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A look inside the hunters' library

Books every hunter must read
Photo credits: Stephen Spurlock

With hunting season approaching, I am becoming more and more enthralled with thoughts of the upcoming season. Archery equipment and topo maps now dominate the limited space in my home office and I have been revisiting some of my favorite hunting and outdoors-related books. I will be the first to admit that I am not a “hunting story” guy. I prefer historical texts and texts on life history versus the traditional hunting story publications, but the titles below encompass a wide array of topics and perspectives. I find that reading about hunting helps quell the anticipation of the upcoming season a bit.

Books every hunter must read

Whether on a family beach vacation this summer or deep in the mountains in hunting camps this fall, the list below will come in handy.

Hunting Trips of a Ranchman & The Wilderness Hunter

By: Theodore Roosevelt
Published: 1885 and 1893

Hunting trips of a ranchman and the wilderness hunter book

There are few more iconic outdoorsman than the 26th President of the United States: Theodore Roosevelt. A staunch conservationist, Roosevelt was instrumental in the creation of the National Park and Forest Service systems we enjoy today. In this iconic book, Roosevelt describes a number of his hunting adventures. Full of information on the natural history of game species through hunting methods, this is a must read for all North American Big game hunters.
Available in paperback here.
Other titles by this author: African Game Trails: An Account of African Wanderings of an American Hunter-Naturalist, Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt

Death in the Long Grass

By: Peter Hathaway Capstick
Published: 1978

Death in the long grass book 

Peter Hathway Chapstick was originally from New Jersey. At the age of 30, he left his career as a stockbroker on Wall Street to pursue his passion for African hunting. In Death in the Long Grass, Chapstick recounts some of his experiences with the dangerous game of Africa. This is pretty sensational read, full of gory accounts of man-eaters and rogue animals. Definitely a good one to break up the monotony of a tough hunt!
Available in hardcover here.
Other titles by this author: Death in the Dark Continent, Death in Silent Places, The African Adventurers: A Return to the Silent Places, Warrior: The Legend Of Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen

American Buffalo

By: Steve Rinella
Published: 2009

American buffalo book

This is a good one! The story follows author Steve Rinella’s hunt for buffalo in the Copper River region of Alaska. Through the story of the hunt, Rinella tells the story of the American buffalo. From westerners’ first sightings of buffalo to their tragic decline, this book is full of interesting information regarding one of America’s most iconic big game animals. 
Available in paperback here.
Other titles by this author: Meat Eater, The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine

Continued below.

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Into Thin Air

By: Jon Krakauer
Published: 1997

Into thin air book 

This book is not about hunting. In this national bestseller, author Jon Krakauer tells his personal account of the tragic events on Mt. Everest in May of 1996. Filled with details and background on the incident, Krakauer presents a very clear concise account of the tragedy and its underlying causes. While this book doesn’tdirectly address hunting, I enjoy the struggle between man and Mother Nature that embodies the entire story. Definitely worth a read!

Available in paperback here.
Other titles by this author: Into the Wild, Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men And Mountains

A Sand County Almanac

By: Aldo Leopold
Published: 1968

A Sand County Almanac book

Aldo Leopold is recognized as the founder of the science of wildlife management. In A Sand County Almanac, Leopold describes the relationship between people and the land they inhabit. Using descriptions of the land near his home in Wisconsin, Leopold explores the “land ethic” that hunters and conservationists carry today. A little dry, but an absolute must read.
Available in paperback here.
Other titles by this author: Game Management, For the Health of the Land 

I Remember Papa Bear: The Untold Story of the Legendary Fred Bear, Including His Secrets of Hunting

By: Dick Lattimer
Published: 2006

I Remember Papa Bear book

Fred Bear is another iconic figure in America’s outdoors and hunting ethos. Written by Fred Bear’s good friend and hunting companion Dick Lattimer, this book takes a look into the life of the legendary archer. Packed with stories and hunting wisdom, this is one that must be in every archers’ library. You will find everything in this one from hunting tips to life coaching. Everytime I pick this one up I cannot help but consider how neat is that one of Fred’s hunting buddies took time to put this one together. 
Available in paperback here.
Other titles by this author: Hunt with Fred Bear

Hunters must read library of books

These are just a couple of my go to hunting reads. Please leave comments below with some your favorite hunting titles. The off season is long and nothing beats sitting back with a good book.


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Matt M. - posted 4 years ago on 07-24-2015 08:36:12 pm
Idaho Falls Idaho

Thanks Stephen, I definitely have Into Africa on my to read list as well. Good luck in the wilds!

Stephen S. - posted 4 years ago on 07-24-2015 12:18:56 am


Thank you for adding to the reading list! I haven't read that one and will definitely add it to my packing list for my fall hunts. I tried to cast a broad net with this list highlighting one historical text (Roosevelt), a more modern author (Rinella), classic conservation (Leopold), modern adventure (Krakauer), and a more modern text on a historical hunting figure (Lattimer).

Another one I really enjoyed was "Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone" by Martin Dugard. This one is available through iTunes in the audiobook format. I always find myself listening to it on the long drives that come with hunting season.

Thanks again Matt and good luck this fall!


Matt M. - posted 4 years ago on 07-23-2015 08:57:10 pm
Idaho Falls Idaho

Great stuff Stephen! I'm definitely going to update my library with some of these picks. I too prefer to read actual historic accounts. One I'll recommend is "The River of Doubt" by Candice Millard. An amazing true account of Roosevelt's trek down the Amazon in an attempt to map an uncharted tributary. It has hunting aspects but it's more about a fascinating adventure during a wild time in history. Thanks for the info, love the site.

Matt Martens