Antiquarian Big-Game Hunting Books Worth Reading and Collecting

Ludo J. Wurfbain


Old Elephant Hunting Classics

I have chosen here only those titles that contain primarily elephant hunting or the history of the ivory quest. Many authors—and Frederick Selous comes to mind—have shot a great deal of elephants but their books are not necessarily primarily devoted to the elephant.


Anderson 1946 African Safaris
Andersson 1873 The Lion and the Elephant
Bell 1923 The Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter
Bell 1949 Karamojo Safari
Blunt 1933 Elephany
Bula N'Zau (Bailey) 1894 Travel and Adventure in the Congo Free State
Faulkner 1868 Elephant Haunts
Finaughty 1916 The Recollections of William Finaughty 
Lyell 1924 The African Elephant and Its Hunters
Moore 1931 Ivory: Scourge of Africa (ivory & trade) 
Neumann 1898 Elephant-Hunting in East Equatorial Africa 
Stanley & Hodgson 1912 Elephant Hunting in West Africa 
Stigand 1913 Hunting the Elephant in Africa 
Sutherland 1912 Adventures of an Elephant Hunter 


Modern Elephant Hunting Classics

These are equally as good as the elephant books listed above; however, they do not bring as high a price in the after-market because all were published after WW II and are not truly rare. 

Bell Incidents from an Elephant Hunter's Diary
Everett Heath, Thirst and Ivory
Foran Elephant Hunters of the Lado
Irwin Memories of an African Hunter
Manners Kambuku
Nyschen Months of the Sun
Pardal Elephant Hunting in Portuguese East Africa
Rushy No More the Tusker
Sanchez Ivory, later issued as On the Trail of the African Elephant & finally as Elephants, Ivory & Hunters
Sanchez Elephant Hunters, Men of Legend
Sanchez Africa’s Greatest Tuskers
Taylor Pondoro (partially on elephants)
Thomson Mahoboh
Thomson The Adventures of Shadrek


Signed and Numbered (The Crown Jewels of Any Collection, Part 1)

Bryden The Great and Small Game of Africa
Potocki Sport in Somaliland
Roosevelt African Game Trails (2 volumes)
Stanley In Darkest Africa (2 volumes)


Hand-Colored Plates (The Crown Jewels of Any Collection, Part 2)

Bryden The Great and Small Game of Africa
Butler South African Sketches
Bruchell Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa
Daniell African Scenery and Animals
Harris Portraits of the Game
Harris Wild Sports of Southern Africa
Sclater The Book of the Antelopes


Books by Rowland Ward Ltd. (The Crown Jewels of Any Collection, Part 3)
(excludes Records of Big Game)

Bryden The Great and Small Game of Africa
Kirby Sport in East Central Africa
Neumann Elephant Hunting in East Equatorial Africa
Potocki Sport in Somaliland
Powell Cotton A Sporting Trip to Abyssinia
Selous Travel and Adventure in Southeast Africa
Selous Sunshine and Storm in Rhodesia
Swayne Seventeen Trips to Somaliland


Sought-After and Collectible

Anderson African Safaris
Andersson The Lion and the Elephant
Andersson The Okavango River
Arkell Hardwick An Ivory Trader in North Kenya
Churchill My African Journey
Colburn The African Diary of a Poor Shot
Colburn The Unbelievable Game Country
Fitzpatrick Jock of the Bushveld
Foran Kill or Be Killed
Kirby In Haunts of Wild Game
Lyell Hunting Trips in Northern Rhodesia
Lyell Wild Life in Central Africa
Millais A Breath from the Veldt
Ogilvie-Grant et all The Gun at Home and Abroad, 4 volumes
Powell Cotton In Unknown Africa
Selous A Hunter's Wanderings in Africa


After WW II Classics

Burger Horned Death
Capstick Death in the Long Grass
Hunter Hunter
Ruark Horn of the Hunter


