Monday, January 13, 2014


Jock of the Bushveld.  By Percy Fitzpatrick, and written about a hundred years ago.  I think Jeff Cooper recommended it.

It's a story about a man doing the treks from the coast to the gold fields of Traansval.  Jock is the extraordinary dog that is his companion.  Supplying the miners with huge ox drawn wagons was lucrative if risky in the Africa of the 1880s

As you might imagine a good dog and Africa and long treks across the Savannah means hunting, and this book provide some details on that subject.

The only rifle mentioned was his old Martini Henry, which he noted tended jam and wouldn't let you eject spent brass if you fired off a few rounds quickly.  The heat and fouling could be a problem.

The stalk takes up more of the story than details on the tool used at the end.  A dog could 'see' the game so much better than a man, and the story is repetitive in the author realization of this.  Like Jock is impatient and thinking, 'it's right THERE, what are you waiting for.'  Several times in the book hunters could be right in the middle of dozens of large game on a flat bit of land with nothing looking large enough to hide a rabbit and then being shocked when the kudu or impala or wildebeest just burst off.

That fascinated me.  The limitations of man.  Not being able to see a cow sized animal less than 100 yards away and practically in the open unless it moved a bit.  How did we ever get so high up on this food chain?

No comments: