Dear <<First Name>>
The main reason for writing is to let you know my two new online shopping web sites are up and running.
For the North American and European markets
Contact Rowan Dickerson:
+1 717 592 8999, email@example.com, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, USA
For the African market
Contact Cathryn Kennedy: +27 (0)31 701 2777, firstname.lastname@example.org, Durban, South Africa
My latest books and all my DVDs are available on the sites and, given that all the products advertised are stocked in the two locations, it should both speed up deliveries and lower the postage costs.
I have made a number of mistakes in setting up my new little publishing business and, for example, did not check the key to the distribution map at the front of the Bushbuck Book. I sent in the wrong art work for the reproduction of the Chad DVD cover – all of my DVDs were sold out and I needed to produce some more - and then the NTSC DVDs for Rowan were sent to Cathryn and the PAL DVDs to him. Together these mistakes have cost me R20 000, R3 000 and R6 000, respectively, in round numbers. If trouble comes in threes then I hope that is the lot!
Dallas Safari Club Convention
Rowland Ward cancelled their booth at the Dallas Safari Club Convention without telling me and despite me agreeing to man it for them free of charge. Craig Boddington, who had kindly agreed to let me share a booth with him at both the upcoming DSC and SCI shows, was unable to hire the needed additional space, so I will not be going to either. Pity. I will be advertising the new online shopping sites, however, both in the States and locally and hope that, in time, people will learn about them and order online or from Rowan and Cathryn directly. I am in this for the long run and, if it takes time to sell the books and DVDs, then so be it. How blessed I am that I do not need to do this for a living!
Hunting the Spiral Horns – Bushbuck – The Little Big Buck, is due for delivery in Durban on 9 September and on the 18th September in Pennsylvania. It has turned out to be a much bigger book than I originally envisaged – nearly 400 pages (almost 50 pages longer than its predecessor) with 450 colour photos and 33 B&W ones – and, to date, has received enthusiastic reviews from some five magazine editors. To my mind, it is the best book thus far in the series, if only by a short head. I will be interested to know what you think of it if and when you read it.
Given the increased length, the printing costs have also gone up substantially and, unfortunately, so have the prices of the books. The standard edition will now cost $75 (R750) and the 200 quarter leather bound, cased and signed limited editions, which have almost all been pre-ordered, cost $150 (R1 500).
The fourth in the series, the Sitatunga Book, is complete but for the choice of photographs to illustrate it and the applicable captions and, although I thought it was going to be the shortest book in the series, is actually a tad longer than the Kudu Book. I was hoping to finish this before I left for the UK and then Italy on 1 September but there has been a sudden flurry of requests for articles that I have been unable to refuse. I think it is so important that we as hunters nail our colours unequivocally to the mast and oppose these horrible canned and put-and-take killing practices - which have nothing to do with hunting - as well as the recent trend of intensive breeding and manipulation of wildlife to artificially create unnatural colour variations, excessive horn growth and other freaks such a kulans (a cross between kudu and eland) and kudalas (a cross between kudu and nyala) which are threatening both hunting and conservation in South Africa. In this regard, I have written or contributed to articles in one newspaper (Die Volksblad), one e-zine (African Indaba) and two magazines (African Outfitter and SA Hunter) on these topics. In due course they will, of course, appear in the Blog on my personal web site – www.peterflack.co.za. Thus far, I have been threatened with a defamation suit and received one anonymous threatening phone call so I must be hitting some of the right nails on the head!
Taking a Break
I have also made a start on the last book in the series, Hunting the Spiral Horns – Bongo and Nyala – The Elite African Trophies, and have received excellent stories from three ex East African professional hunters and two photos from Peter Beard of what may well be the very first ones of live bongo taken in the wild. But before I get stuck in I am going to take a break in Europe and then, on my return, head off to the north of Mocambique to hunt Livingstone’s eland amongst other game. What can I say, I have wanted to visit the area for some time and I am only sorry that Anabele Rodrigues and her colleagues, who did so much to aid the recovery of game numbers in the Niassa Reserve, will not be there as I was hoping to meet and talk to her about the wonderful job she had done. Most unfortunately, the long term partnership between her company and the Mocambican government was not renewed as the new terms proposed by the government were unacceptable to SGDRN. Yet another case of an African government snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Trip to Bankfontein
And lastly, I had an unexpected week on our old game ranch, Bankfontein, on the eastern edge of the Great Karoo in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. Other than a very brief stay when I helped supervise the packing of my some 300 mounted animals for shipping to the Iziko Museum of South Africa in Cape Town where some are now on display, I had not been back for five years since its sale. What happened was that the new owner came to dinner at the same time as the Twins, their parents and others. The Twins engaged in conversation by the new owner and it went something like this:
New owner making polite conversation with the Twins (two teenage girls of 15 going on 32): “Pete tells me that he taught you to hunt on Bankfontein when you were nine and that you each shot an impala.”
Twins simultaneously: “Yes.”
New owner being gracious: “Well, you must come back and hunt on Bankfontein again some time.”
One Twin: “When?”
New owner, a little flustered: “Err, well, err, when would you like to come?”
Other Twin: “Now would be a good time because we are on holiday for the next ten days.”
New owner, with relief tinging his voice: “Oh, what a pity. You see I have to go overseas next week and won’t be back for a month.”
Other Twin: “No problem, Pete can take us. After all he knows the ranch backwards doesn’t he?" And then almost as an afterthought, “And you do trust Pete don’t you?” she said as she looked at first at me and then my wife, Jane.
Game, set and match to the Twins.
Ten days later, after two sessions on the local shooting range, where the twins proved that they were not nearly as rusty as I had feared, we set out on the long, eight hour drive to Bankfontein. One week later we headed home with a 27 inch common waterbuck and an ancient 35 inch gemsbok bull in the salt. Both killed with one shot each at over 150 and 200 metres, respectively, by the Twins – my “adopted” granddaughters. It had been a wonderful week, although bitterly cold, the coldest winter in 30 years people said and it reminded me, yet again, of the generosity of my old friend, the new owner of Bankfontein, and the incredible peace, space and stillness of this amazing plateau region of our country.