Review by Dick Power
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.
I have been involved in hunting and photographing sambar deer for over fifty years, and during every one of those years I have continually sought to know and understand more, and I remain convinced that knowledge is the real trophy. Here is the manuscript of knowledge, all 460 pages of it, specifically written for sambar hunters - from new to the experienced. Errol sets out to explain that sambar deer have predictable habits and patterns of behaviour, and explores the whys and wherefores behind this predictability - they are not, as often described, ghosts. Every conceivable aspect of hunting sambar is included in the written word, and further supported with photos and precise visual displays - nothing is left out.
The content is wonderfully broad based, and includes a comprehensive cross section of experienced sambar hunters’ personal observations, which in effect rounds out and balances the content, and underwrites the quality and authenticity of the huge amount of information supplied by the author. Errol very successfully blends the above with his own life long experiences, thoughts and observations and skilfully weaves them into the Hunt Smart System.
This book is, and will remain, the go to reference on sambar hunting, and it is very unlikely that any other writer could, or would, spend the time and effort that is required to produce such a product. It is lavishly illustrated with high quality photos provided by Errol and other sambar ‘tragics’, and the magnificent design and graphic illustrations greatly enhance the commentary and observations made.
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.
This book is the work of a sambar man, a man of the cloth, and it is and will always remain a classic. To all the seekers of knowledge and understanding, this is your book, and it is highly recommended.
About Dick Power
Dick Power has been hunting Sambar and the World’s Big Game – many stories about which appeared in our magazine - for at least 50 years. Dick has devoted the past 15 or so to photographing sambar and is well known for his superb “up close and personal” photographs, many of which enhanced our magazine and which enhance this book. It isn’t going too far to describe Dick as “The Master of in Close.”
Review by Neil Hair
Hi Errol and Lynne, you have outdone yourselves this time.
I didn’t think there would ever be a book on Sambar to match your Secrets of Sambar Volumes 1, 2 & 3. Well your new book - The Hunt Smart System - does just that and more. It is the most informative and well researched publication I have ever read on any subject.
I can say to anyone that hunts Sambar - or is thinking of hunting Sambar - this book is a must read. As the title suggests, we can all hunt smarter and that is why I also believe in a system based approach to hunting.
This new book is not only the best and most informative book on hunting Sambar I have ever read, it is by far the best book I have read on hunting any species of deer as most of the information in it is can be used to hunt Fallow, Red, Elk, Hog, Roe, White-tailed, Moose, in fact any species you care to mention.
The quality of the photos and the design is simply first class. It really is second to none. The way the book is laid out will give all hunters - from beginners to veterans - a thorough understanding of Sambar behaviour.
The way you have shown how Sambar relate to their environment is unique and quite remarkable. The overlays and the linking of the many outstanding photos is revolutionary and it is a feature that works incredibly well, making the book flow smoothly, easy to follow and a pleasure to read. This format only works because the Hunt Smart System is backed up with extensive research coupled with great photos and countless hours of observations of unalarmed Sambar in the wild.
It is just a great book and a must have for any hunter that pursues not only Sambar, but any deer in Australia. The Hunt Smart system will assist all hunters young and old as it explains how deer relate to their habitat. This is paramount because if you have a better understanding of the deer’s behaviour then you can get to where they are going - not where they have been - but most importantly, be there before the deer arrives.
It is impossible to summarise the huge amount of soundly researched information in this book, but I will say it is a book I am using now and will use into the future to help me try and work out what happened, why it happened and how to better outsmart Sambar. Once again a huge congratulations to the Team @ Secrets of the Sambar. Errol and Lynne you have produced something very special with your latest book and you should be extremely proud.
About Neil Hair
Neil Hair, who contributed several educational articles to our SOTS magazine, has been a passionate and highly successful Sambar hunter for more than 40 years. Even after all this time Neil continues to search for a better understanding of these Big Brown Deer. Whilst Neil hunts mainly for venison, he has taken numerous trophy sambar stags - the highly educational stories as to how he harvested two of these have been included in this book.
Review by Leon Alexander
Errol and Lynne’s fantastic new book The Hunt Smart System is a great read for anyone that hunts these magnificent animals.
This new book runs through everything you need to know to shoot a monster Sambar stag. It ties together all the information in his trilogy and his course. Because it takes you on an easy path to successfully hunting these deer it is easily Errol and Lynne’s best book yet.
Even though I had taken several big stags I attended Errol’s course where I learnt why they had been where they were when taken. After the course I applied the overlays as taught and my ability to watch unalarmed sambar suddenly soared.
