Packing your backpack with hunting gear essentials is a skill that needs mastering. Before you work out a system, you’ll probably have several trips with some items missing. If you need something in the field and don’t have it, you’ll be more attentive next time. Learning from your own mistakes is effective. But what if you forgot some critical hunting equipment and things got really dramatic? Your life can get endangered, or your trip can be ruined.
Preparation becomes easier when you have a list of hunting gear must-haves at hand. So we prepared a guide for you to pack everything you may need on your trip. This guide also provides explanations on why you need to have the mentioned hunting supplies and accessories because you may be unconscious of certain situations and scenarios.
Before we move on to the hunting must-haves, we’d like to provide you with general rules that should guide your preparation.
Stay Warm and Dry
Clothing plays a crucial role in ensuring comfort during a hunting trip. It must always suit environmental conditions and be able to protect you from the changing weather and elements. While you can hunt dressed in casual clothes and not experience any problems, you’d be better off in hunting apparel specifically designed to withstand impacts.
Experienced hunters know the importance of layers. Layering ensures better heat management because of the air trapped between layers. It also allows for increased adjustability as the day progresses.
Your outer layer should be waterproof or at least water-resistant to protect you from rain and snow. In colder weather, an insulated jacket will keep your body warm. And a jacket with a wind-resistant membrane will ensure comfort in warmer environments.
Inner layer long sleeve shirt is the hunter’s most important item of clothing. It manages moisture and keeps you dry. Proper hunting inner-layer clothing is quick-drying and breathable.
Footwear is even more important than clothing. Hunting boots should be stiff enough to provide support. Choose stiffness based on what animal you hunt and in what terrains. Balance breathability and water resistance to your liking and needs.
Stay Hydrated and Energized
You need to stay fueled for the whole trip as hunting is an energy-consuming activity. Get snacks like protein or granola bars, dehydrated fruits, or trail mix, but avoid food with meat scents. Bring water in quantities that ensure proper hydration.
Pack Survival Gear
If you hunt far from populated areas, survival gear is a must. Take items that will allow you to survive through a couple of days in case of emergency.
Have Gear to Field-Dress the Killed Animal
If you hunt deer or elk, you may end up in a situation where you can’t drive to the spot. In this case, you need to break down an animal right in the field. To do it faster and avoid meat spoilage, you should have all tools and accessories to field-dress an animal.
Don’t Forget Personal Items
Pack some non-hunting things like toilet paper, sunscreen, wet wipes, sunglasses, and other items you might need.
Hunting Gear List
A knife is what every hunter should have, regardless of whether or not they may need it for skinning and gutting an animal. Its non-hunting-related applications are numerous, from slicing food and cutting rope to first aid and self-defense.
Basically, there are two knife designs, folding-blade and fixed-blade. Folding knives are lightweight and easy to pack, whereas fixed-blade knives are more robust and easy to maintain.
If you hunt big game such as deer or elk, you need a bone saw to cut through the pelvic bone and rib cage. It also can come in handy for cutting wood to make a fire.
Game packs will protect your meat from flies and ensure the proper temperature for storing. You can also use these packs for gear and clothing.
Binoculars are essential for scanning the terrain, spotting animals, and confirming their legality from a distance. An 8x or 10x magnification is enough for these purposes. With higher magnification power, you may have a hard time struggling with shaking hands. Remember that many species are most active at dawn or dusk. To see in low-light conditions, choose binos with wider objective lenses that allow more light.
Flashlight and Headlamp
If you hunt in low-light conditions, it’s critical that you have a headlamp. For increased versatility and concealability, its features should include brightness modes for illuminating farther objects and the ground at your feet and red light for better night vision and avoidance of scaring animals. A flashlight is practical for scanning the terrain.
Most mammals have a great sense of smell, and your odor can give up your position. Before taking off on your hunting trip, wash your clothes with a scent-killing detergent. And when in the field, use a scent-killing spray on the stuff that you can’t wash, such as your weapon, knife, decoys, and other hunting gear.
A rangefinder should be on your list of must-have hunting gadgets, regardless of the weapon of choice. The device measures the exact yardage to your target, accounting for varied terrain. Your primary responsibility as a hunter is to kill ethically. So knowing the exact distance decreases the likelihood of missing critical areas.
Harness Deer Drag
If you need to cover much distance, returning to your car with a big game, you’ll need a harness-style deer drag. Even if you can drive to your kill, you never know where a deer or another large animal is going to drop. A harness will spare you from the struggle when you need to drag it from wherever it is.
Hunters often overlook handheld GPS units. First of all, you won’t get lost with a GPS device, and in emergencies, you can send your coordinates to whoever is looking for you. It’s handy in low-light conditions when, for example, you need to follow a wounded animal in the woods. You can also use it to plot a blood trail or mark hunting spots.
Remember we’ve talked about emergencies? A basic survival kit should include iodine pills for water purification, fire-starter sticks, a lighter, paracord, and a first aid kit. If the area you hunt in is populated by bears, get a bear spray. In fact, it is proven more effective against bear attacks than a rifle.
So this is our list of gear essentials for you to check against before heading out to hunt deer or any other game animal. Good luck.
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