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J. Alain Smith, Big Game Hunter

This is a discussion on J. Alain Smith, Big Game Hunter within the Hunting North America forums, part of the HUNTING OUTSIDE OF AFRICA category; J. Alain Smith, Big Game Hunter Hunter and Writer J. Alain Smith darted Jaguar Elephant J. Alain Smith is a ...

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    monish's Avatar
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    Default J. Alain Smith, Big Game Hunter

    J. Alain Smith, Big Game Hunter

    Hunter and Writer J. Alain Smith darted Jaguar


    J. Alain Smith is a hunter/writer/businessman whose success has allowed him to venture to all points of the globe in search of hunting adventures. He has collected over 230 different species from around the world including the World Slams of Sheep and Goats, North American Grand Slam of Sheep and the African Big Five.

    Mountain Nyala



    Western Hartebeest

    A born storyteller, Alain was encouraged by friends to put some of his hunting stories down on paper and so began his outdoor writing career. He says, “I did a few stories and found I really enjoyed reliving the adventures through writing. A magazine found out about the stories and printed a couple and that really got me going. As the various stories started to accumulate, the notion of a book started to percolate in my mind and I thought, maybe I can do this? Then I decided that if I was going to go to all the work of putting a book together why not do it for a good cause, like conservation of wildlife and hunters rights.”

    Black Impala

    Darted White Rhino


    West African Buffalo

    Following up on the tremendous response to Close Calls and Hunting Adventures, Alain wrote Hunting New Horizons a new collection of short stories of hunting and adventures from the far corners of the world. Travel with Alain to hunt Mt. Nyala in the high mountains of Ethiopia, Cape Buffalo in the swamps of Tanzania, Giant Eland and Bongo in the Central African Republics jungles and the monster Moose of British Columbia.

    New Zealand Wapiti

    Gredos Ibex




  2. #2
    monish's Avatar
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    Default Close Calls and Hunting Adventures by J. Alain Smith

    Close Calls and Hunting Adventures by J. Alain Smith

    Join big game hunter and author J. Alain Smith on one exciting adventure after another as he takes you around the world hunting in his first book, Close Calls and Hunting Adventures! Grizzly bears in Alaska, Marco Polo sheep on the roof of the world, Cape Buffalo in the swamps of Tanzania and Lions in deepest Africa. Read what it's like to stay in a castle and hunt with Royalty in Pakistan, stay in a tent in a storm for sheep in Russia and sweat in the deserts of Mexico for giant Mule deer. Experience the shear terror of surviving a plane crash in the bush of East Africa.

    Excerpt From Close Calls and Hunting Adventures... FIRST MORNING LION
    Remote Northern Zambia...1992.

    We arrived at one of the prettiest camps I'd ever seen, located on the Luangwa River. The area was called Nyampala and has been a famous hunting area for many years. Peter Capstick, Cotton Gordon, Scandrol & Swanepool and a host of other top outfits have all run hunts out of the camp over the years and it was especially renowned for its huge Cape buffalo and black mane lion. These, plus the other unique species only found in Zambia, were why we had ventured to this part of the world.

    Nyampala camp is surrounded on three sides by vast national parks. These parks are the main source of game animals as they cross through the hunting concession on their travels to and from the other parks. Nyampala also holds all the water during the dry season

    As we got settled into camp where Mack Padgett and I each had our own large thatched rondavul (grass hut with concrete on the floor, a closet, flushing toilet and shower, all en suite!), we met Richard. He was our P.H. Ronnie Sparrow痴 black tracker, camp organizer, interpreter to other tribes (although Ronnie speaks three native "lingua franca" on his own) as well as a great hunter and superb spotter of game. He became a good friend during the trip and never let us down. Richard could work. It didn't matter whether we were hanging bait; cutting trees to clear a new road, skinning or doing the marathon marches on wounded game. This guy was nonstop and always leading the way.

