You might know the woods like the back of your hand simply because you’ve hunted there all your life, but there are just some things you need to carry in your backpack to ensure you won’t be sorry for keeping out some very essential items.
Illumination, nutrition and hydration
Whether you need them or not, light sources such as a flashlight, matches or a lighter should be in your backpack. It’s not a question of whether you need them or not, but when you’ll need them. If you would rather not use credit cards as emergency fire starters, you have to start making sure you always bring a lighter or matches.
Staying out long up in a treestand ( here are some amazing tips) or in a hunting blind, or running about in search of your target can get you dehydrated. Every time you take a piss, you lose water. When you sweat, you lose water. Even your eyes need to stay hydrated because staring long into a rifle or bow scope can get them tired or dry and irritated. Rehydrate yourself with a swig of water every now and then. Some hunters bring a pee bottle as well. Energy bars help keep your stamina up during the hunt.
You’ll also need to bring a hunter safety system harness. Comprising a safety belt and harness, this system goes on before you commence your climb up in the tree and stays on till you are safely back on the ground after hunting. Some hunters use a chest-only belt instead of a full body harness. However, you would also have to bring along a sharp folding knife to ensure that when you fall using just a chest-only belt, you can cut your way out of an upside down position and make your way down the tree. The safety belt or harness can also double as a deer drag. Some rope will enable you to haul your weapons up into your tree stand to ensure safe climbing as well as safe descent. An arm and wrist guard protects your arms from injury, but you can improvise by trimming the foot off from one leg dark ladies’ tights.
In the summer, camo cotton gloves can be sprayed with scent killer. They should be on your hands from the time you leave your vehicle till you are fully set up in your tree stand. When hunting in cold season, go for polypro liner gloves that have also been similarly de-scented and then worn under wool gloves with the first two fingers and thumb cut off. This enables you to handle zippers, focus your rangefinder or binoculars and do tasks that require manual dexterity. A first aid kit with bandages and emergency medication including diarrhea and pain tablets, alcohol swabs and antibiotic cream will come in handy for emergencies.
Mechanical broadheads and arrows can be carried in a detachable quiver. A pump spray of scent killer enables you to easily spray the formulation on everything, from your tree stand, boots, bow, hat and body before you set out. You can carry a small bottle to the field for touch ups, such as before and after you’ve climbed up the tree, since you may sweat off the scent killer on your way up. A tree belt with hooks and clips to hold calls, optics, quiver, excess clothing, even pots and pans, will be handy.
A grunt call or call device that produces the sound of rattling antlers is a sensible item to have in your hunting backpack. There are models that can generate everything from a fawn bleat to a snort wheeze. Lure deer attractant covers your own odor while attracting the deer. This can induce the deer with an all-season curiosity scent or buck urine smell. Binoculars help you get closeups of your target.
Identification and orientation tools
Your hunter education certificate and other identification documents should be within easy reach when challenged. A laser rangefinder and GPS device will ensure you don’t lose your bearings easily especially when chasing your prey. A sighting compass will do fine for backup.
A folding saw lets you handle twigs or branches that get in the way of setting up your stand. A mylar heating blanket keeps you warm in the stand. Bring along water purifying tablets in case you need to draw water from natural sources. Extra batteries should also be available for your electronic hunting devices.