Skip to content

Book reveals tales of poaching close to home

Randy Nelson’s second book a collection of tales from across North America

A Kamloops author and former fisheries officer is behind a new collection of poaching stories gathered from every Canadian province and U.S. state.

The Wildest Hunt is the work of Randy Nelson, who had a 35-year career as a fisheries officer that began before he even knew what a salmon looked like.

It is Nelson’s second book. It builds on the success of his 2014 book, Poachers, Polluters and Politics, which detailed stories from his career.

For his latest book, Nelson was the one on the hunt, scouring North America for the best poaching stories he could find and leaning on his connections to hear directly from those who lived them.

“In every story except about three, I connected with investigating officers to get direct information that has never been told,” Nelson told KTW.

Nelson said he wanted people to understand the nature of poachers and how often poaching occurs.

“Most poaching books are written about elephants and rhinoceros and everything is about African animals, but poaching happens in our backyard,” he said.

A particularly chilling tale comes from New Hampshire. In An Officer’s Worst Nightmare, Nelson tells the tale of an ambushed conservation officer who likely only survived because the bullet ricocheted off his badge.

Nelson recalled the story as particularly spine-tingling. He said he did not include stories where officers were killed — but those stories are not hard to find in a career that is often dangerous.

The retired fisheries officer will be holding a book signing on Sunday, July 31, at Chapters, 1395 Hillside Dr., from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The book will also be available on Amazon toward the end of August.

His previous book, also from B.C. publisher Harbour Publishing, is in its second printing.

Nelson’s second career as a writer came about when he decided to write down what he had experienced as a conservation officer. After sharing some of those stories, he was urged to try to get a book published.

“Someone said, ‘You can’t write a book in 2.5 months,’ and I said, ‘I didn’t write a book — I just wrote down stories,’” he said.

Nelson said he was so immersed in writing his second book that he would start making calls at 7 a.m. to talk to conservation officers on the east coast, leaning on connections he made at past conventions.

Profits from Nelson’s debut book went to the North American Game Warden Museum. Half of the profits from The Wildest Hunt will go toward the Fallen Officer Fund, which is for families of fish and wildlife officers who were killed in the line of duty.