Badges, Bears, and Eagles: The True Life Adventures of a California Fish and Game Warden

Steven T. Callan. Coffeetown (www.coffeetownpress.com), $13.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-60381-158-3
This engrossing memoir by debut author Callan lets readers in on highlights of his 30-year career as a California wildlife officer. With a healthy dose of bravado, he always gets his perps, though he credits his fellow officers, like long-time partner Dave Szody, and the roles they've played in cases brought against poachers and other law-breakers. He recalls stories from back into the 1970's, his memory matched by a knack for pacing and recognition of how much information readers need to understand the dynamics of the cases. From beer-swilling poacher flunkies to "entrepreneurs" dealing in black bear gall bladder for use in Chinese medicine, Callan and his partner sent a lot of wild characters to jail. The vignettes are jaw-dropping, funny, tragic, enraging, exciting, and hopeful—sometimes all at once. An avid outdoorsman with respect for the land and its inhabitants, Callan shares some of the ecological and social history of each California region he's worked; while those without knowledge of hunting will soon learn the intricacies of California's byzantine regulations. Never wavering from his ideals, Callan demonstrates an enviable love of his life's work and has plenty of adventure stories to share. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 04/15/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
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