Sunday, April 10, 2016
“The Game Warden’s Son”
Inspired by the success of his first book, “Badges, Bears, and Eagles,” Steven T. Callan is back with more. “The Game Warden’s Son” ($14.95 in paperback from Coffeetown Press; also for Amazon Kindle) “details over a half century of wildlife adventures and investigations, beginning with my storybook childhood as the son of a California Fish and Game warden.”
He spent his high school years in Orland, tagged along with his dad whenever he could, and became a warden in 1974. Later, he “spent the remainder of his thirty-year enforcement career in Redding.” You know he’d have stories to tell.
Callan (steventcallan.com) interviewed more than a dozen retired officers from Fish and Game (later renamed Fish and Wildlife). The stories, reconstructed from available evidence and memories, with a touch of “dramatic enhancement,” range from San Diego to Orland; Chico to Redding; and beyond.
He and other wardens wage a never-ending battle against poachers, whether abalone, bears, deer, eagles, and the list goes on.
Callan has a visceral reaction to depredation. He opened the trunk of one perp and “it took all of the professionalism I could muster not to turn around and slap the cuffs on the miscreant standing next to me. The entire trunk was filled with dead song birds: mockingbirds, thrashers, robins, meadowlarks, towhees, and a single male Bullock’s oriole”--all under legal protection. Why songbirds? “Birds like this are delicacy in old country,” says the man.
Then there are the “spotlighters” who “drive around shining their headlights or handheld, high-powered spotlights into the surrounding countryside until a pair of green eyes shines back. Bang! The deer is thrown into the trunk of a car or the bed of a pickup, and away they go.”
These are stories of wardens’ dogged determination, long stakeouts, and creative stings, all for the love of nature. As a tribute to Wally Callan, his son could do no better.
Callan is the scheduled interview guest on Nancy’s Bookshelf, with host Nancy Wiegman, this Friday at 10:00 a.m. on North State Public Radio (mynspr.org, KCHO 91.7 FM). He will be signing copies of his book at the Chico Costco on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.