Many hunters have their favorite books for armchair adventures to get psyched up for the season or to rekindle the memories of seasons past.
Each of these books are a little different, but theyre all a slice of the hunting experiences, from the fun to the adventurous to the dark side of an honorable sport poaching.
Real Hunting and Campﬁre Humor: Short Stories From a Lifetime of Travel and Adventure
Author: Jack Atcheson Sr.
Publisher: Self-published, realhuntinghumor.com.
For those of us lucky enough to grow up in a family hunting camp, stories told by the old-timers around the campfire were a cherished experience.
Atcheson is one of those old-timers, and although you cant hear him tell his tales around the campfire, this book is a close second best.
This octogenarian guide hunted around the world with some of the biggest names in the hunting business, but this isnt a brag fest (although theres a little of that).
He tells of the joys, mishaps and weird situations that happen in a lifetime of hunting, and most stories take place in his home state of Montana.
I could have written about kudu or caped buffalo, but most of the readers relate to things that are closer to home, he writes. And instead of the best hunter in the world, why not the worst, or about things that go wrong despite careful planning and investment. But on the light side, nobody dies!
Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter
Author: Steven Rinella
Publisher: Spiegel and Grau, speigelandgrau.com.
Steven Rinella dreamed of being Daniel Boone, and it wouldnt be a surprise if some kid someday dreams of being Steven Rinella.
Hes among a new wave of authors who takes a different approach to writing about hunting. Theres a lot of introspection about what role hunting and hunters take in modern society, and how a hunter relates to the game he or she hunts.
But this isnt a moody, somber book.
Its full of adventure, and its fun to tag along as Rinella goes hunting, fishing and trapping with his father and brothers.
Theres free spirit as Rinella and company set off on half-cocked adventures, such as floating a Montana river that freezes before they reach the take out and forces them to abandon their boat and gear and hike out.
Hes usually doing things on a shoestring budget, such as a month living on a beach in Mexico, and often with a verve bordering on reckless.
The book is really his autobiography told through his outdoor experiences through childhood, adolescence, young adulthood followed inevitably by adulthood and all the responsibility that comes with it.
That makes his hunting trips to Alaska with his brothers all the more urgent and cherished.
The question that never gets answered is how a guy born in Michigan and who moved to Montana because he wanted to live in the West ended up in New York City. But I guess that could be a sequel.
Trafficking: A Memoir of an Undercover Game Warden
Author: Tony Latham
Publisher: Self-published, tonylatham.net.
Tony Latham grew up in Idaho and attended the University of Idaho, where he studied wildlife management and eventually became a conservation officer with Idaho Department of Fish and Game. His story unfolds when he goes undercover to bust a ring of poachers who are illegally selling fish and big game in the Clearwater country around Orofino.
The book is a gut-wrenching look at wildlife criminals who steal from all hunters and anglers for their own profit.
Latham pulls no punches.
He hates these guys, but he has to live among them to make a solid legal case and break up the poaching ring.
Its tedious, dangerous, and thankless work considering he cant share what hes doing with anyone out of fear of having his cover blown.
For those who still treat poaching with a wink and a nudge, its a dose of sobriety about the true cost of it. As Latham found, those who poach take a staggering amount of game to feed their greed and ego, and they often continue even after theyre arrested.
The Potts Factors This Old House
Author: Stanley Potts
Publisher: Bookstand Publishing, bookstandpublishing.com.
Whats a book about an old house have to do with hunting? Stan Potts, thats what. Potts is a longtime hunting guide based out of Shoup, and he was born in the house in 1934.
Potts could probably match Jack Atcheson Sr. at swapping hunting stories. This is Potts fourth book, and as you can probably tell by the title, its not limited to hunting stories. But after a lifetime spent in the woods, there are plenty of them.
Its a treat to read about his trips into Idahos great wilderness areas, where Potts hunted and guided before they were designated as such.
Theres also a great story about an Owyhee Desert sheep hunt, which is Potts specialty. Hes number 160 on the Grand Slam list for taking all four North American wild sheep, and hes guided hunters to dozens of other sheep.
Whats also fascinating is reading Potts experiences with wolves in Idaho before they were reintroduced in 1995. He makes a compelling case that they were here all along, and that comes from first-hand encounters, not hearsay.
Like the other authors, Potts seems to enjoy telling about his misadventures from plane crashes to tumbling off mountains as much as his successful hunts. Either way, theyre all entertaining stories, even if some of them werent at the time they occurred.
Roger Phillips: 377-6215, Twitter: @rogeroutdoors