In these fine essays, Tom Davis lyrically reflects on gundogs and gamebirds; on the prairies, fields, and woodlands where they meet; on the delights of upland bird hunting and the dilemmas posed by the summons of blood. Far more literary than most chronicles of the sporting experience, his work stands squarely in the tradition of outdoor writing
represented by such greats as Aldo Leopold, Gordon MacQuarrie, Gene Hill, and Robert F. Jones.
More than recounting the highlights of a sporting life, these twenty-five essays, spanning two decades, act as a finely etched memoir. We come to know the bird dogs that have been central to Davis’s life, including the irrepressible Maggie in “Blood,” an endearing yet doomed English setter pup with the distinct aroma of a chicken. We meet family and friends, observe a marriage and its dissolution, and join in the resumption of life and love. With Davis, we are swallowed up by the immense prairies of Nebraska and South Dakota; awed by the late afternoon light in the Wisconsin northwoods; and moved by the devotion of an old dog on point. Through Davis’s deft pen, we, too, are bone weary at the end of a long day afield, and we, too, feel the elemental connection a hunter has to wild birds and the unspoiled places they inhabit.