ABA Banking Journal - April 2013 - (Page 44)
“Keenly alert” on the African trail
Game-hunting banker pursues dangerous prey
At eight, Pete Waller went into the
Florida woods alone and shot a fox
squirrel with a .22 rifle. “At that
age, it was as if I’d shot a grizzly,”
says Waller, now 63. His father, Joe,
introduced him to hunting, letting
the boy pull the trigger when he
had a bead on game with his shotgun. “When that gun went off, I
was hooked,” says Waller, who is
chairman, president, and CEO at
First National Bank of the Rockies,
Grand Junction, Colo.
Little did Waller know that in
2000, he’d find himself in Tanzania,
on the first of 12 African trips, after
years of hunting stateside and trainColorado banker and hunter Pete Waller also
ing bird dogs. As a boy, he’d hunted
shoots with a camera, as in his photo of
vicariously in Africa through Outdoor
Victoria Falls—a personal favorite—which was
Life, Field & Stream, and other pubtaken on one of his many trips to Africa.
lications. “I never thought I would
friends pursuing dangerous game.
go there,” he says, let alone rack up three of the Big-Five game animals—all
Waller goes for camaraderie. But
considered dangerous to hunters on foot. That trip found him pursuing Cape
he’s also there for protection, carbuffalo. Waller learned, in hunting under seasoned guides over the years, that
rying a heavy-duty, “just in case,”
a dangerous-game hunter takes few long shots nor many iffy shots. He carefulrifle. Wounded big game will counly tracks and stalks, or baits and waits, depending on game habits. When the
ter-attack with extra force. At least
right shot comes, fire and put targets down—lest they put the hunter down.
one professional guide and hunter
Besides Cape buffalo, Waller has killed elephant and leopard. He had a
that Waller knew died that way.
chance once at lion—villagers told his guide that a pride was killing their
“A wounded buffalo is a very
cattle, and Waller agreed to try to discourage the raiding cats. The lions won.
tenacious animal,” says Waller.
The last of the Big Five, rhino, Waller won’t pursue—rhinos are too scarce.
“They will hide and wait for you to
Even those African animals that he does hunt are carefully screened—the
preference being for males past their reproductive prime.
Waller loves Africa, and may reloWaller knows many people don’t like hunting. But he points out that some
cate there after retirement. There’s
species need thinning to prevent widespread starvation. And the continuance
an indescribable feeling he gets
of species hinges on hunters. Fees and other spending by hunters funds most
when walking and tracking in an
conservation and anti-poaching programs, says Waller.
African hunt. It’s not fear, he says,
Whenever he can, Waller eats what he shoots. Back home, he’s often
in spite of the risk. His best attempt
“hunted for the freezer,” stocking up on lean deer and elk. In Africa, he’s
is to call it “keenly alert”—someshot and eaten similar prey, as well as Cape buffalo. Even when he got his
how everything he sees is more
elephant, he insisted on sampling it: “It tastes like elephant, and you need
vibrant, more in the moment. “Your
African-bred teeth to eat it.” Much of the edible game from African hunts
senses become more alive.”
goes to the locals, he explains. A village shared his elephant for the larder, as
—Steve Cocheo, executive editor &
well as a portion of the fee that a trophy kill generates.
digital content manager
Many of Waller’s more recent trips to Africa have been to accompany
ABA BANKING JOURNAL
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - April 2013
ABA Banking Journal - April 2013
ABA COMMUNITY BANKING Negotiating better contracts
Pass the Aspirin
COVER STORY: Focus on risk Regulators raise the bar—big time!
RAROC architect’s views on risk
Top-performing big banks
ABA At Your Service
ABA Banking Journal - April 2013