When you go hunting, obviously the type of game you plan to hunt will determine a lot of what you need to pack with you. That said, there are a few non-negotiable hunting essentials that you need to bring no matter what you’re hunting. Here is a list of must-bring items, regardless of whether you’re after deer, elk, or even bear.
Hunting license and permits
One of the most important things you need to take with you when hunting are your papers. Your hunting license and hunting permits (some states will require you to procure one) are what prevents you from being fined or even arrested by game wardens as an illegal poacher. Keep your documents safe and dry by placing them in a resealable plastic bag.
Another hunting essential is a sharp knife to use as an important and versatile tool for your trip. Kershaw knives, for example, can be used to field dress your game, skinning it and then packing it for transport — this is especially useful for heavier game. Be sure to pack an extra knife and a sharpener too, just in case.
First aid kit
Having a first aid kit on your hunting trip is another must-bring item. First aid kits are useful, especially when treating minor wounds you might sustain like blisters, cuts and scratches. Aside from the standard fare found in most first aid kits, you might also want to consider bringing anti-itch and antibacterial creams.
Water and food
Some short hunting trips can go for a lot longer than expected. Stock up on a few filling snacks to keep yourself sated and hydrated during your hunting trips. Aside from meat jerky, a lot of hunters like to pack trail mix and high-calorie protein bars with them. Don’t forget to pack water for hydration, since not all hunting grounds have water sources that are safe for drinking.
All hunters know how much the distance between you and your prey affects the accuracy of your shot, especially if you are bow hunting. That’s why taking a rangefinder is so useful for any hunting trip — it is able to tell you exactly what that distance is, so you can adjust your aim accordingly.
Safety orange hunting vest
Another must-have when hunting, blaze orange or safety orange hunting vests allow hunters to avoid mistaking other hunters for game. The bright orange color is invisible to deer, elk and other animals, however it’s a very easy color to spot for humans. The last thing you want is to get shot by another hunter on his prowl.
While game is best hunted in the light of day where everything is more visible, you might end up tracking your trophy as the sun is setting. Having a flashlight on you is a good way to ensure you can see where you are going; having a flashlight above 300+ lumens can also help you scare of any other animals that might be lurking around.
Sometimes, you may end up having to track your target way after the sun sets, and you may need to set up camp and wait it out. Survival blankets are a really handy thing to have, especially when the nights become really cold. Another upside to survival blankets is they’re really lightweight and don’t take up a lot of space in your pack, so it’s really easy to bring with you on your hunting trip.