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Whitetail Nation: My Season in Pursuit of the Monster Buck Hardcover – November 15, 2010
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The Five Most Useless Deer Hunting Accessories:
1) Electric socks. For some reason, these socks that contain wires that are "heated" by a puny, rectangular 9-volt battery in a cheap orange vinyl holster still appear on shelves and store racks (albeit mostly in out of the way "general store"-type establishments), and they still do nothing to keep your feet warm.
2) Knives and other tools with a camo finish . Drop your knife in the woods. It has a camo finish. Retrace your steps, looking for said knife. Any questions?
3) Rechargeable cordless spotlights. They work great, but the energy burn rate is so high that your million candlepower spotlight does a fair impersonation of that old-fashioned war club that used a conga line of four D-cell batteries to create a pale yellow glow in about, oh, two-and-a-half minutes.
4) Facemasks. Sure, the idea of a mask with cutouts for the eyes, nose and mouth is a good way to deal with bitter cold. But when deer hunting, you're supposed to have peripheral vision and decent hearing. Either cowboy up and deal with the cold or stay in front of the woodstove and watch football.
5) Laser Rangefinders. I may be in a minority here, but in my experience if you can't tell how far away a deer is, you shouldn't even think of taking a whack at it. And the specific qualities a potential target must have to return an easily acquired, accurate reading are such that you can miss the opportunity to take even an absurd, Hail Mary shot because you spend so much time trying to get a lock on that little speck of brown among the trees in the distance.
The Top Five Pieces of Great Gear:1) A five foot length of rope with a Prussic knot attached. Look this one up, folks, if you hunt out of a tree stand and are concerned with your safety. The typical nylon safety belt has plastic buckles and/or metal D-rings, which amount to a fair amount of weight and a lot of noise. A simple, thick, nylon rope with a sliding Prussic knot, usually of a smaller-diameter cord, is the most versatile safety belt you can have; it weighs next to nothing, and makes no noise.
2) Portable tree stand umbrellas. These neat little devices screw into the tree above your stand, and spread out much like a regular umbrella to provide a canopy in case of rain. They may look silly in the catalogs, but they actually work, and can save you a fair amount of misery if you're determined to stick out a passing shower.
3) The Claw rifle slings. I imagine others are also making this type of sling now, but anyone who's ever had to deal with a rifle sliding around on his shoulder will appreciate the way this sling, made of some sort of rubber/plastic, actually clings to your shoulder. I'm not sure why it's so much better than the nylon, neoprene, or leather slings, but it is.
4) Bushnell Backtrack GPS. The problem for most hunters is that their time in the field is limited. Therefore, they don't use your typical hand-held GPS frequently enough to remember how to operate the danged thing. If you've ever gone into the woods with copies of a GPS user's manual's relevant pages in your pack, you know what I mean. Bushnell has simplified the concept with a very small, very light GPS unit that will save and get you back to any of five places you choose to mark.
5) Bow sling. If it takes you any amount of time to get to your tree stand, or if you like to poke around the woods, setting up on the ground in a variety of places, you know what a pain it can be to carry a compound bow with attached quiver by hand. The simple, cheap bow slings made by various companies enables you to carry the bow the way you do a rifle, and as snap shots while bow hunting are rare, you'll appreciate the convenience without having to worry about lost opportunities.
"This book has everything you could want from a hunting story: style, humor, suspense, and lots and lots of antler. Pete Bodo's Whitetail Nation is easily the best thing I've ever read on deer and deer hunting, and I've read a pile of it." – Steven Rinella, author of American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon
"An unabashed predator in the 21st century, Pete Bodo is a funny, warm and honest companion on this fascinating romp through whitetail nation. His lucid descriptions of the landscapes he traverses and his poignant expressions of the odd spiritual revelations that come with killing ensure that this is no ordinary hook and bullet story." – James Prosek, author of Trout: An Illustrated History and The Complete Angler
Top customer reviews
Now in my mid-forties, I'm embarking on a modest deer hunting avocation for the first time (not having been raised in a hunting clan, I'm a late bloomer to the sport). I've read the hunting magazines (mostly with profound bewilderment) and trolled the big box outdoor stores, gleaning what I could from the endless rows of sure-fire-solutions to problems I didn't know I had (Mr. Bodo does a fantastic job of highlighting the ironies and insanities of the hunting industry).
For me, the author has given voice and clarity to the niggling little voice some of us hear, usually while sitting at our keyboards under fluorescent lights... the voice that invites us to join in the circle of life and death, to seek a more meaningful connection to our natural world and the energy we draw from it, in all its brutality and beauty. Mr. Bodo has helped me understand my previously inexplicable desire to hunt, and to potentially enter the brotherhood (and sisterhood) and those who have chased the most elusive creature in this hemisphere.
Finally, the book is funny as hell. After reading all of the mistakes this veteran hunter has made (and is willing to admit to), I can begin my hunting career with the peace of mind that comes from knowing I will miss shots, I will get lost in the woods, I will buy gear I don't need - but eventually, I will get that deer.
It is the story of a typical East coast deer hunter that has shot numerous deer, but never a GIANT buck. In the year 2008, he decides to change all that and dedicate his season to that goal. His stories of the ensuing 2 ½ months are at times hysterical, maniacal, and deeply insightful. The book seems to me to be written for the non-hunter, to try and help them "get It" about our passion. It also touched on so many aspects of hunting here in the East and especially how it has changed over the past 10 years.
During the course of the season he hunts in New York, Montana, Texas, and Pennsylvania. His thoughts and observations are unique, deep and downright funny. He especially gives great thoughts on high fence hunting in Texas. The book opens years earlier, in Saskatchewan, where he has his first encounter with a buck of B&C caliber, the "Picket Fence". As he points out, any deer that gets a name is truly special.
I hope every deer hunter reads this book, and pass it to a non-hunter. Not an anti-hunter, they will NEVER get it. But a non-hunter might just come away with a deeper understanding of the passion that drives us all to lunacy every fall. Some parts may seem too simple or obvious, especially to the lucky hunters in the middle of our great Country, but this is not meant as a teaching aide, this book is for pure enjoyment.