Reading is my favorite pastime. I find myself loving some of the material that other outdoor writers have written over a long period of time, and I’ve taken the liberty of gathering together some of my favorite quotes. I hope you enjoy them.
I’ve had the distinct pleasure of reading the words of these men, and in several cases, of having known them, and when life troubles me, it becomes very easy to submerge myself in their words. Doing so never ceases to ease my burden. — Dave
As he gets closer, it will dawn on you that there is simply no place you can go to avoid his six tons of murder. He can easily outrun the fastest sprinter with his deceptive shuffle, and if you’re thinking about climbing a tree, don’t bother. He’ll either knock you out of it personally or toot up a couple of chums to share in the festivities. If 12,000 pounds of screaming, screeching, infuriated elephant bearing down on you has somehow rattled your nerves to the point that you miss that six-by-four-inch spot on his forehead, or your bullet fails to penetrate the two-and-one-half feet of tough, spongy, honeycombed bone that protects his brain, then you may as well forget it. The most talented mortuary cosmetician in the world couldn’t rewire you so your own mother would know if you were face up or down. — Peter Hathaway Capstick on elephant hunting.
Forever old and forever new, a sunrise is always and never the same. — Havilah Babcock on sunrises.
I wanted to see the cleaving flight of feathered migrators splitting the wind before me. I wanted to behold the suddenly tightening grip of the winter upon my beloved lakes and marshes—watch the country say its last goodbye to warm wind and drowsy rain before the white blanket of another season gently covered every dry stalk and patient pine. The day was one for moods. The sun was somewhere behind the black, wooly mass overhead. It struck me as I watched the stingy daylight grow that it is not all of duck hunting to hunt ducks. — Gordon MacQuarrie on waterfowl hunting.
The cast itself was indecently easy and, finally releasing it, the little Adams sped out on its quest, hung poised in midair for an instant, then settled sleepily upon the water like a thistle, uncurling before the leader like the languid outward unfolding of a ballerina’s arm. – Robert Traver on fly fishing for trout.
It is not, he muttered, the hasty ascent up the thorn tree when you are being chased by a rhino that hurts so much. It is that long trip down. – Robert Ruark on hunting rhinos.
When you are fishing alone, you had better bring your fish home if you want your friends and family to believe you. On the other hand, the return of a larger trout to the stream without a witness can result in a fine sense of superiority. – R. Palmer Baker on fly fishing.
Now it is pleasant to hunt something that you want very much over a long period of time, being outwitted, outmaneuvered and failing at the end of each day, but having the hunt and knowing every time you are out that, sooner or later, your luck will change and that you will get the chance that you are seeking. But it is not pleasant to have a time limit by which you must get your kudu or perhaps never get it, nor even see one. It is not the way hunting should be. – Ernest Hemingway on hunting.
A tarpon is mightier than an elephant, stronger than a water buffalo, smarter than a hyena, prettier than a movie queen. He is a bright, sparkling silver bird who, when he gets the plug in his teeth, will rear like a stallion, buck like a bronco, and prance like a deer. He is the leapin’est bit of fish flesh in the ocean. – Joe Brooks on tarpon fishing.
We keep our memories in the same place we bury dogs and pals who are no longer with us. We keep these treasures in the vaults that hold the sights of geese pitching into a set of field decoys and quail buzzing our of a brushy corner by a split-rail fence. And when the time comes when it’s easier to remember old times than to gather up new ones, it is to this place that we go, you and I, to watch for the flight at sunset. – Steve Smith on bird hunting.
Or it may be said that hunting is ever a love-affair. The hunter is in love with the game; real hunters are animal lovers. – Isek Dinesen on hunting.
Not only did turkeys originate Murphy’s Law, they have rewritten several of its postulates. After what they make go wrong has gone wrong, and then gotten worse, they really get down to work and create trouble. – Tom Kelly on turkey hunting.
The deer hunter habitually watches the next bend; the duck hunter watches the skyline; the bird hunter watches the dog; the non-hunter does not watch. – Aldo Leopold on hunting.
There is another answer to the question of why man hunts. He hunted before he had fire. If he was brave and skillful his family ate. If not, they starved. He no longer hunts from necessity. He has inherited the love and enjoyment of it, as the artist has inherited the skills and desires of the primitive man who first drew pictures on the wall of a cave. When he no longer does it he will be a far weaker man than he is today. – Ben East of hunting.
I never go to rivers to kill hecatombs of trout or, actually, any trout; I go to unkill parts of myself that otherwise might die. – Nick Lyons on trout fishing.
Time is probably more generous and healing to an angler than to any other individual. The wind, the sun, the open, the colors and smells, the loneliness of the sea or the solitude of the stream work some kind of magic. – Zane Grey on fishing.
Retrieving is what makes the difference between a good dog and a great one. It is the icing on the cake, the cherry atop the sundae, the lace on a bride’s pajamas. – Havilah Babcock on bird hunting.
The uncertainty that most of us find in trout fishing is one of its most obvious charms; it draws us back to running water every April that the gods allot us and keeps us waving old age away with a rod and a looping line. – Odell Shepard on trout fishing.
The sad fact is that wooing trout is like wooing certain attractive and mettlesome women: they will not play unless they are in the mood—and moreover think of it first. – Robert Traver on trout fishing.
I fish not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important, but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant—and not nearly as much fun. – Robert Traver on fishing.
To the sensitive gunner nothing can equal a bird and a dog and a gun in trilogy. – George Bird Evans on bird hunting.
If a man is really intelligent, there’s practically nothing a good dog can’t teach him. – Robert Ruark on hunting.
It is grouse time again. I need no calendar to tell me that. The old drummer has found his log and the staccato beat of his wings is audible in the stillness of the October afternoon. The woodcock has begun their long migration, and the fall ducks are in. The red gods are calling and I must go. – Burton Spiller on hunting upland game birds.
A goose represents the rebel in all of us and because they’re wild and free, they have a certain quality that shines out and makes us wish that we were not bound to labor in life, but rather that we could drift as they do with the seasons. – Paul Bernsen on waterfowl.
Long ago I learned that my hunting is not just for me, or horns, or recognition. It is a search for what hunting can give me, an effort to win once again that flash of insight that I have had a few times: That swift, sure intuition of how ancient hunters felt and what real hunting—honest-to-God real hunting–is all about. It is a timeless effort to close that magic circle of man, wildness and animal. – John Madson on the outdoors.
The closer one lives to nature, the less he is affected by the chances and changes of life. – Archibald Rutledge on nature.
However it may be with other sportsmen, the angler for trout is chiefly engaged in the collection of pleasant memories. The enthusiast can remember many an empty creel, but never an empty fishing day, for he casts his flies into beauty and draws them back over the waters of peace. – Odell Shepard on trout fishing.
I still enjoy the company of most dogs more than that of most people, because dogs are capable of uncomplicated enthusiasm. — John Gierach on personal hunting thoughts.