Bill Lockard has a lifetime of hunting adventures that would fill a book. Or perhaps two or three.
The retired Oklahoma City dentist spent 55 years hunting on six continents and in 26 countries, stalking the most dangerous game in the world along with numerous species of sheep and antelope.
He has slept in caves in the Torus Mountains of Turkey, in igloos above the Arctic Circle and on rope strings and straw mattresses in India. In Africa, he spent a night with his wife, Suzanne, high in a tree surrounded by a thorn bush for protection against a noisy lion.
Suzanne has been her husband's companion for most of his 47 international hunting trips. She chose not to go high into the mountains or into the Arctic, but she has endured rodent-infested mud huts and shared dirt floor huts with jumping spiders in Africa.
Once when Bill was miles away hunting a lion in Tanzania, she held the tent together during a strong wind and rain storm while several hyenas rummaged the camp for food. In South America, she spent three nights in the front seat of truck while a jaguar prowled around outside. She survived a bout of malaria in the Central African Republic.
And both survived the “perfect storm” off the coast of Australia on a fishing trip in the Arafura Sea, when the captain was able to escape the 20- to 30-foot waves by beaching the boat on an uninhabited island.
“There are not many women who would endure such unusual accommodations and adventures,” Bill said. “Yet we believe our shared experiences have enriched our lives and broadened our horizons. They definitely have brought us closer together.”
Suzanne's reward for accompanying Bill on his big-game adventures were occasional side trips to Paris and London following the hunting trips.
Lockard has two trophy rooms, a total of about 2,500 square feet in his northwest Oklahoma City home, with 163 animals from 142 species. One room is dedicated to just North American game, the other to the rest of the world.
He's hunted in the Canadian Rockies for Big Horn, Dall and Stone sheep, Rocky Mountain goat, moose, grizzly bear and caribou. He's hunted muskox and polar bear in the Northwest Territories, caribou in Quebec, moose in Newfoundland and brown bear in Alaska.
He's taken 47 international hunting trips, including 13 trips in Asia with shikaris (big game hunters) and 13 safaris in Africa. He's also trekked over Russia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Spain and Bulgaria.
Hunting such dangerous animals has produced a few close calls.
He killed a rhino only a few paces away after his hunting partner had to toss him a rifle. In Ethiopia, he downed a Nile buffalo that emerged from shoulder-high grass charging at him.
“It sounded like an eighteen-wheeler coming from the tall grass,” Lockard said.
He put one bullet in the buffalo's chest, causing it to swerve, but the animal kept coming. He downed the beast with the second shot.
“He is about two to three feet in front of me when he hits the dirt,” Lockard said.