I try to read as many books about hunting and the outdoors as possible. Learning about the history of hunting and staying current with modern thoughts on conservation makes me a better advocate for our natural resources. This is a list of five of my favorite books I read last year in no particular order. I think every hunter would appreciate them.
Written by Ernest Hemingway (a Michigan native), this book is a posthumous collection of stories he wrote about a character named Nick Adams. The character represents many experiences from Hemingway’s own life. Of particular interest are stories like “The Last Good Country” and “Big Two-Hearted River” which focus on Hemingway’s childhood spent up in Northern Michigan. Stories about trout fishing in Michigan, being on the run from the game warden, and traveling west across the Mississippi River as a young boy make this a great read.
There are not a large number of primary source documents available from mountain men who trapped during the 1800s. Many didn’t make it and of the ones who did keeping a journal or even being able to write was not that common. Osbourne Russel’s journal is one of the most widely distributed because of how well it was written and the fact that he became a politician later in life. At 106 pages, it is a short read but provides interesting insights into what the day to day life of a trapper was. Encounters with Native Americans, bears, and an unforgiving landscape make up the journal entries.
Richard P. Smith is a Michigan native who has been hunting black bears and deer for over 50 years. During that time he has taken a number of trophy book bears and become an expert on the subject of bear hunting. If you are interested in getting started hunting bear or looking for a refresher on the subject, his book is a great place to start. It is 400 pages of tips, tactics, and stories about how to hunt the icon of North American wilderness: The Bear.
Daniel Boone is one of those figures in history that we are familiar with, but most people don’t know exactly who he was and why he was important in the history of the hunting world and to the United States. Robert Morgan writes this book as a modern-day look at the man and who he really was as he follows along with the major events of Boone’s life. The sections about hunting in the wilderness and Boone’s encounters with the Cherokee and Shawnee tribes are especially interesting. This book gave me a deep appreciation for who Boone was and the history of hunting in the United States.
Steven Rinella is the host of the popular hunting show Meateater but is also a fantastic author. This book follows his journey from finding an old buffalo skull, to wanting to learn what happened to the buffalo. After drawing a coveted wild buffalo tag in Alaska he takes us along on the hunt explaining how the story of the buffalo is the story of America. It’s a great read and you won’t be able to put it down once you start.