What to Carry in your Hunting Pack
It doesn’t matter if the area you hunt is 20 or 20,000 acres, there are certain things that every hunter needs to carry in the woods, and even more that will come in handy if something goes right or wrong.
Everyone should carry the following things while hunting:
Compass – Even if you don’t have a map, just having a compass and a basic knowledge of the area you are hunting is enough to find your way out when lost.
Lighter/Matches and Fire starter – If it becomes necessary to spend a night in the field, a warm fire can really calm your nerves and keep you warm. A fire (controlled) is also a great way to get peoples attention.
Knife – Not only will you need a knife when and if you do tag out, it will come in handy if you need to build a shelter among other things.
Water – We can live without food for a much longer period of time than we can without water, bring at least 20 oz., with you just in case.
Extra Ammo – I am a firm believer in taking only shots that will ensure a kill, so the ammo is not for shooting up the woods, it is simply the best way to draw attention to yourself.
This next list are things that are nice to have, especially if something goes wrong:
Gloves – Great for field dressing.
Food - As stated above water is more important than food to your survival, but having a Slim Jim or some crackers can really lift your spirits in an emergency.
Map – If you are in an area you are unfamiliar with, get a good map and keep it on you. Oh, yeah, maps are useless unless you know how to use one, and that seems to be a skill that is disappearing.
Flashlight/Head Lamp – If you get in early and stay out late, bring some form of light, it can really help get you back to your truck.
Even More Ammo – Again, a great way to draw attention to yourself.
GPS – In recent years more and more hunters are carrying GPS’s in the field, that is all fine and good, but a map doesn’t need batteries and doesn’t stop working when you drop it.
Drag Rope – A good length of rope will not only serve as a way to drag your deer, but it can also build your shelter, become a tourniquet, or build a splint.
Toilet Paper – Depending on your “needs” you may want to move this one to the “must have list” – enough said.
First Aid Kit – The kit doesn’t have to include a defibrillator, just some antibiotic, bandages, gauze and maybe an elastic sprain bandage.
Rain Gear – You may not have planned on staying out all night, or getting wet, but Mother Nature can sometimes throw a wrench into even the best plans. A good set of rain gear, or poncho, is light, small to pack and can offer some degree of fast protection from the elements.
Space Blanket – One of the worst things that can happen in an emergency is your getting overly cold, you start to loose focus and give up. A small “space blanket” can help keep you warm and alert, helping you to get out of a bad situation.
This list in not everything you may need, your own personal hunting methods and locations, will determine just what you may need. The key is to expect the worst and plan for it; it is the only way to ensure you make it home in one piece when Murphy’s Law strikes.
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