At the end of each issue of Sporting Classics, we feature quotes and passages from the annals of outdoor literature submitted by you, our readers. It’s always fun for us to see what you’ve been reading and what lines stick with you long after you’ve put down a book or story. These classic lines also spur us to continue publishing thought-provoking articles in hopes that they too will affect sportsmen and be remembered.
We’ve provided the quotes from the March/April 2015 issue below, and we invite you to send your favorite lines to us at quotes[at]sportingclassics.com for a chance at seeing them in print. If we do choose your entry, we’ll sign you up for a free year’s subscription to the magazine as a token of gratitude.
A grown man walking in the rain with a sodden bird dog at his heel who can smile at you and say with the kind of conviction that brings the warmth out in the open: “I’d rather be here doing this, right now, than anything else in the world,” is the man who has discovered that the wealth of the world is not something that is merely bought and sold. —Gene Hill, A Hunter’s Fireside Book, 1972. Submitted by Jon Osborn of Holland, Michigan.
How like fish we are ready, nay eager, to seize upon whatever new thing some wind of circumstance shakes down upon the river of time. And how we rue our haste, finding the gilded morsel to contain a hook. Even so, I think there is some virtue in eagerness, whether its object prove true or false. How utterly dull would be a wholly prudent man, or trout, or world! —Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, 1949. Submitted by Roger A. Bradley of East Petersburg, Pennsylvania.
Above came a swift whisper of wings, and as the loons saw us they called wildly in alarm, increased the speed of their flight, and took their laughing with them into the gathering dusk. Then came the answers we had been waiting for, and the shores echoed and re-echoed until they seemed to throb with the music. This was the symbol of the lake country, the sound that more than any other typifies the rocks and waters and forests of the wilderness. —Sigurd F. Olson, Listening Point, 1958. Submitted by Jack Voytko of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Every experience of Mankind is made legitimate by the story that grows from it, and without the story, often the experience is meaningless or forgotten. —Doug Underhill, Salmon Country, New Brunswick’s Great Angling Rivers, 2011. Submitted by Art Wheaton of Forest City, Maine.
The connection between hunter and the outdoors is engrained in the hunter’s soul. We belong to a brotherhood passionate with reverence for the theater of nature where serenity is found in the songbird’s morning chorus and tranquility drawn from the absence of human noise. Such natural beauty and absolute peace could have inspired the Psalmists to write their best verses of praise to our Creator who gave us the gift of nature’s sanctuary. —Mark Morgan, What About My Ducks, 2014. Submitted by Charles Orndorff of Vincennes, Indiana.
Montana. Wyoming. Romantic words to a Southern boy running away from things comfortable and toward the uninhabited. He ran to the beat of a high lonesome sound, a sound like the Appalachian fiddle of his native mountains, a sound like a hunting coyote, like the wind across the muzzle of a double-barrel shotgun carried at port arms in lofty places. —Robert Holthouser, A High, Lonesome Call, 2001. Submitted by Larry Brooks of Greensboro, North Carolina.
There is a different feel about a hunting gun. It carries fond memories. Used with skill, it provides special meat for the table, healthy meat, meat that carries the spirit of the wild and has flavors that were known to our ancestors millions of years ago. —James A. Swan, In Defense of Hunting, 1995. Submitted by David R. Drinan of Somers, Connecticut.
For more quotes, check out Ernest Hemingway’s greatest passages about hunting and fishing.
Cover image from Important American Game Birds by Edward Howe Forbush. Illustration by Lynn Bogue Hunt. Made available by Internet Archive.