Secrets of the Sambar
Volume 2

THE Definitive Guide to Sambar - VOLUME 2
Biology, Ecology, Behaviour & Hunting Strategies

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Over the past 18 months of Travel Restrictions & Lockdowns there has been an unprecedented demand for the 4 books in our Secrets of the Sambar Series. During this period we have sold countless more books than at any other time during the 15 years we have been publishing them. As a result our stock has become significantly depleted. However, due to the doubling of international shipping times and cost, combined with increased printing costs, we cannot guarantee availability once our current stock is sold.


The Sensory System

In this comprehensive 43 page chapter, the latest scientific research is supported by colour images and diagrams to explain how incredibly well developed the Sambar’s most important senses are, and how they are employed to detect predators, humans included. Whilst each of the 3 senses - smell, hearing and vision - are dealt with separately, I have explained how they are often used together as tri-sensory lock to detect a predator. Examples provided show just how well developed each sense is. Below are some of the topics discussed for each.


Weather conditions which minimise and even destroy scent.

How ultraviolet rays can burn out scent, time required to achieve it, and how the strength of u/v rays varies in different atmospheric conditions and at different elevations.

How to minimise and even mask your scent.

Sambars response to human scent

Sambars 5 scent glands are identified and overlaid on a photograph of a mature sambar stag.


Sambar’s hearing is bionic and is often the sense relied upon more than any other when attempting to detect a predator.

Provides examples which show how Sambar can hear a camera shutter from long distances.

Strongly recommends that clothing and equipment be extremely quiet and tells how to ensure that it is.

Teaches how to hunt silently so Sambar have no idea you are there.


Includes a full page colour chart devised by Deer Vision Scientists which reveals precisely what colours deer see.

The 300 degrees a Sambar can see, its 60 degree blind spot and its 65 degree Binocular Overlap, are overlaid on a colour photograph of a Sambar hind.

Discusses how effective and ineffective Sambar’s vision actually is in certain circumstances.

Points out that evolution has wired them to detect the slightest movement of close lurking foe.

Discusses several camouflage patterns and their effectiveness at preventing a Sambar from detecting your movement.

Dominance Hierarchy

Explains that stags assess opponents by antler size and how a complete age structure of stags are able to live together in relative harmony.

Answers the often asked question, "If you shoot the dominant stag, how long before another moves in?"

Describes the various methods used by stags to establish dominance without resorting to actual combat, plus several eye witness accounts of fierce fights between large stags, plus accounts where stags were actually killed whilst fighting.

Agonistic behaviour of hinds, including fighting is discussed.

The Mating System

Full and double page enlargements of high quality images show stags testing the receptivity of hinds plus a hind giving birth.

The Sambar’s breeding system which is very different to "rutting" northern hemisphere species - is described in detail.

Explains that this species has a prolonged breeding period with a peak of several months. The number of calves born in the Buniyp and Pendleside enclosure for each month is provided.

The highly synchronised 3 to 6 week "Rut" of northern hemisphere species such as Moose, Elk, Red and Fallow is discussed.

Details of the composition of deers milk, calf growth rates and fertility of hinds is discussed.

Bushfires - Immediate to Long Term Effects

This 45 page chapter provides graphic detail of the 2003 bushfires which burnt 1.3 million hectares of forested mountain country in north east Victoria and Gippsland, including the immediate to long term effects of these fires on Sambar and other wildlife.

Includes a study of the 2006/2007 fires which burnt 1.2 million hectares throughout Victoria’s north east and Gippsland. As well as spending countless months on the ground, I flew for 2.5 hours over the massive area burnt by the 2003 fires, and again over the 2006/2007 burn, during which I took hundreds of photographs which captured the devastating impact.

Aided by these photographs and expert opinion from wild fire ecologist Athol Hodgson, plus fire behaviour interpretation provided by my pilot Ben Buckley - I describe how wild fire varies in intensity from cool to feral (now known as catastrophic) fires.

The recycling and regenerating power of nature, from the moment everything has been reduced to ash, to the succulent and nutritious regrowth which follows is discussed.

I explain the immediate to long term effects on Sambar survival, reproduction and antler growth. I also explain that where you will find Sambar in the months and years after the fire is determined by the intensity of the burn in that area. In many areas few deer were killed, whilst in those which resemble “moonscapes” few survived, and much smaller creatures were vaporised.

Australia’s Top Stags

Includes photos of the stags plus the highly educational stories as to how 3 of Australia’s Top Sambar Stags were taken. Includes the 32.5 inch, heavy, symmetrical trophy taken by Jeff Morecroft; the massive, 33 incher taken by Dave Bailey and the incredibly educational story as to how he harvested it; a trophy of similar size taken over hounds by John Clarke just as it was about to cross into the adjoining catchment and bid the pack gooday.

Utility Gun Dogs

Covers puppy selection, training and effective strategies for hunting sambar with a gun dog. Includes top tips from several expert sambar hunters.

Hunting by Scent

This unique chapter, based upon scientific research conducted by a Master of Foxhounds in the UK in the 1920’s, identifies the precise nature of scent, what it is and how long it lasts in various weather conditions and what causes it to dissipate. When and why scent will be good, and when and why it will be bad is explained.

How hounds and gun dogs track and find Sambar and how Sambar use scent to detect predators – including humans is also explained.

Our Dianas of Hunting

How a mother and daughter harvested their trophy Sambar stags, one with the help of their English Pointer.

Tactics for Wallows

If you ambush just any wallow you are wasting your precious hunting time. Drawing upon a hunt during which I guided my client to a trophy stag, I teach which is the "only" wallow to ambush and why. Plus I explain how to build and where to position your hide. This vital knowledge will help you be successful instead of wasting your time in the bush.

Hunting the Sub-Alpine

Learn how Sambar use this unique habitat very differently to habitats at lower elevations. The ‘Special Tactics’ required for consistent success when hunting the sub-alpine are covered step by step.

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