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Local author’s newest book details hunting history of Lambton families

By Melissa Schilz, Postmedia Network

Judy Listhaeghe is releasing her second book, Fishers, Hunters and Game Wardens of Lambton County, Dec. 10. Melissa Schilz/Postmedia Network

Judy Listhaeghe is releasing her second book, Fishers, Hunters and Game Wardens of Lambton County, Dec. 10. Melissa Schilz/Postmedia Network

In Lambton County, traditions surrounding fishing and hunting run deep; it’s not only a way of keeping food on your family’s plates, but also a sport that brings generations together.


Judy Listhaeghe has embraced her love for fishing and hunting in her new book, Fishers, Hunters and Game Wardens of Lambton County. It captures the spirit of the hunting world and delves into the lives of local hunters and fishers, including well known individuals in the county like Dr. Robert Green, Joel Field, Lorne Henderson, Steve Jackson and Bruce Bailey.


The book includes photos of dozens of different hunters on their expeditions, sometimes in difference countries in Europe and Africa. It also features four local wildlife artists’ creations, including the late Rick Garner.


This is Listhaeghe’s second book; she previously wrote Petrolia Flyboys. She said in both cases, she was inspired to write the books after hosting displays at the local library – she realized there was so much more to share and wanted to create a permanent record.


Listhaeghe said when it comes to the sport of hunting and fishing, it transcends gender, race and career path. Hunters can be politicians, actors, process operators, artists, landscapers and office workers. Over the last three and half years, the two-time cancer survivor has been working on putting the book together.


“They come from every walk of life,” she said. “It’s about family and friends.”


In Listhaeghe’s 19-year career at the Ministry of Natural Resources began in 1977. There, she learned the lay of the land when it comes to rules and regulations, meeting and getting to know all of the local hunters on a deeper level. Her work here inspired her to want to put together this book.


“You deal with the same people year after year…parks and fishing in the spring and wildlife and trapping, hunting in the fall…it was very interesting,” she said. “We really became friends.”


She said being in a rural community is very different than anywhere else, everyone knows each other, and sharing as many local stories in the realm of hunting became a priority for Listhaeghe. Her aim of the book is to paint a picture of how things have changed over the years, including seeing more women involved in hunting and how the regulations and legislation have evolved.


“You’ll see a picture painted in the book, generational things like fathers hunting with their daughters and their grand-daughters,” she said, noting that she wanted to focus on the female aspect in her book as well.


Listhaeghe said the Lambton Rural Game Protective Association is an organization started in the 1950s that has made hunting in the county unlike anywhere else. It was started by local politicians, and Listhaeghe became the first female honourary member of the group.


Listhaeghe said a big change for the area was when the ministry office was no more in Petrolia – now everything is online, with the closest office located in Aylmer. She addresses this in her book, but also concentrates on local hunting and fishing groups and is very family oriented.


“The stories are really interesting, and it’s been really great compiling those with locals,” she said. “This is where we’ve come from to where we are.”


And Listhaeghe isn’t done with writing just yet, she is already working on her next book, entitled Extreme Gardening, which she hopes to release this coming spring.



What: Judy Listhaeghe’s book launch

When: Dec. 10, 1 – 3 p.m.

Where: New Life Assembly in Petrolia