Best Hunting Books for Beginners and Experts: Top Picks

Carly Brasseux // March 4

Whether you are a seasoned hunter or just starting, having the right resources can make all the difference. One essential resource for hunters is a good hunting book (anyone else chooses to read instead of scrolling their phones in the blind?!). Hunting books can provide valuable information on a variety of topics, such as hunting techniques, equipment, and game behavior.

When it comes to selecting the best hunting book, there are several factors to consider. One critical factor is the author's experience and expertise in the hunting field (we see you, Steven Rinella). You want to ensure that the author has firsthand knowledge of hunting and can provide accurate and reliable information. Another factor to consider is the book's content. You want to choose a book that covers the topics you are interested in and provides practical advice that you can apply in the field (who wants a book about waterfowl when they're hunting elk?!).

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Best Hunting Books for Beginners and Experts: Top Picks

One essential resource for hunters is a good hunting book. Hunting books can provide valuable information on a variety of topics.

Best Hunting Books

Go ahead and head over to Amazon and grab all the books on our list.
Best Hunting Books for Beginners and Experts: Top Picks

We spent hours researching and reading various hunting books to identify the ones that provided the most comprehensive and practical information for hunters. One critical factor we focused on was the author's experience and expertise in the hunting field. We also looked for books that covered a wide range of topics, including hunting techniques, equipment, and game behavior. In the following sections, we will provide an overview of the best hunting books we found and why we recommend them.

Best Hunting Books

Looking to improve your hunting skills or simply looking for an engaging read about the great outdoors? We've got you covered with our roundup of the best hunting books. From memoirs to instructional guides, our list features a variety of books that are sure to satisfy any hunting enthusiast. So grab your favorite beverage (but not a Bud Light), settle into your favorite reading spot (blind!), and let's dive into our top picks for the best hunting books.

Best for Wild Game Chefs

The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook

$20

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author and host of the television series and podcast MeatEater, the definitive guide to cooking wild game, including fish and fowl, featuring more than 100 new recipes.

If you're an avid hunter or angler who loves to cook, The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook is a must-have for your collection. It's also on our list of Best Wild Game Cookbooks!

Pros

✅ The cookbook includes over 100 new and exciting recipes for cooking wild game, including fish and fowl.

✅ Steven Rinella, the author, is an accomplished wild game cook and offers techniques and strategies for butchering and cooking all big game, small game, waterfowl, upland birds, freshwater fish, saltwater fish, and everything else in between.

✅ The cookbook is an indispensable guide for both novice and expert chefs, whether cooking outdoors or in the kitchen.

Cons

❌ The cookbook is quite heavy and may not be the best choice for those who prefer lighter cookbooks.

❌ Some of the recipes may require ingredients that are difficult to find or may not be available in certain regions.

❌ The cookbook is geared towards those who enjoy hunting and fishing, so it may not be the best choice for vegetarians or vegans.

I've had The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook and have been thoroughly impressed with the quality of the recipes and the clear, photo-enhanced instructions on gutting, skinning, and butchering. The cookbook offers a nose-to-tail approach to cooking wild game and includes taste charts that explain the differing flavors and textures of similar beasts.

One of our favorite recipes from the cookbook is the Thanksgiving wild turkey, which offers a fresh take on the classic holiday dish. We also enjoyed the grilled grouse and the jalapeño poppers made with dove.

Overall, we highly recommend The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook for anyone who loves to cook and is looking for new and exciting ways to prepare wild game.

Field & Stream: Best of Total Outdoorsman: 501 Essential Tips and Tricks

$12

Field & Stream: Best of Total Outdoorsman contains over 500 tips on everything from hunting, fishing, and campsite cooking as well as survival advice to stay safe in the great outdoors.

If you're an avid outdoorsman, then you should definitely consider getting the Field & Stream: Best of Total Outdoorsman book. It's packed with useful information and tips that can help you survive in the wilderness.

Pros

✅ The book covers a wide range of topics, including hunting, fishing, camping, and survival skills.

