Thanks to John Ford for giving us a final wonderful book

John Ford was an exceptional game warden. He became an author writing several great books full of amazing and entertaining warden stories.

I think even John was surprised that he became a very popular public speaker, giving book talks all over the state, some of which drew hundreds of people.

Sadly, John passed away about a month ago and he will be missed by many of us. I am especially grateful to him for leaving us with one final new book titled Living the Dream, published by North Country Press.

In the introduction John writes, “My story begins with what life was like as a youngster, living in a house filled with a wide variety of wild critters. All of them in need of a little special care if they were to survive. Being raised within their lifestyle is what prompted me to pursue the career I did. Eventually, that career brought me to where I was truly Living the Dream.”

I really enjoyed the stories about his mom’s caring for lots of abandoned and injured wild critters from fishers and foxes to owls.  John inherited that sense of caring as an adult and took many wild critters into his home. His story about Fritzi the fisher was one of my favorites. There’s a delightful photo on the cover of the book of Wiley, an adorable fox that John originally thought was a coyote when it was delivered to his house as a tiny baby.

I ended up with many favorite stories in this book, from the times John ran after night hunters sprinting away, to the amazing trap some hunters set to catch and later kill a deer. Yes, John saw it all! And he would sometimes sit hidden in the cold woods all night for several days to catch a poacher.

Towards the end of the book John shares a series of stories about a fellow he called Grover, a notorious poacher who John arrested – along with his poaching buddies – many times. Incredibly John and Grover became great friends and would get together after every hunting season is over. There’s even a photo of the two of them laughing and smiling at a public event.

You do not have to be a hunter or angler to enjoy Living the Dream. And I am so grateful that John shared his dream with us.




George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.