BEAST OF NEVER, CAT OF GOD: The Hunt for the Mountain Lion East of the Mississippi

Bob Butz, Author, Jay W. Tischendof, Foreword by . Lyons $22.95 (243p) ISBN 978-1-59228-446-7

Cougars have long been thought extinct in Michigan, but a coterie of environmentalists and wildlife enthusiasts, led by Michigan Wildlife Conservancy biologist Patrick Rusz, believe otherwise. In this engaging study of a wild animal and its human acolytes, journalist Butz traipses around with Rusz in search of droppings, paw prints, mauled deer carcasses and the testimony of people who have sighted the elusive beasts. He maintains a critical distance from the obsessive and sometimes off-putting Rusz and from his antagonists at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, who remain dismissive of mounting evidence of the cat's presence. Butz, who was eventually granted his own magical glimpse of a prowling cougar, writes evocatively of the animal's habits and charisma. He makes it the focus of a larger panorama of backwoods northern Michigan, a hunter's paradise, with a quirky population of outdoorsmen and conservationists for whom the cougar offers both the promise and the pitfalls of an element of nature that can't be readily bent to human purposes. The result is a beguiling mixture of scientific lore, meditative natural history and vivid reportage. Photos. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/06/2004
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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