Former game warden’s new book an entertaining read
FRANK SARGEANT/Tribune correspondent
Published: June 1, 2013
Updated: June 1, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Backcountry Lawman, a book by Bob H. Lee, is a fast, fun read that anyone who has spent much time in the Florida outdoors will likely thoroughly enjoy.
Lee was a game warden with what is now the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for some 30 years, at a time when the state was going from pretty much anything goes in the woods to the modern conservation ethic.
Not surprisingly, as a “woods cop” he butted heads with a variety of colorful and sometimes dangerous characters, including all sorts of fish and wildlife poachers along the St. Johns River. He also was challenged occasionally by the elements and the animals in a state that was still very wild.
The book, an interesting look at Florida’s history from a unique perspective, is 250 pages long, but you might read it in one sitting if you know and love the Florida woods. There’s a confrontation and a climax in just about every chapter as Lee recalls midnight chases by boat, truck and on foot.
Lee is a natural story-teller and has a novelist’s eye for the telling detail, the smells and sounds and sights of the woods, rivers and lakes of northeast Florida. An interesting affection for some of the law-breakers shows through, as well — Lee obviously respects truly good woodsmen, which ever side of the law they happen to be on.
And when he goes on a trail, it’s a real education for anyone who ever wants to track a deer, a hog — or a man — through the woods. Lee was so good at it he eventually became the conservation commission’s man-tracking instructor.
The book is a nicely illustrated hard-back with black and white photos from Lee’s working era, beginning in 1977. It costs $24.95 from University Press of Florida (www.upf.com). It also can be ordered as an eBook and found in print at most brick and mortar bookstores.
You can meet Lee and buy signed copies of his book at the Southern Trophy Hunters Big Buck Expo, at the Florida State Fairgrounds east of Tampa, July 12-14. He will be at booth No.405.
To learn more, visit Lee’s website at http://bobhlee.com/