A Hunting Life by Tony Orman

Published 2011 | RRP$39.99

There is no doubt that this is a book written by a skilled writer and researcher and in his latest book Tony Orman draws on all of his 70 years of knowledge and experience to impart his personal views and ‘hunting ways’.

The book reflects Tony’s stream of consciousness on many things hunting and covers a broad range of subjects, including firearm deaths, poisoning deer through the use of aerial 1080, the impact of helicopter hunting, selective harvesting of deer, getting modern youths hunting, and gaining access to private hunting land (rather than Department of Conservation land).

Tony has spent a life time hunting and writing about the outdoors and this book reflects on the lessons Tony has learned and laments on what he believes to be the failings of many modern day hunters and their ethics.

This is not a book for the average hunting literature audience who are looking for a casual read about hunting exploits. Each ‘hunting story’ is not for the story’s sake but rather retold to reinforce Tony’s moral view point. At times this book comes across as a series of lectures rather than an enjoyable read.

One highlight is a set of live red deer stag photos in colour, which were taken by Tony. Another is in Chapter 33: Old Deerstalkers and Memories where Tony writes about his time spent with the famous deerstalker Gordon Atkinson in his twilight years discussing his hunting days over cups of tea. The section is accompanied by a picture of Gordon’s massive 44 1/2 inch spread and 42 inches long, 19 point red stag trophy.

One gripe is the repeated use of bullet points which stilted the flow and are really out of place in a book of this style.

This book is recommended more for those looking to explore the present day ethics, policies and politics of hunting in New Zealand.

Other hunting related titles authored by Tony are Reflections of a Deerstalker: The Essence of Hunting and a Plea for the Future of a Sport (1979), Memories of New Zealand Deerstalking: An Anthology (1981), In hindsight (1987) and About Deer and Deer Stalking in New Zealand (2002).

Tony, as editor of New Zealand Outdoor Magazine, compiled stories for Outdoor with Rifle and Shotgun: The Best from New Zealand Outdoor Magazine (1978) and More Outdoor with Rifle and Shotgun: A Second Volume of the Best from New Zealand Outdoor Magazine (1980).

The Hunter’s recommendation is: borrow it

The Hunter’s ratings are:

  • Overall rating: 4.5 out of 10
  • Photos and illustrations: 2.5 out of 5
  • Trophy quality: 1 out of 5
  • Writing quality and style: 3 out of 5
  • Page-turner status: 2.5 out of 5

Publisher’s Blurb

For your information the following is the book’s blurb:

In A Hunting Life, his 23rd book, Tony Orman reflects on well over 50 years of mountain recreation and hunting in New Zealand. He takes note of changes and trends in hunting, gear and attitudes; and he philosophises on the greater meaning of going hunting. He also asks some bold, challenging questions concerning the access debate, the environment and other matters.
Tony is well known as an advocate for the public’s hunting and fishing resources. A former surveyor and town planner, he has been a journalist and editor of various magazines such as Straight Furrow, Alive and NZ Hunting and Wildlife. He enjoys living in the South Island, with a view of the mountains.

Bibliographic information

Title: A Hunting Life
Author: Tony Orman (1937–)
Editions: 2011
Publisher: New Holland, Auckland, New Zealand
ISBN: 1869663179, 9781869663179
Format: Softcover, 200 pages, 28 pages of plates, colour illustrations, 24 cm

Book review of A Hunting Life by Tony Orman book review