DEATH IN THE DARK CONTINENT by Peter Hathaway Capstick


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If you doubt that man is by nature a predator, this book will inspire little in you but perhaps rage."" So begins South African hunter/writer Capstick (Death in the Long Grass), who now applies his gung-ho, macho/flip prose to anecdotes and advice about hunting Africa's ""Big Five"": the Cape buffalo, the rhino, the leopard, the elephant, and the lion. The Kenyan Cape buffalo is especially bullet-resistant, so B+LS=F. (""For the uninitiated, this means Buff + Lousy Shot = Funeral."") The rhino is especially nasty when it charges: ""Bloody hell! A thunderbolt of panic tearing through you, you watch helplessly as the rhino closes in. . . . The willingness of a rhino to charge just about anybody or anything is due to three factors: poor eyesight, great curiosity, and a fabulously advanced state of stupidity."" The elephant is scarily huge--""More than a few adult diapers have been dampened by the most modest expression of vocal elephantine displeasure""--and the dangerous frontal brain shot is the most efficient way to hunt the Big E. As for the leopard, he's reliable: ""Wound him and you can absolutely count on him to try to bite big chunks out of you, claw you up worse than a bayonet practice dummy, and throw in disembowelment at no extra charge."" And there's the speedy lion too, of course--with much musing on the pain involved in ripping, tearing, biting, and mauling. Capstick used up many of his first-person stories in previous books, so much of the anecdotage here is out of the hunters' library: ""I think that the story recorded by the old Kenya hand Blayney Percival (not to be confused with Philip Percival) of a native hunter taking on a buffalo with his bush knife is one of the better I have read."" But Capstick's limited readership--die-hard armchair safari-goers--probably won't mind.

Pub Date: July 4th, 1983
ISBN: 0312186150
Publisher: St. Martin's