✅ The tips and tricks are presented in a clear and concise manner, making it easy to understand and apply them in real-life situations.

✅ The book is filled with beautiful illustrations and photographs that make it visually appealing and engaging.

Cons

❌ Some of the information presented in the book may be too basic for experienced outdoorsmen.

❌ The book is relatively heavy and may not be ideal for backpacking trips.

❌ The book is only available in English, which may be a disadvantage for non-native speakers.

Overall, we highly recommend the Field & Stream: Best of Total Outdoorsman book for anyone who loves spending time in the great outdoors. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced outdoorsman, you're sure to find something useful and interesting in this book. So if you're looking for a comprehensive guide to outdoor survival and adventure, be sure to check it out.

The Art of Hunting Big Game in North America

$30

This is an informative book filled with good advice and a good story line to keep a reader intrested. I feel this is a classic book of outdoor literature. This is a great book for young readers interested in the sport of hunting.

If you're looking for a great hunting book, look no further than The Art of Hunting Big Game in North America. Although it was published in the 70's, the information still stands.

Pros

✅ This book offers a comprehensive guide on hunting techniques, habitats, and species across North America.

✅ It offers detailed insights into hunting strategies, equipment and the behavior of big game.

✅ The writing style is engaging making it informative and enjoyable to read.

Cons

❌ Some readers may find the book's focus on North American big game species limiting if they are interested in hunting other regions.

❌ While O'Connor's expertise is undeniable, the book's perspectives may not fully align with modern ethical and conservation principles.

The Art of Hunting Big Game in North America by Jack O'Connor is an essential guide beloved for its thorough coverage of hunting techniques and species across the continent. O'Connor's expertise and engaging writing style make the book both educational and enjoyable to read.

Sidetracks: 40 True Stories of Hunting and Fishing on Paths Less Traveled

$10

Avid outdoorsman and successful entrepreneur Gary Oberg shares a lifetime of hunting and fishing adventures, and some misadventures, in a series of 40 entertaining true stories. His book “Sidetracks” reveals locations where the finest game and the feistiest fish live. These are the stories he’s accumulated over decades, and the lessons they’ve taught him.

If you're an avid hunting and fishing enthusiast looking for a book that will take you on an adventure, then Sidetracks is worth the read.

Pros

✅ The author shares 40 true stories of his hunting and fishing experiences, providing plenty of entertainment for readers.

✅ The book covers a wide range of locations in North America, including some lesser-known spots.

✅ The author's humorous writing style makes for an enjoyable read.

Cons

❌ Some readers may find the writing style to be too casual.

❌ The book may not provide enough in-depth information for more experienced hunters and anglers.

As someone who loves spending time in the great outdoors, we found Sidetracks to be a fun and engaging read. The stories are entertaining and provide a glimpse into some of the best hunting and fishing spots in North America. We appreciated the author's humorous writing style, which made the book feel like we were listening to stories from a friend.

One of the things we enjoyed most about Sidetracks is the variety of locations covered in the book. From the Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to Fishing Charters in Seward, Alaska, there's something for everyone. We also appreciated that the author included some lesser-known spots, providing readers with new ideas for their next hunting or fishing trip.

While the writing style may not be for everyone, we found it to be a refreshing change from more formal hunting and fishing books. That being said, readers who prefer a more serious tone may not enjoy Sidetracks as much. Additionally, the book may not provide enough in-depth information for more experienced hunters and anglers.

Overall, we would recommend Sidetracks to anyone looking for a fun and entertaining read about hunting and fishing adventures. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, this book is sure to provide some inspiration for your next trip.

The Big Book of Hunting Stories: The Very Best of Steve Chapman

$12

For more than 20 years, hunter, humorist, and one-heck-of-a-storyteller Steve Chapman has been entertaining and inspiring his fans with his many adventures in God’s great outdoors. 

Now, he brings you this trophy case collection of his most awesome anecdotes—tagged, bagged, and ready for you to read and enjoy!

