Hunting is often characterized as a hobby. For some hunters, that’s a fair description. However, for many, if not most hunters, “hobby” is not an accurate description. Hunting is who we are. It’s how we define ourselves. To use the politically-correct phrase, we “identify” as hunters. Hunting and the outdoors consume our thoughts and imagination. It’s not about the act of killing an animal, it’s about our connection to nature and wild places. When we’re not in the field, we’re thinking and reading about hunting or preparing for an upcoming hunting trip. I’ve long been a voracious reader, whether the goal is to learn, to be entertained, or both, I’ve read volumes on all things hunting, outdoors, dogs and guns over the years. Following is the HuntTested ultimate list of hunting and outdoor books curated for your reading pleasure.
Classic Hunting and Outdoor Books
- Hemingway on Hunting – by Ernest Hemingway. A collection of Hemingway’s short stories and personal reflections on hunting.
- To Build a Fire and Other Tales of the North – by Jack London. A collection of London’s short stories set in the Klondike.
- The Jim Corbitt Omnibus – by Jim Corbitt. Read about classic hunts for troublesome man-eating tigers in India.
- The Old Man and the Boy – by Robert Ruark. Ruark’s poignant autobiographical tale about wisdom, hunting, responsibility and becoming a man.
- The Great Duck Misunderstanding and other Stories – edited by Brian Peterson. Hunting and outdoor humor. It’s worth the price of the book for the title story alone.
Books about Hunters and Outdoors People
- Hunting Trips of a Ranchman and The Wilderness Hunter – by Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt remains my favorite President. His love of hunting and wild places and his work to protect public lands are an amazing legacy to us all.
- The Journals of Lewis and Clark – edited by Bernard DeVoto. The tools of Lewis and Clark were pen, paper, powder and bullet. Read about their Voyage of Discovery and trek across the Louisiana Purchase.
- Boone – by Robert Morgan – A biography of a hunter, frontiersman, politician and much more. Of note, he wore a beaver hat, not a coonskin cap.
- The Final Frontiersman – by James Campbell. Campbell shares the amazing story of Heimo Korth and his family living in the bush in Alaska.
- Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter – by Steven Rinella. Rinella is an excellent writer and spokesperson for ethical hunting.
- One Man’s Wilderness – by Richard Proenneke and Sam Keith. If you watched the PBS special, you’ll love reading from Dick Proenneke’s journals about his life in the Alaskan Bush.
Books on Hunting Ethics, Conservation and Connection to Nature
- Why Women Hunt – by KJ Houtman. Houtman approaches the subject by telling the stories of eighteen women. Their motivations for hunting vary, but love and respect for nature was a constant theme through all the women’s stories.
- Bloodties: Nature Culture and the Hunt – by Ted Kerasote. Kerasote endeavors to answer the question of why we hunt.
- For a Handful of Feathers – by Guy de la Valdene. Beautiful writing on quail, conservation and hunting ethics.
- Reflections from the North Country – by Sigurd Olson. Olson poetically captures the wonder of the natural world and our responsibility to her.
- The Wilderness Life – by Calvin Rutstrum. Rutstrum makes an appeal for a natural life and a love for wild places.
- Reflections Under the Big Pine – by KJ Houtman and Bill Miller. A devotional for the hunter and outdoorsperson. Stories of how we feel God’s presence in His creation.
Books on Hunting Techniques
- Grouse Hunter’s Guide – by Dennis Walrod. Solid facts, insights, and observations on how to hunt the Ruffed Grouse.
- Backcountry Hunting – by Cameron Hanes. Cam Hanes has inspired more people to bowhunt than anyone outside of Fred Bear. Backcountry Hunting makes the case for being physically prepared for the hunt and provides tactics to be successful.
- Public Land Elk Hunting – by Matthew Dworak. Dworak provides one of the best elk hunting how to guides I’ve read.
- Hunting Big Mule Deer – by Robby Denning. For some hunters a monster mulie is the ultimate prize. Denning offers vast experience on how to pursue them.
- Practical Turkey Hunting Strategies – by Ray Eye. Ray Eye has forgotten more about hunting turkeys than I’ll ever know.
Books about Hunting Dogs and Dog Training
- Gun Dog – by Richard Wolters. A classic manual for training your hunting dog.
- Water Dog – by Richard Wolters. The definitive guide for retriever training. I dusted of my copy with each new Chesapeake.
- Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook – by Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson DVM, Delbert G. Carlson DVM, James M. Giffin MD. A handy guide to health and first aid issues with your dog.
- Training your Pointing Dog – by Richard Weaver. I purchased this book as a guide for training my first Brittany. A solid introduction to training your pointing dog.
- Retriever Training: A Back to Basics Approach – by Robert Milner. A modern guide to training your retriever.
- Jenny Willow: A Novel – by Mike Gaddis. If you love dogs, you’ll enjoy this poignant dog story.
Survival and First Aid Books
- Bushcraft 101 – by Dave Canterbury. An encyclopedia of survival skills you should know.
- Be Expert with Map and Compass– by Bjorn Kjellstrom. Everyone should know how to navigate in the woods with map and compass.
- Morrow Guide to Knots – by Mario Bigon and Guido Regazzoni. I purchased this book after all my duck decoys floated away from my failed anchor line knots.
- The Prepper’s Medical Handbook – by William Forgey. This is a book everyone should have handy. It’s an authoriative guide to most every health, first aid and medical question you could have.
- When All Hell Breaks Loose – by Cudy Lundin. A body of knowledge I hope I never have to employ.
- Bear Attacks – by Stephen Herrero. Don’t rely on being able to run faster than your buddy if you hunt in bear country.
- Into the Wild – by Jon Krakauer. Kraukauer masterfully tells the story of Christopher McCandless’ ill-fated attempt to live deliberately in the Alaskan bush.
- Edible Wild Plants – by Lee Allen Peterson. I don’t go around eating a lot of wild plants, but this seems like knowledge we all should have if the occassion arises. (Be sure to buy the copy appropriate for your region)
Wild Game Care and Game Cook Books
- Buck, Buck, Moose – Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Deer, Elk, Moose, Antelope and Other Antlered Things – by Hank Shaw. Shaw is one of the leading chefs creating sublime dishes with wild game.
- The Meat Eater Fish and Game Cookbook – by Steven Rinella. One of the things I appreciate most about Rinella is how he makes amazing dishes from all the game he harvests.
- Hunting, Butchering and Cooking Wildgame – by Steven Rinella. An excellent book for new hunters.
- The One Pan Gourmet – By Don Jacobson. A teriffic cookbook for backcountry hunting, backpacking or canoe camping.
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