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Badges, Bears, and Eagles: The True Life Adventures of a California Fish and Game Warden Paperback – March 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This engrossing memoir by debut author Callan lets readers in on highlights of his 30-year career as a California wildlife officer. With a healthy dose of bravado, he always gets his perps, though he credits his fellow officers, like long-time partner Dave Szody, and the roles they've played in cases brought against poachers and other law-breakers. He recalls stories from back into the 1970's, his memory matched by a knack for pacing and recognition of how much information readers need to understand the dynamics of the cases. From beer-swilling poacher flunkies to 'entrepreneurs' dealing in black bear gall bladder for use in Chinese medicine, Callan and his partner sent a lot of wild characters to jail. The vignettes are jaw-dropping, funny, tragic, enraging, exciting, and hopeful sometimes all at once. An avid outdoorsman with respect for the land and its inhabitants, Callan shares some of the ecological and social history of each California region he's worked; while those without knowledge of hunting will soon learn the intricacies of California's byzantine regulations. Never wavering from his ideals, Callan demonstrates an enviable love of his life's work and has plenty of adventure stories to share." --Publisher's Weekly Starred Review - 4/12/13

"Exceptionally well written.... The writing style is almost flawless, and reading this gem is pure effortless joy. The variety of tales that are told keeps the book fresh throughout...." --Gerry Lister, International Game Warden magazine

"A thrilling ride into the heart of bad guy country.... The author has reconstructed his and other cases from memory, interviews, and court documents. The result is a series of suspenseful, well-written procedurals in which good triumphs, but not without a lot of foot work and tense dealings with well armed scofflaws.... It's compelling reading about true public service." --Dan Barnett, Chico Enterprise Record

"Steve Callan has written an honest and compelling memoir of his career as a warden for the California Department of Fish and Game. Game wardens usually work alone, rarely with back-up.... It's not a calling for the faint at heart, but one requiring high intelligence, tact, and insight into human nature. Californians are fortunate to have wardens of Callan's distinguished character protecting their wildlife." --Boyd Gibbons, former Director of the California Department of Fish and Game, retired President of The Johnson Foundation, and former U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Interior

"Callan is John Grisham for the Outdoorsman. Conservationists will applaud his sometimes 'unique' efforts to protect our natural resources from those who would abuse them. Whoever knew there was so much intrigue in Fish and Game cases?" --McGregor Scott, former Shasta District Attorney and former United States Attorney, Sacramento

"Most people do not think of a game warden as a detective. In Badges, Bears, and Eagles, Steve Callan--Californian, detective, environmentalist, wildlife protection officer, and outdoorsman--takes the reader on a thrilling adventure, providing an inside look at what a dedicated game warden truly does." --Randal Hendricks, sports attorney and award-winning author of Inside the Strike Zone

From the Inside Flap

"Callan's chronicle of the life of a California Fish and Game warden stands out because in addition to the typical illegal hunting and fishing cases, he provides the reader with real life examples of wardens protecting wildlife habitat and conducting exhaustive undercover operations. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book."  --Donald Koch, retired Director of the California Department of Fish and Game

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Coffeetown Press (March 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603811583
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603811583
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #796,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Award-winning author Steven T. Callan was born in San Diego, California, where he spent his early childhood. It was there that he first developed his love of nature, spending much of his spare time exploring the undeveloped canyons behind his house and learning to skin dive in the nearby ocean. In 1960, Callan's family moved to the small Northern California farm town of Orland. Steve spent his high school years playing baseball, basketball, hunting, and fishing. With an insatiable interest in wildlife, particularly waterfowl, he never missed an opportunity to ride along on patrol with his father, a California Fish and Game warden.

Callan graduated from California State University, Chico, in 1970 and continued with graduate work at California State University, Sacramento. While studying at Sacramento State, he worked as a paid intern for the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors--using this golden opportunity to lobby for protected wildlife corridors in the county's general plan.

Hired by the California Department of Fish and Game in 1974, Warden Steve Callan's first assignment was the Earp Patrol District on the Colorado River. He was promoted to patrol lieutenant in January of 1978, leaving the desert and moving to the metropolitan area of Riverside/San Bernardino. While stationed in Riverside, Callan organized and led a successful effort to ban the sale of native reptiles in California. He also organized and led a successful campaign to stop a planned recreational development at Lake Mathews--establishing the lake and its surrounding wildlands as an ecological reserve for thousands of waterfowl and Southern California's largest population of wintering bald eagles.

Transferring north to Shasta County in 1981, Lieutenant Callan spent the remainder of his thirty-year enforcement career in Redding. While supervising the warden force in Shasta County, Callan created and coordinated the Streamside Corridor Protection Plan--working with city and county planners to establish development-free setbacks along the Sacramento River and its tributaries.

In 1995, Lieutenant Steve Callan and Warden Dave Szody conducted a three-year undercover investigation into the unlawful killing of California black bears for their gallbladders, possibly the most successful wildlife related criminal investigation in California history at the time. Callan and Szody received the distinguished Frank James Memorial award for their accomplishment.

