PUBLISHED: 5:09 PM on Tuesday, August 29, 2006
'Justice' tells of woman's hunt for equality the world of wildlife service

Eons ago, long before history was recorded, Og turned to Ogina in the darkness of their cave, and he told her that he was sick to death of berry-and-root casserole. Thus was born The Hunt.

Or, maybe something like that.

At any rate, millions of people hunt. Some do it because it's the only way their family can eat. Others do it for the sport or the camaraderie. Some do it for the trophy.

In the new book "A Hunt for Justice" by Lucinda Delaney Schroeder, you'll read the exciting account of an undercover wildlife agent and her hunt for illegal poachers.

Back in 1974, when she became a special agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lucinda Delaney Schroeder knew she was blazing a trail. There were few women in the service at that time, she said, but she was prepared to work the field.

She wasn't prepared to be hassled by male supervisors convinced that Schroeder would never be able to do the job.

After enduring years of bad treatment, Schroeder was finally hired as a field agent in Wisconsin. Her supervisor was an old friend who knew her reputation on the job. Schroeder, her husband, and their daughter moved to Madison.

In the early 1990s, after handling routine cases in Wisconsin, Schroeder began to feel as if she was losing her "edge." Then, a very promising case landed in her lap. This one was far from routine.

For about a decade, Alaska's wildlife department had been trying to catch a man Schroeder refers to as Bob Bowman. Using airplanes to chase wild animals toward hunters, Bowman "guaranteed" wealthy clients that they would kill a trophy bear, bighorn sheep, caribou, moose, or timber wolf. Bowman was suspected of over-bagging game, hunting illegally, and killing protected animals in wildlife sanctuaries. In the past, male wildlife agents had been unable to convince Bowman of their cover, but a woman would never arouse his suspicion. The Alaska Wildlife Department asked Schroeder to go undercover.

Doing so would be physically demanding, emotionally difficult, and extremely dangerous. Schroeder had to spend days in remote hunting camps with men who were expert hunters and marksmen.

Men who vowed to kill any wildlife agent they caught in their camp.

Are you aiming to find a good book to end your summer? You can't go wrong if you bag "A Hunt for Justice." Author Lucinda Delaney Schroeder is a crack shot with a pen, and this nonfiction book seems more like an exciting novel, somewhat along the lines of Caputo or Hemingway (whom Schroeder refers to in her Spanish coup de grace), with a twist of James Lee Burke. Hunters are going to appreciate Schroeder's thrill-of-the-hunt stories. Animal lovers will cheer her tenacity. Readers who love adventure stories won't be disappointed, either.

If snaring a great book is one of the things you vowed to do this summer, you've still got time to track this one down. "A Hunt for Justice" is a book to set your sights on.