Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books
Newletters and Alerts

Buy now from Random House

  • Brian's Hunt
  • Written by Gary Paulsen
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780307929594
  • Our Price: $9.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Brian's Hunt

Buy now from Random House

  • Brian's Hunt
  • Written by Gary Paulsen
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780385746472
  • Our Price: $14.95
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Brian's Hunt

Buy now from Random House

  • Brian's Hunt
  • Written by Gary Paulsen
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780375890475
  • Our Price: $9.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Brian's Hunt

Buy now from Random House

  • Brian's Hunt
  • Written by Gary Paulsen
    Read by Ron McLarty
  • Format: Unabridged Audiobook Download | ISBN: 9780807223406
  • Our Price: $8.95
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Brian's Hunt

Brian's Hunt

    Select a Format:
  • Book
  • eBook
  • Audiobook

Written by Gary PaulsenAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Gary Paulsen


List Price: $9.99


On Sale: December 23, 2003
Pages: 160 | ISBN: 978-0-375-89047-5
Published by : Wendy Lamb Books RH Childrens Books

Audio Editions

Read by Ron McLarty
On Sale: December 23, 2003
ISBN: 978-0-8072-2340-6
More Info...
Visit RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO to learn more about audiobooks.

Brian's Hunt Cover

Share & Shelve:

  • Add This - Brian's Hunt
  • Email this page - Brian's Hunt
  • Print this page - Brian's Hunt
Tags for this book (powered by Library Thing)
» see more tags
» hide


Millions of readers of Hatchet, The River, Brian’s Winter, and Brian’s Return know that Brian Robeson is at home in the Canadian wilderness. He has stood up to the challenge of surviving alone in the woods. He prefers being on his own in the natural world to civilization.

When Brian finds a dog one night, a dog that is wounded and whimpering, he senses danger. The dog is badly hurt, and as Brian cares for it, he worries about his Cree friends who live north of his camp. His instincts tell him to head north, quickly. With his new companion at his side, and with a terrible, growing sense of unease, he sets out to learn what happened. He sets out on the hunt.

From the Hardcover edition.


Chapter 1

He was in his world again. He was back.

It was high summer coming to fall and Brian was back in the far reaches of wilderness--or as he thought of it now, home. He had his canoe and bow and matches and this time he'd added some dried food, beans and rice and sugar. He also had a small container of tea, which he'd come to enjoy. He had a small cook set, and a can to make little fires in the middle of the canoe; he put leaves on to make smoke to drive the flies and gnats and mosquitoes away. He had some salt and pepper and, almost a treat, matches. He still could not get over how wonderful it was to just be able to make a fire when he wanted one, and he never sat down to a cook fire without smiling and remembering when his life in the wilderness had begun. His first time alone.

He dreamt of it often and at first his dreams sometimes had the qualities of nightmares. He dreamt he was sitting there in the small plane, the only passenger, with the pilot dying and the plane crashing into the lake below. He awakened sometimes with sudden fear, his breath coming fast. The crash itself had been so wild and he had been so out of control that the more he had grown in the years since, the more he had learned and handled difficult situations, the more insane the crash seemed; a wild, careening, ripping ride down through trees to end not in peace but in the water, nearly drowning--in the nightmares it was like dying and then not dying to die again.

But the bad dreams were rare, rarer all the time, and when he had them at all now they were in the nature of fond memories of his first months alone in the bush, or even full-blown humor: the skunk that had moved in with him and kept the bear away; how Brian had eaten too many gut berries, which he'd later found were really called chokecherries (a great name, he thought); a chickadee that had once landed on his knee to take food from his hand.

He had been . . . young then, more than two years ago. He was still young by most standards, just sixteen. But he was more seasoned now and back then he had acted young--no, that wasn't quite it either. New. He had been new then and now he was perhaps not so new.

He paused in his thinking and let the outside world come into his open mind. East edge of a small lake, midday, there would be small fish in the reeds and lily pads, sunfish and bluegills, good eating fish, and he'd have to catch some for his one hot meal a day. Sun high overhead, warm on his back but not hot the way it had been earlier in the week; no, hot but not muggy. The summer was drying out, getting ready for fall. Loon cry off to the left, not distress, not a baby lost to pike or musky; the babies would be big enough now to evade danger on their own, almost ready to fly, and would not have to ride on their mother's backs for safety as they did when they were first hatched out.

He was close in on the lily pads and something moved suddenly in the brush just up the bank, rustling through the thick, green foliage, and though it sounded big and made a lot of noise he knew it was probably a squirrel or even a mouse. They made an inordinate amount of noise as they traveled through the leaves and humus on the ground. And there was no heavy footfall feeling as there would be with a moose or deer or bear, although bear usually were relatively quiet when they moved.

