Bagi István, Wendell Berry, Michael Burch, Billy Collins, Russel Edson, Maggie Estep, Gary R. Ferris, Jorie Graham, Louise Glick, Erica Jong, Haron Esther Lampert, David Lehman, Thomas Lux, Sharon Olds, Jennifer Reeser, Wanda Phipps, Marge Piercy, Belinda
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Australians formed what was known as "acclimatisation societies" to "enhance their barren forests" and released red and fallow deer from Europe and sambar and hog deer fromAsia, as well as rabbits, hares, and foxes from various locales. Meanwhile, pigs, camels, horses, donkeys, Asian buffalo, and banteng brought to Australia by farmers and others escaped and reproduced without large predators to control them.The number of feral camels in the Outback, for example, once was estimated to exceed one million and their population was doubling every nine years.Bob Penfold began hunting when there were no closed seasons or limits on most of these "invasive species." He had been shooting kangaroos and foxes for their skins, and when he learned that buffalo were being shot for human consumption in the Northern Territory, Penfold and two friends joined the "bullcatcher" crews. Each crew was expected to shoot (in the head), load, and transport thirty-two buffs to the skinning sheds every day. It was a vacation the young men never forgot.After killing ten bulls straight with his .270, Penfold learned first-hand why the pros use larger calibers on these large animals when a "dead" bull came to life as he was cutting its throat. The buffalo struck him with glancing blow from its horn, but fortunately did not pursue the understandably frightened young man.Later, as his body shop and news filming businesses grew profitable, Penfold expanded his hunting horizons to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and North America. It was on these overseas adventures that he realized he knew more about hunting and organizing hunts than his guides.Despite naysayers, Penfold and his wife, Kay, launched Australia's very first safari hunting operation. It soon attracted trophy hunters from all over the globe to his operations in Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. It also brought contracts to cull thousands of feral camels, donkeys, and horses in the outback. Always an entrepreneur, Penfold started a practical shooting school that taught students the art of shooting running game by doing the culling. Because the seasons are reversed Down Under, Penfold was able to spend Australia's summers in North America and Europe, attending the winter hunting shows and hunting trophy game across the two continents.Although his business successes brought competitors, controversy, and lawsuits, Penfold always prevailed. He eventually sold his businesses, his airplane, his fleet of vehicles, and his trophies and retired to a modest home in the quiet coastal city north of Sydney where he had spent his boyhood. He spends his free moments collecting venison and tasty saltwater fish filets for his family and friends.This book is the story of what happened along the way.
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