I do not remember the date, although it had to in the early 1960’s. Nor do I remember the country, but it was in Africa. I do remember the photo of my hero Jack O’Connor long the “Dean of Gun Writers” with a monstrous greater kudu, a great gray ghost bull with spiral horns measuring over 60-inches. The photo and story made a huge impression on me.
Shortly after the photos and story appeared in Outdoor Life, I made a promise. Some day I would hunt Africa for greater kudu and take one no less big than the bull taken by O’Connor!
Little did I know doing so would take the better part of a lifetime!
I had worked for a solid week to make the 35 cents necessary to purchase a copy of the “True Hunting Annual”. I had been eyeing it on the newsstand at our local “drug store”. It rested there with numerous hunting and shooting magazines. I really wanted those too, but knew I would get to see at least some of them after my uncle had finished reading his copies. “True Hunting Annual” was full of articles about hunting distant lands, and article I wanted to read was about hunting roe deer in Germany. I am not sure what drew me to that particular article. It could have been the European style painting of a “great” roe deer “stag” that illustrated it, or a photo of one of the buck’s antlers the author had taken. Or may it had to do something with my German heritage? Regardless I was fascinated by full-grown deer that were about the same size as one of our four-month whitetail fawns living in the woods behind our rural home.
Times were different then! There were no trail cameras! Scouting for whitetails meant a whole lot more different things than these days when the hunter simply puts out his cameras, then later checks photos including with some being sent to his or her computer or phone, looks at what time the buck came by or fed on the bait then hunts appropriately in hopes the buck will come by again at roughly the same time.