A Hunter's Hunter

A Hunter's Hunter

By Robin Hurt

Robin Hurt grew up in Kenya and shot his first buffalo and leopard before he was in high school. He was a licensed PH in Tanzania and Kenya by age 18. Once he started hunting professionally, he did not shy from taking risks. He guided clients to where the largest heads were, and that included Zaire when it was wild and dangerous and Sudan when rival tribal factions were at war.  He hunted during the “golden era” of the African safari when Kenya was in its heyday, Zambia was renowned for its hunting fields, and the entire Big Five could be shot in Tanzania on a safari.  And wherever he went, he got exceptional trophies for his clients. The late Tony Dyer, the doyen of East African professional hunters, called Robin Hurt "The Hunter's Hunter," hence the title of this book.

Many years ago a prominent member of the safari scene came to our Safari Press booth and said he really wanted a forest sitatunga (one of Africa’s hardest and most elusive trophies).  He went on to say, “I have spent forty days hunting, have seen nothing, and have failed twice.  I am through messing around; I am going with Robin Hurt to Sudan. The one time I hunted with him he brought an intensity and focus to the hunt, the likes of which I have never seen in any of my more than three dozen African safaris.” Such is the well-deserved reputation of Robin Hurt; a PH par excellence and, as important, a fair-chase-only professional who always keeps wildlife conservation in the forefront of whatever he’s doing. Robin Hurt has been indefatigable with his community wildlife conservation work, which has turned poachers into anti-poachers and has helped previously disadvantaged communities—ensuring healthy game populations and hunting opportunities for the future. This new book includes a chapter by Robin’s wife, Pauline, on her efforts in protecting rhinos in Namibia so these magnificent animals will be preserved for future generations.

Some professional hunters in Africa are known as “buffalo PHs,” having guided their clients to buffaloes with  45- to 47-inch spreads; some PHs have specialized in elephants and, if they are old enough, have taken very heavy tuskers, some possibly approaching  100 pounds.  Then there are the cat specialists who have guided for heavy chuis and large lions with heavy manes. There is only one PH who can genuinely say he has done it all—Robin Hurt.  He has taken 50-inch-spread buffaloes, 100-pound tuskers, 200-pound leopards, 10-foot lions with heavy manes, and 30-inch-plus rhinos back in the day.  His clients have shot numerous, superlative free-range trophies of the entire Big Five with dozens of those heads qualifying for Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game.  Robin’s record is an unsurpassed accomplishment in the history of African hunting.

Having been in the field for a lifetime—he still hunts today from his home in Namibia—he has enough stories to fill up five books.  In his Hunting the Big Five, which we published, he gave us highlights of his hunts for the Fabled Five of Africa.  In this book, he rounds out the rest of his career:  being savagely and horrifically attacked by a wounded leopard; shooting the world-record bongo; operating in Zaire when it was wild and lawless; hunting a Kenya bongo in an area so remote that it required a fifteen-mile walk in by foot while hacking a trail with machetes.  When a client got injured on this hunt, the crew spent a day cutting a clearing in the forest with axes so a helicopter could land. 

A significant portion of the book is devoted to the trackers and other camp staff without whom an African safari is impossible. He tells the tale of his Kenyan tracker, Joseph Sitiene, who while hunting in the C.A.R. was forced by a local chieftain to marry a young girl.  Then there is the story of a PH who tied the bed of a sleeping, drunken associate PH to a zebra carcass, and hyenas dragged the bed out of the tent while fighting over the meat.  Read the tragic and gripping tale of another PH who was burned in a grass fire during the filming of the famous In the Blood movie. 

In addition, sons Derek and Roger Hurt contributed chapters on near-fatal leopard and buffalo attacks they encountered while hunting.  Robin has always been a passionate international hunter himself and he tells us of his own hunts for Marco Polo and Asian ibex, as well as birds and stags in the British Isles.  

Binding and pages: Hardbound in extra large format, 512 pages, 400-plus photographs in colour and black & white. The outstanding cache of historical photos of giant trophies with Robin’s insightful comments are worth the price of the book.