Stalking the Big Bird
A Tale of Turkeys, Biologists, and Bureaucrats
State and federal wildlife agencies have for some sixty years functioned under the belief that increased knowledge produced by research improves our ability to manage wildlife. Shaw suggests that the more we know about a species, the more difficult clear decisions may often become. He offers shrewd observations on the difficulties of interpreting and implementing research results in the face of pressures exerted by government bureaucracies, non-governmental organizations, and politically powerful loggers, ranchers, land developers, and environmentalists. He also shows that management of even a common game bird may be beyond the capabilities of responsible resource management agencies. Through stories about his own experiences studying Merriam's wild turkey—anecdotes about the foibles of field work and the bureaucratic boondoggles of wildlife management—Shaw reveals some of the complexities involved in wildlife research.
Drawing on a lifetime of work and reflection, his book shows that sound research and effective management of this animal—and, by extension, others—are severely hampered by political agendas, social misunderstandings, inappropriate research, and above all, human indifference. As entertaining as it is informative, Stalking the Big Bird will be of interest to environmentalists, hunters, and resource managers—or anyone confused by the practices of modern wildlife conservation. It will help both professionals and lay readers understand our relationship with one wild subspecies, and in the process get a better handle on the true goals in managing the wild.
"Enthusiastically recommended reading for sportsmen and wildlife environmentalists alike." —The Bookwatch
"A book for environmentalists, hunters and resource managers or anyone confused by the practices of modern wildlife conservation. It will help in the understanding of one wild subspecies and perhaps give some a sense of the goals of managing the wild." —Southwest Book Review
"Using humor, wit and first hand experience, the author presents an entertaining account of a huge 20th century success story." —Wildlife Book Reviews