Are you getting excited for bowhunting season? It’s that magical time of year when we go into nature and harvest delicious meat. But before you step into the woods, you’ll want to go through your gear and fill your hunting backpack. To make this job easier, here’s a list of 10 items you shouldn’t leave behind when you hit the woods this fall.
We know – this probably goes without saying, but something this simple can be overlooked. Just like you wouldn’t get behind the wheel without your driver’s license, pack your hunting license. This is your first priority. If you don’t have a hunting license, check your state wildlife agency’s requirements. You might need to take a bowhunter education course before you can purchase a license. (An added benefit to buying a license: The fees go back into wildlife conservation so future generations can enjoy hunting.)
Layers of clothing
Dressing in layers is the best way to manage your body temperature while hunting. The standard practice is to walk to your hunting spot wearing minimal layers to avoid sweating. Once you reach your spot, dress in your warmer layers. Staying comfortable during your hunt is critical to both your enjoyment and longevity in the woods.
Binoculars help you spot game in the distance or find your prey in a well-hidden area nearby. The type of binoculars you need depend on where you hunt. Open areas require binoculars with more magnification; you’ll need a pair with less magnification for hunting a densely wooded area. Your archery shop can help you select the right binoculars for your hunting area.
Another great piece of equipment is a rangefinder, which tells you the distance to your target. Arrows drop considerably at various distances. The difference between 30 yards and 35 yards might not seem much, but it’s dramatic for your arrow’s impact.
Knowing the exact distance to your target is crucial for an accurate shot. If you hunt from a treestand or hilly area, purchase an angle-compensating rangefinder. This device will do the necessary trigonometry to calculate angles and give you the true distance to your target.
Have you ever gone to the range only to realize you left your release aid at home? This also happens while hunting. Carry a spare release in your hunting pack. If you forget your release or your primary release isn’t working properly, you can continue hunting with the back-up.
Water and Snacks
Even if you’re going on a short hunt, water is always a must-have. If your hunt is successful, you’ll work up a sweat bringing the deer out of the woods. A drink of water will save the day. You also don’t want to become a “hangry” hunter. Pack snacks to keep your body fueled and mind focused.
Field Dressing Kit
Always be prepared for a successful hunt with a field dressing kit. Your sharp knife, rubber gloves and bone saw should be packed and ready for action.
Don’t get caught in the dark without a headlamp or flashlight. These devices will help you get to and from your hunting spot. Also, keep spare batteries in your pack.
Getting lost is no fun and takes away precious hunting time. If you have a long hike to your hunting spot, a GPS, map and compass will keep you on course.
While blood trailing, you’ll want flagging tape to mark your blood trail. It’s also helpful for marking the trail to your treestand. Flagging tape is a brightly colored vinyl material that comes in rolls, and like all these must haves is available at an archery store.
You may find you want more than these 10 items for your pack. Ultimately, choose the items that best suit your hunting style, location and intended quarry. Stop into an archery store to gather the necessary supplies and get expert advice on the best gear for your hunt.