Backcountry Lawman: True Stories from a Florida Game Warden

Backcountry Lawman: True Stories from a Florida Game Warden

by Bob H Lee

Paperback(Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813061283
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Publication date: 03/31/2015
Series: Florida History and Culture
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 669,521
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author


Bob H. Lee spent over three decades as a water patrol officer on the St. Johns River and a land patrol lieutenant in Putnam, St. Johns, and Flagler counties. Before retiring in 2007, he taught man-tracking classes through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Author's Notes xi

Introduction 1

1 Meeting the Enemy 3

2 How I Became a Game Warden 13

3 Midnight Ride on a Six-Gallon Gas Can 25

4 Patience 35

5 Running over Vernon Bennett 45

6 Night Poaching on a Motorcycle 55

7 All for a Sack of Fish 70

8 The Cackling Man 77

9 Reconnaissance 84

10 Warden Guy "Gator" Banks 94

11 Night Chase on the St. Johns River 105

12 Thanksgiving Turkey 118

13 Ocklawaha River Boat Chase 125

14 The Choo-Choo-Poo-Poo Case 135

15 When Feathers Fly, Birds Die 152

16 Summer Turkeys 160

17 The Daniel Boone Syndrome 169

18 Close Call 176

19 Night Run 183

20 Warden Hank Starling and Buckshot the Decoy Deer 194

21 Survival Notes 202

22 Marsh Hens, High Tides, and Warden Gator Banks 213

23 Finding Lost Tire Tracks 223

24 Burn Marks 232

Epilogue 237

Acknowledgments 243

Index 245

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Backcountry Lawman: True Stories from a Florida Game Warden 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bob H. Lee shares his exciting experience as a Florida Game Warden. This action-packed book keeps the reader's attention and reveals true to life personal encounters as Bob enforces the law. It is well-written, informative and interesting. Once the reader begins, it is very difficult to put the book down. I can't wait to read Bob's next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The problem I have is the author somewhat glorifies poachers. If these scumbags were shot on sight or had to do some real jail time the problem would be solved. They are nothing but a bunch of ignorant, stupid hillbillies and the world would be better off without them
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bob Lee’s “Backcountry Lawman” details the author’s career as a game warden in the swampy depths of Florida. He relates hysterical (and sometimes gross) events he experienced while on the job. It has everything a reader could want: perilous boat chases, late night stake-outs, poachers, and more. On a literary standpoint, Lee very clearly has a prominent authorial voice that only enhances the reading experience. When reading, I could hear a matter-of-fact, yet vaguely southern, speaker retelling these wild tales as if I was a new-found friend. Lee introduces a variety of memorable characters, such as fellow lawman “Gator” and expert poacher Gunter, in a clear and honest manner. “Backcountry Lawman” truly is an unforgettable piece that will educate you as well as entertain. Do you know what “monkey-fishing” means? No? Then, read this book to find out—you won’t regret it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a surprise!!   If you are a hunter or fisherman, this is the book for you.  Riveting tales of excitement and danger at every turn.  After reading one story, I couldn't wait to start the next. These dedicated officers keep the herds, flocks and schools of fish in healthy balance so the honest sportsman can pursue their given sport.   I know there are a lot of stories yet to be told,  I will be waiting for BC Lawman II
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bob Lee's tales of the life of a Florida Game Warden is pure native Floridian entertainment! The mark that these  lawmen have made on the state is immeasurable. Without men like these, the wildlife in the state of Florida  would be in a sad state. The adventures that these guys have is scary, funny, daring and dangerous all at the  same time. I couldn't put the book down when I got started reading. A great read! whether you're a Floridian or not. Whether you're an outdoorsman or not, this book will have you wrapped up from the beginning to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Backcountry Lawman is a delightful, entertaining, and enlightening work of truth that is a must read for any age person that enjoys the real and natural outdoors in the South. Many of the characters portrayed in these short stories remind me of fellow sportsmen who are enjoying the freedom of the outdoors that either have been there, done that, seen that, or maybe heard something about that. I personally met Bob when he first came to the "hill" to work his enforcement magic. Humility best describes his demeanor without the arrogance typically found with some enforcement officers that work those lonely hours, frightening locations, and sticky situations. Now Bob is very good at tracking, but he never did learn to track a fish through water, a shadow across rock, or a bird across sky. Meanwhile Bob, job well done!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed Backcountry Lawman! It was so exciting to read of the exploits of our Wildlife Officers. Bob Lee holds your attention from beginning to end. I hated to put it down!!! I felt compelled to contact Bob urging him to share some more stories with us. Who knew how exciting the life of a Wildlife Officer could be??? I am so happy that I purchased Bob's book and look forward to reading another!