The Jim Posewitz Digital Library: Required Reading for Conservationists

From the post-hunting-season doldrums and winter snows, to the social distancing that is the spring of 2020, many hunters and anglers have found opportunity to read up on the great conservation stories of our past and successes that led to the hunting and fishing opportunities we enjoy today.

BHA’s Required Reading for Conservationists list began in the Winter 2018 issue of Backcountry Journal and, through its popularity, continues to be expanded upon today. This ever-expanding list of thought-provoking reads provides inspiration, history and fun for the conservation-minded hunter and angler.Photo by Thom Bridge

This library is dedicated to conservation icon Jim Posewitz. Founder of Orion: The Hunter's Institute and author of four books on hunting and hunter ethics including Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting, Inherit the Hunt: A Journey into the Heart of American Hunting, Rifle in Hand: How Wild America was Saved and Taking a Bullet for Conservation, Jim Posewitz is an inspiration to all backcountry hunter/conservationists. Learn more about Jim on the BHA Podcast & Blast, where he and host Hal Herring chat about the history of conservation and a whole lot more.

This digital library also exists in our new and growing physical library at BHA Headquarters in Missoula, Montana. We'll add a new title here weekly to the digital library, so be sure to check back often for new reading inspiration! 


 

Rifle in Hand by Jim Posewitz

"In this book, Jim does a masterful job of telling the American conservation story with those we know well, like Theodore Roosevelt, as well as lesser known contributors to our conservation legacy. We all have a role to play." - Land Tawney 

Read The Complete Review

Purchase Rifle in Hand on Amazon Smile

 

 


 

The Wilderness Warrior by Douglas Brinkley

"This book, despite occasionally uncombed prose, taught me that conservation can transcend partisan sinkholes and be simultaneously patriotic, adventurous, populist, moral and fun." - Nate Schweber

Read The Complete Review

Purchase The Wilderness Warrior on Amazon Smile

 

 


 

Heart and Blood by Richard Nelson

"When I first read Heart and Blood more than 15 years ago, I was still a vegetarian. It fundamentally changed my understanding of hunting and wildlife conservation." -Tovar Cerulli

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase Heart and Blood on Amazon Smile

 

 


 

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

"Thoreau’s writings were some of the first to address issues that began to shift America’s values toward our conservation heritage as we know it today." -Sawyer Connelly 

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase Walden on Amazon Smile

 

 


 

Wilderness Days by Sigurd F. Olson

"Olson captures the sights, sounds, and most importantly, the feeling of wilderness in all its magnificent glory and legend. His writings speak to the importance of wilderness to the human condition, to our mind and spirit. His words are especially calming and reassuring during this time of upheaval and uncertainty (Covid-19 pandemic, April 2020)." -Rob Wunder

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase Wilderness Days on Amazon Smile

 


 

A Sand County Almanac

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” -Aldo Leopold

Read The Complete Review 

A new edition of A Sand County Almanac has been released for Earth Day 50 (April 22, 2020). The Aldo Leopold Foundation, www.aldoleopold.org, is offering special introductory pricing of 25% off the cover price of $15.95 and free shipping using coupon code aldo25.

 


 

American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon

"Rinella brings us along in his raft floating through a vast wilderness that is checkerboarded with private land on a modern buffalo hunt. There is potential prosecution and danger around every bend of the river, but will there be a buffalo around one of those bends?" -John Provenzale

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon on Amazon Smile

 


 

 

Bloodties: Nature, Culture, and the Hunt by Ted Kerasote

"Bloodties doesn’t paint hunting in simplistic black and white terms, but instead explores the nuanced colors of gray that each hunter brings to this pursuit we care so deeply about." -Matt Breton

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase Bloodties: Nature, Culture, and the Hunt on Amazon Smile

 


 

 

That Wild Country by Mark Kenyon

"Mark Kenyon takes us on a journey through history by way of a series of personal trips across the U.S. Paralleling his present day experiences in some of the most beautiful and awe-striking landscapes that we own, he addresses the important historical landmarks that made them available to him today." -Kylie Schumacher

