Chad Love: On Old-School How-To

I try to blog about books and writing as much as the online editors will let me get away with, and I thought it interesting that today I received in the mail three books with a Field & Stream connection.

The first is The American Hunting Dog, copyright 1916 by Field & Stream Publishing Co. and written by former (and I'm assuming late) Field & Stream editor Warren H. Miller. The second is The Experts' Book of Upland Bird and Waterfowl Hunting, copyright 1975, edited by David E. Petzal. The third is He Loved The Dog, The Bill Tarrant Story by Mike Gould, a dog trainer Tarrant often featured in his writing.

I'm not at all familiar with Warren Miller's writing, but I am fascinated with the early history of gun dogs in America so even if it turns out to be written in that florid, stiff-legged prose so prevalent back then I'll probably enjoy it. I'm also not familiar with Mike Gould's book, but its subject is a favorite author of mine so I'll probably enjoy it as well.

David Petzal's book is interesting, however, especially in relation to this recent blog post in which many of you lamented the lack of real stories in today's outdoor writing.

Now, The Experts' Book Of Upland Bird & Waterfowl Hunting is ostensibly a "how-to" book, and a lot of us, it seems, are pretty damn tired of "how-to" anything. But what if how-to was written in a way that didn't sound like how-to? I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, but I did read the chapter on dove hunting written by Bob Brister and I'll be damned if I can find a single bit of outright "how-to" in the entire first part of the chapter. All I can find is a great story that taught me a few things in its telling.