A SHEEP HUNTER'S DIARY
Thirty Years of Mountain Hunting for Ibex and Sheep
by Dr. Ronald S. Gabriel
2014 Long Beach, 413pp, drawings by Gordon Allen and color photos, profuse maps, 6x9, hardcover, dj
Safari Press prides itself on its sheep hunting publications. Not because we have published so many titles on the subject-we have not-but because the books we have published on sheep hunting have been the summa cum laude of the genre. We have published one only every four or five years, but when we do they are the absolute summit of adventure from the pinnacles of the world. Ron Gabriel's book is only the sixth book in our "Hunting in High Altitude Series," and that is in twenty-five years of publishing!
Gabriel is in ultra rare company, for he is one of only a few dozen people who has taken a Super Slam of sheep. While doing so, this very selective hunter has shot some fantastic heads. These include such trophies as the No. 2 blue sheep, a 60-inch Altai argali, a 60-inch Marco Polo, a 180-point-plus desert sheep, and a No. 2 West Caucasian tur. This man is no amateur hunter! You will find very little in the form of measurements and boasting in this book, but rather you will discover a wonderful, dense narrative of interesting events that will take you from the top of the Himalayas to the bottom of a Baja California canyon (almost at sea level). This book stands in lavish counterpoint to his adventurous exploits.
Ron Gabriel has done the most to illustrate his experiences by commissioning Gordon Allen, a famous outdoor artist, to make specific drawings for each chapter of this book. These illustrations are so evocative of the setting and animals that the reader is completely drawn into the tale. Combined with his wonderful color photos and superb narrative, this is one very fine sheep-hunting tome. His adventures are juxtaposed against those of earlier explorers such a Demidoff, Dunmore, Cobbold, Cumberland, and Sheldon. Gabriel does an admirable job of describing how these famous hunters fared in their own hunting over a century ago on the same grounds.
Material for a superlative sheep-hunting book like this is not the result of experiences over ten or not even over twenty years, but rather must come from a lifetime of hunting on the mountains of the world. The individual must be extraordinarily dedicated and focused-a hunter who forgoes all other more normal, "lesser" game animals in order to achieve his hunting goals. And that is why we only publish a book on the subject a few times each decade. The individuals who can accomplish what Ron Gabriel has done are few and far between, and there simply are not many manuscripts worthy to be included in our lineup.