Kermit Roosevelt’s Reflections on Hunting with T.R. In 1920, a year after Roosevelt’s death, Kermit, his son and boon companion during the great African safari of 1909-1910, published an account of his own hunting adventures. In addition to tales about the twosome’s African adventure, his book includes stories about hunting in the American Southwest for sheep, New Brunswick for moose and South Dakota – along with T.R.’s friend Sherriff Seth Bullock, of Deadwood fame – for prairie chickens. The Happy Hunting Grounds is a slim volume, only 100 pages in length, yet it is reminiscent of his famous father’s writings. It remains in print and is available from Barnes & Noble Books.
In Jennifer Ham’s introduction, you’ll find a quote from T.R. that speaks to the heart and soul of many hunters. “I am fond of politics, but fonder still of a little big-game hunting,” he wrote.
I would suggest that Roosevelt ought to have written “a great deal of big-game hunting”! For few of us can imagine a year-long safari in Africa, not to mention his many excursions out West and to Canada in pursuit of big game.
Kermit was only 19 years old when he accompanied his father to Africa and barely 30 when he penned his own book, but by then he understood the allure of hunting and expressed it well when he wrote, “We get three sorts and periods of enjoyment out of a hunting trip. The first is when the plans are being discussed and the outfit assembled; this is the pleasure of anticipation. The second is the enjoyment of the actual trip itself; and the third is the pleasure of retrospection when we sit around a blazing fire and talk over the incidents and adventures of the trip.” Who among us would argue with those words?
Kermit obviously idolized and loved his father, writing of T.R., “He was a natural champion of the cause of every man, and not only in his books would he carefully give credit where it was due, but he would endeavor to bring about recognition through outside channels.”
The Happy Hunting Grounds is filled with personal nuggets and observations about growing up and hunting with Theodore Roosevelt. I enjoyed it and trust you will, as well.