Harder to Find, Well Worth Collecting, Interesting to Read

Boyes The Company of Adventurers
Christy Big Game and Pigmies
Foa After Big Game in Central Africa
Kittenberger Big Game Hunting and Collecting in Africa
Lyell The Hunting and Spoor of Central African Game
Lyell Hunting Trips in Northern Rhodesia
Lyell Memories of an African Hunter
Lyell Nyasaland for the Hunters and Settler
Lyell Wildlife in Central Africa
Millais The Life of F.C. Selous
Selous African Nature Notes and Reminiscences
Stigand The Game of British East Africa


From Rare to Extremely Rare (and Expensive)

Blackburne Maze Journals of My African Travels
Cobb Sport on Setit
Elton Travels and Researches
Hughes Eighteen Years on Lake Bangweuleu
Hunter White Hunter
Melliss Lion-Hunting in Somali-Land
Myers Life with the Hamran Arabs
Pease Sport and Travel in Africa (3-volume set)
Vanderbilt Safari: Some Fun! Some Fun!
Vasse Three Years' Sport in Mozambique


Books by Professional Hunters

Daly Big Game Hunting and Adventure
Dyer Classic African Animals
Herne Tanzania Safaris
Herne Uganda Safaris 
Holman Inside Safari Hunting
Hunter Tales of the African Frontier
Hunter White Hunter
Hurt Hunting the Big Five
Ker African Adventure
Percival A Game Rangers Notebook
Percival A Game Warden on Safari
Pitman A Game Warden among His Charges


The Early Hunters and/or Explorers

Andersson Lake Ngami
Andersson The Okavango River 
Baker  The Albert N’yanza, Great Basin of the Nile
Baker  The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia
Baker   The Lake Regions of Central Africa
Du Chailu  Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa
Gibbons  Exploration and Hunting in Central Africa
Grant   A Walk across Africa
Kerr   The Far Interior
Livingstone   Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa
Oswell   W.C. Oswell Hunter and Explorer
Smith   Through Unknown African Countries
Speke   Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile
Stanley   In Darkest Africa
Stanley   Through the Dark Continent
Stanley   The Congo and the Founding of the Free State
Thomson   Through Masai Land
Thomson   To the Central African Lakes and Back
Von Hohnel   Discovery of Lakes Rudolph and Stefanie



Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game

No books can conjure up more endless dreams and deliver more raw desire then the original pre-WW II Records of Big Game as published by the London taxidermy firm of Rowland Ward.  The early books had photos of the largest heads (both in the field and mounted), entries by many of the famous early hunters, and a charm that will never be recaptured in the modern age. The books published immediately after WW II had lost much of this allure till the 1980s when new energetic ownership once more made this series of books most desireable. The first edition was called Horn Measurements and Weights of the Great Game of the World.  All subsequent editions carry the title Records of Big Game.

1st 1892 zebra striped cloth, gilt buffalo head on cover
2nd 1896 cloth with depiction of tiger skin of maharaja of Cooch Behar
3rd 1899 green cloth with gilt lettering
4th 1903 dark blue cloth with gilt lettering
5th 1907 red cloth with gilt lettering
6th 1910 zebra stripped cloth with gilt lettering
7th 1914 mustard yellow cloth with head of water buffalo
8th 1822 wine red cloth with gilt lettering
9th 1828 light blue cloth with gilt lettering
10th 1935 brown cloth with gilt lettering


Books by Theodore Roosevelt

The books listed below were written by Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States.  We only list his hunting, military, and Western Americana narratives.  In all, he wrote 35 books (more than any other president) as well as numerous booklets and speeches. In addition, his family, wife, sons, and other relatives wrote books, making the subject of “Roosevelt’s books” all the more interesting.

Hunting Trips of A Ranchman 1885, one of 500 numbered copies
Ranch Life and the Hunting-Trail 1888
The Wilderness Hunter 1893, one of 200 signed copies
Big Game Hunting in the Rockies and on the Great Plains (Comprising of Hunting Trips of a Ranchman and The Wilderness Hunter) 1899, one of 1,000 signed copies
The Rough Riders  1899
Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter 1905, one of 260 signed copies
African Game Trails 1910, 2 volumes, one of 500 signed copies
Through the Brazilian Wilderness 1914
A Book-Lover's Holiday in the Open 1916
The Life Histories of African Game Animals 1914 (with E. Heller)


Hand-Colored Plates

(limited to 250 or 500 copies, all published by Rowland Ward Ltd.)