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Without a doubt Bob Lee enjoyed his 30 years as a Florida Game Warden. This funny and serious account of his trials and tribulations will keep your interest from the very first sentence. His fate often found him in very dangerous situations but the poachers had no idea what they were up against. For those who enjoy Florida and its unique population of gators, hunters, fisherman and poachers this book is for you. The woods and rivers along with all the inhabitants that make their livelihoods deep within its environs hold tales of a a life we all know is there but rarely can experience. You will find this book not only entertaining but riveting and educational. I learned so much about a way of life that I knew existed but had no idea of it's complex structure and traditions. Who needs fiction when there are Roger Gunters, Gator Banks and the likes of all those great characters that make Florida a paradise? I look forward to any future publications of Bob Lee and believe he has succeeded with this this great first novel as a recognized Florida heritage writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WOW, what a book! Having lived and worked most of my life in North Central Florida, I found myself side by side with the officers and poachers described inside this book. It was an exhilarating read through the animated pages of Backcountry Lawman. Author, friend and fellow “game warden” Bob Lee (aka “Red”), has an unusual knack for attention to detail. His specific and vivid memory of personal tactics used to catch poachers is insightful. Very few people truly understand what it takes to catch a seasoned violator “red handed”. Many of the colorful characters, both behind the badge and in front of, have common characteristics. They are calculated, mysterious and all possess a desire to either protect or exploit the natural resources of Florida. The committed officers inside the covers of this book are true professionals who have given many years of their lives, sacrificing time with family and friends, in order to provide law-abiding citizens an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors in this wild state. If you have a family member or friend who loves the outdoors, but does not take the time to read many books, this one is for them. They will not be able to stop reading as each page seemingly draws you to the next. Five stars all the way!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Backcountry" doesn't come close to describing the setting of this wonderful memoir; the places where author and game warden Bob Lee tried to catch poachers and enforce hunting and fishing laws might better be called the middle of nowhere, the boondocks, or the hinterlands. Whatever you call the setting, you won't believe the thieving characters that Lee encounters or the methods they use to catch fish and deer far beyond legal limits. You will be astonished by the very real dangers Lee's work entails---in fact, you'll see him nearly killed in the first chapter, drive "black" (without headlights) on narrow roads, miscalculate and drive his patrol boat out of a creek and into a clump of cypress, and suffer the payback of nails constantly scattered across his driveway. I'm neither a hunter nor fisherman, never poached anything in my life except eggs for breakfast, and make it a particular habit to avoid danger, so my life doesn't intersect much with Bob Lee's comical and suspenseful narrative. Whatever your background, you will enjoy an abundance of lively, personal, crazy adventures, as well as a view of, and a sincere appreciation for, the men and women who serve (for abysmal pay and difficult working conditions) the conservation mission of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Two thumbs up for Backcountry Lawmen! From the moment I read the first page I didn’t want this book to end, however I couldn’t put it down. As a Florida native who has spent countless hours on the waters of Putnam County I could relate to every story Bob Lee told. The book does a remarkable job taking you inside the lives of Florida’s Game Wardens and their ongoing pursuit of wildlife poachers in the day (and night) before modern technology played a role. Any boater who’s ever complained about being stopped by “the man” for a safety inspection needs to read this book and educate themselves on everything else these unsung heroes do to keep us safe and protect our environment. Not many people realize just how underpaid these dedicated professionals are. Most of the officers do it for the love of the job and have to work part-time jobs when they are off duty just to support their families.