If you’re nuts for books like I am, sometimes the next best thing to being outdoors is reading about it.
A good tale can inspire you to get out more, to better appreciate each trip afield, educate you on how to enjoy a bit more success and more.
Three books I’ve seen recently – on three different subjects — captured my attention. Maybe they will yours, too.
Keystone Fly Fishing (Headwaterbooks.com, $29.95, 586 pages, paperback).
The statewide fly fishing guide is not new. It’s a rather familiar vehicle, in fact. Countless have been written.
There are some things unique about this one that makes it stand out, though.
For one thing it’s not the work of one angler-author, but nine. For another it’s not just about trout. There’s information on how and where to use flies to catch everything from smallmouth bass and northern pike to carp and even bowfin.
“It’s not just a fly fishing guide or a trout guide. It’s a fishing guide,” said Len Lichvar of Somerset County, a member of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and one of the book’s authors.
Included with each water description is information on access, what flies and other gear to use and a little bit of what it feels like to be there. There are maps, too, and photos, most so stunningly beautiful that they alone make you want to pack up the rod and go.
Blood on the Leaves (Lyons Press, $16.95, 310 pages, paperback).
There was a time, apparently, when every shooting that occurred in the woods was treated as just another hunting accident. Investigations were often short and even sometimes incomplete.
Written by three state wildlife agency professional hunting accident investigators, this book shows how modern situations are handled. It’s like CSI in the woods, to hear these tales.
The book offers an in-depth look at a number of accidents – and some shootings not so accidental – and explains how officers determine who shot who and why. The who-done-its make some good mystery reading.
The book’s real value, though, is that it will get you thinking safety before you pull that next trigger.
Turkey Men (Wild River Press, $49.95, 210 pages, hardcover).
This one is for the die-hard turkey hunter. Not just because of the price – that’s what it costs to get a hardback, full-color book – but because of the content.
It includes interviews with six men, two of them native Pennsylvanians, who achieved what’s known as the “U.S. Wild Turkey Super Slam.” That involves killing a bird in the 49 states that have turkeys (Alaska is the exception).
How rare is that? According to author Thomas Pero, 235 times as many people have climbed to the top of Mt. Everest than have recorded a super slam.
There’s an introduction to each hunter, then his story, presented in a question and answer format. The effect is to hear each one explain his adventures very much in his own language.
It’s fascinating to see how the men are different and how, often, they’re the same.
A second volume of the book, featuring additional super slam hunters, is expected out later, perhaps even in 2017.
I’ll look forward to that one, too.