Of the many nature-themed books appearing this season, “Remembering the Greats: Profiles of Turkey Hunting’s Old Masters” by Rock Hill resident and seasoned writer Jim Casada would be of particular interest to the optimistic but long-suffering “les enfants perdus” (the lost children) of hunting.
Casada, retired Winthrop University history professor, lecturer and award-winning author of numerous magazine articles and books on hunt-ing, fishing, firearms, conservation and other outdoor-related topics, has turned his experienced gaze loose on a subject for which he has considerably more than a passing familiarity: turkey hunting.
To be more specific, he has refined that subject to focus on the old masters of the sport, 27 individuals whose involvement, inventions or literary contributions form the bedrock of the lore and legends of this abiding passion.
Of noteworthy interest to Palmetto State readers are the three native inclusions: Archibald Rutledge of McClellanville, Henry Edwards Davis of Florence and Neil Cost of Greenwood.
Rutledge and Davis were acknowledged for their literary contributions and Cost for his innovative call making.
Other stories include callmakers Tom Gaskins, Tom Turpin and M.L Lynch and bards of the sport such as Gene Nunnery, Roger Latham and Simon Everitt.
Had he not been the author, Casada himself would have been a natural inclusion in such a book of the sport’s luminaries in light of his years of thoughtful and enlightening published commentary on the topic.
In addition to being a dedicated turkey hunter, he is a serious collector of turkey hunting memorabilia, including vintage calls. He personally knew many of the subjects he wrote about.
However, Casada as well as several other equally contributory “Turkey Men,” could not have been included because of the author’s exclusionary criteria: they are still alive.
These stories reveal much of the fascination, if not the outright addiction, of this sport, one of the last of the real “hunts,” where woods acumen, knowledge of the quarry and steely nerves are requisites for success.
Casada, ever the scholar, has included a meticulous and complete bibliography of each of his 27 subjects, revealing the vast library of turkey-hunting information beginning in the middle of the 19th century.
For more information, go to www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com.
Ben McC. Moise is a retired South Carolina game warden and writer.