Welcome to the books of David Petersen

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A Man Made Of Elk is available in e-book format, as noted below. Sorry, no refunds or returns. 

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Does the Great Bear Still Haunt Colorado?

3rd Edition, 280 pages with photos and index, paper: 


Retail: $22.00 plus shipping.   WEB SPECIAL $19.99 plus shipping.


By 1952 it was thought the grizzly had been wiped out in Colorado, pushed to oblivion by predator-phobic sheep ranchers and government trappers. Even so, through the mid-1900s, ghostly stories of grizzly sightings continued to haunt remote corners of the dark-timbered San Juan Mountains in the southern-most part of the state. Then, one spooky September evening in 1979, a flesh-and-blood grizzly sow was surprised on its daybed in the South San Juans by a bowhunter ... and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Or is it? As author and veteran outdoorsman David Petersen takes us along on his quest for evidence of “the next ‘last’ Colorado grizzly,” we find ourselves enjoying a masterful mystery unfolding, character by adventure, page by riveting page. Although Ghost Grizzlies is set in Colorado, it stands as a timeless metaphor for every wild place and creature that finds itself under the gun of human encroachment still today. The 3rd edition of this now-classic book includes a new cover, 12 new pages of b/w photos, and updates throughout. Signed by author. 

     “A sharp portrait of the conflict between people and wilderness.” — Publisher’s Weekly



A Natural History of Antlers and the Animals That Wear Them

Foreword by Valerius Geist 

2010; Durango, CO: Raven’s Eye Press 

214 pages, paper. 

Retail price: $19.95 plus shipping  WEB SPECIAL $18.00 plus shipping.


"When field observations are as well described as David Petersen's are in Racks, they open up new insights even to scientists."

--Valerius Geist, Ph.D. (from his foreword to Racks)

"Whether you're a hunter, biologist, wildlife photographer or just a casual observer of nature, Racks is must reading if you're interested in the phenomena of antler growth and development." --Gary Wolfe, Ph.D. (former CEO, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)

"David Petersen loves the outdoors and can say why." --A.B. Guthrie, Jr. (Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Fiction)



A Down-to-Earth Guide to Nature Writing

Foreword by H. Emerson Blake 

2014; Raven's Eye Press 

200 pages with index, paper.


Retail: $14.00 plus shipping.   WEB SPECIAL $13.00 plus shipping.


David Petersen is a writer’s writer. With a quarter-century of continuous freelancing, overlain by a dozen years as a staff magazine editor and a decade as a college writing instructor, and with hundreds of magazine pieces and 15 nonfiction books (all with nature themes, plus more than 40 children’s educational nonfiction titles), this critically acclaimed author is uniquely qualified to write about his genre and craft. 

     “David Petersen writes with the precision of a scientist and the passion of a poet. I have a hunch he spends more time outside than in because his prose is alive.” — Terry Tempest Williams



Hunting, Spirituality, and Wildness in America

Foreword by Ted Williams 

2000; Raven's Eye Press 

269 pages with index, paper.


Retail: $18.00 plus shipping.   WEB SPECIAL $17.00 plus shipping.


 In Heartsblood, nationally acclaimed nature writer and veteran outdoorsman David Petersen takes a clear-eyed look at humans and hunting, and reaches conclusions sure to challenge everyone’s preconceptions. He draws clear distinctions between true hunting and contemporary hunter behavior, praising what’s right about the former and damning what’s wrong with the latter. Along with his extensive personal experience, Petersen draws on philosophy, evolutionary science, biology, and empirical studies to create an engaging and literate work that offers a unique look at hunting, hunters, anti-hunting, and, in the words of the author, "life’s basic truths." 

     “The man convinces me. I not only respect his practice of hunting, I am in awe of it…. Petersen practices a kind of awareness akin to that of the great spiritual traditions.” — Washington Post Book World 



A Personal Tribute to Wapiti and Their World

Foreword by Dan Crockett 

1998; Boulder: Johnson Books 

213 pages, paper.


Retail: $16.00 plus shipping.   WEB SPECIAL $15.00 plus shipping.


In Elkheart, critically acclaimed naturalist and essayist David Petersen presents a deeply personal, intimately informed, and (by his own admission) “somewhat eccentric” portrait of the North American elk, or wapiti, and its wild and woolly world. 

     “Elkheart is a fascinating journey into the soul of a man whose passion is the America elk, whose spirit lives deep in the mountain country, and whose voice resonates with the power of the wild.” — Richard Nelson



A Personal Journey through the Heart of the West

Foreword by Ann Zwinger
Raven's Eye Press pAPER.


Retail: $16.00 plus shipping.   WEB SPECIAL $15.00 plus shipping.


A dedicated naturalist and a writer’s writer, David Petersen spends a lot of time outdoors in the Rocky Mountain West. Whether in the aspen groves of the forests around his cabin in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, or watching grizzlies in Montana, or visiting the hidden desert grave of his friend and mentor, Edward Abbey, Petersen goes places many of us will never see except through his words. He writes with great clarity and elegance of expression, while constantly renewing and reexamining his relationship to nature. The Nearby Faraway is an abridged autobiography of the author’s life and travels (both geographical and spiritual) in the American West — a rich and moving collection from one of the West’s most thoughtful, honest, and down-to-earth writers. 

     “Petersen writes with wit, clarity, and transparent grace, out of expert and personal knowledge of his subject. Furthermore and best of all, unlike most of our contemporary nature writers, he does not shy away from matters of controversy.” — Edward Abbey



Stories, Advice, and Campfire Philosophy from a Lifetime of Traditional Bowhunting

Foreword by E. Donnall Thomas

Second Edition — 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-15911-8 

231 pages, paper.

Retail price: $18.00 - WEB SPECIAL - $17.00 plus shipping 


From the Foreword by Don Thomas: “Like all of the few ‘outdoor’ books that truly deserve to endure, A Man Made of Elk is, well…different. That’s logical enough, for the same can be said of its author. A former Marine pilot and current backwoods intellectual, idealist, iconoclast, and, yes, hunter, Dave Petersen defies categorization as adroitly as his terrific prose…. I know deer hunters, bear hunters, and sheep hunters, but I don’t know anyone else who identifies as completely with one species of game as Dave Petersen identifies with elk. This book’s title goes beyond metaphor; the guy is made of elk.”

E-book available for $9.99 - Click Here

 ISBN for the ebook  A Man Made of Elk is: 978-0-692-15913-2



Traditional Bowhunting Advice and Adventures from the Heart of Elk Country

2013; Durango, CO: Raven’s Eye Press
220 pages, paper. Retail: $18.00 plus shipping


The well-crafted hunting stories and hands-on advice to be found in Going Trad provide hours of reading delight for novice as well as veteran traditional bowhunters, while offering a rare depth of useful information and inspiration to anyone who wants to get hunting right.

“David Petersen is part of the wild Colorado Rockies, an elk spy as well as an Elkheart.” — Ted Williams