Thoughts on Craig Boddington?

Clifford Johnson

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OK, I have read all the posts. So, here are my experiences with Craig. In 1983 when I took my first safari, I had some questions about it. I sat down and hand wrote him a letter, put a stamp on it, and mailed it. I didn't really expect a reply. Well, a couple of weeks later I received a letter from him answering all the questions I had asked. I was impressed that he took the time to answer MY letter. I still have that letter. Then in 2016 I received a "special offer" from CBEO about an elephant hunt in Namibia. I felt pretty safe booking the hunt through CBEO. During the hunt, the PH told me that Craig was coming to hunt leopard with them next year and he was to guide him. He told me it was a free hunt.

The PH told me to shoot a little 20# elephant on the second day of a 14 day hunt. This was after we had agreed to shoot nothing less than a 40# for the first 10 days. He assured me it would go close to 40#. My first elephant hunt, what did I know? I contacted Craig later to tell him about the hunt, and see what he thought. He told me he couldn't help me as he had dropped the outfit from CBEO. He wouldn't say why.. I often wondered if the outfitter cancelled the supposed free leopard hunt, and got dropped?

One good, one bad experience. I do buy his books, and read all his articles. I would not however book another hunt with CBEO.
 

Scott CWO

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OK, I have read all the posts. So, here are my experiences with Craig. In 1983 when I took my first safari, I had some questions about it. I sat down and hand wrote him a letter, put a stamp on it, and mailed it. I didn't really expect a reply. Well, a couple of weeks later I received a letter from him answering all the questions I had asked. I was impressed that he took the time to answer MY letter. I still have that letter. Then in 2016 I received a "special offer" from CBEO about an elephant hunt in Namibia. I felt pretty safe booking the hunt through CBEO. During the hunt, the PH told me that Craig was coming to hunt leopard with them next year and he was to guide him. He told me it was a free hunt.

The PH told me to shoot a little 20# elephant on the second day of a 14 day hunt. This was after we had agreed to shoot nothing less than a 40# for the first 10 days. He assured me it would go close to 40#. My first elephant hunt, what did I know? I contacted Craig later to tell him about the hunt, and see what he thought. He told me he couldn't help me as he had dropped the outfit from CBEO. He wouldn't say why.. I often wondered if the outfitter cancelled the supposed free leopard hunt, and got dropped?

One good, one bad experience. I do buy his books, and read all his articles. I would not however book another hunt with CBEO.
That’s the problem with free hunts for industry or other celebrities. An endorsement after a free hunt means very little. I have guided Will Primos, David Blanton, several ball players, etc... and all paid full price. All great guys and enjoyable.

Jim Zumbo received a Colorado sheep tag in the draw a while back and asked me to outfit/guide him. After I told him that I don’t do free hunts for anyone, he reluctantly said he was booking anyway. About a month went by and he still hadn’t sent a deposit so I called him. He then asked for a discounted hunt but I held my ground. Another month went by and still no deposit after I had turned down other hunters. We talked again and he then told me if he couldn’t get a heavily discounted hunt, that he would just try it himself with a friend from WY. I told him that I didn’t appreciate his tactics and good luck getting a ram on his own. When I checked with the game warden later, I was told Zumbo didn’t get a ram. Serves him right.
 
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tigris115

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From his videos, he seems like a total bro in terms of giving good hunting advice.

Personally, I'd like to see his "Boddington on..." series uploaded on YouTube

However, if I had to give my absolute #1 hunting star I'd hang out with/beg for connections, it'd be Ivan Carter.
 
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lwaters

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If I was lucky enough to draw a bighorn tag I get a good guide.
That’s the problem with free hunts for industry or other celebrities. An endorsement after a free hunt means very little. I have guided Will Primos, David Blanton, several ball players, etc... and all paid full price. All great guys and enjoyable.

Jim Zumbo received a Colorado sheep tag in the draw a while back and asked me to outfit/guide him. After I told him that I don’t do free hunts for anyone, he reluctantly said he was booking anyway. About a month went by and he still hadn’t sent a deposit so I called him. He then asked for a discounted hunt but I held my ground. Another month went by and still no deposit after I had turned down other hunters. We talked again and he then told me if he couldn’t get a heavily discounted hunt, that he would just try it himself with a friend from WY. I told him that I didn’t appreciate his tactics and good luck getting a ram on his own. When I checked with the game warden later, I was told Zumbo didn’t get a ram. Serves him right.
 

wesheltonj

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. . . I felt pretty safe booking the hunt through CBEO. During the hunt, the PH told me that Craig was coming to hunt leopard with them next year and he was to guide him. He told me it was a free hunt. . . .
I thought CB said that he never took a free hunt. I guess it's the outfitters word against his.

I will say this, I did read the above story about his father. That was the best thing I have ever read from CB. Frankly, I suspect if he would stop turning out volume, and concentrate in quality over quantity, I would be tempted to read more of his stuff. However, as good as that was, he just can't get away from "!!!!!!". Enough already.
 

