About Terry Hodges

By Deputy Chief James Wictum

Retired California Department of Fish and Game

There was a time when I supervised Terry Hodges, the author of the Warden Force series. He was a new warden then, and he and I worked together in the Delta for four intense years.

I knew from the start that he would be a good one. Not only did he have the dedication, commitment and courage necessary to be good at his new profession, but he had a variety of skills and abilities that set him apart.

He was an accomplished small boat handler and an expert with canoes. He was a trick shot with a rifle and became first among the warden force to qualify as Grand Master in police combat pistol competition. He was a record-holding SCUBA diver and a private pilot, and at six-feet-one, over 200 pounds and hugely strong, he was a difficult package for the bad guys.

Yet what I most remember about Terry is his imagination and ingenuity, his inventiveness when facing challenging problems. To combat hard-to-find dove and waterfowl poachers in the Delta, Terry devised a way to use maps, magnetic compasses and plotting tools to triangulate on the sound of distant shooting, enabling us to quickly locate the culprits. It worked well.

He has a quick mind and is a master of the bluff, a tool he employed often. On one dark night in the mountains, using only his patrol vehicle and radios and aided by his wife, Cathy, he managed to bluff a veritable rat's nest of hoodlums into believing that they were surrounded by a score of wardens. He then arrested one deer poacher from their midst, seized one illegally killed doe and captured an armed and wanted felon. Not bad for a lone officer.

In short, Terry is a game warden, one of the best I have ever known. It came as no surprise to me when he began to write, for not only is he an excellent story-teller, but he has a wealth of stories to tell.

The compelling tales you are about to read are the real thing, true game warden adventures just as they happened, for Terry has walked the walk and talked the talk. Read his stories and he'll take you there, to California's wild places, in pursuit of real outlaws. Enjoy the ride.

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