Walking into the woods with your weapon of choice ready to hunt down the next kill can be a thrilling and enjoyable experience. Although, it may not be very enjoyable if you walked there with only your weapon. What happens when you get thirsty, or hungry, or have to relieve yourself? It can sometimes take several hours before you see an animal worthy of a bullet, or even see an animal at all. There are a variety of items to make the hunt a more enjoyable one, and even easier once you actually take the kill shot. But which items do you pack? This will depend greatly on your preferences, but there are a few that are essential and in almost every hunter’s bag of tricks.
Food and Water:
Food and water are essential to everyone’s health no matter what they are doing. Sitting in a stand or blind for several hours isn’t exactly excruciating work that is likely to drain your body of its most valued nutrients, it can be quite boring. You are there to hunt, and you need to keep your eyes out for the target. You are not going to be playing a game on your phone, or texting your bestie, so what else is there to do? Keep your body hydrated, and fed. Bring a few water bottles, just in case. While you are at it, bring a few protein bars, or something that is quiet to chew on. Don’t bring a big bag of chips with you. The sound of you chomping down on your snack will travel, and your intended game will know where you are. It is best to bring something soft. While you are packing your bag, take your snacks out of the packaging that they come in, and put them into a container that will be quiet to open. Be careful not to bring anything that smells exceptionally good. Your wives leftover casserole is probably not a good choice. The animals will smell it too! Unless it is a bear, then it will attract them to you, but is that really a good idea?
Who would have thought about bringing toilet paper? Honestly, I have rolls of toilet paper stuffed everywhere! I don’t like the idea of being out somewhere and not having it! I know you can use the leaves to help with that, but, for me, the leaves can wait until toilet paper is no longer being produced. While the world is still operating and the big guys are still putting out millions of rolls each day, I will be taking advantage of that. Burying number 2 is a good way to quickly kill the smell. Smell kills in this game, if they can smell human, you can bet they won’t go there. Bringing a shovel or leaving one at your stand will assist with this job.
There are two times of day that are best to hunt. First thing in the morning before the animals start moving around, and late in the evening as they are settling in for the night. Both of these times will require you to be outside in the dark. Having a flashlight to show you the way to or from your stand will make a world of difference compared to not having one. A head lamp is a really good hands-free option for when you are field dressing the animal after the kill.
Antlers, or Game calls:
There are a variety of game calls available on the market that are useful. They mimic the calls of the animals and draw them to you, only to find you there ready and waiting. When used properly, they can be a valuable tool. They can cut waiting time, by bringing the animal to you. Although there still needs to be an animal within ear shot of the calls or they won’t work.
Commercial versions of scent blocker are readily available at almost any store that has a sporting goods section. There are homemade versions that work just as well. These are made by boiling down the things that are naturally found in the woods. A few pine cones, some needles, a little bark and you have a pine tree in a bottle. Spray this stuff on you before you go into the woods. It isn’t a bad idea to give the bottle a few squeezes every time you start to snack. Make sure that the material you use in your homemade scent blocker is found in the woods you plan to hunt in. Don’t go in smelling like a pine tree if they don’t naturally grow there.
If your gun doesn’t already have a scope on it, you will want something that you can look out into the woods with. You may even want a pair of binoculars even if your gun does have a scope. Binoculars are a little easier to maneuver around within a tree than a rifle.
These nifty little contraptions are great for telling the user exactly how far away the animal is. They can be a valuable tool to use. Have you ever missed a shot? It might not have been due to faulty aim. It could have been because the animal was too far away for your bullet to reach.
Field Dress Kit:
Field dressing your kill has positives all around. Without a good blade and a few other items, it is kind of hard to do that. Look for a good field dress kit that has everything in it that you will need. Most come with a variety of knives, and some will even have gloves. There are ones that have a carry case, the cases keep everything in place in your pack.
Rope, or cart:
What happens when you kill the animal? How do you get it from the floor of the woods to the back of the truck, when you can’t drive your truck up to it? You will want some kind of rope to tie to the animal to make dragging it easier. They even sell collapsible carts that can be used for this purpose. They are small and lightweight that they can be carried with you. If these are not an option, consider tossing a wheelbarrow in the back of your truck before you leave home.
Most cell phones come standard with a camera installed. Although, not all cell phone cameras can be treated equally. It may be dark before you finally find your kill, and what if your phone takes really crapy shots at night? Bringing a high-quality digital camera with you on the hunt can help you capture the moment.