Mark Selby (Hervey 1967 – 1971)

Mark SelbyMark Arthur Robert Selby (1954-2017)

Mark Selby, long-time African professional hunter (PH) and the son of legendary African hunter, Harry Selby, died February 11, 2017 at Lesthalotheba II Memorial Hospital in Maun, Botswana after a short illness. He was 62 years old.

Mark was born in Nairobi, Kenya on April 21, 1954. In 1962 his family moved to Botswana, where Mark began his formal education. He attended Falcon where he completed his schooling from 1967 to 1971. While at Falcon, Mark attained distinction by setting a school record for the 400-meter sprint which still stands today.

Mark was fortunate enough to be born into one of Africa’s most prestigious safari hunting families. His father, Harry Selby, a well-respected and much sought after PH in hunting circles around the world, was featured in writer Robert Ruark’s book, Horn of the Hunter. Ruark was honored to be named Mark’s Godfather and presented to Harry two rifles that had once belonged to W.D.M (Karamoja) Bell, a Scottish adventurer and famous elephant hunter. The rifles were meant for Mark upon reaching an appropriate age.

Mark’s hunting experiences began early, bagging his first game animal, a Thomson’s gazelle, at the age of 8 with Bell’s .275 Rigby. He hunted his first buffalo with his father at the age of 12, and his first elephant was collected at 14 with Bell’s 450/400 Jeffery’s double rifle.

Mark followed in his father’s footsteps, beginning a safari hunting career right after he finished school. Possibly one of Botswana’s youngest PHs, he qualified for his professional hunter’s license at the age of 18. Mark worked for several notable Botswana safari companies, including Ker, Downey & Selby (KDS) Safaris, Safari South and Hunters Africa throughout the 1970s and 80s. For the final 15 years of his career Mark returned to his roots in East Africa, hunting in Tanzania for Tanzania Game Trackers (TGT) Safaris.

During the many years he spent on safari, Mark’s energy, enthusiasm and a strong will to succeed earned him much respect and admiration among his fellow professional hunters, safari crews, and the trackers with whom he worked. Mark garnered an equal amount of respect among his safari clients who entrusted their lives to his sharp eye, insightful judgment, extensive experience and capable gun-handling skills. Among many notable safari clients, Mark guided celebrities such as Hank Williams, Jr., former Secretary of State James Baker, and Ken Elliott, publisher of Petersen’s Hunting Magazine.

In 2008 Mark retired his rifles and returned to Maun to pursue other endeavors that brought into play his creative talents and capabilities. Always good with his hands, Mark took great pride in fashioning functional and attractive leather handiworks and designing and building brilliant cabinetry that featured the beautiful grain of native teak and other Botswana hardwoods.

Mark is survived by two daughters, Serena, 32, who lives in Canada, and Reginah, 33, from Francistown, Botswana; his parents, Harry and Miki, and his sister Gail from Maun and a nephew, Michael McKelvey from South Africa.

Joe Coogan

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