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Backcountry Lawman

Florida game warden details career of pursuing poachers

If you love reading “That Ain’t Smart” every month in Woods ‘n Water, you will not be able to put down Bob H. Lee’s new book “Backcountry Lawman - True Stories from a Florida Game Warden.”

Lee retired as a lieutenant from the Florida Game and Fish Commission (FWC) after 30 years of patrolling the woods of Northeast Florida and the waters of the St. Johns River.

He gives readers a look inside the secret tricks of the trade of both poachers and the officers that relentlessly chase them as they uphold their charge to protect Florida’s wildlife.

Lee’s book details the many cat and mouse games poachers and game wardens play, featuring interesting real-life characters on both sides of the law who are constantly changing their tactics to stay one step ahead of the other.

“Backcountry Lawman” puts you right in the middle of high-speed boat chases (and crashes) to catch “monkey fishermen” who use hand-cranked telephone-boxes to stun – and poach – hundreds of pounds of fish with an electric charge.

The author shares details of undercover stake-outs that left him unexpectedly urinated on; an investigation into Amtrak passenger trains that dumped liquified human waste on unsuspecting anglers below and how his “fame” resulted in countless flat tires from roofing nails being scattered in his driveway.

Lee also details some of the illegal night-hunting cases made by his agency’s first “Robo Deer” and the colorful personalities of the officers he worked with over the years.

The highlight of the book is the long-running chase to catch Roger Gunter, Putnam County’s most notorious poacher, who agreed to sit down with the author for an interview – only after he was assured that the statute of limitations had run out on his many previous run-ins with the law.

In fact, Gunter will join Lee for his very first book signing on March 15 from 2-6 p.m. at Putnam Feed and Farm Supply located at 156 SR 20 in Palatka. The two former adversaries will sit side-by-side to autograph copies of the book that chronicles some of their tense, often comical, adventures in the woods and on the waters of Northeast Florida.

“Backcountry Lawman, ”published by the University Press of Florida is available for purchase on March 12, 2013. Learn more at http://bobhlee.com/. To meet Lee in person and get an autographed copy, stop by Putnam Feed and Farm Supply in Palatka on March 15 (2-6 p.m.) or Read (Think) Books in Palatka on March 23 from 4-7 p.m.