It is nearly December, which means that you are likely, as I am, devolving into a full-blown panic about finishing all your holiday shopping in time. I’m here to help. Below you will find a list of five wonderful publications that I have thoroughly enjoyed, and that I am sure the outdoorsperson in your life will also love.
Modern Huntsman Vol. 2
Modern Huntsman issued their first volume last year. The second volume is now available and is every bit as good as the first. They entered the field of periodical publishing with an ardent purpose: to reshape the conversation about hunting. Over the years, hunting has slipped from tradition in many families. We are all the descendents of hunters, but in many lines that practice has died out. With it, hunting has become tied to unfortunate images like trophy hunters killing lions in Africa. Modern Huntsman hopes to bring to light the other side of hunting, the connection to the land and our ancestral history. They do so with engaging stories and breathtaking photography. If you are interested in hunting, conservation, and the protection of our nation’s public lands, pick up a copy.
Steven Rinella’s Small Game Book
The actual name for this book is quite long: The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game: Volume 2: Small Game and Fowl. And that is exactly what it is. If you have someone in your life who is interested in getting into small game hunting, this book has all the information they need. It lays out gear, tactics, and quarries. And then, once you bring something home, it’ll teach you how to clean it and cook it. As with all things, the breadth of the book means there is not room to delve too deeply into any of it, but this is a great gift for someone just getting started and will always hold a spot on my bookshelf.
The Market Gardener
As you know, this year I had a proper garden for the first time in my life. 400 square feet at the local community garden. In the month leading up to the start of gardening season I picked up this book, Market Gardener by Jean-Martin Fortier. While its intent is to help small-scale organic farmers manage their land intensively and plan their business, it was also very inspiring and informative to a run of the mill gardener like me. Whether you’re looking for a little knowledge and inspiration to get you ready for next spring or you dream of starting a four-acre organic farm, this book will get your mind rolling.
Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail
For me, Hank Shaw is the king of wild game cooking. One of the very first books I read about hunting was his Hunt, Gather, Cook, which played a significant role in stoking that fire for me. His newest book, Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail, continues his series of cookbooks, this time with recipes for upland birds and small game. The book is chock-full of recipes all across the spectrum, from classic to avant garde. From buttermilk-fried rabbit to turkey tamales with pumpkin, his recipes do not disappoint.
Green Hills of Africa
The above books are all informative. They are effectively reference books. I read a lot of books of this nature, particularly for projects like this, but I think it is important to also consume good stories. Reading to learn is wonderful, but sometimes you need to lose yourself into another time and another life. Greens Hills of Africa is a great place to do this. Ernest Hemingway is one of my favorite authors. I’ve always enjoyed his style of prose and his ability to beautify melancholy. I love all of his books, but my favorites are those that closely parallel his actual life. Green Hills of Africa is a presumably somewhat fictionalized account of his time hunting in East Africa. If you’ve ever dreamed of a big game safari in Africa, you will love this book.
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