I Love a Good Book...
This One Wont Be Gathering Dust!
When I am not hunting, hiking, camping or cooking in my favorite outdoor locations, I am thinking about and planning my next hunting, hiking, camping or cooking adventure in my favorite outdoor location. At a young age, I discovered military field manuals which discussed survival and outdoor skills. I would stare out the windows of my childhood home at the mountain and long for the time when I would be free to roam. Then I found BLM maps and I got a license to drive, the west desert of Utah became my private playground. Bunny bopping and coyote calling were my training ground for my early hunting experiences. Much older now, I still look for any opportunity to tune into my favorite pastime, hang a hammock or cook in the Dutch. Google earth, maps, DVDs, podcasts, and books have all found a way into planning my next adventure.
I have a suggestion for you, Hunting, Butchering and Cooking Wild Game Volume 1: Big Game, by Steven Rinella. If you have watched the Meat Eater episodes or listened to his podcast you may already be aware of the book, but you may not be aware it is totally worth the investment. If you by chance have not listened, watched, or read, you are missing out. If you have a love for all things outdoors and adventure as I do, this guy needs to be your virtual friend. More specifically for this post, this book should be in your library. Actually, the entire series, but one step at a time.
The book is a hefty bugger, large to say the least. It could be used as a training device while running stairs to increase quad strength for next year’s hunt. It could also be used as a weapon to bludgeon most North American Big Game, although I believe bludgeoning of big game to be unethical. Sturdy construction and thick heavy white pages make the book “feel” like a quality book filled with quality knowledge should. You may laugh, but I love the feel of a good book. The pictures are in color and have a purpose, lending to learning and the overall direction of the conversation. By the end of the preface, I was itching to get out and go adventure somewhere, anywhere, and I wanted to take the book with me. Out of the box, we are off to an excellent start.
Information coverage begins with gear and tactics. I am by no means a novice, but as a lifelong student of the game, I found new learnings and plenty of refresh. As you read along, you get the feeling you are having a conversation with a valued hunting buddy. Opinions are offered in such a manner that the focus is on the gear and it’s use, not a brand name, no pushy sales or sponsorship gimmicks here. (Unlike someone else you know who wishes you would purchase a hammock, cookbook, and a couple water filters. Christmas is on the way you know.) Pictures of gear are clean and useful, and you will recognize more than one item already in your pack, and possibly another you have been needing. The tactics section gave me many insights I did not already have. Plenty of familiar hunting techniques cemented the author's knowledge giving me the desire to try something new next time I am out.
A huge section on Big Game follows, North American Big Game. I enjoyed this section most of all, and that is saying something considering how many of the recipes I have tried from the last section. (You know I love to cook.) Information was detailed and keyed to make me a better hunter and conservationist. Providing a better understanding of animals habits and nature also lead to a bit of further reading on several species, most notably black bear. Ultimately my new found knowledge and excitement lead to me planning a DYI (Do Yourself In) Bear Hunt out of state next year. I love to get torqued up about new undertakings.
The book ends with butchering, game care, and quite a few excellent recipes and cooking techniques. Again I find myself in the refresher zone, having grown up butchering animals and working at a meat packing plant for many years. Refresh isn’t a bad word, especially when we are talking about a subject as important as “after the kill.” When the shot hits true, the work begins and the information in contained will provide insight to even the most seasoned gamesman. You probably won't find an "ah-ha" moment if you are an old hand, but you may find an important step we have “short-cut” over the years which is worth revisiting. I did notice all the recipes fit quite nicely into my Dutch oven genre, ya, I am incorrigible.
If a recipe for "Wild Game Mincemeat Pie with Bear Lard Pie Crust" gets your mouth watering, this is the book for you. I am very happy with the purchase. I am feeling like a knowledgeable outdoorsman. I am excited about my next adventure. I am energized about conservation without feeling I have been preached down too at a snooty buffet I only went to for the raffle on a new rifle, I could have donated online. Most of all, I am happy. I have a book I have read a couple times that I want to pick up and read again. Can you give a better review than the multiple re-read? Well, maybe, I just purchased the kindle version too.
Be Happy, Be Curious, and Share Your Adventures... Include the Kids!