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Chad Love: Why Old Hunting Books are Better than New Ones

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December 09, 2009

Chad Love: Why Old Hunting Books are Better than New Ones

By Chad Love

I was perusing the outdoors section of a large chain bookstore not long ago and I was struck by something that perhaps some of you have also noticed: hunting books are disappearing. And by hunting books I don't mean how-to, where-to type books. I mean literary hunting books: anthologies, collections of essays, ruminations, books that make you think.
 
At the same time, you can't walk into a bookstore and chuck a rock without it hitting a book about the joys, the wonders, the search for the ultimate meaning of life as it relates to...flyfishing.
 
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking flyfishing. But I would argue that ...

... hunting is a far richer vein to mine than anything fishing can offer. Fishing, if one so chooses, can avoid the irrevocable moral consequences of taking a life that hunting, by its very nature, cannot.
 
Unfortunately, judging by the titles on the bookstore shelves it seems modern hunting books have gone in the opposite direction: abandoning complexity in favor of instruction on how best to kill more things quicker. You see damn few well-written, thoughtful books on hunting any more.
 
Why is that? It certainly wasn't always that way. Take this book for example. I found my copy in a dusty corner of a used bookshop. You won't find it at Barnes & Noble or Borders, because A. it's out of print and B. it doesn't tell or show you how to do a damn thing. All it does, through twenty original essays and a wonderful introduction penned by Vance Bourjaily, is make the reader think, a quality I find less and less of in today's hunting literature.
 
No offense to the fly anglers, but we need another book of personal reflections on flyfishing through the midlife crisis like we need avian flu. No offense to hunters, but we need another book on advanced whitetail tactics like we need a Hanson reunion tour.  What we do need more of are books about hunting that teach you absolutely nothing about hunting, but everything about life. Sure, the classics are out there, but are there any modern books on hunting that fit that description? If there are, I'd like to hear your favorites.

Comments (47)

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from JayCassell wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Chad - Go to Amazon.com and buy a copy of my book, The Gigantic Book of Hunting Stories (Skyhorse Publishing). It was published last year and contains more than 100 stories, from the 1800s up through 2007. It contains pieces from likes of Theodore Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, Zane Grey and Corey Ford, up to present-day authors such as Phil Caputo, Tom McGuane, Jim Harrison, and Rick Bass. Guaranteed, there isn't one how-to story in there! - Jay Cassell (F&S Deputy Editor)

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I'm sure it's coincidence, but a suspicious person might, after reading the first comment, think that this post was a plant.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Not being THAT suspicious, I'll likely check out Mr. Cassel's book.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from JayCassell wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I had no idea Chad was going to write this...and I couldn't help but respond. I don't think he is aware of my book, frankly.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Seems the bookstores stock what their customers are most likely to read .. overhead, you know. Unfortunately, it can be worse at libraries. The power of the written word cannot be denied but it's got to get by the critical eye of the librarian. If they are biased in any way toward certain books they won't be on the shelves.

Was it Petzal that raved about Cassell's book? Must be worth the read. Good price on Amazon, too. Shorts, though? What we need is to get people like Happy Miles to compile their lifetime stories. Idahooutdoors's wolf hunt and the followup were historic. There is always more than just the hunts themselves - the people, the places, the history. Perhaps a book of reader stories? If you can't find a book you want to read then write one. Chad's turn.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from NolanOsborne wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I have made note of this. Also, most canadian bookstore are sh*t when it comes to hunting magazines. I was in a store in Pheonix last april, much much much better :)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joseph Bishop wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Still I don't think that is a new book in the same sense that Mr. Love is speaking. It may have newer stories, but it sounds like a compilation of old stories with some new ones. No offense Mr.Cassell.

I too would like more books written by gentlemen(or ladies) where the writing is about the emotions, feel, and the experiences of the hunt. A book where the where and how are secondary and tertiary points.

I read a book a friend lent me about Bear Hunting that was, I think, exactly what you are speaking about, Mr. Love. It talked almost exclusively about the experience and almost only touched upon the "how to's" to inform the possibly uninformed reader of how bad a certain situation was in a story(I.E.shooting a Griz with a .32-30 or other under powered caliber) or to bring a clearer picture of what was going on in the story. I can't for the life of me recall the title of the book or who wrote it, but even if I did I doubt you could find a copy very readily.

