Book Review: “The Total Deer Hunter Manual” by Bestul & Hurteau

The Total Deer Hunter Manual

I recently finished The Total Deer Hunter Manual (Field and Stream) by Scott Bestul and Dave Hurteau.  Filled with 301 essential skills, this book has deer hunting tips, tricks, and facts for everyone from the novice to skilled hunter.

Pictures of bucks, does, and hunters grace most of the glossy pages.  Detailed diagrams and illustrations further explain techniques mentioned.  Scattered throughout are amusing author anecdotes, stories of the greatest deer hunters, and pictures of the greatest deer scored.  The humorous writing style keeps the book informative and entertaining from beginning to end.

This book really covers it all.  It definitely lives up to the name The Total Deer Hunter Manual.  It’s broken into three sections—The Deer, The Plan, and The Hunt.

“The Deer” thoroughly covers all you need to know about deer from their diet, to rubs and scrapes, how to find the deer’s home range, and how to track the rut.  Essentially, it provides the ins and outs to get you thinking like a deer will to plan your best hunt.

“The Plan” details everything you can do to plan a successful hunt.  It goes into great detail about making a food plot, creating detailed GPS maps, the importance of using a diary, and a breakdown of the best rifles, compound bows, and glass.

“The Hunt” delves into everything that happens once you’re actually out on the hunt for your buck.  It explains when to use decoys, how to successfully use calls, the areas to hunt and when, how to hunt the rut, harvesting your deer, and how to make yourself a better venison burger.

As a novice hunter, this book was full of new information.  Several times while reading, I’d recall last year’s hunt and think about how I could apply what I had just learned.  The whole book had me thinking how I can improve upon last year’s hunt to make this year’s more successful.

This is a book I will revisit often.  The section about planning has me excited to get back out there this fall.  As someone who loves to plan, I can’t wait to start keeping a hunting diary and transferring information to create an incredibly detailed Google Earth/GPS map.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about deer hunting.  The cover invites you to pick it up and scan through the pages, making it a great coffee table book.  With so much information, I’m sure a seasoned hunter can learn a thing or two as well.



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