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Magazine – letter to the editor

Richard – thanks for a truly wonderful magazine! I would like to commend you and your staff on providing us with a magazine that represents the reality of hunting and travel in Africa. Having the opportunity to hunt and overland in Africa on three occasions I have found your magazine valuable.

On every trip, I used the Afton Guest House as my meet and greet/bed & breakfast accommodation. The location, service and accommodations were great – every trip. Wonderful and caring staff. Keep up the good work.

I would also like to compliment you on the Staff and African Oasis Shop in Dillon, Montana. During my re-subscribing process almost two years ago I took advantage of the two year deal with the added books. However, the cost of shipping to Canada was outrageous so I opted to just stop by and pick them up as we do travel to Arizona. Well, life happens and trips got cancelled until last February when I just dropped in to see if I could pick up those books. I was truly surprised will Dillon and the African Oasis Shop. The wife and I had a bit of a flashback with all the décor and mounts as we enjoyed a coffee with your staff. I explained the subscription/book issue and the young lady was very helpful and quickly gathered up the two books for me. Dillon and the shop are on my must stop/travel break itinerary for future trips. I would encourage anyone travelling through that area to take the time to explore the town and take a break in the African Oasis shop.

I am taking advantage of a re-subscription plan – and perhaps sometime in the future will be able to shake hands with you. Keep up the great work. Again, my compliments on the great magazine, African Oasis Shop and staff!

Kelly Drolet
Hunter, Overland Traveler
Alberta, Canada

Letter To The Editor  “Endings and Beginnings” – Craig Boddington Kenya 1977

Dear Richard,

I absolutely loved Craig Boddington’s article about his very first hunting safari in Kenya in 1977.  It brought back some long-lost memories.  I was very fortunate to go on my first African hunting safari in Kenya in 1972 at the age of 15, with my family. After a week spent touring game parks in Kenya and Tanzania we got down to business and went hunting in the Samburu region, tent-camping on a tributary of the legendary Ewaso Ngiro River.  Birds were our main quarry – vulterine and helmeted guinea fowl, yellow-neck francolin, six species of doves and three species of sand grouse.  The wingshooting was superb. Driving in the Land Rover around our huge hunting “block” as it was called, I was amazed to see virtually “tame” cheetahs, lesser kudu, gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra, black rhinos and other big game stand and watch us in the thorn bush at very close range, unafraid of our vehicle.  In fact, a black rhino wandered huffing like a steam engine through camp one night. Fresh lion and leopard prints outside our tents at dawn were common. Roaring often awoke us at night at close quarters.

One night, while driving back to camp, our young Samburu warrior game scout leaped off the roof of the Rover to grab a big buck impala temporarily blinded in the headlights, where he wrestled with it, steadfastly hanging onto its horns, jumping to dodge the sharp points as it twisted and bucked in his tight grip, laughing the whole time until he finally let go, and it shot straight up like on a pogo stick and dashed off into the darkness.
I shot a northern Grant’s gazelle and missed several warthog boars on the run with my Remington .222.  I also shot and cleanly killed a streaking Kirk’s dik-dik ram with my 20 gauge Ithaca model 37 pump shotgun while walking up guinea fowl. Another morning, our whole family set out together to do a guinea fowl drive on foot, when Peter McClinton, our professional hunter (called “white hunter” in those days), suddenly froze, and hissed for us all to “freeze”.  We did and he then whispered, “Don’t say a word, and slowly walk backwards in single file.”  We did, and after some 50 yards, Peter got us back into the Rover and only then told us that 20 feet ahead of us in the long grass had been a sleeping pride of lionesses and cubs.  Luckily they never awoke, or we might had more excitement than we bargained for.  Now, 46 years later, Craig’s article brought it all back so vividly – the “cut-cut-cut” of the cackling guineas, the squeaking crackle of the sand grouse on fast approach to water, and the varied calls of the many dove species – that ubiquitous signature sound of the African bush!

Thank you Craig for bringing those indelible memories back once again so clearly through your exciting article, after nearly half a century since those cherished days hunting on foot in Kenya just five short years before it permanently closed to all big-game hunting.  (I’ve attached a few photos from that 1972 safari that I hope your readers might enjoy.)

