Hunting shouldn’t be complicated by a pack loaded with gizmos and gadgets. We know the standard list of maps, compass, GPS, time chart (I print mine on the back of my license), knife, headlamp, dry socks, tick nippers, transportation tag…the list is long and doesn’t leave much room in a hunting pack. Here are a few small things you should have, and others that you’ll want.
The smallest hunting tool in my back is the Deer Cutter. The first thing I do after getting settled in the stand is get out my Deer Cutter. It replicates sounds made by squirrels cutting a nut or eating corn. Subconsciously, it puts deer at ease after I’ve made noise going through the woods. Squirrels are nature’s alarm system. If they’re relaxed enough to eat it seems as though everything is as it should be. I use Deer Cutter during turkey season, too. Turkeys have excellent hearing. A little reassurance to them is helpful. Deer Cutter takes a little practice before you head into the woods. Use it long enough to relax the deer and turkeys without over using it. A minute or two is all it takes a squirrel to break open an acorn.
Not much ruins a hunt faster for me than being cold. My favorite hand warmer is made by Zippo. It lasts 12 hours when run continuously. It has no flame so I feel safe should I drop it from a tree stand into dry leaves and pine needles. There is no smell to give your presence away. It’s lightweight and fits in my pocket. It’s rugged enough that I feel confident it will last the rest of my hunting days.
Hot Hands hand warmers are another favorite. They’re light weight and flexible. Pockets at the small of your back, between your shoulder blades, on the back of your neck, and sometimes under arms are made for warmers like Hot Hands. They tuck into mittens and boots. I suggest keeping a few in your First Aid kit as well as your hunting pack. They can be placed under arms and in the groin (with fabric between skin and the Hot Hands) to help warm a hypothermic hunter.
Scent dispensers are invaluable. I use Seal-Tite Scent Dispenser by HME Products. You place scent on the felt before leaving home. The dispensers do have a tight seal that holds the scent in. You won’t disperse scent on your way to and from the stand, in your pack or your vehicle. These scent dispensers clip or hang in trees, and a reflective cord makes them easy to find by flashlight at the end of the day.
You can order replacement felts rather than buying a new set of dispensers. My dispensers last for years and the felts last at least a full season. I don’t use them only during deer season. During bear season I use them for anise oil and skunk essence. I can take skunk essence to the bait site in my hunting pack without the smell contaminating the Jeep.
Nobody leaves home planning to get lost but it happens. Clothes get wet and need to be dried. And sometimes it’s just nice to have a fire at the end of the day. If we’ve filled our tag there’s nothing like backstrap cooked over a campfire. Keep a fire starter and tinder in your hunting pack. Matches can get wet and lighters can fail but a fire starter and dry tinder will get the job done. My Gerber fire starter came with a lanyard, a whistle, and a waterproof container. The container keeps the rod and striker dry but is too small for tinder.
Lock & Lock boxes keep my tinder dry. They’re waterproof, come in assorted sizes, and are durable. It’s also a safe place to keep medications, your license and permits, and other small items to be sure they stay dry.
All of our tree stands have The Limb Grip so why would we need one in our hunting pack? The Limb Grip is a bow hook that grips my bow securely while I lift and lower it from my stand. If I’m going to be in the stand for an extended length of time I’ll have my hunting pack with me, and that needs to go up to the stand. The hook also works well with your rifle, hunting pack, camera bag and other equipment.
The wind blew hard one of the days we spent at bear camp. Tammy climbed down from the tree stand, pulled The Limb Grip from her hunting pack, and tied the 25 foot nylon paracord between three trees. She fashioned herself a ground blind using a piece of camo fabric from her hunting pack, and she was set to spend the day in the blind. The paracord is also handy when you need to tie something down or drag your deer, bear or other wild game out of the woods.
There’s one more item I need in my hunting pack during deer season. I have more than enough grunt calls. Most of them sit unused in the drawer. Their either too big or sound more like a duck than a buck. I didn’t know I needed The Executioner Grunt Call until I tried it in the living room one night. It’s smaller than any other grunt call I have but it sounds like a mature buck. If it’s not in my hunting pack it will be on the lanyard around my neck. I cannot wait to get this call into the woods during the rut.
These small items will help you be successful during your hunt. Good luck and safe shooting!