High-pitched screeeeee of hawk or eagle hunting and calling to his or her mate; he couldn't always tell yet between the cry of hawk and eagle.

A yip of coyote, not wolf because it was not deep enough, and not a call, not a howl or a song but more a yip of irritation.

He had heard that yip before when he'd watched a coyote hunting mice by a huge old pine log. The log had holes beneath it from one side to the other and the mice could dance back and forth beneath the log through the holes, while the coyote had to run around the end, or jump over the top, and the mice simply scurried back and forth under it to avoid him. The coyote tried everything, hiding, waiting, digging a hole big enough for himself under the log so he could move back and forth, but nothing worked. After over an hour of trying to get at the mice, he finally stood on top of the log looking down one side, then the other, raised his head and looked right at Brian as if he'd known Brian was there the whole time, and gave an irritated, downright angry yip. It was, Brian felt, a kind of swearing.

Up ahead four hundred yards, a moose was feeding in the lily pads, putting its head underwater to pull up the succulent roots, and Brian knew it would be an easy kill if he wanted it. Canoes seemed such a part of nature to the animals in the wild--perhaps they thought canoes were logs--and if a person kept very still it was often possible to glide right up next to an animal near the water. In many states it was illegal to hunt from a canoe for just that reason. Brian had once canoed up next to and touched a fawn standing in the shallows. And with feeding moose it was simpler yet; all you had to do was scoot forward when the moose had its head underwater and coast when its head was up, looking around.

Brian had plenty of arrows: a dozen and a half field points with sixty extra points and a hundred extra shafts and equipment to make more arrows, and two dozen broadhead arrows as well as fifty extra broadhead points with triple-blade heads the military had designed for covert work many years before. These were called MA 3s. Deadly. And if sharpened frequently, they were strong enough to reuse many times if you didn't hit a bone or miss and catch a rock.

Looking at the moose, he salivated, thinking of the red meat and how it would taste roasted over a fire. But then he decided against it. The moose was a small bull, probably only six or seven hundred pounds, and nowhere near the fourteen or fifteen hundred pounds a large bull would weigh, but even so it was a lot of meat to deal with and he couldn't bring himself to waste anything he killed. He had gone hungry so long when he had first come to the bush. . . . Food had been everything and the thought of wasting any of it went against every instinct in his body. Even if he made a smoke fire and dried most of it in strips he would still lose some meat. . . .

Still, he could see the shot. Close to the moose, close in but far enough away to avoid an attack, the bow already strung. Wait until he ducked under to draw the bow and then as soon as the head came up release the MA 3 just in back of the shoulder, under the shoulder blade and the broadhead would go straight into the heart. . . .

From the Hardcover edition.
Gary Paulsen

About Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen - Brian's Hunt

Photo © Tim Keating

“We have been passive. We have been stupid. We have been lazy. We have done all the things we could do to destroy ourselves. If there is any hope at all for the human race, it has to come from young people. Not from adults.”—Gary Paulsen

A three-time Newbery Honor winner, Gary Paulsen is also winner of the 1997 Margaret A. Edwards Award, which honors an author’s lifetime contribution to writing books for teenagers.


Writing is so much a part of the way I live . . .

Writing is so much a part of the way I live that I would be lost without the discipline and routine. I write every day—every day—and it gives me balance and focus. Every day I wake up, usually at 4:30 a.m., with the sole purpose of sitting down to write with a cup of hot tea and a computer or a laptop or a pad of paper—it doesn’t matter. I’ve written whole books in my office, in a dog kennel with a headlamp, on more airplanes than I can remember, on the trampoline of my catamaran off the shores of Fiji—it never matters where I write, just where the writing takes me.

Everything else I do is just a path to get me to that moment when I start to work. Sometimes I’m lucky and the living part of life gets folded into the writing part, like with Dogsong and the Brian books and Caught by the Sea and How Angel Peterson Got His Name. Those books were based on personal inspection at zero altitude, I took experiences that I had and turned them into books. I’ve spent a great deal of time in the outdoors, but not with the specific goal of writing about it later. I’ll be honest, though, and tell you that I enjoyed writing about those times as much as, if not more than, I enjoyed living through those times in the first place. I didn’t start writing until I was 26 years old. I look back now and wonder what I thought I was supposed to be doing with my time before that.