There are countless great photos – the best I have ever seen in a hunting book – plus success stories from other deer tragics. The many overlays in this book show you where the deer will be in the prevailing weather and hunting pressure. Using the highest quality photos as visual aids - these overlays - which include wind, frost, light to heavy rain, snow, warm to hot weather and zero to heavy hunting pressure, are clearly explained. If you follow Errol’s easy to understand instructions you will immediately start shooting trophy stags.
Errol has spent countless hours gathering the information and I know that no one else would put the time and effort in to produce a magic book like this. This book is priceless in the future and when it’s no longer available hunters who didn’t get a copy will be regretful as there will never be another book like it.
Errol and Lynne’s new book will always be The Holy Grail of Deer Information. Quite simply if you want to shoot a Monster Stag you must have it.
Leon Alexander, Churchill VIC
Review by Jimmy Lay
When tasked with writing a review on Errol’s latest book “The Hunt Smart System” I was a little overwhelmed. How could I possibly write a review of a study that has required thousands of hours of observation and meticulous research over many years?
The first thing that stood out was that it was an easy read. Errol’s Hunt Smart tactics and concepts were explained in detail and reaffirmed over many chapters. They are backed up by high quality photographs and graphical overlays which thoroughly explain the point being made.
The Hunt Smart System begins by explaining some of the inherent characteristics of sambar such as how evolution and constant predation over time has shaped their behaviour and caused them to be so finely tuned to our presence and our approach.
A wide variety of topics are covered which include how to identify prime sambar habitat, bedding areas, home range, hunting big stags and the key factors that influence their location in various weather conditions and habitats.
Errol’s system is laid out so each subject builds on the reader’s knowledge in a logical order so that you can easily understand how you would apply these concepts and strategies for greater success.
Errol’s unique theory “The Wagon Wheel - Road Map of Sambar Movement” is explained in great detail. This “map of sambar movement” gives you a clear insight into how they traverse through their home range and how hunters can take advantage of this systematic pattern of movement.
Their affinity to particular trees and geographical features such as funnels is covered in detail. The sambar’s behaviour leading up to, during, and after extreme weather, and their predictable response to extreme weather is thoroughly explained.
Lynne has spent a huge amount of time graphically overlaying numerous aerial and panoramic photographs with markers which show “the road map”, bedding and feeding areas, game trails and zones of silence and countless other features of sambar behaviour. Various hunting scenarios are explained by markers overlaid on wide angle photographs. They are enhanced further by the placement of a compass which leaves the reader in no doubt as to where a particular reference point or a deer may be in relation to the sun.
Each overlay is explained further by a “Success Story” written by a hunter who used “The Hunt Smart System” to take a fine trophy sambar stag.
Errol and Lynne’s latest publication is extremely informative and presented in a logical and easily understood format which slowly but surely builds the readers knowledge of a proven and highly effective hunting strategy.
It has enabled me to fill in the gaps to a number of mysterious aspects of sambar behaviour that I have often witnessed but never clearly understood. I will be taking advantage of this new found knowledge and look forward to applying Errol’s system in the years to come.
I highly recommend “The Hunt Smart System” to both new and experienced hunters alike as it provides knowledge which is essential if you are to be able to consistently harvest these Big Brown Deer! Quite simply, if you want to thoroughly understand sambar, this book is a must have.
About Jimmy Lay
Jimmy Lay has been a passionate and highly successful Sambar hunter for more than 40 years, but like all good hunters, he is still searching for a better understanding of these Big Brown Deer.
Jimmy has taken numerous trophy sambar stags, plus he has guided his friends and other hunters to many more. Jimmy co-produced the highly regarded DVD’s “A Hunter’s Guide to Sambar Deer” Vol. 1 & 2. (Click here to view the DVD’s)
Review by Robert Hoggard
I would like to recommend Errol Mason’s new book, which is a follow up to his 3 volumes of Secrets of the Sambar. This book is not only an informative and great read, it is has been beautifully designed by Errol’s wife Lynne. The clarity, the number of photos, the layout and quality of the book is immediately evident.
Errol has spent most of his life delving into the habits and behaviours of the Sambar and documenting it for the benefit of all hunters. He recently spent 2 weeks in the Indian jungle, where the Sambar live in great numbers. He researched their habits in an environment where they developed their elusive survival skills, which are undoubtedly driven by evolution. His writing in this section explains this and is accompanied by the beautiful photos of Sambar and their predators.
The information in the book regarding weather conditions is excellent. It clearly explains why and where the Sambar will be located from the high country to the farm fringe areas in the various weather conditions. There are excellent landscape photos which point out the bedding and feeding areas with logical explanation. This will be a great asset to the new generation of hunter as well as the experienced (old), like me. There are many fine photos of trophy stags with information on how they were taken.
Many hunters have taken part in Errol’s 3 day Hunt Smart Course and many have put Errol’s theories and advice into practice and gained excellent results. There is a section in the book of testimonies, which includes photos and success stories by some of his course participants who have used his theories and methods.
