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Saturday, 17 December 2016

New Zealands Hunting Legends;

I bought this large format paperback in my local supermarket magazine section - it being put together from earlier articles to catch the Christmas trade by Rod & Rifle Magazine.

Packed with historic images of massive record-holding stag heads it tells the story of wealthy landowners amusements in the South Island back country.

 Most of the early "Legends" from before World War II managed to brave the outback with retinues of paid bearers while they - being Lord & Lady This or The-Other didn't need to dirty their hands by even carrying their own rifles.
To be fair - the book only records life as it really was for 'the leisured classes' back in the early 1900s  and it's not until the late 1940 /1950s that more ordinary hunters with ex-military .303" rifles took to the back country for sport and meat.

Here is one hunting detail from page 68 - from the year 1925:

"When Cobbold's month-long stalking expedition concluded he mentioned to Major Wilson that his shares in Europe had appreciated by 60,000 pounds while he had been in New Zealand.** "What a pity you didn't know, you could have stayed an extra week in the Wills" was the Majors reply."

** That 60,000 pounds equals some 3.289342 Million in today's pounds - well over US$4 Million.. not a bad wealth gain for one month while on holiday eh.

An early rifle mentioned as used by three different stalkers is the .318" Westley Richards - primarily intended for use in Africa against elephant and other big game and introduced around 1910 for the Mauser '98 type rifle.

These 20 "Legends" recorded in this book certainly had the run of a very empty and wild country back then.

I know one hard-bitten South Island hunter who seems to spend most of his "Central" safari time feeding, adopting & taking selfies with baby rabbits and mice.

Marty K.