Are there any modern books you could suggest or maybe just less common ones that maybe aren't as modern?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

My solution was to find a USED bookstore with a lady who will search diligently for any book, she never gives up and will try to find the lowest possible price on rare out of print books

www.isitfirsteditions.com ask for trina 913-649-2662

or e-mail isittrina@kc.rr.com ,tell her Jere said to call.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Actually jcarlin, Jay had no idea I was writing this blog post. For that matter, neither did I until about nine this morning...

Jay, a big Doh! on my part. I actually am quite aware of you book and do plan on buying it. But I didn't see it on the shelves last time I made the rounds of the book stores, and that's the experience I based the blog on.

I'll be visiting Amazon and rectifying that oversight directly. I love a good anthology.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joseph Bishop wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

This is it I believe. Bear Hunting By Jerry Meyer. And, It is available on Amazon if no where else.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

That should read "quite aware of your book". Long day...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Addendum to my last, she got me every one of Robert Ruark's books, all in like new condition with Dust Covers, all for under 30 Dollars!!!!!!!!!!! And one of Jack O'coonors.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

O'Conner's*

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blainer wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

There are some good ones out there but they are a little more rare! Anything by Steven Rinella, Rick Bass and Ted Kerasote is a sure bet.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from SDHUNTERMN wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I think alot has to do with people not being able to or just not living adventerous lives like folks used to. I also think the constant media and technology blitz doesn't give most folks the opportunity to analyze their lives. Today it is nearly impossible for someone to up and leave at 15 and hobo across the country and the world as someone like Louis Lamour. The adventourous spirit is very much alive, but much harder to identify as it used to be.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from SDHUNTERMN wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Maybe Mr. Love could get a section on the website dedicated to good hunting books new and old, I am always looking for good books to read

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Hunting books are disappearing; all you hear on TV now is YADA! YADA! YADA! of some Young Goober Smootcher who has no practical experience commonly known as the Armchair Expert or Couch Slug trying to reinvent the wheel! How many of you ever read Hatchers Notebook?

Another reason is like why News Papers are going out of business, internet has taking its place. By the time you get a News Paper, today's news was yesterdays news!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Johnnyras1624 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Uncle Ted, is one fine descriptor of a hunting adventure if you read some of his work....the man knows how to tell you exactly what he is feeling deep down into his soul. One of the few modern day poets when it comes to hunting.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

i have been looking for the same thing for awhile. i think i will pick up a copy of mr Cassels book. i think collections of interesting stories from your average hunters would be great.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Big O wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

First off is Vance related to Phil ?
To Mr. Cassell- On the way to get a copy ordered in the a.m. !
Now (with no offense to Mr. Cassell), you asked "WHY".
Well I'll tell you. As a PROLIFIC reader from WAY BACK(read Dante at 8, and explained it to my mom !)to reason for the "decline" is simple. NO WRITERS HAVE "HEART" anymore !
The old books were written by people who did not care about book sales or $$$. They were writing to share their LOVE for the outdoors.
I hope that Mr. Cassell's book falls in the "old" catagory in "my book".

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from RJ Arena wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I believe one of the reasons we see fewer and fewer good books out there is the nature of our "instant society" We don't even right letters to "field & Stream" we send these silly instant e-mails. We want to see exploits of skill and daring, and we DVR them anyway, because who watches anything "live" these days, no time. My point is that we would have to give a writer the chance, and few of us are willing to. So if any of my wonderful, bright friends out there have discovered a truly great new read, please let us know. My wife is bugging me for a Christmas present list. I would promote to all who would listen.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

My apologies to Jay and Chad. The coincidence amused me, so I commented on it. My immediate follow up was due to the realization of just how bad that accusation looked. I'm sure it was perfectly innocent. Considering the amount of entertainment I get out of this venue plus the fact that I could certainly use a good collection of hunting stories, please don't take my comment awry.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ejunk wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

modern readers don't appreciate the essay.

yrs-
Evan!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

As long as the Editors are reading this thread I think they deserve a pat on the back for the exceptional December/January issue of F&S. Well done! (What will it take to get McCafferty online?)

After many praises from readers on this site I am in the market for Robert Ruark "The Old Man and the Boy"

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MichFish86 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I have read about 75% of Jay's "The Gigantic Book of Hunting Stories". I highly recommend it; it's a great armchair book that you can set down and pick up at your leisure since they are all pretty short stories. I was thrilled to see so many fantastic outdoor authors' writings in one book. Any of you that purchase it will not disappointed.

