New Book on Hunting Both Underwater and on Land

Book Review

“Further Off the Beaten Track”, subtitle “Epic Hunting Adventures on Land and Sea” by Dave Shaw. Published by Bateman Books. Price $39.99. Reviewed by Tony Orman

Available August

If there’s one fishing or hunting programme I especially like to watch on television it’s Red Stag Timber Hunter’s Club. Thankfully it has none of that ridiculous falsetto yahooing that plagues most other outdoor tv shows and importantly it features very ethical and selective hunting. 

Dave Shaw is the producer and he also produces an underwater spear-fishing programme South Seas Spearo. However I must confess I haven’t seen it. But I presume it’s of the same very high standard as Red Stag Timber Hunter’s Club. So I looked forward to reading “Further Off the Beaten Track”.

Dave Shaw’s previous top-selling book was  titled “Off the Beaten Track” so “Further Off the beaten Tracks” is virtually a sequel.

The real life oft-riveting tales roll off the pages about adventures both underwater and in the hills and mountains. There’s some real life dangerous drama such as an encounter with a great white shark off Stewart Island, hunting fierce boars in the Maniototo, climbing high after tahr, chamois, hunting Fiordland for wapiti and deer hunts in the Alps, Stewart Island and other places –  and more.

Like in viewing Red Stag Timber Hunters Club you get a strong impression of the camaraderie among the chaps and their teamwork and unselfishness as to who takes the shot at a trophy animal. Teamwork is vital when the going gets tough and humour counts for much in trying conditions and situations. 

TV programme producer Dave Shaw relishes the chance anytime to go outdoors but when he took on producing two tv shows, the load caused him to question whether the burden and stress was too much. It threatened him with burn-out and tended to spill over onto others.

But the outdoors is great therapy.

He writes “There’s no therapist like Mother Nature and I’m pleased to say that we all made it through our darkest period, stronger than ever.”

But I did frown at one aspect, just a couple of pages telling of a booze-up, indeed a torrid drinking session, that descends into debauchery, naked wrestling, one bod smashing plates on his head and another leaving broken glass in his wake. Sorry but it was unnecessary and shouldn’t have got to print since it’s cringeworthy to read and a poor example for young aspiring hunters.

I did wonder on the choice of combining underwater spear fishing with hunting. Perhaps there should have been two books, one devoted to each of the two subjects? For this reader, the underwater spear fishing chapters had considerable less appeal than the deer, wild pig, tahr and chamois hunting.

And for other readers, with their dominant interest in spearfishing, the reverse would apply. 

But overall this is a fine book and the many photographs are often stunning plus there are tales of some great adventures underwater and in the mountains.

It’s  an entertaining read told in a relaxed somewhat “blokesy” style.


Beaten Track 5.24.jpeg

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1 Response to New Book on Hunting Both Underwater and on Land

  1. Harold Anthony says:

    I do enjoy Red Stag Hunters’ Club. It is a class show, so I’m looking forward to this new book. Thank you.

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