I’ve experimented with different voices and styles . . .
Sometimes the way to tell a story is even more important than the story itself. I’ve experimented with different voices and styles and genres over the years. The Glass Café and Harris and Me were born of the voices of people I could not get out of my head. Tony was a boy I knew back when I lived in Hollywood and Harris was a cousin from my childhood. To honor their voices, I wrote the books in very different styles. Tony had a fast-paced, breathless speaking style and I had fun trying to capture that on paper. And the best way to paint a picture of Harris was to detail all those crazy stunts of his.

Nightjohn and Soldier’s Heart were the result of studying history. Sarny came from the research I did in the National Archives when I stumbled across the Slave Narratives. And I discovered Charley Goddard when reading a book about the Minnesota First Volunteers. I hadn’t expected to find characters for books of my own when I started reading, but I could not shake them until I tried to figure out on paper what their lives must have been like.

I am still amazed by the gifts that writing gives to me . . .
Even after all these years, I am still amazed by the gifts that writing gives to me. There is not only the satisfaction from the hard work—and even after all this time and all these books, it is still very hard work for me to make a book—and the way the hair rises on the back of my neck when a story works for me, but also the relationships I have made with the people who read my books.

The one true measure of success for me has always been the readers . . .
People ask me about the kind of money I make and how many awards I’ve received, but the one true measure of success for me
has always been the readers. I give the checks to my wife and my agent keeps the awards for me. The only thing I have in my office, other than junk and work and research, is a framed letter from one of my readers. That means more to me than just about anything else, the letters
I get from the people who read my books.

Thank you for reading my books and for writing to me. Read like a wolf eats. Read.


Born May 17, 1939, Gary Paulsen is one of America’s most popular writers for young people. Although he was never a dedicated student, Paulsen developed a passion for reading at an early age. After a librarian gave him a book to read—along with his own library card—he was hooked. He began spending hours alone in the basement of his apartment building, reading one book after another.

Running away from home at the age of 14 and traveling with a carnival, Paulsen acquired a taste for adventure. A youthful summer of rigorous chores on a farm; jobs as an engineer, construction worker, ranch hand, truck driver, and sailor; and two rounds of the 1,180-mile Alaskan dogsled race, the Iditarod; have provided ample material from which he creates his powerful stories.

Paulsen’s realization that he would become a writer came suddenly when he was working as a satellite technician for an aerospace firm in California. One night he walked off the job, never to return. He spent the next year in Hollywood as a magazine proofreader, working on his own writing every night. Then he left California and drove to northern Minnesota where he rented a cabin on a lake; by the end of the winter, he had completed his first novel.

Living in the remote Minnesota woods, Paulsen eventually turned to the sport of dogsled racing, and entered the 1983 Iditarod. In 1985, after running the Iditarod for the second time, he suffered an attack of angina and was forced to give up his dogs. “I started to focus on writing with the same energies and efforts that I was using with dogs. So we’re talking 18-, 19-, 20-hour days completely committed to work. Totally, viciously, obsessively committed to work, the way I’d run dogs. . . . I still work that way, completely, all the time. I just work. I don’t drink, I don’t fool around, I’m just this way. . . . The end result is there’s a lot of books out there.”

It is Paulsen’s overwhelming belief in young people that drives him to write. His intense desire to tap deeply into the human spirit and to encourage readers to observe and care about the world around them has brought him both enormous popularity with young people and critical acclaim from the children’s book community. Paulsen is a master storyteller who has written more than 175 books and some 200 articles and short stories for children and adults. He is one of the most important writers of young adult literature today, and three of his novels—Hatchet, Dogsong, and The Winter Room—are Newbery Honor Books. His books frequently appear on the best books lists of the American Library Association.

Paulsen has received many letters from readers (as many as 200 a day) telling him they felt Brian Robeson’s story in Hatchet was left unfinished by his early rescue, before the winter came and made things really tough. They wanted to know what would happen if Brian were not rescued, if he had to survive in the winter. Paulsen says, “I researched and wrote Brian’s Winter, showing what could and perhaps would have happened had Brian not been rescued.”

In Paulsen’s book, Guts: The True Stories Behind Hatchet and the Brian Books, Paulsen shares his own adventures in the wild, which are often hilarious and always amazing: moose attacks, heart attacks, near-misses in planes, and looking death in the eye.

Paulsen has written a time-travel novel, The Transall Saga, which was named an ALA Quick Pick. And in the heartwrenching story Soldier’s Heart, Paulsen brings the Civil War to life battle by battle, as readers see the horror of combat and its devastating results through the eyes of 15-year-old Charley Goddard.

