A wise man once told me that people remember odd numbers better than even numbers so it’s a good idea to use a number like 3, 5, or 7 in the title of an article if it’s one filled with informational tidbits. For some reason studies have proven that it’s better than using 4,6, or 8. Personally, I don’t remember much of anything so if an odd number helps me remember the title of an article then great. To that end, I have taken it upon myself to write an informational article on the 37 things you should never head to the woods without on a late afternoon hunt.
After much research on my part it is apparent to me that I do not write enough informational articles that will help people be more successful in their pursuit of The Big One (TBO). But honestly, even though I read a lot of how-to articles on hunting I find it hard to write one myself. I mean, how many ways can you hang a tree stand? Are there really that many techniques to field dressing a deer? Do you actually need someone to tell you that a deer might be able to smell you if he’s standing downwind? Haven’t they already been discussed over and over? I don’t want to run the risk of this sounding like just another "how-to" article, but in order to grasp the attention of the information seekers I’ve calculated the risk this week and deemed it to be worth it. My readers need to know that I am not just some dumb hunter and that I really know my stuff. Otherwise, who is going to take me seriously?
Every good how-to article sets the stage with a scenario to work from. For the purposes of this article, assume you've been at work all day dreaming about hunting. You've been a complete waste of mental space thanks to your obsession but it’s finally quitting time and you have an hour and a half of daylight left to hunt. You have to get to the woods! But wait, you don’t want to go unprepared so make sure you always have the following items with you every day.
1. Lucky Hat – Everything starts with the lucky hat. Do not go anywhere without it unless it’s some place disgusting like a moldy crawlspace or a public restroom. In that case, at least make sure it’s in the truck.
2. Hunting boots - I've forgotten these more often than I've forgotten my lucky hat. That just proves how important the lucky hat is.
3. Hunting pants/jacket - It's possible to hunt without these, you just don't look as good so I don't recommend it.
4. Safety Harness - Essential if you plan to hunt from an elevated stand, because, should you fall asleep and fall out of your perch, you won’t impale yourself on sharp objects on the ground, or, should you have a heart attack while climbing up or down, the mortician will have a lot less to fix
5. Climbing tree stand - (It only makes sense to bring this if you are planning on wearing your harness)
6. Backpack – I liken the backpack to my 2 year old's security blanket. I feel lost without it. Besides, how else would I carry everything on this list?
7. Knife – It’s important but there is a direct correlation to an increase in deer kill when a hunter forgets his knife; also, good knives are often found where gut piles were a week ago
8. EZ Hanger or another screw in type hook – You need to hang 25 of these 37 items on something.
9. Smaller EZ Hanger or equivalent – Because not everything requires the large one.
10. Range Finder - Essential when you are hunting an area where you can only see 30 yards in any direction
11. Binoculars - Important if you want to get a closer look at the squirrels chattering nearby, or if you want to discern the gender of the deer sneaking by just out of range
12. Rain jacket - Bring this if you want to hunt in nice weather. If it's rain you want, leave it at home.
13. Hunting License – This is kind of a biggy
14. Release – If you’re a bow hunter, it is important to have this mechanical item between your fingers and the string, so that when it freezes shut on a cold, damp afternoon (that time you forgot your rain jacket) you’ll have another reasonable excuse for missing
15. Drag Rope – This can come in handy if you actually have something to drag such as a deer or a coyote. If you can't find one of those you can always pretend by dragging a dead log.
16. Seat warmer - The need for this item is inversely related to the weight of the hunter x the temperature.
17. Hand warmers – It may only be October but you can never be over prepared
18. Compass - Used in conjunction with a geological survey map and a general knowledge of the territory one is hunting, this device can help you find your way back to the pickup, even in the dark, especially if the GPS function is working well
19. Real Compass – For those times when your phone battery dies.
20. Camera – One day you will kill TBO and you’ll want pictures of the recovery. I know because someone told me that once.
21. Gloves - some hunters wear these in order to hide their hand from their quarry or keep warm; others wear them to keep their hands clean, but the latter group doesn't hunt
22. Latex Gloves – Call me a wuss but I really like these things. No more slipping blood covered hands back into your gloves after dressing out the kill. Whoever came up with these was brilliant.
23. Smart Phone – You have an hour and a half to wait, what else are you going to look at?
24. Book – In case you are not a smart phone guy.
25. Water – You only have an hour and a half so it’s going to be a mad dash to get to your stand. You will be thirsty.
26. Extra Pair of Gloves – Just in case the other pair gets wet or you want to camouflage your hands even further.
27. Ammo – For whatever weapon you are hunting with.
28. Extra Underwear – It's always good to have a back up plan for that hair-raising encounter with something when you are walking out of the woods after dark or if you forget item number 31.
29. Neck Warmer - If it's too warm for one you can use it as a snot collector if you're fighting a cold. If it is cold enough to wear it it will be used as a snot collector by default.
30. Matches/Lighter – you never know when you’ll need to start a fire. Stranger things have happened on short hunts
31. Toilet Paper – No explanation needed. We've all been there, it's not fun.
32. Grunt Tube - This baby makes a noise similar to that of the guy who just used item 31 on this list. Apparently this is a noise big bucks respond to. Weird.
33. Can Call/Doe bleat - A can call/doe bleat call is essential if you wish to reveal your position to any deer or hunter within six hundred yards
34. Compact Limb Saw - This little device is ideal for clearing shooting lanes, something I always seem to have to do regardless of the length of the hunt.
35. Rattling Antlers – If you happen to hunt in an area with enough bucks these will work. Otherwise, they are fun to look at if you get bored.
36. Hauling Rope – For hauling your gun or bow up into the tree stand after you've settled in. If you have ever forgotten one you know just how important it is.
37. Your Weapon – On one particular last minute hunt I drove all the way to my hunting location before I realized I’d forgotten my bow at home…idiot!
In the old days hunting used to be much simpler. From what I’m told, people would just get off work and go hunting but life’s not that simple anymore so I hope this article has been informative for you. Feel free to print this list out and keep it with you so you don’t end up in the woods for an hour and a half totally unprepared. Happy hunting everyone!
Did you find this helpful? If so, you may (you do) want to subscribe to my blog so you don't miss out on any future informative posts such as this one. It's easy, just look in the right hand column where it says "Get Email Updates" and enter your email address. You'll be glad you did!