A Memoir of an Extraordinary Life


John Wasserman

The author served as a Pennsylvania State Game Warden for 34 years, where he patrolled 450 square miles of rugged mountain terrain. Throughout his career, he investigated thousands of game law violations and arrested many violent, hardcore poachers. This fascinating, true-life book focuses on some of the most dangerous and unpredictable men Wasserman encountered during his long years as a game warden in northcentral Pennsylvania. Woods Cop is an intense, well written account about a true wildlife warrior and his fight against the criminals who plunder our natural resources. Wasserman’s encounters with hostile, armed poachers in the backwoods of Pennsylvania is sure to keep you turning pages until the last chapter has been read. It's a book that will make you think about it long after you put it down. A book about a thin green line of dedicated game wardens, vastly outnumbered, who risk their lives on a daily basis in order to protect our wildlife for future generations to come.

I'm roaming with the deer tonight.

While poachers search the woods at night

with guns and brilliant beams of light,

a thin green veil will guard this night.

I'm roaming with the deer tonight.

About The Book

Chapter 1.  WINTER  KILL

“The winter of 1977-78 had been a disaster for wild turkeys, and the winter of 1981-82 proved to be just as deadly. But this time it was the deer herd that suffered. A freak ice storm in January, 1982 caused untold suffering to the deer herd in northern Clinton County. The rugged mountains here were glazed with a solid sheet of ice that remained for weeks. Steep hillsides became slippery frozen ramps that sent hundreds of deer sprawling helplessly downhill through an obstacle course of timber, all too often to a grisly demise.”




“I told the driver to step out of the car and ordered the rest of the men to remain inside. Suddenly I realized I was face to face with the Cross Fork Commando! He didn’t say anything, just stared at me, never blinked. I could feel something primitive, wild, about his presence, but I shook it off and told myself he was just a man, not some legendary character who stalked the local woodlands in ghostly silence.”


Chapter 3.  THE  SILVER  FOX

“Within 200 yards of the blind, I slowed to a quiet walk, and soon I could see that the shotgun was still lying outside of the blind. Then I could hear Sly snoring. He was still out like a light. When I reached the blind and looked inside, I could see that he hadn’t moved a muscle. Sly was slumped over and lying with his face pointed away from me. His long ponytail was stretched out on the ground and flowing in my direction, so I grabbed the shears tucked inside my belt.”


Chapter 4.  THE  BLADE


“When Vito walked into the courtroom, everyone noticed the expensive suit and flashy gold jewelry he wore. He stood beside his attorney and stared at each member of the jury in a contemptuous bid of defiance. He then looked at his victim, the district judge, and shook his head in disgust. If he were to be tried on appearances alone, there would have been no need for the Commonwealth to present its case. In just a few brief moments Vito managed to alienate those very people who were about to decide his fate.”




“Dave knew it was time to get help. He had spent a year in the Special Forces in Iceland, and was confident he could do whatever it took to find help. He grabbed his map and some food, and began hiking to the nearest town. North Bend was more than ten miles away. Meanwhile, John was shivering uncontrollably and believed his life would soon end. He knew he couldn’t survive until morning.”




“Jack said, ‘Hey, forget the bats, look behind you!’ There, in a semi-circle around us, stood a solemn assemblage of six large bears; their silhouettes only faintly discernible against the dark sky. Our presence in the midst of their smorgasbord seemed to have them confused, so they patiently waited as if curious spectators while we finished our work. I’ve always had an aversion about being watched while I work. This just wasn’t my night.”


Chapter 7.  WILLY  NILLY


“I recognized the name immediately, as Willy had a reputation for doing some terrible things. I remember an incident where he was upset with a ruling that a district judge made against him. Willy gathered up a bag full of newspaper and marched right up the steps of his front porch, whereupon he commenced to start a fire.”




“Maybe it’s me that he’s calling to his gun, I thought. I’d had a number of run-ins with Booger Johnson over the years, all of them bad. I could vividly recall the day in a judge’s courtroom when he exploded into a frenzied tirade of hatred against me. He sounded like a raving lunatic, blaming me for his son’s misdeeds. This guy is mental, I thought. Definitely unstable!”




“Debris scattered everywhere as the vehicle’s tires began spinning, tearing out clumps of brush as it chewed its way back to the road. Sparks flew from the impact of the car as it thrust itself back onto the macadam roadway. Smoke poured from the spinning tires as the Dodge sped away, its rear end fishtailing from side to side as the driver tried to control the awesome horsepower of his outrageous machine.”


Chapter 10.  GREED


“Tommy zeroed in on the movement. A deer! Had to be! He grasped the bow tightly in his left hand and extended his arm, then slowly pulled the bowstring back with his fingertips. The aluminum arrow slid along its rest as Tommy’s arm trembled under the tension of the powerful bow. When the cams on each limb finally turned over, the pressure eased, and Tommy took careful aim. The bow was steady now, its razor-sharp broadhead pointed directly at Linda’s torso.”


Chapter 11.  CHEAT  SHOT


“’Hey John, come look at this!’ Deputy Bob McConnell’s eyes were wide open, his gray hair lifting fiercely in the wind as he waved me over to the corn feeder. It was the second day of the 1983 bear season, and Bob’s discovery would enable me to file some serious charges against two members of Camp Chug-A-Lug. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the most complex and demanding case of my career was rapidly unfolding in front of me.”


Chapter 12.  BIG  NASTY


“The big man just stood there, rock solid, his facial expression slowly relaxing. He had the tattoo of a rattlesnake coiled around his neck, the head on one side, tail on the other. The mouth was wide open with huge, pointy fangs, its tail raised up with 16 rattles. He wore his hair in a tight Mohawk, four inches wide and one inch high, his head shaved clean to the scalp on each side. The man’s cheekbones were pronounced and high, his eyes dark and intense. A razor-like scar flowed across the bridge of his nose and down the left side of his face. His forearms were thick and vascular, almost the same size as his huge upper arms. Frank Frazetta’s epic painting of Conan the Barbarian came to mind.”


Chapter 13.  COYOTEE  BOY


“He refused to budge so I yanked him out of the car. He reeked of booze, and was obviously intoxicated, which caused him to fall face down onto the paved roadway before I could catch him. After giving him a quick pat down to make sure he was unarmed, I turned around for the man in the back seat. But before I took my first step, the old Scout popped out of gear and began coasting down the steep mountain road in reverse! Ranger and his suspect were knocked to the ground by the open passenger door as I sprinted after the runaway vehicle and tried to get inside, but it was moving too quickly.”



The author with some of the deer he collected from the Kettle Creek valley in 1982.


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