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Will the real Mark Sullivan please stand up? Part III--a life in photos.

It has been fifteen years or more since I first encountered Mark at the SCI convention. We spoke of his hunts and of our love for double rifles. Over the years, I saw his fame grow as did the comments from his detractors.

During recovery from a knee replacement, I viewed and tabulated Mark's videos to set the record straight of his charges, shots fired by both Mark and his clients. Shortly after I thought it a good idea to pen an article on Mark's life for the African Hunter to show the complete story of the man, not just Mark the PH.

Over the phone and via email, Mark was kind enough to share his story with me. I wanted a few additional bits of information as well as some photos. I sat on the article for nearly two years as our communication ceased. Mark was overseas, I traveled around the Lower 48 states and throughout Alaska and the Yukon and my writing took a back seat. When the article was noticed in my files, I decided to edit what I had and send it off for publication.



A few weeks after part one was available to the public, I received many appreciative phone calls and emails, one from Mark himself. He apologised for not getting back to me with additional information and photos and offered his assistance for a part three. He only had a few weeks before departing to Tanzania, but he came through with scans of his life to do a story in pictures. So, before you now, is the complete story of Mark's life to give all a glimpse of the man in his entirety, not just the PH who faces down charging buffalo and hippo. From an average American youth, through the military and business, his limiting ventures, becoming a PH and his growth in that profession, here is the complete Mark Sullivan.




At the end of August, 2015, Mark departed for Tanzania, taking a .577 and a .475 No.2 Jeffery for some filming, photographs, and a few buffalo hunting ventures. I had asked Mark to fill in some details of his career to make his life's story complete. The day prior to his 5am departure I received the following email, which is printed below in its entirety. I would like to thank him for opening up his life to me and the readers of the African Hunter and it is my wish all who know the name, Mark Sullivan, will see the full vista of this great man and PH. To close, in Mark's words:

"I learned at an early age there are certain things that when done correctly go a long way to making a person successful. These include being able to add, subtract, multiply and divide in your head without the use of a calculator, to write an intelligent letter and the ability to sell. This last item is the most important because in order to successfully market whatever service or product you are representing you must be able to communicate, inspire, and energize the person to whom you are trying to sell. I have always said anyone possessing these skills will never go hungry. I think I prove this point very well because one look at me and you know I've never missed a meal!

"I began my business career selling door to door, making cold calls on businesses. What I was promoting is of no importance, but the lessons I learned were. I soon realized that to make a 'sale' I had three seconds in which to get my point across. If I could not come up with what he or she wanted to hear in that time they would lose interest and the sale was gone. With a wife and two babies at home, I had no choice but to succeed. It was during those early days I learned a valuable lesson ... failure is not an option.

"My big break came when I signed a contract with the largest bank in Arizona to provide a robust, full-service marketing program targeting the age-old problem of how to attract new customers while holding onto the ones they already had. Today we know this as a Customer Loyalty Program but back 40 years ago it was a new idea. The program was an immediate success. Before long I had contracts with other institutions around the country. In those days competition between financial institutions was furious and I quickly discovered the larger the bank the more likely they were to avail themselves of my services even if they didn't particularly want what I had to offer. Their desire to stay Number One in the marketplace was often the overriding factor.

"I was quick to point out that if they did not want my services their competitor undoubtedly would. In terms we both understood; it was better to have me working for you rather than against you. That was generally enough to secure a long-term contract. Once on board and my services in place institutions grew to rely on them heavily."


"For a dozen years business was excellent but I grew restless. I longed for the day I would no longer have to wear a coat and tie. I wanted a different kind of life. I wanted adventure. I wanted out. I sold the business and on June 2, 1988 my wife Kathy and I bought Cassiar Stone Outfitters in northern British Columbia. This wonderful piece of roadless paradise was 40 miles wide by 100 miles long. Access into the area was by horseback or floatplane only. CSO outfitted for Stone sheep, moose, caribou, mountain goat and grizzly bear in some of Canada's most beautiful and pristine country. The following year the family and I went on safari to Tanzania. It was during that 21-day safari I decided what I really wanted to be ... a Professional Hunter. After the safari I flew to British Columbia to finish up my season there then back to Tanzania for meetings with the Director of Wildlife and the acquisition of hunting blocks. I was a man on a mission.

"To get myself known in an industry that had never heard of Mark Sullivan I ran a full-page, four-colour ad in the 1990 SCI Convention issue of Safari Magazine advertising Nitro Express Safaris. This is the one with a beautiful leopard draped over my shoulders. I was 40 years old, fit and with a full black beard. Back then a full page colour ad was rare. In fact, there may only have been one other full page ad in the whole issue besides mine.

"Anyone flipping pages could not help but notice the ad. When I arrived at the convention, there was a buzz in the air. Attendees and professional hunters alike were wondering 'who's the new guy?' Unfortunately for me, the blocks I was assured of getting by the Director never materialized. So when I arrived at SCI the only hunts I had to sell were my Canadian trips.

"Then luck intervened. On opening day of the convention a gentleman walked up and introduced himself. He said he was the owner of a hunting block in the Moyowosi Game Reserve and asked if I was interested in hunting with him. He said he had the finest hunting block in all of Tanzania but had no clients. I told him I had lots of clients but nowhere to take them. We soon struck a deal that lasted the next three years. During that time I made the movies: Africa's Black Death, Simba and M'bogo and with them I had all the adventure I could handle!

"I never imagined when I began my journey that it would take me as far as it has. I can tell you with certainty I have no regrets, I would do it all over again if given the opportunity and change nothing. I have risked my life more times than I can count and continue to this day my unique manner and method of hunting dangerous game. I hunt with passion. I hunt with purpose. I limit for the 'love of the game'. And one day should something happen, don't feel sorry for me for I have lived life to its fullest. I have faced death and I have won".

Cal Pappas, Photos Courtesy of Mark Sullivan
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Title Annotation:Features: Of these tales, we steal time to tell ...
Author:Pappas, Cal
Publication:African Hunter Magazine
Date:Jun 1, 2016
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