One of the beliefs that civilized men continue to share with primitive societies is that a degree of manhood is best achieved through the self discipline imposed by hunting well. The author makes a strong case for this belief through the development of 16 year old Joey Moncrief, from clumsy, thoughtless amateur to committed, if inarticulate, sportsman. Set in the early 1900's most of Joey's story takes place at The Pond, a hunting preserve recently purchased by Joey's father. The caretaker is Mr. Ben, a reformed wreck of society from Joey's home city, Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Ben watches, comments and, on occasion, helps as Joey learns about himself while learning to hunt. Control is the hunter's hallmark and in addition to ready aim, Joey acquires the control of blind selfishness, pride, patience and compassion. He learns these difficult lessons, as well as many others, in the scenes that the author handles beautifully -- the stalking and taking of small game. Joey is more unsophisticated than most of his peer group in the race for college space today could afford to be, but under the author's hand a boy does grow through the magic of the hunt. This is Dutton's Nature Award Book and follows last year's winner, Rascal. masculine readership is assured.