From the novice to the veteran, every hunter has more to learn about this timeless yet evolving pursuit. These hunting forum books have needed information about every aspect of hunting.
In this day and age, when minute information on specific topics about hunting is available just by asking your virtual assistant, it’s easy to lose the big picture of a total project. We might know the right ammunition to take when we’re hunting a particular game, but do we know the best way to pursue, where to aim and what to do afterward? In this article, we’ll be reviewing three comprehensive hunting forums that are well-reviewed and encyclopedic in their knowledge of the particular subjects they are discussing. Immersing ourselves in these well-researched topics is the first step in becoming experts in these aspects of hunting. Because books are available in multiple formats these days, we’ll want to find out the various ways we can read these forums. After learning what they have to offer, we’ll have a chance to hear from those who have read the books and followed their advice.
The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game: Volume 1: Big Game
Author Steven Rinella systematically breaks down his incredibly detailed hunting forum into five basic sections: The first is “Gear,” a discussion of the equipment the hunter needs to head out into the field. Second is “Strategy and Tactics,” a discussion of planning out the hunt ahead of time and how to proceed once you’re out in the field. The third is “Big Game: Species and Methods,” a discussion of the basic and the specific characteristics of large meat game. Fourth is “Butchering,” a discussion of successfully carrying for the animal after the hunt. Finally, fifth is “Cooking Big Game,” a discussion of how to prepare big game meat for the table.
Rinella’s hunting forum is a true encyclopedia of every aspect of big game hunting. It is incredibly nuanced, covering every conceivable large game hunting topic from “Alaska” to “zeroing techniques.” He doesn’t just write about a lot, but writes very well and explains things in simple terms that a layman can understand. At the same time, he can express key insights that come from years of experience. All in all, reading the book is like listening to the hunting buddy you know you can rely on to tell you what you need to hear. Rinella doesn’t mind sharing the wisdom of others, though. Throughout the forum, he shares extensive quotes from other experts in the field. He also refers to other texts to point the reader to even more detailed advice about specific aspects of what he’s teaching.
Rinella comes by his vast hunting knowledge honestly. He was raised in a family of outdoorsmen and grew up hunting, butchering and cooking the game they bagged. Eventually, he began to share his expertise in a great variety of ways. Rinella is perhaps best known for his television show and podcast, “Meateater,” but he’s written a variety of articles for publications all the way from Outside, Field & Stream, and Men’s Journal to Glamour, The New Yorker and O: the Oprah Magazine. The Complete Guide Vol. 1 is the first of a two-set collection and only one of several full manuscripts Rinella has published. His other titles include Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter; American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon; and The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine.
A major shout-out should be given to John Hafner as well for the marvelous photography throughout the manuscript.
Rinella’s Complete Guide was first published in 2015 by Random House. It’s 416 pages and available in paperback and digitally on Kindle. Not quite 8” X 10”, it’s worth noting that you can also get the book spiral-bound, which is not just a boon for cookbook users, but for those in the middle of a butchering task who need to refer to the manual without holding it open. Though only in print for five years, the book ranks #3 in Hunting, #3 in Game Cooking, and #2 in Camping and RV Cooking. A whopping 90% of readers give the Complete Guide 5 out of 5 Stars.
What do people who have read the book have to say? The constant rave about the book from its readers is that it is encyclopedic in covering the whole range of the hunting experience. There was some discussion that having the book in hardcopy as opposed to the Kindle version is worthwhile in that it’s easier to review sections and you’re less likely to miss important specific instructions and comments. Some readers expressed a desire for more cooking information, saying there were a mere 45 pages of recipes.
- A complete, comprehensive guide to hunting and cooking.
- Good for bow hunting as well as shooting.
- The applications work well.
- Would have appreciated more recipes.
- Wanted more specifics about butchering.
The Total Deer Hunter Manual (Field & Stream): 301 Hunting Skills You Need
Scott Bestul and David Hurteau co-authored this forum on behalf of Field & Stream magazine. The book is broken into three chapters that are parts carefully broken down into 158 separate sections that cover every aspect of deer hunting from “Read a Tale From the Trail,” to “Wait for the Prodigal Buck” to “Choose the Right Bullet.” The authors perceive deer hunting from the Native American perspective of oneness with the animal you’re hunting. They are intent on understanding why deer behave as they do, which makes them more predictable. Bestul and Hurteau would be quick to point out that deer species have different rituals and intentions, and these must be taken into account for successful hunting. Beyond the full awareness of why the deer behave as they do and how the hunter should react in accord, the authors are intent on what to do with this knowledge. They advise planning not just the hunting season or a deer stand location. Instead, they explain how to set up a year-long hunting calendar leading up the hunt, as well as knowing the entire feeding, mating range of the deer.