Great job, Mr. Cassell!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Check these out:

Wild Men, Wild Alaska, by Rocky McElveen
Wild Men, Wild Alaska II, by Rocky McElveen
Fair Chase in North America, by Craig Boddington

I haven't read them, yet - Boddington's book has been on my list. The other two look worthwhile.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Maybe all us old time hunters are becoming relics?
Years ago I began buying any old hunting book at used stores, garage sales, good wills etc. Not paying much attention to what they were about - just do I have a copy yet? These books have turned out to be time capsules rocketing my mind back. Priceless.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MichFish86 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

MLH, Maybe it just wasn't my taste but I couldn't make it 30 pages into Wild Men, Wild Alaska. My recommendation is to pass on that one.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Recommendations! Good idea MLH.

Bird hunting;
Fool Hen Blues by E. Donnall Thomas, Jr.

Deer hunting;

The Deer Book by Lamr Underwood - essays and stories about the old ways of deerhunting. Some so vivid you can "smell" the camp.

Autumn Moons & Whitetail Dreams by Michael Duarte - chronicle of ambrosial experiences and imaginings of those who can not live without the autumn woods and whitetail deer.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Double D wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Great post and commentary, but one suggestion. Instead of ordering from Amazon (or shopping B&N), visit your local independent bookseller. They will gladly order any book you want. It might cost a little bit more, but would you rather spend your money with Jeff Bezos or your neighbor?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Charlie elk, Fool Hen Blues is one of my favorites.I think E. Don Thomas is one of the most underrated and overlooked writers out there. Always look for his work in Retriever Journal, etc. And since I'm a stick-and-string guy I loved Longbows in the Far North as well.

Double D, great suggestion. I always have and if I still lived in a college town you can bet that's what I'd still do. Unfortunately, my nearest local indie bookshop is now 170 miles away.

Living in the sticks does have its cultural disadvantages...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Chad, as a fellow stick and string aficionado I could not agree with you more regarding Longbows in the Far North.
later,
charlie

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pistolhunter wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Old books are better because new ones are so often plugging some product to buy . I get let down when reading stories in magazines too for years now, always making the center of the story all the hunting products he used to get the game. Just a big advertisement nowdays.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ckRich wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

One of my personal favorites:

Hill Country, by Gene Hill

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

My Personal Favorite "Use Enough Gun" by Robert Ruark, but I have ALL of his books thanks to the Lady I mentioned before.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sb Wacker wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Enough with the nagging already. I'm working on it. I'm working on it.
How's your blog going?
SBW

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sb Wacker wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

As they say the best things in life are free, so I'm casting my vote for Hunting with the Bow and Arrow by Saxton Pope, free from
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/8084

SBW

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

MichFish86 - the nice thing about bookstores is that we can peruse a book before deciding to buy it. I had trouble for the first few pages of Old Man and the Boy, until I got used to Ruark's style. Now it is one of my favorites.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brittle wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

for one hunting books tell you something on how to do stuff rather than the meaning of life

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I don't know too many people who've read "Grouse Foolish" or "Shots at White-tails." Great books both.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from SDHUNTERMN wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I read a book in high school (ten long years ago) called "A Hunters Road" one of the best i ever read, about a guy and his retriever that travel all over the country hunting birds one fall. Its about the people he meets and the bond between a hunter and his dog, great story

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Jay, I'll be looking for your book.
Chad you are so right on about the old books. I am currently reading Maneaters of Kumaon by jim Corbett the umpteenth time.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Roscoe wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Many of the old books of hunting stories were compilations of stories first published in Magazines. My favorite is Gordon MacQuarrie and his Stories of the Old Duck Hunters.

Maybe Field and Stream should start running more of this kind of material. It would help the authors trying to make a go in the genre to have a place to get started, and it would help another generation of hunters to learn more about the traditions and values of hunting. Hunting is so much more than gear+tactics=kills.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from _c_A_c_ wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Hey ckRich, don't forget "Mostly Tailfeathers" by Mr. Hill as well. Classic.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Topper wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

"Hunting from Home" Christopher Camuto; Great tales of a man and his grouse dog in the Appalachian Mtns.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Outdoors2 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

re: Mike Diehl, Shots at Whitetails. Great book.
But, I'd like to point you all to one I am reading now.
I know this is a post about hunting books/stories but I came across a copy of "Trout" by Ray Bergman, Knopf 1952. An excellent read, written as a reflective story about Rays trials and tribulations, From youth to advanced learning the craft of outwitting his weary prey. Which is the theme for this post ie: good writing. Not only on the sport we chose, but life's endeavors and pitfalls.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JettPack wrote 4 years 17 weeks ago

