Spaniel Journal Home Page

Voices on the Wind by C. Stanley "Chad" Mason

The jacket states that Voices On The Wind combines hunting tales with environmental history and thoughtful reflection about why bird hunters do what they do.

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 forest."

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 been exposed.

Copies of this book are available from:
Spaniel Journal Bookstore

A Hunter's Book of Days
by Charles Fergus
Countrysport Press
ISBN 0-89272-579-6

Bill Fawcett resides in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with his wife, Cindy, and his springer, Jenna. He is a hunter, field trialer and member of the M-AHSC. He also maintains a public FB ESS pedigree database at

In his other life, he is an electronics manager for the Commonwealth of Virginia and has been active in the field of radio communications for over thirty years. He is anxiously awaiting retirement so that he can play with dogs full time and leave those stupid radios behind.

| Bookstore | The Bookshelf | Advertise on SJ | Classifieds | Resources | Events | Point Standings | Letters | Archives | Spaniel Journal |
| Cindy Cooke | Mark Haglin | Chip Schleider | Wilma Parker | ESSFTA | Loretta Baughan |

Copyright © Spaniel Journal & L Baughan Webdesign, 2002-2005, all rights reserved worldwide