In memoriam - Legendary Professional Hunter Harry Selby passes away at 92

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by ThomasBeaham, Jan 20, 2018.

  1. ThomasBeaham

    ThomasBeaham AH Enthusiast

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    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/20/obituaries/harry-selby-dead.html

    By ROBERT D. McFADDEN
    January 20, 2018
    Harry Selby, one of the last of Africa’s renowned white hunters, who took rich and famous safari clients into the interiors of Kenya, Tanganyika and Botswana for a half-century to shoot game, photograph exotic wildlife and search for elusive adventure in the bush, died on Saturday at his home in Maun, Botswana. He was 92.

    His death was confirmed by his friend Joe Coogan, an American writer and hunter who had worked on safaris with Mr. Selby. Mr. Coogan said he was notified in a message from Botswana by Mr. Selby’s daughter, Gail. No cause was given.
     

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  2. ThomasBeaham

    ThomasBeaham AH Enthusiast

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    Condolences to the Selby family and friends.
    We are diminished.
    RIP Mr. Selby
     

  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Harry Selby, Renowned Hunter and Safari Guide, Is Dead at 92
    Image[​IMG]
    Harry Selby, left, with the author Robert Ruark on safari in Tanganyika. Ruark’s best-selling book “Horn of the Hunter,” published in 1953, helped lift Mr. Selby to fame.CreditGetty Images
    By Robert D. McFadden

    Jan. 20, 2018
    Harry Selby, one of the last of Africa’s renowned white hunters, who took rich and famous safari clients into the interiors of Kenya, Tanganyika and Botswana for a half-century to shoot game, photograph exotic wildlife and search for elusive adventure in the bush, died on Saturday at his home in Maun, Botswana. He was 92.

    His death was confirmed by his friend Joe Coogan, an American writer and hunter who had worked on safaris with Mr. Selby. Mr. Coogan said he was notified in a message from Botswana by Mr. Selby’s daughter, Gail. No cause was given.

    Mr. Selby grew up on a ranch astride the Equator in Kenya, watching enormous herds of zebra and impala, whiffing lion and Cape buffalo, listening to an elephant scream and hyenas giggling at sundown. In the burning heat, he learned to track an animal over rocky ground, and to avoid the rhino laid up in the dusty shade of an acacia tree. He shot his first antelope at 8, his first elephant at 14.

    Mr. Selby was a postwar protégé of the East Africa hunter Philip Hope Percival, who took Theodore Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway on safaris, and he became a professional hunter himself in the late 1940s. He took the American author Robert Ruark on safari in Tanganyika (now Tanzania), and with the 1953 publication of Ruark’s best-selling book “Horn of the Hunter,” Mr. Selby became one of Africa’s most famous hunting guides.

    Drawn to the romance of treks to kill lions, elephants and rhinos and to photograph native tribes and storybook landscapes, clients flocked from around the world to Selby safaris, which were booked for years with clients like Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the Maharajah of Jaipur, Prince Stanislaus Radziwill of Poland and Western tycoons, industrialists and chief executives seeking thrills and self-fulfillment.

    Those were anticipated wonders not always to be found in the real Africa. In the Hollywood-inspired popular images of the 1950s, the great white hunter was a fearless Clark Gable or Stewart Granger, tall and deeply tanned, who brought down a charging rhino with a single shot while his arrogant client cowered behind him, and who later romanced the client’s neglected wife after saving her from a snarling lion.
    The reality was Mr. Selby: short and stocky, mild and self-effacing, a man who seemed to listen with his eyes. He had curly hair, a boyishly shy smile and a wife and two children. He catered to men used to giving orders, not taking them, but did it with tact, avoiding upbraiding a client needlessly and almost never finding it necessary to save anyone. Neither he nor any client was ever seriously injured on a safari, though there were some close calls.

