Meridian Star

April 18, 2014

A Fine Outdoor Book

By Otha Barham / Outdoors Editor
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Michael A. Sawyers is an outdoor writer whose offerings you can't put down; that is they can't be found unfitting, and you want to rush to the next lines to the point of losing sleep or letting chores go undone. Mike is a skilled analogist, having mastered the practice of comparisons beyond most of us who write about the world outdoors. Far from worn out phrases, his parables are stimulating; often humorous.

    Sawyers' book, “Native Queen – A Celebration of the Hunting and Fishing Life,” is a pleasure to read for those of us who love the outdoor life and who can't leave words alone. He writes about the fish and game and the stunningly beautiful country around far western Maryland, specifically that little wasp-waist stretch that connects “mainland” Maryland with its western panhandle that could just as easily have been a part of Pennsylvania or West Virginia. At one point along Interstate 70, one could stand in Maryland and cast a number 12 Adams to the right and it would land in Pennsylvania, or a cast to the left would fall in West Virginia. My attempt at pinpointing Sawyers' hunting and fishing grounds is because this is one of the finest spots in the nation for a hunter/angler to live.

    Within the pages of “Native Queen” are stories from the world of fly fishing, plug and spinner casting, old fashioned squirrel hunting, gobbler chasing, deer hunting and yes, flushing that revered ruffed grouse. The mountains that surround the upper Potomac and its great fishing are covered with hardwood timber; the hickories and oaks that were so numerous here in the Deep South before the pine became king. Sawyers reminds us of listening to squirrels chewing into hickory nuts, the bits of hull falling on ankle high leaves. And his duck hunts formed many stories that the author included in the book.

    I have fished those waters and combed those woods where Sawyers' stories take place, so I know the inspiration his writings call forth. And “Native Queen” calls me to go back there for brookies and tom turkeys and gray squirrels. To order the 150 page book of 31 outdoor stories, send $10.95 plus $ 3.00 shipping and handling to Michael Sawyers, 16415 Lakewood Drive, Rawlings, MD 21557. E-mail him at for additional information.

Spring Gobbler Update

    Gobbler activity got off to a slow start in many areas of East Mississippi and where I have been hunting, things are still hard going. I had one day when I heard seven gobblers, but the birds start late and gobble only about an hour. A couple of toms appear to roost alone and hit the ground to begin their talking to attract scattered hens, traveling quickly to cover a lot of territory. This was the pattern of the fine bird I killed in 2012. Some bluebird days yield no gobbling in my hunt areas. I have heard no birds that were “hot”on the roost, and the season is flying by. Go figure.