No one has ever written or documented more on Sambar deer than Errol. In my opinion, he is the world’s greatest authority on this subject.
If you are a Sambar hunter, this book is a must on your bookshelf. I am sure that it will be used as a reference book for hunting Sambar in the years to come. The hunters I know who have read this book are in awe of the information, time and effort that Errol has put into research on our premiere hunting animal the Sambar deer.
Well Done to Errol and Lynne on an excellent publication.
Robert Hoggard, Traralgon Vic
Review by Adam Davis
I just wanted to pass on my thanks for providing yet another top class publication on hunting these Big Brown Deer. I am thoroughly enjoying reading ‘Secrets of the Sambar - The Hunt Smart System’! I have previously completed your course, read SOTS Volumes 1 - 3 and been a subscriber to your magazines. Not only has the new book been an excellent refresher for what I have learned in previous years, it is tying everything together in one very neat book with very high quality photography. The use of photos as visual aids throughout the book, assist in so many ways that words simply do not allow.
The Hunt Smart System really has been an eye opener for me. Being able to observe Sambar without them ever being alerted to my presence has been an incredible experience. It has opened up a whole new range of possibilities and better yet, as a predominately meat hunter, I can calmly choose which animals I want to harvest.
I believe that I will be learning about these magnificent deer for the rest of my life, but armed with the extensive knowledge I have taken from The Hunt Smart System, I know that I have the tools needed to build upon an extensive foundation.
Thanks again Errol!
Regards, Adam Davis.
Review by Riyaaz Dawoodjee
Just read your book. I must say well done. I was wondering how you would top your previous 3 books. But you have managed to do so. In your previous books you gave the recipe ingredients on how to hunt sambar. But in this one you gave the step by step method how to combine the ingredients. In my opinion in terms of the amount of amount of knowledge provided it tops your 3 day course.
The advantage of the course is the hands on experience You know the saying, “A picture is better than a 1000 words.” Well as for your course the experience of actually seeing the bush and being explained, it is better than a 1000 pictures/words in the book. But as the course is only 3 days the advantage the book is that it is more comprehensive and can always be used as a reference.
Riyaaz Dawoodjee, Brisbane QLD
Review by Liam Allan
Hello Errol and Lynne,
Upon reading your newest masterpiece of Sambar literature, I am completely blown away with your in depth, comprehensive analysis of each part of Sambar behaviour in your chapters. Your graphically displayed diagrams and maps of Sambar behaviour and movement are very easy to understand and put into context, much more so than what text alone would ever do. Each chapter is clear and concise on its relevant topic, and not once did you venture off and get side-tracked on other topics.
The Hunt Smart System is without doubt your greatest text yet. Thank you for being so open and passing on all your knowledge to other like-minded hunters and outdoorsmen. I’m sure one day I will be fortunate enough to harvest a Sambar stag of trophy class, and when that day finally comes I know that it will be a result of your love, dedication and handiwork that has been accumulated through all your literature which truly is ‘the bible’ for Sambar hunters. Thank you so much and happy hunting!
Liam Allan, Lochiel, NSW.
P.S. I purchased the Vixen Artes J 8x42s last year. Brilliant!
Review by Michael Ciavarella
I’m about a third of the way through your new book The Hunt Smart System.
From the 150 pages I’ve read, I can immediately relate back to a lot of little things I have experienced in my time spent in the bush which I never really thought much into at the time. In a way it’s answered a lot of questions (some asked and some not). I’m sure many other hunters can relate to this.
I also like how the information is delivered short and sharp and how Errol moves straight onto the next piece of valuable information. This keeps me interested and for someone who is time poor like me, it allows me to read a little at a time but gain a lot.
Overall (from what I’ve read so far) I’m really satisfied with the book and I think it’s a small price to pay for the time, money and effort Errol and yourself have put into it. I’m looking forward to getting through it and applying Errol’s system into areas I already hunt.
Thanks for making this information available to newer hunters like myself and all the best with future ventures.
Review by Rod Hart
Hi Errol & Lynne,
I would just like to say that you guys have done an awesome job on your new book, Secrets of the Sambar - “The Hunt Smart System”. It is a very well designed book, has a lot of excellent photos and the stories and information that will assist hunters for many years to come, so well done to both of you.
Even though I have attended your course and put my experience with what I learnt there, this is the book that puts it all into perspective for hunting Sambar. It has all the detail that would help hunters right from the planning stage through to harvesting their first big Sambar Stag.
I would highly recommend this excellent book for either the new or experienced hunters as it sets out everything and explains it so well. I believe that any hunter who takes the time to read the book will have success on these very illusive animals.
