Outdoor Skill-Building: Six Reads for the Modern Hunter


Now’s the time to settle in with a good book and catch up on some reading. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Though most hunters will be well-stocked with a freezer full of organic harvests, they’re not immune to neither the virus nor the doldrums of being stuck with canceled trips, worry, and unplanned hunting downtime. Luckily, there are many great modern books written by folks who live and breathe their subjects that will entertain, inform, and ultimately, make you a better, more well-rounded outdoorsperson.

Read the books and share them with your hunting buddies—just be sure to disinfect them first, because we’re all ready for this virus to meet its demise.

“The Accurate Rifle…and Rifleman” by Craig Boddington

Craig Boddington

Boddington’s book explores how to become a better rifle shooter. (Photo: Safari Press)

Few hunters are as well respected — and well versed — in the hunting industry as Col. Craig Boddington. While he’s penned numerous tomes on the allure of the dark continent and hunting African big and dangerous game, one of Boddington’s most appealing books for hunters the world over is “The Accurate Rifle…and Rifleman.” After all, who among us shooters and hunters don’t strive for the most well-placed shots time and again?

Tap into Boddington’s decades of hunting and shooting experience, a reading adventure sure to make you a better shooter and buyer of guns and related gear. The Colonel walks readers through the details of every part of the rifle—from trigger to bedding—as well as shooting positions, bullet composition, and selection, proper cleaning, scope mounting, all with the end goal of making your guns–and ultimately, yourself—as accurate as humanly possible.

“Handgun Hunting: A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game” by Kat Ainsworth

Kat Ainsworth

Ainsworth helps readers dial into handgun hunting with tips, tricks, and information on how to use handguns in the field. (Photo: Amazon)

Whether you’re bemoaning missed big game hunting trips or haven’t had time to spend in the small game woods, there’s no better time to pick up “Handgun Hunting.” The 320-page book covers every aspect of its title. No matter the level of experience, readers will come away with new knowledge and appreciation for the handgunning lifestyle. Can’t decide between a pistol or revolver? Don’t know which caliber is best for bears or turkeys? Read on.

Ainsworth is an expert in her field, makes a living shooting handguns and traveling the country on the hunt. In “Handgun Hunting,” she breaks down chapters by species, from big game to small, even including critters like Badgers, Hogs, P-Dogs, and Exotics among the more usual suspects. Also, Ainsworth covers caliber choices, techniques, and even game processing. Ordering options are plenty online, but should you purchase directly through the author, signed copies include not only Ainsworth’s scrollwork but also pawprints from her dogs, Puck and Chance.

Signed book

Signed copies of her book come with pawprints from Ainsworth’s pups, Puck and Chance. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

“The Perfect Shot for Dinosaurs” by Phil Massaro


Massaro mixes a little fun into learning about big bores and caliber selection. (Photo: Amazon)

We can all use a bit of lighthearted reading during these stressful times and there are few better than Massaro. Blending a passion for hunting with more than a little amusement, Massaro invites readers along on an entirely realistic dinosaur safari wherein shot placement is paramount and locations vary from the dark continent to the land down under. If you’ve ever wondered which chambering is best for winged, bipeds or quadruped creatures of bygone eras or if you have no idea how to find the vitals on various -sauruses, this is a must study guide.

Pack “The Perfect Shot for Dinosaurs” along on your next hunting trip, get a good quarantine laugh but don’t be surprised when you actually learn something about big bores, caliber selection and ballistics from the head honcho at Massaro Ballistic Laboratories.

For something a bit more on the serious side, and perhaps even more apropos during these days of in-home quarantine with ample time to fill, check out Massaro’s “How to Reload Ammo” or “Shooter’s Guide to Reloading” both from Gun Digest press. If you enjoy “The Perfect Shot for Dinosaurs,” check out “The Perfect Shot: Mini Edition for Africa II” and “The Perfect Shot: Mini Edition for North America II.”

“Buck, Buck, Moose or Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail” by Hank Shaw

Hunting food

Shaw serves up culinary tips on how to bring meat to the table. (Photo: Amazon)

It’s a natural truth that hunters love not only the adventure of the chase but also the table fare that ensues from the harvest of wild game. Hank Shaw is one of the best caretakers of that field to feast lifestyle, and his books are much more than mere cookbooks. In fact, they offer everything from upscale to easy comfort recipes, butchery, field preparation and more from a like-minded fella who lives and breathes the outdoor lifestyle. Crisp, full-color photographs help document the entire culinary process, from breaking down cuts of meat to final plating and presentation.

Red meat hunters will gravitate to “Buck, Buck Moose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Deer, Elk, Moose, Antelope and other Antlered Things” while the small gamers and wing shooters will appreciate “Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail: Upland Birds and Small Game from Field to Feast.” Use this quarantine time to dig into your deep freeze and prepare some Hank Shaw masterpieces in your home kitchen.

“You’re Not Lost if You Can Still See the Truck: The Further Adventures of America’s Everyman Outdoorsman” by Bill Heavey

Bill Heavey

Heavey brings the laughs with this hilarious retelling of his adventures in the wild. (Photo: Amazon)

No honest hunter can say they’ve never had a snafu, laughable moment, or embarrassing story from the field. Not all of us are comfortable sharing them, but thankfully, Heavey is and the man has a way with words. His books are a series of short stories, quick and easy reads, that will have readers on one page laughing out loud and on another quickly wiping away tears left by Heavey’s heartfelt rememberings. He covers everything from hunting to fishing, life, and love, to the pitfalls of a modern outdoorsman venturing into the rugged American wilderness.

The only bad thing about Heavey’s books is the sadness of finishing one. Take solace, fellow quarantine-ees, Heavey is a prolific writer and once you enjoy this title (and you will), there are plenty others, no less catchy: “If You Didn’t Bring Jerky, What Did I Just Eat,” “Should the Tent Be Burning Like That” and “It’s Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It”. Let’s face it, the man deserves an award for titles alone.

“Turkey Calls & Calling: Guide to Improving Your Turkey-Talking Skills” by Steve Hickoff


Hickoff helps hunters up their turkey calling game with an extensive dive into turkey calls and how and when to use them. (Photo: Amazon)

If turkey hunting is your game, then Steve Hickoff is a name you must know. His passion and experience for chasing—and bagging—big gobblers is unmatched. If this COVID-19 crisis has you bemoaning lost time in the woods, canceled trips and dreaming of upcoming turkey hunts, what better way to spend the time than honing hunting skills and calling prowess with Hickoff’s words.

While some may argue the difficulty of improving calling skills from a book—how old fashioned, indeed—pick up the guide and prove ‘em wrong. Hickoff covers the minutiae of every type of turkey call and also delves into not only the how-to, but the when, why, and where of talking the turkey language.

No matter the level of experience, readers both novice and advanced are guaranteed to come away with nuggets of turkey-taking wisdom. Even if your spring turkey season may be lost to the virus lockdowns, there’s always high hopes for fall seasons. In that case, check out “Fall & Winter Turkey Hunter’s Handbook.”

Read More On:

Latest Reviews

revolver barrel loading graphic