    [​IMG]
    Mr. Selby, left, and his friend Joe Coogan, an American writer and hunter, in 2007. “Africa itself has changed out of all recognition, both physically and politically, and the old-time self-contained safari would have no place to go in today’s Africa,” Mr. Selby wrote in 2010.Creditvia Joe Coogan
    It was not all shooting and campfire tales. A Selby safari required an army of bearers, cooks, skinners, porters, drivers and others; game licenses and financial transactions; transportation arrangements, from trucks and horses to planes and boats; and a complex coordination of supplies and equipment: guns and ammunition, food, water, tents, cots, radios, medicines, maps, clothing and a thousand other necessities.

    Without cellphones or evacuation helicopters, Mr. Selby had to be the doctor, mechanic, chauffeur, gin-rummy-and-drinking partner and universal guide, knowledgeable about mountain ranges, grassy plains, rivers, jungles, hunting laws, migratory patterns, and the Bushmen, Masai, Samburu, Dinka and Zulu tribes. He spoke three dialects of Swahili. And he improvised; if there was no firewood, he burned wildebeest dung.

    He was no Gregory Peck, but had an easygoing personality that made for good company in the bush. He coped with emergencies, pulling a client clear of a stampede or a vehicle from a bog, treating snakebites or tracking a wounded lion in a thicket — his most dangerous game. He was left-handed, but his favorite gun was a right-handed .416 Rigby, which can knock down an onrushing bull elephant or Cape buffalo in a thundering instant.

    Safaris changed dramatically in his time. In Kenya and Tanganyika in the late 1940s and ’50s, he took parties hundreds of miles into trackless bush country by truck, pitched camps with comfortable though primitive amenities, drank gin by kerosene lamp, and pursued game by his own instincts. Safaris lasted two or three months. The showers were often cold, but the food was good and the game plentiful.

    In his later years in Botswana, safaris went out for just a few weeks and focused as much, if not more, on photography as on hunting, although Mr. Selby preferred hunters. Photography buffs stayed in hotel-like lodges and went on day trips to scenic sites. More adventurous hunters and photographers were flown to rendezvous points and driven in Land Rovers to fixed camps elaborately equipped with electric power, refrigerators, flush toilets, hot showers, kitchens and dining facilities with silverware and table linen.

    “Africa itself has changed out of all recognition, both physically and politically, and the old-time self-contained safari would have no place to go in today’s Africa,” Mr. Selby wrote for Sports Afield in 2010, when satellite phones, computers and helicopters made life easy for the busy executive on safari.

    “There are hunters today,” he added, “who would prefer to have experienced the sense of freedom of an old-time safari, as I am sure there were those who went on safari many years ago who would have preferred something along the lines of what is offered today. The two experiences are as different as night is from day; the only feature common to both is the name … that magical word, ‘safari.’”

    John Henry Selby — Harry was his universal nickname — was born in Frankfort, South Africa, on July 22, 1925, the youngest of six children of Arthur and Myrtle Evelyn Randall Selby. When he was 3, his family moved to a 40,000-acre cattle ranch near Mount Kenya.

    Surrounded by a game-rich countryside, the boy learned to hunt from an old Kikuyu tribesman. “He taught me to use my eyes and ears as well as my nose, and to be patient in order to remain motionless for long periods of time waiting for an animal to come within range,” Mr. Selby told The American Rifleman.

    Mr. Selby attended local schools, traveling by ox cart, and later the Prince of Wales, a boarding school in Nairobi. After World War II, he worked for Mr. Percival, who recognized his potential as a hunter-guide, and in 1949 he joined East Africa’s foremost safari outfitter, Ker & Downey, based in Nairobi. In 1956, after Mr. Ruark’s book had made him famous, he formed his own safari company, Selby & Holmberg.

    In 1953, he married Maria Elizabeth Clulow, known as Miki. They had two children, Mark and Gail. Mark died in 2017. Mr. Selby is survived by his wife, daughter and a number of grandchildren.

