By Mark Kenyon
I’m addicted to reading. Especially when it comes to literature related to my favorite pursuit of hunting.
Every time I’m at the grocery store, I detour to the magazine section and purchase whatever new hunting magazine I don’t yet have stacked on my man cave coffee table. Every new hunting strategy book I can find on Amazon some how ends up being put on my credit card and shipped to my home. Every 10 minutes while online, I seem to lose track of whatever task I’m working on and begin exploring other hunting sites and blogs for the latest whitetail know-how.
But sometimes, especially this time of year, I like to get away from the information, strategies, tips and tricks. Sometimes I just need to read for fun. Inevitably though, I like to keep my fun reading still on topic. And so the many books that litter my office book shelf are dedicated to epic hunting tales, misadventures in the woods, and soul searching philisophy of the hunt.
Today, I’d like to share with you seven of my favorite such books. Books that aren’t so much about getting better at hunting, as they are about better appreciating the hunt itself. These books are food for the heart, soul and mind of the hunter. And they sure are satisfying.
So, I’d encourage you to peruse my recommendations below and then give one a try. Tend the fire, kick back on the couch, and settle in for an adventure. Here are seven fun, off-season reads for the avid hunter …
Meat Eater by Steven Rinella: Steven Rinella has a way with words, unlike any hunter I know. He tells a hunting story as well as anyone alive, and his insight into the heart and soul of the hunter is unmatched. For that reason, you’ll find three of his books featured on this list, and they’re really all worthy. This first book, Meat Eater, is a collection of stories from over his years of hunting and fishing – and they are all masterfully told, full of conviction, and capped with wisdom and lessons learned. On top of that included are a handful of cooking tips for wild game. A must have for any person living the hunting and fishing lifestyle.
The Mindful Carnivore by Tovar Cerulli: Here’s an intriguing book that will really make you think, as Tovar Cerulli shares the story of his evolution from a vegan to a hunter.
The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine by Steven Rinella: Another terrific work of Rinella’s, the Scavenger’s Guide is an epic story of Steven’s mission to recreate the menu from a hundred year old french cook book using just wild game that he personally acquired on various hunting and fishing trips. As always, his stories are visceral, rich and real. This book was especially inspiring to me, as a chapter in this book discussing Rinella’s elk hunt was the push I finally needed to go on my first hunting trip out west!
Alaska and Me by Billy Molls: If you’re a red blooded hunter like me, you’ve dreamed of hunting in Alaska more times than you can count. Despite not being able to make that trek yet, this book, Alaska and Me, has helped me scratch that itch from the comfort of my own home. A terrific tale of Billy Moll’s adventures as a big game guide in the wilds of America’s Last Frontier, you’ll have a hard time putting this one down.
If You Didn’t Bring Jerky, What Did I Just Eat? by Bill Heavey: If you read Field & Stream magazine, you’re probably familiar with Bill Heavey’s back page adventures. His stories have graced the back page of F&S for years, and he has left smiles on the faces of many. This book is a collection of some of his best stories, and they are all filled with laughter and mishaps, yet always with a poignant bit of introspection slipped in for good measure.
Whitetail Nation by Pete Bodo: This is the story of one man’s quest for “the big one”, and his misadventures along the way. But this isn’t just a hunting story. Interwoven throughout this tale is a deeper look at the culture of whitetail hunting in America, and a examination of the interesting peculiarities of this animal itself. A fun read, and definitely a few interesting bits of learning to be had along the way.
American Buffalo by Steven Rinella: Here’s the first book I read by Steven Rinella, and it may be his best. Steven draws a coveted wild bison tag for Alaska, and embarks on a truly epic hunt for this incredible creature in the backcountry. White water raft rides, lonely night alone in the wild, and stalking grizzlies. This story has it all. Almost more fascinating though than the story itself is the historical perspective that Rinella shares regarding the American Buffalo and it’s place in our country’s history. This is just a terrific read.