About Us

Errol Mason and his wife Lynne operate Shikari Press, a family owned business committed to studying and photographing sambar deer in Victoria's High Country, then publishing the results in full colour, best quality books. They also run training courses for sambar hunters.

Between 2000 and 2005 Errol guided many clients to the trophy of a lifetime and along the way gained a deep insight into the sambar's mysterious ways.

Click here to go to Errol's Guiding Success Stories

Through his books, his highly regarded Hunt Smart© Training Course, and now his NEW magazine - Errol is now offering to pass on knowledge which is certain to FAST-TRACK you to the 'Trophy of a Lifetime'.

Secrets of the Sambar Volumes 1, 2 and 3 are available individually or as a complete set. All copies are signed by the author.

Errol's latest book, ‘The Hunt Smart System ®' was released in January 2019. The book is the culmination of almost forty years studying Sambar and is presented in chronological order just as Errol teaches on his highly successful Hunt Smart® course. The positive attitudes to this book have been greatly influenced by the outstanding "Peer Reviews" from highly experienced Sambar hunters which are posted on the book product page - View 'The Hunt Smart System' ®

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Errol Mason

Errol Mason

Possessing a wealth of experience and knowledge accumulated during 40 years of hunting and studying sambar, Errol Mason truly is a Sambar Deer Specialist who possesses a deep insight into the mysterious ways of this intriguing species.

Review of The Hunt Smart System® book

Excerpt Taken From Dick Powers Review of The Hunt Smart Book

“The author, Errol Mason, is well known in sambar hunting circles as a hunter, guide and prodigious writer on all subjects relating to these magnificent deer. As an educator, and a man with a bent for chronological and forensic examination of the facts, and the facts only, it follows that he is a fairly intense individual - this is the cornerstone of his style, his narrative is direct and to the point.

However, one of the outstanding successes of this book is the manner in which it is written; throughout the chapters he creates a matrix of sound practical knowledge straight out of the bush. Solid facts become overlays that are presented to the reader in a well-constructed and flowing style - this in effect takes the mystery out of a most difficult subject.“

  • The late Dick Power - Master of In-Close photography.
  • Author of 27 Articles in Secrets of the Sambar and Other Cervidae magazine.
  • Many of his outstanding ‘In - Close' photos appear in The Hunt Smart System book.

Click here to go to Dicks' full review of The Hunt Smart System book.

Lynne Mason

Lynne Mason

Errol's wife Lynne designed and edited Volumes 1, 2 and 3 and The Hunt Smart System ® in her usual masterly style.

Review of The Hunt Smart System® book

Excerpt Taken From Dick Powers Review of The Hunt Smart Book

“Is a photo, and the manner in which it is displayed, worth a thousand words”?

“Open the pages and I am sure you will agree that it is. The book exudes quality, and the graphic artistry, design and presentation is of course the hallmark of Errol's highly talented wife Lynne. Being that I come from 'back in the day', I have seen a lot of books and magazines, there are none that match, or exceed, the professionalism of Lynne Mason's work.”

Read More About Lynne

About Errol

Investigation Skills Developed During Errol's 27 Year Career in VicPol

In January 1973 I joined the Victoria Police and began my training at the St. Kilda Road Depot. During my 27 year career with VicPol - in the main - I performed operational duties in Operations Department in the Mounted Branch, Yallourn and Horsham, Brunswick, and Lilydale Police stations - the Nunawading Crime Car Squad and the Stolen Motor Vehicle Squad.

In 1989 I was promoted to Senior Sergeant In Charge of the Law and Procedure Publication Section where - amongst other duties - I was editor, researcher and writer for the VicPol 40pp. Monthly Bulletin - which was distributed to all work centres to assist in keeping police abreast of changes to legislation, new case laws, and to assist with effective and efficient handling of major operational incidents.

Later I was the Inspector in Charge of Policy, Standards and Compliance for the Leap database and an Inspector Patrol Officer in Region 1 where I performed duties in the Melbourne city and inner suburban areas. These duties required me to take charge and manage major incidents, research police policy and to investigate complaints against police.

During this time I developed high level writing and investigation skills whilst in search of the truth about the numerous and varied crimes; whilst researching police policy, as well as investigating complaints against police during the six years I held the rank of Inspector.

Applying Investigation Skills to Study Sambar

Possessing an innate inclination to always 'search for the truth' was to become an extremely valuable skill which I was to later apply whilst 'searching for the truth' about sambar biology, ecology and behaviour, and developing effective strategies for hunting this elusive Big Brown Deer.

Whether investigating criminals or sambar, it is vital they are not aware that you are observing them, for if they are aware they will change their natural behaviour. To ensure that sambar were not aware I didn't try to photograph them from 'In-Close', even though this is how photographs which show the finest details of the head etc. are obtained.

The problem with this technique is that you only get to take one or two bursts before they are aware of you and they are gone. Even if you catch up with them again later that day, you have changed their behaviour so you are not observing what sambar naturally do all day long.

To ensure that Sambar never became aware of my presence I mostly observed them across gully from 200 to 500 yards. Initially in 2007 I used a Nikon D3 body and a Nikon 400 f2.8 lens and equipped with a 2x tele converter which doubled its focal length from 400 to 800mm. However the TC reduced image quality to an unacceptable degree, so the instant Nikon released a true 800mm f5.6 lens in 2016 - despite its retail price of $27,500, and weight of 4.6kg, I bit the bullet and bought one. I have never looked back. The image quality I have obtained from this lens is outstanding and I used it to take most of the sambar photos which illustrate our book 'The Hunt Smart System'.

In 2010 Lynne and I purchased a 520 acre steep, forested mountain property at Tongio West to use as a base for our Hunt Smart Training Courses.

This property was also perfect for studying Sambar. So that I could observe and photograph them from 100m and even less without them becoming aware of me, I built a hide concealed my body, movement of hands and the large 400mm f2.8 lens, and later my 800mm f 5.6 lens, plus it contained my scent and the sound of the camera shutter. Regardless of how many photos I took, Sambar never knew I was just 100 metres or less away. Photos taken from this hide illustrate the chapter 'Mini-Hubs - Sambar Central' in our book 'The Hunt Smart System'.

Click here to read Errol's Full Profile