Jim Dean, longtime editor of Wildlife in North Carolina, offers his personal observations on the pleasures and frustrations of hunting, fishing, camping, and other outdoor pursuits. Dogs That Point, Fish That Bite draws together fifty of the best columns that Dean has written for the magazine over the last seventeen years. The witty, sometimes poignant pieces are arranged into a loose chronicle of the sporting year, with a generous allowance for digression: the first is set in April, on the opening day of trout season, and the last tells of a New Year's Day spent alone in a mountain cabin.
At first glance, hunting and fishing are the focus of most of the columns. Often, however, Dean is after bigger game. A crab that escapes the pot leads him to reflect on the capricious nature of life. The restoration of a cabin at the old family farm evokes memories of family and simpler times. And a May panfishing trip takes on the quality of ritual, performed by two old friends. The consistent theme uniting all the essays is the celebration of wild places and rural traditions that have become endangered in our modern world.