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase That Wild Country on Amazon Smile


 

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

"I’d be lying if I said that the writing of Edward Abbey had nothing to do with my young and growing conviction that these lands and waters – places owned in common by us American people – represent our most valuable possession, impossible to replace, easily lost … and worth fighting for." -Katie McKalip

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase Desert Solitaire on Amazon Smile

 

 

 


 

 

Grinnell: America’s Environmental Pioneer and His Restless Drive to Save the West by John Taliaferro

"An incredibly prolific writer himself, George Bird Grinnell was a remarkable figure in the history of the American conservation and public lands movements. As advocates for public lands, ourselves, we should not let him be forgotten."  -Renick Seanor

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase Grinnell: America’s Environmental Pioneer and His Restless Drive to Save the West on Amazon Smile

 


 

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

"An incredibly prolific writer himself, George Bird Grinnell was a remarkable figure in the history of the American conservation and public lands movements. As advocates for public lands, ourselves, we should not let him be forgotten."  -Renick Seanor

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase Silent Spring on Amazon Smile

 

 


 

American Sportsmen and the Origins of Conservation by John F. Reiger

"An incredibly prolific writer himself, George Bird Grinnell was a remarkable figure in the history of the American conservation and public lands movements. As advocates for public lands, ourselves, we should not let him be forgotten."  -Renick Seanor

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase American Sportsmen on Amazon Smile

 

 

 


 

American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood by Paul Greenberg

American Catch is an enjoyable and entertaining read that effectively dives into the topic of conservation, the locavore movement and, perhaps most importantly, speaks directly to the reader about food choice. Why are we eating farmed tilapia from south-east Asia and exporting all our wild caught salmon and tuna? -Aaron Pearson

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase American Catch on Amazon Smile

 

 


 

A Hunter’s Heart: Honest Essays on Blood Sport by David Peterson

"A carefully selected ensemble of personal essays that dive deep into the motivations and ethics of hunters from different walks of life." -Tim Brass

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase A Hunter's Heart on Amazon Smile

 

 

 


 

A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

"Written with a wise and earthy prose, this memoir is well-suited to those who love wild spaces, rivers or fly fishing. An American classic and a perfect book matched with any outdoor setting, Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It is sure to satisfy." -Jordan Wolf

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase A River Runs Through It on Amazon Smile

 

 


 

 

The Western Paradox: A Conservation Reader by Bernard Devoto

"The articles and essays in The Western Paradox may have been mostly written in the middle of the last century, but there is a reason the collection was published in 2001: the prominent issues of water scarcity, the myth of the cowboy, the importance of our public lands, how we define nature, the fight between conserving natural resources and exploiting them, and the question of who should profit from the West’s riches are issues that have never been properly settled." -Alexa Metrick

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase The Western Paradox on Amazon Smile

 

 


 

American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains by Dan Flores

"American Serengeti is packed with fascinating information and insights that will forever change how you look at the Great Plains and the American West ..." -Brien Webster

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase American Serengeti on Amazon Smile

 

 


 

A Fine and Pleasant Misery by Patrick F. McManus 

"The entire point of hunting and fishing is joy. If we forget that, then we’ve lost it all anyway." -Ben Long

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase A Fine and Pleasant Misery on Amazon Smile

 

 

 

 


 

The Lochsa Story by Bud Moore

"If you don’t read The Lochsa Story for the history, read it for the conservation lessons. Bud Moore’s reflections on conservation come from intimate personal experience; he was part of both the good and the bad, and possessed a rare ability to reflect critically on his own impacts on the land he loved … something we would all do well to learn from. " -Zack Williams

Read The Complete Review 

Purchase The Lochsa Story on Amazon Smile

 


 

 

Do you have a suggestion for the Jim Posewitz Digital Library: Required Reading for Conservationists? Send us the book title and author, a write-up about why you like it and its conservation message (100-300 words) and a cover image (if possible) at williams@backcountryhunters.org

About Zachary Williams

Backcountry Journal editor

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