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Hunting & Fishing Library

Hunting & Fishing in Sierra magazine:

Sierra Magazine: September/October 2014 Interview: "Life Itself Is a Risky Process" A professor explains why she needs to hunt By Reed McManus

Sierra Magazine: July/August 2001 Why I Hunt by Rick Bass

Sierra Magazine: July/August 2006 Angling for a Healthy River A fly fisherman wades in to save the Au Sable

Sierra Magazine: March/April 2003 Straight Shooter A Wyoming hunter fights for a West left wild


Caribou Rising By Rick Bass Sierra Club Books 2004

The eloquent voice of Rick Bass has been raised often in celebration and defense of America's surviving wilderness and the big wild animals that live there, in acclaimed books such as Wild to the Heart, The Ninemile Wolves, and The Lost Grizzlies. Now, in Caribou Rising, he journeys from his beloved Yaak Valley in Montana to Alaska, to witness firsthand one of the sole remaining landscapes on Earth where the wild is entirely untrammeled--America's Serengeti, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It is a place where great caribou herds gather, calve, and migrate as they did in the Pleistocene, and where the ancient bond between animals and human hunters still informs daily life.

Bass's avid desire to meet this landscape and its native people, the Gwich- in, had several sources. A hunter himself since his Mississippi childhood, he now pursues game with a primal passion coupled with an environmentalist's conscience, providing nearly all the meat his family consumes. He hoped to kill one caribou and bring home its meat. But the deeper intent of that act was to enter, even briefly, the experience of the Gwich- in, who have been following, relying on, and praying to the caribou for 10,000 years, in a relationship parallel to that of the Plains tribes and the buffalo. The more urgent impulse for his journey was that the Refuge, along with the caribou and the Gwich- in, faces ruin if the oil industry and its minions in government get their way. Rather than fight for it in the abstract, Bass wanted to find out for himself--and share with readers--what we really stand to lose if the Arctic Refuge is opened to drilling.

Bass's Arctic sojourn brings surprises and unexpected rewards. The caribou's late arrival gives him some downtime in remote Arctic Village, the Gwich- in's home at the base of the Brooks Range. Waiting to travel upriver, Bass walks the land, talks to villagers about their lives, and interviews their leaders. Through him we meet Sarah James, a matriarch wise in the ways of Beltway politics; Trimble Gilbert, an Episcopal priest who kills a caribou for a village-wide barbecue while Bass is in town; and the mysterious Jimi, designated the village's chief hunter. Bass ponders the profound differences between this culture and ours: "the gunmetal hardness of their lives," their casual acceptance of physical risk, and their visceral knowledge that none can exist outside the community. And he reflects on the timeless dance of human, caribou, and land in this place.

While a great many Americans are concerned about assaults on the Arctic National wildlife Refuge, not all are aware that a culture is at risk along with the 129,000 caribou of the Porcupine herd--so, as Bass observes, "the caribou. . . will either save the the Gwich- in one last time, or not." Those who read his extraordinary testament to the place, its animals, and its people will understand the interconnectedness of the three and will have all the more reason to make a stand with conviction. "It is here that we are being challenged," Bass writes, "with the responsibility of imagination and of discipline, attributes we as a country once had in spades. . . . It is not the caribou, nor the Gwich- in, who are being given one more chance. It is we who are being given one more chance."

The River Why by David James Duncan

A coming-of-age novel, The River Why is set among the salmon and steelhead rivers of the Oregon coast. The action follows the irreverent young hero Gus Orviston as he goes, fly rod in hand, questing after love, lunkers and enlightenment. The River Why was first published nearly two decades ago by Sierra Club Books which will be publishing a 20th Anniversary Edition for 2003.

My Story as Told by Water by David James Duncan

In this collection of essays, the author of The River Why traces his connection to the rivers of the Pacific Northwest and the imperiled salmon that are native to them. Writer Thomas McGuane called My Story as Told by Water -- a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award -- "vivid and important, full of urgent news about living on earth." Published by Sierra Club Books, Duncan's book, is equal parts thoughtful contemplation and impassioned call to action.

A River Runs Through It by Norman MacLean

Norman MacLean's now-famous tale, set in early 20th Century Montana, tells the story of a father and sons unable to communicate except through their love of fly-fishing. Elegiac in tone, A River Runs Through It is both a fraternal love song and a quasi-religious invocation of angling as sacred rite. A book for every sportsman's - and perhaps every family's - library.

Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

Without doubt this is one of the towering classics in the conservationist canon, a book to place alongside Henry David Thoreau's Walden and Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. Leopold, the famous forest ranger, hunter and champion of the "land ethic" wrote his Almanac from the vantage of a shack along the banks of the Wisconsin River from whence he contemplated nature and a ruminated on a life spent outdoors. Leopold's sincerest hope was that men would find a way to live on the land and develop what he called an "ecological conscience."

A Hunter's Heart Collected by David Peterson

David Peterson has pulled together a collection of essays by notable outdoorsmen ranging from former president Jimmy Carter to Sports Afield's Robert F. Jones, from the cantankerous grumblings of Edward Abbey to the sensitive musings of Terry Tempest Williams. Subtitled Honest Essays on Blood Sport, the book takes an unflinching, searching look at the act of stalking and killing wild game.

