January 7, 2011
Chris Klineburger is one of modern hunting’s architects and he is a prolific writer, as well.
“The essence of life is discovering what is on the other side of the mountain. We start out with a dream, and are propelled by the challenge of the unknown, the lure and the mystery of faraway places.
Upon reaching the destination, we realize that there is no end. Distant mountains lie before us; it is time to meditate and give thanks.
Most of all, we must share with others the delight of God’s creation.”
—— Chris R. Klineburger
This is the story of a man, a family, adventure, travel and the establishment of the modern international hunting tradition.
My hunting and adventure heroes have always been Theodore Roosevelt, Frederick Selous, Martin and Olsa Johnson and Hemingway. They hunted the world and told of their adventures in the Americas and Africa; their tales were exotic and required months of preparation and travel. They also involved logistical support in areas, such as Africa, where transportation was most commonly on foot. I retain visions of their tales with long lines of porters which allowed them to travel in regions only natives inhabited.
These were the dreams of my childhood. They were also the dreams of Chris Klineburger, who with his brothers Bert and Gene, was able to bring that dream to reality for myself and thousands of other modern hunters through their pioneering efforts.
Following World War II, an era of greater world awareness, air travel and a new prosperity allowed the common man to dream of hunting and exploring the exotic places he had heard of, or perhaps “visited” during the war. It gave Americans a new world vision. The problem was the lack of infrastructure in these far away places. Chris saw the opportunity and seized it. It began in Bisbee, Ariz., in a family that mined, hunted and trapped. This helped them develop a strong independent work ethic that served Chris well and prepared him for his future adventures. It also imbued him with a lifelong commitment to conservation and a love for wild places.
It was, however, his association and partnership with the renowned Jonas Brothers Taxidermy that set him and his brothers on a path to become the preeminent taxidermists, explorers, and travelers that paved the way for future international hunters.
They eventually expanded their enterprise to Alaska where they became more involved with guides, outfitters, camps, lodges and the traveling hunter which helped them to develop a system to enable hunters and fishermen a dependable method of travel.
While exploring and developing hunting opportunities in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South Pacific and the former Soviet Union areas of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, it was necessary to begin building from a non-existent experience with western culture and develop the necessary training and infrastructure. This was all accomplished through diplomacy with the host governments and an overriding mission to bring people together and conserve natural wildlife resources.
Chris’s travels involved trekking the mountainous regions of the earth, as well as travel by horseback, Land Rovers and planes. Often he found himself in interesting situations, as in Mozambique, Africa. He and his party, which included Astronaut Charlie Duke, found themselves in an area that had recently been attacked by rebel forces. Upon disembarking from their plane they were given hand grenades and a mercenary guard, “just in case.” This and other stories are told in exceptional prose and style, which I’ll leave the reader to discover.
Chris’s new book, “Gamemasters of the World,” chronicles his adventures and puts into perspective the transition of historical international hunting and safaris to the modern day international hunting experience.
Don’t expect a boring historical text, however, as he relates true adventures and the dangers of exploring new and little known parts of the world. We will also meet friends he made along the way including presidents, kings, emperors as well as astronauts, movie stars and other hunters, like you and me.
Equally important and interesting are the many “Reflections” which he has set aside in the chapters that tell of his philosophy, personal anecdotes, experiences and thoughts from his journals which he kept throughout his travels.
This is also an inspirational book of exceptional business and entrepreneurial insight. Chris and his family saw an opportunity to work and live in a business for which they had passion. They seized it and created a life of travel, adventure, hunting and outdoor conservation. This led to his involvement as a founding member of many international hunting and conservation organizations, including Safari Club International. He has been inducted into the International Hunting Hall of Fame, The Mountain Hunter Hall of Fame awarded by the Wild Sheep Foundation, and has also received the Weatherby Award and many others for his conservation achievements. Chris Klineburger is a Fine Fellow.
Our trails have crossed many times in the sheep mountains of the Canadian Rockies, where I was a game warden; we also share many mutual friends and hunting locations. This has been the case with Canada, southern Africa and here in Nevada where we hunt with many of the same sportsmen.
I first met him, however, in his home library as he was writing and editing his biography. The resultant book is one of the most exciting, and certainly the most thorough adventure tale I have ever had the fortune to read.
Whether your thoughts are of North American sheep and bears, or exotic adventures around the world, this book belongs on your bookshelf.
As we once again, as a nation, culture and people, face a changing world and are perhaps looking for opportunities to work and live our lives in a purposeful way, centered on something we feel passionate about, “Gamemasters of the World” and Chris Klineburger have given us a blueprint for such an adventure.
It’s a big book at a most affordable price and a great winter read.
For more information go to http://www.skyhorsepublishing.com/.
If you have a story or something to share, e-mail me at dansimmons@usa
The tradition continues. Chris’s son, Kent Klineburger, offers complete trophy room restoration; the quality of his work is, as one would expect, among the finest in the world. He is an artist and the trophies he works with are cleaned and repaired while antlers and horns are restored to their natural condition. They also offer trophy room set-up and design. Their goal is to make your mounts look great and last longer. I, like many sportsmen, have a number of trophies to enjoy and remind me of previous hunting and fishing adventures. Also like many sportsmen, some of these are in need of repair, or as they say, “freshening up.”
This is a company that I use and am familiar with as are many sportsmen from around the world.
For more information contact Kent or Molly at 425-785-0032 or 206-547-1376.