Paulsen and his wife Ruth Wright Paulsen, an artist who has illustrated several of his books, divide their time between a home in New Mexico and a boat in the Pacific. For more information about Gary Paulsen, visit www.garypaulsen.com


“Readers will want to savor this stirring book.”—Starred, Kirkus Reviews

“The ultimate coming-of-age story. . . . Exceptional and so heartbreakingly real.”—Starred, Booklist

“Paulsen crafts a companion/sequel to Hatchet containing many of its same pleasures. . . . Read together, the two books make his finest tale of survival yet.”—Starred, Kirkus Reviews

“These episodes will not only keep young readers, of both sexes, in stitches, they’re made to order for reading aloud.”—Starred, Kirkus Reviews

“Superb characterizations, splendidly evoked setting, and thrill-a-minute plot make this book a joy to gallop through.”—Starred, Publishers Weekly

“A treat to make Paulsen fans sit up and beg for more. . . . His writing percolates with energetic love.”—Starred, Publishers Weekly

A Life Remembered
“A satisfying sequel. . . . It is a great read, with characters both to hate and to cherish, and a rich sense of what it really was like then.”—Starred, Booklist

“The novel’s spare, simple language and vivid visual images of brutality and death on the battlefield make it accessible and memorable to young people.”—Starred, Booklist

“A riveting science fiction adventure. . . . Captivating.”—Starred, Booklist


WINNER 2005 Kentucky Bluegrass Award
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide


In Hatchet, 13-year-old Brian Robeson learned to survive alone in the Canadian wilderness, armed with his hatchet and resourcefulness. In four gripping companion books, Brian again must survive in the woods.

In The River, Brian is asked to return to the woods to teach Derek, a government psychologist, survival techniques.

Brian’s Winter begins where Hatchet might have ended: Brian is not rescued at the end of summer and must build on his survival skills to face his deadliest enemy–winter.

In Brian’s Return, he faces one of the most difficult challenges of his life. Brian learns what he has known in his heart for a long time: He belongs in the woods.

In Brian’s Hunt, 16-year-old Brian is alone in the Canadian wilderness when he discovers a wounded dog. Who or what injured the dog? The dog’s tracks came from the north–and Brian fears for his Cree friends, the Smallwoods, who live
to the north. With growing unease, Brian and the dog set out on the hunt.

Paulsen’s companion novels masterfully explore how a boy’s determination and resourcefulness help him to survive and connect with nature in a way he didn’t know was possible.


Three-time Newbery Honor winner
Gary Paulsen developed a passion for reading at an early age. Running away from home at the age of 14 and traveling with a carnival, Paulsen acquired a taste for adventure. His realization that he would become a writer came suddenly when he was working as a satellite technician for an aerospace firm in California. One night he walked off the job, and spent the next year in Hollywood as a magazine proofreader, working on his own writing every night. He completed his first novel later that year.


Pre-reading activity
In Brian’s Winter, The River, and Hatchet, Brian Robeson must survive in the northern woods. His most important resource is his own ingenuity.

Divide the class into small groups and have them list items they think are necessary to include in a survival pack. Then challenge each group to decide which five items on their list are the most important. Ask each group to share and support their decision.
Ask students to discuss how surviving in the wilderness for a long period of time might change a person’s life.

Tell the class that in Brian’s Return and in Brian’s Hunt, Brian Robeson cannot adjust to ordinary life and feels that the only way he can be happy is to return to the wilderness. Divide the class into small groups and ask them to brainstorm the many reasons why it might be difficult for Brian to live the life
of a typical high-school student.

Thematic Connectors

Survival–In Brian’s Hunt, Brian is awakened by a strange animal noise in the night. He searches to find out what animal is making the noise and discovers a wounded dog. The injured dog has a deep and mysterious wound that needs to be stitched up. Ask students to discuss the difficult task Brian has of coaxing the injured dog back to his camp and how he is able to stitch the dog up with no experience.
Ask students how Brian manages to kill and not be killed by the bear that killed his friends, left three children orphans, and injured the dog.
Brian takes some camping gear when he returns to the woods in Brian’s Return and in Brian’s Hunt. Ask students to refer to the list of equipment (Chapter 9
in Brian’s Return and Chapter 1 in Brian’s Hunt) that he chooses to take with him. Then have them select the items that they feel are absolutely necessary for his survival. How is his return trip different from his other long adventures in the wilderness?

Conservation–Numerous organizations in America are involved in game management. Have students find out the purpose of each of the following organizations: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Audubon Society,
National Wildlife Federation, and Ducks Unlimited. Ask them to create a
poster advertising one of these organizations.
Each state in the United States has game laws. Many states require a hunting and fishing license. Ask students to find out the laws regarding hunting and fishing in their state. Why is it important to have such laws?

