The Real Deal, Part I: The Story of Finn Aagaard

AagaardOne of the most impressive people ever to take up this odd profession was born in Kenya of Norwegian parents and emigrated to the United States when Kenya outlawed big-game hunting in 1977. His name was Finn Aagaard, and in a world filled with shuck and jive, he was the genuine article.

Finn, who died in 2000, valued simplicity, and did not see the need for new equipment simply because it was new. He favored cartridges such as the 7x57, .30/06, and .375 H&H with which he had tons of experience during his decades as a Professional Hunter.

He loved to walk. Although he was far from a young man when I hunted with him, he didn’t take the easy way. If you wanted to hunt with him, you got out of the truck and walked—seriously. He used to take an evening walk, just for the pleasure of being alone with his thoughts.

He valued silence. Nearly 20 years ago, he and I were part of a seminar given by Kenny Jarrett, and the morning it broke up, he and I sat on Kenny’s back porch, Finn writing in his journal, me not interrupting. After maybe an hour of complete silence, he simply got in his pickup and began the drive from South Carolina to his home in Texas. Never said good-bye.