The Deer Hunting Book, edited by Lamar Underwood. Great collection of short stories, mostly from the early to mid 1900s. Classic stories that will stir the soul for sure. I read it throughout each hunting season and bounce around from writers such as Archibald Rutledge, Larry Benoit and even some fellow named William Faulkner. All kinds of interesting stories on such topics as tracking deer, hunting with dogs, deer camps, first kills or even getting lost. Mostly it shines light on the character and personality of the deer hunter. Definitely recommend it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Just finished Wild Men, Wild Alaska (a Christmas present to myself). I liked it and will pass it on to friends. It was as if the author was telling stories around a campfire. McElveen is a seminarian and the son of a pastor so expect him to mix in spirituality and God. After misadventures and exposure to the glories of Alaska I imagine many guides and bush pilots get pretty close to God at times.

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from JayCassell wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Chad - Go to Amazon.com and buy a copy of my book, The Gigantic Book of Hunting Stories (Skyhorse Publishing). It was published last year and contains more than 100 stories, from the 1800s up through 2007. It contains pieces from likes of Theodore Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, Zane Grey and Corey Ford, up to present-day authors such as Phil Caputo, Tom McGuane, Jim Harrison, and Rick Bass. Guaranteed, there isn't one how-to story in there! - Jay Cassell (F&S Deputy Editor)

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Big O wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

First off is Vance related to Phil ?
To Mr. Cassell- On the way to get a copy ordered in the a.m. !
Now (with no offense to Mr. Cassell), you asked "WHY".
Well I'll tell you. As a PROLIFIC reader from WAY BACK(read Dante at 8, and explained it to my mom !)to reason for the "decline" is simple. NO WRITERS HAVE "HEART" anymore !
The old books were written by people who did not care about book sales or $$$. They were writing to share their LOVE for the outdoors.
I hope that Mr. Cassell's book falls in the "old" catagory in "my book".

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I'm sure it's coincidence, but a suspicious person might, after reading the first comment, think that this post was a plant.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Not being THAT suspicious, I'll likely check out Mr. Cassel's book.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Seems the bookstores stock what their customers are most likely to read .. overhead, you know. Unfortunately, it can be worse at libraries. The power of the written word cannot be denied but it's got to get by the critical eye of the librarian. If they are biased in any way toward certain books they won't be on the shelves.

Was it Petzal that raved about Cassell's book? Must be worth the read. Good price on Amazon, too. Shorts, though? What we need is to get people like Happy Miles to compile their lifetime stories. Idahooutdoors's wolf hunt and the followup were historic. There is always more than just the hunts themselves - the people, the places, the history. Perhaps a book of reader stories? If you can't find a book you want to read then write one. Chad's turn.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joseph Bishop wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Still I don't think that is a new book in the same sense that Mr. Love is speaking. It may have newer stories, but it sounds like a compilation of old stories with some new ones. No offense Mr.Cassell.

I too would like more books written by gentlemen(or ladies) where the writing is about the emotions, feel, and the experiences of the hunt. A book where the where and how are secondary and tertiary points.

I read a book a friend lent me about Bear Hunting that was, I think, exactly what you are speaking about, Mr. Love. It talked almost exclusively about the experience and almost only touched upon the "how to's" to inform the possibly uninformed reader of how bad a certain situation was in a story(I.E.shooting a Griz with a .32-30 or other under powered caliber) or to bring a clearer picture of what was going on in the story. I can't for the life of me recall the title of the book or who wrote it, but even if I did I doubt you could find a copy very readily.

Are there any modern books you could suggest or maybe just less common ones that maybe aren't as modern?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Chad, as a fellow stick and string aficionado I could not agree with you more regarding Longbows in the Far North.
later,
charlie

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pistolhunter wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Old books are better because new ones are so often plugging some product to buy . I get let down when reading stories in magazines too for years now, always making the center of the story all the hunting products he used to get the game. Just a big advertisement nowdays.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I don't know too many people who've read "Grouse Foolish" or "Shots at White-tails." Great books both.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from JayCassell wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I had no idea Chad was going to write this...and I couldn't help but respond. I don't think he is aware of my book, frankly.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from NolanOsborne wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I have made note of this. Also, most canadian bookstore are sh*t when it comes to hunting magazines. I was in a store in Pheonix last april, much much much better :)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

My solution was to find a USED bookstore with a lady who will search diligently for any book, she never gives up and will try to find the lowest possible price on rare out of print books

www.isitfirsteditions.com ask for trina 913-649-2662

or e-mail isittrina@kc.rr.com ,tell her Jere said to call.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Actually jcarlin, Jay had no idea I was writing this blog post. For that matter, neither did I until about nine this morning...

