These are Zern's basic theses:
There are people who hunt and fish;
They also drink and tell lies when they are fishing and hunting;
Or any other time;
They are not interested in anything else;
Like politics, wives, children ... you name it;
If you think they are dotty, you have another think coming.
Zern's writing is wonderfully droll. For some of us he is a lifetime addiction (I first read him in 1947). It might have to do with the names. Zern seems to know everyone and anyone in this country who spends any time at all hunting and fishing: he's constantly dropping names of people we've never heard of. Hell, I don't know --- maybe he makes them all up.
He also seems conversant with every place in America and the rest of the Western world where one can drop dry flies in a cold river, or fish from a boat, or take a shotgun to zebras, deer, woodcocks, or spend mornings shivering in a blind waiting for ducks or turkeys to happen by.
I guess some of his charm is his well-disguised intellectualism. In one of his pieces for Field & Stream --- Field & Stream, mind you --- he slips in references to Wagner (comparing his operas to big game hunting), Bach Sonatas (trout fishing with a dry fly). Proust and Joyce turn up here or there, as does D. H. Lawrence (see below).
The main reason that Ed Zern is not listed up there with S. J. Perelman, Robert Benchley, E. B. White and Peter de Vries is because he wrote for the sporting set at Field & Stream instead of the smart set at The New Yorker. Yet he bests many of the more famous humorists --- with the possible exception of Perelman.