Steve and his wife Kathleen, a retired science teacher, are passionate about the environment. They are longtime members of no fewer than a dozen environmental organizations and actively promote environmental causes. They are avid bird watchers, anglers, kayakers, and scuba divers. Steve is also a wildlife artist, using photographs he takes while scuba diving for inspiration. Callan has played competitive softball throughout the United States since his college days, and in 2004, was inducted into the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame.

Badges, Bears, and Eagles, a finalist for the 2013 "Book of the Year" award from ForeWord Reviews, is Callan's debut book. He also earned the 2014 "Best Outdoor Magazine Column" Craft Award from the Outdoor Writers Association of California.

Steve can be reached at callan.coffeetownpress.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By glenys anderson on July 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found "Badges, Bears, and Eagles", to be an intriguing memoir by a fierce protector of wildlife. Steve Callan followed his dad, Wallace J. Callan, a respected Game Warden for the State of California, into a distinguished career as a compassionate, yet tough law enforcement officer. In "Badges, Bears, and Eagles" he writes of his adventures in the wild, but far more, his book is filled with drama and suspense. He tirelessly investigates and solves wildlife abuse cases and helps to convict those who commit these shocking crimes against God's most beautiful creations. Steve chronicles the teamwork and cooperation that exist among law enforcement agencies which is necessary to bring resolution and conviction to those who inflict harm and abuse to these precious gifts. These criminals often receive far less punishment than they deserve. I am hoping that there will be a sequel. I highly recommend this well-written labor of love.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kona on May 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
I recently bought Badgers, Bears, and Eagles to read. I took it home and set it on the coffee table and my husband picked it up and started reading it and loved it. He usually only reads his fly fishing magazines, but he keep saying "Great" they caught another poacher. We both love nature and wildlife and hate to see bad guys hurt it. The day he finished it his fishing buddy came by and he loaned it to him. Grrrr!!! His friend couldn't put it down either though so had it back within two days. Finally, I got to read it. I had no idea that Fish and Game Wardens had so many challanges and dangers. I really liked that each chapter was a new story, so if I was busy with something else I could put it down for awhile. I highly recommend it to everyone to read. It is amazingly interesting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jack A Edwards on March 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
I have read almost every author who writes stories about game wardens and conservation officers and how they protect the fish and wildlife resources of their respective states and provinces. Steve is the best new author I have read in years. If you have read Jim Wictum, Terry Hodges or Terry Grosz, you will love Steve Callan. I am a retired game warden and Steve took me back into the field. It felt like I was on patrol again. His stories and attention to detail are right on. You have to read this book! I am ready for his next one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fran on April 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
We all know that police officers risk there live in the line of duty, but what about game wardens? They too put their life on the line protecting our wildlife so that everyone can enjoy the natural resources.

Set during the late 70's through the mid 90's, "Badges, Bears and Eagles" by Steven Callan tells the stories of some of his and his comrades most memorable encounters during his time as game warden for the State of California.
Remember, this was a time before computers and cell phones. Car radios and handhelds were all a game warden had for communication. Many times out numbered, wardens had to use their wits along with local knowledge to stay a step ahead of the bad guys.

While this book is not as exciting as high speed chases and shootouts, it does show how dangerous the job of game warden can be. If you love nature, animals, and wildlife of all types and you want to know more about the people charged with their care, "Badges, Bears and Eagles" is a great read showing another type of law enforcement that we seldom hear about.

I did receive a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Arthur C. Lawrence on March 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
Badges, Bears, and Eagles
When Badges, Bears, and Eagles arrived in my mailbox I had just started a newly released e-book that I had consulted on as a technical adviser. I was interested to see how my advice had been put to use.
In addition, I had two novels and a war documentary I was in the middle of , not to mention a few must reads on my book shelf and one book-on-tape I was listening to while I traveled for my job.
I put the new book on the stack and vowed to get to it when I could. Then I thought, `I'll just skim it to get the feel for it.' That lead to reading a few paragraphs and the next thing you know, I'm on the last chapter.
Callan does a masterful job of drawing us in. Unlike other books about game warden adventures, this book gives us the sense that we are getting the whole story, the good and the bad. Regaled with the misadventures as well as the successes of these brave wardens we learn through clever dialogue how despicable some humans are in their treatment of our sacred natural resources.
Badges, Bears, and Eagles is a wild ride you don't want to miss.
Art
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alan on November 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
Badges, Bears and Eagles is a collection of true life happenings to a California Fish and Game Warden. As I read each of the short stories I found myself on edge as I worried about the personnel of the California Fish and Game Service. These men put themselves in harms way all the time as they work to protect our environment and wildlife. Somewhere in the book it points out that the position of Fish & Game Warden is one of the two most dangerous jobs there is (based on statistics). After you read the book you will agree with that assessment.

I would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys reading suspense and adventure novels. You will not be disappointed. It is also a great read because it is broken down in short story style that allows the reader to stop reading at the end of each short story segment. You don't have to be a hunter or fisherman to enjoy this book. I am neither a hunter or fisherman but I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
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