Reviews

From Gray’s Sporting Journal by Christopher Camuto
November/December, 2011

CamutoReviewEdit

 

From The Hunting Report
by Barbara Crown, Editor
March 21, 2011

BAREBOW! is more than a masterful collection of stories detailing a 40-year quest to take all 29 huntable big-game species in North America with a bow. Author Dennis Dunn seamlessly accomplishes several things at once and leaves you glad for it. First, there’s Dunn’s story-telling style, which has a way of absorbing you into the tale. He evokes the richness and warmth of your own experiences and memories. As you read along, you relive your own earnest efforts to take that “first” game animal, hunt a mythic honey hole you thought you would never get to access, experience the honor of hunting with a respected guru, and feel the heartbreak of failing to connect despite doing everything right. Reading the stories, you share Dunn’s awe, anxiety, anticipation and disappointment, the satisfaction of the effort nonetheless and, of course, the elation of success. Dr. Robert Speegle perhaps describes it best in the book’s Foreword when he says, “he places the reader into each situation with ease: You are there! He describes so beautifully those very special, serendipitous vignettes of Mother Nature that are reserved for the relatively few people who ever venture into the truly wild places of the world.”

BAREBOW! is also a book about why we hunt, where we stand in the natural order, and our role as stewards of wildlife and wild places. What is it that drives us as hunters and how do we get non-hunters to understand why we hunt and why hunting is good and necessary for the balanced well-being of our wildlife? Dunn explores all of this, framing the beginning and ending of the book with an eloquent discussion on the hunter’s role. He intertwines philosophy, statistics and experience into a message that permeates the book but is smooth, educational, entertaining and convincing without feeling like a lecture.

Throughout the book, the realistic and comfortably familiar artwork of wildlife artists Hayden Lambson and son Dallen Lambson illustrates each chapter. Dunn also provides maps and taxonomic data for each species, as generously provided to him by Safari Club International. The book has won many awards from outdoor writing organizations, including first place for Excellence in Craft from the Northwest Outdoor Writers Association, the 2010 POMA Mossy Oak Pinnacle Award and numerous others. At 10 x 15 inches in size and nine pounds in weight, BAREBOW! is an impressive book. You can confidently place it on your coffee table and know that hunters and non-hunters alike will enjoy the art, the stories and the compelling message of how hunters best commune with Mother Nature.

Click here to read the preface of BAREBOW!

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Outdoor Life Review

 

From PETERSEN’S HUNTING Magazine
by Wayne Van Zwoll
February/March 2010 issue

“I hardly had time to get an arrow nocked and drawn. Having to think on your knees in front of a charging grizzly has a way of speeding up your thought processes. Either he would not see the obstacle in his path and would run right over the top of me, or else…..”

Archer Dennis Dunn didn’t kill that bear. In fact, he traveled North seven times before he made an 8-yard lung shot that anchored the biggest grizzly ever taken by an archer of record. That’s a hunt worth the telling; but it’s just one of 29 North American big game animals. Dunn wanted to take them all “barebow.” Using stick bows and compound bows without sights, he completed that quest in September, 2004. But his accomplishment consumes only a few paragraphs in this new, gigantic and lavishly illustrated book. The best part of hunting is in the process, not the product. Dunn takes us not only on trips that brought him luck, but on those that left him empty-handed. He tells about missing a pronghorn at 11 yards, of losing a desert ram to a thief, of hard trails and disappointments every hunter has known. He writes forthrightly, but with the intensity of one with memories still vivid.

What’s most unusual about this book is what it is not it is not a photo album of carcasses. Noted artist Hayden Lambson (who first impressed me with paintings for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation) and son Dallen have illustrated BAREBOW! with images of live animals. Though he makes no apology for killing, Dunn doesn’t let collecting get in the way of hunting. His appreciation for the rigors of the chase, for the country and the animals themselves, comes through on every page. This book brims with emotion. Besides celebrating trophies, it focuses on the adventure to be found in the wild. It’s a book you’ll show to people who don’t hunt, especially to people who can’t understand why others do.

 

From SPORTING CLASSICS Magazine
by Jim Casada
November/December 2009 issue

An exquisite new coffee table book documents in words and art the author’s fair chase pursuit of 29 species of big game with a ‘barebow.’

Coffee table books aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. After all, most of them cost a mighty hefty stack of dimes. Nonetheless, each year brings a number of large-format books that range greatly in merit, from nothing more than eye candy to works of great quality.