The pride and expertise of Field & Stream are on display throughout the book. The quality of the color photos throughout reveals the professionalism of topflight photographers who relish their work in wilderness settings. The editorial board of the entire magazine is listed on the copyright page, a sign of major pride in this forum. While Field & Stream is known primarily for as an outdoorsman’s magazine, the company also publishes an amazing catalog of forums like The Total Deer Hunting Manual, including The Total Gun Manual and The Total Bowhunting Manual.
The two authors are editors and writers for the magazine. While field editor Scott Bestul lives in the deer country of southeastern Minnesota, he boasts of having hunted whitetail in 16 different states with a bow and primitive weapons as well as a rifle. A freelance writer in addition to his work with Field & Stream, he is also the author of The Whitetail Hunting Guide and The Last River Rat. David Hurteau is a Senior Editor for Field & Stream specializing in shooting, bow hunting, and deer hunting. A whitetail hunter, he lives in New York state.
Only available in print and published by Weldon Owens first in 2013, The Total Deer Hunting Manual is 256 pages at 7.5” by 9.5”. The book ranks #104 in Hunting, #84 in Sports Reference books, and #106 in Sports Encyclopedias. Like Rinella’s book, Total Deer Hunting is extremely well review, receiving 5 of 5 Starts and boasting 5 Stars from a full 84% of readers.
What sort of comments did reviewers make? The book contains graphs, maps, and other illustrative material that makes it particularly useful. Several reviewers commented on the intentional balance between material for beginners, intermediate hunters, and well-skilled hunters. This is the sort of book that read and read again, both for its quality as a hunting manual and for the entertainment of it.
- Dramatically improves the understanding and ability of deer hunters.
- The construction of the book makes it very accessible.
- Outstanding introduction for new hunters.
- Would have liked more references to mule deer.
- Some information too advanced for new hunters.
- Could have focused more on doe hunting.
Master Coyote Hunting
Unlike The Complete Guide to Hunting and The Total Deer Hunter, Michael Huff’s book doesn’t deal with the sort of large game one hunts, butchers, and brings home for supper. In Master Coyote Hunting, Huff deals with the intricacies of hunting a hunter. It’s not by accident that the cartoons refer to the coyotes as “wily.” Stealthy, resourceful, and intelligent, the coyote is elusive and cunning. Huff’s deep understanding of this prey and his great experience in stalking and taking the coyote come through on every page of this captivating hunting forum. Beyond the introduction, Huff has eleven chapters dealing with every aspect of coyote hunting from selecting a hunting area and choosing the best right to selling pelts. There is also a chapter on taxidermy for those who wish to hang onto a vestige of this ultimate stealthy trophy. Huff does a great job of fleshing out the various methods of calling coyotes into range, both in daylight and darkness. He demonstrates a profound insight into the strategies of luring this wary predator into targeting range.
The author is not merely a hunter who is an excellent writer, but as well a researcher who spent a great length of time digging into the lore and the science of this legendary livestock slayer as well as observing coyotes in the field. The first fruits of his research became available in 2016 in his award-winning informational manual Understanding Coyotes: The Comprehensive Guide for Hunters, Photographers, and Wildlife Observers. In his introduction to Understanding Coyotes, Huff writes: “I have yet to encounter an animal that rivals the coyote. There is magic in the coyote.” Coyotes are an unusual predator in that, though they have been extensively hunted and controlled for hundreds of years, are increasing in their range. In particular, over the past several decades, coyotes moved into the southeastern United States for the first time. Huff notes that Native Americans had a proverb saying about the survival skills of this cunning adversary: “The coyote will be the last creature that walks the earth.” Huff does a remarkably engaging job of telling us how to hunt this predatory prey.
Master Coyote Hunting has only been in print for a little over a year. Published by Create Space in 2019, the 148-page book is 6” X 9”. It is not only available in print, but also digitally on Kindle. Despite its short span of publication, the book is rated in three categories: Hunting, Shooting in Hunting and Animal Husbandry. It sports an admirable 4.6 of 5 Stars rating and 79% of its readers rate it with 5 Stars.
What sort of comments have they made? By far the most expressed sentiment about the book is that it is full of useful, easy to comprehend, well-organized material. There this a consensus that this book accurately embodies its title, Master Coyote Hunting.
- Well organized for hunters at every level of experience.
- A tremendous amount of well-organized information.
- Quickly shortens the hunter’s learning curve.
- Could benefit from more anecdotal stories.
- No information on how to control the species without hunting.
If your need is to learn how to hunt effectively, these three hunting forums demonstrate beyond doubt that the books you need are readily available. Each of these volumes contains first of all valuable scientific understanding of the game you want to pursue. Experienced insight into the habits and characteristics of these animals is also present in each of these texts. The three forums also offer detailed instruction into necessary hunting strategy and tactics, into the best weaponry for each species and how to care for the animal after a successful hunt. Here are three well-written, extremely useful forums that more than live up to their ambitious titles.