In Trace of TR


In Trace of TR

A Montana Hunter's Journey

Dan Aadland

288 pages
29 photographs


January 2015


$16.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

April 2010


$16.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

As a student of American history, as a hunter, horseman, and former Marine, and as someone passionate about the West, Dan Aadland had long felt a kinship with Theodore Roosevelt. One day, on a single-footing horse, lever-action rifle under his knee, Aadland set out to become acquainted with TR as only those who shared his experiences could. In Trace of TR documents that quest, inviting readers to ride along and get to know Theodore Roosevelt through the western environment that so profoundly influenced him.
Accompany Aadland as he rides the broad prairies in search of TR’s “prongbuck,” tracks elk through the rugged Big Horn Mountains, and pursues a glimpse of the grizzly in the Absaroka Wilderness. Along the way the author’s campfire musings and reflections on Roosevelt’s writings further deepen and enrich this unique examination of our twenty-sixth president. With the trill of the western meadowlark and the bugle of the elk, the creak of saddle leather and the scent of sage, Aadland’s journey takes readers into TR’s beloved Dakota Territory then and now, offering a kindred spirit’s moving, deftly drawn portrait of both the land and the man across the space of a century.

Author Bio

Dan Aadland is a rancher, writer, and retired teacher who breeds horses in Absarokee, Montana. His books include The Best of All Seasons: Fifty Years as a Montana Hunter (Nebraska 2007) and Sketches from the Ranch: A Montana Memoir, available in a Bison Books edition.


"The admiration for Roosevelt, Montana hunting and all things outdoors is evident in Dan Aadland's well-written In Trace of TR: A Montana Hunter's Journey. . . . The book is interlaced with stories of Roosevelt's hunts, and it offers a keen perception for the Montana landscape and the man who loved the adventure as much as the sport."—Linda Wommack, True West Magazine

"In a book that is part history lesson and part memoir, mixed with a healthy dose of hunting lore and a sprinkling of political comment, Aadland offers a unique and local perspective of the man he refers to as 'TR.'" —Linda Halstead-Acharya, Billings Gazette

"Readers who hunt big game will enjoy the many interesting stories and will quickly recognize that Dan knows firsthand 'whereof he speaks,' whether it is in the terminology associated with packing, or as his wife suspects, in the 'mysterious code' that we cartridge reloaders converse in."—Montana Sporting Journal

"Aadland's unique experiences allow the reader to understand TR in an intimate way and appreciate how the Western landscape helped shape his character."—Lauren Halley, American Cowboy

"Seemingly as accomplished as his subject, author Dan Aadland, while not (yet) president of the United States, is an astute student of American history, a hunter, horseman, horse breeder, retired teacher, former Marine—and he's also a heck of a writer. . . . [In Trace of TR is] a powerful book that I think Theodore Roosevelt would have understood and enjoyed."—Matthew P. Mayo, Roundup Magazine

"Aadland is a good writer who has pursued an unusual set of interests into some of the best country left in the United States. He's worth a read."—Chris Madson, Wyoming Wildlife

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations  


Introduction: A Hunter’s Heart     


Part I. The Big Open


1. Pronghorns on the Powder: The cow camp; prongbucks TR style; Powderville, then and now; the young New Yorker and the buffalo bull; a “sadder man but wiser”; hunting in midday; Scooter and Partner; .30-30s and .45-70s; iron sights and eyeglasses; Partner’s initiation; a satisfying single-foot 


2. The Elkhorn Ranch: On the road with Redstar, Partner, and Emily; Miles City and beyond; Medora and the Maah Daah Hey; Black Gold on TR’s ranch; A pleasant porch on the Little Missouri; meadowlarks and mountain bluebirds   


3. Horses, Rifles, and a Man Named Magnus: Rosie and Elmer; mule deer in the sage; TR’s arsenal; the New Yorker and the Dane; Partner and Paycheck, Manitou and Muley


Part II. The Mountains


4. The Big Horns: David, Jon, Justin, and TR; a pretty park; alibis; tenderloins in camp; <SC>atv</SC> jockeys; ranchers and dudes; compass and <SC>gps</SC>; TR’s tally; Old Ephraim; Jedediah Smith; grizzlies through the canvas; a big, big buck    


5. The Absaroka: Children of the Large Beaked Bird; Buoyer and Leforge, Huskies and Indians; Plenty Coups and Cody; return of a warrior; mi patria chica


6. Slough Creek: Fire and wolves; a solo adventure; Xanadu; Little Mack and a flying mule; lady rangers; Bubba the gaited jack; “dinner bell grizzlies”; compatible companions; Orion; a Cheyenne friend; “I am Dutch Reformed”; Stewards of the Garden   


7. Gardiner, 2008 (and 1903): Memories of Eagle Creek, boys, horses, and elk; TR in Yellowstone; Roosevelt, Burroughs, and Muir; a bull for Jim; a .38 on a .45 frame; spring bear plans 


Part III. The Home Range


8. Back at the Ranch, Thanksgiving, 2008: Gobbler on the porch; “It looks good enough to eat”; sportsmen; “real food” and “not real food”; a morning buck; “You got him!”   


9. The Western Star: Cows and corrals; the end of the Elkhorn; the solitary singer; Hamlet and Fortinbras; the curlew and the thrush






Outdoor Writers Association of America Award for “Excellence in Craft”

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