Big, lavishly produced books have been with us about as long as the genre of sporting titles. Fairly early in the 19th century, William Cornwallis Harris, with his Portraits of the Game and Wild Animals of Southern Africa (1840), set an exceedingly high standard for such books. Other similarly impressive works emerged throughout the Victorian era, including John Guille Millais’ A Breath from the Veldt and Count Potocki’s Sport in Somaliland.

The trend has continued, with exponential expansion in quantity (though not necessarily quality) right up until today. On the shelves in my home office are scores of coffee table books. Some are genuine treasures; others are little more than high-dollar trash. That’s why, when I hear about a new book with the physical features usually associated with the genre folio size, high-quality paper, extensive use of art or photographs, perhaps both a limited and regular edition I tend to be skeptical.

That was precisely my reaction when Randy Eaton contacted me about a new book written by one of his friends. I agreed to give the book a look-see, as I always do, but didn’t make any promises about coverage, praise, or anything else. No honest reviewer will promise such things in advance. In truth, I e-mailed something to the effect of “send it along, I’ll be glad to peruse it,” and then promptly forgot all about it. A few days later, that attitude changed in a big way. Dennis Dunn’s BAREBOW! An Archer’s Fair-Chase Taking of North America’s Big-game 29 came to hand.

It is an impressive work in every sense. For starters, it is huge, measuring 10 1/2 by 15 1/2 inches and weighing a whopping 9 1/4 pounds. Then there is the artwork: dozens of illustrations by talented father-andson wildlife artists Hayden and Dallen Lambson. Dallen’s superb pencil drawings are the perfect complement to Hayden’s oil paintings, which depict all the North American big-game animals listed by the Pope and Young Club.

The 500-page book also features striking photography; basic facts on each species, including description, behavior, habitat, and distribution; maps showing where each species is found; and quotations from fine writers at the end of each chapter.

The heart of BAREBOW!, however, what takes it well beyond the plateau of a nicely produced volume of the coffee table genre, involves the author’s lifelong quest for the continent’s big-game species with a “barebow” (i.e., instinctive shooting without any assistance from sights, distance pins, or other archery aids). This isn’t just a chronicle of one success after another of the sort all too common on today’s outdoor television programs. There are failures aplenty, and Dunn’s quest covered a full four decades before he took his last animal, an Alaskan Brown Bear, in 2004.

All animals were taken under strictly fair chase conditions; there was no hunting within fenced areas or under so much as a hint of “special” circumstances. Indeed, 17 of Dunn’s kills have made the Pope and Young record books, which attests to his passion, persistence, and skill.

Dunn’s quest for each animal is described in detail, in effect presenting an unfolding hunter’s autobiography. He writes well, and his words make it obvious that his senses embrace the ethos of the hunt — mood, setting, spirituality, and the bittersweetness of that magical moment when an arrow flies on a true, telling path to its target. This is a book to be read and pondered by anyone who treasures fine writing, holds a deep appreciation for wild places and the animals that inhabit them, or who seeks a full understanding of the special link between predator and prey that bowhunting provides. BAREBOW! will appear in this magazine’s catalog section, which lists other high-quality books, collectibles, and other items. That’s apt testimony to how much we think of it.

 

From THE WOMEN’S OUTDOOR WIRE
By Liz Madison
November 18, 2009

BAREBOW! The perfect gift

I’d just returned from my annual fishing trip with my Dad, when three of the stories you will find in BAREBOW! arrived in my email inbox. Dennis Dunn had promised me a sneak peak of his epic work, “BAREBOW! An Archer’s Fair-Chase Taking of the North America’s Big-Game 29.”

I promised myself that I would take a quick look and then email Dennis with my impressions. Two hours later, I leaned back in my chair and marveled at the stories I had just read, the places to which the stories had transported me, and the vivid wildlife scenes I had witnessed. I wanted to call my Dad, my daughter and my brothers to share these stories. Dennis’ work captured how truly magnificent this nation is in both wildlife and landscapes and left me smiling and in awe.

BAREBOW! also magically unlocked the mysteries of a secret language that until now was revealed by my eldest brother, a bow-hunter, and my father, a rifleman, occasionally as they talked of their hunting adventures in a shorthand known only to them.

Dennis captures America’s wilds like Jack London with the wit and humor of Mark Twain in more than 100 campfire tales. His words transported me into the wilderness of America such that I felt like I too had crawled on my belly up onto the back edge of an Alaska mesa to witness the majesty in a band of Dall’s Sheep.

