When it comes to hunting, there are a few things that you’re going to want to bring with you. Unless you plan on wrestling your game to death you’re obviously going to need your gun- and most likely some camouflage for it. Shotguns are always popular for birds due to their spread, and hunting rifles are a classic, reliable companion, usually with good range.
Besides your gun, however, you need to make sure you’re bringing plenty of other gear to keep you going. This is especially true if you’re going to be hunting for extended periods of time.
Even the shortest hunting trips can yield great success. It’s no secret that camouflage is critical to any mission. Camo doesn’t just extend to apparel, however. Make sure that your supplies don’t stick out from your surroundings and tip the game off. Wrap your gear (firearms, canteen, binoculars, and more) with Gear Skins so that you can mesh with your environment.
In this article, we’ll look over the 12 best things to keep in mind for your hunting trip and why.
1. Hunting License
You’ve probably heard the conversations at parties about the one thing you should take with you while stranded on a desert island. Well, there’s always one thing that people miss: nobody said the island was uninhabited! So, bring your passport with you so you can just buy a plane ticket and get off the island safe and sound. The exact same thing applies for hunting.
If you’re going hunting, bring your hunting license if you want to make it back home without being arrested. The likelihood of this happening is up in the air, but for safety’s sake- and legality’s sake- you should bring it. When you do, make sure to put it inside the safest pouch in your pack or inside a waterproof bag to properly preserve it. You wouldn’t want to damage or lose it before you can even show it to the authorities.
Now that we’ve got the hunting license taken care, the next best thing to keep readily available at all times, hunting or not hunting, is water. Stay hydrated. Your body will thank you for it as it uses up a surprising amount of energy through your hunt. If you’re scoping out a good location for hunting grounds or trying to find a spot to make camp, then hiking is usually entailed, and therefore drinking water should be entailed as well.
Hunting takes focus and can pump you full of adrenaline, which can make you sweat, which means more water. And of course, there is the length of time you’ll be hunting and your exposure to heat to worry about. Canteens are great companions for hunting. They hold water in a compact way and usually come with a way to strap it to yourself, so you have both hands free. Hydro flasks and other thermo-regulated containers are also good since they can keep your water as cold or hot as it was first poured for very long periods.
Make sure that your essentials don’t work against you. By wrapping your canteen to match your camouflage, you’ll ensure your water won’t give away your position.
If you’re hunting, then you should know how keen an animal’s sense of smell can be. There’s always a valid fear of attracting a bear’s sense of smell or simply alerting your game to your presence. You’ve got to be careful, but you’ve also got to eat. Don’t forget to pack your bag with plenty of healthy, energizing snacks that don’t give off an odor.
There’s a number of good food items to take that meet these standards: nuts, dried fruits and berries, smoothies, sealed candy bars (in fact, all the food should be sealed somehow), dried meats, cereals, crackers, and other salty snacks, granola bars, gummy foods.
All of these foods keep odors down to a minimum, but animals are capable of even smelling water, so always be aware when and where you’re deciding to open up a pack of snacks.
4. First Aid Kit
Hopefully this is a no-brainer. Every household should have a first aid kit, but when you’re away from home, hunting game, have one with you there too. It’s all good and fun, but there’s no real telling what can happen on a trip. Take everything you need to prevent an accident from happening, but should you encounter such an accident you’re going to want the kit with you.
There are poisonous plants, venomous insects or reptiles, you can always take a tumble or twist a leg, or if worse comes to worse you could be faced with an animal attack. For these reasons, your kit should be filled with bandages, disinfectants, alcohol, medication, ice packs: all the works.
Flashlights are super important for any hunting trip, whether you’re planning on hunting at night or not. Sometimes the time gets the better of us, and before we know it, it’s dusk. Other times, hunting at night might be totally intentional. There are plenty of nocturnal animals worthy of tracking down.