Lydekker Wild Oxen, Sheep, & Goats of All Lands
Lydekker The Great and Small Game of India, Burma, & Tibet
Lydekker The Great and Small Game of Europe & W & N Asia and America
Lydekker The Deer of All Lands



Asian Classics and Rarities

 Tiger Hunting and Other Forest Hunting

Cooch Behar Thirty-Seven Years of Big Game Shooting
Corbett Jungle Stories
Corbett Man-Eaters of Kumaon
Ingles Sport and Work on the Nepaul Frontier
Peacock A Game-Book for Burma & Adjoining Territories
Rice Indian Game


Sheep Hunting and Ibex Hunting

Andrews Camps and Trails in China 
Andrews Chapman across Mongolian Plains 
Andrews The New Conquest of Central Asia 
Burrard Big Game Hunting in the Himalayas and Tibet
Clark Trails of the Hunted 
Cobbold Innermost Asia: Travel and Sport in the Pamirs
Darrah Sport in the Highlands of Kashmir 
Demidoff A Shooting Trip to Kamchatka
Demidoff After Wild Sheep in the Altai and Mongolia
Demidoff Hunting Trips in the Caucasus
Etherton Across the Roof of the World 
Gates Trophy Hunter in Asia 
Haughton Sport and Folklore in the Himalayan 
Haydon Sport and Travel in the Highlands of Tibet
Herbert Casuals in the Caucasus 
Jamsheed Memories of a Sheep Hunter
Kinloch Large Game Shooting in Thibet, the Himalayas, & Northern & Central India 
Lydekker Wild Oxen, Sheep and Goats of All Lands
MacIntyre Hindu Koh
Morden Across Asia's Snows and Deserts 
Ronaldshay Sport and Politics Under an Eastern Sky  
Roosevelt East of the Sun and West of the Moon  
Stone In and Beyond the Himalayas 
Swayne Through the Highlands of Siberia  
Wallace The Big Game of Central and Western China 



Hand-Colored Plates

All Lydekkers listed below are limited to 250 or 500 copies and are published by Rowland Ward.

Lydekker Wild Oxen, Sheep, & Goats of All Lands
Lydekker The Great and Small Game of India, Burma, & Tibet
Lydekker The Great and Small Game of Europe & Western & Northern Asia and America
Lydekker The Deer of All Lands
Williamson Oriental Field Sports



Sheep Hunting

Annabel Hunting and Fishing in Alaska
Annabel Tales of a Big Game Guide
Armstrong After Big Game in the Upper Yukon
Auer Campfires in the Yukon 
Baillie-Grohman Fifteen Years Sport & Life in the Hunting Grounds of Western America and British Columbia 
Beach In the Shadow of Mount McKinley 
Cane Summer and Fall in Western Alaska 
Davy Saga of the Rockies
Holman Sheep and Bear Trails: A Hunters Wanderings in Alaska
Hornaday Campfires in the Canadian Rockies
Housholder The Grand Slam of North American Wild Sheep
Hubback To Far Western Alaska for Big Game 
McGuire In the Alaska-Yukon Gamelands
O'Connor Game in the Desert
O'Connor Sheep and Sheep Hunting
Phillips-Woolley Big Game Shooting 
Radclyffe Big Game Shooting in Alaska
Sheldon The Wilderness of Denali 
Sheldon The Wilderness of the Upper Yukon
Williams Game Trails in British Columbia 
Young Alaska Yukon Trophies Won and Lost 


Bear Classics

Clark Last of the Great Brown Bear Men
Eddy Hunting the Alaska Brown Bear
Finton Alaskan Bear Adventures
Hittell The Adventures of James Capen Adams
Holman Sheep and Bear Trails
Palmer Kodiak Bear Hunt
Radclyffe Big Game Shooting in Alaska
Sheldon The Wilderness of the North Pacific Coast Islands
Woodworth The Kodiak Bear
Young Grizzlies Don't Come Easy!


North American Rarities

Francis Sport among the Rockies
McAleenan Hunting with Rifle and Camera in the Canadian Rockies
Williamson Sport and Photography in the Rocky Mountains