A mere reply to sender would not do. I called Dennis. “Dennis, these stories are amazing. When do you publish, I have an extensive holiday list. I’ve been writing about these animals and their habitat for nearly thirty years but my descriptions pale in comparison to your work.” Dennis replied, “Wait until you see the artist’s prints. I teamed up with Hayden Lambson, and he produced the first-ever gallery of the Big-Game 29 in oil.”

“Sign me up,” I told him. “Let’s start with four copies of the Limited Edition. I’ll need one for my Dad, my brother, the bow-hunter, my younger brother, the artist, and a signed copy for my library.”

When Dad received BAREBOW!, he laid it on the kitchen table and carefully slid it out of its case. He was beaming. We were celebrating his 71st birthday. We began looking at the art work and reading stories. Mom soon joined us. My father reached over and took my mother’s hand and said, “Honey, we are going to need to change the will. Sis already gave a copy to the boys, but there are grandsons to consider.”

I saw my brother the bow-hunter a week later. The grin on his face reminded me of childhood mischief. “Did you like the book?” I asked. “Sis, it’s the most beautiful book I’ve ever owned. Jason and Andy came in the shop to take a look. I told them, ‘Your Aunt sent that to me. You can look but don’t touch it!'” We laughed and began discussing the stories.

I called my younger brother. “Did you like the book?” He was quiet. Then he let out a long breath. He spoke in a rapid pace. “Sis, this book is marvelous. The paintings stir the soul. And I see that Hayden’s son, Dallen, contributed the wildlife drawings. The talent it takes to capture such realism. I’ve always been proud of what you do in conservation and this book really shows just how important it is to preserve places in the wild. Not just for the wildlife but for us.” We talked for an hour.

Start your adventures with family and friends in the outdoors with BAREBOW!

 

From the Editors of Hunting Illustrated Magazine
Summer 2009 issue

 

A review by Bill Krenz, Editor of BOWHUNT AMERICA
October 2009 issue

 

A review by Don Muggli for Bear Hunting Magazine
(Jan./Feb., ’09 issue)

This 504-page coffee-table-style book is strikingly elegant in its large format of 15″ X 10″. It weighs nine pounds and is nearly two inches thick. The captivating painting of a grizzly bear on the front cover sets the tone for the high-quality standards that are maintained throughout, and is just one of 30 color plates of all the North American species painted for the book by renowned Idaho artist Hayden Lambson. This is a book which will be highly prized by those fortunate enough to own it, and I would be surprised if it does not become a much-sought-after collectable.

Only 16 individuals have taken all the species of North American big-game with a bow, and the author was the first to take all 29 with a “barebow”, i.e., a bow with no sighting devices attached. The hunter’s arrows were guided only by instinct and experience. Dennis Dunn is clearly the epitome of a proficient bowhunter, and his writing skills and photographic talents are no less than his hunting skills. The book includes 104 short stories of adventure and misadventure, 60 stunning color photographs taken by Dunn, plus many outstanding wildlife pencil drawings by Hayden’s son, Dallen Lambson.

The book is comprised of 29 chapters, one chapter covering each big-game species. There are four chapters, comprising 77 pages, devoted to bears; these chapters are titled, Black Bear, Polar Bear, Grizzly Bear and Alaskan Brown Bear. Each of these chapters contains multiple hunting stories as Dunn conducted 7 Grizzly Bear hunts, 7 Alaskan Brown Bear hunts and 2 Polar Bear hunts, for a total of 172 days spent pursuing the 3 most dangerous of the N. A. carnivores. This book contains more than enough real-life, enthralling stories about bear hunting to merit a review in this magazine.

Dr. James A. Swan stated in his book In Defense of Hunting, “The person who can tell good hunting stories, ones in which all the elements of the setting can be felt as if you are there, is a gift to mankind. Among tribal societies, gifted storytellers are believed to be able to heal people just with their words and rhymes. Such artisans come to their talent not so much by being skilled at speech as by being filled with spirit and able to share their energies and wisdom as a transmission of power.” In reading this book, it is obvious to me that Dennis Dunn is “filled with spirit.”

The four chapters on bear hunting are worth every penny of the purchase price, and the additional 25 chapters are, so to speak, thrown in for free!

I give this book my highest mark, a 4 paws rating; it is simply magnificent!

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