Outdoor books for the sportsmen, naturalist

Posted on: June 27, 2017 | Bob Frye | Comments

Here’s a trio of outdoor books for the home library.
Bob Frye/Everybody Adventures

I’m a collector of books. Always have been, always will be.

So I’m always on the lookout for a good read.

Recently, I came across three, all very different, but good in their own ways.

A Fly Rod of Your Own, by John Gierach. 207 pages, hardcover, $24, Simon & Schuster.

Gierach, for those who don’t know, is a fly fisherman. This book, like all the others he’s done, is a collection of essays about his experiences.

Maybe you’re thinking that sounds familiar.

Fly fishing is a pursuit that lends itself to high-minded thinking. As a result, there have been plenty of books penned and published about it.

Gierach’s work is different.

His stories reveal him to be someone with a fierce, if sometimes outside the lines, passion for trout, water and all things wild. But they also show him to be sensibly grounded – something even he’d probably never have predicted for himself years ago, despite a classic Midwestern upbringing.

He writes with flair, of places and things many people will never see of experience. But he does so in a way that anyone can relate to.

Were you to find yourself in some fly-in camp with him, unaware of who he was, he’d seem just another slightly scruffy guy, with a proclivity for investing more in fishing equipment than houses, cars and other “necessities.”

You need not be a fly fisherman to appreciate these tales, either. If you’re a lover of fishing or just good writing, they’re captivating.

He’s definitely a favorite.

Bushcraft First Aid: A Field Guide to Wilderness Emergency Care, by Dave Canterbury and Jason Hunt. 254 pages, softcover, $16.99, Adams Media.

Where Gierach’s book is a literary gem, perfect for reading before the fire at home while waiting for a chance to get back on the water, this is one made for using in the dirt.

Canterbury, owner of Self Reliance Outfitters and former co-host of the television survival show Dual Survival, wrote three books previously. They focused on bush craft and trapping, gathering and cooking.

All are hands-on guides. If you’re not reading them in the field, the pages propped open with a rock while you practice starting a fire or setting a trap, you’re using them wrong.

This book follows in that mold.

It pays to read it before leaving home, so as to know what to pack, how to avoid accidents and injuries and what to do in the moment.

But this, like its predecessors, is a book that begs the reader to practice skills rather than just read about them. You can fumble your way through treating a blister. But treat a gunshot wound? Splint a broken arm or leg? Treat a snakebite?

This book shows you how to do all that and more.

There’s information, too, on creating a first aid kit and even making medicinal use of common plants.

The Scout’s Guide to Wild Edibles: Learn How to Forage, Prepare and Eat 40 Wild Foods, by Mike Krebill. 191 pages, softcover, $18.95, St. Lynn’s Press.

The silver maple in my back yard puts out millions of seeds each year. Most – to my annual dismay – seem to wind up in my gutters.

All this while, I could have been eating them.

Who knew?

Mike Krebill did. A member of the National Wild Foods Hall of Fame, award-winning teacher and a 56-year veteran of Boy Scouts, he’s all about teaching people who to take wild plants and turn them in to tasty meals.

The book covers all the bases. It starts with a listing of edible plants, complete with photos and descriptions on how to identify them. There’s a section on mushrooms, too.

Next, though – and this is really fun – is a section on 10 activities he’s used in scouting, in classrooms and with adults to make foraging fun and educational. Hint: that’s where eating silver maple seeds some in.

The book ends with dozens of recipes – from dandelion donuts to mayapple marmalade — food processing tips and information on where to learn more.

Read this and you’ll never look at weeds the same way again.

Bob Frye is the everybodyadventures.com editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or bfrye@535mediallc.com. See other stories, blogs, videos and more at everybodyadventures.com.

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