The Captain’s ‘Hunter’s Checklist’
By angelamontana

Posted: October 2, 2012

October is THE hunting month in Montana–the general rifle season in Montana opens for deer and elk.  Hunting is a lot of fun, so be prepared when you head out.  If you haven’t got your hunting gear in order yet-it’s prime time to do so and to do it now.

A few years ago, I developed a hunter’s checklist that many readers found useful.  With input from other hunters, I have added to the checklist every year.

Feel free to clip it out and use it as a guide to get ready for your next hunting trip.  Also, if you have a tip you would like to add to the list, e-mail me at or drop it in the mail to:  Hunting Tips 4591 Heavens Gate, Missoula, MT 59803.

And remember before going east to hunt, wash the undercarriage of your vehicle and trailer to rid it of any knapweed.  Good Luck!


  • Cell phone in your vehicle–it just might save your life.
  • Toilet paper, small bucket, and shovel in your vehicle–when nature calls
  • Hunting license (yes, check it again to make sure) so you can hunt when you get there.
  • 2012 sunrise/sunset tables-so you know when you can start and have to stop
  • 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
  • Binoculars–they give you an edge and are safer than glassing from your rifle scope
  • Range finder
  • Hunting GPS maps (chip for your Garmin GPS–hunt with confidence)
  • Electrical or duct tape–to tape your license onto the carcass (after you validate it by cutting out the month and date)
  • Hunter’s orange sweatshirt or vest and cap–it’s the 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–one-shot 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–hundreds of uses
  • Small flashlight–helps before dawn or after sunset
  • Matches in waterproof case and small candle–they 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 when field dressing your animal
  • Two one-gallon jugs of water–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 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.  Also, don’t forget an extra set of vehicle keys.  Finally, a camera–a picture is worth a thousand words.

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