What’s better than unwinding with a good book, especially a book about bowhunting?
Bowhunters usually spend summer practicing archery or bowfishing. However, reading can teach you hunting tactics and inspire you to hunt harder than ever. Even if you’re unsure bowhunting is for you, there’s no better way to learn about it than with a good book.
We’ve assembled a list of five must-read bowhunting books for summer. These books contain hair-raising stories about stalking grizzly bears with a “stick and string,” how-to information that puts more venison in the freezer, and intelligent conversations about conservation and hunting ethics. Whether you’re curious about hunting or want to learn how to prepare tasty wild-game meals, we have a book for you.
Steven Rinella’s Books – All of Them
Steven Rinella wrote “American Buffalo,” “Meat Eater,” “A Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine” and the two-volume “The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering and Cooking Wild Game.”
Rinella’s books are worth reading because they’re just that good. “American Buffalo,” “Meat Eater” and “A Scavengers Guide to Haute Cuisine” are insightful, fascinating stories inspired by his hunting adventures. This masterful storyteller intertwines science, history and how-to information, and challenges readers with thought-provoking questions and insights. He also makes hunting squirrels as exciting as stalking grizzlies, and the resulting squirrel dishes taste as fine as steak.
For more straightforward information, “The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering and Cooking Wild Game” is a two-volume set that covers its title in great detail and with excellent photos. Whether you need gear suggestions, hunting strategies, butchering tips for various species, or recipes for turning game meat into trophy meals, these books are for you. The first book covers big-game animals like deer, elk, bears and moose; and the second book covers small game like squirrels, rabbits, waterfowl and upland birds.
Tovar Cerulli’s “Mindful Carnivore”
“Mindful Carnivore” is the story of a vegan who becomes a hunter. If you’re on the fence about hunting or want to ponder the ethics of killing for food, this is a must-read.
Cerulli was a city kid who was afraid of being alone in the woods. He doesn’t come from a hunting family and never considered hunting until reaching adulthood. In other words, he’s an unlikely but highly relatable hunter.
Like many people, Cerulli was concerned about factory farming and his food’s origins. In seeking a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, he turned to vegetarianism and then veganism, but his health suffered from a plant-based diet. Meanwhile, he also learned that even vegans have impacts on the environment, whether it’s backyard gardening or industrial agriculture. That’s when he turned to hunting as a sustainable alternative to farmed protein. Throughout the “Mindful Carnivore,” Cerulli details his struggle with the ethics of his decisions, and how his perceptions of food and food acquisition changed.
David Peterson’s “Elkheart”
“Elkheart” transports readers to a mountainside where wild elk roam and their bugles echo. David Peterson shares the story of elk and paints a vivid picture of these majestic creatures. His passion and respect for elk shines through on every page. After reading “Elkheart,” you’ll share that passion and respect for elk.
In this collection of essays, Peterson also shares his thoughts on elk and conservation. “Elkheart” is a great way to get you excited about elk hunting and learn more about the animal.
Eva Shockey’s “Taking Aim” (Release date: Aug. 29)
Eva Shockey, 29, quickly became one of North America’s most influential bowhunters while appearing on the Outdoor Channel during the past decade. the first woman in 30 years to make the cover of “Field and Stream” when featured in its May 2014 issue.
Such recognition helped make Shockey a role model for many young women. She has a huge social-media presence with 1.2 million Facebook followers and 409,000 Instagram followers. In her book, “Taking Aim: Daring to Be Different, Happier and Healthier in the Great Outdoors,” Shockey shares the story of her career path and outdoor adventures.
She is the daughter of another famous hunter, Jim Shockey. As a child, Eva Shockey dreamed of becoming a dancer like her mother. As she grew up, however, the wild called to her and she chose an outdoors-based career. Her book chronicles her bowhunting adventures, such as arrowing a moose in the Yukon wilderness, and details how bowhunting contributes to happier and healthier lifestyles.
“Fred Bear’s Field Notes”
“Fred Bear’s Field Notes” is a book imbedded in bowhunting history. Fred Bear, 1902-1988, was a bowhunting pioneer and icon, and his field notes are his bowhunting diary. The book details his adventures at home and across the globe. It includes accounts of unbelievable encounters with grizzly bears in Alaska, and his stalks for challenging game in the tall grass of Africa. Bear’s heart-pounding adventures hook readers on bowhunting.
Bear helped popularize bowhunting from the 1930s through 1980s. He also founded Bear Archery, which remains a force in the bowhunting industry. In fact, the company still sells bows designed by Bear. If you love exciting bowhunting stories, or you’re interested in bowhunting’s modern history, spend time with “Fred Bear’s Field Notes.”
While you’re lounging in a hammock this summer, don’t forget to pick up a book in between naps. Any of these great books will get you fired up for bowhunting season, which will be here before you know it.