Book: 40 Days Under the Big Sky

The next best thing to hunting is reading about it, and in 40 Days Under the Big Sky: A Birdhunter’s Journal (self-published, $25), author Jay Hanson relates an entire season on the wing, chasing birds across every type of terrain and through all kinds of weather. The book weaves raw journal entries—Hanson’s a diligent chronicler, carefully recording every hunting experience—with relevant insights and observations about hunting, dogs, ethics, and conservation; the result is an enlightening guide to the breadth, scope, and soul of bird hunting in Montana. It’s not the best writing, and the book desperately needs a professional edit; but Hanson’s a good storyteller, an original thinker, and an accomplished hunter—exactly the kind of guy you want to hunt with and learn from. And that’s what makes this book worth reading: by the time you put it down, you’ll be pumped for the coming season, and you’ll know a heck of a lot more about hunting upland birds.