    In 1962, after Kenyan independence and political upheavals dimmed prospects for safaris in East Africa, he accepted a partnership in his old company, which became Ker, Downey and Selby, and in 1963 moved as its trailblazer to Bechuanaland, a British protectorate that became independent Botswana in 1966. It was a hunter’s — and a photographer’s — paradise.

    “What we found exceeded our wildest expectations — a land which the passage of time had passed by, where nature had remained unchanged in the 20th century,” Mr. Selby said in an interview for this obituary. “The vast savannas were teeming with huge herds of elephant, buffalo, kudu, zebra, wildebeest and sable. Lions were everywhere, showing little fear of man.”


    For 30 years, Mr. Selby ran company operations in Botswana, and guided hunters and photographers into leased concessions covering thousands of square miles in the Okavango Delta in the north and the vast Kalahari Desert in the south, home of the click-talking Bushmen. He cut tracks and built airfields in the wilderness.

    In 1970, he established Botswana’s first lodge and camps for photographic safaris. He hired guides and a large support staff for what became a dominant safari business in Southern Africa. After Ker, Downey and Selby was bought by Safari South in 1978, he remained a director, and even after resigning in 1993 he continued to lead safaris privately until retiring in 2000.

    In 2007, President Festus Mogae of Botswana awarded Mr. Selby the Presidential Certificate of Honor in recognition of his contributions to hunting and photographic tourism.

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/01/20/obituaries/harry-selby-dead.html?referer
     

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  4. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    26756254_10157070291444937_908084293651770072_o.jpg
     

  5. Brent in Az

    Brent in Az AH Elite

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    He was a legend. Lived a long life.
     

  6. Pondoro

    Pondoro AH Fanatic

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    Sad to see him go...R.I.P.
     

  7. Foxi

    Foxi AH Fanatic

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    Very,very sad.
    An aera ends.
    Harry ,I grew up with you,in my dreams of African hunting.
    Me and countless young men, who devoured the books of Robert Ruark and were hopelessly infected by the african virus.
    Fare well.
    Foxi
    Harry Selby with .416 Rigby rifle.jpg
    Harry Selby with his beloved .416 Rigby
     

  8. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    What a life he led. What a legacy he has left behind. My condolences to his friends and family.
     
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  9. rinehart0050

    rinehart0050 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    RIP

    His exploits inspired countless adventure seekers to venture into Africa's interior in pursuit of the finest trophies and lifetimes worth of memories. Certainly a life well-lived and a legacy that will last for generations.
     
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  10. reedy0312

    reedy0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    No doubt about it!
     

  11. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    We should all be so fortunate to live such a full life.
     
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  12. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I was probably around twelve when I discovered “Horn of the Hunter” and began a life-long facination with Africa and all things Safari. What an incredible legacy he and Ruark left across three generations of readers and hunters. Our world is diminished.
     
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  13. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Enthusiast

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    Oh my, my hearts sinks a little each time. Hunters lost some of themselves with his passing. RIP Harry Selby.
     
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  14. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    We lost another legend. RIP Mr Selby.
     

  15. tarbe

    tarbe AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Who among us doesn't wish we could have gone on Safari with Harry Selby? He was one of the greats, for certain.

    But you know what? We have "Harry Selbys" with us still today, active in Africa. Some of them post in these very forums.

    So, while we mourn the loss of a true legend in the hunting field, do not forget there are legends still among us, waiting to go hunting!

    Get after it!

    RIP Mr. Selby.

    Tim
     

  16. peras

    peras AH Legend

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    Condolences to the family. R. I.P.
     

  17. edward

    edward GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    without a doubt,one of the greatest!R.I.P.Harry.
     

  18. Witold Krzyżanowski

    Witold Krzyżanowski AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    My condolences for his family. He was a legend.
    Witold
     

  19. cagkt3

    cagkt3 PLATINUM SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Very sad to hear of Mr Selby's passing. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.
     

  20. cls

    cls AH Fanatic

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    Sad day.
     

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