In his long-awaited and much requested sequel to his popular first book, Tall Tales – Short Stories from a Long Game Warden Career, retired local Game Warden Steve Rogers shares even MORE stories.
Taller Tales could be considered a sequel to the original Tall Tales. But, it is also a memoir of the life and times of retired Washington State Fish and Wildlife Police Officer (Game Warden) Steve Rogers. It is a compilation of examples of working conditions, seasons, job tasks, and mention of the many people Rogers worked with over the years. He wanted to make the point that being a Game Warden is not just writing tickets to bad guys, although that is a big part of it. So many other duties round up the big picture of the job.
As a deep thinker and ponderer of life (see front cover), Rogers wanted to impart a few lessons learned, or things NOT to do during a career in wildlife enforcement. Like, don’t believe an “elk proof fence” is; Don’t release turkeys or try to increase the goose population before thinking of the ramifications; Don’t get caught shooting from your vehicle; and for God’s sake, don’t cross the border into Canada at the International Peace Gardens with a loaded pistol on your hip.
This book is also dedicated to the memory of Washington Fish & Wildlife Officer Terry Hoffer who was gunned down by a violator during the 1984 elk season near Buckley, Washington.
“If you enjoyed Steve Rogers’ TALL TALES, you will love TALLER TALES. TALLER TALES has more of Steve’s whimsical Western writing style, coupled with chapters describing dangerous situations Steve had found himself in. If you are interested in wildlife law enforcement, this enjoyable and entertaining book is just what you’re looking for.”
Todd Vandivert, retired Washington Fish and Wildlife Detective and Author – OPERATION CODY and the eight book WILDLIFE JUSTICE SERIES
5/5 Stars “Very entertaining and informative. If you liked ‘Tall Tales’ you will love ‘Taller Tales.’ An easy read, and quite entertaining.”
Book Review from Steve’s FIRST Book, TALL TALES – Short Stories from a Long Game Warden Career, the pre-cursor to this book:
Backcountry storytelling from a retired game warden
by Jim Fossett, reporter
(reprinted with permission from the Northern Kittitas County Tribune, March 25, 2021)
SOUTH CLE ELUM – It’s always a thrill to announce another book written by an Upper County local. This time around it’s the one authored by retired Washington State Fish & Wildlife game warden Steve Rogers, a resident of South Cle Elum. The title of his book is: Tall Tales – Short Stories from a Long Game Warden Career.
For this 26-chapter work of a lifetime, Steve pans the gold nuggets from his 33-year career back in the day, as he would tell you with wink and a smile, when there were game wardens – not Fish & Wildlife police officers as they’re known today.
“Everybody called me a game warden so that’s what I was, an old time game warden,” he laughed. “I thought the world was coming to an end when they put a computer in my truck.”
Sitting down to write a book is just the first hurdle writers must overcome, but in Steve’s case he had a little help. “My long-time friend, Jim Fossett, actually put the idea in my head by suggesting I write some stories for the newspaper. He was very helpful and offered to read and edit anything I wrote down.
“I started writing early last summer. I had so much free time with the COVID-19 restrictions I found myself sitting on my butt. One day the thought crossed my mind that you really had to have a sense of humor to do what I did for 33 years on the job. Well, that thought led to another and I got started.”
He explained that his writing routine wasn’t based on a formula, nor was it driven by discipline or ruled by stoicism. He didn’t lock himself away in solitary confinement with a canteen of water and a supply of trail mix until it was done.
“My writing habits were sporadic. I’d go at it full bore for a few days and then break for a week or so before I sat down again.
“I did a lot of rewriting, too, changing and correcting.
“My biggest challenge was story continuity. I found myself skipping around quite a bit and had to go back and rearrange paragraphs for a better read. Then I’d add stuff and have to rearrange some more. There may have been a little embellishment, too.”
He said each chapter embraces a different story.
“I had lots of recollections of my experiences, some of them humorous. For instance, there’s one chapter about my old horse No-Name and our exploits in the backcountry together.”
He said another chapter captures the times he worked undercover using deer decoys.
“There’s also a story about a shooting in Cle Elum, and a contribution from my wife, Cindy. She wrote from her perspective as the wife of a game warden. It’s pretty interesting. Actually, she wrote it to read at my retirement party in 2011, but because we all know how much she ‘loves’ speaking in public, I decided to include it in the book, instead,” he laughed.
Steve’s trademark sense of humor harmonized well with his tongue in cheek regalement of the story about an ‘anonymous’ local.
“I don’t mention names of locals in my book – but people who live here will know who I’m talking about. In one story I included this: “If you’re reading this – I know what you did,” he laughed.
“That was definitely my tongue in cheek coming to the surface.”
As mentioned, there is no connection between chapters. Each one stands alone as a unique species of life in the wild, if you will.
“Overall, some of the stuff in the book goes back to my days in Tacoma as an animal control trapper, and then I kind of skip around in time, but most of it is about stories I collected right here in the Cle Elum area.”
Having witnessed the ordeal first-time book writers have to go through to get a book ready for publishing and sale, Steve surprised me.
“I had a lot of good help. It went smoothly. Retired game warden and author Todd Vandivert, an old friend, helped me get the book formatted and published by Amazon as a paperback and as a digital version for Kindle.
“Todd got me hooked up with graphic designer Bruce Wiehl, another retired game warden who does book covers. Both of them are heavily involved with International Game Warden Magazine.”
Now that the first book is out – in less than a year – what’s next?
“I’m not going to do another one,” he laughed. “I ran out of ideas and I don’t have it in me. [UPDATE: Apparently he found more ideas and published his second book, TALLER TALES – More Short Stories from a Long Game Warden Career, published April of 2023.]
“Actually, it’s been a shock to my system. I can’t believe it actually happened, but I do know this: I hope I don’t make enough on the book to have to pay Uncle Sam,” he laughed.
Since he retired in 2011, Steve hasn’t dropped very far from the tree.
“Cindy and I spend a lot of time in the hills in our Jeep camping and hunting. We love doing that.”
The couple has also been heavily involved with Cascade Field & Stream.
“We joined in 1985 and we’re still members. I was vice president a couple of times and acting president. Cindy was secretary for about ten years.”
Get the book locally
At this writing, Steve said he’s in the process of working with the NKC Tribune to have copies of his book available in the newspaper’s office supply store as soon as he gets the first 100 copies printed. [UPDATE: copies now available at KittitasBooks.com online or the bricks and mortar Tribune Office Supply & Printing’s “book nook” inside the store at 807 W Davis St., Cle Elum, WA 98922, near Safeway.]
About the Author
Steve Rogers grew up the oldest son of an Air Force Officer, living in North Africa, D.C. and London. He graduated high school in Nebraska in 1967, and joined the US Navy. After four years in Naval Intelligence he attended Colorado State University on the GI Bill. Steve graduated in 1977 with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology. After graduation he worked a season at Vermejo Park Ranch in Raton, NM, helping with elk studies, patrolling the many lakes, and guiding elk hunters in the fall. He was hired with Washington Game Department in Jan. 1978 as a Game Farmer on Whidbey Island, moving up to Wildlife Damage Control in Tacoma, Wa. and finally to Fish and Wildlife Enforcement in Cle Elum, Wa. He retired in Cle Elum after 33 years to enjoy the beauty, hunting, and fishing in the area with his wife, Cindy.
: Independently published
: 44 Black And White
: 6 (w) x 9 (h)