The Secret to Hunting by Kerry Butler

Published 2014 | RRP$24.99

Kerry Butler states his main reason for writing The Secret to Hunting: It’s all About Passion & Getting the Basics Right was to “enliven the passion for hunting … but just as importantly, to give those who are getting started, some simple guidance regarding the basics”. Kerry believes the key ingredient to being a successful hunter, other than mastering fundamentals, is a true passion for hunting. His goal for this book is to act as a mentor of sorts, passing on the knowledge gained from years of experience and lots of trial and error.

This is an updated and revised version of his limited edition 1996 book entitled To Hunt in the Bush which was not made available to the general public. It is no coincidence that its wider re-release coincides with the release of Kerry’s newest book Blimmin Heck: Tales & Musings of a Kiwi Bloke.

The book’s original title gives away its main theme of bush hunting. Kerry admits his expertise lies in bush stalking sika and red deer, specifically in the North Island. Therefore this book is a how-to guide specifically for that type of hunting — namely close quarters deer-stalking in forested and scrubby lowlands and rolling hills, where shots are rarely farther than 75 metres.

Based on my personal hunting experiences and technique, Kerry’s tips and advice are spot on.

Despite its limited premise, there are interesting chapters on many hunting related subjects. One chapter is about selecting the ‘best’ rifle calibre for Kerry’s style of hunting, where he concludes the .308 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington, or .270 Winchester are the best options. Another chapter lists the key items of gear necessary for deer hunting. There are stories about shooting typical 8-point sika stags, guiding learner hunters, and Kerry’s long term pursuit for a ‘royal’ 12-point red deer stag, which he finally secures after many red stag roars.

Other topics covered include duck shooting, fishing, dogs, roaring technique, the need for novice hunters to overcome a fear of being in the bush and breaking the mould of the ‘unsuccessful’ or ‘track-bound’ hunter.

Although pitched at beginners as a how-to guide, this book is an enjoyable read and is suitable for all hunters irrespective of their experience.

Kerry has also written Blimmin Heck: Tales & Musings of a Kiwi Bloke (2014),  That’s Life (2012), To Hunt in the Bush (1996) and Duck Shooters: Sportsmen and Conservationists (1989).

The Hunter’s recommendation is: buy it

The Hunter’s ratings are:

  • Overall rating: 5.5 out of 10
  • Photos and illustrations: 2.5 out of 5
  • Trophy quality: 2.5 out of 5
  • Writing quality and style: 3 out of 5
  • Page-turner status: 3.5 out of 5

Publisher’s blurb

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

Due to popular demand this book by Hawkes Bay farmer Kerry Butler is a revised version of his limited edition book To Hunt in the Bush which has been out of print for nineteen years.
Aside from a new title, there are lots more stories about the author’s hunting encounters. With practical advice and hunting tips thrown in.

Bibliographic information

Title: The Secret to Hunting
Author: Kerry Butler (1947–)
Editions: 2014
Publisher: Self published, Waipawa, New Zealand
ISBN: 0473263009, 9780473263003
Format: Softcover, 89 pages, colour illustrations, 21 cm

Book review of The Secret to Hunting by Kerry Butler book review