U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Hunting season is upon us and for most, especially those of us east of the Rockies this primarily means deer season.
It’s time to start gathering up your essential hunting gear. In addition to extra ammunition (or muzzleloader supplies) here are the basics I carry for my style of hunting. Some of this gear normally goes in a small fanny pack but for the most part, I can leave the pack in the truck and put all the items in my pockets or a small belt pouch.
No need for an expensive backpack and a second mortgage to afford everything. Simple is best.
My Essential Hunting Gear :
Compass – I may carry a GPS but I always have a compass. Its 100% reliable, lightweight, and doesn’t require batteries. No matter where I am, I can take a compass reading before heading into the woods and always find my way back to the truck. A topographical map goes hand in hand with the compass. A compass like the GWHOLE Military Lensatic Sighting Compass can be a tremendous help in accessing out of the way areas and finding my way back home.
Water and Snacks – Temperature, expected activity level, and the distance I plan to travel from my truck or house will dictate how much water I carry. Snacks are determined in much the same way. Eating when its cold can help warm your body and being hungry hurts one’s ability to concentrate. Store bought snacks like Kirkland’s Signature Trail Mix are removed from noisy packaging and put in zip-lock bags.
Fire – I carry at least two means to make a fire. A lighter, a friction/striker tool like the Exotac FireROD Ferrocerium Fire Starter and often a small tube of Storm Proof Matches. The last thing I want is to be in an emergency situation and not be able to get a fire going. A fire can mean the difference between life and death.
First Aid – Stopping bleeding is my first priority in a first-aid kit so I make sure I have the appropriate supplies to take care of injuries resulting from a cut or worse yet a gunshot wound. I also pack various over the counter medications to cover common issues. I have found the Reebow Tactical Gear First Aid Kit to be a great starting kit but then I add to it. Benadryl always goes in my kit during bug season as it can aid in mitigating allergic reactions to insect stings.
Rope – I often carry a length of 550 cord like the TITAN MIL-SPEC 550 Paracord Cord as well as a slightly larger diameter piece of rope for use in dragging a deer out of the woods.
Multitool – The Leatherman – Wingman Multi-Tool, Stainless Steel I carry serves a number of purposes. It has a small, but very effective wood saw eliminating the need for me to carry a larger one. Various size Torx, hex-head, and screwdriver bits mean I can carry what I need to make field expedient repairs to the gear I carry
Fixed blade knife – I carry a fixed blade Benchmade Arvensis 119 Plain Clip-Point Knife for two reasons. First it’s strong and unlikely to fail under pressure if I have to use it for a tough chore. Second, I hate spending the extra time cleaning out a folding knife when the field dressing chores are done. If its cold outside, a folder becomes almost useless after the messy work is done. A small Pocket Sharpener also rides along in my kit in case I need to touch up my blade.
Wind Checker – I hunt primarily on the ground so having a small bottle of Wind Checker Powder can help me accurately figure out my hunting strategy while keeping my scent downwind of where the deer are.
Lens cleaner – A Lens Cloth is effective at not only keeping optics clean but also my glasses.
Small Notebook and Pencil – In addition to taking notes and capturing memories, the paper and wood pencil can be used to help start a fire if necessary.
Butt-Out Tool & Field Dressing Kit – Purists may laugh or be appalled but in my opinion the Butt-Out Tool is the best thing to happen to field dressing big game since disposable gloves and I keep both in my kit. The Butt-Out is lightweight and makes field care of an animal much more efficient. The gloves in my Field Dressing Kit just make things a bit less messy.
Bandana – The one I carry is blaze orange but any color will do. A Bandana has a number of uses ranging from first aid to emergency water filtration, in addition to its more traditionally accepted purpose. Whether you wear it or keep one in your pocket its an excellent item to have with you in the woods.
Cell Phone & Battery Back-Up – I don’t plan on making calls or texting (the area I hunt has very limited service) but its nice to know I can if I need to. My phone also has a camera meaning I don’t need to carry a separate device if I want to take pictures. A smart phone can also be host your e-book collection in case the hunting action is slow. The battery back-up means I don’t have to worry about the phone going dead in cold weather, after heavy use or if the phone
Light – I prefer redundancy with lights. A small headlamp as well as a small, but powerful LED flashlight find their way into my kit. Whether its finding my way through the dark or tracking an animal one cannot have too much light. ( read AmmoLand’s review of the Best Everyday Carry Flashlights )
While I may add certain items occasionally based on environmental factors, location, and how long I plan to stay in the woods my essential hunting gear kit doesn’t change much. Its simple, utilitarian and easy to carry without much weight and added exertion.
What will be in your essential hunting gear kit this fall? I love to hear what you think I missed?
About Doug Gilmer:
Doug Gilmer is a law enforcement and military veteran with over 25 years of experience and assignments operating throughout the United States and around the world in a variety of investigative, protective, tactical and direct action roles. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys fly-fishing, hunting with a handgun, backcountry adventures, and volunteering with various outdoor themed wounded warrior events. He has been a frequent contributor to outdoor media for for several years with numerous articles and photos published in a number of media channels. He is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association as well as a former board member and executive officer.