Monday, July 8, 2024

My Last Hunt

Black and white photos taken by Pattie Boyd 

 My last hunt

 by Richard Ricky Cook III,

50 years ago, after graduating from college, I traveled to India and had a great adventure Tiger hunting. I grew up hunting deer on  MoloK'ai. And had taken my gun all over the world. I loved hunting. My mother and I were in Northern India to learn transcendental meditation with the Maharishi. The Beatles were there. At the same time, a friend from India who was an adventure guide was able to get me on a tiger hunt, during which we rode elephants. It was a thrilling experience, and I shot a tiger.

The following day, my mother related the venture to the Maharishi as John Lennon was listening. I was proud of my accomplishment, and my mother was proud of me. The Maharishi, however, was not impressed. After listening to the story, he replied in a very cold tone, "Life destruction is life destruction." I simply had never thought of hunting in those terms before.

Some months later, my sister pointed out a new song by John Lennon. The lyrics were as follows: "Hey, Bungalow Bill, what did you kill? Bungalow Bill.  He went out Tiger hunting with this elephant and gun. In case of accidents, he always took his mom. He is the All American bullet-headed Saxon mother's son."

 I decided to exchange my gun for a camera. Photographing wild animals in Africa was much more challenging and thrilling and, in the end, much more rewarding. I became a National Geographic photographer for 22 years, covering many stories and books for them.

 Now, I'm an advocate for the natural world and beauty that I so love to photograph today. I would ask Bungalow Bill, what did you honor instead of what did you kill? My father's company, Pole House of Hawaii, built George Harrison's house in Hannah, Maui. And when I sent him my book, Moloka'i apostrophe. I, an island in time, I signed it. Bungalow Bill. I thanked him for witnessing and honoring this special passage in my life.


  1. Good for him. Can you imagine anything cutting deeper than a Beatle writing about your misguided hobby? At least he saw the error of his ways.

  2. If true, John was right again. It's astonishing this guy had never considered his actions as anything other than slaughter for no good reason. But I suppose good on him for realizing his mistake.

  3. nice to see the pretty Cynthia and Jane again