Book Review – Hunting, Butchering, And Cooking Wild Game Vol 1- Big Game

Author Steven Rinella. Paperback 400 pages. Published by Spiegel & Grau

Available from many online booksellers – around $40

Reviewed by Marcus O’Dean

Many readers will know of Stephen Rinella from his immensely successful YouTube series The Meat Eater, in which Rinella and his mates cook and eat all manner and all parts of game animals. One recent example was a coyote thrown on a rough spit roast and it tasted like “rich pork”. Who’d a thunk it? Another memorable video detailed preparation and cooking of a deer’s ‘sweetmeats” – testicles, that is. Apparently they aren’t half bad.

Rinella is a passionate advocate for hunting in all its legal forms and has argued unassailably in public forums against vegans and anti-hunters with logic they cannot refute. He is highly intelligent, courageous and I am so glad he is on our side.

This book is a comprehensive treatment of the gamut of skills and gear needed to hunt big game in the USA. But we are Australians, you say. True, but the species guides of most North American big game is great background knowledge for us and certainly recommended hunting methods for them are mostly transferable to our circumstances. Gear selection leans towards colder circumstances than we are ever likely to encounter here, the principles of gear selection and use are universal.

Where Rinella shines for all hunters is in two universally applicable spheres; practical hunting strategies and field dressing and butchering the animal you shoot.

Copiously illustrated with photographs and colour diagrams, practical guides on planning stalks, still hunts, interpreting sign or even glassing eg from where, where to look, systematically working the terrain etc are great, graphic help for the novice and more experienced alike.

Page 92 has a breakout box of tips for asking landholders for permission to hunt, and it is an absolute gem with, until now, measures I had not thought of.

An expert proponent of “nose to tail” use of the animal, Rinella guides us to cook the head, offal and other seldom-used parts of the animal, which we in Australia mostly discard. Americans mostly highly value the game they kill and tend to make much more use of them than we do, and that is admirable.

Rinella is obviously sponsored by supportive gear companies, but this does not stop him from recommending top of the range gear in addition to his sponsors’ products. A man has to make a living, after all.

At the price available through Australian company Booktopia, where I sourced my copy, Rinella’s book is a bargain and will hold wild appeal in the ranks of Australian outdoorspeople.




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Marcus O'Dean