    Ronnie Sparrow himself was no slouch when it came to working either! The life of a P.H. is one of long days, short nights, multitudes of diseases, bug bites, bad water, snakes and big game animals that would just as soon kill you, as you kill them. And a lot of African animals have the hardware to do an effective job of making your wife a young widow.

    Ronnie had been in the Professional Hunting biz his whole life and loved it. The camaraderie between the hunter and the guide is essential to success and I could tell right away why Ronnie had so many happy clients. He is motivated to succeed; he possesses a great sense of humor, can hold his liquor and makes sure every detail is covered during the entire trip. Professional Hunters are their own breed and he was certainly one of the best.

    Our main focus on this trip to the Zambian frontier was lion. I had never shot one before and was optimistic that this was the area where I had my best chance. Besides tracking lion and hoping to find them resting in the shade at midday, baiting is utilized to attract the lions and draw them out of the surrounding parks. Baits usually consist of hippo, zebra or buffalo haunches hung in a tree. Care must be given to the actual placement of the bait so as to get the most bang for your buck (or buffalo in this case).

    Firstly, baits need to hang a good distance from villages. This stops the local non-flying human vultures from discovering the putrid meat and turning it into their dinner. It takes more than a few maggots and a smell bad enough to make you loose your lunch, to keep the local butchers from devouring the rotting bait carcass.

    Secondly, you need to hide the meat from the ever-present winged vultures. This is accomplished by hanging brush over the top of the haunch, leaving only the bottom exposed. The lions will find the "ngama" by sense of smell anyhow, not by sight, so camouflaging the bait is a must.

    Thirdly, the bait must be wired securely enough to prevent the lions from pulling it down and hauling it to a different location.

    And fourthly, the slab of beast must be high enough off the ground to prevent the hyenas from devouring the bait before the lions can claim it, yet low enough that full grown lions can stand up on their back legs and still get chunks off the carcass.

    Ronnie had a half dozen baits already up when I arrived for the hunt, left over from the previous client so a lot of our prep work had been done in advance.

    At our four-course dinner that night, we ate on linen tablecloth, china plates, and silverware and enjoyed a good bottle of South African Merlot with our main course of eland. Our waiter wore a full white waiter's outfit topped off by a red fez and white gloves. What a first class camp! All this and we were 300 miles from the nearest civilization.

    Up and at 粗m early the next morning, we drove to one of the boundaries of the hunting area and got out to walk the dried up sandy river bed looking for new tracks of cats who may have crossed over from the park during the night.

    Half an hour after we started walking we arrived at one of the chewed up hippo hindquarter baits that was hanging on the trunk of a huge sausage tree. Wading through the eight-foot high grass we were all caught totally off guard when the tawny form of Simba himself jumped to his feet fifteen yards in front of me.

    An opening in the head high grass gave me a clear view of this magnificent specimen. No one else could get a clear view of him through the thick grass. Fully alert, taught muscles rippling across his chest, his soul piercing gaze locked onto my eyes, his black mane shook, and his deadly fangs glistened in the early morning shadows. Suddenly he let out a gut-wrenching roar that had the intended effect of scaring the hell out of me and everyone else in a five-mile radius.

    The wise old lion knew better than to show off any longer and started to spin on his heels and get as far away from us as possible. As he made his move, I was bringing my Winchester 375 H&H to my shoulder and let fly with a 300 grain Nosler Partition. At such close range, the bullet seemed to have no effect on the beast. I worked the bolt in a nanosecond but had no chance for another shot as the cagey veteran instantly vanished into the tall grass.

    "Did you hit him?" yelled Ronnie. He had been off to my left the whole time and did not have a clear view of any of the proceedings.

    "The shot felt good" I replied in a shaky, uncertain voice. The grass was so thick I couldn't even see Ronnie ten feet away.

