Heart and Blood (Paperback)

Living with Deer in America (Vintage Departures)

By Richard Nelson

Vintage, 9780679736868, 416pp.

Publication Date: September 29, 1998

List Price: 18.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


"When it comes to deer, wildness is the greatest truth. And tameness is a tender, innocent lie."  So writes Richard Nelson, award-winning author of The Island Within, in this far-ranging and deeply personal look at our complex relationship with this most beautiful, but amazingly elusive, creature.Heart and Blood: Living with Deer in America  begins with the author tracking a deer on a remote island off the Alaskan coast. From there he takes us on a kaleidoscopic journey, visiting such disparate territories of the deer as a hunting ranch in Texas; a state park in California; a Wisconsin forest on opening day of the hunting season; Fire Island, New York; and the suburbs of Denver--where the deer have become so numerous that they pose hazards to landscape, motorist, and pedestrian alike.

Nelson examines the physiology of the deer, explaining how its unique digestive system and grazing habits have enabled it to thrive in the varied environments of the United States, whether wild, suburban, or urban. He investigates the different methods of controlling the deer's skyrocketing numbers, from the more "humane  methods of relocation and sterilization, to hunting--in all its forms. Nelson also explores the role of the deer in traditional Native American life, takes us with him on a hunt, and awes us as he witnesses the birth of a fawn--an event rarely seen by humans.

By the end of this journey we understand the deep reverence in which the author holds this magnificent animal. For to know the deer is to glimpse the hidden heart of wildness itself. In Heart and Blood, Richard Nelson has produced a book of outstanding insight and intelligence that brings us closer to our natural world and, in the process, closer to our own true nature

About the Author

Richard Nelson is a cultural anthropologist whose previous books include Shadow of the Hunter, Hunters of the Northern Forest, Hunters of the Northern Ice, Make Prayers to the Raven, and The Island Within, for which he won the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding natural history writing. He is also a winner of the Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction.