In the introduction Alex M. Gale says the aim of his book, The Sika Hunters, is in part to “encourage, equip and inspire sika hunters” and within its pages are stories and photos of exceptional trophy sika heads which are certainly aspirational.
Although the odd chapter is written by Alex, overall the book is best described as a compilation of various authors’ contributions, and edited by Alex.
Just under two thirds is dedicated to short stories written by hunters, covering sika deer shot between 1993 and 2008 and entered into the annual Sika Show (an outdoors trade show held in Taupo near the deer’s home range in Kaimanawa and Kaweka Forrest Parks).
Alex’s passion for, and knowledge about, sika is clear and he imparts his knowledge with insightful contributions from well known sika enthusists Allan Jackson, on the age and population distribution of sika; Vern Pearson, on Douglas scoring sika heads; and Allan Foot, on hunting sika during the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn (and the rut) and winter.
An interesting quirk are the many advertisements scattered throughout the book, but despite these adverts the book has a higher than average retail price of $49.99. This price could possibly be explained by the many high quality colour photos which are, nevertheless, a major plus of this book.
This book would be of particular interest to anyone interested in the history of the Sika Show and sika deer in general. It compliments a similar book published by the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association called The Sika, Volume One in the New Zealand Big Game Records Series, written and compiled by D. Bruce Banwell.
In the future, let’s hope that Alex writes another book covering sika trophies taken from 2009 onwards.
Other titles written by Alex are A Passion for Hunting – Trips and Tips (2012), The New Zealand Deer Hunter’s Handbook and Resources Guide (2006), They Don’t Come Easy (2004), and Hunting for Love and for Money (1997).
The Hunter’s recommendation is: buy it
The Hunter’s ratings are:
- Overall rating: 6.5 out of 10
- Photos and illustrations: 4 out of 5
- Trophy quality: 4.5 out of 5
- Writing quality and style: 2.5 out of 5
- Page-turner status: 2.5 out of 5
For your information the following is the book’s blurb:
Sika are the premier deer species of the North Island of New Zealand. Each year, particularly during the roar in April, hopeful hunters take to the hills, longing to hear the shrill scream of a Sika stag and perhaps shoot a top trophy head. A few are successful. The Sika Hunters tells the stories of many hunters whose dreams became reality – stories from the heart, told by hunters ho love the challenge and thrill of hunting Sika.
In this fourth book by Alex Gale you’ll read:
– How Sika come to be liberated in New Zealand and how the herd grew to become the top Sika trophy herd in the world.
– How the Sika Show began and grew into the largest outdoor trade show of its kind in Australasia.
– Stories by passionate hunters about fantastic trophies that have been entered into the Sika Show, held annually in Taupo.
– Great tips on how to hunt these supposedly elusive deer all year round.
– How to score Sika stag heads.
Alex divides his time between writing and hunting guiding. He writes books and magazine articles, and also records the life histories of interesting people. As a hunting guide he specialises in hunter training.
Title: The Sika Hunters
Author: Alex Martin Gale
Publisher: Halcyon Press, Auckland, New Zealand
ISBN: 1877256919, 9781877256912
Format: Softcover, 264 pages, illustrations (chiefly colour), maps (some colour), 24 cm
Book review of The Sika Hunters by Alex M. Gale book review