    He walked over and asked me where I hit him. I apprehensively explained that the lion was quartering away as he turned to run and I aimed behind his ribs, trying to angle a shot through his heart and into his far shoulder.

    "And did you hit him there?"

    "Yes," I coolly replied.

    This is always a tense part between guide and hunter. The PH needs to know exactly what happened because his life and his trackers' lives may depend on the results of how hard the shot absorbing man killer has been hit.

    The client on the other hand rarely admits a lousy shot and almost never concedes a miss. Ego is a fragile commodity and the inexperienced hunter may have his bruised if the P.H. verbally doubts his clients shooting abilities or hunting prowess.

    It had all happened so fast it was hard to sort out the details to Ronnie, but you can always "feel" a well-placed shot and I felt confident in saying I had hit him. Exactly where was another issue

    Now we had the unseemly task of following up the wounded beast into grass that swayed higher than our heads in the slight breeze. Before we started, Ronnie sent the trackers to the other side of the grassy thicket to see if the lion had crossed over the dry sand bed of the river, leading to the park. If the cat made it into the park, he would no longer be mine and Ronnie and the game scout would have to follow after him on their own and give the hide to the park officials after they finished him off. Oh, and I would still get to pay for it.

    The trackers yelled and said he had not crossed the riverbed, so we walked over to cut him off in case he decided to make good his escape. Richard climbed up a tree to get a better look into the two-acre thicket that the cat had disappeared into, but could see nothing. Since we had the escape route covered, the other trackers threw rocks and softball sized dry elephant dung into the thicket trying to get a response of some kind out of the cat.


    Ronnie called Mack and I together and said, "Okay, we need to go in and sort him out. Are you ready or would you rather wait out here and cover him if he tries to cross the sand?"

    "Let's go in and get him," we both replied with a strange vibrato in our voices.

    典his is the real deal, I thought to myself. This isn't for fun anymore. This is serious business. One mistake and someone is going back to the States in a box.

    By this time, the heat had reached blast furnace temperatures and the combination of this and tension had us all sweating like pigs.

    Ronnie quietly organized us with our shoulders touching each other, him facing forward, me facing to his right and Mack facing left. His last whispered words before we started into the dense thicket were,

    "Stay close together and be ready. He will come fast."
    One slow silent step at a time, we slinked into the thicket.

    My eyes were moving constantly looking for any sign of the naturally camouflaged lion. Their tawny hide matches this dry grass perfectly.

    I find the exhilaration of a moment like this hard to explain or understand and can only relate the feeling to the same feeling as you have during extreme athletic competition. You block out all unrelated thoughts. You obtain clarity of mind and a complete awareness of your surroundings. Your concentration on the terrifying task at hand is complete. I get an almost euphoric, peaceful type of mindset that lets you focus on any movement or deadly change in your surroundings instantly.

    Step, look around for three or four minutes, another slow step, scan the grass so intently your eyes ache and then another step. Sweat was running down the middle of my back. You talk about focused! Talk about all your senses being on full alert! Step and look. Concentrate Al, concentrate. Be ready!

    After what seemed like an eternity of this, but was more likely twenty-five minutes, I (unbeknownst to me) happened to step on a wrist sized black curved stick lying under the carpet of dead grass. As I put my weight on it, the branch rolled under my foot and caused the end, five feet away, to pop three feet up in the air, causing all three of us to swing our rifles towards it simultaneously. First, we thought lion and then black mamba! It's amazing that one of us didn't shoot from the hip at it. Damn, it was tense!

    As we calmed our nerves and had a silent snicker, we eased ever more slowly into the deadly morass of cane like grass. With an abrupt halt midway into his next step, Ronnie brought us to a silent pause. I turned my head ever so slowly to see what he saw and showing ten steps in front of him was the lion laying on it's belly with it's head resting on it's front paws. As Ronnie brought his rifle to his shoulder, Mack and I did the same, completely covering the king of beasts, expecting a charge at any moment.

