I was alerted to this new book by first-time author Gerard Abrams, entitled Gone Hunting: Out there ‘do’in it’, by his well conducted social media advertising campaign.
Supported by active Facebook and Instagram accounts, where many interesting hunting and outdoors photos can be viewed, I was inspired to get my hands on a copy.
I was not in the slightest bit disappointed upon opening a parcel containing a signed copy. Flicking through its pages I was impressed by the many colour and black & white photos accompanying each chapter. Clearly Gerard is an active photographer, and has been from his earliest hunting days as a novice. For me, good photos are a must.
Gone Hunting is an autobiographical account of a portion of Gerard’s adventurous hunting career — Gerard’s hunting journey has been broken up into a trilogy of books; this, the first, with the remaining two books to be released in late 2016 and 2017.
The overarching theme is Gerard’s quest to attain the ‘Pacific big 15’ trophy game animals. This goal developed as Gerard learned more about the different species of big game which are found in the Pacific region.
This first book has a secondary title of “Lessons”. Lessons perhaps because we start at the beginning of his hunting career with his first big game hunt for tahr in New Zealand — a supreme and challenging introduction to the sport.
In all, this book covers the following hunts:
– Himalayan tahr, Rangaitata Valley, Southern Alps
– Chamois, North Canterbury Alps
– Water Buffalo, Darwin, Northern Territory
– Chital (axis) deer, Queensland
– Sika stag, Kawekas, Central North Island
– Rusa stag, New Caledonia
– Samba stag, Wonnangatta Valley, Victorian Highlands
– Red deer, West Coast and Central Otago, South Island.
Of the ‘Pacific big 15’, eight are written about. Some heads look sizable, for example his sika, buffalo and sambar. However, other than by making assumptions as to each head’s trophy quality and merit by looking at the corresponding photo, it is not possible to determine their true size. I find it useful to know basic measurements or Douglas scores — record book or representative head, it should not matter, and I think such information should ideally be included in a trophy hunting book.
In addition to hunting stories, Gerard incorporates his personal life, and so the reader follows Gerard’s career as an accountant and many interactions with his mentors.
Unlike some hunting books, where the author’s non-hunting related chapters are superfluous and better reserved for family history purposes, here those non-hunting stories were surprisingly enjoyable. There is even a cliffhanger at the end… I wonder what is in that box?
Gerard says in the introduction that it is a work of “fiction” owing to the creative license he exercised. Most autobiographical hunting books would fall within this category to some extent, as hunters (and fisherman) are known for tall tales. So I think it is more non-fiction in substance, with the typical use of creative license we see in the genre.
In summary, Gerard has a captivating writing style coupled with an interesting story and sub-plots, and I enjoyed reading Gone Hunting. I look forward to the release of Book 2.
You can purchase a copy directly from Gerard through his website (www.gonehunting.me), where you can also pre-register for his second and third installments. I know I’ll be waiting in anticipation of their release to see where his hunting journey ends.
As Gerard writes so affectionately about New Zealand I cannot hold it against him that he is from across the Ditch in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. The great “kiwi” writer Philip Holden was too.
The Hunter’s recommendation is: buy it (and follow his social media accounts)
The Hunter’s ratings are:
- Overall rating: 6.5 out of 10
- Photos and illustrations: 3.5 out of 5
- Trophy quality: 2.5 out of 5*
- Writing quality and style: 3.5 out of 5
- Page-turner status: 3.5 out of 5
(*Note: given a lower rating because the trophy quality could not be ascertained.)
For your information the following is the book’s blurb:
Thirty years ago I watched the stroke of a red pen decimate my incomprehensible sentences as I tried to capture the adventures. My love for being out there in the mountains ‘do’in it’ has never been stronger. I write from the heart and these days I share those experiences. It is hard to believe I started my working life as an accountant because I don’t have many credits in the bank. I have been spending those funds as quickly as they come in, my entire life, but I have accumulated a mind full of amazing savings. I work very hard as I know this provides me with the funds to go hunting at any opportunity. Hunting is my excuse to get out there into the back blocks of the South Pacific. Writing my own series about those adventures is a dream come true.
I hope everyone enjoys the read and becomes inspired to live their dream.
Bibliographic informationTitle: Gone Hunting: Out there ‘do’in it’; Book 1: Lessons
Author: Gerard Abrams
Publisher: Quindao Hiland Printing Co. Ltd
Format: Softcover, 208 pages, colour and black & white plates, illustrations, 22 cm; available as an e-book.
Book review of Out There Doing it by Gerard Abrams book review