April 23, 2018
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Two books to pass the time at camp

By John Holyoke, BDN Staff

As we work our way deeper into summer, your collection of seasonal reading may be running low. Just to make sure you don’t run out of entertaining camp fare prematurely, I’ve got a suggestion.

Actually, I’ve got two suggestions. The first is already in stores, and will serve you well as summer wanes. The second will be released in time to entertain you during deer season this fall.

First up is a book that instantly became one of my favorites … and at the same time frustrated me greatly.

I devoured “The Poacher’s Son” over a three-day stretch earlier this summer, and thoroughly enjoyed Paul Doiron’s debut novel.

My frustration: Since it was a debut novel, once the tale was told, there was nowhere to turn for more. (Other novels reportedly are in the works, featuring the same lead character, but patience isn’t my strong suit).

“The Poacher’s Son” focuses on fictional Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch. As you may guess, he’s the son of a notorious poacher.

When his dad is suspected of murder, Bowditch is forced to reach his own conclusions. The journey to find out the truth takes Bowditch deep into the Maine woods, where the mystery story really picks up steam.

Doiron’s full-time gig is at Down East magazine, where he’s the editor-in-chief, and his no-nonsense novel takes readers into the woods, where danger can lurk behind any tree.

I’m always looking for a good Maine author, and Doiron is one I’ll continue to watch in the future. His work compares favorably with some of my other favorite Maine authors … guys like Gerry Boyle and (dare I say it) Stephen King.

Up next is a nonfiction book (if you can truly call a book about one’s hunting adventures “nonfiction”) by Pete Bodo.

Bodo’s “Whitetail Nation, My Season in Pursuit of the Monster Buck,” is a well-crafted series of essays that takes the reader along on a quest that was years in the making.

A quick warning: The Bodo edition I read was an uncorrected publisher’s proof; If you want to read “Whitetail Nation” you’ll have to wait until its release on Nov. 15.

That timing seems perfect, however: By that time, many of us will be halfway through another deer season, and will be eager to share the frustration of another avid hunter.

From New York to Montana to Pennsylvania, Bodo vividly describes his hunting adventures, and introduces readers to some interesting characters in the process.

Bodo is also an accomplished writer, having written outdoors pieces for the New York Times and Grey’s Sporting Journal.

His latest effort isn’t your average dumbed-down deer bible. Instead, it’s a series of essays that tells some interesting tales, and in the process answers a few basic questions about hunters and hunting.

Among those: Why do we do this? And, what can we learn?

Bodo’s book will appeal to diehard hunters, who will undoubtedly feel the author’s pain during unsuccessful forays afield.

Most impressively, though, “Whitetail Nation” serves as an informative primer for those who are considering taking up hunting; he gets down to the basics without making the basics sound … well … basic.

And when he describes the scenes in the forests he visits, you’ll swear you can smell the pine needles and feel the nip of the early-morning frost.

It doesn’t get much better than that, I figure.

L.L. Bean hunting expo on tap

If you’re like me, you may have begun thinking about the upcoming hunting seasons. And if you’re like me, you may not know exactly where you stowed half of your gear at the end of last year’s adventures.

Not to worry: There’s plenty of time to figure out where all your stuff is hiding.

And L.L. Bean is planning a special weekend that can help you replenish your supplies … or upgrade, if you wish.

The iconic Maine retailer is holding its 18th annual Hunting Expo on Aug. 27-29, and beginner and veteran hunters are sure to find something they’re looking for.

The event features plenty of vendors and demonstrations, and hunters will get the chance to pick the brains of some of the industry’s top experts.

The best parts: The expo is free, and all hunting gear, apparel and footwear is discounted 20 percent.

For information on the expo, go to www.llbean.com/stores or call 877-755-2326.

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