The Fireside Chat – June 2019


“Books are the treasured wealth of the world” – Henry David Thoreau

Within the realms of hunting there exists the sub-culture of the collecting of the literature associated with the sport. Welcome to the world of the ardent bibliophile. Amassing a good library is, for many people, just as much fun as the seeking of an elusive trophy. By surrounding yourself  with books, one can, from the comfort of your favourite reading chair, travel and hunt in the far flung corners of the planet.

As a subject matter, hunting has been captured in print from the time modern man could write. Many of the titles have become classics of literature. One only has to think back to Ruark’s prolific prose about African hunting, Hemingway and his “Green hills of Africa”, or the haunting recollections of von Blixen.

The early hunter-writers, the likes of Finaughty, Hunter, Bell and Cummins capture the halcyon days of hunting in the “Dark Continent” in a poignant beautiful way.

Probably no other modern writer has done more to popularise the genre than Peter Hathaway Capstick, his numerous titles galvanised a new generation of collectors. Fiona Capstick, Peter’s wife penned the landmark “The Diana Files”, this is a well-researched treatise on the role of the huntress.

Closer to home, South Africa has hunters and writers of exceptional skills; Gregor Woods is known for his solid advice, while Peter Flack writes with undiluted sincerity for both the quarry as well as his concern for all matters conservation.

Just recently I acquired a copy of Stephen Bodio’s “Sportsman’s Library”, a listing of the 100 essential hunting and fishing books. Bodio was the book reviewer for Gray’s Sporting Journal, the man knows a good book when he reads one, thus a good reference for starting a collection of fine writing.

Enjoy the book hunt !

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