By Hal Herring
Ten years or so ago, a good friend of mine made a movie called The Naturalist, about an eccentric wanderer of Arkansas’ Buffalo River country. Kent Bonar, the subject of the film, was raised in the woods by his grandfather and a bunch of old-time coon hunters and hound dog men.
Bonar has remained true to the tradition. He keeps a half dozen hunting dogs, doesn’t drive, lives in a falling down house in the woods, and spends his days walking, carrying a light pack, a falling axe, a pistol and his pencils and paper, pausing to sketch and describe every aspect of the plants, animals and fish of this country where he was born, raised and chose to never leave. Bonar is an artist of the first order (although he stoutly rejects the term “artist,” saying he just draws what’s already there) and is also known, these days, as “the John Muir of the Ozarks.” He’s a fierce and irreverent advocate for conserving the Buffalo River country.