal such as a lion or elephant to be very tragic and doubt I could be inspired by literature about the subject. OTOH I love baby back ribs, and it’s a common assertion that pigs are smarter than dogs- what does that make me? (I don’t know if it’s true or not, but have heard it a few times.) Most animals hunted down in the wild have still likely lived a far better life than any farm animal.

At the same time, I respect the viewpoints of others here. Let’s not bait each other and call each other names, I think this is a respectful discussion and a worthy subject. What one man considers manly is not always going to be the same as another. I also think that the concept of ‘manliness’ has become more challenging in today’s world, but that’s a challenge for us to take on.

30 Peter O'Reilly September 27, 2009 at 11:32 am

Having been on safari before, I have to admit that it alright, but not really that great. In the Massai Mara plains of Kenya, Africa, we went out on Land Rovers and sought out cheetahs, lions, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, water buffalo, giraffes and hyenas. Not to mention tons of zebra, impala, warthogs, ostrich, and tons of other prey animals. It was a lot of fun the first day or so. By the end of the second, it was just like being at the zoo. After all, how long can you really look at animals for? That said, I’m really happy to have had the experience, but I wouldnt do it again. I had much more fun interacting with the people in the towns and cities of Kenya.

31 ARB September 27, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Chris Hutcheson,

You seem to have left out two of my very favorite safari works:
Death in the Long Grass, by Peter Hathaway Capstick, and

Safari, A Chronicle of Adventure by Bartle Bull.

Otherwise, fantastic post. And for the hunting haters, consider this: whether you personally enjoy hunting or not, the best way to ensure the continued survival of animals is to put a commercial value on them. It’s not romantic, but it does align people’s interests with the animals’. Appeals to altruism are much less reliable.

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