Stag Spooner: Wild man from the bush
The story of a New Zealand hunter - artist
Stag (Neville) Spooner (1917-1946) was a government deer culler in 1939 and 1940, initially in the Tararuas, and then on the South Island’s West Coast. While his successful career as a culler was cut short by the Second World War, he did leave behind a remarkable legacy from this period, an illustrated diary of his experiences that he entitled Those Wild Men from the Bush. The diary, which forms the heart of this book, is a fascinating chronicle of the life of a professional hunter, who somewhat unusually, was also an artist. Stag Spooner went on to create another highly individual body of art during the war, a series of decorated envelopes that were sent back to his family and friends.
In this book Chris Maclean brings to light Stag’s singular body of artwork, while also telling the story of his adventurous life, which started in the Wairarapa where he developed his love of hunting. He then became a deer culler, and saw active service during the Second World War in North Africa and Italy, as part of a Field Ambulance Unit.
Soon after his return to New Zealand, Stag’s life tragically ended on a hunting trip, alone, in the Fiordland mountains. Stag Spooner is a unique book that finally recognises the life and world of a remarkable New Zealand hunter and artist.
Read about Chris Maclean
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