C.W. Richter

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I never met the man of course I saw his TV shows with heavy sponsorships always trying to sell me something and Safari press pushing his overly expensive books and videos. That said I did get one of his old books on rifle accurization and long-range shooting for a good deal and it was fine. Also have art Alphin's any shot you want which CB is featured in on certain calibers and it is a work of art. I do admire his career and his experiences and knowledge his connection with A-Square and col. art alphin. I once at a dinner overheard some ridiculously successful wealthy Texas businessmen make fun of his works saying things like "boddington on beer...". One was also a former big wig in the military and suggested that he was passed up for a big promotion for particular reasons which did not sit well with him. There's no way in hell he personally funded his career. All of those hunts filmed are sponsored. That's just a given. It's a job and a business. And to compare him to mark Sullivan is apples and oranges Mark Sullivan was a long time professional hunter in Africa not a tourist. Mark's video series is highly entertaining and less costly. I've had the pleasure to spend time talking to Mark about all sorts of hunting and guns and he was nothing but a gentleman and a riot with quite the personality! The hollywood-esque bravado is saved for his entertaining books and videos and outside of them he is quite the down-to-earth approachable man. The CB bankruptcy I know nothing about. Bankruptcy I know about! It's no fun being a contractor that gets stiffed by big business that's tanking one of its entities at everyone else's expense. The gents that made fun of him were hunters in big banking. Perhaps they knew something? When a little guy goes bankrupt it's typically because he's spread too thin with high taste in an uncertain economy. I have known others involved with unsavory Safari operators and they have gotten burned. And as a result of bankruptcy other people are harmed, if not already hurting. In business there are two ways of making money: spreading it around and being rewarded from everyone who supports you or cutting corners and keeping it all for yourself. I have worked for both types in the past before spinning off on my own. I almost understand reorganization bankruptcy for big companies Banks come in take a piece of just one entity typically failing due to a poor economy bail it out tune it up keep people employed paying taxes fostering the economy. That makes sense a la DJT. In the past the railroads Auto industry airline industries casinos etc have all been bailed out in bankruptcy by the government on us and it was a good thing. Jack O'Connor books put me to sleep LOL he was like the beginning of the writers having to push something by industry in his case the 270 Winchester. I don't wish CB any ill will just lots of stories out there. Hopefully he can continue hunting make peace with those at war with him and enjoy the rest of his life in the Green hills on Earth...
 
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C.W. Richter

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Is that pub ale his or is that really from the UK? LOL
 

K-man

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I believe every man is the sum of his parts. Meaning we all have good, great, and not so great aspects of our lives and personality.
As to the Colonel himself, I have only two brief encounters with him that could not show his whole personality. My personal feelings are would I have a drink with him, of course! Would I share a camp with him and learn from him, absolutely! Would I by a book, maybe. Would I go into a business with him, absolutely not.
 

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I have met Craig and his wife twice. Once at the SCI Convention in 2010 before my first Buffalo hunt in Zim. He was very nice and spent some time talking to me about Buffalo hunting. The second time was at the SCI Convention in 2012, his wife Donna was fresh off her first elephant hunt and she spent time sharing her hunt story with me. Craig was the guest speaker at our local SCI banquet in 2016 so I was able to visit with him again. I enjoy his books and magazine articles. Seems like an OK guy to me.
 

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I genuinely hope that isn't true. We were all new here once. Could you cite and example?

I would note that an "unconventional" opinion or assertion is bound to generate discussion and responses (I would think that is a good thing), and an "unpopular" one is bound to generate disagreement (I would think that would be an inevitable thing). ;)
OK. I'll bite. When I was a new member I made a comment about my choice to not hunt over bait. For some reason you decided to start attacking me about it. I never said what anybody else should or shouldn't do. I clearly said what choice I would make. Then a couple of of your lackeys jumped on the bandwagon all because I said I wouldn't choose to hunt in a particular manner. I was called names and branded in a negative way and it all was started by you Red Leg. Disagreement is one thing but you attacked me because I had a differing opinion. So, the above is a nice speech but that's about it.

 
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375 Ruger Fan

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@Bonk I went back and read some of the posts (both yours and @Red Leg ) and I can't see how you think you were attacked. Asked to defend or expound on your position, but not attacked.

What I have found on AH is some new members come on here and post something that almost appears to be trolling (possibly by anti-hunters). Veteran members are usually polite, helpful and respectful, but also cautious with new members. An annoying thing is when a new member raises an issue or question that has been hashed and rehashed a number of times. People should use the search function first!
 

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@Bonk I went back and read some of the posts (both yours and @Red Leg ) and I can't see how you think you were attacked. Asked to defend or expound on your position, but not attacked.

What I have found on AH is some new members come on here and post something that almost appears to be trolling (possibly by anti-hunters). Veteran members are usually polite, helpful and respectful, but also cautious with new members. An annoying thing is when a new member raises an issue or question that has been hashed and rehashed a number of times. People should use the search function first!
I did the same thing and came to same conclusion.
 

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OK. I'll bite. When I was a new member I made a comment about my choice to not hunt over bait. For some reason you decided to start attacking me about it. I never said what anybody else should or shouldn't do. I clearly said what choice I would make. Then a couple of of your lackeys jumped on the bandwagon all because I said I wouldn't choose to hunt in a particular manner. I was called names and branded in a negative way and it all was started by you Red Leg. Disagreement is one thing but you attacked me because I had a differing opinion. So, the above is a nice speech but that's about it.

