Recommended reading for the serious sportsman-conservationist
A good book provides escape and inspires us when we can’t get outdoors. Here’s a peek at just a few of the conservation classics on our shelves.
Steve Kline, TRCP’s director of government relations, enjoys reading thousand-page historical biographies when he’s not in a duck blind, but his recommendation is not going to make you go bleary-eyed. This children’s book is about a crab who escapes the National Aquarium to clean up the Chesapeake Bay with friendly fowl and flounder, you do it.
The Farm Bill may be keeping Alex Maggos busy now, but he spent two seasons as a wildland firefighter in Utah before coming to TRCP as agriculture and private lands director. This might be why he considers this book to be required reading. Post up in a comfy chair for this story of the Great Fire of 1910, the early infancy of the U.S. Forest Service, and President Roosevelt’s response.
Kids as young as three will love the bright artwork and simple narrative in this book about the importance of healthy habitat to trout and all the things fish need to survive. Read it to your budding angler at bedtime, then wake up early to look for bugs and watch the food chain at work.
This collection of Ruark’s best Field & Stream columns brought me to tears. Although it shows its age in other ways (“It pure riles a woman to see a man having any fun that doesn’t involve work. That’s why fishing was invented, really…”), the coming-of-age story is a classic one. The “Old Man” in the title is the author’s hunting mentor, greatest critic, and best friend—his grandfather, who teaches him what it means to be a sportsman and a gentleman.
Our president and CEO Whit Fosburgh handed me this superlatively titled book about the stinky, oily baitfish known as bunker or menhaden—also known as the unsung hero of the Atlantic. If you’ve ever been striper fishing, you probably own your success to this little fish that put whaling out of business and appear in the ingredients list for makeup, cat food, and vitamin supplements.
And, by popular demand…
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
This has become a conservation classic since its first publication in 1949. According to the Aldo Leopold Foundation, it has been translated into 14 languages and more than two million copies have been printed. That seems a small number when you consider that the most recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife survey found 101.6 million Americans enjoy hunting, fishing, or wildlife watching, and A Sand County Almanac should be considered required reading for this crowd. Consider listening to the audiobook, narrated by Stewart L. Udall, who served as Secretary of the Interior for the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.
By the way, if you want to expand your conservation library and support our work to guarantee all Americans quality places to hunt and fish, shop for any of these titles via our unique Amazon Smile link or create an Amazon Smile account and select TRCP to automatically receive 0.5% of your transaction, at no additional cost to you.
Have a recommendation that we missed? Share your good reads in the comments section or on Facebook.
This was originally posted on World Book Day 2018 and has been updated to reflect one of the top suggestions from your comments. Keep ’em coming.