McIntrye (Days Afield), hunting editor of Sports Afield, does double duty in this splendid meditation on blood sport, delivering both a sensitive appreciation of the hunt and a practical guide to bagging wildlife from squirrels to lions. ""The way of the hunter,"" McIntyre believes, is perhaps man's oldest and freest pursuit. Once every male was a hunter by right, which leads McIntyre to some extravagant observations, one being that ""wild-animal protein. . .can be fairly claimed as the very basis of our consciousness."" His stirring defense of the hunt leans heavily on humanity's need for contact with other animals: what counts is the adversarial relationship of hunter and prey. While these arguments won't sway many vegetarians or other anti-hunters (whom McIntyre labels ""intractable moralists""), the intense, romantic, almost mystical experience of a one-on-one hunt, man against beast, is powerfully conveyed. McIntyre also drops scores of fascinating hunting tales--many drawn from his own life--as well as hints for the practitioner. He begins with a young boy tracking jack rabbits and squirrels, and works his way up through doves, ducks, deer, bears, elk, and moose to the majestic fauna of Africa (""The elephant is what the heavies, .460, .470, and above, were made for""). Not quite as lofty as Ortega y Gasset's classic Meditations on Hunting (to which McIntyre devotes a chapter), but almost as persuasive, and a far more accomplished handbook for the practical hunter. One of the best hunting books in years.