Jay, a big Doh! on my part. I actually am quite aware of you book and do plan on buying it. But I didn't see it on the shelves last time I made the rounds of the book stores, and that's the experience I based the blog on.

I'll be visiting Amazon and rectifying that oversight directly. I love a good anthology.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joseph Bishop wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

This is it I believe. Bear Hunting By Jerry Meyer. And, It is available on Amazon if no where else.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Addendum to my last, she got me every one of Robert Ruark's books, all in like new condition with Dust Covers, all for under 30 Dollars!!!!!!!!!!! And one of Jack O'coonors.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Hunting books are disappearing; all you hear on TV now is YADA! YADA! YADA! of some Young Goober Smootcher who has no practical experience commonly known as the Armchair Expert or Couch Slug trying to reinvent the wheel! How many of you ever read Hatchers Notebook?

Another reason is like why News Papers are going out of business, internet has taking its place. By the time you get a News Paper, today's news was yesterdays news!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RJ Arena wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I believe one of the reasons we see fewer and fewer good books out there is the nature of our "instant society" We don't even right letters to "field & Stream" we send these silly instant e-mails. We want to see exploits of skill and daring, and we DVR them anyway, because who watches anything "live" these days, no time. My point is that we would have to give a writer the chance, and few of us are willing to. So if any of my wonderful, bright friends out there have discovered a truly great new read, please let us know. My wife is bugging me for a Christmas present list. I would promote to all who would listen.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

As long as the Editors are reading this thread I think they deserve a pat on the back for the exceptional December/January issue of F&S. Well done! (What will it take to get McCafferty online?)

After many praises from readers on this site I am in the market for Robert Ruark "The Old Man and the Boy"

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Check these out:

Wild Men, Wild Alaska, by Rocky McElveen
Wild Men, Wild Alaska II, by Rocky McElveen
Fair Chase in North America, by Craig Boddington

I haven't read them, yet - Boddington's book has been on my list. The other two look worthwhile.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Maybe all us old time hunters are becoming relics?
Years ago I began buying any old hunting book at used stores, garage sales, good wills etc. Not paying much attention to what they were about - just do I have a copy yet? These books have turned out to be time capsules rocketing my mind back. Priceless.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Recommendations! Good idea MLH.

Bird hunting;
Fool Hen Blues by E. Donnall Thomas, Jr.

Deer hunting;

The Deer Book by Lamr Underwood - essays and stories about the old ways of deerhunting. Some so vivid you can "smell" the camp.

Autumn Moons & Whitetail Dreams by Michael Duarte - chronicle of ambrosial experiences and imaginings of those who can not live without the autumn woods and whitetail deer.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Double D wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Great post and commentary, but one suggestion. Instead of ordering from Amazon (or shopping B&N), visit your local independent bookseller. They will gladly order any book you want. It might cost a little bit more, but would you rather spend your money with Jeff Bezos or your neighbor?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Charlie elk, Fool Hen Blues is one of my favorites.I think E. Don Thomas is one of the most underrated and overlooked writers out there. Always look for his work in Retriever Journal, etc. And since I'm a stick-and-string guy I loved Longbows in the Far North as well.

Double D, great suggestion. I always have and if I still lived in a college town you can bet that's what I'd still do. Unfortunately, my nearest local indie bookshop is now 170 miles away.

Living in the sticks does have its cultural disadvantages...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from SDHUNTERMN wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I read a book in high school (ten long years ago) called "A Hunters Road" one of the best i ever read, about a guy and his retriever that travel all over the country hunting birds one fall. Its about the people he meets and the bond between a hunter and his dog, great story

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Jay, I'll be looking for your book.
Chad you are so right on about the old books. I am currently reading Maneaters of Kumaon by jim Corbett the umpteenth time.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

That should read "quite aware of your book". Long day...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

O'Conner's*

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blainer wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

There are some good ones out there but they are a little more rare! Anything by Steven Rinella, Rick Bass and Ted Kerasote is a sure bet.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from SDHUNTERMN wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I think alot has to do with people not being able to or just not living adventerous lives like folks used to. I also think the constant media and technology blitz doesn't give most folks the opportunity to analyze their lives. Today it is nearly impossible for someone to up and leave at 15 and hobo across the country and the world as someone like Louis Lamour. The adventourous spirit is very much alive, but much harder to identify as it used to be.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from SDHUNTERMN wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Maybe Mr. Love could get a section on the website dedicated to good hunting books new and old, I am always looking for good books to read

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from Johnnyras1624 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Uncle Ted, is one fine descriptor of a hunting adventure if you read some of his work....the man knows how to tell you exactly what he is feeling deep down into his soul. One of the few modern day poets when it comes to hunting.

