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Over the past four decades, Bruce L. Smith has worked with most big-game species in some of the American West’s most breathtaking and challenging landscapes. In Stories from Afield, readers join Smith on his adventures as a naturalist, sportsman, and wildlife biologist, as he pulls us into the field of learning and discovery across wilderness areas of western Montana, the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and a South African temperate forest.
Ranging from humorous to harrowing, Smith’s essays recount capturing newborn elk calves, stalking mountain goats on icy cliffs, being stranded on a mountain after riding out a helicopter crash, confrontations with bears during his research, plus quirky and edifying hunting tales. Throughout his adventures, the magnetism and danger of wild nature are ever present, reminding us that our fascination with wildness often stems from its unpredictability.
Bruce L. Smith retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2004 after a thirty-year career as a wildlife manager and scientist. He was named Wyoming’s Conservationist of the Year in 1997 and received the John and Frank Craighead Wildlife Conservation Award in 2005. His latest book, Life on the Rocks: A Portrait of the American Mountain Goat, won two National Outdoor Book Awards.
"Smith's affection for and fascination with wilderness and its inhabitants is the theme on which this collection hangs. It's infectious and inspiring, and his storytelling makes this an excellent contribution to the genre."—Erin H. Turner, Big Sky Journal
"Reflective thoughts and vibrant specifics bring a nature biologist's love of the outdoors to readers."—Kirkus
"Stories From Afield is more than one man's memoir of a life spent in service to America's rich wild heritage; in sharing the joy, wonder, humor, and dangers of being immersed in wilderness, Smith introduces audiences to a primordial, pristine, and rapidly vanishing world, with a reminder that its future is in our hands."—Kristine Morris, Foreword Reviews
“Plenty of wildness remains on this civilized and domesticated continent, and Bruce Smith has seen more than his share. These are stories to be read by the fire at the close of a winter day.”—Bill McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and author of Long Distance
“Stories from Afield is a stirring, informative, and at times gripping tale of biologist Bruce Smith’s love affair with the fauna of the Rocky Mountains as well as an impassioned reminder for all of us to become more proactive in protecting the Earth’s natural landscapes.”—Ted Kerasote, author of Merle’s Door and Bloodties
“Bruce Smith is a great storyteller. Here he once again demonstrates the powerful insights he commands as a wildlife biologist and his skill as an outdoor writer. This is a book of sweet, deeply personal tales. Savor them.”—Todd Wilkinson, environmental journalist and author of Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek