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Review Details

TALL TALES

TALL TALES

Product Review (submitted on February 12, 2020):
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