Rod Hart – Fyschwick ACT
Review by Brendan Tenison–Woods
FYI - the book is brilliant! I’m 54 years old and wished I’d had this book 25 years ago.
It’s expensive but well worth the price because it’s the knowledge I’ve been needing to achieve a better return on much larger investments in 4WDs, tanks of fuel, hunting clothes, firearms, optics and many kilometres of walking over many days. I’ve even learned why I got my best head, where and when I got him which at the time was just dumb luck.
Brendan Tenison–Woods, Yackandandah Vic.
Review by Mark Grenda
I love the new book. I’m about 3/4 of the way through it. It’s reinforcing a lot that I learned from the three Secrets of the Sambar books but this new book goes into more detail on important areas. Hats off to you two for all your hard work.
Mark Grenda, Keysborough
Review by Steve Coonan
I first heard about the secrets of the sambar volumes through a fellow hunter who referred your books as the perfect read for seasoned and new hunters like me. After reading not even half of volume 1 decided I needed all of them – including the new Hunt Smart System book. They are fantastic books and although I am not a reader, I am glued to them and read them for hours on end. For that I thank you for sharing the knowledge and wisdom Errol has acquired, and also for the effort that was required to produce such magnificent books.
Steve Coonan, Berwick, Vic
Review by Dale Vincent
I have the first 3 volumes of Secrets of the Sambar and now I am reading your new book. I want to tell you that I love these books and appreciate the effort put in to produce what is the premier work on Sambar deer.
Dale Vincent, Jindivick, Vic.
Review by Jake Follett
It’s a great book. You two have put a lot of work into it and I’m loving reading it.
Jake Follett, Poowong, Vic
Review by Paul Luttrell
It’s a great work particularly the use of photos.
Paul Luttrell, West Pennant Hills, NSW
Review by Richard Chan
I have the other 3 books and have really enjoyed them so when I saw the post for the 4th book on Facebook I knew I had to get one straight away.
Richard Chan, Carrum Downs Vic
Review by Tom Singleton
Hello – I’m loving the book!!
Tom Singleton, Albion Park, QLD.
Review by Steven Clancy
I’ve not had anyone to teach me how to hunt or shoot and have only just gotten interested in it these past few years. I’m confident in my ability to target deer instead of just rabbits and foxes. What I’m not confident in is my ability to find a deer. The deer community in general seems very reluctant to share accurate information or tips - just like the fishing community. The feedback I’ve read online about the quality of the images and the written content has been overwhelmingly positive so I’m very much looking forward to reading the book before attempting a hunt myself, and/or engaging a guide/teacher.
Steven Clancy, Brookfield Vic
Review by Glenn Lockhart
Let me first start by saying, congratulations, what a beautiful book!! I’ve been bow hunting for 30 years or so and have taken most feral animals in Australia, as well as some game species, but when it comes to the great Sambar - like you in the early days Errol – I have done a hell of a lot bushwalking, except I’m carrying a bow. As a bow hunter I need to be within 35 to 45 metres to guarantee a clean pass through kill shot on this big animal, and having read your book (twice and on my third trip) there is no doubt I will be better placed to find, stalk and ambush the great Sambar.
Glenn Lockhart, Frankston Vic.
Review by Dean Eklund
Hi Lynne and Errol,
I came across your book on the Deer Hunting Australia Facebook page, as a lot of people kept saying how great it is. So I had to buy it ha haa!! I read it every week and my knowledge of deer has improved dramatically. Some people I’ve spoken to whinge about the price but I reckon it’s worth every cent as your attention to detail is like no other.
Dean Eklund, Bonbeach, Vic.
Review by Garry Connolly
First of all I would like to thank both of you for your wonderful (and massive effort) in putting this book together. I have just started browsing through it and it is wonderful indeed.
Garry Connolly, Condell Park NSW
Review by Richard Hender
G’day Errol, just finished reading your book. Easily the most informative Book on Sambar I’ve read.
Review by Matthew Kris
Book arrived and is fantastic, thank you!
Matthew Kris, Davoren Park, Adelaide
Review by Steve Kallitsas
Good morning Mr. Mason,
Firstly thank you for your amazing book and sharing your knowledge. I have hunted deer for about 30 years and success has been good in about every 4 trips I would bag one for the freezer. In all my years I have only successfully shot one stag and honestly I think that was pure ass or he was stoned.
Well I put the wagon wheel, gullies, saddles and ridges in to effect and WOW, wow, Wow. I came across 12 deer in a day and sadly missed a stag bedding and another this morning. My error not use to seeing stags and I think maybe just a bit excited.
To any hunter long term or beginner I highly recommend this marvel of book. Hopefully next time I contact you it will be a picture of a stag.
Once again thank you so much. Kind regards
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