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Prepping For Your Best Hunt Season with Hunt Hike Harvest

August 25, 2022 | Pnuma Guide

It’s that time of year again and like many hunters, you find yourself more and more distracted about getting ready for hunting season in anticipation of getting into the woods and chasing elk, deer or whatever your animal of choice is.  At the same time, it also begins a yearly process of getting your gear out and starting to arrange and plan for the upcoming season.  Each year hunters always look to enhance, upgrade, fine tune and streamline their gear to match their hunting style, eliminate excess or hunt more efficiently.

This can be a fun process but also tends to have a ton of moving parts. Within this blog we want to help hunters develop a better system or give direction to optimizing their preparations so that you are well prepared and have your bases covered prior to hitting the backcountry. One of the strategies that we have found helpful is to think in terms of using a system of “chunking” your preparation into specific “chunks” or categories that allow you to tackle this endeavor thoroughly but with ease.

Our four chunks that we typically break things down into are:

  • Daily gear
  • Apparel
  • Camp
  • Miscellaneous 

Daily Gear

This typically consists of all the things that you plan to bring with you physically each day while hunting.  We break this down into some subcategories as follows:

  • Bow, Rifle, or Crossbow and Accessories
    • Release (2 - always bring an extra)
    • Arrows (3-5, including 1-2 with a judo point for grouse)
    • Allen Wrench (in case you you need to fix or adjust)
  • Chest Harness
  • Binoculars (10x power for western hunts minimum)
  • Range Finder
  • Bear Spray (if hunting in western states)
  • Lens Wipes
  • Wind Indicator
  • Pack (Crestone for multi-day hunts or Chisos for single-day)
  • ID
  • TAGS!  You must carry your tags on you at all times. Double check!
  • Kill Kit
    • surgical gloves
    • game bags
    • knives (we prefer Outdoor Edge)
    • extra blades
    • knife sharpener
    • zip ties
  • Calls
    • bugle tube
    • diaphragms
    • mouth calls
    • rattle bag
  • First Aid (absolutely critical! DO NOT Hunt without a first aid kit)
    • mole skin
    • quick clot
    • tourniquet
    • SAM splint
    • bandages
  • Trekking poles
  • Water bladder or bottle (we prefer 2 liters minimum)
  • Head Lamps (bring 2 minimum and extra batteries)
  • Toilet paper or wipes
  • 50 foot of paracord rope for emergencies, hanging meat, making shelter, etc.
  • Food (be sure to bring snacks, MRE’s or other food to prepare for being out all day)
  • Water Purifier (we prefer Sawyer Systems)

        Apparel

        All the gear you need to keep you comfortable and protected in austere environments:

        • Base Layers (Base Haven or Merino)
        • Underwear (If you’re not wearing full length base layers bring a few good pairs of merino underwear. You can always wash and hang dry at camp)
        • Pants (We prefer to run 2 pairs of pants that we alternate or have a lighter and heavier pair depending on the weather - early season Pursuit Pant, mid-season Alpha Vertex, Late Season Selkirk Pant)
        • Tops (We will either use the Renegade Long or Short Sleeve, the Gunnison Hoodie or the Renegade Quarter Zip)
        • Coats (early season Alpha Vertex Vest or Jacket, mid-season add Palisade Puffy, and late season add Selkirk Jacket)
        • Boots (Be sure that you have a quality boot that you have broken in prior to the field. Make sure they are waterproof as well.)
        • Headwear (Early season we use the Recon Balaclava and carry the Reversible Beanie for chilly mornings.)
        • Socks (Be sure to use a good sock that wicks moisture and isn’t too big and bulky or you will sweat too much or cause blisters.)
        • Belt (A good flat belt is important.  It will help ride better with the hip belt of your pack.)
        • Blaze Orange Gear (Be sure that if you are hunting during rifle season that you have blaze orange for your pack, head and body as this is paramount for state regulations and safety. Make sure to check the state regulations you are hunting in prior to departure.

        Camp Equipment

        This is equipment you won't be packing out every day - just the "creature comforts" you need to come home to after a long day out in the field:

        • Tent (Whether you base camp or pack in - be sure to have all your tent parts, poles, stakes, tarps, etc. prior to leaving)
        • Cooler(s) (Bring plenty of ice and keep in shade - we like to freeze 1 gallon jugs to keep food and beverages cold longer.)
        • Water Jugs (5-7 gallon jugs with clean water - figure ¾ gallon per day per hunter.)
        • Shovel
        • Small Ax or Hatchet
        • Mallet
        • Small Tree Saw
        • Lanterns (Extra mantels and 4 extra small propane bottles will last a full week)
        • Extra Rope
        • Jetboil or Small Burner (for cooking & making coffee with extra butane bottle)
        • Utility Utensil
        • Sleeping bag (will vary depending on style of hunt)
        • Camp Pillow or Inflatable Pillow
        • Cot
        • Inflatable Sleeping Pad
        • Toiletries
          • toothbrush
          • toothpaste
          • deodorant
          • CBD products
          • medication
        • Extra Tarp
        • Collapsible Small Camp Table
        • Book/Playing Cards (You may not spend all day everyday in the woods.  For the downtime at camp a book you’ve been meaning to read or a deck of cards can help pass the time)
        • Trash bag (We like the big contractor sized bags to throw all our trash away in.  As always we want to leave no trace, so if you pack it in, you pack it out)

        Additional Considerations

        • If you’re hunting in bear country be sure to bring bear spray and a firearm if you are archery hunting.  We recommend a minimum of a 45 caliber, 357 magnum or 10mm for best bear defense.
        • If you have room, bring an archery target to make sure your bow is sighted properly or if you have malfunctions you can test accuracy and function.
        • A rechargeable battery pack to juice up cellphones, headlamps, or GPS units (Refer to your device to determine the size necessary).  Some units can be recharged via small solar panels that can be left out during the day to ensure proper charge when you arrive back at camp - the Crestone Pack includes a solar panel with USB port for charging.

        Our Golden Rule

        When looking at your hunting gear it is important to be critical of the “nice to haves” and the “must haves.”  Everything you pack or bring should have a purpose, be essential to the hunt or survival, or needed on a daily or emergency basis.  Do not bring excess or multiples of things if not needed.  Corroborate with your hunting partners. Are there things that between the entire group you only need one of that you can designate out so you are not being redundant or packing more than necessary?  Each year setting out all of your gear should entail this process and the mission is to continue narrowing things down so you are as efficient as possible whilst still ensuring that you do not leave any stone unturned or put yourself into possible emergency or life threatening situations.

        We hope that this article is helpful. Let us know if we missed anything and most importantly, have an awesome hunting season!

        Joel and Jason
        Hunt Hike Harvest Outdoors