Hunting News

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hunting Trips of a Ranchman and The Wilderness Hunter

Theodore Roosevelt (Author)

It's no secret that America's most bully president was also its most bully outdoorsman and conservationist; what's often forgotten was how beautifully and authoritatively he wrote about the wilderness and his considerable experiences there. These two pre-White House narratives--Ranchman was originally published in 1885, Wilderness eight years later--are rich and vivid. The former chronicles Roosevelt's sojourns in the Dakota Badlands; the latter is an extended love letter to the pleasures and challenges of outdoor life.

So what if some of his 19th-century ideas seem politically incorrect by the standards of the next century--magnificent prose is still magnificent prose. "Nowhere, not even at sea," writes the future First Hunter in one haunting passage, "does a man feel more lonely than when riding over the far-reaching seemingly never-ending plains ... [but] after a man has lived a little while on or near them, their very vastness and loneliness and their melancholy monotony have a strong fascination for him." By comparison, the isolation and weight of the Oval Office must have seemed like an afternoon stroll in the park.

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