Hunting Trips of a Ranchman and The Wilderness Hunter by Theodore Roosevelt

These two accounts, first published in 1885 and now available in a single volume, were written by Roosevelt during his time as a rancher in the Dakota Bad Lands and provide detailed descriptions of the people and animals he encountered there. The future president here shows himself to be a thoroughgoing naturalist and budding conservationist as well as an enthusiastic hunter.

American Sportsmen and the Origins of Conservation by John F. Reiger

A major work of environmental history, Reiger's volume traces the development of wilderness conservation in America. The book spans a period from the 1870s when sport hunters first began organizing to protect game, to the mid-twentieth century when Aldo Leopold's "conservation ethic" began to take hold.

Rifle In Hand: How Wild America Was Saved by James Posewitz

This is the third volume in the series of books (Beyond Fair Chase and Inherit The Hunt) that examines the contributions that hunters have played in restoring the wild lands and wildlife of North America. The North American Conservation model was first envisioned by such hunter-conservationists as Theodore Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, and George Bird Grinnell.

Rewilding North America: A Vision for Conservation in the 21st Century by Dave Foreman

Dave Foreman sets out a bold vision for restoring large carnivores to ecological landscape. He argues from a scientific perspective for a North American wide view of species protection and restoration by looking back historically at how much damage has been done to natural ecosystems. He then reports the good work that is being done today and then lays out a plan for fully implementing a North American conservation vision.

In Defense of Hunting Yesterday and Today by James Swan

Nature writer and environmentalist James Swan provides a modern-day defense for why hunting is still necessary. He addresses some of the reasons why humans still go afield in search of sustenance and the many contributions that hunters have made to restoring wildlife and habitat in North America.

Meditations on Hunting by Jose Ortega Y Gasset, et al

This book written by a 19th-century Spanish philosopher was one of the earliest published works about the ethics of hunting. Gasset outlines the principles of the sportsmen's code and explores the biological and cultural roots of hunting.

Mortal Stakes: Hunters and Hunting in Contemporary America by Jan E. Dizard University of Massachusetts Press 2003

In Mortal Stakes Jan E. Dizard examines the place of hunting in contemporary America. Drawing on detailed interviews with hunters as well as opinion surveys and demographic statistics, he analyzes the meanings these men and women attach to hunting and situates this traditional activity in its current setting. He looks at who hunts, how they compare socially and politically with nonhunters, and how they see themselves and are seen by others.

With fewer and fewer American closely linked to the land, hunting seems less ordinary and less necessary. As the gulf between hunters and nonhunters widens, hunters have begun to think of themselves as a minority group which, like other minorities, suffers from prejudice and stereotyping. As a result, Dizard argues, hunting is fast becoming one more front in an expanding 'culture war' over what it means to be American.

Woman the Hunter by Mary Zeiss Stange Beacon press 1997

Woman the Hunter juxtaposes unsettingly beautiful accounts of the author's own experiences hunting deer, antelope and elk with an argument that builds on the work of thinkers from Aldo Leopold to Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Exploring how women and men relate to nature and violence, Mary Zeiss Stange demonstrates how false assumptions about women and about hunting permeate contemporary thinking.

Heart Shots: Women Write About Hunting Edited by Mary Zeiss Stange Stackpole Books 2003

There are differences in the way women go about hunting and telling its story. Some are subtle and some are startling. In this marvelous collection a full range of writers from hard-edged realists to contemplative naturalists express the complex thought and emotion that constitute hunting with intelligence and insight.

Bloodties: Nature, Culture and the Hunt By Ted Kerasote Random House 1993

Why do people hunt? What possesses humans to kill their fellow creatures? In Bloodties, naturalist Ted Kerasote explores such provocative questions, taking readers on adventurous journeys to the ends of the earth while dramatizing the debate over our proper relationship with the animal kingdom.

An American Crusade For Wildlife By James B. Trefethen Winchester Press 1975 A Boone & Crockett Club Book

An American Crusade for Wildlife traces the evolution of public attitudes toward wildlife, from their origins among the first settlers through the present day. It describes in vivid detail the conflicts between conservationists and two opposing groups of extremists - the exploiters on the one hand and the somewhat utopian preservationists on the other. And it spotlights the development of laws and polices that emerged from these conflicts.

Restoring America's Wildlife United States Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service 1986

In Restoring America's Wildlife, more than 30 recognized authorities describe the positive impact the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (Pittman-Robertson) Act of 1937 has had in securing America's native biodiversity. The Act, which levies an excise tax on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment has generated more than $5 billion dollars for wildlife conservation efforts around the nation and contributed significantly to restoring healthy numbers of black bear, bighorn sheep, pronghorn and many other species of wildlife.

Want more? Browse our very own Sierra Club Books, publishers of great environmental texts, from the canonical works of John Muir to

. From instructional manuals to wilderness guides, natural history to social commentary, Sierra Club Books has it all.

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