Book Review – In The Land Of The Bear

As we started sneaking through the oats toward the shooting platform, the guide all of a sudden, grabs my arm and whispers, 'Tom, stop! Big bear to right.' He motions for me to get my gun up and swing right.

book cover“I slowly brought up the rifle and eased right. I was looking for, a bear 80 to 100 yards away. Then, I see this bear just 30 yards away with its head down in the oats. I started shaking like a leaf as I tried to get the scope on it.  About the time I'm on it, the guide grabs my arm again and says, 'Tom, stop! Bigger bear to left!'

“Now I'm really getting nervous!  I started easing back around toward the left, again looking for a bear 80 to 100 yards out. But what do I see? Another, even bigger, bear just 35 yards away! Oh my! Now I'm starting to shake even harder as I try to bring the rifle around to the left. Just about the time I get the gun around, the guide grabs my arm again and says, 'Tom, stop! Biggest bear in front!'

“I looked back around toward the front and saw this big bear standing on its back legs with its nose high in the air trying to smell us. This bear was 100 yards away but …I lost it! We were surrounded by bears!—Excerpt from In The Land Of The Bear

Outdoor writer and outfitter Denny Geurink has compiled a unique and detailed view of hunting in Russia from the era of glasnost and perestroika to the modern Russia.

In The Land Of The Bear takes the reader on a journey that encompasses 25 years of danger, adventure and an intimate look at the people and culture of Russia. One that very few Americans have ever seen. Invited to be one of the first Americans to hunt in post-Cold War Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Denny was not a little reticent to accept that first invitation. Especially when he learned, literally days before his departure, that hard line communists had imprisoned Mikhail Gorbachev in an attempted coup. Fortunately, as we now know, the coup failed and the hunt went on more or less as planned.

It’s these details and observations that set this book apart from other hunting-focused books. While Geurink covers the excitement and adventure of hunting moose, boar, stag and, of course, the grand Amur bear, he also takes the time to delve into the culture and daily lives of the Russian people.

A recurring theme that runs through this book is the acceptance and friendship extended by the people Denny encounters. Especially in the early years of his travels to Russia. As he relates in conversation with one of his early hunting guides, who just happened to be a former KGB operative, “We don’t hate Americans. We never hated Americans. We never wanted to fight you. Let the politicians fight each other. We just want to be friends.” This eye-opening statement set the tone for future interactions with the Russian people and his obvious respect for them.

Denny uses equal measures of observation and humor in telling this tale. From trying to find a restaurant in Moscow in the early Nineties, hunting with KGB operatives and U.S. Space heroes, or defining the best and worst types of hunters one encounters as an outfitter, Denny gives a rare insight to the challenges and rewards that come from sharing his passion with like minded compatriots.

Simply put, In The Land Of The Bear is a must read for the hunter or armchair adventurist. Denny Geurink takes you to an exotic yet familiar land in a way that anyone can relate to.

Look for In The Land Of The Bear at www.targetcommbooks

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