Red deer. Michael Gibson photo
Pic: Michael Gibson

Michael “Gibbo” Gibson — a view of the man

For over five years, it was my pleasure to work in support of Gibbo in the production of the weekly Sporting Shooter e-newsletter, which he edited and compiled over that time. He never missed a deadline and always came up with interesting copy and articles for our readers.

As the longest-serving editor of Sporting Shooter magazine, I too-seldom received hunting features from Gibbo. I could have gobbled up three times as many of his graphically stunning photographs illustrating hunting stories to stir the heart. 

From buffalo in the Territory, through chamois and tahr in New Zealand to an amazing chamois hunt in the Austrian Alps, his images just jumped off the page, stirring the heart and wanderlust.

The amount of hunting he did for any and every legal species of deer, among other animals, and the effort he put in to know their habitat and movements spoke of a man who not only loved the hunt, but also the species he hunted. 

If hunting was all that Gibbo did, he would have had a full life, but he was also a consummate fisherman, knowing his local waters off Sutherland Shire like a native. He spearfished, lured and baited to feed his family and friends. 

He had a love of softball and represented Australia in international competition with stunning success.

And when he wasn’t hunting, fishing or winning wildlife photography competitions, with his wife Mel he was fully involved with mentoring his two beautiful daughters to be the best they could be. 

By the smiles on their faces when they were mountain biking trails, playing sport or involved in fitness training, it is clear they inherited their father’s love of life, squeezing every bit of joy they could from it.

I feel I knew Gibbo 95 percent vicariously, through his social media presence. I looked forward the latest posts on his Australian Hunting Facebook page, which has almost 90,000 members. 

Because of his web savvy, superb graphic skills and engaging presence, Gibbo took many people with him, whatever their interests.

The grim prognosis of cancer gave Gibbo another aim — not to sit grimly and wait in order to save energy, but to grab life and activity with those he loved at every opportunity, to wring every last bit out of his time. 

His example was exemplary and he will be missed.

Some words taken from Rudyard Kipling’s beautiful poem “If” seem apt. 

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: Hold on!

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty secondsworth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything thats in it,   

And — which is more — youll be a Man, my son!

Vale Gibbo.




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Marcus O'Dean

One Comment

  1. Very sad to hear of such a full life taken so early.
    “Gibbo” always responded to my emails about news items of interest even though he was on the ball and knew about most of them already!
    Our sincere thoughts are with his Family.