Revisit some of Steve’s most memorable moments along with some all-new, never-before-published stories. From the wide-eyed anticipation of his very first outing as a teenager to a disappointing day in the deer stand many decades later, you’ll experience all the highs and lows of hunting as only Steve can describe them.

If you are a hunting enthusiast, we highly recommend The Big Book of Hunting Stories: The Very Best of Steve Chapman. This book is a fantastic collection of stories that will keep you engaged and entertained for hours.

Pros

✅ The book is filled with a great selection of hunting stories that cover a wide range of game and hunting experiences.

✅ The author, Steve Chapman, is an experienced hunter and storyteller, which makes for a great read.

✅ The book is well-written and easy to follow, making it a great choice for hunters of all skill levels.

Cons

❌ Some readers may find the religious insights included in the stories to be a bit distracting.

❌ The book is more focused on the stories than on practical hunting advice, so it may not be the best choice for those looking for instructional material.

❌ The paperback version of the book is only 320 pages, which some readers may find to be too short.

Overall, we highly recommend The Big Book of Hunting Stories: The Very Best of Steve Chapman to any hunting enthusiast looking for a great read. The stories are engaging, the writing is top-notch, and the author's experience as a hunter and storyteller really shines through. If you're looking for a great hunting book to add to your collection, this is definitely one to consider.

Best Overall

The Total Deer Hunter Manual (Field & Stream): 301 Hunting Skills You Need

$20

From Field & Stream magazine’s deer-hunting experts, the authors of the Whitetail 365 blog on fieldandstream.com demystify everything the modern hunter needs to know. For bow-hunters, traditional rifle-shooters, shotgun and muzzleloader hunters, and more, this is the one book you need to get the buck of your dreams.

From Field & Stream magazine’s deer-hunting experts, the Total Deer Hunter Manual is awesome for beginners. It will definitely help demystify everything the modern hunter needs to know.

Pros

✅ The extensive coverage of various hunting skills, from scouting and tracking to field dressing and processing, makes it a valuable resource for hunters looking to improve their craft.

✅ The book is well-organized and easy to navigate, with clear instructions and helpful illustrations that enhance understanding and retention of the material.

Cons

❌ Some readers may find the sheer volume of information overwhelming, especially if they're new to deer hunting or looking for a more concise guide.

❌ While the book covers a wide range of skills, some readers may find that certain topics are not explored in as much depth as they would like.

The Total Deer Hunter Manual (Field & Stream): 301 Hunting Skills You Need is a must-have resource for deer hunters, offering a comprehensive guide to every aspect of the pursuit. Its extensive coverage ranges from scouting and tracking techniques to field dressing and processing, making it an invaluable companion for hunters of all skill levels. Personally, I appreciate the book's thoroughness and organization, which provide clear instructions and helpful illustrations to enhance understanding.

Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans

$12

The oldest cultures in the world have mastered the art of raising happy, well-adjusted children. What can we learn from them?

In Hunt, Gather, Parent, Doucleff sets out with her three-year-old daughter in tow to learn and practice parenting strategies from families in three of the world’s most venerable communities: Maya families in Mexico, Inuit families above the Arctic Circle, and Hadzabe families in Tanzania. She sees that these cultures don’t have the same problems with children that Western parents do. Most strikingly, parents build a relationship with young children that is vastly different from the one many Western parents develop—it’s built on cooperation instead of control, trust instead of fear, and personalized needs instead of standardized development milestones.

If you're looking for a fresh perspective on parenting, Hunt, Gather, Parent is a great place to start.

Pros

✅ Provides insight into effective parenting strategies used by ancient cultures.

✅ Offers practical takeaways that can be implemented immediately.

✅ Written in an engaging and accessible style.

Cons

❌ May not be suitable for those looking for a traditional Western approach to parenting.

❌ The book's emphasis on “cooperation instead of control” may not resonate with all readers.

In Hunt, Gather, Parent, author Michaeleen Doucleff draws on her experiences living with families in Maya, Inuit, and Hadzabe communities to explore alternative approaches to parenting. Doucleff's writing is engaging and accessible, and her insights into the ways in which these cultures raise happy, helpful children are thought-provoking.

