We’ve all ended up starting our weekend hunting trip in the worst possible way by leaving an essential piece of gear back at home. Or we’ve been jealous of friends thinking ahead and preparing the essentials to bring on every hunt we would never have considered helpful beforehand.
Our essentials list will take new and experienced hunters through a bunch of items we’ve found useful on hunting trips that really enhance the experience. We’ll skip the super basic camping essentials and focus our attention on items that are crucial for an enjoyable trip.
A quality pair of boots is possibly one of the most important on our list of essentials to bring on every hunt. It’s also important that they are already worn-in as you’ll be walking/hiking for extended periods of time, most likely across uneven and unstable surfaces, especially for those who like to gain some form of height advantage or mountain hunters.
Suitable Optics – Scope & Spotting
This primarily comes down to the type of terrain you are hunting in, although we always recommend taking a pair of binoculars on a trip, especially if it’s new hunting ground. Pairing the right scope to your terrain is important for a successful hunt as I’m sure you can see why using something like a 2.5-10x50mm might not be ideal when hunting in thick brush.
The ultimate tool is a trustworthy knife. Experienced hunters will appreciate the real value of a good knife and if given the choice of only 1 survival instrument, we would choose a quality blade. We recommend a knife with a high-visibility grip as we can’t name the number of times we’ve placed our knives down for a moment whilst harvesting meat from our kill to then spend the next 10 minutes looking for it. It’s also worth bringing a knife sharpener too.
Adding very little weight to your pack or gun weight a good bipod or monopod can significantly increase a shooter’s accuracy. Whilst not always essential, depending upon the nature of your hunt, it is worth carrying one of these with you as you never know when you might find a prime shooting position with your intended target towards the upper limits of your rifles capacity.
There are a variety of accessories available to the modern hunter that can be used to increase the likelihood of a successful hunt the most common of which are;
Scent Attractors or Eliminators are a great way to both attract certain prey towards your lures or eliminators, hiding your scent from the game you’re hunting.
Decoys and calls are great for hunters stalking various types of games as most modern decoys come with a variety of calls pre-programmed into the device meaning no matter what you hunt, you can lure it to your shooting position.
One of the most important parts of any hunting trip, your permit. Another one on our list of essentials to bring on every hunt. It’s important to secure a permit for whatever region your hunting in assuring you can lawfully hunt. Keep this on your person at all times.
A game carrier can range anywhere from simple rope or harness attachments to sled and carts. An appropriate game carrier can drastically increase the convenience of getting your game back to camp. Small game hunters are best looking for belt clip carriers that allow for numerous points to secure rabbits or birds. Those hunting larger game may want to look for something that’s both easily transportable and durable enough to carry kill back to camp. Personally, we’re big fans of collapsible carriers that come with a sling allowing for an easy carry when not in use.
First Aid Kit – Multiple
Packing an adequate first aid kit is fundamental when leaving for your hunting trip but one isn’t really enough as you’ll want to make sure you have enough to carry one on your person as well as a better-stocked kit at basecamp. Some fundamental items that should make their way into your kit re; tourniquets, quick clot hemostatic agents, and varying bandage sizes.
A hopefully more obvious item to bring with you, your rifle, bow or other means of hunting. Starting a hunting trip only having to run home and back is a complete nightmare and will eventually happen to every hunter. An extra tip is to bring more than 1 means of hunting. Backups offer great convenience if you encounter a problem with your primary firearm during your trip as rather than spending most of your time stripping and testing the rifle, you can simply use a back-up and see to your primary when you return from your trip.
Route marking tape
Route tape is obviously extremely useful when visiting a new hunting ground where you’re less familiar with your surroundings. A must-have on the list of essentials to bring on every hunt. It also provides extra benefits such as marking blood trails or tying up your kills.
Hatchets and saws are great for collecting and splitting firewood during your trip. Saws are also great for cutting through larger preys bone if you’re knife isn’t quite up to the task.
Not only great for keeping those beers cold, a quality cooler is also great for keeping your game fresh until you’re ready to preserve or cook it. Depending on the size of your hunting party it may be worth bringing multiple coolers.
Whilst more commonly associated with wilderness hiking, these are inherently great for high-country backpack hunts where you may be more likely to come across the uneven or unstable ground. These are also handy in stronger current stream crossings where there’s a greater risk of slipping and potentially being swept further downstream.
Hopefully, this list will provide a worthwhile insight into those extra items that will prove beneficial to a more enjoyable hunting trip. In the end, increasing the convenience of the less glamorous tasks can mellow out any hunters’ mood.
Remember to pack your typical camping gear alongside these hunting essentials to bring on every hunt such as; rain gear, a stove, torches, a compass, quality hunting apparel, and for those of us not lucky enough to benefit from a hunting cabin, a durable tent.