The Modern Hunter by Graeme Marshall & Don MacDonald

Published 2015 | RRP$39.99

It has been 28 years since the first iteration was published by Graeme Marshall under the guise of The Young Hunter (1987) and, like its predecessor, The Modern Hunter is pitched as an entry level how-to book for the beginner hunter.

Graeme co-writes this revision with Don MacDonald, who brings knowledge of contemporary issues facing the modern hunter.

Don writes the chapters on electronics (GPS, rangefinders, EPIRBs, etc), modern first aid practices, clothing, boots, rifles and optics, whereas Don delivers chapters on the perennial hunting issues of bush-sense, appropriate hunting technique for stalking New Zealand’s various types of game animals, gaining hunting access, and the like.

The book is profusely illustrated with inspirational colour photos throughout each chapter. It is clearly and simply written, with bullet point summaries at the end of each chapter reinforcing key issues.

Although appropriate for the target audience, it’s worth noting that each chapter only offers an introductory taste to the substantial realm of hunting. Helpfully, a section on further recommended reading is provided which directs readers to both reflective, i.e. autobiographies or memoirs, and instructional hunting books.

Ordinarily I would hesitate to list the entire subject matter of a book but I think it would be useful for you to know what topics are covered, which are:

  • the reasons why people hunt
  • hunting ethics
  • getting started in hunting
  • safety issues
  • bushcraft and mountain safety
  • first aid
  • bush navigation techniques
  • modern clothing and boots
  • issues to consider when purchasing a rifle
  • tips on scopes and other optics
  • essential electronic gear and accessories
  • rifle maintenance
  • shooting techniques
  • hunting techniques
  • choosing hunting buddies and companions
  • hunting tips on small game, goats, pigs, deer, chamois and tahr
  • gaining access
  • hunting “problems”, including buck fever, paradise shelduck’s alarm calls (a native bird that often ruins the hunt by alerting deer), and encountering other hunters in the bush
  • game butchery

As you can see from this extensive list, Graeme and Don have covered all the topics that a beginner hunter needs to understand and master in order to be a successful hunter.

This book is recommended to novice hunters without reservation but I would caution more experienced hunters and avid hunting book readers away from purchasing this book because it may not be in-depth enough to hold your attention.

This book is endorsed by the NZDA for their “HUNTS” hunter-training program, and the introduction is written by Bill O’Leary, President of the New Zealand Deerstalker’s Association and NZDA HUNTS National Coordinator.

Graeme’s writing and images have been published extensively over the years and he is still a contributing editor to New Zealand Rod & Rifle Magazine. Don is a regular contributor to New Zealand Guns & Hunting Magazine, mainly on the many and varied topic of optics. The Modern Hunter (2015) is Don’s first book.

Other books written by Graeme include Graeme Marshall Hunter (2010), Aerial Hunter: The Dick Deaker Story (2009), The Young Hunter (1987) and Possum Hunting in New Zealand: A Practical Guide to Hunting Methods, Preparation and Sale of Skins (1984).

The Hunter’s recommendation is: buy it

The Hunter’s ratings are:

  • Overall rating: 6 out of 10
  • Photos and illustrations: 4 out of 5
  • Trophy quality: 2* out of 5
  • Writing quality and style: 3.5 out of 5
  • Page-turner status: 3* out of 5

(*These ratings suffer from the book’s premise in that it is an introductory book)

Publisher’s blurb

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

Graeme Marshall was actively involved with hunter training courses within the Nelson branch of NZDA during the 1980s. Partly as a resource for newcomers to hunting he wrote The Young Hunter, a basic guide to hunting, in 1987, which is now long out of date. To assist him, especially with more technical aspects, he has teamed up with experienced South Canterbury hunter and regular contributor to NZ Guns and Hunting magazine, Don MacDonald to produce an up to date and relevant guide to hunting.
The Modern Hunter does not intend to take the place of publications such as the NZDA HUNTS Manual or Mountain Safety Council material and recommends that aspiring hunters refer to these for more detailed information, especially to do with specific aspects of bushcraft, firearms handling and modern equipment.
This is a book that provides an overview of the current hunting scene in the country today in response to a huge upsurge in interest in the sport as animal numbers have improved due to a lessening in commercial hunting activity. It should be seen as a companion guide to a wide range of more detailed and often more technical publications. If it is instrumental in encouraging the safe and ethical harvesting of our wonderful game animal resource it will have succeeded.

Bibliographic information

Title: The Modern Hunter
Author: Graeme Marshall, Don Macdonald 
Editions: 2015
Publisher: Halcyon Press, Auckland, New Zealand
ISBN: 187756673X, 9781877566738
Format: Softcover, 191 pages, colour illustrations, 24 cm

Book review of The Modern Hunter by Graeme Marshall and Don MacDonald book review