(Photo by Melody Golding)
Melody Golding will be at Barnes and Noble on the Mississippi State University campus on Friday, Oct. 14 from 1:30-3 p.m. signing her new book, "Panther Tract: Wild Boar Hunting in the Mississippi Delta." Golding's visit will also feature special guests from the book, Howard Brent and Hank Burdine.
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"I like to think of it as a book event as opposed to a book signing," Golding said. "I bring friends along with me, some of them directly from the book itself, and we all dress in camouflage. I'll have a wild boar head with me and it will be as though the book just opened up and we all fell out of its pages."
Golding said "Panther Tract" is an insiders observance of extraordinary hunting, southern hospitality, camaraderie and the love of dogs, horses and hair raising excitement. The book features 160 photographs representing a "day at the hunt," starting at dawn and ending well after dark. The author said the tales center on vivid hunting experiences, both at Panther Tract, a large wilderness paradise in Yazoo County owned by Howard Brent, and in other locations in the Mississippi Delta.
"The narratives in 'Panther Tract' come from men, women, doctors, lawyers, judges, businessmen, politicians, farmers, sharecroppers sons and even a Hollywood screenwriter," Golding said.
Having been an avid equestrian most of her life, the opportunity to document a wild boar hunt began initially as an invitation to go horse riding.
"I have been around hunters all of my life, yet the allure of the sport of hunting had managed to escapeÂ me until one cold winter day when I received an invitation from my dear friend Howard Brent to ride my horse on his parcel of land known in the Mississippi Delta as Panther Tract," Golding said.Â "In his invitation, Howard's emphasis was clear: 'We'll go on a wild boar hunt.' But all I heard was the chance to to ride my horse upon forty-five hundred pristine acres â€“â€“ a unique opportunity no equestrian would ever turn down."Â
Golding said the experience was one that immediately captured her interest as an equestrian, outdoorsman, documentarian and photographer. She said she learned quickly that hunters hold tight to their love of the sport and their compulsion for it, and wild boar hunting elevates that experience for the hunter to an entirely different level.
"Wild boar hunting givesÂ sportsmen a chance to to deal with some of their greatest fears â€“â€“ wild animals, weapons and wilderness and some of their greatest loves â€“â€“ dogs , horses, the great out of doors and hunting," Golding said. "Wild boarÂ hunting is as close to the hair-raising adventures of the old time wild west as one can get with exhilarating heart pounding action."
After Golding went on her first wild boar hunt, she said she realized that this type of hunting and this way of life needed to be documented and preserved.
"I went on many many hunts in order to capture the full spectrum of the adventure, mostÂ times carrying three or four cameras, a note pad and even a video camera, always trying to keep my lenses clean, my eye sharp and paying as much attention to detail as possible," Golding said.
Golding said "Panther Tract" not only tells the reader of the excitement of wild boar hunting, but also of the very real necessity of wildlife management and land preservation. She said the wild boar population needs to be controlled because of the extensive damage to property they often cause landowners, threatening their livelihood.
"They destroy agricultural crops and native vegetation," Golding said. "If not controlled, the hogs are so prolific, sometimes having two to even three littersÂ a year, that they out-compete the wildlife species that are indigenous to the area for valuable food resources.Â Hogs are omnivorous and can eat just about anything and therefore consume all kinds of plant and animal matter."Â
Golding said she hopes that readers will get a better sense of the South and this way of life through the narratives and photographs contained in the pages of "Panther Tract."
"It is a rare glimpse into a Mississippi Delta hunting camp and contains a colorful and diverse assemblage of rollicking talesÂ which will entertain, delight and enlighten as they unfold," Golding said.Â "The photographs of the Delta landscape and the images which show the relationships between people and their dogs and horses will surely touch your heart."Â
Golding is also the author of "Katrina: Mississippi Women Remember." Both books were published by The University Press of Mississippi. Golding said she is already working on her next project, predicted to be released in the fall of 2013. For more information about Melody Golding, please visit http://www.melodygolding.com.