So far in the Thrill of The Hunt we have discussed bow hunting equipment and what to wear. In this article we will discuss the extras that should always be with you on the hunt. Many of the items I will discuss are important for bow hunting or rifle hunting.
Always carry a small squeeze bottle of baby powder to determine the wind direction. A hunter can fool an animals eyes and ears, but you will never fool its’ nose. I plan to write an entire article on this topic soon, but until then always make sure you know the wind direction. I carry a small bottle of baby powder in my front pocket on all hunts except bird hunts. I check the wind religiously every 10 minutes on calm days. I like baby powder because I can smell it and see it. Give the bottle a good squeeze and watch it drift with the wind.
While we are on the topic of scent and I promise to cover this topic in more detail in future articles, just know there is not a cover scent or clothing made on the planet that will hide your scent. Debate this topic all you want, but the bottom line is that if you breathe you make scent. So leave the elk urine cover scent and expensive scent blocking clothing at the store, because it is all a waste of money.
Boning Your Animal In The Field
Years ago I came to the realization that gutting an animal and dragging it out whole is a complete waste of time. Why do I want to lug an entire critter home to only throw away the bones and hide? Why not leave the bones and hide in the forest for a critter to snack on with joy? I also process my own meat so having a bag of meat already boned and ready to process saves a lot of time.
To bone an animal in the field and I promise to cover this topic in more detail in future articles, I need a 10 ft. sheet of plastic, several plastic garbage bags, a gallon size, zip-loc bag, two sets of plastic gloves, a few wet wipes, and knife.
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The sheet of plastic provides a nice work area free of dirt and grime. I like to use plastic gloves to keep my hands somewhat clean after deboning the animal. I bring two sets because plastic gloves have a tendency to rip. Wet wipes are handy for cleaning up after taking care of the animal and for an emergency bathroom stop. After deboning the animal I use the garbage bags to store the meat for the hike out and in my freezer if I don’t process the meat right away. Don’t put hot meat into the plastic, garbage bags. Let the meat cool down on the sheet of plastic before putting it in garbage bags. Use the gallon size zip-loc bag to put the sheet of plastic, gloves, and your knife after deboning the animal to keep things tidy.
There are many types of knifes on the market, but I am a huge fan of the Kershaw brand of knifes with interchangeable blades. The last thing I want to do while deboning an animal is sharpen my knife. I carry four spare blades and a saw blade to remove the horns. It will normally take two blades for a deer size animal and four blades for an elk size animal.
Always carry plenty of water. I started with a plastic bottle of water and after years of experimenting with all kinds of fancy bladder and tube contraptions I am right back to using a plastic bottle of water. A water bottle is no fuss, no muss, and easy to clean. Plus it is harder for the water bottle to freeze in cold weather as compared to tube water systems.
Always carry plenty of food. Hunting burns a lot of calories and it you don’t want to end a hunt early because you are hungry. God forbid you get lost, but extra food is handy to have just in case.
I like to carry 50 ft. of climber-grade rope. Rope is always handy for a variety of uses.
Camo is a very personalized item. I don’t like anything on my face unless it is cold. I find any type of cloth face camo can interfere with my bow draw. I like to use a small, camo compact with three colors black, green, and brown. I can take three fingers, each with different color and quickly apply it to my face. The compact also has a small mirror so I can check to make sure my face is covered adequately. A hunter does not have to completely cover every inch of skin, military style. Just break up any solid color of skin.
Backpacks are also a very personalized item. Over the years I have been through a lot of backpacks. I personally use the Dwight Schuh, Fieldline, Mega, plastic frame backpack. For most day hunts I only use the bottom section of the pack. If I get an animal down I can pack out a deer with this pack or get the first load of an elk packed out. This is a major over kill of a backpack for a day hunt, but it is so nice to take load a meat to the pickup from the kill site. I find this pack to be very comfortable and I really like the multiple tie down points and flexibility that this backpack offers.
That pretty well covers what a bow hunter needs for equipment for a successful hunt.