For hunts like that, it’s ideal to have strong sources of light on you; otherwise, you could be working in pitch black. If you actually want to hunt the animals at night, then of course using night vision technology is preferable, but at the very least, keep a handheld flashlight on you at all times.
Other flashlights are so powerful they feel like a spotlight (which could potentially scare off game). Some can be attached to your chest, shoulder, or head so that your hands are free. Whatever your preference, make sure you can see.
You can feel just like Rambo by taking the perfect knife with you on your hunting trip. Even if you never take it out to use it, there’s nothing like having a solid blade strapped to you in the wilderness. There’s a wide variety of knives for you to choose from that are all useful.
There are multi-tool knives like swiss army knives that would be helpful around your camp and with your other equipment. Survival knives are perfect for just about anything. The aforementioned John Rambo showed us that matches and fishing wire can fit inside the handle, and the pummel can serve as a compass.
Some knives are good for getting you out of a snare, others are necessary for skinning an animal properly, but the star of the show is a nice-sized, sharpened hunting knife. While this knife is just about always useful, it’s recommended that you don’t consider it a first line of defense against an animal.
A hunting trip is only good if you can make it back safe and sound. You should be taking all the proper gear to find your way back home, as well as the gear to help survive in the wilds. If you know the area, you can always have a map with you just to be safe. If you want to go old school, then bring a compass with you to keep track of direction. Make sure to tag your camp or the way you came so you know which direction to follow.
Of course, one of the most useful things nowadays is our phones. There are apps for both maps and compasses, not to mention internet, data, and GPS. Using your phone will easily get you back home or back to camp, but many hunters like to leave behind most technology and use the hunt as an escape.
This is absolutely understandable, so make sure you’ve at least got some way to track your position or understand where to go, or at least consider keeping a phone tucked away in the backpack just in case.
8. Warmth Gear
It gets cold at night, and depending on your location, during the day too. It may take up some space in your pack, but it’s very handy to have some layers of warmth tucked away or strapped on the outside. Security blankets can even serve as part of a first aid kit as well.
Other items to include would be sleeping bags, fire starting kits and matches (although you should always listen to Smokey and be careful), and possibly other clothes to layer up or replace any dampened clothes.
9. Protective Gear
You’re hunting out in the wilderness, so it’s going to be smart to bring some items that will keep your body protected. Thick boots are always good for protecting against foliage and ground creatures, and it may even be wise to bring another pair if you have it (at least bring extra laces since those are easy to pack).
Bring some good gloves too. This can be important while dealing with your knife, vegetation, or the game itself if you manage to bag one. Other than that, hats and glasses are useful for keeping the sun at bay, and bug spray keeps you from infection and discomfort.
There are sprays that exist that have a minimal odor for the sake of the animals. Or, there are sprays that are meant to repel animals, like bear spray that is just as important to keep in mind.
You might be thinking about hunting for days at a time, which means you’re going to need a way to set up camp. You’ll want some kind of tent and/or sleeping bags to ensure you get as much protection as possible while you sleep. For the animals’ sake, you may want to find material for these items that help you camouflage.
If you’re setting up for just a night, then there isn’t too much of a need. But, if you’re staying for longer and you’re in love with a location and want to come back to it, make sure it blends into the environment so you can use it as a home base without tipping any game off.
You’re definitely going to want to bring things to keep clean. Baby wipes are simple and compact and help to clean things real quickly. Remember sanitizers for a more thorough job, keeping in mind they do have an odor to them. You will more than likely thank yourself later if you bring a kit for toiletries as well. Many hunters like to do it the old-fashioned way, rough it up, and live off the land. For most, however, you may want to consider some toilet paper and a way to get cleaned up.
12. Game Callers
The last bit of equipment you might want to think about packing is a way to bring your game to you. There is a device or whistle to call just about any animal you can think of. Birds, mammals, big and small. Bringing one with you can be a game-changer if you’re worried about not seeing anything without you enticing them to come out.