Don L. Johnson -- Wisconsin outdoor writer, conservationist, photographer

Tamarack swamp with bur-marigold in bloom. Photo by Don L. Johnson (1969)

Click here to order "Summer's Song & Other Essays" by Don L. Johnson with your credit card.  The $21.50 price includes shipping.  See below for information on how to order by mail or how to order multiple copies.  This website was updated on February 8, 2013.

This website is devoted to the writings of renown Wisconsin outdoor writer Don L. Johnson (1927-2006).  A long-awaited collection of 115 of Johnson's nature essays, Summer's Song and Other Essays, was released in November, 2005.  This collection has received very positive reviews from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin Public Radio, and Wisconsin Outdoor News, among others. 
Summer's Song -- a 300-page trade paperback -- was issued by Hackmatack Hollow Press, a project of Don Johnson's family.  The book is not in general distribution to bookstores, but can be ordered for $21.50 per copy, shipping included, as explained below. 
Bob Riepenhoff, outdoor writer for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, wrote, "I say buy it. When you read these essays it will be like taking another quiet walk through Wisconsin's seasons alongside one of the finest outdoor writers this state has ever produced."

Dave Carlson, outdoor writer and host/producer of the popular TV program Northland Adventures, wrote, "Read Summer's Song throughout the seasons, then look outside. Read it to your children and grandchildren, then take them for a walk.  Like Aldo Leopold, Sigurd Olson or Gordon MacQuarrie, Don L. Johnson's words never wear out. . . . They're just wonderful stories that will enrich your life."

Outdoor writer Dick Ellis wrote in Wisconsin Outdoor News, "It only takes a few paragraphs of Don Johnson’s work to know he is something very special.  Speaking for myself only as an outdoor writer, it is a humbling experience to see where the standards have been set.... Do yourself a favor. Read a Don Johnson story."

Tim Eisele, outdoors columnist for the Madison Capital Times, wrote,  "Johnson, from Menomonie, is one of the best outdoor writers to ever emerge from the back country of Wisconsin.  He was a tenacious investigative reporter, breaking the story about the problems DDT posed to the environment . . . In his writings as outdoors editor of the Milwaukee Sentinel from 1962 to 1983, Johnson’s fine prose on a variety of subjects were some of the best. . . . [Summer’s Song] brings together some of his best writings."
Paul Smith, outdoor writer for the Racine Journal-Times, wrote, "For two decades, Don Johnson was outdoors writer for the Milwaukee Sentinel, during which time he wrote about adventures as far afield as Alaska and Africa.  But his stories of local ramblings, especially near his home in western Waukesha County, drew perhaps the highest critical acclaim."
Tom Huggler of Michigan Out-of-Doors magazine wrote, "The author was a keen observer of place and a wonderful wordsmith highly skilled at capturing imagery.  His varied landscape -- 'highland and marsh, hardwood hills and tamarack swamp, field and fencerow, seeping spring and rippling creek -- provided unending inspiration.' . . . This is a book you'll want to read one essay at a time."

How to order Summer's Song and Other Essays

There are two ways to order Summer's Song and Other Essays, as follows:


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You can purchase Summer's Song with a credit card easily and quickly, using the secure PayPal website system. PayPal is a national service, used by millions, that allows safe transactions on the Internet.

If you want to buy just one copy of Summer's Song, simply click the "PayPal -- Pay Now" button below.  That will take you to the PayPal secure website.  You will provide your credit card information (which we will never see here) to authorize the purchase.  PayPal immediately bills your credit card $21.50 for the book (shipping charge included) and sends us an e-mail notification.  All of this happens practically instantly, after which the book will be mailed to you, generally within 72 hours.  Note:  don't use the button below if you wish to use your credit card to purchase more than one copy of the book in a single transaction.  Instead, please send us an e-mail at, telling us how many copies you want to order.  We will promptly send you a special "e-mail invoice," which will contain a link that will make it easy for you to pay for all of the books in a single PayPal transaction.


If you prefer, the book can be ordered by sending check or money order for $21.50 per book (which includes the shipping charge), to:

Hackmatack Hollow Press
9706-24th Avenue
Adelphi, Maryland 20783-1305

Whichever method you use to order, the book will be sent via the U.S. Postal Service, at the "media mail" rate, usually within 72 hours of the receipt of your order.

U.S. Postal Service "priority mail" service is available for an additional $3.50 per book (thus, $25 per copy by priority mail).

Click here to order Summer's Song by credit card ($21.50 price includes shipping).

Web of life, pattern of survival. Photo by Don L. Johnson (1974).

Don L. Johnson was a gifted photographer of nature, leaving behind a collection of several thousand 35mm color slides, including extensive collections of high-quality images of Wisconsin wildlife, wildflowers, and natural settings.  For information on the use of individual images from this collection or the purchase of topical sets, contact Hackmatack Hollow Press.

More about Don L. Johnson

Don L. Johnson (1927-2006) was among Wisconsin's best known outdoor writers. In 2000, Wisconsin Outdoor Journal named him as among "The Century Honor Roll" of 20 individuals who had the greatest influence on hunting, fishing, and conservation in Wisconsin during the 20th century. During his long career, Johnson was known as an adventurer who hiked, hunted, fished, and photographed in such far-flung places as Africa, Cuba, the Andes, the Amazon, Mexico, the Yukon, and Alaska – but also as a tenacious investigative reporter who blew the whistle on DDT and other pollutants in the environment, and who challenged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as they tried to ditch and drain the Cache River bottomlands in Arkansas.

There was also the man who simply went for strolls in the woods, taking notes which he crafted into vignettes. The walks were the basis for most of the essays now collected in Summer's Song, many of which were initially published in the Milwaukee Sentinel during the years (1962-84) that Johnson worked as outdoor writer for that newspaper. Regarding these essays, the late Jay Reed, longtime outdoor writer for the Milwaukee Journal, wrote in 1982, "Whoever read them would surely have taken the same walk."

In 1961, Johnson received the Gordon MacQuarrie Award "For Telling the Conservation Story." He was named to the Milwaukee Press Club Media Hall of Fame and the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, and as an honorary life member of the Outdoor Communications Association "in recognition of a lifetime of service to Wisconsin's outdoors." In 2005, Johnson was honored by the Outdoor Writers Association of America "for excellence in outdoor communication." He has received other honors from the Audubon Society, Ruffed Grouse Society, Great Lakes Sport Fishermen, Wisconsin Newspaper Association, UPI, AP, the U.S. EPA, and the Wisconsin and Arkansas Wildlife Federations, among others.

Click here to download a flyer with excerpts from reviews of "Summer's Song" by Don L. Johnson (Microsoft Word format)

Click here to read a feature article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about the life and death of Don L. Johnson.

Click here to read the review of "Summer's Song and Other Essays" by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel outdoor writer Bob Riepenhoff

Don L. Johnson (1927-2006)

Hackmatack Hollow Press
9706 24th Avenue
Adelphi, Maryland 20783-1305

Phone: 301-439-9087
Fax:  301-439-3943


Sigurd F. Olson and Don L. Johnson.

Ruffed grouse. Photo by Don L. Johnson

Also available . . .Grouse & Woodcock: A Gunner's Guide, by Don L. Johnson. 220 pages, $21.50.

Click here to purchase "Grouse & Woodcock" by credit card ($21.50 price includes shipping).


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