Gun Stuff: Bert Klineburger

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Saturday June 17, we and all of Texas suffered a great loss as a man who was an adopted Texan of many decades, passed on to whatever Hunter’s Valhalla awaits.

Bert Klineburger was a legendary figure in International big game hunting and was well-known to members of the Dallas and Houston Safari Clubs as well as Safari Club International. Following the end of World War II, he (along with his brothers Chris and Gene) opened most of Africa and many previously unknown hunting grounds in Asia to big game hunters here and abroad.

Bert wrote several books, the best-known being a fascinating history of his exploits titled International Hunter. It is telling that the foreword to this book was penned by his personal friend, His Royal Highness, Prince Abdorreza Pahlavi, who was the brother of the Shah of Iran. (If you are interested, a few hard cover copies are available on Amazon at a fairly hefty price.)

Bert was a friend and hunting consultant to numerous figures of royalty, including King Mehendra of Nepal and King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan as well as the former Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar ibn Sultan al Saud and numerous others.

Many American celebrities called Bert “friend,” including royalty such as “The King of the Cowboys,” Roy Rogers. Others include gunmaker Roy Weatherby, famous hunters such as Elgin Gates, Herb Klein, and C.J. McElroy, along with several astronauts and political figures.

More personally, I have known Bert and his brother Chris for several decades and have been privileged to hunt with Bert on several occasions, mostly here in Texas.

When it was time for my daughter to embark on her first deer hunt, Bert generously offered to be her guide. He was at her side when she took a fine Texas buck with one shot from her .243 Browning M85 single-shot rifle. At the time, she didn’t know who Bert was, other than he was my friend. When I told her about Bert’s passing, she like all of us, was devastated.

Still, we must remember that Bert remained vigorous well into his ninth decade and continued as a hunting consultant until a recent decline in his health. His brother told me he remained alert until, surrounded by his family, he drew his last breath.

We are diminished.

Story by Stan Skinner

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