If you are a hunter, you have a hunt pack full of gear; this is nearly a guarantee. If you don’t, you definitely have a partner who does. There are just too many valuable things a hunter needs to carry in the bush. On any given day you will be scouting, cutting trail, tracking game or cleaning a downed animal. The tools that make these pursuits easier can normally be held in a medium sized pack. Everybody has a few tools they use all the time and it varies from person to person. However, for the sake of discussion, here are the five most useful things I have in my hunt pack.
A roll of flagging tape is a must have in any hunters pack. Realistically, there should be a roll in your pack, in your jacket pocket, on your gun case, and in your pants. A few rolls in the truck and one in the ATV is also a good plan. Why? Because flagging tape can make a number of very important elements of hunting that much better. My number one use for flagging tape is while tracking a blood trail. By leaving a piece of tape at every important area of sign, you can often find the animal more quickly by seeing a line of movement develop. If its raining, flagging tape will show you where the sign was after the blood has been washed away. The coloured tape is also useful for marking trails into and out of blinds and tree stands. If you are still hunting, flagging tape wrapped on a tree branch every 25 yards or so will help you find your way back out if starts to get dark on you. There are so many uses for flagging tape that it really is a must have item.
A pocket knife is a blade that can fold up and fit into your pocket. Many outdoors people have these with them all the time, many do not. Yet there are few things as useful as a pocket knife when you are hunting. Needless to say, you can use a small knife to gut an animal, but generally a hunter has a larger, stiffer blade for that job in a sheath. The pocket knife is used for everything else; from notching tags to cutting rope. Small knives are also handy for opening packages of trail mix, cutting pepperettes and any number of other food related tasks. A pocket knife has more uses than can be counted here, and it really takes no room.
GPS /radio combo
Ok, there was a time people hunted without a GPS and didn’t need a radio. Fine. There was also a time that we had horse drawn carriages and used the Sears catalogue in the outhouse. Things change. The fact is, if you aren’t using a GPS with mapping, you are missing out on an incredible tool that will not allow help you understand you hunting grounds better, it can keep you from getting lost. With a GPS radio combo, like the Garmin Rino, you can also speak to you fellow hunters, as well as keep track of them on the map. Not cheap, but such a great thing to have.
Camo Duct Tape
Another indispensable tool, Camo duct tape takes the whole Red Green “it fixes everything“ theory to a whole another level. It really DOES fix everything. I’m pretty sure that every one of my half dozen tree stands has camo duct tape on some part of it. Sometimes it has been used to mask a metallic shine, other times it keeps metal parts from clanging together. I’ve used it to repair a ground blind torn open by a bear and to fix a hole in camouflage rubber hunting boots. You can even use it to camo up your shotgun barrel for turkey hunting. The list of uses for camo duct tape is long, and keeps growing.
The tool I use the most on a day to day basis when hunting is a small collapsible brush saw. The one I’ve had for about 18 years is called a Sierra Saw, and is made by Coghlan’s. This inexpensive saw has a plastic faux wood body with a metal blade sporting super sharp teeth. The saw folds and can be stored easily in a packsack or rucksack. It’s great for cutting out trail and for clearing large limbs for shooting lanes. It’s also very useful for field dressing as it cuts through small bones and cartilage with precision. The folding saw is one of those tools that keeps revealing new uses, usually due to sheer necessity. For some reason, no matter how hard I use it, the teeth of this saw never seem to get dull. A couple years back, I bought an extra Sierra Saw just to make sure I always had one if I lost my old faithful in the bush. So far so good. It is truly an indispensable tool for hunting.
Those are the five most useful things taking up real estate in my hunting pack. I can’t imagine going without them.