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy non-fictional narratives of good guys chasing bad guys through the wilds of a little known region of North Central Florida, Bob Lee's Backcountry Lawman is the book for you. Think of it as Miami Vice where the characters are not rich and famous, but merely broke and only slightly notorious; a Florida adventure where pastel colored sports coats are replaced with sleeveless tee shirts and white rubber boots. Through an artful blend of colorful characters, vivid details, and creative commentary, the author brings the reader along for a wild ride that spans his thirty years as a game warden, trying to outsmart and outrun those who would violate Florida's game laws. The Backcountry Lawman leaves the reader with a new and heightened respect for the men who worked for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Like the marshals of the old west, the wardens often worked alone at night tracking armed poachers. A task made even more dangerous due to ineffective communication equipment. Frequently outnumbered and outgunned, wardens had to rely on their wits and experience to control the moment. Considering that most of the game violations of this era were considered to be simple misdemeanors, the reader will wonder if Lee's accounts of nighttime treks through swamps, moonlight pursuits on the river, and sleeping on the hard wet floor of his open patrol boat on cold nights were the actions of a dedicated lawman or one who might be somewhat mentally deficient. Lee's vivid and honest description of the people and locations in the Backcountry Lawman brought back several fond memories. In my youth, packing little more than a bologna sandwich, I would spend hours prowling the same pine flats, cypress swamps, and bay heads where Lee pursued his nemesis, Roger Gunter. I attended church with families who derived much of their income from the river. At that time, using an electrical device to enhance their catch, though illegal, was not considered a moral deficit. It was just an alternative way that local fishermen could make an additional dollar. Early in his career Lee earned the reputation of being a hardnosed, no-nonsense lawman, completely devoid of any sense of humor. The first time I encountered Bob in the field, I found that description to be quite accurate. For some reason he found it necessary to interrupt our Sunday dove hunt. After he checked by licenses, he ejected the shells from my new Remington 1100 into the dirt, and proceeded to stop the hunt while he unsuccessfully scoured the field for exposed seed. Needless to say, he was not asked to stay for dinner. In reflection, that unpleasant demeanor probably came from working for notoriously low pay, garnering little community respect, and dealing with a legal system that trivialized the very laws he swore to enforce. One of the most compelling elements in the book is the transformation of Lee's attitude toward those he tried to arrest. It appeared that late in his career he came to the realization that even though he had chased you through the swamp, up the river, and across the lake, he could still share a cup of coffee and a sandwich with you on a cold winter's night. At less than three hundred pages, the Backcountry Lawman is a quick and enjoyable read that spurs the imagination and awards the reader with a sense of being a part of the experience. Lee's natural ability to recreate real people, places, and events through the forgotten art of storytelling makes this book one to buy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not just for the law enforcement community to read. This book offers a great insight into a culture and lifestyle that is too quickly disappearing! The Lifestyle of a Native Backwoods Floridian who struggles everyday in a battle against not only the Law but also Nature, Weather, and Modern Technology to provide for his family. The Most notorious Poacher to ever crawl out of the swamps  in North eastern Florida is none other than Roger Gunter former military man and exceptional Hunter  fantastic trapper and Vicious gator Killer! Read through four chapters of one of the Florida Fish and Games Most Wanted Poachers. A Man so sly that in over 30 years they never caught him! This book is hopefully the precedent for many more 'Gunter' adventures!
Debbie Banks More than 1 year ago
Backcountry Lawman is not only a detailed eye opener into the lives of game wardens, it allowed me to learn a little more about the career my husband had chosen since it was seldom discussed at home. In a time before cell phones and having radios that transmitted intermittently at best, not knowing was probably a blessing! Bob Lee brings you along on stakeouts and high speed boat chases while educating you on how truly dangerous the job can be. I was captivated and often amused by the stories and couldn't wait to read each chapter!
JackOWEN More than 1 year ago
Florida Game Warden Bob H. Lee's book Backcountry Lawman, (University Press of Florida), is the quintessential insider book with appeal to hunter, poacher, environmentalist and armchair voyeur alike. Lee, who retired from the GFC (Florida Game & Fresh Water Fish Commision) as a Lieutenant following 30 years patrolling the St. Johns River and wilderness surrounding it. He spent seven years writing for trade, general and specialty publications while compiling this book of his exploits. A stickler for detail, Lee's natural story-telling ability is fact-filled and fun, and a good read for fans on either side of the law. Hidden within the macho memories is an outstanding yarn of dogged persistence in the historic case of the “Choo-Choo-Poo-Poo”. That nasty incident which spoiled a nun's pleasant day fishing under a railroad bridge, resulted in a multimillion dollar Congressional Act, forcing Amtrack to update its Lincoln-era method of passenger human-waste disposal. All manner of methods and weapons from a hand-cranked telephone-box sending an electric charge into the water to stun fish, to a pizza delivery-van to mow down roadside grazing deer , were used to capture and kill wildlife. Lee was fired at in the field, and his home driveway sabotaged by foes scattering roofing-nails - which played heck to his private and work vehicle tires. It doesn't seem to matter what uniform lawmen wear. As Gilbert and Sullivan noted: “A policeman's lot is not a happy one.” Unless you're reading about it.