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Books - Sheep & Mountains -

A Sporting Life

Martinez de Hoz, Jose A.
The Memoirs of a Big-game Hunter
Price: EUR 56,-
2005 Long Beach, 212pp, color and black & white photos
ISBN: 1-57157-315-1
Binding: Hardcover with dust jacket
Most books about big-game hunting are written by or are about famous hunters, and, frequently, these books of derring-do only relate the success stories and not the things that can go wrong or the hunts that failed. Martinez de Hoz considers himself an "average international hunter," and writes to an audience who yearns to understand the difficulties an amateur faces when going on safari, and he justifies his writings on the grounds that his adventures could prove useful, entertaining, and downright helpful. He also enhances the events he relates by putting them in the broader context of history, geography, nature, wildlife, and human characteristics. Many events are both humorous and enlightening, such as his tale on how to be "deserving to hunt a lion" or how to deal with a Mongolian interpreter who gets drunk on the eve of taking a High Altai argali. He also entertains the reader with down-to-earth tales of how to spend two days and two nights without food or water, how to be lost in the forest savanna of Central Africa, and how to come out unscathed from three charges (grizzly bear, elephant, and dwarf forest buffalo). The stories of his hunts include the more "important" big-game animals: the Big Four, the Big Three of the spiral-horned African antelopes (giant eland, mountain nyala, and bongo), South American jaguar, and sitatunga hunted from a mokoro in the Okavango Delta. These entertaining reminiscences of hunts as they really happened remind us that to fail is possible in almost any hunt but to do it with humor sets us apart from the complaining masses.

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