12/26/08 — New outdoors books allow for winter learning

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New outdoors books allow for winter learning

By Mike Marsh
Published in Sports on December 26, 2008 1:46 PM

Lots of folks ask how I've learned so much about the outdoors. The answer is that like most successful writers in any genre, I am also a prodigious reader. Everywhere I go, there is an outdoor book, magazine or newspaper within arm's reach. Many outdoor books come my way each year, whether someone passes them along or I spot them in a bookstore or sporting goods store.

Typically, I try to get reviews of the best of them out ahead of Christmas. But this year, my reading was a bit behind schedule. For those readers who received a few bucks in a Christmas card as a gift, one or more of these books would be a wise way to spend it.

Published Aug. 28, 2008, which would have been Roger Tory Peterson's 100th birthday, the "Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America" combines "Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds" and "Peterson Field Guide to the Eastern Birds" into one volume. In 1934, Roger Tory Peterson revolutionized bird watching with his "Field Guide to the Birds." The new guide moves his classic book into the digital age with 40 new paintings as well as Peterson's original paintings that have all be digitally enhanced. The book includes three hours of video podcasts, new range maps, revised text and contributions from today's prominent birding experts.

The "North Carolina Birding Trail, Piedmont Guide" and "North Carolina Birding Trail Coastal Plain Guide," are two new books by University of North Carolina Press. The mountains guide will be published during summer 2009. Each birding site description has information on directions, access information, focal species and visitor services.

"The Coyote's Guide to Connection with Nature - for Kids of all Ages and Their Mentors by" Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown is an important book for ensuring the survival of our wild areas. Recent studies show a precipitous decline in all outdoor pursuits, from visits to parks and wilderness areas to backyard camping, hiking, birding, hunting and fishing trips. Experts of the Wilderness Awareness School teach mentors how to pass on appreciation of the outdoors in an extremely comprehensive book. Field exercises, such as how to see like an owl, hear like a deer and touch like a raccoon help students cement a bond with Nature. The book can be purchased at www.wildernessawareness.org.

"Pro Tactics Catfish" is the latest book by catfishing expert, Keith "Catfish Sutton." It gives anglers the information needed to target monster blue, channel and flathead catfish in all waters. Sutton also shares secrets for catching smaller species for unrivalled feasts.

"The Crappie Book - Basics and Beyond" by Keith Sutton, is another winner. Crappie are the second-most sought freshwater fish behind largemouth bass and Sutton shares his secrets for catching them. For more information log-on to www.stoegerpublishing.com or www.catfishdude@sbcglobal.net.

"Wifezilla! - Married to a Fire-Breathing Angel" by television and print media personality Jim Shockey is a wild ride in comedic adventure in a collection of his columns. Shockey somehow enticed a silver screen star into the Northern woods to share a rugged life. The marriage is culture clash setting the stage for Shockey's self-deprecating brand of backwoods humor. The story can be purchased at www.ihuntbooks.com.

"Spin Fishing Basics - How to Catch Fish on a Spinning Rod even if You've Never Fished Before," by Francis P. Pandolfi and Jono Padolfi teaches anyone how to use the world's most popular style of fishing gear. Everything is covered, from buying the rod, reel and line, to tying knots, putting line on the reel, casting reeling, lures, live baits and maintenance of equipment. It can be found www.burfordbooks.com.

"Unforgettable Bowhunters - Inside the Lives of the Sport's Most Famous and Infamous Personalities" by M.R. James, gives biographical accounts of some of the world's top hunting archers, including Fred Bear, Ted Nugent, Chuck Adams and Nathan Anderson. It also delves into the darker side of intentional and unintentional violations that felled high-profile archers as surely as the game they had taken with bows and arrows. Noel Feather and Roger Rothhaar lost high-profile hunting media careers over improperly tagging a single deer. Robert Hansen, a famous archer, was also a psychopathic killer who hunted human prey in the most chilling manner imaginable.