    On this day, the lion didn't come. He had died waiting to pounce on the bastard who had shot him through the heart thirty minutes earlier, but his time had run out.

    For more information or to purchase a book from J. Alain Smith's go to his website at
    Last edited by; 10-14-2010 at 09:59 AM. Reason: Close Calls and Hunting Adventures by J. Alain Smith

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    Default Hunting New Horizons by J. Alain Smith

    Hunting New Horizons by J. Alain Smith

    The adventure continues, as big game hunter and author of Close Calls and Hunting Adventures, J. Alain Smith, takes you to Africa, Asia, and the wilds of Alaska and Canada, on more hunting adventures for top tropies from around the world. From the steep mountains of Azerbaijan, to the steamy jungles of Central Africa, you値l feel like you are standing by his side facing wounded Cape Buffalo or testing your ability to cling by your finger tips to sheer cliff faces while pursuing wild sheep in their lofty lairs. Dare to be there, where your game scounts carry AK 47痴, where you hunt Mongolian Argali at -18 degrees, where leeches cling to your lily white flesh as you wade thru the swamp after Sitatunga. It痴 all waiting for your in Hunting New Horizon痴 and more! Alain has extensive knowledge and experience hunting big game. He has collected the North American Grand Slam of Sheep, the African Big Five, forty different species of mountain sheep and goats as well as over 230 different species from around the world.

    Excerpt From Hunting New Horizons... POACHERS BULL
    I don稚 want to be scared anymore. I know this feeling, I致e had it before, and I don稚 like it.
    It痴 hot, and I致e given up swatting at the mosquitoes and tsetse flies. I just let them dine on my lily-white flesh like so much roast beef at an All You Can Eat diner. My guts are churning in anticipation of another charge that may or may not come, depending on how Mr. Mbogo feels today about being pushed relentlessly through the tall marsh grass that is this East African inland swamp. Would I be less of a man if I called the whole thing off and said, 鏑et痴 go back to the truck, we can hunt again tomorrow.?

    Yes, I would be.

    No one made me do this. I actually paid big money for the privilege. What kind of person pays tens of thousands of dollars to be hauled out into a swampy morass full of vermin that bite, sting, trample, gore, and otherwise makes your wife the recipient of your entire estate at a ripe, young age? A shrink痴 answer to that question would probably not reinforce the macho, adrenalin-driven image that one has of one痴 magnanimous self. The thought of lying on a couch trying to explain the masochistic thrill of abject, self-induced fear while hunting Cape buffalo so far from home is, in itself, enough to make any big-game hunter question his sanity.

    A big mbogo bull full of testosterone, pain-induced hatred, and two 650-grain bullets from a .577 Nitro Express will teach you very quickly about controlling your fear. Or you won稚 get a chance to try and improve on your shooting a second time around. I know the game; I致e been here before.

    When the bull comes, his head will be up until the last minute, when it swings low...
    鉄tay calm, I thought as I steadied myself. 撤ut the first shot between his eyes. Save the second barrel for the last second,

    in case the first doesn稚 perform its appointed task of sending the black bastard to his eternal resting place. The last shot will be 典he Decider. But his momentum, even if I kill him on his feet, will probably carry him onto me. The impact of 2,000 lbs of dead bovine carcass landing on my suddenly miniscule frame would inevitably cause some sort of permanent damage.

    I should have waited for a better shot in the first place. Then I wouldn稚 be in this predicament in the first place. The buff didn稚 even know we were there. We壇 been following the flight of the telltale snowy egrets and tickbirds as they rose from the backs of a herd of buffalo while they wallowed in their midday mud bath. If not for the birds, we would never have found the bulls to begin with in the 10-foot high reed thickets of the swamp. Visibility in such places is arm痴 length at best, unless you can find some high ground or even a termite mound, or shinny up one of the rare palm trees for a look around.

    For more information or to purchase a book from J. Alain Smith's go to his website at

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