I recently went on an elk hunting trip to Las Vegas, New Mexico with my brother and a guide. The above photo shows the beautiful scenery we enjoyed. Even though I did not harvest an elk this trip, I had a great time being with my brother.
Over my many years of hunting, I have compiled a list of hunting essentials and gear that I always take on my trips. I have also included some of my recommendations and favorites. The right gear (and not forgetting anything!) can make your next hunting trip a great adventure.
- Hunting license, tags, permits - If you forget these, you are out of luck. If your trophy will be shipped to you or if your hunting out of the country make sure you check with your tannery or taxidermist for proper shipping and importation instructions.
- Binoculars, range finder, spotting scope, arrangements for getting your trophy (and in some cases meat) back home - Bring a good pair of binoculars that are medium weight. My recommendation would be Zeiss, Leupold, or Swarovski binoculars.
Bow case, gun case, proper bags, luggage for travel to your wilderness destination - Be sure to have the proper type for the kind of travel you will be doing. I recommend the SKB for guns, compound and crossbows. In some cases, room on the plane will be limited, so duffel bags are the only type of luggage that will fit.
Backpack, day pack or both that are waterproof with rain covers - You must have the right kind of backpack as well as a day pack that is waterproof, not just water-resistant. My preference is SealLine packs and duffels. I like the smaller one to use for a daypack version. This brand is constructed with vulcanized rubber, with no seams and stitching for the rain to get in, this ensures my gear will stay dry. I also like Kuiu backpacks because of the strength of the frame, they are lightweight and durable for hunting game in the mountains.
Quality blow up air type sleeping pad, since you will spend the next 14 nights on it - I like the Therm-a-Rest brand. A good quality air mattress not only acts as a cushion but also insulates between you and the cold ground, without a lot of extra weight in your pack.
- Bow, arrows, broadheads, extra bow or gun, bullets, practice shooting and sighting in before trip, weapon in good condition, tools, oils, etc. - For gun hunters, the guide will always have a backup for you, but this is not the case for bow hunters. Make sure you have all the parts and knowledge you need to either fix your bow or have a backup along.
Hat, sunglasses, medication (if any), personal items, baby wipes, washcloth, small towels, extra street clothes, quality rain gear, wool pants, wool jacket, wool gloves, wool socks, underwear, Scent-Lok clothing, base layer, mid layer, outer layer for cold weather hunts, well broken-in waterproof hiking boots and or hip waders - I always take Moleskin for my feet to prevent blisters from walking.
- Spork (spoon/fork combination) and cup for meals, water bladder or bottles. I like to bring plenty of Mountain House freeze dried food for my hunting trips. It comes in many varieties and tastes good after a long day of hunting.
Multi-purpose knife, sharp knife for skinning, replacement blades if using a replacement blade-type knife, game bags, and rope. I recommend Havalon Knives and Outdoor Edge knives. They have scalpel type replaceable blades, which means you will not have to sharpen your knife while you are hunting.
Passport, airline tickets, cash, credit/debit cards, travel/airline, hotel arrangements for every leg of your trip, hotel reservations for layovers at the beginning and end of your trip - A good travel agent that is familiar with the requirements for hunters is a necessity. They ensure all arrangements are made such as connecting flights, hotel reservations, and arrangements coming and going, and make sure baggage gets checked straight through to the destination. For my trips, I use and recommend Sandy Farber of Jubilee Travel.
What do you recommend for your hunting trips? I’d like your thoughts.
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