+ Hunter +

by J.A. Hunter + illustrated by Bob Kuhn

Hunter illustration

Hunter illustrationHunter is by far the longest article in the Reader's Digest Junior Omnibus, going on for ten pages, including the full page illustration that begins the story. Hunter lived in a different time; he went to Kenya in the first decade of the 1900s. Children nowadays aren't so likely to be reading the story of a man who writes that when he saw a lion or leopard from his train window he "would lean out and bag him." Hunter was a talented shooter who loved what he did.

Hunter is a collection of anecdotes about shooting big game. Reading it now is slightly distasteful but I have no recollection of being repulsed when I first read it, when I was five and six and seven years old; just curious. The illustrations had more of an impact; I have never forgotten them.

J.A. Hunter

J.A. Hunter photo John Alexander Hunter was born in 1887, in Dumfries, Scotland. He arrived in Kenya in 1908, and worked for the safari outfitters Leslie & Tarlton. Hunter spent his entire life as a professional big game hunter in East Africa. He used several rifles in different calibers for his hunting, including 416 Rigby, 500 Nitro Express and 505 Gibbs. He held several world records for Big Game at various times, and lead a group that killed jut under a thousand rhinos in a single year in Kenya. He married Hilda Bunbury and had six children. His grandson and namesake Alex Hunter is a safari guide in Kenya. Hunter was his best known book; it is still considered one of the best about big game hunting. Other books by Hunter (four of which are being re-printed by Safari Press) include:
  • African Bush Adventures (1952)
  • African Hunter
  • Hunterís Tracks (1957)
  • White Hunter
  • Killers of Kilimanjaro (which was made into a movie in 1959.)
In later years he became concerned about the possible extinction of the wildlife he had so assiduously hunted, worked as a game warden and spoke in favour of conservation. He died in Makindu, Kenya in 1963.

Bob Kuhn

Bob Kuhn photo Robert F. Kuhn was born in 1920 in Buffalo, New York; he always remembered visiting the zoo there and his strong desire to draw the big cats. Kuhn studied art at the Pratt Institute in New York City. In the 194os, 1950s and 1960s he drew for the best outdoor magazines and then switched to painting and print-making. He illustrated at least two condensed books for Reader's Digest: Man Eater! by Jim Corbett (originally called The Temple Tiger and More Man-eaters of Kumaon) and his own book, Hunter, which made it into the Reader's Digest Junior Omnibus. Some of Kuhn's more recent work is available through the web site, Kuhn's Nhuk.

Field and Stream has a gallery of ten of the magazine covers Kuhn did in the 1950s. He died in Tuscon, Arizona in 2007. Kuhn was called "one of the last direct descendants from the Golden Age of Illustration..."

Hunter illustration

+ Omnibus Home Page + The City That Died to Live + Man Overboard! +
+ Pigs is Pigs + The Princess Who Wanted the Moon + Annie Oakley and the Wild West + I Killed "Moby Dick" +
+Hector, the Stowaway Dog + The Day I Met Midnight + History and Horrors in Wax + The Night My Number Came Up +

+ If you want to comment about Hunter, please write to omnibus@chebucto.ca
+ If you have an extra copy of the Reader's Digest Junior Omnibus, I'd be happy to send it on to someone who has lost theirs.
+ This site is hosted by Chebucto Community Net, providing free and low-cost internet in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, since 1994.
+ A labour of love by Jane Kansas, last updated on July 9, 2011.