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Badges Bears and Eagles

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Over his 30 years as a wildlife protection officer for the California Department of Fish and Game, Steve Callan and his working partner, Dave Szody, conducted some of the most fascinating, complex and highly successful wildlife investigations in California history. They also collected a wealth of true stories--action-packed, suspenseful and often humorous.

Over his thirty-year career as a wildlife protection officer for the California Department of Fish and Game, Steve Callan and his longtime working partner, Dave Szody, conducted some of the most fascinating, complex and highly successful wildlife investigations in California history. They also collected a wealth of true stories--action-packed, suspenseful and often humorous. In Badges, Bears and Eagles, Steve provides a vivid first-person account of his adventures. The author and his colleagues outsmart game hogs, thwart fish thieves, and foil outlaws with names like "Squeaky." Steve is even stalked by African lions and mauled by a five-hundred pound Bengal tiger. One of the most important cases of his career begins with a slain bald eagle dropped on the doorstep of the Fish and Game office, along with a note threatening the life of a fellow warden. A decade later, Steve and Dave conduct the investigation of their lives, uncovering a statewide criminal conspiracy to kill California black bears for their valuable gall bladders. It's not all about catching bad guys--in "Saving Lake Mathews," Steve chronicles how he helped save a beloved wildlife sanctuary from developers.


Epicenter Press
Book Format
Original Languages
Number of Pages
Steve Callan
Publication Date
March, 2013
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
8.90 x 6.00 x 0.70 Inches

Customer Reviews

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1-4 of 4 reviews

This is a topic that I...

This is a topic that I very much enjoy reading about so am reviewing in comparison to several other similar books.  Callan writes about his decades spent all over California in various settings, which made the book very enjoyable to me.  I got to spend some time with  him vicariously in the southern Californian desert as well as the mountains of northern California AND even time in the urban setting of Riverside and San Bernardino, which was new to me for this field.   In addition to the information on the different geographical settings, or rather along with, there is information about the different animal life of those areas. I learned a lot about fish poaching and using illegal methods of fishing that were interesting as well as info about reptiles.  I don't like fishing or hunting and the catch and release program drives me crazy.  Poor fish!  Oh God I'm caught!  No wait......I'm free!   oh NOOOO I'm caught again.  So what I found interesting was not learning to fish, but rather the ecological implications for the earth and the different methods of poaching.  You know it was that old thing that if the poachers would put as much energy into work as they do poaching, they might all be rich.   The urban setting was focused on exotic animals often used in the film industry, as well as those just kept by collectors. The reading became more difficult as Callan moved more into larger mammals such as elk, deer, bears, etc.  Sorry to be so prejudiced, but I like bears better than fish and hurting them creeps me out more.  There was a lot of info on the market for bear gall bladders as medicine.  The intricacy of the whole poaching and marketing is pretty amazing and the author goes into detail about the undercover work involved.  I found it very interesting especially as I am familiar with the areas covered in the book.  The relationships between the poachers was fascinating.  The author also talked a lot about the relationships between game wardens as well as relations with other agencies. I very much enjoyed this four star read. Thanks to the publisher for giving me an early review copy of this book.  I read the ebook.

We all know that polic...

We all know that police officers risk there live in the line of duty, but what about game wardens? They too put their life on the line protecting our wildlife so that everyone can enjoy the natural resources. Set during the late 70's through the mid 90's, "Badges, Bears and Eagles" by Steven Callan tells the stories of some of his and his comrades most memorable encounters during his time as game warden for the State of California. Remember, this was a time before computers and cell phones. Car radios and handhelds were all a game warden had for communication. Many times out numbered, wardens had to use their wits along with local knowledge to stay a step ahead of the bad guys. While this book is not as exciting as high speed chases and shootouts, it does show how dangerous the job of game warden can be. If you love nature, animals, and wildlife of all types and you want to know more about the people charged with their care, "Badges, Bears and Eagles" is a great read showing another type of law enforcement that we seldom hear about. I did receive a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I have mixed feelings ...

I have mixed feelings about this book. The topic is one I am interested in and the author has a lot of experience and many stories to tell. The challenge is the quality of the writing, which is mediocre and the shortage of supporting details. I am interested to find out that the author discovered a chuckwalla in a bucket in a poacher's car - but I would have like a little more description of what a chuckwalla looks like, how it lives and why poachers want them. Throughout the book I kept wishing I could stop the author and ask some questions about the stories that were being told. In spite of this, the stories that are told are interesting and unusual and definitely give the flavor of the life of a California Fish and Game Warden. Worth reading.

I received this as par...

I received this as part of the Early Reviewers program. Generally is was a fairly interesting read. I have a background in biology & environmental sciences anyway so that may have helped. The title, however, gives the impression that this will be the stories of a *single* game warden. It pretty quickly becomes about a group of them, though a larger percentage are Warden Szody's. I can understand wanting to include all pertinent details, but listing out an entire warrant really is a bit much than is necessary. Also, references are made to retirement as early as ch. 9, not even half way through the book. And lastly, the conclusion wraps up a bit fast. I understand trying to sum up a bunch of anecdotes can be difficult, but it really needs doing.

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Electrode, Comp-812500717, DC-prod-az-southcentralus-16, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.0, SHA-4c05261de7b7524702d8d137579365498522abc0, CID-bf855a38-cb8-16dec8aef22504, Generated: Mon, 21 Oct 2019 04:19:51 GMT