Boxes, Rockets, and Pens

A History of Wildlife Recovery in Tennessee

  • Author(s): Markham, Doug
  • Series:
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 1998-01-21
  • Status: Active
  • Available in Paper: Price $19.95 | Buy Now

White-tailed deer and wild turkeys are today so common in Tennessee that most people might find it hard to believe that these were among the state’s rare wildlife only a few decades ago. Their current abundance is due largely to the work of dedicated professionals who have undertaken reintroduction and recovery projects for endangered animals.

Boxes, Rockets, and Pens—the title refers to equipment used in the recovery and relocation of wildlife—presents a detailed history of the efforts to restore several of Tennessee’s wild animals from near extinction. Drawing from his own firsthand observations of the state’s recent wildlife history and from interviews with wildlife professionals, Doug Markham offers a series of vignettes on key recovery programs. Complementing the narrative are nearly one hundred black-and-white and color photographs, including many by the renowned nature photographer Byron Jorjorian.

Markham tells how hunters first provided the impetus for recovery projects that led to the restoration of animals such as white-tailed deer and wild turkeys, both of which struggled for survival for much of the twentieth century. He explains how wildlife management efforts eventually extended to non game species such as river otters, bald eagles, red-cockaded woodpeckers, gray bats, and even pygmy rattlesnakes. His book focuses on those animals best known to the general public and whose restoration stories are the most interesting—notably deer, turkeys, geese, eagles, otters, and black bears. A final chapter looks at some lesser-known animals and examines prospects for protecting Tennessee’s immense diversity of wildlife.

This book is an informative series of excursions into Tennessee’s own wild kingdom. It demonstrates the importance of wildlife restoration and examines issues critical to the animals’ future security. Boxes, Rockets, and Pens will be enjoyed by wildlife professionals, hunters, and nature lovers alike for it reminds us all of our link with the wild and our responsibility to conserve it.

The Author: Tennessee native Doug Markham is a journalist who since 1987 has worked as an information and education coordinator with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. He has appeared weekly since 1994 on the long-running television program Tennessee Outdoorsmen and is a co-host of the statewide radio program Volunteer Sportsman.