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from fliphuntr14 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

i have been looking for the same thing for awhile. i think i will pick up a copy of mr Cassels book. i think collections of interesting stories from your average hunters would be great.

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from jcarlin wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

My apologies to Jay and Chad. The coincidence amused me, so I commented on it. My immediate follow up was due to the realization of just how bad that accusation looked. I'm sure it was perfectly innocent. Considering the amount of entertainment I get out of this venue plus the fact that I could certainly use a good collection of hunting stories, please don't take my comment awry.

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from ejunk wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

modern readers don't appreciate the essay.

yrs-
Evan!

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from MichFish86 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I have read about 75% of Jay's "The Gigantic Book of Hunting Stories". I highly recommend it; it's a great armchair book that you can set down and pick up at your leisure since they are all pretty short stories. I was thrilled to see so many fantastic outdoor authors' writings in one book. Any of you that purchase it will not disappointed.

Great job, Mr. Cassell!

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from MichFish86 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

MLH, Maybe it just wasn't my taste but I couldn't make it 30 pages into Wild Men, Wild Alaska. My recommendation is to pass on that one.

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from ckRich wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

One of my personal favorites:

Hill Country, by Gene Hill

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

My Personal Favorite "Use Enough Gun" by Robert Ruark, but I have ALL of his books thanks to the Lady I mentioned before.

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from Sb Wacker wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Enough with the nagging already. I'm working on it. I'm working on it.
How's your blog going?
SBW

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from Sb Wacker wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

As they say the best things in life are free, so I'm casting my vote for Hunting with the Bow and Arrow by Saxton Pope, free from
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/8084

SBW

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from MLH wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

MichFish86 - the nice thing about bookstores is that we can peruse a book before deciding to buy it. I had trouble for the first few pages of Old Man and the Boy, until I got used to Ruark's style. Now it is one of my favorites.

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from Brittle wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

for one hunting books tell you something on how to do stuff rather than the meaning of life

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from Roscoe wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Many of the old books of hunting stories were compilations of stories first published in Magazines. My favorite is Gordon MacQuarrie and his Stories of the Old Duck Hunters.

Maybe Field and Stream should start running more of this kind of material. It would help the authors trying to make a go in the genre to have a place to get started, and it would help another generation of hunters to learn more about the traditions and values of hunting. Hunting is so much more than gear+tactics=kills.

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from _c_A_c_ wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Hey ckRich, don't forget "Mostly Tailfeathers" by Mr. Hill as well. Classic.

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from Topper wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

"Hunting from Home" Christopher Camuto; Great tales of a man and his grouse dog in the Appalachian Mtns.

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from Outdoors2 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

re: Mike Diehl, Shots at Whitetails. Great book.
But, I'd like to point you all to one I am reading now.
I know this is a post about hunting books/stories but I came across a copy of "Trout" by Ray Bergman, Knopf 1952. An excellent read, written as a reflective story about Rays trials and tribulations, From youth to advanced learning the craft of outwitting his weary prey. Which is the theme for this post ie: good writing. Not only on the sport we chose, but life's endeavors and pitfalls.

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from JettPack wrote 4 years 17 weeks ago

The Deer Hunting Book, edited by Lamar Underwood. Great collection of short stories, mostly from the early to mid 1900s. Classic stories that will stir the soul for sure. I read it throughout each hunting season and bounce around from writers such as Archibald Rutledge, Larry Benoit and even some fellow named William Faulkner. All kinds of interesting stories on such topics as tracking deer, hunting with dogs, deer camps, first kills or even getting lost. Mostly it shines light on the character and personality of the deer hunter. Definitely recommend it.

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from MLH wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Just finished Wild Men, Wild Alaska (a Christmas present to myself). I liked it and will pass it on to friends. It was as if the author was telling stories around a campfire. McElveen is a seminarian and the son of a pastor so expect him to mix in spirituality and God. After misadventures and exposure to the glories of Alaska I imagine many guides and bush pilots get pretty close to God at times.

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