- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 5, 2004


With local deer hunting seasons ongoing, there are two possibilities. Either you haven’t secured a supply of venison just yet or you’re sitting back relaxing because there’s meat in the larder.

Either way, two books have just been released that can be of immense help. One will teach and enlighten, the other will simply make for enjoyable reading.

“The Deer of North America” by Leonard Lee Rue III ($24.95, paperback, 544 pages, 300 b/w and color photos, Lyons Press, Guilford, Conn., LyonsPress.com) is the 12th and latest updated version of Rue’s 1978 book by the same name. If you’re new to deer and deer hunting, it is absolutely essential that you add it to your library.

Leonard Lee Rue III is one of America’s most respected naturalists and wildlife photographers, the author of 25 wildlife books, and no one knows more about deer than he.

“With the elimination of the deer’s major predators over most of their range, man has to fill the void,” he writes and quickly introduces novice and old hand alike to everything you should know about deer — primarily the whitetailed variety, although other species are also covered. You’ll learn about the animal and its behavior, every body part and its functions, how to calculate deer weights live and dressed, its life cycles from spring through winter, wildlife management, poachers and their effect, favored foods, activity cycles, etc.

If you study every page of this book, you will become a hunting wizard and a self-made naturalist.

“The Deer Hunter’s Book” (edited by Lamar Underwood ($19.95, paperback, 460 pages, b/w sketches; Lyons Press, Guilford, Conn., LyonsPress.com) simply consists of classic hunting stories by America’s most recognized hunting writers.

You’ll be delighted by such wonderful story tellers as John Madson, whose “The Secret Life of the Cottontail Deer” will delight the reader, as will “Hunting the Mule Deer,” by none other than Theodore Roosevelt, or Ted Trueblood’s “The Old and the New,” a sentimental story of hunting with his wife, Ellen.

There are stories of hunts, of proper equipment, of deer camps, crafts and hunting techniques. But it’s the heartwarming tales of exciting outings that captivated me. The writers are a who’s-who among magazine scribes and book authors: Gordon MacQuarrie, Jack O’Connor, Gene Hill, Robert C. Ruark and many others you’ll recognize.

Gene Mueller

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