Bowseason is over for another year, leaving you with only memories and the culinary delights created from your hard earned venison. The holidays are past and you are settling in for two very cold months of winter weather. Now is the right time to start reading a classic deer hunting book. Many great hunting adventures can still be had, even though it is outside the season. Just open up a book and join the author while he/she leads you on a literary safari. A fine hunting novel can help you remember your own past experiences from deer camp as well. I love to get lost in and taken aback by a writer’s far reaching hunting trek.

   Bow hunting books come in all flavors, there are many “how-to” books, lots of books on getting started in the sport, and volumes of books are available on the subject of becoming more proficient with your bow. However hunting adventure books are what I like to open and read on those cold, cold evenings at home during the off-season. I yearn for the stories of legendary hunts of yester-year, the kind that make you wish you where born 50 years earlier, the kind that make you wish you could have tagged along for the ride. These are the kinds of books that I send hours each year searching for in stacks of used books and little backroom bookstore across the country, the kind that eBay search dreams are made of.

 Great Bowhunting authors are a rare breed indeed. Taking inspiration from their hunts and experiences and spinning them into an enticing yarn, painting a mental picture that places the reader right smack into the middle of the action. They are able to do this with such empowering excitement that you almost feel like you are there watching on. Books that pertain to the subject of hunting adventure are diverse in nature, taking place in a wide ranging variety of geographical locations and include numerous species of game as the quarry. Such books often contain the stories of varied locales from fly-in trips to the bitter cold far North to mountainous ranges of the wide open West. Unique stories are sometimes taken straight from the journals of famous hunters/archers, penciled-in while only using the low light glow from a crackling campfire. The blank white pages some begin to fill with details of the chase. More often then not, it is the details of their experiences that tickle our imagination and not just the hunt itself. Here the description of the camp, the detail of the lay of the land, and even the meals evoke the reader’s spirit. The best part of these unique tales is that they contain element that those of us that are accustom to the daily hustle & bustle seldom hear about. Items like horse saddles, pack frames, canoe paddles, and snow shoes litter the pages in this kind of adventure. Meals are composed of the spoils of the hunting group’s labor. Salmon cooked streamside, fresh backstrap cooking over hot coals, grouse or ptarmigan picked clean of it’s feathers broiling in a Dutch oven, or even a snowshoe hare taken with a well placed arrow might find it’s way to the stew pot. Any self-respecting camp cook would also have some black coffee to complement the meal as well.

   No matter if the quarry is caribou, moose, elk or high altitude mulies, we are still mesmerized by the arrow’s arching flight. We are taken back by the puffs of dust or slinging mud made by retreating hooves as they dig into the earth for a final fleeting run.  Our very souls are stirred by the author’s portrayal of early mourning mists on high mountain peaks, first snowfalls, brilliant sunsets and clear nights that you can see all the far reaches of the milky-way.  We read about great times spent with hunting companions whom we share the love of the hunt with, and about hardships shared along the journey. These outings can also be a solitary event, the lone hunter with his pack-frame loaded with meat, his trophy’s horns balanced at the top of the pack. Sweating and straining painfully as he proudly make his last trip back from the kill-site with his quartered out bull.

  You can probably see by now, one of my favorite non-hunting pursuits is the search for the next great book to add to my personal hunting library. Finding that little known, out of print or rare book is like getting that first glimpse of a trophy buck, and I enjoy it almost as much (I said almost).

 

                                                                                                                                  

Here are a few of my all time favorites, most but not all are written by bowhunters…… 

 

 T.S. Van Dyke       “The Stillhunter”

Gene Wensel          ”Come November”

Aldo Leopold         “Sand County Almanac “                    

Jerome Robinson   “In the Deer Woods”

George Mattis      “Whitetail”

Glen St. Charles   “Bows on the Little Delta”

Fred Bear             “Fred Bear’s Field Notes “

Dick Lattimir      “Hunt with Fred Bear”

 

   The preceding titles are of course only a few that are out there, but I will guarantee you will not be disappointed with any of this selection. Opening up and reading one of these hunting classics might inspire you to plan a distant hunt and create your own Bowhunting adventure.

   Who knows, someday everyone might be reading about your trips afield, with bow in hand. Maybe you will be chasing down a trophy bowkill or a glorious sunset.

 

Shoot Straight and Keep’em Sharp………..

 

Written by Jason Wilborn       Monroe Tennessee