A Hunter's Book of Days
A Hunter's Book of Days
"Back home, in the gloaming," writes author Charles Fergus, "I look for a chunk of pinkish sandstone lying in the tree strip between our house and the horse pasture. Left over after the building of our house, the stone marks my old spaniel Jenny's grave. It's covered with snow, but I find it and brush the snow from its top.... It has been a year now since Jenny died. But she's present in my mind, tied to the many memories she helped me gather in the uplands. One of those memories shines brightly for me now. It happened on a day much like this one, at a place less than a mile from Henderson Cemetery in a covert we call Christmas Tree."
A Hunter's Book of Days is a tightly structured personal narrative set in the grouse and woodcock covers surrounding Fergus's longtime home in Pennsylvania. In his articulate, flowing style, the author focuses his text around bird hunts behind his springer spaniels, including flashbacks to Jenny, a quintessential gun dog, and Caillie, his up-and-coming youngster. But A Hunter's Book of Days is far more than a chronicle of sporting memories. Within the book's chapters, Fergus deals with the loss of covers, land development, and life-altering events all neatly linked to thoughts on dogs, guns, bird hunting, love of home ground, and friendship.
"The pages are full of fond remembrance of all the components that comprise the sport: the dog-work, the companions, the nice -- and even nicer -- old guns, the hard-earned repertoire of places, and the autumn afternoons when everything clicks.... This is a great narrative of the joys of bird hunting. The sights and smells are described with a naturalist’s eye for observation, and there may be no finer written appreciation of the springer spaniel than what Fergus has written here and in his earlier work A Rough Shooting Dog." --Shooting Sportsman
"A poignant farewell to Fergus’s homeland of half a century, including the coverts and the birds he hunted there with dog and gun. Fergus has the keen eye and the knowledge of a naturalist, as well as the superb writing skills to let us feel a part of his outings." --John McGonigle, columnist for Flushing Dog, writer for Gun Dog and Upland Almanac
"Fergus deals with real things -- people, dogs, birds, and the land they call home. He writes eloquently of happiness and sorrow, life and death, gain and loss. Fergus has given us an honest and heartfelt book." --Joe Arnette, author and columnist for North American Hunter, Gun Dog, and the Ruffed Grouse Society magazine
"Fergus gives us an accurate, elegant and fresh take on the world of upland bird hunting in the 21st century. It’s a rock-solid effort, spiced with beautifully written passages and entertaining hunting stories about the birds that got away and some that did not. An entertaining book deserving of a spot in any bird-hunter’s library." -- Upland Journal
"Fergus does an excellent job of weaving the richly textured threads of hunting, natural history and the events affecting his life at the time into the fabric of an emotiuonally touching book." -- Centre Daily Times, State College, PA
"This book has some wonderful stories because they are what the author recalls most about hunting his home cover in Pennsylvania. If you like the writings of Charles Fergus you will thoroughly enjoy his latest book." New Hampshire WildlifeBuy A Hunter's Book of Days Now
- By: Charles Fergus