The opening day for Montana’s deer and elk general rifle season is drawing near. If you haven’t got your hunting gear in order yet, it’s prime time to do so.
A few years ago, I developed a hunters checklist that many readers have found to be useful. With input from other hunters, I have added to the checklist every year.
Here’s the new and updated list. Feel free to clip it out and use it as a guide to get ready for your next hunting trip.
And remember, before going east to hunt, wash the undercarriage of your vehicle and trailer to rid it of any knapweed. Good Luck!
Hunting license (yes, check it again to make sure) so you can hunt when you get there.
2005 sunrise/sunset tables-so you know when you can start and have to stop
A good pair of hunting boots and warm socks plus an extra pair of socks there’s nothing worse than wet or sore feet
Sharp knifes, and a pack saw one for the hide, one for quartering
Sharpening stone or steel
Game bags and a quarter-pound can of pepper and a spray can of Pam they keep flies off your game after you field dress it
Rain gear dry is better than wet
Extra clothing it would be nice if you could take layers off as the day warms up
Plastic tarp to place your animal on when cleaning or to cover up when transporting
Cell phone in your vehicle-it just might save your life.
Toilet paper, small bucket, and shovel in your vehicle-when nature calls
Binoculars they give you an edge and are safer than glassing with your rifle scope
Electrical or duct tape to tape your license onto the carcass (after you validate it by cutting out the month and date)
Hunters orange sweatshirt or vest and cap it’s law, 400 square inches above the waist
Compass or GPS unit if you want to get back to camp
Map of your hunting area so you don’t trespass or get lost
Sighted in rifle and ammo a one-shot hunt is the best hunt.
Ammo carrier-makes things easier in the heat of the moment and keeps your cartridges clean
Orange marker tape- it helps you get back to camp and can help mark the site of your kill
Five to 10 feet of rope a hundred uses
Small flashlight-helps before dawn or after sunset
Matches in waterproof case and small candle- it will help keep you warm if you need to start a fire
Energy bar-it helps you keep going and is light to pack
Leatherman tool a thousand uses
A good spare tire, jack and tire wrench ever been stranded?
Two pairs of gloves in case one pair gets lost or wet
One pair of rubber dishwashing gloves use them when field dressing your animal
Two one-gallon jugs of water very many uses, including washing hands and washing out carcasses
Sunglasses if you get in a snow situation, you won’t be squinting all day
Warm cap most body heat is lost through your head (with or without hair)
Also, put these supplies into a fanny pack: a pocket first aid kit, small package of trail mix, small water bottle, pocket-size emergency blanket, plastic garbage bag (cut armholes and head hole and you have a rain proof vest), small packet of fire starter, short piece of nylon cord to help drag game out, waterproof matches and a throw away cigarette lighter. An extra set of vehicle keys. Finally a camera a picture is worth a thousand words.
(Added by Mike Violette: An essential thing that I have found useful, and because it has been so handy, everyone I am hunting or fishing with now carries this as well. It is a little bottle of super glue. I started to carry super glue in the late 90’s and it has helped me out several times. The most serious time was in 2001 and I was salmon fishing on the Clearwater. I cut my hand badly and It needed stitches. Well, I was 70 miles from any place to get stitches and the fishing was way too good to stop so. So I stuffed the fat that was hanging out of the cut back into my hand, disinfected it and super glued it shut, end of story. I fished the rest of the trip and the cut never bothered me (a couple Tylenol did help, maybe this is something else to carry?) The glue can be used for countless jobs and it is small and takes up no space. I consider it one of the most important things I carry. — Mike)
If you have a tip you would like to add to the list, e-mail me at email@example.com or drop it in the mail to: Hunting Tips, 4591 Heavens Gate, Missoula, MT 59803.