George Kammerer
Rancho Murieta, CA

Dear AHG

I carry a few copies of AHG in my suitcase for reading while traveling. I read your editorial of a while back stating that it was your opinion that all hunters should discontinue the posting of the classic hero shot on social media. You are absolutely correct in the statement that posting these photographs does not present hunting in a positive manner. If anything, it fosters the impression which the antis persist in spouting, that we as hunters are only interested in the slaughter of animals. That single photograph is the crystallization of one five-hundredth of a second of an experience that has spanned a period of days, if not weeks. That single photograph does not reflect the total experience, and surely does not reflect the incentive for the hunter having undertaken the entire experience.
If you were ask each hunter that has smiled so broadly for the hero shot, whether that single photograph was the reason for the hunt, the preparation, and all the money spent, the reaction would be, “No”. That single photograph does not represent the whole reason. If asked why, and why that single picture is the only photographic record of the hunt, you will likely get a confused reaction – some fumbling for words, and, “I don’t know,” or “I didn’t think about it.” If that one five-hundredth of a second captured in the hero shot does not represent the entire hunt, why do we see only that? That moment is not the only thing that the hunter remembers, nor is that moment the only significant moment of the hunt.
We as hunters need to think about it. Humans are visual creatures; it is true of the cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words. If the only image posted is of a bloody animal and a grinning hunter, then that is the only image of hunting. Second, we as hunters are the only ones who can present a more complete and balanced image of hunting. We are the only ones who can take-the photographs, write-the-articles, and present-a-positive-image of hunting.
Third, we are losing the public relations battle – we are opposed by a fanatical group who literally hate us. Hunters are respectful of those who do not agree with hunting – if you do not wish to hunt do not hunt. That tolerant attitude is not reciprocated. We are opposed by a group of people whose life’s mission is to control by violence and intimidation how other people live. That may be difficult to comprehend, but you have only to listen to the antis’ rhetoric to see that it is true. Hunters generally do not indulge in groupthink, but the solution to the problem presented by the image of hunting on the internet, in print and on social media calls upon us to act individually as ambassadors for the hunting experience.
If the only thing important to you is the hero shot, then by all means continue to post only the hero shot You will then be known only by that image. If the killing of the game animal was not only the culmination of the hunt, but part of the entire experience, post a pictorial record that will encourage the young viewer to feel that hunting is a part of our heritage and traditions. It is an individual decision, but one which may have either a condemnatory or salutary effect, not only on you, but on every other hunter and every other potential hunter.
African Hunting Gazette does an excellent job of including superb game photography but it is obvious that the full-page photographs are stock shots. We need more photos of the hunt itself to portray the rest of the story. Hunters who contribute the stories probably do not include photographs representing the hunt itself. We as hunters are the ones out there. If we do not record the experience on film, then you can’t publish the pictures.
In closing, please accept my congratulations on an excellent magazine for hunting in general, not just limited to Africa.
With best personal regards,

I am
Cordially yours,
ALBERT W. BLOCK, JR. J.D.
Texas

Re Two Free Books…

Hi Richard

Thank you for my books! They are Fabulous! I received them today and I can hardly put them down!
In the one titled, “Africa’s Legendary Professional Hunters”, one of my dearest friends is in there, with two different PHs! Chris Kinsey and I grew up next door to each other and we still are very close. Chris and I have hunted together in the USA, but not together in Africa. I have only been once, and Chris has been numerous times, as you know. Also, I was friends with Tony Tomkinson, and I miss him dearly. He was very good to me, and always treated me like one of the guys, even though I can’t begin to run with that crowd, if you know what I mean. So tragic for him to leave us when he did. I harped on him to write a book or two, and he was working on getting started on one at the time of his death. I believe he could have written volumes. He knew So much about So many things!

Anyway, I had no idea the books were So Great! I’m just blown away! Both are great for the African hunter, and the “Game Animals of the World”, is great for the World hunter! What a Great Deal! I have already learned about animals that I was not familiar with. If I’m not learning, I’m pushing up Daisies!

Thank you, again!
Take care, and I hope to see you in Dallas.
God bless you and yours.
Best regards
Whit Wilkinson

Richard,
Sorry this has taken so long for me to reply.

Thank you for your kind email welcoming us as Life Members of the AHG!  We enjoy the magazine immensely.
We also enjoy the African Oasis in Dillon. What has been created there under Kim’s creativity and supervision is amazing. It is our favorite stop when in Montana, except for our own house that is.

We are looking forward to our third safari coming up this April, and look forward to staying at Afton.

Thank you again,
Rob Ware
IMRG #1946
Membership, Road Director