Eric Balson, Hunter & Veteran Game Warden

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by monish, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Eric Balson, Hunter & Veteran Game Warden

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    On Safari With Bwana Game by Eric Balson, Hunter & Veteran Game Warden. The biography of Eric Balson who guided some of the most famous people on earth as a professional hunter. As a senior game warden, Eric Balson guided some of the most famous people on earth on their East African safarisPrince Bernhard of the Netherlands, Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia, and famous wildlife artist Guy Coheleachand their hunting adventures are all told in this book. On one safari, Balson and Prince Bernhard were charged five times in four days by a leopard, buffalo, crocodile, hippo, and the same croc again! In his youth, Balson had the extraordinary job of catching poisonous snakes for a living; as an adult he dispatched man-eating lions that were thought to be under a spell of witchcraft by the evil "lion-men of Singida." On other adventures he goes after hyena men and hunts with a Hanovarian hound named Artus. Balson devotes a special section of the book to the hundred-plus-pound elephants he hunted, some with success and others without, and he recounts the story of the biggest tusker he ever saw in the Rungwa Reservewhich his client refused to shoot! As a game warden, Balson was assigned to deal with problem animals and poachers alike and was at one time responsible for an area of 100,000 square miles. Then in the late 1990s, he was asked by the Mozambican government to establish a wildlife refuge there. After arriving, he was beseeched by some terrified natives to shoot a huge rogue tuskeran experience that ranked as the scariest episode in his long, full life as a hunter. When Balson decided to retire to Canada, he asked an artist to paint him a picture of elephants walking in front of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the scene he had kept so vividly in his mind from the time when he was a young boy in East Africa. A fascinating, exciting, colorful biography of a rewarding life full of amusing anecdotes and famous people.

    Eric Balson (Hakuna Matata) was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1930, Balson's earliest days were spent in the bush country, including working as a catcher of poisonous snakes.

    After working as an engineering surveyor in Tanganyika starting in 1949, Balson was given the opportunity to become a game warden in 1955, an opportunity he jumped at and has never regretted.

    At one point in his subsequent years as game warden in a host of African countries he was responsible for an area of over 100,000 square miles.

    From 1960 to 1972 he was the first provincial and then senior game warden for the Tanganyika government.

    As part of his duties as game warden, he conducted safaris for many famous people, including Yugoslavian president Marshall Tito, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, wildlife artists David Shepherd and Guy Coheleach.

    At that time he was intimately involved in the creation of the Ruaha and Katavi National Parks in Tanzania.

    He then received a special mandate from the Tanzanian government to stamp out poaching, leading to several assassination attempts by poachers over the years.

    Moving to Zambia in 1972, he helped create a national park in the Zambezi Valley. His efforts as managing director of wildlife conservation in Zambia were sidetracked by the Rhodesian war.

    In 1974 he became general manager of the Boatswain Game Industries in Fracistown. Over the following two years, he was a forestry officer and regional game warden for the government of Nepal in the Terai, setting up a national park system in the process.

    Starting in 1977, he was wildlife manager of the United Nations' Crocodile Project in Papua, New Guinea for four years, setting up a crocodile farming industry to help preserve the salt water crocodile from extinction.

    Before immigrating to Canada in 1993, he managed a massive game ranch in Namibia, the Ohorongo Game Ranch.

    Fluent in the Swahili language, he has been given the name Bwana Hakuna Matata, meaning Master Without Troubles.Hi, Eric Balson was married to Viva. They now live in Canada, close to their eldest (of 3 boys) son, Alan.

    He published a book on his time called "On Safari with Bwana Game", Balson tells all about his many wildlife adventures over 60 years. In one section, he recalls one of his first up-close-and-personal meetings with a lion. "Sometime in the night, David and I awoke when the truck bucked and shook under a heavy weight. We opened our eyes to see a pair of hairy thighs rising like tree trunks just alongside our heads - the bulging, muscled legs of a full-grown lion.”


    Monish
     
  2. ibie

    ibie AH Veteran

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    nice write up monish!!
     
  3. Wheels

    Wheels GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Good book. I enjoyed it and recommend it. Also has some interesting photos.
     

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