One of the book's strengths is its emphasis on practical takeaways. Doucleff provides concrete examples of how parents can implement the strategies she discusses in their own lives, making it easier for readers to put her ideas into practice.

Overall, Hunt, Gather, Parent is a valuable resource for parents looking for a fresh perspective on raising children. Whether you're looking to incorporate some of the strategies discussed in the book into your own parenting style or simply interested in learning more about alternative approaches to child-rearing, this book is definitely worth a read.

Cries of the Savanna

$18

Her first night in a Tanzanian tent began with a prowling lion’s roar. Will the savage terrors open her eyes to an unseen world?

Sue Tidwell lived in awe of Africa’s extraordinary wildlife. After years spent appreciating the animals in her imagination, the tenderhearted American hated the idea of joining her husband's big game hunting safari. 

Cries of the Savanna is an unflinching and passionate memoir. If you like awe-inspiring adventures, truth revealed through laughter, and life being stranger than fiction, then you'll adore Sue Tidwell's brush with the wild.

I recently received a copy of Cries of the Savannah from the author and my new friend, Sue Tidwell. If you like awe-inspiring adventures, truth revealed through laughter, and life being stranger than fiction, then you'll adore Sue's brush with the wild.

Pros

✅ The author gives a very detailed account of her journey to Africa. You almost feel as if you're there with her.

✅ The narrative is compelling and it does a great job weaving adventure with explanations of Africa's culture, history, and the realities of wildlife conflict.

✅ The book provides insights on many different iconic African species and does an excellent job of dispelling inaccuracies regarding the negative impacts of hunting on Africa’s iconic game.

Cons

❌ There may be a few grammatical errors that some people may get distracted by.

❌ The book is more focused on a story rather than on practical hunting advice.

❌ Some readers may think the safari narrative to be dull and too drawn out.

Best Classic

The Old Man and the Boy

$12

This classic captures the endearing relationship between a man and his grandson as they fish and hunt the lakes and woods of North Carolina. All the while the Old Man acts as teacher and guide, passing on his wisdom and life experiences to the boy, who listens in rapt fascination.

The Old Man and the Boy deserves a spot on our top hunting books list for its vivid portrayal of the deep connection between an old man and his grandson as they explore the wilderness together, offering invaluable insights into the art and ethos of hunting.

Pros

✅ This heartfelt narrative truly captures the essence of hunting traditions.

✅ This is a classic book that never goes out of style and is still relevant to this very day.

Cons

❌ Some readers may find its pace too leisurely.

❌ This book might lack the intensity or action found in other hunting literature.

❌ Its nostalgic tone may not resonate with all audiences.

The Old Man and the Boy by Robert Ruark is a cherished tale of intergenerational connection and the profound lessons learned through hunting. Set in the rural South, it follows young Bobby and his wise grandfather on hunting expeditions, offering timeless wisdom about life and nature. While the novel beautifully captures hunting traditions and the bond between humans and the wilderness, some may find its pacing leisurely, and it may lack intense action for some readers. Nonetheless, it remains a heartfelt and inspiring tribute to the joys of hunting and the enduring bond between generations.

My Side of the Mountain

$7

Terribly unhappy in his family's crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude-and danger-of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.

My Side of the Mountain earns its place for its compelling story of self-reliance and survival in the wilderness.

Pros

✅ This book offers rich descriptions of wilderness living as well as its inspirational portrayal of living off the land.

✅ This is a classic book that never goes out of style and is still relevant to this very day.

Cons

❌ Some readers may find its portrayal of wilderness survival overly idealized.

❌ It could be criticized for lacking in-depth exploration of certain themes or character development.

My Side of the Mountain is a beloved tale of adventure and self-reliance, following young Sam Gribley as he escapes city life to live in the wilderness of the Catskill Mountains. Through his journey, you'll discover the wonders of nature and the importance of resourcefulness. My Side of the Mountain remains a timeless classic that inspires us all to embrace the wild and seek our own adventures in nature.

