Good Turkey Reading

Awhile back, regular Strut Zone commentator Levi Banks gave the rest of us homework for‚ a short list of favorite outdoors, doesn't have to be just turkey, authors. He also mentioned that‚ it's tough to beat Tom Kelly, and I agree, especially as his first five books go (published 1973-1996; he's had others since too). The Tenth Legion (self-published, 1973) should be on every turkey hunter's bookshelf, along with a handful of his other titles. The Season (Lyons & Burford released my 1996 edition) is a sleeper favorite.

As other turkey books go, one of my favorites includes America's Greatest Gamebird: Archibald Rutledge's Turkey-Hunting Tales (University of South Carolina Press, 1994). Edited and selected by Jim Casada, this satisfying collection captures a bygone time period and represents Rutledge's turkey writing, including autumn and winter hunt stories. If you want to know what it was like to turkey hunt in the first half of the previous century, track down this book. It's a keeper. I go back to it frequently, if only for a little time travel.

But Levi asked about other (doesn't have to be just turkey books). Since my appointed spin is "all turkeys, all the time," (I once said that in a radio interview early on about what we do here at the SZ and it stuck), I can only quickly suggest‚Äiwhile my OL editors are looking the other way the title Jenny Willow by Mike Gaddis (The Lyons Press; mine's the 2004 edition) is one of my favorite sporting novels (a work of fiction, it involves an English setter, my favored breed, plus the West Virginia mountains and grouse hunting; it's a page-turning tale of mystery and revenge too).

It's tough to beat Gordon MacQuarrie for waterfowling stories (and trout too). The Gordon MacQuarrie Sporting Treasury (Willow Creek Press, 1998) gets some regular page turning as with the Rutledge, just to go back to those times. MacQuarrie (1900-1956) wrote easygoing masterpieces for guys like us. He hailed from Zoner Charlie Elk's neck of the woods. (You've no doubt read his stuff Charlie?)

You boys have any other titles to add to fellow Strut Zoner Mr. Levi Banks' summer reading list?

- Steve Hickoff