Fear–Brian will always have the survival skills necessary to live in the wilderness, but in Brian’s Hunt, he faces new fears. Discuss the fear that overtakes Brian as he approaches the cabin. Debate whether his discovery will have a lasting effect on him, and make him more fearful. How does fear make him more aware of the signs in nature?

Loneliness–In Brian’s Hunt, Brian discovers a dog “that filled a hole in his life, filled a loneliness he hadn’t ever known existed.” (p. 61) Ask students to discuss Brian’s loneliest moments. Brian experiences various emotions when he discovers David Smallhorn dead in his cabin. How does this discovery contribute to a feeling of loneliness?

Connecting to the Curriculum

Science–Brian learns a lot about animals and how they communicate. Encourage students to select one animal that Brian encounters in Brian’s Return, The River, Brian’s Winter, or Brian’s Hunt, and research that animal’s method of communication, how it marks its territory, and how it protects itself from predators.

Math–During his time in the wilderness, Brian draws on various math skills to help himself survive. He has to calculate how many days his food will last, and he must estimate distances when he is hunting. Ask students to create a math problem based on a specific incident or situation in either The River or Brian’s Winter.

Social Studies–Brian hunts with tools similar to those used by early hunters. How does Brian know which tools to use in specific hunting situations? Ask students to use the library to research ancient hunting methods. Have them construct a pictorial time line that traces the development of various hunting tools.
In Brian’s Hunt, Brian’s view of hunting is similar to that of Native Americans. For example, he believes that food shouldn’t be wasted and that the entire kill should have a purpose. Ask students to identify passages in the book that reveal Brian’s views about hunting. Then have them write an article for a hunting magazine that Brian might write.
In Brian’s Hunt, Brian makes reference to the Canadian Mounties and the Natural Resources Ranger who come to investigate David’s cabin. “But in some ways they had no knowledge because they had all the gadgets; they missed the small things because they saw too big.” (p. 87) Plan a two-day wilderness camp curriculum for the Canadian Mounties and the Natural Resources Ranger. Explain the gadgets they use. Point out the small things that they missed in their investigation.

Language Arts–Gary Paulsen uses imagery to appeal to all of the senses–sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Allow students to browse the books and find examples of such imagery. Ask them to use Paulsen’s images to create similes.
Bring an assortment of hunting and fishing magazines to class for students to peruse. Ask them to write a short article for one of the magazines that Brian might write discussing his dislike of “professional fishermen” and “professional hunters.”
Brian has read Jack London’s Call of the Wild and feels that there is “a lot of silliness in what he says about the wilderness.” (p. 39) Ask students to read London’s novel and write an essay that Brian might write entitled “The Wilderness of Brian Robeson vs. the Wilderness of Jack London.”

Music–In the Author’s Note at the end of Brian’s Return, Gary Paulsen writes that he is waiting out winter storms before he can set sail on his boat Felicity. During the rain, he listens to the music of Mozart. Ask students to find recordings that they think reflect Brian’s connection with nature.

Drama–In Brian’s Hunt, Brian convinces the school authorities to allow him to home school himself. Ask students to dramatize the conversation between Brian and the school officials. How does Brian justify his argument?


The language in Brian’s Hunt is descriptive and challenges students to think about each word and its application within the context of the story. Such words may include: horrendous (p. 11), discordant (p. 12), pulverizing (p. 16), inordinate (p. 21), meticulous (p. 21), desensitized (p. 26), monocular (p. 28), malamute (p. 30), silhouette (p. 55),
and dubious (p. 91).


internet resources

Animal Tracks
This site is an illustrated guide to animal tracks.

Native Languages of the Americas
This site discusses the Cree people, their language, and their history.

Rocky Mountain Survival Group
This site provides links to suggestions for
cooking and preserving in the wild.


related titles by theme

Guts: The True Stories Behind
Hatchet and the Brian Books
Gary Paulsen
Survival • Self-Discovery • Courage • Hope

The Incredible Journey
Sheila Burnford
Adventure • Friendship
Listening Library Audiobook • 0-553-47806-0

The Haymeadow
Gary Paulsen
Adventure • Coming of Age
Listening Library Audiobook • 0-553-47077-9

The Voyage of the Frog
Gary Paulsen

The Sign of the Beaver
Elizabeth George Speare
Cultural Diversity • Survival • Making Choices
Listening Library Audiobook • 0-8072-7975-7

Download a PDF of the Teacher's Guide

Your E-Mail Address
send me a copy

Recipient's E-Mail Address
(multiple addresses may be separated by commas)

A personal message: