Title

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Frontmatter

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Acknowledgment

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The author wishes to acknowledge several sources from which many of these stories were drawn. Although a number of the articles in this . . .

Contents

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Mammalia

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The Thimble Mill Fox

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pp. 11-16

FROM FAR DOWN the valley came the first trail cry of the pack.
For a long time there had been only muted hunting noises from the Walkers as they cast through the creek . . .

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Little Brother to the Bear

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pp. 17-23

SHAMBLING THROUGH our dense river forests in the easy, flat-footed fashion of the bear, goes an American legend.
He was the reluctant haberdasher . . .

A Songdog at Work

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pp. 24-25

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Half-ounce Heller

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pp. 27-36

IN SOME OF the quiet places, where leaf mold is heavy and old logs decay on the forest floor, lives the world's most savage mammal. It's a ravening . . .

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Sleepers and Snoozers

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pp. 37-42

THE OLD WOODCHUCK labored slowly up the hill, breathing heavily and stopping often to rest. He was hogfat now that late September . . .

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The Fighting Doormat

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pp. 43-48

WHEN OLD SKIP, our favorite feist dog, began hollering his head off on the other side of the pasture hill, we didn't pay much mind. Skip was . . .

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Than a Barrel of Monkeys

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pp. 49-54

A TRIBE OF ACCOMPLISHED killers, most of the weasel clan take life seriously. There isn't much slapstick in the daily doings of a mink, ferret . . .

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Geomys

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pp. 55-60

UNDERGROUND, IN THE dark cool world of roots, grubs and earthworms, lives the Digger. He is dedicated - heart, tooth and nail - to tunnelling. He is king of the miners, this . . .

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Fawns

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pp. 61-63

GOBLINS AND ELVES have lost ground in most of today's forests.
The electric light and the picture tube have frightened them all away, driving them back into . . .

The River

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Old Man River's Shell Game

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pp. 67-80

WHEN JOE MARTELLE stepped out of his cabin door the night mists were still hanging over Harper's Slough and the first rays of . . .

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Outlaw of the Dark Sloughs

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pp. 81-86

JOHN A. GRINDLE is a stupid, vicious thug. About the only good things you can say about him are that he fights to the death, takes care . . .

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The World of Charley Gibbs

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pp. 87-96

THE OLD BURNISHED richness of October was on the land, flavored with woodsmoke and tempered with frosty nights. That morning the western . . .

Aves

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The Gloomiest Bird

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pp. 99-102

THE CREATURE called the turkey buzzard hovers over the land like a fallen angel. A great carrion bird with a naked, raddled head and . . .

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The Grand Passage

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pp. 103-106

AN OLD GANDER raised his head from a meal of three-square grass and stretched his wings in the warm Louisiana sun. Nearby, other . . .

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Man and the Mallard

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pp. 107-114

LIKE ALL LIVING things, the mallard duck is the fruit of its environment. As that environment frowns or smiles, the mallard fails or . . .

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The Bird Machine

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pp. 115-122

A BIRD IS A flash of color, a burst of song, or a high, aloof vigilance. It can be all gentleness and soft appeal, or baleful, raptorial harshness. It may . . .

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Child of Adversity

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pp. 123-126

THERE WAS THIS dude duck hunter at Big Wall Lake who'd just come ashore and was loading his new hunting gear into his new . . .

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Heron Summer

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pp. 127-132

THE ROOKERY WAS somewhere just ahead in the dense tongue of lowland forest between the Nishnabotna and Missouri . . .

The Unloved

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Br'er Toad's Secret Weapon

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pp. 135-138

AN OLD HOP TOAD isn't a very mean customer. He doesn't have much in the way of muscles, almost nothing in the tooth and claw line, and . . .

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Waterbugs

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pp. 139-141

YOU'RE NOT ALONE, fishing. Skating around your bobber on the quiet water are water striders, and that commotion on the inlet is their . . .

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The Turtle Hunters

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pp. 143-150

IT WAS EARLY JUNE and for ten days the south fork of the Skunk had been in full flood, drowning the bottomlands around Coons' Honey Stand . . .

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Beware the Paper Cities!

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pp. 151-156

My MORBID ATTRACTION to bugs that bite and sting may stem from that day on Squaw Creek nearly thirty years ago when I was sitting . . .

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The Locks of Medusa

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pp. 157-164

HUNTING POISONOUS SNAKES - whether for sport, profit, or out of some dim sense of ancestral outrage - is a tense . . .

Short Arrows from the Long Bow

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The Abashed Savage

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pp. 167-168

AMONG MODERN Americans there are two sharply divergent views of nature. At one pole is Thoreau, who declaims: "In wilderness is . . .

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Snake Liars

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pp. 169-170

OF ALL the unvarnished liars in this world, the snake liar is the worst.
It's pretty hard to beat a fishing liar or a grizzly-hunting liar, unless you ring in . . .

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The Little Sports

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pp. 171-174

WHEN THE BASS go off their feed or the squirrel hunting slows down, I turn to the little sports.
They aren't much, but I've never managed to outgrow them and they give me homey . . .

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A Wilderness of Light

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pp. 175-178

NOT so LONG AGO, between the eastern forests and the buffalo plains, there was a sea of grass and flowers.
The midland of the continent was open, rolling, . . .

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Rivers

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pp. 179-180

THERE's LIFE and purpose to a river.
Lakes are fine but they never go anywhere; they just stay at home and sleep in their basins until they die. But . . .

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The Unforgettable Feists

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pp. 181-183

LET'S TALK about hunting dogs. Not the blooded champs of stately grace and high birth, but those bandylegged heroes of a million squirrel and rabbit . . .

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Knife Talk

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pp. 185-186

POKEY CHARLEY" Thompson was a leathery, dehydrated old prospector who had dug up the landscape from British Columbia to Sonora, and . . .

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Froze Fer Meat

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pp. 187-188

IT STARTED at a high school picnic when we were teasing the girls with a big bullsnake. One of them screamed: "Why did you catch . . .

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On Crows

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pp. 189-191

EVEN IF you don't care much for the crow, you have to give him his due. I've always had a deep, almost reverent awe for the raucous old . . .

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Romany Rides Again

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pp. 193-198

IT HAS BEEN SAID that an outdoor life creates either monsters or poets. I wouldn't know about that, for I've met neither in my ramblings around . . .

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The Small Brown Bird

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pp. 199-200

WHEN I'M TOO RICKETY to hunt, and find more pleasure in polishing my guns than shooting them, I have many things to . . .

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Outdoor Wishbooks

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pp. 201-202

SOME MEN escape reality by chewing snoose, watching girls, or practicing their fast draw. Me, I'll take sporting goods catalogues every . . .

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A Place To Loaf

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pp. 203-205

IF MY INCOME ever exceeds my outgo, I'm going to have a special room.
It'll be in a house just below the crest of a hill that breaks the . . .