Abel Chapman (1851 - 1929) came from a long line of sportsmen who were both acclaimed hunters and naturalists. He was a school friend of Frederick Courteney Selous who later co-authored a book with him. Abel Chapman used Newland & Tarlton to outfit his safaris to East Africa. He also saved the Spanish ibex from extinction and helped in the establishment of South Africa's first game reserve.
Chapman and Walter Buck visited South Africa for the first time in 1899 to go big-game hunting. The trip, cut short by the Boer War, proved disappointing, as the Kruger area was over-hunted. Chapman then drew up plans to protect the Kruger area by creating a nature reserve which was later to become the Sabi Game Reserve with James Stevenson-Hamilton as the first warden. By 1903 the park was such a success that it was extended, and a second reserve, Shingwedzi, was opened nearby later that year.
Some of Abel Chapman's African trophies are on display in the Great North Museum of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. Typically today, there is difficulty reconciling the fact that the great pioneering naturalists like Chapman and Selous were accomplished big game hunters. There is the whiff of embarrassment about publically displaying these wonderful old trophy collections or "stuffed heads and carcasses", as the local press describe them. Perhaps they should read Abel Chapman's books...
"Latent it may be, but true none the less, and I venture to ask them to accept from me this definition of a sportsman:- "One who loves game as though he were the father of it." Abel Chapman in 'On Safari'
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Savage Sudan: Its Wild Tribes, Big-Game And Bird-Life by Abel Chapman (1921) who was a hunter-naturalist with long experience of Sudan's 'virgin savagery', by which the author means unspoiled, native habitat for birds and game. Abel Chapman and his companions Willoughby Lowe (1872 - 1949) and Captain Hubert Lynes (1874 - 1942), collected hundreds of Sudanese wildlife specimens for the Natural History Museum, London. The book recounts their journey to Khartoum, then up the White Nile into Uganda. He hunted gazelle, tiang, hartebeest and roan near the Sabat River. He hunted waterbuck, cob and lechwe, with exciting encounters with buffalo, hippopotamus and elephant near the Zeraf River. Hunting for rhinoceros and eland took place near the Blue Nile and Dinder Rivers. Free eBook
On Safari: Big Game hunting In British East Africa by Abel Chapman (1908). A prolific hunter and naturalist, Chapman combined an easy writing style with his exciting experiences hunting in British East Africa (Kenya). He followed the Uganda Railway, with hunting excursions toward Lake Elementeita and also westward to the Enderit River and along Lake Nakuru. Free eBook
Retrospect: Reminiscences And Impressions Of A Hunter-Naturalist In Three Continents by Abel Chapman (1928). The author's experiences fly fishing for salmon and trout in England and Scotland, grouse shooting, wildfowling, deer stalking, big game hunting in Europe, Africa and North America for ibex, boar, deer, kudu, polar bear, moose, caribou and elephant. Free eBook
Wild Spain: Records Of Sport With Rifle, Rod And Gun, Natural History & Exploration by Abel Chapman & W J Buck (1893). The authors describe a then little known land. They have taken sporting expeditions into various parts of Spain. Free eBook
Unexplored Spain by Abel Chapman & W J Buck (1910). Intended as a sequel to 'Wild Spain'. "No foreigners could have enjoyed greater opportunity, and we have done our best to exploit the advantage - so far, at least, as steady plodding work will avail; for we have spent more than two years in analysing, checking and sorting, selecting and eliminating from voluminous notes accumulated during forty years. The concentrated result represents, we are convinced, an accurate - though not, of course, a complete - exposition of the wild-life of one of the wildest of European countries". Free eBook
Bird Life Of The Borders: Records Of Wild Sport And Natural History On Moorland And Sea by Abel Chapman (1899). Observations extending over a series of years and accumulated while serving a long apprenticeship to rod, fowling-piece and stanchion-gun in the Borderland. Free eBook
The Borders And Beyond: Arctic, Cheviot, Tropic by Abel Chapman (1924) is a beautifully illustrated work on the fauna of the remote regions of England, notably red grouse and salmon.
Memories Of Fourscore Years Less Two, 1851-1929 by Abel Chapman (1930) covers his experiences in Africa, Spain, and Northern England. Autobiographical observations of a lifetime in the field by the renowned hunter, naturalist, artist and author.
First Lessons In The Art Of Wildfowling by Abel Chapman (1896) includes chapters on gun-punts and punt-gunning, coast-shooting under canvas, wildfowling for duck, geese and swans. Extensive section of wildfowling reminiscences at home (on the North-east coast) and in Southern Spain.
The Gun at Home and Abroad by W R Ogilvie-Grant, J G Millais, D Carruthers, et al (1912-1915) 4 Volumes. Volume 3, 'Big Game In Africa And Europe' was authored by Frederick Courtney Selous and Abel Chapman.
Page Updated: Oct 2020