Varmint Hunter's Digest by Jim Dougherty

Varmint Hunter's Digest - The How-To Book for Varminters

by Jim Dougherty
DBI Books (1977)

Jim Dougherty's classic, Varmint Hunter's Digest may seem a bit dated now, but it ranks near the top of the list of the all-time best of the coyote hunting genre. It was a model for those who followed, both hunters and authors. Well-organized, filled with pertinent and useful hunting and shooting tips, and still superior to almost all the coyote hunting manuals that came before or since, this book even generated a bit of controversy among Jim's club scene in the southwest. Some hunters with the "knowledge" actually felt slightly betrayed when this book was released and considered it "too much information" given away to the general public too freely. Even if it wasn't responsible for the surge of interest in predator calling that followed, its release marked the beginning of the era.

The author knew coyotes and was a founding member of the California Varmint Callers Association, an expert archer, a night hunter, and he also hunted from horseback and a Honda Trail 90. The book, like others in the "Digest" series of the time, was well illustrated in B&W and contained rather unique chapters on hunting with bow and arrow and hunting with pistols. Men wore cowboy hats, jeans and ranch boots, and the ladies, and there are more than a few good-looking women depicted in the illustrations, wore capri pants and big hair. There is no index, but near the end of the book there are several useful catalog pages in Digest style of varmint rifles from all the manufacturers of the day including prices, something you will still find interesting today. The final seven pages included a trade manufacturer's list in the tiniest of print on the book's 8x11 pages with more than a thousand references to names and addresses of hunting equipment providers from across the U.S. Now they would be links on a computer screen. But before the internet, the internet was called books. This title is a "must have" for the collector, beginner, retired veteran, or anyone in between. Long out of print, if you're lucky enough to find a copy in good condition, treat it with care.

Jim Dougherty was a professional archer and an employee of Ben Pearson Archery Inc. He was a founding member of the CVCA and the Pasadena Chapter. He won both the World and the California Varmint Calling Championships and had won 16 game calling titles by the time of the book's publication.