Treestand Reading: Survey Results and Book Recommendations

Our reader poll confirms that treestand reading is as popular as ever. Plus, check out these book recommendations for this hunting season.
Treestand Reading: Survey Results and Book Recommendations

Through a series of poll questions, we asked our readers about their treestand reading habits. The results are in, and you've confirmed reading on the stand is as popular as ever. And since you guys are taking books to the woods, we have some recommendations you might like.

Treestand Reading: Survey Results

Do you read on the treestand? Of those who frequent, 76 percent read while on the treestand, while 24 percent do not read. And of those who read while on the stand, 52 percent read digital books, while a close 48 percent still favor the tried-and-true printed versions.

When it comes to fiction verses non-fiction, preferences fell in line with national averages. We know the readers of skew strongly male. We also know men prefer nonfiction — some reports suggest men make up only 20 percent of fiction readers in America. As such, our poll shows 60 percent of respondents most often read non-fiction while on the treestand, while 40 percent prefer fiction. If you haven’t taken the treestand reading survey, you can check it out here.

Treestand Book Recs

We’ve curated favorite books from our editorial team and other dedicated deer hunters to create a list of good stuff to read as you dive into the meat of your hunting season. Many of these books can be described as gritty, some offer a new take on American history and most are non-fiction.

Empire of the Summer Moon — Non-Fiction


This book is an account of the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. Empire, written by S.C. Gwynne, was recommended by a hunter and archery instructor from upstate New York. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and offers a stunningly vivid historical account of the 40-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all.

Giving Good Weight — Non-Fiction

The only bad thing about Giving Good Weight is how hard it is to explain why it’s so appealing. It’s written by John McPhee, a writing instructor at Princeton University and frequent contributor to the New Yorker. He’s considered a pioneer of creative nonfiction, and maybe that’s the best way to explain the beauty of this book. It’s an account of McPhee’s experiences working in the Greenmarket, a series of farmers markets in New York City. He captures the nuances of the customers, the language and habits of the farmers, the sacred admiration for sweet corn picked when it ought to be picked and so on. It’s a helluva read when you’re sitting out in the wide open, with gun or bow in hand, waiting for a whitetail buck to come within shooting range.

Brown Dog: Novellas — Fiction

A collection of novellas, Brown Dog tells the stories of a reckless, down-on-his-luck Michigan Indian. He’s an avid fisherman who overindulges on food, drink and women. This series of six novellas has enjoyed a cult following of readers who gravitate to the work of Jim Harrison, with a special affinity for his Brown Dog character. In a review for the New York Times, writer Anthony Doerr offers this, a remark fitting for treestand readers and Harrison’s legacy alike, “The great project of life, (Harrison) reminds us, is to sit still long enough to appreciate it.”

The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir — Non-Fiction

One Amazon reviewer wrote of the memoir by Domingo Martinez, “Read this book if you are curious about a crazy-ass culture right here in the United States. The Boy Kings of Texas gives readers a taste of what it’s like to be a Mexican-American boy growing up near the Mexican border in South Texas. This book has nothing to do with immigration or anything going on in national politics today. Instead, it’s about a sometimes violent, outlaw-esq life lived in rural America colored with gun-toating farmhands, busted jaws, a whack Gramma and the occasional trafficking of illegal drugs. It’s a rich story, OK?

The Old Man and the Gun: And Other Tales of True Crime — Non-Fiction

If you’re one of the multitudes of Americans who find themselves obsessed with true-crime podcasts, you’re likely to soon be a fan of David Grann (if you’re not already). Grann’s The Old Man and the Gun: And Other Tales of True Crime, is the true story of a bank robber and prison escape artist. The story is also now a major motion picture starring Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek. Along with The Old Man and the Gun are two other true-crime stories.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus — Non-Fiction

If you’re open to having everything you thought you knew about Pre-Columbus Americas challenged and turned upside down or inside out or, whatever your version of exactly the opposite of what you originally thought, then this is a book you want to have on the shelf. The author Charles C. Mann combines science, history and archaeology to tell the story of a very different and less untamed country than one might expect. The Boston Globe calls 1491 a landmark book that “drops ingrained images of colonial America into a dustbin.

Another Book List You Might Like

The books listed above were all published fairly recently. If you're looking for outdoor-themed books that have been around for awhile, and considered longstanding companions of hunters, take a look at this list. It features the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Robert Ruark, Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold.


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