This guy writes beautiful prose because he has something to write about, something he knows and cares about, has observed closely, and lived with. His prose is good because he’s an observant man...
I suspect country sports lend themselves to good prose: hunting, shooting and fishing require careful observation, undertaken ostensibly for practical reasons but inevitably spilling over into a sort of aesthetic appreciation. Genuine enthusiasts of these sports will almost invariably tell you they do them less for the bag, the catch, the kill than for the enjoyment of being out in the field, or on a riverbank for the day, and seeing nature unfold, whilst you participate in a small part of its cycle. That and the deep satisfaction to be had from working closely with an animal, whether dog or horse.
There's something there that we don't quite understand, something that fundamentally must remain quite mysterious, paradoxical too perhaps. A passage is quoted in the blog from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's 'River Cottage Meat Book', which captures part of the strange fascination:
"... As I pull the trigger and the bird falls, or the beast tumbles, I feel the gap between me and the quarry, which a moment ago seemed unreachable, closed in an instant."
These pastimes are such an intriguing mix of the practical, aesthetic, companionable and, on occasion, the near-mystical that it's hardly surprising they can be productive of compelling prose.
Here's the penultimate paragraph in Turgenev's 'Sketches from a Hunter's Album':
And on a wintry day to go walking through the high snow-drifts in search of hares, to breathe in the frosty, sharp-edged air, to crinkle one's eyes unwillingly against the dazzling, finely speckled glitter of the soft snow, to wonder at the green hue of the sky above a reddening forest!. .. And then there are the first spring days, when all around everything gleams and crashes down, and the smell of the warmer earth begins to rise through the heavy steam of melting snow, and skylarks sing trustingly under the sun's oblique rays on patches where the snow has thawed, and, with a gay noise, a gay roaring, the torrents go whirling from ravine to ravine...
(From the Penguin Classics edition translated by Richard Freeborne.)