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What Are Essentials for Your Hunting Backpack?

provided by John Phillips

At the Adult Mentored Hunt Program, Sam Hansen, who is an EMT-P, a retired fire department battalion chief, a hunter-education instructor, and an NRA certified rifle instructor, presented a seminar on backpack gear you need when hunting deer. Below is the equipment he suggests that all hunters need to have in their backpacks. 

hunter with backpack

All-Year Backpack Essentials:

  • A comfortable, versatile, multi-compartment backpack like a Tenzing backpack that has multiple pockets to store gear.
  • A packable rain suit and gun boot or gun rain cover. The weatherman isn’t always accurate in his predictions, and even weather forecasts on your cellphone or GPS aren’t always accurate. 
  • Binoculars and a binocular harness, often called a bino-harness, to hold the binoculars tight to your chest. The elastic strap allows you to pull them up to your eyes to search for game.
  • A range finder
  • Field book with pencils. You may want to write down how to reach a particular stand site, what wind direction you need to hunt that site, and what you see from that stand site on the day you’re hunting. 
  • A knife with a gut hook that enables a hunter to easily and quickly cut the hide of the deer before field dressing the animal. The knife is used to cut and quarter the meat and remove the gut.
  • Earplugs to keep from damaging your hearing.
  • Wind direction powder that lets you always know which way the wind’s blowing to keep the deer from smelling your human odor.
  • Tenzing backpackExtra ammo and a clip for your rifle. If you don’t load your rifle before you reach your stand, and you use a rifle with an ammo clip while hunting from tree stands, if you happen to drop your clip loaded with ammo before the hunt begins, you can put that extra clip and ammo in your rifle. Then you don’t have to climb down from your stand to pick up the clip you’ve dropped.
  • A 25-foot piece of webbing. Webbing is much more compactible and lighter weight than most ropes, and you can throw webbing over a limb and pull your buck up for skinning or use it to pull your gun, your bow or your backpack up, if you’re hunting from a tree stand.
  • A pair of pruning shears and a folding saw to cut small branches in your shooting lane to keep your arrow or your bullet from deflecting before reaching your target. 
  • A reliable flashlight and extra batteries for traveling in the woods before daylight and after dark and to blood trail a deer in the dark. 
  • A topographic map or a map of the lease or property you’re hunting. On private lands, keep a copy of your permission slip handy, and also bring your licenses.
  • Reflective trail markers and flagging tape to mark the trail to your stand, and/or to mark the blood trail of a deer you’ve shot or arrowed.
  • A hand-held GPS receiver or a cell phone with GPS built in, as well as a cell-phone charger that you can use if the battery of your phone goes dead. You also will want a compass to use if any or all of your navigation equipment quits working.
  • A first-aid kit including mole skin to prevent blisters, aspirin or Aleve, Band-Aids, tourniquets and any other medical equipment you may need in the field. 
  • Waterproof matches, a whistle and some type of fire starter for spending an unexpected night in the wood.
  • Odor eliminator 
  • A balaclava face mask and gloves for warmth
  • An emergency poncho, space blanket and a packable sleeping bag
  • Favorite snacks, water and a couple of dog biscuits in a bag. (No one likes to eat dog biscuits, so if you take those with you, you won’t eat them quickly and not have anything to eat if you’re not rescued quickly.) 

Seasonal Equipment You’ll Need:

  • Hand warmers/body warmers
  • Emergency blanket
  • Deer calls and deer lures
  • Personal items like sunscreen, Chapstick, insect repellent and extra meds (2-3 days’ worth) in a Ziploc bag.
  • Optional Items:
  • A multitool
  • An extra orange vest
  • A face camo stick and/or a face mask

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