Tag Archives: nature

6 Great Books for Hunters and Anglers

Summertime means vastly different things to hunters and anglers. For the angler, it means casting flies till dark or taking the boat out with the family. For the hunter, however, it’s a slow and contemplative season where one is either stuck in the past or looking a little too eagerly towards fall. It also happens to be a great time to pick up a book. Here at ParksByNature, not only do we love nature, we also love good prose. Whether it’s hunting, angling, or general nature writing that interests you, these six essential books for hunters and anglers will dazzle readers with their style, wit, and insight into the mysterious realm of nature.

1.  A Sportsman’s Sketches by Ivan Turgenev

Image: en.wikipedia.org

[Image: en.wikipedia.org]

A classic of 19th century Russian literature not always on the radar of outdoor readers, this collection of pastoral vignettes and stories contains everything from wing shooting scenes to tales of the supernatural. The book made Turgenev famous and even played a small role in abolishing Russian serfdom. In addition to the marvelous hunting and fishing scenes, the stories as a whole form a moving testament to an agrarian society on the verge of collapse and revolution.

2. The Hidden Life of Deer by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Image: amazon.com

[Image: amazon.com]

Whenever we recommend this book to serious deer hunter friends of ours, the usual response is, “You mean that tree hugger?” If a tree hugger is somebody that spends more time in the woods than shopping at outdoor stores, then count us in. Instead of telling you how deer should behave, this book records how deer actually behave. In The Hidden Life of Deer, Thomas weaves personal memoir, anthropological perspective, and a certain observational grace into a beautiful and revealing portrait of deer in the woods of New Hampshire. We’re not ashamed to say that a lot of what we know about deer hunting and behavior comes from this unique book.

3. The Founding Fish by John McPhee

Image: www.dec.ny.gov

[Image: www.dec.ny.gov]

John McPhee is master stylist who has chronicled everything from basketball to the history of the Florida orange. He also happens to be a lifelong shad fisherman. The Founding Fish is a cultural history of American shad fishing that seamlessly blends meticulous scholarship with the ease and locality of travel writing. The book follows McPhee as he travels up and down the Eastern seaboard fishing for the mercurial shad and meditating on the fish’s importance to America’s dietary past. For instance, did you know that George Washington’s Continental Army might have starved if it wasn’t for the spring shad run of 1778?

4. A Man Made of Elk by David Petersen

Image: www.3riversarchery.com

[Image: www.3riversarchery.com]

This is an unusual and obscure entry into the annals of hunting literature. One of the reasons for its slow reception is that Petersen is a dedicated traditionalist who only hunts one animal—elk—and does so with a longbow, a form of technology unchanged since the 1300s. Since longbow hunting requires getting up close and personal with the animal, Petersen has learned to act and think like an elk. This is probably the closest thing we have to a book on elk hunting written by an elk.

5. A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

Conservationist icon Aldo Leopold [Image: fpdcc.com]

Conservationist icon Aldo Leopold [Image: fpdcc.com]

Leopold was a rare combination of philosopher, naturalist, conservationist, and hunter. A Sand County Almanac (1949) is a collection of personal essays about the wilderness of Wisconsin in which Leopold developed the modern philosophy of land conservation or “land ethic.” The book describes that era of conservation history when it was believed that the eradication of certain predatory species would increase the overall abundance of game. Leopold, as a hunter, was one of the first to see that an ecosystem was a far more complex matter.

6. The Longest Silence by Thomas McGuane

Image: www.barharborbookshop.com

[Image: www.barharborbookshop.com]

You don’t have to be a trout fisherman to appreciate the tension and tug of McGuane’s prose. The Longest Silence is composed of 33 essays written over an equal number of years that take you everywhere from trout ponds in Michigan to fly fishing for bone fish in Florida. But the real subject of McGuane’s book is that mysterious and infinite silence between bites that every fisherman knows all too well.

People spraying with insect repellant, tucking their pants into their socks, and checking their hair for ticks.

How to Avoid Tick Bites While on the Hunt

Nothing puts a damper on your day of serenity in the woods quite like an unwelcome tick bite and the looming possibility of Lyme Disease and other tick-related ailments. Plus no one wants to bring a pup covered in ticks back into their house. It’s important to remember that ticks are most prevalent in the spring and summer, usually from April until September since they strive in humid, warm weather. Here are five tips so you can have a tick-free experience in the woods and an overall more pleasant outing.

A tick.

Don’t let this guy ruin your day! [Image: http://fmcpestwire.com/tackling-ticks-and-fighting-fleas/]

1. Wear light clothing so you can easily see ticks crawling around or waiting to make their move.

2. Long sleeves, long pants, and hats are your new best friend. And don’t forget to tuck those pants into your boots! In fact, bow hunters will be happy to hear that tall rubber boots are the most ideal for preventing a tick bite.

A man tucking his pants into his socks to avoid ticks.

Dress the right way to protect yourself from ticks. [Image: http://www.tickencounter.org/prevention/protect_yourself]

3. Avoid heading through dense brush or sitting directly on the ground. When walking down a trail, make sure you’re walking smack down the center of it.

4. Insect repellant (especially those with Deet in it or Permethrin) can protect both your skin and clothing. The most important spots to spray are your legs/pants, socks, and shoes. And don’t worry about the scent interfering with your hunt either—there’s plenty of scentless insect repellants available.

5. Most important is to check yourself (hair, underarms, under your knees, and basically all over!) and gun dogs frequently for ticks throughout your session. Intermittent searches can lead to finding ticks before they’ve bitten.

People spraying with insect repellant, tucking their pants into their socks, and checking their hair for ticks.

Check yourself (and your gun dog) thoroughly for ticks during your outing. [Image: http://www.northeastlandscape.com/Merrimack-Valley-Lawn-Tick-Control.htm]

These are just five handy tips to keep in mind when you’re out and pursuing your next big kill. A clear, calm mind that isn’t distracted by the thought of ticks is your best hunting tool, after all!