I genuinely appreciate you bringing up this exchange. And I sincerely apologize if you feel you were "attacked."

I would simply ask you to look at your posting within the context of the dialogue taking place and more importantly, the specific experiences of the people who were involved in it. Captive bred lion hunting (please research) is a very contentious subject. Out of the blue, someone drops into that discussion, and from my perspective, virtue signals that they would never hunt anything over bait. No addition to the discussion or debate, no analysis of the issues involved, merely an unsolicited testimonial of your personal feelings on baiting in general.

My immediate reaction was to say "BS." Typically such blanket assertions are made to either be deliberately provocative (again remember the subject and your audience), they are made out of ignorance, or they are made in some effort to signal one's virtue.

I freely admit that I asked questions to see if you had really thought this through, whether you were inexperienced, or merely a grenade thrower. None of these assumptions may apply to you at all. But the context of a posting can also be important.

But to return to my first statement, it was not my intent to attack you, and I am glad that you have remained an active member. I would love to have real discussion about "baiting" and its efficacy with you and the other members. I think you would benefit from the experiences of our many ethical hunters who practice game management in many different and challenging environments where simply putting on a pair of boots and taking a hike isn't really an option due to terrain, environment, the game animal, or the intention of the management effort.
 
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Dragan N.

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OK. I'll bite. When I was a new member I made a comment about my choice to not hunt over bait. For some reason you decided to start attacking me about it. I never said what anybody else should or shouldn't do. I clearly said what choice I would make. Then a couple of of your lackeys jumped on the bandwagon all because I said I wouldn't choose to hunt in a particular manner. I was called names and branded in a negative way and it all was started by you Red Leg. Disagreement is one thing but you attacked me because I had a differing opinion. So, the above is a nice speech but that's about it.


I looked through your exchange and truthfully i don't see where you were "attacked". The problem is you made a blanket statement that you would never hunt over bait but you don't go telling other hunters to not to do it and that the same courtesy should apply to those who chose to hunt CBL and those who don't.

The "problem" or "issue" with your statement is that you just made a blanket statement you personally would never hunt over bait regardless of the circumstance and seemingly not taking into account that there are vast differences in how a baited hunt maybe carried out. A lot of the people who were critical of CBL had stated that for instance if these lions came from a self sustaining herd that lived in an area that is large enough to be a home range for a wild lion they would be "ok" with the hunt for instance. They drew a distinction between hunting a pen raised lion that was released a few days ago into a high fenced area from its pen and one that came from a self sustaining population living behind a fence.

With baiting the challenge is getting the animal to come to you and in some ways outsmarting and getting it to hit your baits. Much lie in a spot and stalk hunt the goal is to get close to the animal. But baiting is not simply a matter of putting food in the bush, hanging a tree stand and getting the animal much like a spot and stalk isn't just a matter of walking into the bush and finding the animal to shoot.

But what i will say is that most of the experience in baited hunt comes from being involved in or doing the baiting process. Sitting in a blind over the bait and waiting for the animal to come is only a small part of the process. With that being said you have outfitters for black bears in Ontario who have their bait sites, and tree stands already set up- the client arrives and they drive them to the tree stand where the client sits and shoots a black bear that comes in. These can be kind of boring in that the client is not at all involved in the baiting process. A do it yourself baited black bear hunt is a whole different animal. I suspect a leopard hunt in Africa is as well. As the client usually is much more involved in the pre-blind sitting and shooting process. Which imo makes for a much richer experience.
 

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One of the best hunting writers ever! Horrible TV presence. Not his fault!. Wealth of information!!!
I completely disagree that he has horrible TV presence. I can watch his stuff much more than blowhards and over the top acting. What you see it what you get. He has been there, done that. I met him at a book signing at DSC, and he answered my question, was personable, and did not rush my brother and I.

He had some life drama come up, that spilled over because people are always trying to knock others down. "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone."
 

C.W. Richter

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'Came across a new egg recipe today...jo-bi-den's egg drop soup! xie-xie. wan an.
 

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It's not anything in particular but I noticed that often newcomers and users with unpopular opinions tend to get responded to rather passive-aggressively. Maybe it's all in my head but it's hard not to notice. I was lucky enough to be treated very well when I first joined the site but then after a few weeks, certain users (not going to give names out of respect) got quite snarky with me for no particular reason other than what I said may have been unconventional. It made me sad considering that when I used to lurk here people were extremely friendly towards one another, albeit that was before 2020 happened lol

I've seen some of your posts in a couple of threads and my advice FWIW which probably isn't much, is to maybe just step back from the situation and observe. I'm fairly opinionated and sometimes need to tell myself to shut up. From what I've seen you tend to dig your own hole and give as good as you get in your own way. You have posted quite a bit for only being a member for a month.

There are a few people on this site like in every aspect of life that I don't care for but overall it's one of the best I've been on.

I hope that was more on the side of blunt than passive aggressive.
 

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