he jacket states that Voices On The Wind
combines hunting tales with environmental history and
thoughtful reflection about why bird hunters do what
Indeed this is contemplative writing in the same
tradition as Chuck Fergus, who also publishes with
Countrysport Press. And it is a genre that I have
especially enjoyed over the years; I'm thinking of
authors such as George Bird Evans and Joel Vance.
I'll have to be honest and up front here: while I enjoy
this type of writing, I often don't agree with
some of the viewpoints expressed by Mason. Fergus'
most recent book had similar problems for me.
When my family gets together we usually avoid
politics. Likewise for a hunting trip, or a gathering
of field trial friends. And this book is just a little
over the top for my tastes.
"Before Europeans tampered with the continent, fire and
windstorms periodically removed mature trees, allowing
full sunlight to reach the earth and regenerate the
Mason admits "my narrations of political and natural
history are not objective, since I am not convinced
that there is such a thing as a non-interpreted fact."
And so Mason lays the white-European guilt trip on us,
never acknowledging that perhaps the Indians also
migrated to this country. With out going into
extensive detail, I just wanted to point out that the
book weaves a lot of social commentary into the
collection of hunting stories. For me, this makes it
less pleasurable. I read to escape and relax. Says
Mason: "some readers may complain that they were
expecting a nice book on bird hunting and got instead
a book on environmentalism, or religion, or death, or
philosophy." Yes, they might.
"As we crested the ridge near the swale, Rascal got the
season's first whiff of grouse. He was no longer a
wraith but a wrecking ball, snuffling like a fiend.
His tail windmilled so fast it seemed to wag him."
On the bright side, many of Mason's stories talk of
bird hunting with a Brittany and a spaniel- my
favorites. Those of us who hunt feathered game with a
dog and shotgun share many common experiences, and I
always enjoy reading about such things.
Mason has gained a following from those who had read
his magazine columns, and this book, which I believe
is his first such effort, will reward those who enjoy
his writing and perhaps convert some who have not yet