TOM DAVIS’ “BOOK LEARNIN'” AND OTHER ODDS AND ENDS

When I first started bird hunting and fly fishing, I subscribed to numerous magazines.  However, since I started blogging and publishing a few articles and a book of my own, I haven’t read much from magazines. That is not to say that there isn’t some great writing still out there.  Rather, for me, it’s simply of matter of not having enough time to do it all.  You have to pick your poison.

Readers of this blog may be interested to hear, despite my lack of contact with the magazine world, Shawn and I have been mentioned in two recent articles in The Upland Almanac and The Pointing Dog Journal.  In The Upland Almanac, Tom Keer wrote an article in the Winter 2013 edition about a group that Shawn and I started on Facebook a few years ago called “Bird Dogs & Fly Fishing,” which has now grown to 3,000 members.  This has been a fun group to share photos and to discuss our outdoor passions.  Many of those who have been actively involved in the group have made acquaintances and friendships they would not have otherwise.  Take a look at Tom Keer’s article and look us up on Facebook and ask to join.

Last fall, I mentioned briefly on the blog our hunt with author Tom Davis in Idaho in October.  While the hunting was tough, the scenery was beautiful and the company was great.  My brother and I can attest that Tom is not only good with the pen, but is also a passionate, skilled bird hunter, with a spit-fire English Setter named, Tina.    Although–as a funny side note–I question Tom’s taste in tacos.  Over the week, we took Tom and the New York City photographer, John Loomis, multiple times to our favorite taqueria in Burley, El Mirador.  Tom and John both loved all the tacos, but praised most highly the lengua (cow tongue) tacos, which piqued my interest.  Here is my journal entry regarding this experience:

Once we finished grouse hunting, we decided to call it a day and headed to Burley for round two of tacos.  Tom and John raved about the lengua tacos.  Tom’s description was “They melt in your mouth.”  John said, “They taste like a good cut of beef.”  With that praise, I sucked it up and bought my first lengua taco.  It was just okay.  When they asked me what I thought, my response was, “I thought it tasted pretty good, but they are a little mushy.”  Tom laughed and said, “That’s what I meant by saying, ‘They melt in your mouth!'” I had the impression they both thought I was an unsophisticated hick. I guess I’ll just stick with what I know and love: The pork carnitas and spicy pork tacos were killing it!!!

Anyway, I digress.

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Tom Davis, John Loomis, and a hick from Idaho.

While there are not many  successful hunting stories to share from our week of hunting, I earlier posted on this blog about a fun conversation that Tom and I had while hunting forest grouse behind my Brittany, Misty. The conversation was about who Tom Davis thought was the greatest grouse-hunting writer of all time.  For those of you interested in reading my earlier post on this experience, here is the LINK.

Tom Davis cleans an Idaho ruffed grouse.
Tom Davis cleans an Idaho ruffed grouse.

Of course, I was intrigued when Shawn called me a few weeks ago to tell me that Tom Davis had written an article in January/February 2014 Issue of The Pointing Dog Journal  entitled, “Book Learnin'” in which he writes about this same experience and our conversation from his perspective.  So I sucked it up and drove to Hastings this past weekend and purchased the new PDJ just to read Tom’s article.  In addition to Tom’s account of our conversation, which I enjoyed, Tom wrote about some of the best bird hunting writers of all time: Gene Hill, Charley Waterman, Robert F. Jones, Havilah Babcock, Ben O. Williams, and Steve Smith.

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Author Tom Davis and Photographer John Loomis grouse hunting in Idaho.

During our walk in the golden October woods, one of things that I mentioned to Tom is that I remembered an article that he wrote quite some time ago in the PDJ about some of his favorite hunting books.  One book in particular that I purchased and read because of Tom’s article was Steve Groom’s A Pheasant Hunter’s Harvest.  I told Tom that I agreed with him that this was one of the finest books of the genre ever written and that it was far superior to the more popular book about pheasants (which shall not be named) that seems to get all of the fanfare. Recollecting this conversation, I was intrigued to read the following passage about this unsung classic:

Still, if there’s one book that seems to have fallen through the cracks, and one writer who’s never gotten the credit or attention he should have, that book is A Pheasant Hunter’s Harvest, and that writer is its author, Steve Grooms.  Grooms is remembered primarily as a “how-to” guy but there was poetry in his soul, too; and whether the tone is funny, poignant, or somewhere in-between, this collection of stories and essays always rings absolutely true. . . .

QUOTE OF THE DAY ON PHEASANT HUNTING

To sum up my thoughts on Davis’ “Book Learnin'”, I enjoyed it.  It was interesting to read Davis’ take on what makes great writing and also who the writers are that he looks up to.  I think most would agree that Tom Davis deserves a spot among these greats.  Tom’s article alone is worth the cost of the new PDJ.  Go pick up a copy.

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I like to think that our conversation last October inspired Tom Davis to write “Book Learnin'”, but don’t worry, I won’t let that go to my head.  All I have to do is remember how pitifully I shot the week we hunted together and I am once again humbled.

Thanks for stopping by!

  

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Rob Lange says:

    Nicely done, Andy, as always! Thanks.

    1. Thanks Rob, and thanks for your continued support of the blog!

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