Hunting the Very Elusive Nauga

It began when a friend looked at my new checkbook cover and asked, “I wonder how many ‘naugas’ have to give up their lives for those?” By that she meant, how many naugas’ hides had to be collected to satisfy the warped tastes of people who want their checkbook covers, car seat covers, and sofa covers made of them. (Some purists insist on spelling the word “naugahyde”).

She proceeded to insult naugas by explaining that when she reached into her rather large purse, she could locate certain objects by their size or shape but she could always find her check book by the smell. Clearly the process of tanning those hides needs to be improved.

Her series of comments jolted me because I have never given much thought to naugas or where they came from or how they were hunted. I realize that doesn’t say much for what distinguishes humans from other animals—our supposed high degree of intellectual curiosity.

And I have to confess I’m a little disappointed in outdoor magazines. I’ve read them for over four decades and not once, not a single time, have I read an article with tips about how to find or how to shoot or how to cure the skin of the nauga. I really feel that editors should not be holding back on their readers and keeping hunting secrets to themselves.

So, to make up for this omission, intentional or not, I have conducted some original research and offer it on these pages so that hunters can harvest a new game animal. Herewith, the now unclassified info on pursuing the very elusive nauga.

Nearly all of the globe’s 57 million square miles of land surface have been mapped, platted, and GPSed. Unknown to most homo erecti, one area remains uncharted and thus serves as the domain of the underestimated nauga. “Science on” describes Papua New Guinea as “one of the most rural and least explored places in the world. Scientists believe that many of the world’s undiscovered species of plants and animals exist in the jungle interior of the country.” And that is why naugas have received such scant attention.

Caliber of Choice
Alert students of ballistics tables will have discovered the gap that can be found between .240 Wby. Mag. and .300 Wby. Mag. The former delivers 2155 ft.-lbs. of energy at 100 yards, the latter 2933. That means that those 778 ft.-lbs. in between are not represented by any rifle firing a 100-grain bullet! Just as the whereabouts of the nauga have remained hidden, so has the missing caliber used to hunt the nauga—the .25-55. Like the .30-30 and the .45-70, the first number denotes the diameter of the rifle bore and the second refers to the grains of powder in the brass. This nauga shell reputedly produces 2500 ft.-lbs. of energy at 100 yards and thus fills the gap!

The Hide
The process of curing the hide and making it suitable for utilitarian purposes has been kept a trade secret. But the protected time period has recently expired, so now the components can be revealed. Once harvested, the hide receives a coating of polyvinyl chloride and, except for the occasional odor, it has been warmly embraced by banks, car manufacturers and furniture dealers everywhere.

Such is the story of the nauga. I trust that future outdoor-magazine editors will be more willing to share with their readers reports on the nauga, including the taking of trophy specimens and how to prepare its meat for culinary enjoyment.

Meanwhile, I’d like to suggest a name for the .25-55. Other calibers rely on brand-associated nomenclature—Remington, Savage, Weatherby and Winchester, for example. How about the .25-55 Naugahype?

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2 Responses to Hunting the Very Elusive Nauga

Patrick Hamilton wrote:
December 15, 2014

I have never been there but in Connecticut there is an exit off I 84 for Naugatuck, I have always assumed this was sort of like a den for Naugas.

bob wrote:
July 17, 2013

I thought all nauga's were extinct now and that's why we have plastic's to replace them