Find Them All

Best Hunting Books for Beginners and Experts: Top Picks

One essential resource for hunters is a good hunting book. Hunting books can provide valuable information on a variety of topics.

Buying Guide

When it comes to choosing the best hunting book, there are a few things to consider. We've put together a list of features to look for to help you make an informed decision.

Content

The first thing to consider is the content of the book. Does it cover the type of hunting you're interested in? Does it provide detailed information on techniques, gear, and safety? Look for books that offer a comprehensive guide to the hunting experience.

Author

The author's experience and expertise are also important factors to consider. Look for books written by experienced hunters who have a deep understanding of the subject matter. This will ensure that the information provided is accurate and reliable.

Format

The format of the book is another important consideration. Do you prefer a traditional print book or an electronic version? Do you want a book with plenty of illustrations and photos, or one that is more text-heavy? Consider your preferences and choose a format that suits your needs.

Reviews

Finally, it's always a good idea to read reviews from other hunters before making a purchase. Look for books with positive reviews that praise the content, author, and format. This will give you a better idea of what to expect and help you make an informed decision.

In summary, when choosing the best hunting book, consider the content, author, format, and reviews. By taking these factors into account, you can find a book that will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to become a successful hunter.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some timeless classic hunting books everyone should read?

If you're looking for timeless classic hunting books, we recommend “The Old Man and the Boy” by Robert Ruark, “A Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold, and “Death in the Long Grass” by Peter Hathaway Capstick. These books have stood the test of time and continue to inspire generations of hunters.

Can you recommend engaging hunting books suitable for middle schoolers?

For middle schoolers, we recommend “My Side of the Mountain” by Jean Craighead George, “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen, and “The Tracker” by Tom Brown Jr. These books are not only engaging but also teach valuable lessons about survival skills and the importance of respecting nature.

Which fiction books capture the essence of hunting and fishing well?

If you're looking for fiction books that capture the essence of hunting and fishing, we recommend “The River Why” by David James Duncan, “A River Runs Through It” by Norman Maclean, and “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway. These books beautifully describe the thrill of the hunt and the serenity of fishing.

What are the top-rated hunting guide books for beginners?

For beginners, we recommend “The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game” by Steven Rinella, “The Total Deer Hunter Manual” by Scott Bestul and David Hurteau, and “The Beginner's Guide to Hunting Deer for Food” by Jackson Landers. These books provide a comprehensive guide to hunting, from selecting the right gear to butchering and cooking your game.

Could you list some old hunting books that are still relevant today?

Some old hunting books that are still relevant today include “The Art of Hunting Big Game in North America” by Jack O'Connor, “The Hunting Rifle” by Jack O'Connor, and “The Complete Book of Hunting” by Clyde Ormond. These books may be old, but they still provide valuable insights into hunting techniques and strategies.

Where can I find community favorites for hunting literature, like those discussed on Reddit?

If you're looking for community favorites for hunting literature, we recommend checking out hunting forums and online communities such as Reddit's r/Hunting. You can also browse through book lists and reviews on websites such as Amazon and Goodreads to find popular hunting books recommended by other readers.

Find Them All

Best Hunting Books for Beginners and Experts: Top Picks

One essential resource for hunters is a good hunting book. Hunting books can provide valuable information on a variety of topics.

This post may contain affiliate links. Miss Pursuit may earn a small commission for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support our work in bringing you real information about hunting and the outdoors.

About the Author

Carly Brasseux

Carly Brasseux is a determined and passionate freelance outdoor writer, published author, business owner and social media/marketing consultant based in Texas. In a world where women are the fastest growing segment of the hunting population, she is a major proponent of those women wanting to learn more about the outdoors and hunting. Her handle, Miss Pursuit, is an expression of her enthusiasm for all things outdoors, from educating women through her experiences learning to hunt over the last decade, to getting out with her kids to explore the wild. Her expertise in social media and marketing, as well as her vast network of people in the outdoor industry, have given her the influence to make an impact for years to come. Member of the Mule Deer Foundation, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Stewards of the Wild and the Texas Wildlife Association.