Dr. Robert "Bob" Speegle, Big Game Hunter
Dr. Robert "Bob" Speegle, Big Game Hunter
On December 2, 1925, Bob was born in Hamlin, Texas into a modest family. While excelling academically, he was still able to find time to hunt the small game of his surrounding area. These carefree days were soon replaced when he responded to the call of his country for service in World War II. Bob was enlisted in the infantry, specifically as a medical corpsman (medic) in a rifle company, where he saw action in the European theater. He performed his duties with distinction and returned home with honor from a thankful nation.
Upon his return home, he was accepted into medical school at the University of Texas, Medical Branch of Galveston. He graduated in 1951 and continues to practice medicine to this day. He opened the first fully accredited fifty-bed medical hospital in Garland in 1954 and sold it to a national chain in 1969. In 1991 he transferred his family practice to Primacare and his colleagues purchased the nine Primacare Urgent Care clinics in 2000. Today, they operate twelve units. In 1959, Bob married his lovely wife Linda and together they started a family having two daughters, Melanie Ann and Lisa Lynn. After forty-seven years, Bob and Linda are still married.
Bob was introduced to hunting by his Boy Scout troop leader. His first big game hunt was in 1957 for mule deer in Colorado and he has not stopped hunting since. Further destinations soon followed and in 1961, Bob hunted his first sheep species, a Dall sheep, in the Yukon Territory. So began a love of sheep and mountain hunting that has never diminished. His first of three Grand Slams was completed by 1969.
The future would bring him many more North and South American hunts where he would obtain the vaunted North American 29 with a rifle and include some seldom seen specimens such as the glacier bear, polar bear, Pacific walrus, North and South American jaguar, and the high altitude taruca.
In 1963, a trip to Africa, specifically Kenya and then Tanganyika (now Tanzania) opened up a whole new world of opportunities. On this forty-nine-day trip he was able to obtain his first Big Five as well as many plains game species. Future hunts in Africa would yield a bongo without the use of dogs, Lord Derby eland, mountain nyala, two Nubian ibex, and dozens of plains game species. Some notable accomplishments in Africa include an eighty-seven pound savannah elephant, eighteen forest duikers, all nine of the spiral horned antelope (nineteen different specimens) and several of the small cats. Bob Speegle has hunted Africa on more than twenty safaris and has visited thirteen countries. From Ethiopia to Liberia and Egypt to South Africa, Bob has covered the length and breadth of Africa and all points in between.
In 1970 with a trip to Iran, Bob began hunting Asian sheep and Capra species on a scale few have ever matched. He has traveled to Mongolia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, India, Nepal, and Russia, and quite often was a “test case” into these countries and new areas. In total, Bob has harvested fifty-six sheep and forty-one Capra specimens. Seldom-seen species such as two Tibetan argalis, the Shapo or Ladakh urial, and Himalayan blue sheep from India’s Ladakh Province, a Marco Polo argali from Afghanistan, a goral from Nepal, and a Pir Punjal markhor from Pakistan all can be seen in his trophy room. Bob also has quite a collection of non-mountain species from Asia, which includesatigerandnilgaifromIndia. Bob has also hunted and taken almost all of the free range animals available in European and the SouthPacific.
Bob Speegle’s conservation achievements are equally impressive. He is a member of more than twenty hunting/conservation organizations and has held committee positions, board memberships and presided as president in many. Among these, he is a past president of the Shikar-Safari Club International, the American Delegation of the C.I.C., a board member of the Dallas Safari Club, Dallas Ecological Foundation, and the Roy E. Weatherby Foundation. He is also the chairman of the Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award, Selection Committee and has held that position since 1984.
Among his hunting accomplishments, Bob Speegle has more than 325 entries in the Safari Club International Record Book, a dozen in the Boone and Crockett Record Book, and sixteen in the Pope and Young Record Book. Bob was the 1979 recipient of The Weatherby Big Game Hunting Award. In 1986 he was inducted into the Safari Club International Hunting Hall of Fame and received the Dallas Safari Club Lifetime Hunting Achievement Award. In 1991 he received the Safari Club International, International Hunting Award. In 2006, Bob was presented GSCO’s “Ovis” for his hunting prowess of the world’s mountain game.
Bob says that he considers any mountain game his favorite hunt and the Himalayan blue sheep from Nepal his toughest hunt. He considers his greatest hunting influence the late great outdoor writer, Warren Page, for introducing him to international hunting. In 1990, Bob took up bow hunting. He was introduced to archery hunting by two men he considers close friends, bowhunting stalwarts Tom Hoffman and Jack Frost. In 2006, Bob was able to arrow a grizzly bear and wolf in British Columbia and was unsuccessful for the third time in an archery attempt for Stone sheep. To date, at age 81, Bob Speegle has taken the North American 29 with a bow.
Bob Speegle had a wonderful relationship with Jim Conklin, full of friendship and respect. Their lives were near mirror images, sharing in common service to their country, a medical calling, a love of the mountains, and a deep-rooted conservation stewardship. Robert E. Speegle is indeed a “Tough Guy” and a most worthy recipient of the 2007 Conklin Award.
Bob has asked that his $2,500.00 honorarium be donated to Grand Slam Club/Ovis for sheep and goat research and conservation projects.