Here we go. We’re approaching zero hour with the start of most 2014 seasons. Some have actually started and I’ve seen a few good trophies come across my desk. With that in mind, I wanted to take a quick second to help you prepare for the opener if you aren’t hunting already.
In the panic of trying to round up everything one needs for a hunt, it’s easy to forget things. Over the years I’ve developed a simple system, that if all else fails, I will at least get a day hunt in if I forget something. Now, this list will probably not work for those heading to a different state or hunting an area a long ways from home or those planning an extended trip in the backcountry. It should work for everyone else.
So let’s say you forget to take most everything with you on your hunt. Do you know which items you still need to pull a day or two off? I can scratch out a day hunt or stay an uncomfortable night and maybe stretch it into a two-day hunt if I have the items below.
Gun or bow with ammunition or arrows and a release for your bow. This goes without explanation. If you don’t have either, you can’t fill your tag, plain and simple. This takes me to my second item, your tags. You must have all of your tags or obviously it won’t be legal for you to be in the field. A pack of some sort. I prefer a pack that’s designed to take a load of meat out and my preference is the Eberlestock Mainframe with spike camp duffle attached. In this pack I take a few essentials including a knife, headlamp, military-grade poncho (can be made into a small pup tent or worn), fire starters (lighter/magnesium), film canister of petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls, water purification (tabs or filter), game bags, 25 feet of paracord, fleece/merino wool stocking hat and gloves, toilet paper, water (bladder or bottles) and finally a few handfuls of trail mix and some jerky. That’s it.
Some of you might think that’s crazy and some of you might be able to live for a week off of that, but as I mentioned, I am only looking for a day or two at the most and only in the event that I forget everything else. You’ll also notice what I didn’t get into, things like clothing layers, boots and socks. I am assuming you will make those choices depending on where you are and what time of year it is. I also left out stoves, sleeping bags, tents, optics (binoculars/spotting scope) and freeze-dried meals etc. If we had those items then we wouldn’t be forgetting much, if anything.
Obviously, depending on the time of year and your particular needs, you can tailor this list to your individual needs. The whole idea here is to always have an absolute minimum amount of gear in your pack so you don’t get to the trailhead and have to go right back home because you forgot something. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.
I hope this help you be more successful this fall and as always, I look forward to seeing your trophies and reading your stories.