Book Review: Close Calls: The True Tales of Cougar Bob

Close Calls: The True Tales of Cougar Bob (Gray Dog Press) by B. J. Campbell is the perfect read for outdoor and wilderness enthusiasts.

Robert L. Campbell, aka Cougar Bob comes to vivid life as his wife, B. J. Campbell relates colorful stories beginning from his childhood on through his senior years. Written in first person, the book is chock-full of colorful descriptions of outdoor adventures, hunting, trapping, sometimes for sustenance, sometimes to save farm stock, often for hire when wildlife stalks too close to civilization.

As a boy, Bob loved to run–he could run for miles. He ran for the love of running. He ran nine miles to catch the school bus in rural Idaho. He ran for survival. He ran for play. While in the Navy, he contracted polio and, for most people, that would have been the end of running. But not for Bob. As soon as he could he was up and struggling to walk. He graduated to walking with leg braces and eventually managed without the braces. Although continuing to be an active outdoorsman, he still suffers from the pain of post-polio syndrome.

Interspersed with the chapters, each of which tells a story, are excerpts from The Cougar Bob Review, an annual newsletter that “captures the hunter, trapper and straight shooter’s endless supply of stories that happens because he is himself.” Also included throughout the book are clips of newspaper articles. One such article tells of the state Fish and Game Department hiring Cougar Bob to hunt down a cougar, known as the Bayview cat, who was blamed for killing 6 horses, 8 goats, 3 sheep, 7 farm dogs and stalking children at the school bus stop.

All of the stories in the book are true and are told in Cougar Bob’s voice, with attitude. It’s a book full of humor, yet awe inspiring in the courage of one man who conquers threats, dangers, and his own health issues to solve problems at hand.

Animal activists might have issues with some of the stories A fair amount of the hunting is done for the meat, or simply for the sport. On the other hand, authorities hire Cougar Bob to trap wildlife that threaten the safety of people or their property. When practical, the trapper will displace the animal, but when necessary, he will kill it. That might seem harsh to some, but it’s reality to many.

I enjoyed Close Calls: The True Tales of Cougar Bob. I love a good story and this book captures the essence of rugged wilderness and its sometimes eccentric occupant, outdoorsman extraordinaire Cougar Bob Campbell. For more about author B.J. Campbell and her husband, Bob Campbell, visit


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Close Calls: The True Tales of Cougar Bob

  1. Sounds like a book I’d enjoy, but even more, one my brother-in-law, who is battling cancer might enjoy reading on these cold winter nights (he lives in NW Montana), so going now to amazon.

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