A HUNTER'S BOOK OF DAYS
Author: Charles Fergus
Publisher: NATIONAL BOOK NETWORK, May 2005
A personal narrative about dogs, guns, bird hunting, love of home ground, & friendship, set in the grouse & woodcock cover surrounding the author's home in Pennsylvania. 6 B&W illus by Rod Crossman; 6x9 inches, 176 pgs.
"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.
WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING:
"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."
"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.
But I don?t know what else to do, other than to keep on savoring life. The way to live it to the fullest is to do the things that make your heart sing ... to put your nose behind a dog?s ear and breathe in its smell, to climb high and hunt hard, to pursue beautiful birds that are doing their own level best to escape you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Charles Fergus is a full-time writer who has published numerous articles in national magazines, and who has both fiction and nonfiction books to his credit, including the well-received A Rough-Shooting Dog and Gun Dog Breeds. Although he lived in central Pennsylvania most of his life, he now resides in East Burke, Vermont, with his wife, his son, and his springer spaniel, Caillie.