CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 10. . . . January, 2003
I hope this book has given you a better understanding of why people go into the outdoors to hunt. It is not only the hunting that people appreciate, it is the total experience. I hope I have also encouraged you to get out more often to appreciate the splendour of what we have and how you can help conserve the beauty that is all around us.
This small paperback is actually several books in one, with thoughtful observations on topics such as hunting, conservation and photographic methods. As such, it will appeal to a wide audience.
Len Dickinson has been active with various conservation organizations throughout Ontario and is a recipient of the Ontario Conservationist of the Year award. He is also an avid hunter. Much of the text describes his adventures in the outdoors. On virtually every page, Dickinson encourages the reader to get outside, to appreciate the beauty of nature, to really look at his surroundings. Dickinson sees hunting as a natural activity which allows him to do all of these. He promotes hunting as a conservation method as well as a way of preserving body and spirit on a more personal level. He endeavours to persuade the non-hunting reader that there is a lack of understanding between hunters and non-hunters and that hunters aren't just men whose sole purpose in life is to carry a gun and shoot "Bambi."
The book is divided according to seasons, and so we follow Dickinson on various types of hunts and scouting trips to look at animal habitat. What truly brings the seasons to life are Dickinson's striking photos for, as well as being a naturalist and a hunter, he is an excellent landscape photographer. These wonderful photos, both in colour and in black and white, showcase many animals and birds as well as beautiful landscapes, interesting buildings and even wildflowers. All are photos Dickinson has taken while hunting, and the accompanying words provide a context for them.
He sees the same skills or personality traits as necessary both for hunting and photography, i.e. patience, a willingness to be quiet and still for long periods of time, and a watchful eye.
Dickinson not only knows a great deal about the natural world, but he also cares deeply about the environment and everything in it. And for him, the sport of hunting provides a vehicle which both enables him to learn more and to act as a steward of his surroundings.
Ann Ketcheson is a former teacher of high school English and French and currently is the teacher-librarian at Peterborough Collegiate, Peterborough, Ontario.
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