As we outlined in the Beyond the Kill Story Contest announcement, it is a love for and commitment to storytelling that formed the basis of the JOMH. The whole concept of a “journal” is rooted in an approach to storytelling that is becoming rare in a world dominated by what we can read in a few seconds with the swipe of a thumb on our smartphones.
When people reach out to us asking what the maximum word count is for acceptance of a story submission we answer, there isn’t one. To tell the full story of the experience, emotions and trials and tribulations of a hunt it is our opinion that the story will require the number of words it requires. As they say, “It is what it is”. A shortened or edited submission that does not encompass the full experience does not do this deeply meaningful part of our lives justice. “I came, I saw, I killed” is not the kind of story that inspires us. And it’s not the kind of story that the great writers of years gone by would be proud to produce.
So in this month’s Mountain Life column, we thought we’d provide our readers with a list of some of the most inspiring books and stories we know of. The kinds of stories and books that inspired us to launch the JOMH and continue to act as sources of inspiration and guidance when we read and select story and article submissions and produce content. This is nowhere near a “complete” book list. We could easily recommend 10 – 20 books that would keep you enthralled from cover to cover. These are however some of the most inspiring and interesting books we’ve had the pleasure of reading and are proud to have on our bookshelf.
The Dangerous River
Without question one of the best all around wilderness exploration and adventure stories to ever come out of the North. Follow author RM Patterson’s journey into the barely explored Nahanni River Valley in search of gold, furs and adventure. This is literally a must read.
This book is a compilation of short stories written by a man that truly lived a “mountain man’s” life. All told with a humility and humour that is rare to find in most stories today. This is a great book to slowly chip away at as the mood for light reading and high adventure strikes.
Trail to the Interior
The second book from RM Patterson to make the list, and one that will certainly make you question how tough you think you are. In his 60s Patterson decides to retrace the historic fur trade route from Wrangell, AK up the Stikine River and over the Cassiars to the Liard and Mackenzie watersheds. On his own. All while telling the stories of those that were responsible for establishing this geographically significant route in the first place. A truly enthralling historical account.
Man-Eaters of Kumaon
Corbett’s work in the mountains of India hunting, stalking and killing the world’s most formidable predator is the stuff of legend. And for good reason. This book will have you dreaming of a time gone by when 20 – 30 mile hikes through the exotic mountains and jungles of India were simply a fact of life and tigers were feared across the Raj. This is no “shikar” story with high-tea and tigers shot from the backs of elephants. This is the story of true man’s man taking on the most ruthless killer in the animal kingdom.
Great Rams III
*View the book on Boone and Crockett here
The most modern of the five recommendations on this list, but this book represents the perfect blend of historical accounts, die hard sheep hunting stories and enough stomper ram eye candy to keep you up at night. Robert M. Anderson’s Great Rams compilations are true collector’s items and only available in limited quantities from the Boone & Crockett Club. This belongs on every serious sheep hunter’s bookshelf.