Thrilling Tales: Sir Samuel Baker:

baker sambar

Hunting sambar with spears/knives has been illegal in Victoria for a long time but was once the normal preferred ethical way of hunting them. Of course most such hunters used dogs as well (coursers/hounds), but such a method of hunting comes closest to how the animal evolved to be hunted, or would be hunted in its natural state (eg by other animals), so it surprises me that it is illegal.

The closest we get to such a method now are the young fellows who run through the bush after the pack of hounds wanting (often successfully) to be first at a bail-up. They need to be incredibly fit and willing to risk broken bones, but (to me) it is a highly ethical mode of hunting and would be even moreso if the deer was to be dispatched eg with a long knife or short stabbing spear. At various times both Arthur Meyers and myself have attempted such bare-handed antics (and would never do it again!), so I have enormous admiration for those who have perfected such a method.

Amongst the most exciting descriptions of such hunting are those of Sir Samuel Baker in eg ‘The Rifle and Hound in Ceylon’ (Available free here: He managed to kill 400 of these creatures with an 18” (45 cm) knife. Now that is ‘fair chase’.

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