There’s little doubt that the books Peter Ryan has previously treated the hunting fraternity to have raised the bar for good hunting books. His personal style and interesting tales, coupled with a special presentation of his own stunning photographs, take these reports to another level. His latest book continues to deliver excellent reading and is highly recommended for all rifle and gun enthusiasts. Combined with Bateman’s excellent publishing style, the layout of the books – five parts and associated photographs – have certainly done the author justice.
Firearms command a fair bit of space within the pages with rifles and shotguns getting the writer’s astute attention. The firearms mentioned are invariably vintage with long-serving historical interest. Prior to Part 1 of the book, within the intro pages under ‘Mantigues’, the writer reveals his long-standing search for a classic .318 Westley Richards rifle in sound original condition. The unfolding story relating to his success in obtaining such a rifle is great reading and indicative of the book’s further contents. The tales just keep getting better. Shotgun followers and bird hunters are equally considered with Ryan including tales of his experiences over scrub and water with smoothbores.
There’s a loyal bond evident between the author and his much-loved and respected gun dogs; this time around, young Tom – a black Labrador – receives his support and devotion.
Also apparent is the author’s clear and obvious love of family. From the days of hut building with his dad to the special time teaching his own son Jamie to hunt, the bond between father and son continues to crop up. Young Jamie’s wild experiences include tahr and wild boar hunts while not overlooking his start with small game.
The hunting experiences expand from New Zealand, and readers will discover the writer’s African adventures and overseas hunts are all interesting events. Ryan’s passion for the correct rifle is again prominent when taking on Africa’s Cape buffalo with the legendary .375. The author is credited with at least a dozen African safaris.
In Part 2 of the book is a chapter entitled “Missed You”; it exposes the writer’s genuine feel for the game animals he hunts, and credit is given when, on the day, his quarry escapes. He recalls the stray shot we all know about, which makes the sport a bit of a leveller. If you’ve never missed your target, then it’s a good bet you haven’t done too much hunting.
Final pages of the book acknowledge the artwork and photographs contributed by others who have added to Peter Ryan’s own selection of stunning photographs. The use of older images and carefully captioned pictures along with selected quotes and verse throughout the pages of the book are special points of further interest. Page 137 and the artwork by Trevor Hawkins brings a poignant close for the readers and displays son Jamie with his rabbit and his canine friend Tom. Peter Ryan’s willingness to share these emotive stories simply complement this excellent book.
Bateman Books, 237pages