12/11/09 — Books, inexpensive gifts to pass hunter's time

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Books, inexpensive gifts to pass hunter's time

By Mike Marsh
Published in Sports on December 11, 2009 1:46 PM

Throughout the year, I read many new books on outdoor subjects. Reading is a great way to pass time in a tree stand or during a long ride at "shotgun" to a hunting destination.

Books are inexpensive gifts, are always appreciated, and help increase knowledge and enjoyment of the outdoor experience.

Two timely books by William Hovey Smith are "Backyard Deer Hunting" and "Crossbow Hunting." Never in history have deer hunters been able to find game so close to home in such large numbers. A most interesting "Backyard Hunting" chapter called "Extracting Your Deer," shows a deer being brought home with a riding lawnmower. How's that for backyard hunting?

"Backyard Hunting" covers all types of deer hunting, weapons, stands, scouting, processing meat and obtaining permission to hunt. It's a great guide for anyone who wants to learn more about deer hunting.

This year, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission passed a rule to allow anyone to hunt with a crossbow and allow crossbow hunting on Sundays. Many archery shops stocked crossbows in anticipation. But the new crossbow rules were sent to the state legislature for consideration. Whether they withstand legislative review or not, many hunters may find themselves using a crossbow under a disabled sportsman permit or hunting with them in other states.

"Crossbow Hunting" sorts out the facts of using crossbows for taking game in no-nonsense style. Smith is an expert on the use of all primitive hunting weapons.

"Birds of Eastern North America" by Paul Sterry and Brian E. Small, is a photographic field guide with bird images on every page. While the range maps, field mark descriptions and other information on each species are similar to other guides, the sharp, large photos make this one topnotch. It's particularly well suited for identification of some of the more difficult species such as warblers.

The "North Carolina Birding Trail Mountain Trail Guide" completes the three-book series, following Piedmont and Coastal Plain guides. The Mountain Trail Guide, like the others, shows photos of birds and provides maps of public lands where the birds' habitats are found, making it easy to add species to lifetime viewing lists.

Dr. Randall L Eaton has written about and videoed Native American hunters extensively in his research about how hunting ties men to Mother Earth. His latest book, "From Boys to Men of Heart -- Hunting as A Rite of Passage," questions and answers whether hunting is good for children.

Eaton is a Ph.D. behavior scientist, who produced the "Sacred Hunt." He concludes, "We all take life, but for those who participate directly in it, the food chain becomes a love chain."

Based on many hunting groups that have conserved millions of acres and provided millions of dollars for wildlife, Eaton said social justification for hunting is in its positive influence on the development of youth into responsible adults who respect life and defend nature. He cites an 85-percent success rate in helping troubled youth who have completed a survival course that includes eating game they have hunted.

"Paint the Next Sunrise" by Mark Strand gives a plan for exciting and inviting beginners to try hunting and fishing. The book is designed to shore up a nationwide decline of participation in fishing, hunting and target shooting. Step one is taking a kid fishing using a spincast reel and a floating rubber frog, which doesn't snag and is a visible toy in a child's hand until a bass strikes. The toy becomes much more when it incites that much excitement.

To contact Mike or order his outdoor books, visit www.mikemarshoutdoors.com.