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TALL TALES

Buzz Charlton

$39.95

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Few people need an introduction to Buzz Charlton, made famous over the last decade with a series of elephant hunting DVDs set in Zimbabwe.  If you haven’t seen them, you should—they have the power to raise the hackles on an 800-pound dead gorilla.  Buzz is also known for shooting crop-raiding Problem Animal Control (PAC) elephants and ornery, cranky tuskless cows in the thick jesse bush of the Zambezi Valley.  This sort of hunting quickly distinguishes the men from the boys—it is definitely not for the faint of heart.   In fact, at a recent safari convention Buzz admitted to us that he was doing less of that type of hunting because he wanted to see his girls grow up.  This does not mean he has stopped going after elephants, but rather he is now concentrating his hunts along the Mozambique border for trophy bull elephants . . . as if that is a tame way to spend one’s professional career!

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TALL TALES
The Life of a Professional Hunter in the Zambezi Valley

by Buzz Charlton

Long Beach, 332pp, color photos, 6x9, hardcover, dj

ISBN: 978-1-57157-529-6 

Few people need an introduction to Buzz Charlton, made famous over the last decade with a series of elephant hunting DVDs set in Zimbabwe.  If you haven’t seen them, you should—they have the power to raise the hackles on an 800-pound dead gorilla.  Buzz is also known for shooting crop-raiding Problem Animal Control (PAC) elephants and ornery, cranky tuskless cows in the thick jesse bush of the Zambezi Valley.  This sort of hunting quickly distinguishes the men from the boys—it is definitely not for the faint of heart.   In fact, at a recent safari convention Buzz admitted to us that he was doing less of that type of hunting because he wanted to see his girls grow up.  This does not mean he has stopped going after elephants, but rather he is now concentrating his hunts along the Mozambique border for trophy bull elephants . . . as if that is a tame way to spend one’s professional career!

While the book has a good deal of elephant hunting, it is really a celebration of a brash safari PH who hunts all kinds of dangerous and devious critters and gets into scrapes in the bush with all of them . He is refreshingly honest about his own mistakes and shortcomings and is not afraid to point out clients who could do with some modesty, more skill, or better behavior!  However, in his twenty-five years as a PH he has formed close bonds with many clients who keep coming back to hunt again and again with Buzz. This attests not only to his skills as a PH but also to his character. 

Even though his father, who was a PH with Kerr & Downey Safaris, died when Buzz was very young, Buzz seemed destined to fulfill his father’s ambition to make a lifelong career out of hunting big game. As soon he was old enough, he became an apprentice hunter, eventually landing up with Zambezi Hunters to complete his training. It was there he a found a man who would not only mentor him but would also help him achieve his dream.  Dengesi was the man’s name, and he was the first black professional hunter in Zimbabwe.  It was under Dengesi’s tutelage that Buzz completed his three-year training to become a professional hunter.  Some of Buzz’s funniest escapades come from that time.

Ian Piercy ran Zambezi Hunters, and one of Buzz’s first tasks as an apprentice was to shoot a buffalo cow for lion bait. Buzz jumped at the chance. He was to find a buffalo cow, cut it into two pieces, and hang the pieces in separate places for lion bait. The problem was that Buzz was given the order late in the day, and he was in an area where there were few buffaloes. What did he decide to do?  He shot a pathetic, ugly dagga boy instead. Figuring that if he cut away all the incriminating parts, no one would be the wiser. What happened to him was straight out of a Laurel and Hardy movie.  Then there was the time when Buzz realized that he needed to revise his strategy of “shouting an elephant down” if he were to stay alive to hunt another day.  Read the chilling tale of how he came to revise his long-held strategy. Finally, Buzz had deadly encounters with more than just the local fauna. Discover how even an innocuous tree limb can turn menacing . . . for one very nearly did him in!  

Buzz has had a wealth of experience, and that has resulted in a lifetime of great stories. Added to the fact that Buzz can write a good story and present it in a highly entertaining way, and you have the basis for a great book.  What you will find here are the absolute best, most exciting, hilarious, and hair-raising stories from an experienced individual who has literally spent tens of thousands of hours hunting in Africa’s wilderness.  Whether it is a broken nose received from a late night bar encounter, a terrifying elephant or buffalo charge, or a difficult safari client who desperately needs a lesson from the bush, you will be thrilled to read one good adventure-laden chapter after another.   Foreword by renowned Zimbabwe PH Richard Harland.

 

 

Customer Reviews

This is not just another book of hunting stories; it is truly a cut above, both in the author’s writing style and his choice of content. Review by IJ Larivers
If we look back on the writings of Hemingway or Ruark, we can appreciate how the role of the African professional hunter has changed as the 20th century merged into the 21st. Today’s PH needs to be, first and foremost, a true conservationist and a custodian of his or her natural history heritage. He must also be a friend, and sometimes confidant, to his clients, a naturalist who knows as much about the ecology of dung beetles as he does about the behaviour of dangerous game animals. The PH must be a maestro with the tools of his trade – not only a crack shot, but a good coach and instructor, able to help his client make the most of his own skills. He has to be conversant in the use of modern electronic technology such as global positioning and communications devices, a competent paramedic and mechanic if needs be, and a master of the hospitality trade. Men like Philip Percival and Harry Selby were such during their respective eras, but these days, things are more complicated and include the pitfalls of travelling internationally with firearms and ammunition and dealing with overly-officious bureaucrats at borders. Buzz Charlton is all these things, to the point of being an icon in the safari game.
In Tall Tales, Buzz dares to put the spotlight on the vagaries of the clients; it is they, not the leopard or the buffalo, who are the most interesting animals encountered on safari. He has done this tactfully with the humorous writing style of the true raconteur.
Some clients are extremely wealthy and accustomed to always getting their way; “no” is not an option. Some are clueless about firearms, to the point of being dangerous. Some come to Africa to prove themselves and may find themselves wanting. Others focus more on the holiday aspect than the hunt, and drink too much. Some never seem satisfied, and even abort the safari before it’s time and go home.
Then there are those who have excellent shooting skills and who never complain about any setback. They put the hunt above all else and are inter¬ested in everything they see in the bush, from birds to snakes to vegeta¬tion. They don’t over-indulge at day’s end, and are courageous in the face of danger. Buzz has selected an intriguing mix to write about. He has a vast wealth of knowledge of the bush and wildlife which he shares with the reader. If you didn’t already know it, you’ll learn that reptiles like crocodiles never stop growing during their lives. Unlike some PHs writing books or memoirs, he gives credit to his trackers where credit is due. These are some of the bravest men on earth, able to read almost imperceptible sign, and are integral to ensuring that the camp runs smoothly.
Buzz has had his share of adven¬tures, including surviving a close encounter of the worst kind with a black mamba which bit his hat instead of him; being chased over a cliff by an enraged cow elephant and beaten up by a street gang while attending an SCI convention in America – you’ll find them all in Tall Tales.
Buzz Charlton is not only one of Zimbabwe’s best ambassadors for safari hunting with true conservation
principles, his brainchild, the Dande Anti-Poaching Unit, is one of the Zambezi Valley’s most successful private-sector conservation enforce¬ment initiatives that safeguards a large tract of land against poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking.
Tall Tales has 332 high gloss pages augmented by an abundance of high-quality colour photographs. It sells for $39.95 plus postage from the USA and there is a limited, leather-bound edition for $750. This is not just another book of hunting stories; it is truly a cut above, both in the author’s writing style and his choice of content.

Excerpt from December 2019 issue of ManMagnum Magazine (Posted on 2/12/2020)

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Buzz Charlton

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