Alpine Hunting in New Zealand by Roger Lentle and Frank Saxton

Published 1994 | RRP$34.99

Roger Lentle and Frank Saxton are known for authoring a full suite of New Zealand hunting guide books during the 1990s. This suite comes highly recommended — refer to the Recommended Hunting Books page.

This particular book focuses on hunting the mountains of the Southern Alps for tahr and chamois, with a relatively smaller section on deer hunting above the treeline (two of their other books in the series cover deer hunting in depth).

A reasonably comprehensive guide book, Alpine Hunting is split into five key parts:

  • Part 1: The Mountains and Mountain Skills
  • Part 2: Equipment for Alpine Hunting
  • Part 3: Hunting Chamois
  • Part 4: Hunting Tahr
  • Part 5: Deer in the Mountains

There are many appendices where the more technical and scientific information has been located. This was a good decision — the book flows along nicely but you can get into the nitty gritty details by referring to the relevant appendix.

Interspersed throughout the book are short stories which directly relate to the subject matter at that point, providing enjoyable respites from a technical guidebook.

A lot of concepts are shown using diagrams and graphs, for example, types of food eaten during the year, mating postures and daily movements. Seeing the information presented in this form will appeal to a lot of readers.

This particular book was influential for me and my hunting. I bought a copy early in my hunting career, when I had no knowledge that New Zealand had such majestic big game animals as Himalayan tahr or European Alpine chamois, but after reading this book cover to cover I knew that tahr and chamois were the game animals for me. To this day tahr and chamois are my favourites (but the order is always up for debate).

Owing to being published in the ’90s a lot of the information has become somewhat out-of-date, however the underlying teachings, ideas and concepts remain relevant. This book was written during a time when WARO and helicopter hunting had taken its full toll on New Zealand’s game animal numbers and also during a time when the advances in hunting gear had not moved as far forward as today. Although, interestingly, we have now moved full circle back to woolen garments in the form of modern hi-tec merino layering and water-proof fabrics.

I think that without too much effort this great guide book (or even the entire series) could be revised to reflect New Zealand’s contemporary hunting scene — we can only hope.

Other hunting related titles written by Lentle and Saxton are: Red Deer in New Zealand: A Complete Hunting Manual (1991), Stalking the Seasons Round: A Year-Round Guide to Hunting Deer in New Zealand (1993) and New Zealand Hunters’ Companion (1996). Separately, Saxton has written two children’s fiction books: Wild Goat Hunt (1999) and The Possum Hunt (2000).

The Hunter’s recommendation is: buy it

The Hunter’s ratings are:

  • Overall rating: 7 out of 10
  • Photos and illustrations: 3 out of 5
  • Trophy quality: 1* out of 5
  • Writing quality and style: 4.5 out of 5
  • Page-turner status: 4.5 out of 5

*Note: This rating suffers because it is a guide book and therefore trophies are not its aim.

Publisher’s blurb

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

Top hunting writers Roger Lentle and Frank Saxton have come together again to produce another classic of hunting literature: the first comprehensive guide to hunting tahr and Chamois in the New Zealand mountains. It is just what every keen shooter needs to meet the ultimate hunting challenge and secure a once-in-a-lifetime Himalayan tahr or Chamois trophy.
Following the winning formula of their previous hunting books, Red Deer in New Zealand and Stalking the Seasons Round, Lentle and Saxton have drawn together a diverse range of information about tahr and chamois, using scientific research, the knowledge and experience of local hunters, explanatory diagrams and a lively informative text. The book also provides an introduction to mountaineering skills and the specialised gear necessary for high-altitude hunting, as well as a section on hunting deer in alpine country. All this is spiced with exiting yarns and superb photographs, providing an essential reference to hunting in New Zealand.
Roger Lentle and Frank Saxton are well known as the authors of Red Deer in New Zealand and Stalking the Seasons Round. These two books have made them pre-eminent authorities on techniques and practices for hunting game throughout New Zealand.
Roger Lentle, a doctor from Paraparaumu, is a scientific advisor to the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association and a member of the Deer Research Group at Massey University.
Frank Saxton has been hunting since his teens and still regularly visits old and new hunting grounds. He lives in Nelson, where he is self-employed as a residential landlord, and is a member of the Nelson branch of the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association.

Bibliographic information

Title: Alpine Hunting in New Zealand
Author: Roger Lentle and Frank Saxton
Editions: 1994, 2006 (reprint)
Publisher: David Bateman, Auckland, New Zealand
ISBN: 1-8653-173-6
Format: Softcover and Hardcover, 132 pages, b&w and colour illustrations and photos

Book review of Alpine Hunting in New Zealand by Roger Lentle and Frank Saxton book review